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Explore the huge artistic and cultural heritage of Italy discovering its treasures. visit extraordinary churches, museums, and art galleries. From Renaissance masters to contemporary artists, some of the most beautiful art in the world can be seen in museums in Italy. Enjoy a getaway or holiday in the Made in Italy culture.  

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Nature

Campi Flegrei

Discovering the Campi Flegrei, between myth and well-being Between the municipalities of Pozzuoli, Bacoli, Monte di Procida, the islands of Ischia, Procida and Vivara lies the vast volcanic area of the Campi Flegrei, technically an ancient caldera , or dormant supervolcano, one of the few on the earth's surface. Here, it is possible to see several small craters, some of which are characterised by solfataras, effusive gaseous manifestations, others by hydrothermal phenomena. The Campi Flegrei in mythology Such an evocative place could not fail to fuel myths. The Greek colonists, for example, believed that this land was the tomb of some giants defeated by Hercules on behalf of Zeus. According to legend, the giants wanted to usurp the king of the gods, and were punished for their recklessness. It is precisely from this that the name Phlegraean derives: it goes back, in fact, to the Greek word flego, meaning ardo. In the myth, it was the wounds of the giants that burned: provoked by the divine thunderbolt, they produced fire and water. Even Virgil, in theAeneid, mentions the Phlegraean area as the burial place of these mythological characters. It is no coincidence that Aeneas begins his descent into the underworld from Lake Avernus, located precisely in the Campi Flegrei. The myth should not be underestimated: beyond the fanciful interpretations, it offers a vivid picture of volcanic activity at the time. Cumae, the first Greek colony in Italy The geophysical characteristics of the Phlegraean Fields make the area particularly fertile, and thanks also to the mild climate, the ancient Greeks had already built some of their cities there: the most famous was Cumae, the first Hellenic colony in Magna Graecia. Today in Cumae you can visit the Acropolis, which includes the Sybil's Cavern at the base of the hill, while going up towards the fortress there are the Byzantine Tower with the Belvedere, the Temple of Apollo and the Temple of Jupiter also known as the Lower Terrace and the Upper Terrace. Converted into churches in the Middle Ages, the two temples retain traces of both their origins and their later use. The Campi Flegrei thermal tradition It was not, however, only myth that fuelled the fame of the Campi Flegrei. Due to the volcanic activity, this area was chosen by the ancient Romans as their favourite spa area. While in Rome, in fact, it was necessary to wait for the baths' rooms and water to heat up thanks to an underground system of fireplaces, in Cumae and its surroundings there were no such procedures: this is why many decided to have their patrician villas built here, to relax and enjoy the beauty of the place. Baia, the sunken city The most famous was the Pausilypon, erected by the freedman Publius Vedius Pollonius, who left it to Augustus upon his death. Does this remind you of anything? Yes, the Promontorio di Posillipo owes its name to this very dwelling. Epicentre of wealth, Baia, frequented by Julius Caesar and Nero, Pompey and Hadrian; an irresistible pole of attraction. Much of what we know today about this ancient city we owe to Pliny the Elder, commander of the Roman imperial fleet in nearby Misenum. The boiling water gushed from underground along with its vapours, and both were exploited in saunas carved into the rock. A perfect place to spend idle hours; only with the decline of the Empire did this come to an end. Today, the ancient Bay no longer exists. It is a completely submerged area due to the bradyseism, a volcanic phenomenon that led to the sinking of the coastline. Also called The Sunken Pompeii, because it is very similar urbanistically, ancient Baia falls within a protected marine area. Much of what characterised it can be seen at the Campi Flegrei Archaeological Museum at the Aragonese Castle. Don't miss it if you want to get an idea of what this wonderful location, beloved of Roman patricians, might have beenlike.
Nature
Lipari - Isole Eolie, Sicilia

