Skip menu

Explore the vibrant art and culture of Italy. Visit enchanting works of art and immerse yourself in its thousand year old history

From the archaeological ruins of Rome and Pompeii, or the picturesque villages of Tuscany, Italy is a land rich in art and culture. Immerse yourself in Italian historical sites and its many UNESCO sites, for a cultural journey discovering the homeland of some of the most important painters, sculptors and architects who have left an incredible mark on history.
  • Highlights
  • Art
  • Villages
  • Monuments and Statues
  • Museums
  • UNESCO Sites
  • Theaters
Villages
Oratino

Oratino

Today, this is mainly noticeable by the abundance of greenery and flowers around the edges of the stone houses, or by certain well-sculpted portals – for example at the Doge's Palace, with its history as a 15th-century fortified building – but Oratino has been the home of well-known painters, sculptors and stonemasons, even outside Molise. This can best be seen by entering the church of S. Mary of Loreto, ancient although reconstructed in the 16th century, with remarkable 18th century sculptures and frescoes (of particular note is an Assumption of the Virgin in the vault), or in the parish church of S. Maria Assunta. Little more than a village, Oratino is perched on a limestone cliff from where the Biferno valley is clearly visible in all its breadth. In fact, this corner of Molise has quite a few cliffs, and in fact the so-called morge, isolated rocky blocks of limestone and sandstone. On the morgia closest to Oratino, which is called la Rocca and is located a few kilometres from the town in the direction of the valley, stands a four-storey square-based tower that, impressively, has more than a millennium of history behind it. The roots of the settlements in the area are actually even older: archaeological excavations conducted around the tower have uncovered materials from the Bronze Age, even before the Samnites, and a mediaeval village. The village is thought to have been abandoned after the earthquake of the mid-15th century, the same one that reduced Campobasso to rubble. Nowadays, this morgia is once again frequented by rock climbers: they use it as a climbing wall. Find out more: https://www.parcodellemorge.it
Villages
Sepino

Sepino

When the last inhabitants of the Roman Saepinum moved to the modern city, Castellum Saepinii, together with the name of the ancient city, left a large stone mask, probably detached from a monumental fountain: this is what visitors see today at the entrance to the town, walled in a more modest fountain, next to the provincial road. Apart from this ornament of classical origin, Sepino's charm is delightfully mediaeval, starting with the gates and the remains of the walls that defended the town, with rare Renaissance accents. This is the case of the sixteenth-century Attilio Palace, which was built by a local family so rich and influential that it appointed its own bishop of Termoli. The heart of the town is the large Piazza Nerazio Prisco, overlooked by the Town Hall and, more secluded, the Church of San Cristina, dominated by a bell tower with an elegant wrought iron dome, the work of local artisans. The church is probably of 13th-century origin, but has been altered and rebuilt several times due to earthquakes: in the Tesoro chapel (1609), it houses silver-plated copper busts of saints and precious Baroque altars. A short distance from the village are bicarbonate-sulphate-calcic oligomineral waters, utilised by the thermal baths of the Three Fountains. In summer, local agencies and associations organise guided visits from the country to the Sepino Archaeological Park and trekking to the Samnite archaeological area of Terravecchia-Saipins, in the locality of Terravecchia at an altitude of about 950 metres, on a hill overlooking the Tammaro valley. Find out more: https://cultura.gov.it/
Spirituality
basilica di san pietro

