With so many places of interest in Italy we have split Italy into regions to make it easier to navigate. Below are a few of our Favourite places to visit in Italy.
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, Pompeii was destroyed and completely buried during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning two days in 79 AD. The eruption buried Pompeii under 4 to 6 meters of ash and pumice, and it was lost for over 1700 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1749. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy. The name “Pompeii” in Latin is a second declension plural (Pompeiī, -ōrum). According to Theodor Kraus, “The root of the word Pompeii would appear to be the Oscan word for the number five, pompe, which suggests that either the community consisted of five hamlets or, perhaps, it was settled by a family group (gens Pompeia). The ruins of Pompeii is situated near the modern suburban town of Pompei (nowadays written with one “i”). It stands on a spur formed by a lava flow to the north of the mouth of the Sarno River (known in ancient times as the Sarnus). Today it is some distance inland, but in ancient times it would have been nearer to the coast. Pompeii is about 8 km (5 miles) away from Mount Vesuvius. It covered a total of 163 acres, and would have been in the region of Campania. Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano on the Bay of Naples, Italy, about 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is the only volcano on the Europeanmainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, although it is not currently erupting. The two other major active volcanoes in Italy, Etna and Stromboli, are located on islands.
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Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still plagues the island with black ash with its ever current eruptions. It currently stands 3,329 metres (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m (69 ft) lower at now than it was in 1981. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 (459 sq mi) with a basal circumference of 140 km (87 mi). This makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. In Greek Mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under this mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky, and Mount Etna is widely regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily.
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Siena ( in English also spelled Sienna ) is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena. The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation’s most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice yearly. Siena’s cathedral (Duomo), begun in the 12th century, is one of the great examples of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. It is unusual for a cathedral in that its axis runs north-south. This is because it was originally intended to be the largest cathedral in the world. The shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, the town square, which houses the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, is another architectural treasure, and is famous for hosting the Palio horse race. The Palazzo Pubblico, itself a great work of architecture, houses yet another important art museum. Included within the museum is Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s series of frescos on the good government and the results of good and bad government and also some of the finest frescoes of Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti. On the Piazza Salimbeni is the Palazzo Salimbeni, a notable building and also the medieval headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of the oldest banks in continuous existence and a major player in the Sienese economy. Housed in the notable Gothic Palazzo Chigi on Via di Città is the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena’s conservatory of music.
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Tuscany (Italian: Toscana) is a region in Central Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres (8,900 sq mi) and a population of about 3.7 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence.
Tuscany is known for its beautiful landscapes, its rich artistic legacy and vast influence on high culture. Tuscany is widely regarded as the true birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and has been home to some of the most influential people in the history of arts and science, such as Petrarch, Dante, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Amerigo Vespucci, Luca Pacioli and Puccini. Due to this, the region has several museums (such as the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace and the Chianciano Museum of Art). Tuscany has a unique culinary tradition, and is famous for its wines (most famous of which are Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino).
Six Tuscan localities have been designated World Heritage Sites: the historic centre of Florence (1982), the historical centre of Siena (1995), the square of the Cathedral of Pisa (1987), the historical centre of San Gimignano (1990), the historical centre of Pienza (1996) and the Val d’Orcia (2004). Furthermore, Tuscany has over 120 protected nature reserves. This makes Tuscany and its capital city Florence very popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of tourists every year.
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Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 23,821 km². The coasts of Sardinia (1,849 km long) are generally high and rocky, with long, relatively straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, rias, many inlets and with various smaller islands off the coast. The island has an ancient geoformation and, unlike Sicily and the mainland of Italy, is not earthquake-prone. The highest peak is Punta La Marmora (1,834 m), part of the Gennargentu Ranges in the centre of the island. Other mountain chains are Monte Limbara (1,362 m) in the northeast, the Chain of Marghine and Goceano (1,259 m) running crosswise for 40 km (24.85 mi) towards the north, the Monte Albo (1057 metres), the Sette Fratelli Range in the southeast, and the Sulcis Mountains and the Monte Linas (1236 metres) in the southwest. The island’s ranges and plateaux are separated by wide alluvial valleys and flatlands, the main ones being the Campidano in the southwest between Oristanoand Cagliari and the Nurra in the northwest. Sardinia has few major rivers, the largest being the Tirso, 151 km (93.83 mi) long, which flows into the Sea of Sardinia, the Coghinas (115 km) and the Flumendosa (127 km). There are 54 artificial lakes and dams which supply water and electricity. The main ones are Lake Omodeo and Lake Coghinas. The only natural freshwater lake is Lago di Baratz. A number of large, shallow, salt-water lagoons and pools are located along the 1,850 km (1,149.54 mi) of the coastline. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate. During the year there are approximately 300 days of sunshine, with a major concentration of rainfall in the winter and autumn, some heavy showers in the spring and snowfalls in the highlands. The average temperature is between 11 to 17 °C (52 to 63 °F).The Mistral from the northwest is the dominant wind on and off throughout the year, though it is most prevalent in winter and spring. It can blow quite strongly, but it is usually dry and cool and makes for a sailor’s paradise.
