When you live a wonderful and satisfying experience your first wish is to repeat it. Imagine then the one that satisfies your soul, heart, sight, and belly: you can count on a hand fingers the ones that fulfill all your senses
Touring Italy, has been in the past synonim of the journey for many artists, poets, and philosophers, and will have the same result on you, your senses will thrill, as happened in the past , so happens in the present and always will. In this game of emotions we start from the core that is in your heart, symbol of heat, passion, feelings.
The heart of a country? Its centre, that is its capital: you can start from here and discover all what happened in the past, in these places, to those men that here lived. So to discover and love Italy, it goes without saying, we start our journey in Rome. The Eternal city, where 16% of the artistic heritage of humanity is collected, has its own centre, from where simply turning around you can literally see History: this heart is the Capitol.
Now in front of you the Imperial Fora, the Markets of Trajan, the glorious epic of Rome from the Republic Age to the Great Empire and at the end of this street the Colosseum, symbol of its power where a thumb down could decide for life or death of a human life. Turn your sight now and see the Capitol, with its Renaissance square designed by Michelangelo, when the town itself was a lively workshop of artisans, sculptors and artists. Behind is the Ara Coeli, the Romanesque church where is housed the statue of Jesus Child, that still today receives letters of children from all around the world and reminds that Christianity walked its first steps from here, a religion that influenced the course of history during the last 2000 years as clearly shows at the horizon the imposing St. Peter’s dome. Turn again your sight and you will see the Grillo tower, hear the noise of traffic in Venice Square, framed by palaces with oriental influences and the outstanding Fatherland altar dedicated to the unknown soldier, built at the beginning of the XIX century, taking inspiration from the glorious past of Classic Architecture. An innocent wandering from here to any direction discovering beyond this heart all the other Italian art-jewels.
Go southward and find Naples, with Pompeii and Herculaneum, you can plunge in the colours and in the life of the Roman Empire crystallized for ever on a day 2000 years ago. Go further southward and reach Sicily, where the ruins of temples and theaters are witness of the influence of Greek culture on Roman art, mixed with the precious baroque style of small cities. Go now to the North and discover Florence and Tuscany, with its dry and rigorous atmospheres of Middle Age that fade in the Renaissance. Walking in these ancient villages you will revive life of those times even in the names of the streets that recall of artisans’, goldsmiths’ and leather’s workshops. And exploring this sunny peninsula, in the shape of a boot, you will find, as in a dream, immersed in the sea, Venice, the “Serenissima” whose time stopped as in a spell in the 700’s, the century of its golden age and of its sudden decline. Strolling through its lanes you will think that you might even meet Mozart, Goethe or Goldoni.
If you go to west you will find fascinating small towns, siege of princes and important families: Mantua, Ferrara, Reggio Emilia where Renaissance and Baroque interlace continuously… Further westward you reach Milan, the trading centre and of Italian fashion, where the gothic spires of its Duomo dominate the palaces of the 800’s. Then go northward direction Turin walk the alleys of the first capital of Italy and arrive to the Egyptian Museum, one of the finest in scope outside Egypt. Traveling through Italy, in any direction, somewhere unexpected, you will find a sign of Unesco, informing you of another site considered patrimony of humanity.
Not unusual in the country that has the majority of those present in the world. This journey will fill up your eyes, but to satisfy your nose and mouth you can find everywhere even in the smallest village, off the beaten tracks, the real taste of food and wines, a delicious cuisine that joins the warmest flavors of the Mediterranean to the most delicate gastronomy of the plain and not only spaghetti, pizza and cappuccino, you will discover instead the taste of Arancini and the Ice cram, the Sicilian cassata, Apuleian Orecchiette and the Neapolitan Baba, the Jewish artichokes in the Ghetto of Rome, pasta with pajata, ribollita and caciucco in Tuscany, tortellini in Bologna covered by delicious parmesan cheese, the fegato alla Veneziana and Risotto with saffron, the trennette with pesto sauce in Genua and gianduiotti in Turin, and during its season you can’t miss for anything in the world meat and pasta dishes prepared with the white truffle d’Alba. Then to close in glory this parade of tastes the real expresso coffee and limoncello will provide the stuff of lasting memories.
If this journey has to be a joy for your ears you can loose your senses listening the medieval music concerts in the castles in Trentino or in the noble residences in Tuscany, trembling with the violins of baroque chamber music in the Venetian Villas and explode with joy listening the great works of Verdi and Puccini in the Arena of Verona. In the garden that inspired Wagner, in the Amalfi coast you will hear the echo of deep notes plunging in the sea and then enter in the temple of music, the Scala in Milan to listen Verdi and Toscanini. In Umbria and Calabria you can’t miss the most important Jazz music festivals but in anyplace you will reach you will meet bands and groups, processions dedicated to saints and beatified in a fusion of sacred and profane rhythms. And simply playing between these two worlds, the sacred and profane, you will find intense and satisfying itineraries for all dreamers. This land is linked to Roman Greek mythology, with its epic, its heroes and its sites, described by the great classics and made of its own fairytales and characters of northern Europe, in the Dolomites you will listen of dwarves and elves, in Umbria instead you will be conquered by the lives of saints. In Sicily you will revive the medieval adventures of Saracen invaders and leave your mind fly in the horse ridings of Orlando. If your soul is in search of peace and stillness you can simply choose to stay in one of the many monasteries to feel the mystery of the times in which “The name of the Rose” is settled or to find the souls of the elected and the damned of the Divine Comedy. This multitude of elements was born from the meeting of people that crossed, conquered and always loved this land, a fusion of cultures and traditions, extremely different one from the other, that have been added by invaders, that enrich with new elements the older ones.
From North to South, East to West from the many dialects of all its cities that contain Arabic Greek, Turkish, Germanic, Portuguish, French and Spanish words, the remote influences of foreign civilizations, that still survive in present times, will be revealed to you. In all seasons you will relax your body and soul. Nature has been generous to this country: gentle hills, the moors in Piedmont, the Chianti region in Tuscany, fertile plains crossed by rivers, the basins of Aniene and Po rivers, plenty of lakes where you can swim from the Alps to those of volcanic origins in central Italy, the jewel that is the Garda lake, breathtaking mountains, the Alps that crown the north and some peaks in the very south, the Calabrian Sila and the Sicilian volcano, The Etna, and all around the sea that embraces all this.Sea coasts for all tastes, sands that fade from black into white, cliffs, bays of pebbles and islands, the queen of all Italian islands, Sardinia where you will dream and feel like being in the tropic seas. You can try the gentle massage of thermal waters in one the 150 spa centers, at least 1 in each Italian region, and you will finally understand why Romans where so fond of it. Many of the spa centers discovered in the Roman times are still there, ready to use, waiting for you.
You will leave Italy with a single thought: here I wish to return!
ART&TRAVEL ROME BLOG