At a time when the tourism industry is being hit by the biggest crisis in modern history, we have decided to indulge our (and our readers’) wanderlust once again. The desire to travel, to explore and to enjoy what the world has to offer is innate in human beings and we know that, when it is safe to do so again, people will go back to roaming the planet for business and leisure – and, we hope, more responsibly and sustainably than ever before. While that is not yet possible, we wish to celebrate the beauty and charm of Italy, and we decided to do so by telling you about some of its most stunning UNESCO heritage sites. Make notes now, visit them later! They will still be there, as beautiful as ever, waiting for you.
3 UNESCO heritage sites in Italy you should visit as soon as the lockdown is over
The Dolomites are a majestic mountain range crowning the north-eastern part of Italy, across parts of Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige, spanning from the province of Belluno, through Bolzano and Trento, up to Udine and Pordenone. This area, which measures over 570.000 acres, has been singled out by UNESCO for its unique geological characteristics, its spectacular landscapes, and the varied ecosystems that can be found in it. A veritable heaven for biodiversity and a beloved destination for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts alike, the Dolomites have much to offer in every season. The magnificent peaks of Mount Cristallo, Sassolungo and Marmolada are also famous for a beautiful natural phenomenon, the so-called “Alpenglow”. If you look at them at the crack of dawn, the whole mountain range will appear to glow pinkish-red.
The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento
From the northernmost corner of the Country, we would now like to take you all the way to Sicily, specifically to the province of Agrigento. This area used to be part of what was called “Greater-Greece” and the Valley of the Temples, in Agrigento, bears stunning testimony to this glorious past. The archeological site here covers over 3000 acres and its oldest buildings date back to the VI Century b.C. Akragas was Agrigento’s original name and the vestiges of its beauty can be admired in surprising detail through the temples, burial places, squares, and even the perfectly preserved waterworks. This UNESCO site is known to rival with the Acropolis in Athens for prestige and beauty – although we can safely say this is a friendly rivalry: both Italy and Greece take pride in their shared past and the shared elements of their cultures.
We have already written about the beauty of the “Cinque Terre”, in Liguria, and especially of the most popular destination in the area: Portovenere. If upon approaching it, you should feel like you have landed back in time, into a 1950s rom-com, that’s because the atmosphere here is a unique mix of “La Dolce Vita” and a hand-drawn postcard with a romantic note on the back. This is a remarkable instance of how human intervention should work in harmony with nature: if you look at the architecture, from the landmarks and official buildings to the brightly-coloured fishermen’s houses, you will have the impression that they have grown right out of the earth, blossomed like trees or flowers, like peculiar rock formations that Mother Nature created to compliment the beauty of its coastline. There is no contrast between the wild and rocky shores and the tidy vineyards: they work perfectly well together as part of a strong and healthy body. Sit on a terrace overlooking the sea, with a glass of chilled wine, and contemplate the beauty of this region. Not now, perhaps, but soon. We promise.