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Vademecum of the FAI Spring Days 2023

Appointment with the FAI Spring Days 2023: let's explore the beauties of the Italian Environment Fund outside the usual destinations

Two days and 4 regions in southern Italy: the hidden treasures to be discovered thanks to the most famous and important event dedicated to Italy's cultural heritage and landscape.

4 minutes

Villages, villas, palaces, churches, castles, museums and libraries open their doors to reveal themselves like never before. March marks the return of the FAI Spring Days, the most famous and important annual event dedicated to Italy's cultural heritage and landscape. On the weekend of 25 and 26 March 2023, the FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano will open more than 750 usually inaccessible or little-known natural and artistic treasures in over 400 locations for visits.

Use this incredible opportunity to organise your out-of-town trips to new destinations. Ancient and fascinating palaces await you in Matera, in Calabria you enter magnificent temples of spirituality, in Apulia stroll through a historic garden: FAI guides are ready to unveil unique stories and hidden details linked to each site.
Here is where to go for the FAI Spring Days, the perfect opportunity to discover the hidden beauties of the most beautiful country in the world.

FAI days in Apulia are to be spent among enchanting buildings and open-air walks

View of the town of Locorotondo in Puglia

Bari's former Nautical Institute with atmospheric classrooms

It is 3000 square metres that provide an insight into the culture of Puglia's capital city. In fact, the Istituto Nautico Caracciolo was founded in 1856 - only to be closed in 1999 - and was one of Italy's oldest places of vocational training. The first impression is provided by the imposing 19th-century stone façade, inside one wanders through corridors and huge classrooms, along the three floors of the building. On the terrace, the surprise of an iron wind marker depicting the outline of an aeroplane, once used by pupils to study the direction of the winds.

Nature walk in Locorotondo, in the Masseria Ferragnano Garden

The Masseria Ferragnano garden, which dates back to 1811, is the artwork of Giuseppe Campanella, a famous architect of the time. Its overall view is spectacular, with a circular fountain in the centre and the perfect symmetry of the 8 flowerbeds bordered by boxwood hedges. One walks along the paths encountering two rare cedars, while the scent of roses, lavender and Mediterranean essences accompany the visit. Pavilions, statues and inscriptions embellish the place. To take beautiful souvenir photos, stand on the double staircase that provides access to the Masseria's park: an authentic belvedere. 

FAI's places in Basilicata: lesser known but even more beautiful to discover

The village of Pietrapertosa in the Dolomites

Palazzo De Miccolis-Zagarella-Motta and Palazzo Lanfranchi, Matera's historical centre jewels

The Palazzo De Miccolis-Zagarella-Motta is one of the almost endless wonders in the historic centre of Matera, the extraordinary City of the Sassi. This is a former aristocratic residence that over the centuries has seen various changes of ownership and subsequent restoration. Inhabited until recently, it still looks splendid, with rooms with ancient furnishings, frescoed ceilings and precious stuccoes.

At Palazzo Lanfranchi instead, one has the experience of entering, literally, into the stones. The visit allows you to explore the underground areas carved into the rock; once cellars and storerooms of the building that was built in the 17th century to house a seminary. After 37 high steps you reach the bowels of the tufa that characterises Matera, a secret place open only on FAI Spring Days 2023, while the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art inside the palace can always be visited.

The Norman-Swabian Castle in the village of Pietrapertosa, an impressive lookout over a spectacular landscape

At the summit of the village of Pietrapertosa, in the province of Potenza, discover the Norman-Swabian Castle, a monumental building that originated as a Saracen fortress in the 11th century, then became a Norman and later a Swabian residence. Up there, the view opens out over the Basento valley, as you marvel at the castle's majestic walls, towers and terraces, all the way down to the truly fascinating underground rooms.

The secret monastery of the Church of Santa Chiara, a special FAI event in Calabria

View of the coast of Tropea in Calabria

The extraordinary opening as part of the FAI Spring Days involves the Monastery of Santa Chiara Church, an important artistic asset in Crotone with its paintings, organ and cloister. The access to this secret place is from the garden and the visit takes in the rooms of the convent, historically belonging to the Clarisse order and still inhabited by the nuns. In an atmosphere frozen in time, you pass through the rooms used for services and liturgical chanting, then up to the tower, a unique vantage point over the old town, and finally into the parlour.

Molise Directorate, in the presence of the Monumental Complex of San Giorgio Martire

Historic centre of Petrella Tifernina in Molise

A Byzantine, a Lombard and a Romanesque temple form a rare monumental complex. In the village of Petrella Tifernina, in the province of Campobasso, is the 12th-century temple, considered one of the best examples of Molise Romanesque architecture, while the church has undergone numerous reconstructions.

FAI guides will bring your attention to the details: the portal with its lunettes decorated with human figures, animals and flowers, then the depictions of medieval monsters on the capitals and the "swallow-tail" crosses. The decorations are very impressive and deserve a special visit.

Bookings for FAI Days 2023

A girl consulting her smartphone in Italy

To book a place and experience truly exceptional days, you can make reservations on the official website.

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