Ancona

Ancona


The busy administrative capital of the Marche region and the largest city in the region may not seem like an obvious tourist centre. Give it time, though, and you may acquire a taste for the salt and spice of this restless seaport.
This thriving and elegant centre boasts a sophisticated old centre and lively cultural life that should not be missed. Its most striking feature greets you as you arrive - a belt of massive 14thC walls, built on Roman foundations, strengthened with buttresses and towers, and topped by houses. The main streets of the walled historic centre run along a narrow ridge and there is much to tempt you to explore. Start in Piazza Federico II which lies at the north-eastern end of the town where the Roman forum of Aesis once lay. Its name recalls the birth here of the fabled Medieval Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick II in a tent on 26 December 1194. Frederick, known as Stupor Mundi for his stirring deeds, endeared himself even more to the city when he later called it his special city, its very name seeming to recall that of Jesus. The 18thC face of the Duomo, the robust caryatids on the palace to the left of the church and the obelisk in the centre give the square a late Baroque tone. A few steps down Via Pergolesi and you are in Piazza Colocci and in front of Jesi's most handsome building, Palazzo della Signoria. This text-book Renaissance palace was built at the end of the 15thC by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, the Sienese genius best known for his military architecture. The large rampant lion above the entrance is the symbol of the power the city once held. Carry on along Via Pergolesi to Piazza della Repubblica; Jesi's largest square is dominated by the town's 18thC theatre, Teatro Pergolesi, home to a prestigous autumn opera season and named after the composer Pergolesi who was born here in 1710. From here the long main Corso Matteotti runs straight as an arrow to end at an arch built in honour of Pope Clement XII in 1734. Stroll down the street in the early evening, seemingly with half the town's population, for a walk. On parallel to Via XV Settembre stands Jesi's most flamboyant building, Palazzo Pianetti. Apart from its hundred windows, the bland facade little prepares you for the over-the-top Rococo flourishes inside. The most extravagant part is the sugar-candy stucco work in the long galleria. The over-blown decoration alone is worth a visit. The civic art gallery makes it a compulsory visit as a small group of some of Lorenzo Lotto’s finest works is kept here: The Judgement of Santa Lucia, a Visitation, an Annunciation and a restless Deposition.

mont blanc

Aosta


Aosta, with its 36339 inhabitants, is the provincial capital of the Aosta Valley and is situated in a broad Alpine basin surrounded  by the peaks of Mount Emilius (3559 m), the Becca di Viou (2856 m) and the Becca di Nona (3142 m). The city itself lies in the most fertile  and abundant part of the Dora Baltea valley. It is also an important meeting point for the traffic of international commerce thanks to its central position with respect to the main routes that link Italy to France and Switzerland through Mont Blanc, Great and Small St. Bernard passes. As far back as 2900 BC, the city was the military centre of the ‘Salassi” population. When they were defeated by Roman troops during the empire of Augustus, the city became a military settlement, was named Augusta Praetoria (25 BC) and quickly grew in importance and prosperity. It was once called “Rome of the Alps” and suffered numerous invasions by the Burgundians, Ostrogothians, Byzantines and the Franks. In the X century it belonged to the King of Burgundy who handed it over to Umberto Biancamano in 1025.  The Aosta Vally has always enjoyed significant political independence, confirmed in 1948 by the introduction of a special statute.Aosta and its valley can be easily reached by motorway from Milan (180 km), from Turin (110 km), and from Genoa (230 km), as well as by trunk roads and by rail. The Mont Blanc and Great St. Bernard motorway tunnels also ensure easy connections all year round with France and Switzerland. During summer there is an option to take two scenic routes over the historical hills of the Great and Small St. Bernard which were famous in ancient times. The provincial airport  “Corrado Gex”, in Aosta, where a local company of air-taxis is already in operation ensures a regular passenger service.


