Italy was, is, and always would be irrefutable proof of wonder. History, art, architecture, fashion, pizza, and pasta. I mean; there is not a single person on this Earth that doesn’t like pasta. And If you like even one of the aforementioned attributes Italy has blessed us with, then you, my friend may not love, love Italy, but at least you respect it. And as it comes, the fundamental mindset of visiting a place such as Italy is: one’s expectations will be met and surpassed; /in a good way certainly/.
Now, let’s discuss why you should visit it.
1. Ostuni, Puglia, region of Apulia; The White City
I would recommend a whole tour of Puglia, as every one of its towns has its own medieval charm, but in my book, Ostuni is one especially underrated gem of the Italian boot. The white-washed facades are the jewel of its character as a town, set against a brownish colored façade of the principal monument, which is The Cathedral “Duomo di Ostuni”. Narrow alleys, leveled terrain by which the architecture was subsequently developed, arches, a surrounding defensive wall, and a lot of stairs, but don’t let that one discourage you.
One of the most interesting places to visit and things to see at, among many others, that you will discover there, is the Archaeological and Civic Museum of Ostuni. Ostuni has a rich history, and since this article is not history-wise related, nor a travel guide explicitly, I would say read about the Palaeolithic period of this town and the findings from that period that remain in the museum.
2. Alberobello, Puglia, region of Apulia; The Cone-shaped Trulli Houses
If this is not the reason to get me to Italy, I don’t know what else would be. On the hilltop Rione Monti, hundreds of Trulli houses give you the atmosphere as if you are in a fairy-tale settlement. The first Trulli was built in the 14th century. They are built out of wood and limestone, which is abundant in the region, and maintain 18degrees Celsius interior temperature year-round. The UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE status was awarded to this town as an exceptional Historical Urban Landscape.
3. Orvieto, Umbria, Province of Terni
If you are a fan of Star Wars, this place will offer you the closest momentum of visiting Yoda on Dagobah. 1200 caves, tunnels, wells, all symbiotically connected into a man-made maze over nearly three millennia ago. And if these spaces do not enforce your inner Jedi, I do not know what will.
Apart from Orvieto’s castle on the hill type of a vibe, and its roots dating way back to the Etruscans, here, you will encounter all the typical of Italy’s charm: The Orvieto Cathedral, the Temple of Belvedere, the Albornoz Fortress and the Etruscan artifacts at the Museo Claudio Faina, however, my job is to get you to see the marvel of the underground world that this town hides.
4. Church of San Biagio, Montepulciano, Siena
This church, you would probably think that it is like most of the marvels of the renaissance, and it is, by default. Built between 1518 and 1545 by Antonio da Sangallo-the Elder, a true architectural wonder this temple of worship is.
But, did you think I would let you go on a quest through Italy, without giving you an interesting story to inspire you to do it, besides witnessing the architectural decorum of the church? Certainly not. There is an anecdote regarding the Church of San Biagio; on April 23, 1518, three locals witnessed the eyes of the fresco of Madonna and child in her lap moving as if she was alive.
5. Herculaneum /Ercolano/, Campania, near Naples
Herculaneum is a sister-site to Pompeii, a victim of the destruction Vesuvius left, and an archaeological wonder since 1738 when it was discovered. Since Herculaneum suffered different destruction than Pompeii, by a pyroclastic surge, its Roman character was revealed to the public eye after digging up 16-25 meters of rock. Herculaneum was preserved exactly as it once was before the destruction stroked, and it is an absolute wonder of a Roman citadel.
6. Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Firenze
If you have or had a course History of Art and Architecture or similar, I am sure you have heard of the Medici Family, the prominent political and banking dynasty that to us are known as the patrons of the most known names of the Renaissance: Brunelleschi, Raphael, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Michelangelo and more of the world of architecture, art and culture. And this is their Palazzo. As you can imagine, this place is a unique synergy of the grandeur of art and architecture in the interior and subtle elegance on the exterior. Must see is beyond question at this point.
7. The Pietà by Michelangelo, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
I am a fan of Michelangelo, and it is only natural that in an art and architecture related topic to Italy he and his work will be mentioned from my part. It is the only work Michelangelo signed, made him famous in the middle of his twenties, and to be completely honest, I am a difficult person to be left speechless, but Pieta did it. I am in absolute awe of this marvel of a marble skill, and needless to say, you all have to see it at least once in a lifetime.
8. Abandoned places scattered through Italy, E. Costi
If you seek more of a mysterious, semi-dystopian type of a place to visit than you are in luck. Italy is an enigma of architecture pieces that are a victim of abandonment, with neglected, but still evident beauty. Eleonora Costi is a photographer and content creator, spending 4 years traveling through Italy in search of abandoned villas and places. E. Costipictured over fifty structures in Central and Northern Italy and some of them are Villa in Emilia Romagna, Villa Equilibrium, cinema in a school in Tuscany, a mental institution in Lombardia, etc.
9. Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, southern Italy
Beat the Devil is a B & W 1953 comedy/ drama movie that will depict for you the Villa Cimbrone, since the movie was filmed in Ravello and scenes of it were filmed on its majestic Terrace of Infinity. Eh, to be in a 50ties movie on this Italian belvedere. It is dated the earliest to the eleventh century AD, belonging to a noble family. Later on, in the twentieth century went through a series of alterations and although most of the structure is referred to as the alteration faze, original parts of the structures are kept and evident. Well, do you love it, or you love it?
10. Grožnjan, Central Istria, Croatia
I am giving you Grožnjan as the tenth reason why you should visit Italy, except its location is not in Italy. Do not worry, Grožnjan has more of Italian charm than a Balkan one, and it is in Istra, in the Italian speaking part of Croatia. Technically you are in Italy. Since we got that out of the way, let me introduce to you Grožnjan.
It is a medieval town, a town of artists. Jazz, architecture, painting, handcrafted jewelry, olive oil like you have never tasted with bread and truffles. I am giving you many more reasons than you need to visit this place. I have spent three summers there, on a summer school /http://www.arch-groznjan.com/, and believe me it is a place like none other I have been to. I can go on for days talking about this place, the architecture, the artists on the cobblestone alleys, since there are no streets there, only alleys, and each one hides its own surprise behind the corner; but I am limited with space and words, so I will cut it short.
One of a kind place. You will never be more mesmerized by views, houses, food, music, art, and pure tranquillity.
. Whether it is architecture, art, the pure joy of travel, the social aspect, or food and drinks, no matter, get your suitcase and find your way to there, all of these and many more places offer more than just something to look at.