Culture in Italy
Where vestiges of the past become addictive!
Italy is without doubt the world’s most renowned cultural destination. While most commonly associated with art, music and food, Italy is the homeland of the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church and the main centre of the Renaissance, which flourished through Europe for centuries. Anyone who visits Italy for the first time is indelibly marked by the nation’s fascinating history – in all its facets. They are then compelled to return over and over for more of the same!
Abruzzo: an open-air exhibition
The vestiges of Abruzzo remain largely untouched. Here, human presence is rooted in the mists of time, proving that a reciprocal and respectful balance has emerged. The region resembles a multisite museum, a “permanent open-air exhibition” of a wide range of themes: ecology, geology and geomorphology, history of human settlement of the territory, of ancient urban planning and spontaneous architecture, the history of farming and the countryside, the history of military and defensive architecture, religious architecture, monastic communities, and sheep rearing.
Basilicata: where one loses the sense of time
Castles and museums of different styles and flairs, as well as literary parks and art galleries are part of the outstanding artistic, historical and cultural heritage of Basilicata, in southern Italy. The visitor loses his or her sense of time exploring the castles of the Emperor Federico II of Svevia, in Lagopesole and Melfi. They shouldn’t miss the National Archaeological Museums in Potenza and Matera, both named after their founders “Dinu Adamesteanu” and “Domenico Ridola”, and the museums of Metaponto and Policoro, with their beautiful archaeological areas.
Emilia Romagna: Marking the 700th anniversary of Italy’s greatest poet, Dante Alighieri
Emilia Romagna is this year commemorating the 700th anniversary of the death, in Ravenna, of one of the country’s greatest poets, Dante Alighieri. Celebrations, which run through to December 2021, already began in September, 2020 – with the re-opening of Dante’s tomb and the Quadrarco di Braccioforte following restoration work. Mentioned by the Ravenna historian Andrea Agnello in the ninth century, the Quadrarco of Braccioforte is the ancient oratory of the nearby church of San Francesco. Dante will be celebrated in “the Dante experience” as well as on Dante’s Routes – Vie di Dante (i.e. Lonely Planet’s 2021 Best in Travel for sustainability), which link Romagna to Tuscany.
Piedmont: an ancient bond between man and nature
An exciting journey through the history of the region begins with five World Heritage Sites: the Prehistoric Pile Dwellings of the Alps, the Royal House of Savoy, the Sacri Monti (Sacred Mountains), the Vineyard Landscape of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, and finally Ivrea, Industrial City of the 20th century. Moreover, Piemonte is home to 3 Creative Cities, standing for their exceptional craftsmanship that fully integrates both tradition and innovation: Torino for the creative field of Design, Alba for Gastronomy and Biella, the cradle of Italian textile manufacturing, for the category “Crafts and Folk Arts”.
Puglia: a millenary land of treasure troves
Puglia is traversed by centuries of history and art that have left their unmistakable mark on the imposing architecture: from the Classic Age to the present day, from the Romanesque to the Baroque. But Puglia’s history starts even before history, as the refined historian and exceptional traveller Cesare Brandi wrote. This is shown by the dolmens and menhirs bearing witness to prehistoric civilisations. Along Puglia’s coastline, one can discover the magical towers that stand alone and scan the horizon – silent companions of those opting for a spectacular coast-to-coast journey.
San Marino: with countless stories to tell
San Marino’s cultural tradition and its values of freedom have remained unchanged over the centuries: this is why UNESCO listed the old towns of San Marino and Borgo Maggiore, along with Monte Titano, as World Heritage Sites. Walking through its old town feels like plunging into the Middle Ages. The Republic of San Marino is truly an open-air museum, with its three Towers, the Basilica of St Marinus, the small St. Peter’s Church, St Francis’ Church and Museum, the State Museum, and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Tuscany: blending nature, culture, artistic and historic heritage
Mention Tuscany, and Florence instantly comes to mind. The city’s extraordinary attractions are impossible to describe in a few words: cradle of the Renaissance, mother to world renowned artists, birthplace of genius, a blend of gracefulness and history which emerge from every corner, every street, every piazza. It is an absolute masterpiece of human genius.
And while Virginia Woolf sung the praises of the famed city of Pisa, one should also not miss the breath-taking historic centres of San Gimignano, Siena, Pienza, the Val d’Orcia, and the Medici Villas and Gardens. Tuscany is a voyage unto itself.
Veneto: The Land of Venice – one of Italy’s most visited regions
Veneto’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites say it all. In the international language of art, “Veneto” means “colour”, a whole figurative culture built in colour. Veneto offers a rich heritage of art cities and smaller towns. And while Venice is one of the world capitals of art and culture, in Veneto there are many more artistic treasures to discover. Among the latest 2021 cultural initiatives is the extension of the project Tiepolo250, developed in Vicenza in 2020 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the death of the great painter Giambattista Tiepolo and the splendour of the Venetian villas.
Verona, the city of love, is famous for Romeo and Juliet and for its Arena. The Arena di Verona Opera Festival – one of the major highlights of the 2021 summer season in Verona – will take place from 19 June to 4 September.