Bari


The capital of Puglia, Bari, stands on the Adriatic coast, on the edge of the hollow of the same name. The city has maintained its ancient seafaring tradition over the centuries, becoming the leading trade centre in the southern Adriatic and Ionian areas, thanks partly to its busy port; this makes it an ideal bridge for traffic between Europe, the Middle and the Far East and favours the development of major economic events. 
The Basilica of San Nicola was built between 1087 and 1197. Its imposing façade is made up of spotless, white limestone blocks. The castle is a Swabian construction, and includes previous artefacts, erected by Frederick II between 1233 and 1240. It became the headquarters of the Sforza family in the 16th century. The new part of the city is the commercial and economic centre: its layout is typically XIX century, with long, straight roads intersecting like a chess-board. It lies to the south of the old city, from which it is separated by the wide thoroughfare of Vittorio Emanuele II where some of the city’s most interesting XIX century monuments are located: the Palazzo del Governo and, across the road, the Niccolo Piccinni Municipal Theatre. On another street, at right angles to Corso Vittorio Emanuele, you can see: the Margherita Theatre, in the Art Nouveau style; the exquisite Chamber of Commerce, an outstanding example of neoclassic architecture; and the great Petruzzelli Theatre, one of the most famous in Italy.
Sparano Street, parallel to Corso Cavour, is the city’s most prestigious shopping street and runs from Corso Vittorio Emanuele to Aldo Moro square, where the central station is situated. Before reaching the station, Sparano Street opens into the beautiful Umberto I square, which contains an equestrian statue of Umberto I and the great fountain built to mark the opening of the Apulian Aqueduct. The impressive structure of the Palazzo Ateneo is the centre of the university: it houses the archaeology Museum with its outstanding collection of classical vases, representative of the most important archaeological finds of the province. The railway separates the Murattiano quarter from the other quarters, which have devoured the surrounding countryside and are beginning to encroach on outlying towns. The greatest rock-basilica in the region, the church of S. Candida, can be found in the area surrounding Bari, on the banks of the river Picone. The old town has narrow streets containing some wonderful surprises, such as graceful churches and splendid squares of medieval and baroque origin. 


bologna

Bologna      


Bologna is the capital of the Emilia Romagna region, a town with 400.000 inhabitants, located at the boundary with the Padana Plain. It is considered by many to be one of the most attractive cities in Italy thanks to its unique character and charm. The beautiful city centre in Bologna is well preserved and maintained and is a credit to the city's policy of preservation. With unified architecture and marbled pavements, the city can be easily explored on foot. Fontana Nettuno, located in Piazza Maggiore is one of the symbols of Bologna. This beautiful fountain, dedicated to the sea god was built between 1564 and 1566. Near the fountain you can see the Palazzo del Comune (town hall) built in the 13th and 14th centuries and its bell tower (1444) with a magnificent carillon clock. Three important works of art are on the façade of the palace: the Madonna di Piazza by Nicolò dell'Arca, the statue of Pope Gregory XIII and an eagle attributed to Michelagelo. The treausures inside the building include the marvelous Museo Morandi.

Piazza Maggiore square is dominated by the Church of San Petronio which was originally meant to be a bigger construction than St Peters in Rome. Due to a lack of funds, the building remained unfinished, but the church was built over several centuries. The Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio instead is the seat of the “Biblioteca Comunale” with its 700,000 books, rare manuscripts and codexes. It is the most important public library in Italy. It was the first headquaters of the University of Bologna in the 16th century. The Towers  are considered to be the symbols of Bologna. The Torre degli Asinelli, which belonged to an important local family, was built at the beginning of the 12th century. The taller of the two towers reaches 98 meters. It is open to the public and has a total of 498 steps to be climbed. The Torre della Garisenda dates back to the 11th century. It was lowered around 1360 for fear it would collapse. Not far away is the Piazza della Mercanzia, famous for its outstanding Loggia dei Mercanti.


bolzano piazza Walther

Bolzano


Bolzano is located 265m above sea level along one of the most important routes running from the Mediterranean to the North Sea. It is surrounded on all sides by mountains. With a yearly average high temperature of 16.6° C and a yearly average low of 6° C and no fog, Bolzano has a very mild climate. In fact, a part of Bolzano, the formerly independent town of Gries was a health resort in the last century that was famous for its climate. Bolzano’s landscape ranges from the green of its parks and grapevines to the rocks of the Dolomites. Pink mountains fringed with snow form a backdrop with palms, olive trees, cedars, and magnolias all located on the slopes of the hills. It represents a meeting point between the fresh northern winds and the radiant Mediterranean sun.
There are over 300 hectares (740acres) of grapevines within the city limits, one seventh of the total area. In autumn, the aroma of freshly crushed grapes wafts through the city from its 27 wineries.

Bolzano is an elegant place where different people meet and exchange cultures, music, and performances. The central Piazza Walther was named after Walther von der Vogelweide, and there is also a street named after Dante and another for Goethe. The city includes a conservatory of music that carries the name of Monteverdi, a trilingual University, an Academy of Design and a bilingual Film School (Zelig). This is what makes Bolzano a unique capital of European atmosphere!