Basilica of Saint Peter

Basilica of Saint Peter Universal seat of the Catholic Church in Rome, Pontifical Chapel and destination of every pilgrimage to the holy city, St. Peter's Basilica houses famous works of art celebrating the Christian faith. Preceded by the spectacular colonnade in St. Peter's Square, it has a majestic façade and is surmounted by the large dome designed by Michelangelo. Regarded as one of the absolute masterpieces of architecture, it is the product of the work of dozens of designers who have created it over 160 years. At St. Peter's tomb The construction of St. Peter's Basilica was started in 1506 on the initiative of Pope Julius II, who is also considered the “father” of the Vatican Museums, and was only finally completed in 1667 with all the final arrangements of the square. On the site of today's basilica stood an early Christian one built by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, right where St Peter was supposedly buried. The history of its construction is very complex, with a long list of architects and artists who helped make it possible: Bramante, Giuliano da Sangallo, Raphael, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Baldassarre Peruzzi, Michelangelo, Vignola, Giacomo Della Porta, Domenico Fontana, Carlo Maderno and, in the last 40 years, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The colonnade and façade of St Peter's Basilica A piece of advice: enter the square from one of the side entrances to guarantee the surprise effect of Bernini's elliptical colonnade, which suddenly opens and seems to move. Coming from the wide, frontal Via della Conciliazione, built in the 20th century, this effect is lost. There are 284 columns and they are topped with 140 statues over three metres high and six coats of arms of Alexander VII. In the centre of the colonnade is an obelisk from ancient Egypt transported to Rome in 37 AD and two fountains, one by Maderno, the other by Fontana. If you stand on the porphyry discs on either side of the obelisk, which are the foci of the ellipse, the rows of columns line up perfectly and you will only see the first one, the others seem to vanish! In order to walk into the Basilica, you have to climb a flight of steps and cross the portico built into the façade: from the central balcony, known as the Loggia delle Benedizioni, the pope appears for the Angelus and when the election of the new pontiff is announced. The interior of the Basilica: an array of masterpieces The interior of the basilica is stunning in its majesty and the richness of Baroque-style decorations. Don't miss the bronze statue of St. Peter, attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio; the monumental canopy with twisted altar columns, made of bronze taken from the Pantheon, 30 metres high, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini; Michelangelo's Pietà, which the sculptor made when he was 23 years old; the funeral monument of Clement XIII, considered to be one of Antonio Canova's best works; the statues of Urban VII, the tomb of Alexander VII and the gilded bronze Chair of St. Peter in the apse, other Bernini masterpieces. After the Sacristy, a late 18th-century room with eight columns from the Villa Adriana in Tivoli, one has access to the Treasury of St. Peter's, where sacred furnishings, statues and various art objects, mostly gifts given to the popes, are on display. Don't miss a ciborium by Donatello, the monument to Sixtus IV by Pollaiolo, some precious works from the Byzantine era and the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus from the 4th century. The majestic dome of St Peter's The symbol of the city of Rome, the “Cupolone” for the Romans, the Dome of St. Peter's was designed by Michelangelo, but he did not see it completed: it was Domenico Fontana and Giacomo Della Porta who completed the building. On the Dome you can take the lift up to the terrace overlooking the square. A staircase of 330 steps in a corridor between the outer and inner dome, about halfway down which you can look out into the first gallery, 53 metres above the ground, and admire the dome mosaics up close. You can also climb to the top of the lantern and from there all of Rome will truly be at your feet. The Vatican Grottoes The so-called Vatican Grottoes are located under the floor of the nave of the basilica, in the gap between the current floor and the floor of the Constantinian basilica on which the church was built. It houses the Tomb of Peter, at the altar and Michelangelo's dome, and numerous other pontiffs and rulers. The Grottoes are a very atmospheric environment with various altars and niches, filled with the artwork adorning the various papal tombs and other works from the early Christian period from the ancient basilica, such as sacred vessels, statues and column fragments. One of the most valuable works is the tomb of Boniface VIII, partly created by the sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio in 1300. Also noteworthy is the tomb of Pius VI by Antonio Canova (19th century).
Museums and monuments
Forte of Bard

Forte of Bard

The Fort stands out in the middle of the steep slopes of the Bard Gorge on an impervious rocky hill and consists of four main bodies (called Opere, to use the terminology of military architecture), placed at different levels between 400 and 467 metres above sea level. The fortress was most likely used for defensive purposes since antiquity. The first evidence of a fortified structure dates back to the 11th century, but the actual fortress only saw the light of day in the 12th century. From 1242, when the lords of Bard were driven out, it passed to the Counts of Savoy. In 1800, the Fort of Bard acted as an obstacle to the onslaught of Napoleon Bonaparte and his 40,000 men who had come down from the Great St. Bernard Pass to sweep across the Po Valley. Napoleon, on his way back to France from Marengo, had the fortress razed to the ground. It was rebuilt between 1830 and 1838 by the military engineer Francesco Antonio Olivero. The Carlo Alberto Opera is the tallest and most impressive of the structures and houses the Museum of the Alps, a multimedia and scientific exhibition illustrating the Alpine territory, with its morphological, naturalistic, geological and climatic characteristics and the changes it has undergone over time. Also in the Carlo Alberto Opera, you can visit the prisons, 24 narrow isolation cells, home to a multimedia exhibition that deals with the famous prisoners who passed through the fort, including Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour. In the Opera di Gola concerts and events take place, the Opera Vittorio, located at the middle level of the fortress, hosts Le Alpi dei ragazzi, a favourite spot for youngsters, who can discover the mountains of the Aosta Valley here while having fun. Opera Ferdinando, at the foot of the fort, houses the Museo delle Frontiere, which tells the story of the western Alps and the relationships between the peoples who inhabited them, and the Fort and Fortifications Museum, dedicated to the evolution of defence works over the centuries, especially in mountain areas.
Cultural cities
Piacenza

