On his first visit to this scenic country Mark Twain said, “The Creator made Italy from designs by Michelangelo.” Aptly nicknamed “Bel Paese” or beautiful country, Italy is the fifth most popular tourist destination in the world. It is equally well-known for its masterpieces in art and architecture, as for its natural wonders. The boot-shaped archipelago prizes its many coastal delights.
Italian tourist attractions were closed while the COVID-19 preventive measures were in place. As of early June these destinations were reopened to European tourists. Soon they will be accessible again to visitors from around the world. Here are short descriptions of some of the spots that are simply too good to miss.
This small coastal town in the province of La Spezia measures merely 12 sq km. Vernazza is one of the most beautiful locales in Italy. It also holds historic importance. The region served as a strategic base in the defence against Saracen pirates. Several watch towers overlook the surrounding sea and land. One of the most frequented tourist spots is the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antochia. Vernazza has three well-known beaches. First of these is Monterroso beach which marks the path to the “old town”. Another one of the beaches is located near the harbor, and is a place to enjoy the quiet waves. The third beach is part of a less frequented area surrounded by cliffs.
This is the capital of the Liguria region. Genoa is the birth place of Christopher Columbus. One of its most popular spots is the Palaces of Via Garibaldi. This was home to families of nobles during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another notable destination is the Acquario di Genova, one of the largest aquariums in Italy. It hosts 400 different species, and is an ideal spot to visit with children. Another jewel of Genoa is the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, which holds many prized ancient artefacts.
This destination hosts concerts and festivals so frequently that it has come to be known as the City of Music. Visitors to Ravello also take the time to marvel at the gardens and mansion of Villa Rufolo, a residency of the affluent on the Amalfa coast. The Oscar Neimeyer Auditorium hosts a variety of cultural events and exhibitions. Even without the events the auditorium is admired as a marvel of abstract architecture. The Piazza del Duomo is another place worth a visit. The many restaurants and cafés scattered around the piazza offer refreshing treats to weary tourists.
The heel of Italy’s boot is best known for its diversity of valleys and residential landscapes. Castel del Monte is an eight-sided castle constructed by Federico II. It is a most sought-after viewpoint to gaze upon the Valley of Murgia, as well as the Adriatic Sea. The antique town of Monopoli is a place of significant geographic anomalies. Here lie the Grotte di Castellana, ancient caves more than 90 million years old. “The Florence of the South,” better known as Lecce, is an iconic city and a haven for vegetarians. This region is rich in historic sites such as the Roman Amphitheater.
Measuring 24,090 sq km this is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The attractions of Sardinia include a profusion of white sand beaches and hill tops. Many ancient structures on the island are now protected as UNESCO world heritage sites. Some of these date back to 1500 BC. By contrast the port area of Costa Smeralda offers glimpses of luxury yachts, and a chance to stay at one of the many luxury resorts. The port was built in the 1960s and is still operational today.
Not least of Italy’s attractions are its people. The country is home to a vibrant collection of international cultures. Millions of migrants live and work in Italy, particularly in tourism and hospitality. Many of them send money to their families using the Ria Money Transfer App. Italy remains high on the list of millions of international travelers in 2020.
About the author:
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.