Cagliari


In the southern part of Sardinia, the province of Cagliari offers enchanting and unforgettable landscapes, revealing moments of bewitching magic and unexpected emotions. This is a land where Mother Nature offers herself with generosity, showing off places of stunning beauty. Mountain landscapes standing in enthralling solitude; gentle hills and fertile plains; grottos revealing fabulous and almost fairy-take-like atmospheres. Endless beaches with white or golden sand, isolated creeks and majestic rocks, enchanting sea beds and grandiose sandy dunes modeled by the wind make up the scenery of the province. In these rugged and harsh landscapes, the fauna has been preserved with countless species: the impenetrable forests offer protection for boars, and wild cats and are a safe refuge for the last specimens of Sardinian deers; the coastal lagoons, even when they are very close to where people live, are populated with many bird species, especially the magnificent pink flamingos, who live and nest there; the Giare, the rugged basaltic plateaux in the interior, are home to Europe’s last wild cavallini, Sardinian ponies. 


campobasso castello

Campobasso


Campobasso is the capital city of the Molise region in Italy. It is located in the high basin of the Biferno river, surrounded by the Sannio and Matese mountains. Campobasso is renowned for the craftmanship of blades (including scissors and knives), historically documented since the 14th century. It is also famous for the production of pears and scamorza (cheese).

The origins of Campobasso are still disputed but was most likely that the city was founded before the 8th century as a fortified camp by the Lombards, on the steep of the hill where a castle is located. The original name was Campus vassorum, meaning the city was in origin the headquaters of the vassals of the Duke of Spoleto. After the Norman conquest of Southern Italy, Campobasso lost its reputation as a defensive strongpoint and gained a role as trading and administration centre.
The main attraction of Campobasso is the Castello Monforte, built in 1450 by the local ruler Nicola II Monforte. The castle has Guelph merlons and lies on a commanding point, where traces of ancient settlements (including Samnite walls) have been found. The current construction is the result of later rebuildings after the earthquakes of 1456 and 1805. Next to the castle is the Chiesa della Madonna del Monte, erected in the 11th century and rebuilt in 1525.  It houses a precious wooden statue of the Incoronata from 1334. At the feet of the castle, the Church of St. George is probably the most ancient church of Campobasso, built around the year 1000 AD over the ruins of a Pagan temple. The bell tower is, exceptionally and qualitatively, an integral part of the church building. Inside, to the left of the presbytery, is the chapel of St George dating back to the 14th century. The right hand aisle houses the tomb of Delicata Civerra. From the church of S.Giorgio one can enjoy a wide panoramic view over the whole city.


catanzaro piazza matteotti

Catanzaro


Catanzaro stands in the middle of the narrowest part of Italy, perched on hills in a beautiful panoramic position. Its origins date from the end of the 9th century, after the Byzantine reconquest of Calabria. A fortified centre, it took in the coastal populations fleeing from Saracen forays and malaria. In 1059 it was reconquered by Robert Guiscard and became a Norman county and major town in an extensive feudal domain. During the middle ages it acquired fame for its silk, such that the masters of Catanzaro were called to France to instruct the weavers across the Alps. Charles V guaranteed numerous privileges to this art and in 1519 conceded the statues of the silk Guild to the town, preceding Florence by five years. The plague of 1668 decimated the population causing a crisis in this flourishing trade, which suffered a further blow with the disastrous earthquake of 1783. Under Bourbon rule, Catanzaro became the capital and administrational centre of Calabria. Once over the Morandi viaduct (1960) on the Fiumarella – one of the longest single-span bridge in Europe-and other entangled concrete links, you enter the old centre. Despite the numerous earthquakes that have destroyed most of the old buildings, the original medieval plan of the city is still clearly visible. Its main nucleus unwinds along Corso Mazzini, which starts immediately after Piazza Matteotti, recently redesigned radically changed its original traits. At the beginning of the street, on the right, is the Church of San Giovanni, dating from the 16th century and repeatedly altered, with a fine 17th-century doorway and a double spiral staircase. A little further on, in a narrow street, is the small deconsecrated church of Sant’ Omobono (12th century.), the city’s oldest monument, (a few ruins of the Norman Castle have survived). Visit also the Provincial Museum, exhibiting prehistorical material of varied origin and archeological finds dating from several periods.


