Fai Spring Days, to discover Italian treasures: from Piedmont to Sicily among villas, churches, palaces, castles, museums, archaeological and naturalistic areas

Fai Spring Days, to discover Italian treasures: from Piedmont to Sicily among villas, churches, palaces, castles, museums, archaeological and naturalistic areas

Italy, inexhaustible mine of Beauty: the more excavations in its historical and artistic heritage, the more new wonders join those that have already emerged, creating a whole that reveals itself, holistically, greater than the sum of its parts. In 31 years the Fondo per l'Ambiente Italiano, during its traditional Spring Days, has opened 15,000 monuments to 12 million visitors and, again, with each edition the number, already enormous, increases: in the presentation of the event which, this year, will be held on March 25 and 26, it has been announced that another 750 inaccessible or little-known treasures of history, art and nature from 400 cities will be offered to the public for the first time thanks to the collaboration of thousands of volunteers of the Foundation and of students «apprentice guides». And thus, the Giornate will update what the president of FAI, Marco Magnifico, defines as "a spontaneous encyclopaedia which, to all intents and purposes, has been added to the official one to narrate our immeasurable heritage". And which, as noted by the Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, "becomes the collective memory of the nation through the many stories made up of individual memories". To then add, meticulously, a vindictive emphasis on the use of the term nation "because the word country does not exist in the Constitution".

Castello d'Avio (TN) (credits Martina Vanzo @FAI)

This journey into Italy of wonders is a kaleidoscope of proposals and suggestions ranging from villas, churches, palaces, castles, museums, archaeological and naturalistic areas, art collections, civil and military buildings, artisan workshops, parks, gardens, villages . Each visitor will be asked for a free contribution starting from 3 euros or for a discounted subscription to Fai. Among the most suggestive openings, Villa Bonaparte in Rome, the French Embassy to the Vatican, from whose garden, in 1870, the troops of the Kingdom of Italy opened the breach of Porta Pia, but also - still in the capital - Palazzo Piacentini-Vaccaro , now occupied by the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy, with its wonderful stained glass windows designed by Mario Sironi. Still among the historic buildings, there is Palazzo Marino, the seat of the Municipality of Milan built in 1500. In Turin, entry to Palazzo Ferrero d'Ormea, the seat of the Bank of Italy, is permitted upon reservation: you can go down to the vault and , then, contemplate the reception rooms on the main floor. Also in the Piedmontese capital, it will be possible to enter, exceptionally, the over 30 thousand square meters of the Opera Barolo Social District to learn about the life of the Marquises Giulia and Tancredi who dedicated themselves to the social prevention of women and children through a complex charitable project and welfare. To remain part of the solidarity activities that characterize Turin, by booking, it will be possible to experience a visit to the Arsenale della Pace, founded in 1983 by Ernesto Olivero's Sermig.

The Garden on the Hill of Infinity in Recanati (MC) (credits D. Fusaro @FAI)

In this «Grand Tour» Genoa opens the doors of Palazzo Doria Spinola, a UNESCO heritage site, while Bologna opens up to the public the Academy of Sciences, one of its most important places of knowledge which had among its members, Galvani, Marconi, Einstein and Marie Curie. Another Academy, the Chigiana of Siena, will unveil the library and chapel of San Galgano for the first time.
Among the historic convents, one can admire that of Sant'Angelo in Ocre (Aquila) located on a spur overlooking the Aterno valley. From the sacred to the profane: Naples presents Palazzo Salerno, headquarters of the Southern Operational Forces Command; built in 1775, it houses magnificent furnishings and two gardens that offer spectacular views of the Gulf.
The story is also expressed in less courtly but equally important terms: the 625 granary "pits" used for the conservation of cereals in Cerignola are connected to the theme of work and, in particular, to the agricultural vocation of a region such as Puglia . On the other hand, the structures of the former La Rotunda prison in Tempio Pausania evoke images of pain and suffering, with its circular structure: the panopticon, designed to supervise the prisoners without them realizing whether or not they are being observed.
Some extraordinary openings are reserved for FAI members or those who join on 25 and 26 March: among these, still in Turin, Palazzo Perrone di San Martino, headquarters of the Crt Foundation, with its majestic hall; the Court of Venice designed by Sansovino; the Roberto Longhi Foundation in Florence; Villa Wolkonsky in Rome, residence of the British ambassador, in whose park you can admire 27 arches of Nero's aqueduct and a greenhouse that protects a rich archaeological collection.

View of the Garden of Kolymbethra in the Valley of the Temples, Agrigento (credits @FAI)

Among the stages of this itinerary in the hidden, in the unedited, in the surprising, there are many villages. Among these, Maniago (Pordenone) famous for its blacksmiths, where the Todesco workshop will open, which produced scissors until the 1980s; Staffolo, (Ancona) with its large eighteenth-century organ; Irsina, (Matera) inhabited by 500 people of 18 different nationalities, which houses a statue attributed to Mantegna; Vajont, born in the late sixties to welcome the inhabitants of the valley affected by the tragedy whose sixtieth anniversary occurs.
This broad and transversal participation, this celebration which, as Marco Magnifico observes, is guided by a "civil feeling of pride, belonging and responsibility", also develops in the "monuments" of nature: gardens such as the "Italian" ones of Villa Ravizza in Arcore, or the Rio Grand basin in Amelia built between Roman times and the Middle Ages or the Etruscan pyramid of Bomarzo (Viterbo) «altar» dating back to 2300 years ago. Some examples, in some cases even symbolic, of this "culture of nature": the Agricultural Institute of Macerata, one of the oldest agricultural schools in Italy; the Real Vesuvian Observatory of Herculaneum founded in 1841, but also the Oliveto Rossetto, in Borgone di Susa (Turin) built, with the strength of obstinacy, where a vineyard was once planted and which, since 2010 has gradually , enlarged to accommodate 250 plants that produce a high quality extra virgin olive oil.

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