Piacenza

Piacenza, welcoming and sumptuous; Emilian, but not to excess The end of the ancient Via Emilia and geographical epicentre of the Po Valley, the city of Piacenza stands on the right-hand bank of the river Po and is - due to its position on the north-western border of the region - the least Emilian of the provincial capitals of Emilia Romagna. A compulsory stop for travellers Halfway between the Apennines and the plains, nestled between valleys and waterways, Piacenza built its fortunes on its vocation as a place of passage: Leonardo da Vinci, who made an unsuccessful bid to design the bronze doors of its cathedral, was among the first to appreciate its crucial territorial role, describing it in the Codex Atlanticus as “Terra di Passo” (land of passage), a compulsory stop for anyone on their way to Milan. An innate nature that still explains the city's irreducible vocation for welcome and hospitality. Amid arcades and secret gardens, by bicycle The etymology of the Latin name, placentia, which alludes to the capacity to please, is a successful compendium of the city's soul: pleasant, elegant and full of discreetly guarded treasures. Because of its relaxed pace and compact size, it is an ideal place to visit on foot or by bicycle, roaming through arcades and churches, capturing the beauty of the hidden courtyards of stately palaces. The horses of the Farnese family So, are you ready to begin? The ideal tour of Piacenza, amidst art and history, has to start at the popular Piazza Cavalli, the city's epicentre. It is so called because of the presence of the infamous pair of equestrian monuments honouring Ranuccio and Alessandro Farnese, father and son, once Dukes and Lords of Parma and Piacenza. Carved in the 17th century in the Baroque style by the Tuscan sculptor Francesco Mochi, they stand directly in front of the beautiful Town Hall in terracotta and white marble, known as “il Gotico”, which is said to have hosted Petrarch: they are the emblem of the town. If you hear people say “i noss cavaj”, our horses, this is what they are referring to. The ducal tour The “Farnese” tour leads to the historic Palazzo Farnese, now home to the Civic Museums, in whose picture gallery one can admire, among other works, a Tondo of the Virgin and Child by Botticelli. The archaeological wing, meanwhile, preserves the famous Fegato di Piacenza, or Piacenza Liver, a bronze model of a sheep's liver with Etruscan inscriptions, used by haruspices as a guide for prophecies. The tour is wrapped up with a visit to the Farnese Walls that encircled the historical centre in the 16th century. The Duomo, combining Romanesque and Gothic The real attraction of the city, however, is its Duomo, or Cathedral: dedicated to Saint Mary of the Assumption and Saint Justina, it brings together the original architecture, an admirable example of Emilian Romanesque, with Gothic elements of a later restructuring, and houses a dome frescoed by Guercino. But there are several other medieval churches in Piacenza worth discovering, starting from St Anthony, the city's patron saint, a compulsory stop for pilgrims on the Via Francigena, to St Savino, of early Christian origin, with mosaic floors, passing through St Mary of Campagna, with its dome frescoed by Pordenone. Here, it is said, Pope Urban II announced his intention to order the First Crusade to the Holy Land. A walk around the muntä di rat A visit to Piacenza's museums, meanwhile, has to include the Alberoni Gallery, which houses Antonello da Messina's Ecce Homo, and the Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery, with its works from the 19th and 20th centuries. Iconic places in the city to visit, before leaving, include the Municipal Theatre, whose façade was redesigned by Alessandro Sanquirico based on inspiration from La Scala in Milan, and the steps that connect Via Mazzini to Via San Bartolomeo, which everyone here calls the muntä di rat. This is because during the flooding of the Po, legend has it that rats used it to escape the water. Amidst hills and medieval villages: in search of food & wine delights and Bellocchio's film sets Other wonders are in store for you in the surrounding countryside, among the renowned valleys of the Piacenza hills: Val Trebbia, Val Nure, Val Tidone and Val d'Arda, to name the best known, with their scenic itineraries and food and wine delights. Not forgetting the medieval villages and castles: Castell'Arquato, Grazzano Visconti, Gropparello, Rivalta, to name but a few. For film buffs we recommend a trip to Bobbio, a delightful village in the Trebbia Valley and the setting for many films by Marco Bellocchio, who founded his Film School and a Festival dedicated to the Seventh Art here. For those who love outdoor sports, we suggest trying their hand, on foot or by bicycle, at a few stops along the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage route that led from northern Europe to Rome and from there to the Holy Land.
Cultural cities
Campobasso