firenze palazzo della signoria

Florence


The regional capital of Tuscany, Florence is one of the most significant capitals of the arts in Italy and in the world. The dominion of Florence and the Medici family coincided with the most influential art period of the entire millennium. Resting on the banks of the Arno River, Florence is blessed with a charming atmosphere that has never failed to delight its visitors.  At first erected as a Roman "castrum", Florence soon assumed the appearance of a real town with a Forum (now Piazza della Repubblica), thermal baths (via delle Terme), and amphitheatre (via Tòrta).
A period of decline arrived with the political fragmentation from which the feudal system sprang up. The town began
to expand until it spread over half of the Arno valley and surrounding hillsides. Despite internal struggles, first between rival families and then between the Guelfs (loyal to the Pope) and the Ghibellines (loyal to the Emperor), from the thirteenth century onwards it began to flourish as a city of art, culture and international trade, reaching its peak in the fifteenth century under the Signoria of Cosimo and Lorenzo de’ Medici.
Santa Maria del Fiore, the Gothic cathedral erected over the ancient basilica of Santa Reparata, was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio who began construction in 1296. Brunelleschi completed it in 1436 with the elegant dome, the inside of which was entirely frescoed by Vasari and Zuccari.
Palazzo Vecchio & Piazza della Signoria: Construction of the most important civil building in the city began in 1299. It was the headquaters of the Priori delle Arti, of the Signoria and the ducal residence.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the greatest museums in Italy and the world. It was founded in 1581 by Francesco I de' Medici, who collected numerous artworks in the building designed by Vasari. Today the Uffizi Gallery contains masterpieces by Italian and foreign artists from the 13th to 18th century such as Cimabue, Giotto, Masaccio, Beato Angelico, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Piero della Francesca, Raphael, Caravaggio, along with Rubens, Rembrandt, Dürer, Goya and many others.


Genova Boccadasse

Genoa


City of art and metropolis looking onto the sea, Genoa has grown up around the city's port - a natural cove that has always been the site of thriving traffic and commerce. Its ancient heart, Europe's biggest historic medieval centre is crisscrossed by a tight weave of alleys that capture the multicultural soul that has always characterised the city's history. Here, among workshops, eateries, and beautiful shops, you can find a glimpse of the noble past of Genoa, "La Superba", consisting of sixteenth-century villas, and prestigious churches giving onto small squares nestled between the buildings.
Some parts of Genoa are modern, thanks to restoration and great urban renewal projects conducted over the last decade. The city’s highlights include: The Aquarium, Via San Lorenzo, the Palazzo Ducale, and the splendid Via Garibaldi. The city's charm can also be found in the numerous villas surrounded by nineteenth-century parks, picturesque sea strolls, and museums.
The first town settlement came about in a territory which had seen the presence of man many centuries ago. In the first millennium BC there is evidence of the Ligurians. Genoa’s geographical position, by the sea, determined commercial relationships with the Phoenicians and Greeks. The conquest by the Romans further enhanced exchanges. The Middle Ages saw Genoa dominated by the Byzantines, the Longobards and the Franks.
From the XI century, Genoa became one of the great naval powers in the Mediterranean. Genoese markets penetrated as far as China and established commercial links with the powers of that area. The Republic of Genoa progressively extended its domain over Liguria and Corsica and in particular imposed itself as one of the main ports of the western Mediterranean.


l'Aquila 99 pipes

L' Aquila


L'Aquila is the capital town of Abruzzo and is located on the left bank of the Aterno River, at an elevation of 2,150 feet (655 meters), in a valley surrounded by the high mountains of the Appennines, the Gran Sasso and the Velino-Sirente, 93 km’s northeast of Rome. Due to its geographical position in the middle of high mountains the city has long, cold winters and abundant rainfall throughout the year, even if autumn is the wettest season. L'Aquila is the main historical and artistic centre of the region and is renowned for its University, Musical Conservatory, Arts Academy, Theatre and Concert Society, National Museum of Abruzzo and the ancient Salvatore Tommasi library. Formerly a centre for handicraft and agriculture, L'Aquila has nowadays become primarily an administrative centre for its large province and partly for the region (regional bodies are divided between L'Aquila and Pescara). The economy of the town is characterised by chemical, mechanical and farming industries, the production of wine, cereals, saffron and dairy products, traditional delicatessen and craftswork; the nearby mountains also offer facilities for winter sports and excursions. There are several churches and monuments of historic and artistic value, the heritage of its rich medieval past, such as: the Fountain of the Ninety-Nine Spouts (a symbol of the city), the massive 16th-century Spanish castle, which crowns the city's highest point, the Basilica of St. Bernardine, the greatest Renaissance church in Abruzzo. The Church of Santa Maria di Collemaggio is the most outstanding example of romanesque architecture, where Peter from Morrone was crowned Pope in 1294, leaving to the city the gift of the “perdonanza” (pardon), still celebrated nowadays every year on the 28th August.
L’Aquila has a captivating mountain setting and many stunning monuments, but it's rarely on the list of foreigners' must-sees. L'Aquila is a large city and its major monuments are too widespread to encompass them all in one walk. Abruzzo has practically as many castles as sheep, mainly due to its strategic location between the Tyrrhennian and Adriatic seas. The ancient Romans built myriad roads here, and after their empire fell, the network of highways and byways served as excellent inroads for foreign invaders, whose ranks included Lombards, Saracens, Hungarians, Normans, German Hohenstaufens, French Angevins and Spanish Aragonese.