Assisi is a town and comune of Italy in the province of Perugia in the Umbria region, on the western flank of Monte Subasio.
It was the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, and St. Clare (Chiara d’Offreducci), the founder of the Poor Sisters, which later became the Order of Poor Clares after her death. The 19th-century Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was also born in Assisi. The Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi (St. Francis) is a World Heritage Site. The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church (Basilica inferiore e superiore) of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253. The lower church has frescos by renowned late-medieval artists Cimabue and Giotto; in the upper church are frescos of scenes in the life of St. Francis previously ascribed to Giotto and now thought to be by artists of the circle of Pietro Cavallini of Rome. The Basilica was badly damaged by an earthquake of 26 September 1997 – during which part of the vault collapsed, killing four people inside the church and carrying with it a fresco by Cimabue.
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Padua (Italian: Padova) is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua’s population is 212,500 (as of 2008). The city is sometimes included, with Venice (ItalianVenezia) and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having a population of c. 1,600,000. Padua stands on the Bacchiglione River, 40 km west of Venice and 29 km southeast of Vicenza. The Brenta River, which once ran through the city, still touches the northern districts. Its agricultural setting is the Pianura Veneta. To the city’s south west lies the Euganaean Hills, praised by Lucan and Martial, Petrarch, Ugo Foscolo, and Shelley. It hosts the renowned University of Padua, almost 800 years old and famous, among other things, for having had Galileo Galilei among its lecturers. The city is picturesque, with a dense network of arcaded streets opening into large communal piazze, and many bridges crossing the various branches of the Bacchiglione, which once surrounded the ancient walls like a moat. Padua is the setting for most of the action in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
Padua claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy. According to a tradition dated at least to Virgil’s Aeneid, and rediscovered by the medieval commune, it was founded in 1183 BC by the Trojan prince Antenor, who was supposed to have led the people of Eneti or Veneti from Paphlagonia to Italy. The city exhumed a large stone sarcophagus in the year 1274 and declared these to represent Antenor’s relics. Patavium, as Padua was known by the Romans, was inhabited by (Adriatic) Veneti. They were reputed for their excellent breed of horses and the wool of their sheep. Its men fought for the Romans at Cannae. The city was a Romanmunicipium since 45 BC (os 43. It became so powerful that it was reportedly able to raise two hundred thousand fighting men. Abano, which is nearby, is the birthplace of the reputed historian Livy. Padua was also the birthplace of Valerius Flaccus, Asconius Pedianus and Thrasea Paetus. The area is said to have been Christianized by Saint Prosdocimus. He is venerated as the first bishop of the city.
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In Puglia in Southern Italy there is the second most visited shrine in the world, the shrine of Padre Pio. Over 7 million pilgrims make their way every year to pay homage and to pray at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (Our Lady of Grace), built in the 1950’s to accomodate those that were travelling to see Padre Pio. Padre Pio died in 1968 and was canonized a saint on june 16th 2002 by Pope John Paul II. Many of the pilgrims walk the many thousands of miles of pilgrim walks throughout Europe every year and it is said that they mostly end at ‘Camino de Santiago de Compastela’ in Spain. (Click to view) Another pilgrim destination is Lourdes in France. (Click to view)
A short summary of Padre Pio.Francesco Forgione was born May 25th 1887 in Pietrelcino, Italy, he entered the friary in 1903 and one year later received the Capuchin habit, at this which time he took the name ‘Pio’. He became a priest and in 1916 went to San Giovanni Rotondo where he remained for the remainder of his days.His great love of Christ and the virgin Mary made him greatly admired, news of his holiness and reports of miraculous healing spread quickly and people started to travel just to see him and to ask him to pray for them. Padre Pio’s most spiritual famous gift was the ‘stigmata'(the wounds of Christ). His devotion to others, especially those in need of help, is seen in the hospital that he had built in San Giovanni Rotondo. He started the plans in 1940 and it was opened in 1956, it is said to be one of the most efficient hospitals in Europe. The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie remains central to the sanctuary to this day. Padre Pio died september 23 1968 and his body was placed on display in the crypt in 2008 to mark the 40th anniversary of his death. At the shrine there is also a way of the cross on the hillside above ‘Santa Marie delle Grazie’
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Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southeast of Rome, Italy, c. 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the town of Cassino (the Roman Casinum having been on the hill) and 520 m (1,706.04 ft) altitude. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. It was the site of Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944. The site has been visited many times by the Popes and other senior clergy, including a visit by Pope Benedict XVI in May 2009. The monastery is one of the few remaining territorial abbeys within the Catholic Church. Pannonhalma Archabbey in Hungary is the second largest territorial (ie., approx. sovereign) abbey in the world, after the one in Monte Cassino“Click” for more information on Monte Cassino “Click” for Places of Interest and Attractions in Lazio