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Explore Italy in the hottest and brightest season, plan your holidays in one of the many summer destinations

Where to go in summer in Italy? Enjoyment and relaxation awaits. Sunny beaches, or silent nature reserves, summer in Italy is more than a season, it is a lifestyle. Enjoy deserted cities at 2pm and sunsets by the sea. Listen to the sound of holiday goes sitting at restaurants tables and chatting happily while getting lost on long evening walks. The summer season in Italy is a harbinger of infinite joy, whether you love the high mountains or taking long swims in some of the clearest waters in the world. It will be unforgettable.

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Art & Culture

Palazzo Vecchio

The museum on the history of Florence Palazzo della Signoria, or Palazzo Vecchio, with its 94-meter-high medieval tower, is the symbol of the political, cultural and artistic life of Florence. Resting over an ancient Roman theater still visible underground, it has always been the city’s center of power, first hosting Cosimo I De' Medici who expanded the Palace with the help of artists such as Vasari and Buontalenti. When Florence was the Capital of Italy, the Palace became the seat of the Government, and still holds this function as the location of the city hall. Inside it hosts the museum that exhibits the history of the city. On the first floor, you can find the “Salone del Cinquecento”, one of the largest and most representative halls of the Palace. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti were commissioned to paint two glorious episodes of the military history of Florence, respectively, the Battle of Anghiari (1440) and the Battle of Cascina (1364), but neither of the two artists completed the work. The current appearance of the room is by Giorgio Vasari. The coffered ceiling, decorated with 42 cassettes, depicts important episodes in the history of Florence, including the foundation of the city in Roman times and the expansion of the walls in medieval times. At the center, Cosimo I stands as the lord of the city and lands annexed to the duchy, surrounded by the insignia of the twenty-one Arts, or guilds, and by cherubs bearing the emblems of his house. In the Salone, there are extraordinary masterpieces such as Michelangelo's Genius of Victory. In the Mezzanine, you can admire typical furnishings of ancient stately homes and works of art from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. On the second floor, there are additional monumental rooms such as Sala delle Carte Geografiche [Geographical maps] and globe, Sala dei Gigli where the original of Donatello's Judith is located and paintings by Bronzino, in the Chapel of Duchess Eleonora. In the basement of the palace, it is possible to follow an archaeological route through the excavations of the Roman Theater.
Art & Culture

Miramare Castle

Nature and history in the Miramare Castle Park Right outside Trieste you can enter the oasis of the Miramare Castle park, and spend pleasant hours surrounded by vegetation. It is an unmissable stop, just six kilometres from the capital of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. It is no coincidence that it is the most visited castle in the entire North East. What is particularly attractive is the park, which overlooks the sea from above, creating a meeting of green and deep blue. An out-of-town excursion where nature plunges into history. Love at first sight It was Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg, who fell madly in love with the spectacular location, commissioning the entire Miramare Castle complex in the mid-1800s. The park and historic residence stand on the promontory of Grignano, a rocky spur overlooking the bay, like a lookout. In Maximilian's time, it was a karstic territory, completely parched, but the Archduke was not daunted by the difficult task of transforming a barren heath into a lush garden. From 1856 onwards, he started the building work on the mansion and the complex task of reclaiming the land to make it suitable for planting. Maximilian moved into the newly completed residence in 1860. He lived here for a long time with his wife Carlotta, Princess of Belgium, choosing the name Miramare, from Spanish mira el mar, “look at the sea”. Another noblewoman was strongly fascinated by this place: his sister-in-law Elisabeth of Bavaria, the famous Princess Sissi, who was a frequent guest. English gardens and exotic species: the green area Twenty-two hectares of parkland surround Miramare Castle. Maximilian of Austria expressed his preference for non-European plants, supplied by nurserymen in Lombardy-Venetia, while soil was brought from the regions of Styria and Carinthia. When the nobleman found himself in Mexico, where he died in 1867, he personally sent some species to enrich the parterre. Besides the engineer Carl Junker, two personalities later took care of the botanical aspect: court gardeners Josef Laube and later Artur Jelinek, who also managed to plant exotic species, despite the adverse climate of Trieste, where night frosts and bora wind are not uncommon. Today, the park has two distinct zones. The first, to the east, is a grove of trees and delightful ponds, paths and gazebos, in the romantic style of English gardens. The second faces south-west, better protected from the wind; it houses an Italian-style garden and several flower beds, including the daffodil garden, which blooms exuberantly in spring. The Residence Open to the public like the entire park, Miramare Castle can be visited inside. On the ground floor are the private flats of the princes, on the upper floor the state rooms. The sumptuous Throne Room is currently used as a hall for concerts and exhibitions. The residence is furnished with furniture, precious objects, paintings and canvases. Set apart from the main building, the Stables, once used to house horses and carriages, were restored in 2018 and one wing now houses BIOdiversitario Marino (BioMa), the Immersive Museum of the Protected Marine Area of Miramare. A café is available to visitors, as well as a bookshop. Atmosphere Already on arrival, passing through Porta Bora and along Viale Miramare leading to the Castle, you breathe in a nostalgic atmosphere of times gone by. It is worth taking a slow walk along the winding paths and under the pergolas to the greenhouses with their original iron structures. Moving around the park, there are many encounters: Orante, a bronze male statue, then a copy of Venus of Capua and Apollino, an adolescent version of the god. The fountains provide coolness on hot days, as do the ponds and the larger Swan Lake. In the square with the cannons donated by Leopold I, King of the Belgians, you can breathe in all the power of the Austro-Hapsburg Empire, while in the halls of the castle, you can almost see the young Princess Sissi twirling at a ballroom party. The library has a thick scent of history. And under the oleanders, near the Serre Antiche, one's thoughts turn to the court gardener Anton Jelinek, because they were just recently planted following a precise wish of his that emerged in old correspondence. He did not succeed because the temperatures were too cold, but here they are today, in his honour.
Art & Culture