Napoli

Naples


The city of Naples has a fantastic mix of art and natural beauty. It has a stunning bay where the sky and sea blend into one another in the same shade of blue. Mount Vesuvius rears up like a reassuring guardian and the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida shine like precious stones cast into the clear water with its priceless artistic heritage. Castel Nuovo, the Royal Palace which dominates the neoclassic Piazza del Plebiscito and the heart of the oldest historic core of the city which is crossed by the ancient street of Spaccanapoli where we find the churches of Gesu’ Nuovo, Santa Chiara, San Domenico Maggiore and the San Severo Chapel. The National Archeological Museum, the Cathdral, Capodimonte Museum and castel dell’Ovo are all well worth a visit.
The City stretches along the waterfront and throughout the city there are many squares, parks and gardens, but perhaps the most impressive are the Botanical Gardens, one of the largest botanical gardens in the whole of Italy, with an enormous collection of exotic plants from all over the world. The city is divided into districts and the main shopping area is around the Piazza dei Martiri, along Via Chiaia, Via Roma and pedestrian-only Via Calabritto. The Galleria Umberto at Via San Carlo is definitely worth visiting for its simply amazing architecture as well as for the many stores inside. This shopping centre in central Naples has a wide variety of retail outlets trading in the four glass-roofed arcades. The lively markets in Naples are also a great place to find a bargain, full of atmosphere and market banter. There are countless restaurants, cafés and bars in Naples, and many afford great views of the city and the Bay of Naples.
Each year in September, the city of Naples celebrates its most famous food - PIZZA. Visitors and locals have the chance to taste pizzas of various types and shapes. In addition you can watch pizza makers showing off their dough-throwing skills with live music, dance and various other spectacles all here to enliven the festivities. Pizza originated more than 300 years ago and is often thought of as “genuine Italian food” by non-Italians, however Pizza was not as well known (outside of Naples) up until the 1970s as it is now. Nowadays, pizza is famous throughout the world, even if it sometimes hardly resembles the authentic Neapolitan dish. In 2004, Italy drew up rules and conditions prescibing how a real Neapolitan pizza must be made.


Palermo cathedral

Palermo


Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicliy, a city that is over 2700 years old.
The city is noted for history, art, architecture and gastronomy.
A visit to Palermo can only start in the heart of the old city, where the Palaeopolis used to be. Here, over the ruins of a pre-existing Muslim palace, the Normans built their residence. The Royal Palace, or Norman Palace, overlooks the square today called Piazza della Vittoria, where the Villa Bonanno gardens were laid out in 1905. On the east side of the square we can see the remains of Palazzo Sclafani, which belonged to one of the most powerful families in 14th century Sicily. The Royal Palace, used to be characterized by four great comer-towers: la Pisana, la Joaria, la Greca and la Chirimbi. In the mid - 16th c. restructuring work began which partly transformed the building and gave it more or less its present appearance. Recent archaeological excavations have brought to light the remains of the Punic-Roman boundary walls.
The last open gallery in the Maqueda courtyard leads to the Salone d'Ercole (The Chamber of Hercules), which looks out over the Fountain Courtyard, and is now the Council Chamber of the Sicilian Regional Assembly. The frescoes in the Chamber, by Velasquez (Giuseppe Velasco), 1799, depict the Labours of Hercules. Next to the Viceroys' Room is a space, probably once part of the ancient Joaria tower, leading to Roger's Room. This is particularly interesting because of the splendid mosaic wall-decorations, possibly dating from Roger's time, representing hunting-scenes, animals and plants, recalling the figurative culture and mosaic art of the Muslim East. Leaving the Palace, we skirt Piazza della Vittoria and come to the 16th century.
Porta Nuova (situated at the beginning of Corso Vittorio Emanuele), an unforgettable monument with its imposing mass, majolica-tiled pinnacle and the enormous busts of the four Moors, represented as prisoners with mutilated arms. Beyond Porta Nuova are the ancient barracks of San Giacomo, built by the Spaniards between the 16th and 17th century.