Campobasso

On the hill above Campobasso, the name of the massive Monforte Castle – the top of the list of places to visit to get a feel for the city – recalls the 15th-century mercenary captain Nicola Monforte, who ruled the city with the title of Count at the time of a disastrous earthquake in the middle of the century. It was under his government that reconstruction began, not unlike others did much later. Three and a half centuries later, another military man turned ruler, the King of Naples Gioacchino Murat, initiated the creation of a new Campobasso under the castle: the quarters of what is now known as the Murattiana City. This is not to put history above tourism, but to explain why visiting the capital of Molise today means getting to know two different realities. Below the castle, one strolls down sloping, narrow, rustic streets or stairways, while in the valley, where public buildings and shops are concentrated, one appreciates the scale of 19th-century blocks and airy green squares. Yet, they also attract signs of much older civilisations to Campobasso. Just below the castle is the Sannitico Museum – another tourist attraction – which, without being boring, neatly exhibits ambers, ceramics, bronzes, ivories and marbles from prehistoric times to the early Middle Ages of the Longobards, passing through the Samnites and Romanisation. Wandering through the museum's halls makes you want to go and see for yourself the other Molise where these wonders come from, starting with Bojano or the frankly extraordinary Sepino.
Tourist destination
In Rome: Testaccio between art, archaeology and Roman street food

In Rome: Testaccio between art, archaeology and Roman street food

Rome still has a number of intriguing districts with a heritage flavour, which have been transformed into centres for boho culture and creativity while maintaining their popular and pleasure-loving appeal. One such district is Testaccio. You'll only need to spend a couple of hours here to understand why. The groups of senior citizens chatting in the streets and children playing all create a warm and friendly atmosphere. Testaccio is an area with working-class roots, which sprang up on the artificial hill known as Monte dei Cocci. Not overly frequented by tourists but not too far off the beaten track either, Testaccio is truly the heart of the old Rome, as you can see from its faded shop signs and the football supporters' clubs. It's also the most interesting district from a gastronomic point of view, thanks to the traditional pizzicaroli and the famous trattorias, where you can eat in true Roman style, starting with a portion of fried artichokes to continue with a rich plate of carbonara or the must-try 'cacio e pepe' pasta, ending with unmissable cacio and pepper and ending with the equally unmissable oxtail stew. In Testaccio, just look up as you walk through the streets to be amazed by the beauty of the everyday - especially now that art has found its way into popular venues like the rooms of the old Slaughterhouse, which was for a time also a dépendance of MACRO, Rome's Museum of Contemporary Art. After taking in an art exhibition, you might decide to take advantage of the interesting menu served inside (open for aperitifs and at weekends for lunch and dinner), or eat right there, opposite the new Testaccio Market, built in a renovated complex designed in keeping with the fruit and vegetable stalls. At lunch time, head for one of the street food vendors, who will serve you in their best Roman dialect with tasty filled sandwiches, affordably-priced and reminiscent of your granny's cooking! Their panini rolls were practically invented here, when the former butchers have pioneered the art of selling street food. If you're grabbing a quick bite to eat, what better than a sandwich "all’allesso" or picchiapò - a ciabatta roll filled with boiled meat and celery, carrot and tomato. Unless you've already given into the temptation of the classic slice of pizza or a supplì (rice ball). With a full stomach, you can head off towards an unusual destination, a little different from the usual tourist monument, but no less iconic. This is the Non-Catholic Cemetery, a haven of greenery in a romantic setting. The cemetery stands in the shadow of the pyramid of Caius Cestius, an ancient tomb that now appears as a strange Egyptian-style presence in the middle of a crossroads, and which has given its name to the surrounding area, known as "il Piramide". A few steps away is the monumental arch known as Porta S. Paolo and just a kilometre further along Via Ostiense you'll come to another surprising exhibition centre, built on a redeveloped industrial site: this is Centrale Montemartini, the must-see second home of the Capitoline Museums. It contains hundreds of fine exhibits and ancient sculptures in the original marble.
UNESCO
Palazzo Madama

