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A selection of the most interesting ideas for your holidays and how to spend your free time 

New cultures, new foods, and unique destinations to discover: choose what to visit and the type of trip you’d like. Let yourself be guided by your curiosity and enjoy a myriad of experiences while in Italy. From nature to sport, with food, wine and art along the way. Get ready for some enjoyment and start planning your next trip to Italy. 

 

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Art & Culture

Aragonese Castle of Ortona

The Aragonese Castle of Ortona: a manor house overlooking the sea Its spectacular location overlooking the sea gives it much of its charm. The Aragonese Castle of Ortona, in the province of Chieti, softly overlooks the shores of the Adriatic Sea, facing the long Costa dei Trabocchi, with its imposing architecture. An unmissable journey through 15th-century history linked to the Aragonese domination of the Abruzzo region. Restored after a period of decay The marvellous fortress, as we know it today, dates back to the period between 1450 and 1470, when it was transformed from earlier mediaeval buildings. It was supposed to protect Ortona from the Aragonese assault, but failed. The quadrangular shape in full Renaissance style was chosen by Alfonso of Aragon, who wanted to rebuild the fortress overhanging the sea and make it more strategic in order to protect the town's harbour. Ortona passed into the hands of Margaret of Austria in 1582, who bought it for 54,000 ducats to convert it into a modern, economically flourishing town. Building innovation concentrated on the built-up area, leaving the Aragonese stronghold almost intact. The village was run by local administrations that took little interest in the castle's fate, condemning it to a long period of decay. Further damage to its structure occurred in the 20th century: it was hit by bombing in 1943 and by a landslide in 1946. Today it has regained its splendour thanks to careful restoration work undertaken in the 2000s. A history enlivened by a dark legend It is impossible to tell the story of Ortona's Aragonese Castle without mentioning the so-called “Legend of the Return”. The story goes that a rich merchant was received at the king's court, met his beautiful daughter, and fell madly in love with her. The king did not wish to give his daughter's hand in marriage to a sea dog. He therefore promised the merchant to grant him permission to marry his daughter only if he brought him something unique and remarkable as a gift. Several months passed and there was no sign of the merchant. The princess could not rest until the stormy sea, moved by compassion, led her back to her beloved at the bottom of the sea. In the morning, fruits that had never been seen before appeared on the beach in Ortona. Green and round, they were called monkey brains or Osage oranges. They were an extraordinary gift for the king. Still today, near the castle, fishermen swear they can hear the wails of the princess on stormy nights. During the Second World War, Ortona was renamed by Winston Churchill as the Stalingrad of Italy: crossed by the Gustav Line, the fortification that divided the peninsula in two, with the Nazi-Fascists to the north and the Anglo-Americans to the south, it was attacked and bombed for about six months. Antique furnishings, museums and evocative routes A visit to the Aragonese manor of Ortona holds its own charm: in one of its towers you can visit a small but delightful museum with period pictures and furnishings that belonged to the noble families who lived there over the centuries. Cyclists and hiking enthusiasts can enjoy a convenient route that leads from the castle to the cycle path along the Ortona coastline.
Nature
TR Cascate delle Marmore

Cascata delle Marmore

The Marmore Falls, in the heart of Umbria Less than ten kilometres from Terni, in Umbria, are the Marmore Falls, among the highest waterfalls in Europe, at a whopping 165 metres. These are actually artificial waterfalls that form where the Velino River, starting from Lake Piediluco, flows into the Nera River. The Romans began excavating the canal, specifically the Curiano Trench, in 271 BC. This engineering work aimed to drain the waters of the Velino River, which was overflowing onto the land, creating stagnant, swampy and toxic areas. The water was directed towards the edge of the Marmore cliff, and over the following centuries many alterations have been made to it until it ultimately became what we see today. Three unique points of view The Marmore Falls are divided into three jumps, which you can admire from two different points, the Upper Belvedere and the Lower Belvedere. The first is located on the outskirts of the village of Marmore, on the road leading to Piediluco, offering spectacular views of the first jump, while from the Lower Belvedere you can admire the entire waterfall in all its majesty. A scenic path connects the two points. From the Lower Belvedere, you can also access the Lovers' Balcony, a small terrace located in front of the first jump of the waterfall, embedded in the rock. It is so close you can reach out and touch the water, so don't forget to bring your waterproof! And unlike with other viewpoints, you have to be accompanied by an experienced guide in a small group. The Falls at night With the exception of the Balcony, you can visit the Marmore Falls on your own. There are six well-signposted trails, so you can admire the jumps from every possible angle. In the summer months, opening hours are extended past sunset to allow you to admire the views long into the evening. An LED lighting system brings a whole new charm to the Falls at night, producing special effects with beams of light that enhance the movement of the falling water. Marmore: sport and culture The Marmore Falls are also an ideal destination for water sports: from rafting to soft rafting, from canyoning to hydrospeeding, from kayaking to river walking, you are sure to be spoiled for choice. Near the Upper Belvedere you will find the Industrial Archaeological Park of Campacci di Marmore, which preserves objects from the Narni and Galleto hydroelectric power stations. The caves of the Archeological Park in Marmore The Marmore Falls also have another nice surprise in store for its visitors. The park to which it belongs has karstic caves, which have been excavated by water over millennia. The main ones, in terms of both speleological interest and beauty, are set in three distinct complexes: the first includes the Grotta della Morta and the Grotta delle Diaclasi, the second is the Grotta delle Colonne, while the third, extending over 190 metres, is the Grotta della Condotta, named after the ancient conduit that once fed the hydroelectric power station system. How to organise your visit Visiting the Falls is a truly unique experience. So you can best enjoy its beauty, we highly recommend planning to be at a good viewpoint the moment the gates are opened so you can watch the powerful rush of water. Otherwise, the Falls are still open, but with a reduced jet of water. The Falls also serve the Galleto hydroelectric power plant, meaning it is not only an environmental asset of rare beauty, but also a valuable resource for the area. Find out more: https://www.raftingmarmore.com https://www.cascatadellemarmore.info