Perugia Piazza IV Novembre

Perugia


Perugia: a unique city thanks to its rich artistic and cultural patrimony
Perugia was established in a favourable position overlooking the flourishing Tiber plain. Mentioned by the sources as a town of ancient origins, one of the first of the twelve lucumonies of the Etruscan people, in the 4th century B.C.  The present-day main roads follow the route of the ancient roads. There is proof of the existence of various temple buildings, both within the urban centre and outside the walls along important roads giving access to the town. With the extension of Roman citizenship to all Italics after the social war of 90-89 B.C., like many other urban centres in the Peninsula, Perugia too became a municipium and was integrated into the Roman state, renewing its image according to the model of Rome. During this time the area began to expand outside the city walls, even to areas that were formerly used for funerary purposes such as the thermal complex in the Conca district where there are remains in the shape of a black and white mosaic dating back to the beginning of the 2nd century A.D.
Perugia is famous for the Eurochocolate festival that in recent years become the most sought after Chocolate Festival amongst Italians, making Perugia the European capital of chocolate. For nine days – from the 15th to the 23rd of October, the Umbrian capital turns into a huge open-air pastry-shop for the delight of many chocolate lovers. The festival is organized in association with many other large scale events all concentrating on the "food of the gods", with exhibitions, workshops, internships, cooking classes, tasting, expositions, banquets, celebrations as well as the Eurochocolate Awards prize.
Other points of interest:
The Priors Palace, a superb expression of the city's municipal spirit and was built between the 13th and the 15th centuries. It stands on the square like an enormous bastion.
San Pietro, Sant'Angelo, San Costanzo and Sant'Ercolano: churches built duting the Christina era.
Assisi, home of St. Francis, known as the city of Peace and is a religious meeting place with visitors from all over the world. Assisi’s medieval aspect has remained intact and is characterised by its typical white and pink stone. Visitors to Assisi can perceive the intensity of the Franciscan spirituality and from the other great saints who have blessed this land.


Duomo Potenza

Potenza


Potenza was built as a consequence of the destruction of the close village of Serra di Vaglio, whose ruins are still visible today. Under Roman domination, it was first a prefecture, then an important municipality. During the 5th century the city suffered the violent trauma of the attacks of Alaric’s Goths and in the following century it became part of the Lombard Duchy of Benevento and later of the Principality of Salerno. In the 10th century, Potenza had to defend itself against the raiding Saracens who sailed up the Basento, while the arrival of the Normans in the middle of the 11th century brought a period of new political prestige, which continued with the first Swabian rule after 1186. In 1806 Potenza became a provincial seat and regional capital in the Napoleonic Basilicata.
A visit to the old town begins from Piazza Pagano where the Palace of the Government and Francesco Stabile theatre are located. The Church of San Francesco was built in 1274 in a style influenced by the Spanish artists visiting the Neapolitan court. Not far away is the Church of San Michele, 1th-12th centuryRomanesque-style church The Cathedral dedicated to San Gerardo, was erected in the 12th century and reconstructed in the late 18th century and the interior is a single aisle in the form of a Latin cross.
The Archaeological Museum is a symbol of the city’s troubled history: built at the end of the 19th century, damaged shortly afterwards by a fire and then by the bombings of 1943, rebuilt in 1962, it was a victim of the 1980 earthquake. The museum is of great importance for the history of Basilicata and it includes architectural decorations in terracotta, a number of ceramic objects decorated with black and red figures, a small votive temple and an alabaster statuette of Persephone dating from the 5th-6th century BC. 