Forte di Bard - Parcheggio

The Fort of Bard, protecting the culture of the mountains This is a grandiose cultural hub dedicated to the Western Alps: the Fortress of Bard, in Valle d'Aosta, is an ancient fortress that defends the entire valley below. Today it is a museum, where tradition and technology go hand in hand, with very special effects. History, nature, architecture and geology combine in a multi-sensory journey through videos, 3D displays, sounds and projections. It's exciting for everyone: adults, students and children. All the way to the top on futuristic lifts The first emotion you will experience at the Fort of Bard is that of the futuristic, fully glazed lifts that will take you from the village to the top of the fortress. It feels like climbing a skyscraper, except that the view takes you back here, into the heart of exuberant nature. The panoramic cabin skirts the rock face, then touches the imposing structure of the fortress, arranged on several levels in a masterpiece of defensive architecture. And there is a clear view of the valley and the river that created it, the Dora Baltea, the villages around it and the peaks on the horizon. If the lift gives you vertigo, the walking route is just as spectacular. The slow pace will reveal the scenery in all its details. Climbing Mont Blanc, but virtually Have you ever climbed the extraordinary mountain that is Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps? If the answer is no, then this is your chance. Thanks to the interactive route offered by the Fort of Bard, you can experience the thrill of an exhilarating simulation: under the supervision of a guide, you find yourself in a roped climbing group, with harnesses, ropes and carabiners, just like a mountaineer. Before setting off, the weather is checked, backpacks are carefully prepared and the best route is studied. The climb begins, and the guide explains all about the natural environment, which differs from one altitude to the next. You will encounter obstacles, risks and surprises before finally reaching the summit. A yeti awaits you at the end of the experience, to congratulate you and accompany you to the exit. When Napoleon arrived here Through projections and authentic scenography, learn about the long history of the Fort of Bard, from the year 1000 to its complete reconstruction in 1830. Among the many characters you come across along the way is Napoleon Bonaparte, whose army took two weeks to defeat the Austrian enemy forces barricaded inside the fortress in 1800. There was such great displeasure over the long siege that it was decided that the building should be dismantled, only to be brought back to life by Charles Felix of Savoy in 1830. At the Fort of Bard, you will find yourself in a cell, since over the centuries it has also been a fearsome prison. Inside the 24 cells, a set design recreates the cramped atmosphere, while films and 3D reconstructions lead you into the Great History. In the 29 rooms of the Museum of the Alps, you will find yourself face to face with naturalists, geographers and anthropologists, who speak to you from video clips about the many aspects of Alpine civilisation, flora and fauna, revealing a world of absolute fascination. 5 things to do before leaving the fortress ● At the end of your visit to the Fort of Bard, take a break at the Caffetteria di Gola or at the La Polveriera Restaurant, inside the museum complex, where you can order charcuterie and cheese platters, crespelle alla valdostana (stuffed pancakes) and a walnut and honey dessert. ● If you're a Marvel fan, look inside the fort for replicas of Iron Man, Captain America and the Hulk, evidence of the set built right here for several scenes from the film Avengers: Age of Ultron. ● Explore the village below, perhaps with the same technological approach as during your visit to the museum spaces. Millibard is a project consisting of ten stations equipped with QR-codes on special panels. Using your smartphone, you can access all the information about the village, which is definitely worth a wander through the ancient streets full of craft workshops. ● The best place from which to admire the Fort of Bard from afar and take in all its grandeur, coupled with its strategic position perched on the cliff, is from the bridge over the Dorea Baltea. Take a short rest at this natural vantage point. ● Not far away, in the valley, the village of Arnad is famous for its gastronomic excellence: Arnad lard PDO. It’s wonderful enjoyed on traditional black bread, freshly warmed and drizzled with a little local honey. For more information
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