Palazzo Madama

What is now Palazzo Madama in Piazza Castello, practically opposite the Royal Palace, was originally a city gate, was made into a fortress in the Middle Ages, and then became the castle of the princes of Acaja. The civic collections of ancient art were formed separately elsewhere from 1863, to collect and pass on the historical and artistic heritage of Turin and Piedmont. The respective fates of the ancient building and the century-old collections were joined in 1934. In the meantime, the building had been, among other things, the seat of the first Senate of the unified Italian state. The present-day museum, which is divided into several routes dedicated to history, architecture and collections, has over seventy thousand works of painting, sculpture and decorative arts from the Byzantine period to the 19th century. The development of European art from the early Middle Ages to the Baroque is also illustrated by illuminated manuscripts, majolica and porcelain, gold and silver, furniture and textiles. Among the most famous works are a Portrait of a Man by Antonello da Messina, the codex of the Très belles Heures de Notre Dame by Jean de Berry, and a series of artistic objects from the Cabinet of Wonders of Charles Emmanuel I of Savoy. The Senate Hall, the Medieval Court and the Atelier Hall host temporary exhibitions. The museum is incorporated with the GAM-Galleria Civic Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Museum of Oriental Art as part of The Turin Museums Foundation.
Museums and monuments
The Sphinx

Egyptian Museum

Egyptian Museum a Journey into Ancient Egypt "The road to Menfi and Thebes passes through Turin." (Jean-François Champollion) It is the oldest museum in the world dedicated to Ancient Egyptian culture. It houses more than 40,000 finds including ancient plaques, mummies, papyrus, objects, stuffed animals, statues and sphinxes that make this venue the sixth most visited place in Italy. The Museum offers the opportunity to join thematic visits, admire temporary exhibitions and take part in educational tours and workshops to explore the knowledge preserved here. Several exhibition spaces and tour itineraries with a broad offering in terms of knowledge and experience. Visitors absolutely must see the Silvia Curto Library with its interesting ancient works and collections of immense value. At the Egyptian Museum in Turin: with the tablet Tablets, interactive tables and clever lighting effects for total immersion in the courts of the pharaohs. The Egyptian Museum in Turin, second only to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, underwent an impressive renovation in 2015, with the collaboration of the famous Oscar-winning set designer Dante Ferretti. And today it allows a plunge into ancient Egyptian culture, brought to life by multimedia. An Oscar-winning set design Dante Ferretti is a star of the Italian firmament that shines on the international stage. A set and costume designer, he has won three Oscars, including one for Martin Scorsese's film The Aviator, and other prestigious awards. His talented visionary touch is also at the Egyptian Museum in Turin. As part of the complete renovation of the museum in 2015, he was asked to take care of the lighting and some of the installations. Not to be missed is the one entitled The Great Nile, which reproduces the course of the legendary river all the way to its estuary, created with gelatin and fibreglass as a giant jigsaw puzzle of fabric panels. It will be spectacular to admire it as you make a 24-metre leap through an escalator system, above a Mesopotamia recreated today in a very modern style. Immerse yourself in the play of light and mirrors Semore by Ferretti the lighting of the Statuary, one of the most spectacular rooms of the Egyptian Museum, all based on LED technology with a high level of environmental sustainability. It is a highly evocative space, with Pompeian red walls, where the individual statues are illuminated both from above and below, multiplied by a play of mirrors that allow you to observe the masterpieces in their three-dimensionality. You will feel as if you are standing next to the pharaohs, you, in the first person. Thanks to studied lighting technology and special shaping projectors, you can admire every single detail of Ramesses II, the most famous pharaoh, and the Sphinx of the New Kingdom; of King Amenhotep II and Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess, and the bovine-horned goddess Hathor. Linger over the shades of pink granite of the statue of Ramesses with the god Amun and the goddess Mut. Let yourself be enchanted by the hieroglyphics engraved on the sarcophagus of Gemenefherbak and the inscriptions on the stone. Why Turin? In the early 19th century, in the wake of Napoleon's campaigns in Egypt, the fashion for collecting antiquities from that country spread throughout Europe. Bernardino Drovetti, consul general of France during the occupation, boasted a collection of 8,000 pieces and later King Charles Felix also acquired countless pieces: from the union of these two collections, the museum in its embryonic state was born. Exponents of the House of Savoy, over decades of expeditions, continued to enrich the collection and consequently the museum. Turin thus became a great centre for the study of Egyptian culture. A truly pharaonic route More than 2 km of exhibition space on four floors, 8,000 findings covering a span of history from 4000 BC to 700 AD: these are the record numbers of the largest Egyptian Museum, second only to Cairo in terms of the quantity and importance of its collections, and the oldest in the world entirely dedicated to Egyptian culture. Funerary furnishings, statues, sarcophagi, jewellery and papyri are on display. The itinerary is well-maintained and you do not run the risk of getting lost. If you prefer, you can choose a tour entirely guided by experts or opt for the multimedia audio guide on your smartphone, framing the QR.codes in the rooms. The rooms are dotted with tablets and interactive tables: have fun exploring the aspects that interest you most. Don't miss the 3D videos, which will make you experience the thrill of feeling like an archaeologist for a day. Through sequences showing excavation documents and period photographs, you will find yourself inside the tomb of Kha and that of Nefertari, then inside the Chapel of Maia. Two accompanying experiences One of the experiences to enjoy, especially if you have children in tow, is the thematic guided tour entitled Life in the Afterlife. The ancient Egyptians devoted a great deal of time to preparing for their future after death, which was considered to be the transition to a subsequent existence just as glorious as their earthly one. An Egyptologist tells you about these sophisticated practices, from the production of sarcophagi to the preparation of the body, which had to remain intact, to the mysterious symbolism of the funerary papyri. Art lovers are advised to visit the Restoration Area, on the second floor, where they can watch live restorations of artefacts in the Museum.
Villages
Vernazza