Rome


Visitors arriving in Rome usually have a wealth of knowledge, images and stories regarding the city accumulated throughout the course of a lifetime. People are generally able to mention Rome’s most famous monuments and the protagonists of its history. This is perhaps the key to the charm of a city that seems to invite its visitors to feel part of its complex reality and its millennial history.
The founding of Rome is enveloped in myth. The first city centre was built in 753 B.C. on the Palatine hill, by Romulus after he had killed his twin brother Remus. Romulus was the first of the seven kings of Rome, who started off the basic characteristics of this city that would go on to make Rome powerful throughout the ancient world.
With the arrival of the Republic, Rome increased its expansion policy and after the Punic Wars, Carthage, Corsica and Sardinia were all annexed to the Republic. The end of the Republic determined the beginning of Silla’s dictatorship (82 B.C.) The dictator Caius Julius Caesar oversaw a period of heavy expansion overseas. He was assassinated in 44 B.C. The Emperor Octavius Augustus brought Rome to its “golden era”: a lengthy period of peace and stability, which was celebrated with monumental works of art. Many emperors ruled after him. Under Traianus, the empire enjoyed its period of maximum expansion reaching land that stretched from the Danube to the Nile.  The city became increasingly Christian, while the empire fell into a difficult period. The Pope became more and more powerful, building the grounds for the birth of the Holy Roman Empire (800 A.D.). The catholic church’s power continued to increase and Rome became the representation of this power on earth.
Architectural marvel of antiquity and symbol of the Eternal City throughout the world, the Flavian Amphitheatre, know as the Colosseum,  is the largest structure for entertainment, ever built by the Romans.
The Trevi Fountain is undoubtable the most majestic fountain in Rome, and the most famous throughout the world. It dominates a small square in the heart of Rome and entered everyone’s imagination thanks to the nighttime bathing scene with Anita Ekberg in the film "La Dolce Vita" by Fellini.
The Roman Forum was built in the 6th century B.C. on marshland that was drained by the creation of a sewer and drainage network. It rapidly became the centre of social and political life in Ancient Rome. New palaces, statues, temples and courts were added to the area century after century. From Via Salaria (parallel to Via dei Fori Imperiali) it is possible to enter this amazing archeological site, which is almost a city within a city.
The Vatican City has been an Independent sovereign state since 1929. It rises on the site where St. Peter was martyred and buried. The first Christian Emperor Constantine built a splendid basilica there in the 4th century BC that was later to be demolished and rebuilt over a period of almost 120 years (1506-1614). The greatest architects of the period, including Bramante, Michelangelo and Maderno, collaborated in the project of the new church, the largest in the world with its surface adding up to a total of 22,000 square meters. The Basilica of St. Peter’s offers one of the most impressive experiences of architectural space available anywhere.


Torino Mole

Turin


Turin is part of the most densely populated and economically active regions in Europe: a backbone that runs from London to Benelux, Germany and Switzerland. The city has played an important role for the history of Europe.
Discovering Turin means exploring twenty centuries of history. Walking along its streets is like visiting an open-air museum.
Palazzo Carignano, designed by Guarini, was home to the first Italian Parliament. Nowadays it houses the Museum of the Risorgimento. Also designed by Guarini in the Baroque Piazza Carignano is the Galleria Sabauda and the Egyptian Museum, which, founded in 1824, is the world's oldest and second most important.

Palazzo Madama, located in Piazza Castello, houses the Art Museum. Opposite is the church of San Lorenzo, and to the right the Royal Palace. Alongside the cathedral is the chapel of the Holy Shroud with the Dome by Guarini.
Following the new wing of the Royal Palace, one reaches the Palatine Gates, the entrance to Roman Turin. To the right are the Museum of Antiquity and the Royal Gardens. Going back towards Piazza Castello is the Royal Armoury, with one of the world's most important collections of weapons. Behind the State Archive and the Teatro Regio is the area of the Cavallerizza, and in the same direction one can admire the Mole Antonelliana, the symbol of the city.
Turin is a city of entertainment and has much to offer: an opera theatre, three auditoriums, twelve theatres, high quality concerts and live music are performed every evening of the year. The city has a large number of associations that help make the quality of musical life in Turin unique.Turin has five shopping centres, 16,000 shops, 60 open-air markets and over 12 kilometres of arcades. The city is one of the Italian capitals for quality shopping and here you can admire the Haute couture boutiques, jewellery shops under the arcades of Via Roma and the Subalpina and San Federico galleries, antiques shops and restoration workshops in Via Maria Vittoria, Via della Rocca and Via Principe Amedeo; bookshops, perfume and clothes shops in Via Garibaldi - the city's longest pedestrian street. The whole historic centre has plenty of small boutiques, wine bars, delicatessens, herb shops, bakeries, leather and silver workshops, bookbinders and tailors.