Lipari

Lipari the sweet, the most placid of the Aeolian Islands At 37 square kilometres, Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands, a World Heritage Site for anyone who has passed through here and, since 2000, for UNESCO as well. The administrative and economic centre of the entire Sicilian archipelago, it is the least “volcanic” of its 7 islands, as evidenced by the weak hydrothermal and fumarole activity in its western part. Take note, however, it is the one that best harmonises the wild Aeolian charm with the convenience of connections and services. The evening nightlife and the flow authenticity of the quarters The urban area stretches between the bars and restaurants overlooking the beautiful Piazza di Sant'Onofrio, also known as Marina Corta, and Via Francesco Crispi, known as Marina Lunga: in between, from May to October, the local nightlife and movida is focused in the evenings. The rest of the island is well-connected to the centre by a network of paved roads, but if you really want to get into its flow of scents, sounds and sights and savour some of that placid sweetness alluded to by its Greek name, Meligunis, we recommend that you go around Lipari by bike or walk around the island, loitering among the dry stone walls of its districts: Canneto, Acquacalda, Quattropani. Like on a film set As well as beach life, if you are planning to delve into the culture and history of Lipari, the advice is to visit sights and monuments by sunset, when the air is cooler and the streets come alive. A must-see is the Chiostro de normanni, part of the first Benedictine monastery built in Sicily at the behest of King Roger II, so well preserved and evocative that you will feel as if you are on the set of a costume film. Equally scenic is the imposing structure of the castle, a veritable acropolis, which stands on a promontory inhabited since the Neolithic period. The city walls ideally enclose the historic centre: in the fortified citadel, an archaeologist's paradise, every nook and cranny in which you stand tells a page of history: it will be like retracing the long list of dominations that have taken place here, leaving an indelible imprint. To explore further, venture through the fifty rooms of the Regional Archaeological Museum, one of the most prestigious in the Mediterranean. Bartholomew's thumb On the other hand, if you are a fan of relics, make a stop inside the Castle at the Cathedral, dedicated to St Bartholomew, the patron saint of the entire archipelago: the church still houses the saint's “sacred thumb”, the only fragment that mysteriously escaped the 833 abduction of the apostle's body by the Beneventois. Now the finger “rests” in a silver reliquary in the shape of a blessing arm, displayed during festivities in honour of the saint. Belvedere hunting For collectors of views, we recommend feasting your eyes on Lipari's most scenic spots, starting from the Acropolis promontory. Worth a souvenir photo, and perhaps even a romantic selfie between sky and sea, the horizon contemplated from Belvedere Quattrocchi, against the backdrop of the Pietra Lunga and Pietra Menalda stacks. Instead, the view from the church of Madonna della Catena in the hamlet of Quattropani, a small, white-plastered Doric-style sanctuary overhanging the sea, is reminiscent of the Cyclades. Finally, the so-called “Semaforo”, the geophysical observatory housed inside a disused Royal Navy traffic light, is worth a hike, from which you will feel as if you are touching both the stacks and the island of Vulcano with your finger. In the mood for trekking... or rather scekking On the other hand, if you pursue the wild soul of the island, one of the most interesting trekking trails is the rather demanding one that leads from the kaolin quarries to the San Calogero thermal baths, along the sulphur fumaroles, a geo-mineral park, up to the 19th-century thermal baths converted into a museum, built on one of the oldest known thermal springs: next to its pools, dating from the Hellenistic period, is a funeral monument of Mycenaean origin. But the most typical experience you can have along these paths is that of scekking, or trekking on the back of a donkey, scecco in Sicilian, proposed by the environmental guides of Lipari: an original way of redeveloping the island's former tenants for tourism, now promoted as guides for slow itineraries, divided into appetising stages where local products can be tasted. Beaches: to each his own stone White and sandy or volcanic and rocky: the coasts and beaches of Lipari satisfy the needs of every bather. You just have to decide which stone to lie on. The entire north-eastern coastline is covered with the dazzling white sand from the pumice and obsidian quarries that descend to the sea: from White Beach, reached by a steep flight of majolica steps, to White Beach, the most fashionable and exclusive establishment, which can only be reached by sea. If you prefer empty and secluded shores, head to the beaches at Pietraliscia or Porticello, or to the Secca della Forbice, in the Cappero area, much loved by the locals.
Art & Culture

Albano Laziale

Albano Laziale, an unexpected pearl of the Castelli Romani Albano Laziale was constructed on the remains of a Roman imperial villa commissioned by Domitian and built around an army camp. The convenient connection to Rome, thanks to the Via Appia, makes the town easily accessible. The beauty of the landscape makes it worth a trip. In addition, Albano preserves extraordinary vestiges of its past. Roman vestiges in Albano Laziale There is no historic building in Albano Laziale that does not have its roots in the civilisation of the ancient Romans. The Porta Praetoria was the entrance to the camp of the Roman legion: incorporated into other buildings, it re-appeared after the bombings of the Second World War in 1944. The 6th-century Church of St Peter was built on the remains of a large hall of the Cellomaio thermal baths, and the building houses several Roman remains such as the marble fragments in the portal and Romanesque bell tower, and the Roman sarcophagus used as an altar. Fragments of the mosaic floor of the baths can be seen in the sacristy. Leaving the church, on the right, you can see the remains of the thermal baths, which have survived to the present day in a well-preserved condition. The baths house the Second Parthian Legion Museum, which, with the tools of experimental archaeology, reconstructs the equipment of the legionnaires and documents their daily life. The most extraordinary legacy of the ancient Romans in Albano is the so-called Cisternone, built in the highest part of the town; it's a huge cistern, partly excavated in the rock, where the water distributed to the camp was channelled. It still functions today, and is used for irrigation purposes. Also worth seeing is the Severian amphitheatre, which is elliptical in shape, and could seat up to 16,000 spectators, with the tiers of seats partly dug out of the rock and partly built of masonry. The Catacombs of San Senatore preserve frescoes from the Middle Ages. To visit most of the archaeological sites, visitors must go to the Albano Roman Civic Museum, housed in the 19th-century Villa Ferrajoli. The Romanesque church of Santa Maria della Rotonda was also erected on the nymphaeum of Domitian's imperial villa: with a round layout, it has the same proportions as the Pantheon in Rome. Also worth a visit is the cathedral of San Pancrazio, which dates back to the time of Constantine, but which has been redesigned in Baroque style. Lake Albano Lake Albano is of volcanic origin and has an unusual elliptical shape, which can be explained by the complex history of its formation, due to various eruptive occurrences. The lake has an artificial outlet, the work of the ancient Romans. Note the remains of the Villaggio delle Macine (Millstone Village), which dates back to the Bronze Age, a millennium and a half before Christ; it is a rare example of a village on stilts. Today it can be visited along the beautiful path through the woods. It is 11 kilometres along the entire circumnavigation of the lake, all on level ground, which can be covered on foot or by mountain bike. On the lake, you can enjoy water sports (canoeing) and pedalo rides, and then enjoy refreshments in the many restaurants on its shores. If you are fascinated by the lake, take the Via dei Laghi (state road 217), which deviates from the Via Appia Antica at Ciampino to reach Velletri, skirting Lake Albano on the Marino side and the nearby Lake Nemi.