Vernazza

Vernazza, a small village of great wonders A rocky spur reaching out towards the sea, backed by high cliffs and covered with green hills, home to a village of houses and monuments next to the marina. Introducing Vernazza, among the most authentic villages in the Cinque Terre. The small, colourful houses and moored boats, the prickly pears and cultivated terraces create an enchanting landscape. Venture into one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, for an immersive experience in the pristine Mediterranean landscape. Alleyways and stairways In Vernazza, everything centres around the small harbour and the small square behind it, where the locals rent apartments to tourists. The “carruggi”, the narrow alleyways of Ligurian villages, all branch off from here. We highly recommend taking a stroll among the colourful, towering houses, through courtyards, under porticos and loggias (the perfect spot for a cup of coffee), and along Via Roma, an ancient underground river. An unmissable site in this ancient village, which dates back to the year 1000 and was once used by the Romans as a strategic port, is the Church of Santa Maria d'Antiochia: dedicated to the village’s patron saint, it has mullioned windows overlooking the sea and presents a blend of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles. While the Belforte tower acts as a lookout next to the small port, dominating the town from above is Doria Castle, on a dramatic cliff. Be sure to try the local speciality, Tian di Vernazza: baked potatoes and anchovies flavoured with Mediterranean herbs and lemon zest - the land and sea come together in one unique dish. At a slow pace to contemplate the landscape The entire UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cinque Terre is dominated by rock and sea, small bays and inlets, and flourishing vegetation. Nature reigns supreme, so the Cinque Terre National Park ask that you explore respectfully, ideally on foot or by train. It’s well worth spreading out a beach towel on the cliffs to the right of the pier or near the harbour. Then, after enjoying a cool dip, it’s time to put on your hiking shoes. You are sure to enjoy the spectacular trek from Monterosso al Mare or Corniglia, two other villages in the Cinque Terre, located either side of Vernazza. The best route is the famous Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path), which narrows in some places as it enters the woods, while opening up elsewhere to offer breathtaking glimpses of the sea and towering coastline. This circular trekking route climbs up to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Reggio, with its beautiful Romanesque façade. The forecourt is lined with holm oaks, cedars and horse chestnuts, and providing shade is the oldest cypress tree in Liguria, which has thrived for 800 years and counting. The route continues towards San Bernardino before descending back down to the village, past cultivated fields and vineyards, dry stone walls, fragrant Mediterranean scrubland, streams and springs, well-worn ancient mule tracks shrouded in silence, and crisscrossing houses lost in the wilderness. You will find yourself outside civilisation, inside a natural space that regenerates the body and mind.
Villages
Manarola