Piazza del Duomo Trento

Trento


Trento is a city of art and history and represents a crossroads for the contrasting cultures of Italy and northern Europe. Trento's rich artistic and historical heritage is found in its monuments, which reflect centuries of history written under the dual influences of northern and Italian cultures, still evident today in the variety of architectural styles. Ever since ancient times, thanks to its specific geographical position between the European continent and the Mediterranean, Trentino has represented an essential passage way, and a crossroads for a cultural exchange between different populations, a fact that is clearly evident in local traditions and history.   Among the many faces of Trento, one of the most striking is the alpine Renaissance city, which has been restored to its original splendor by recent restorations.
Places to visit include the Castello del Buonconsiglio (the castle which was home to the prince bishops of Trento for many centuries), the Duomo (cathedral) and its splendid square, the houses decorated with frescoes, the churches of the Council, the museums and exhibitions which today make Trento a city of art, culture and traditions beyond those of the Alps. The famous Torre Vanga and Torre Civica are located in the historic city centre. From piazza Duomo towards via Cavour, via Belenzani, piazza Pasi, via S. Vigilio the historic city centre reveals itself, part of which is closed to traffic. Leaving behind the Cathedral, Torre Civica, Palazzo Pretorio, Nettuno fountain and the frescoed houses which make piazza Duomo one of the most beautiful in Italy, you get into via Belenzani which terminates on the facade of the church of S. Francesco Saverio or of the Jesuites and along which stand Palazzo Thun (communal seat) and other noble residences rich in ornaments.


Trieste

Trieste


Trieste is a complex port city, located on the Adriatic coast of Italy. It rises on a gulf and is surrounded by the Carsic region as well as the sea. Visitors with a passion for European history will be fascinated by the city as it offers a Hasburg charm, wide Viennese-style boulevards, imposing civic buildings and a beautiful sea-fronted square. Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia is where locals can sit over espressos admiring the Mazzolini fountain. For those who love nature, the beaches of the Adriatic coast, the ski slopes and forest trails of Carnia to the north are all just a short trip away.
The city has developed thanks to its harbour's traffic, becoming a lively commercial and industrial centre, a cross-road for people and cultures from Italy and the Balkans, central Europe and the Mediterranean regions.
Some consider Trieste's finest architecture and urban settings to be found in Borgo Teresiano. The district was named after the Empress Maria Theresa; her father, Emperor Charles VI, laid the foundations for the growth of modern Trieste by establishing the free port here. Unquestionably, the 19th-century buildings that line the shore speak eloquently of the city's past as the great maritime outlet of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The cultural tradition here is intensely Italian, yet cosmopolitan and receptive to Europe.
The Costiera is limited westwards by the impressive Castle of Duino, made by two fortalices as reported in documents since 1363. Not far, in the Karst, other interesting landmarks are: the Carsiana botanic gardens in Sgonico, Val Rosandra, the valley with the only karst stream flowing on the surface and the ruins of the Roman aqueduct. The Grotta Gigante (huge grotto) in the Karst of Trieste, is the world biggest grotto open to tourists.
The Gulf of Trieste, constantly blown by strong winds is a favourite spot for sailors, with its clear waters. It is home of the Barcolana, the most crowded sailing race in the world.


venice

Venice

Venice is the only city of its kind in the world. It was built on over 100 islands in a lagoon four kilometers from the mainland and two kilometers from the Adriatic Sea. The entire historic centre, is a treasure from both an artistic and architectural point of view.
It takes on an exceptional atmosphere during the phenomenon of "high water," when the high tide exceeds the level of dry land and floods the main streets and piazzas of Venice. For these reasons, Venice is one of the cities most visited by tourists from all over the world.

St Marks Cathedral
Built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Cathedral with its five imposing oriental-style domes and gilded oriental mosaics dominates the piazza, a masterpiece of Romanesque-Byzantine architecture. It was designed according to the wishes of Giustiniani Partecipazio, who wanted to build a structure worthy of receiving the body of Mark the Evangelist, patron of the city, whose remains were carried to Venice from Alexandria, Egypt, in the year 828.
The façade is covered with marble and Byzantine mosaics.
The Grand Canal is the most important mean of communication in the city. Almost four hundred meters long, thirty to seventy meters wide, it divides the historic centre into two parts and is crossed by vaporetti and traditional gondolas. Along its banks the most beautiful Venetian palaces from the Middle Ages up until the eighteenth century have been built.
St Marks Square is one of the most famous piazzas in the world. Its history began in the ninth century, when it was chosen as the headquarters of the Venetian government. The Doges’ Palace and St. Marks Cathedral were later built. The piazza was at that time narrower than it appears today, causing the lagoon to flood a large part of the actual Piazzetta San Marco.
The Carnival of Venice is a must if you are in town. Every year in February the eighteenth-century Carnival comes alive in the piazzas and streets of the city. People travel from all over the world to attend private and public masked balls and people of all ages invade the campi where music and dancing continues nearly day and night.  Carnival of Venice now has a different theme each year, The 2004 edition was  dedicated to the Orient, with special attention to three places: Japan, China, Thailand.