Manarola

Manarola, like a colourful painting in the heart of the Cinque Terre The yellow to warm orange houses proudly stand out from the dark cliffs, in a wonderfully bold contrast of colours. Here, perched on top of a high, sheer rock that juts out over the sea, is the peaceful and romantic town of Manarola. The mighty nature of the Cinque Terre National Park is furrowed by paths that mark the perfect routes to admire the vineyards and olive groves on the traditional terraces. In the scenic village At 70 metres above sea level, you can explore the maze of steep, narrow streets enveloped in salty air that branch off from the little square by the sea. The age-old village dates back to the year 1000, when it was chosen for its strategic position as a lookout and defence against Saracen pirate raids. After appreciating the most beautiful churches, including the Gothic church of San Lorenzo, we recommend heading towards the beautiful Belvedere: a scenic lookout over the water that offers breathtaking panoramic views. Be sure not to miss out on the chance to admire the unique Genoese-style “tower houses”, on several floors and leaning against each other. There is no real beach here, but you can go down to the water from the rocks in the marina area. The paths connecting the Cinque Terre Manarola is the hamlet of another village in the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore, which it is connected to by a beautiful, one-and-a-half-kilometre footpath up the hill that separates the two villages. Another scenic route starts directly from the village and connects Manarola to Corniglia. Here, you will find yourself in the typical “cultural landscape” of the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You are sure to be fascinated by the terraces built using an ancient Roman technique to cultivate the inaccessible mountain slopes. Olive groves, orchards and vineyards stretch out across the terraces, forming a charming backdrop. Bold cuisine, combining land and sea Manarola's agricultural and seafaring soul is expressed through simple but extraordinary cuisine, where land and sea combine to create fantastic flavours, enhanced by excellent wines. Despite being a small village, it has become a mecca for lovers of good food, thanks to the wealth and quality of its restaurants. The local extra virgin olive oil is superb: delicious on bruschetta or accompanying grilled fish and vegetables, perfectly paired with the Cinque Terre DOC white wines. Ligurian focaccia is recognised as among the best on the coast. You will find countless fantastic restaurants, so take your pick! You can dine in a hillside restaurant, sat among the lemon trees as you admire the scenery from up high, or you can book a table in the village, at one of the delightful stone restaurants among the alleyways or overlooking the sea, towards the harbour. Anchovies, octopus and squid are among the most common seafood delicacies, best preceded by pesto and tomato bruschetta, also a delectable aperitif. Vegetables and herbs fill the Torta Salata Pasqualina Italian Easter pie, and we highly recommend tucking in to some stuffed and fried courgette flowers! A touch of class comes with dessert, accompanied by a glass of well-chilled Sciacchetrà: an age-old precious passito wine from grapes cultivated among terraced vineyards, listed among the Slow Food Presidia. 5 tips for travellers We recommend travelling to Manarola by train and then walking from then on. The Cinque Terre National Park has a complicated road system and there are no large car parks. In the village, make sure to take part in wine tastings and cooking classes: this unique experience will not only be a delight for your taste buds, but also rich in culture. The Cinque Terre Card gives you access to various services, including guided tours among the vineyards of the Manarola Foundation. Be sure to head to the pier where the boats for the Cinque Terre depart. From Manarola, you can explore an enchanting stretch of coastline by sea, taking in all the details of the rugged coastline, including cliffs, caves and coves.
Italy

Discover Italy

Aosta Valley Piedmont Lombardy Trentino South Tyrol Veneto Friuli-Venezia Giulia Liguria Emilia-Romagna Tuscany Umbria Marche Sardinia Lazio Abruzzo Campania Molise Apulia Basilicata Calabria Sicily
AO Castello di Ch�tel Argent gressoney-saint-jean Castello savoia AO Lago Blu Courmayeur - Pavillon du Mont Frety
Aosta Valley

The Aosta Valley is a paradise for visitors seeking outdoor experiences in nature while exploring history and traditions The smallest region in Italy, dotted with the highest peaks in the Alps, it is the ideal destination for anyone who enjoys winter sports and high-altitude walks. Its green valleys and fairy-tale castles make the Aosta Valley an enchanting place to experience all year round.

Discover
Piedmont Torino Basilica di Superga Isola Bella
Piedmont

Piedmont is sure to enchant you with its mountains, hills, typical flavours and uniquely elegant cities An extraordinary heritage of art and history, culture and nature, characterises Piedmont, a region with a thousand faces, one more interesting than the other: cities of rare elegance, mountains that lend themselves to splendid skiing or walking, fascinating villages, hills that are among the best known in the world for their extraordinary wine production.

Discover