Travelling is one of the most valuable and enriching experiences in our lives increasing our knowledge, opening our minds, enriching our spirits, extending new moral values; and you can find many destinations in the world that would fulfil your desires. But, if what you are looking for is a unique and memorable experience that will give you the opportunity to learn about another culture through art, cultural events, historical cities, and archaeological treasures, a place to visit is certainly Italy. Among many places in the world where you can relive the past, Italy is certainly the most charming place. This little country in the middle of the Mediterranean represents the cradle of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance and offers an incredible number of opportunities for people eager to learn about an ancient civilization that shaped the history of many cultures. Moreover, “according to UNESCO” (“United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
The organization, Italy is the place where you can find 66% of the “world‟s historical-artistic heritage”, which is an incredible number if you consider that Italy is only “116,346.5 sq mi” (“Art Cities”) (“Italy”). Although every little corner of this country will be unforgettable to you because all of its towns and cities are “…veritable living museums” (“Art Cities”), there are two cities that you cannot miss because of their beauty and their historic, cultural, and artistic value, and these cities are Rome and Venice.
Rome is a large city in the middle of the Country and historically was the centre of the Roman Empire and of Christianity; today the centre of the Catholic Church in the entire world is in the Vatican City, which although it is considered a separate state, is located in the centre of Rome (“Rome”). Rome is also the capital of Italy and has “two and a half thousand years”(“Rome”) of history and art in its buildings and museums, offering cultural visitors the opportunity to learn about architecture, art and many aspects of western civilization through guided educational tours. Many of the historic sites and museums can be reached by foot once you have reached downtown, and I would suggest taking a walk, if it is possible, because not only will the famous historical landmarks amaze you, but also the urban architecture is worth a view. Although there are many things to see in Rome, some of the most popular sites to visit are the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Forum and the Vatican museum, which includes Leonardo and Raphael masterpieces and Michelangelo‟s famous fresco: “The Last Judgment” located in the Sistine Chapel. For all of them, you can either plan a personal visit or arrange a tour with a group. In both cases, you will have a guide that will explain all the features of these wonderful works of the past and their roles in the life of the ancient Romans.
For instance, did you know that the Colosseum that you see in pictures of Rome was constructed starting in “72 AD”, and it was there that gladiators fought to the death (“Colosseum”)? This and even more are waiting for you in Rome. Not to mention that between one visit and another you can always enjoy great Italian food, which is considered one of the finest cuisine. Moreover, as one of the most visited cities in Europe, Rome provides tourists with many opportunities to experience cultural events; many of them are specially made for international visitors to show the customs and traditions of the region. Often, there are food festivals, traditional music festivals or parades, depending on the time of the year. A list of events can be easily found on the Internet or in many information centres around the city, which display useful directories translated into several languages. To conclude, Rome is the largest city in the country and, probably, one of the most attractive cities in the world and its history is beyond anything people from the USA are used to seeing and experiencing because Roman history dates back 2000 years. Therefore, Rome is an ideal destination for cultural travellers eager to learn about ancient culture.
After your tour in Rome, which will leave you tired but very pleased, you can comfortably rest in a railway car that, in only 4 hours, crossing a beautiful part of the country will take you to Venice, the most unique city in the world. Venice is an amazing city in northeast Italy built on more than 100 islands (“Venice”). The palaces, the innumerable canals with buildings sinking vertically into the water, the numerous artistic bridges, and the long tradition of family-owned craft businesses which produce masks, laces, and beautiful glassworks, make this city a perfect destination for travellers who wish to enrich their lives with memorable experiences.
The centre of the city, San Marco square, includes the prominent Doge‟s Palace built in the gothic style and the Bridge of Sighs, where the convicts coming from the Doge‟s palace would walk and say goodbye through the stone bars to wonderful Venice before entering the prison (“Doge‟s Palace”) (“Bridge of Sighs”). Next to the palace is San Marco‟s Basilica, a great example of “Byzantine and Gothic architecture” (“St Mark‟s Basilica”). The Basilica is also known as the “Church of gold” because of its luxurious design and its mosaics covered with golden dust. Finally attached to the Basilica stands the red tall campanile, a symbol of Venice. Of course, this is not the only place to visit. There are many other churches, bridges, palaces and museums to see that cannot be easily listed. But what makes this experience unique is that you will be able to admire some of this beauty comfortably sitting on a ferry or, maybe, on a gondola enjoying an educational and relaxing tour of the city. Guides tell interesting stories and legends about the many bridges and narrow canals that will fulfil your curiosity. Moreover, if you want to learn where glassblowing came from and the story that brought this wonderful craft to the New World, you must visit Murano Island, which has a long tradition of glassmaking dating back to 1291 (“Murano, the Glass Island”). Or maybe your hobby is making beautiful laces; in this case, Burano Island is the place to see where beautiful lace works are displayed, from table linens to wedding dresses. Finally, during the two weeks before Mardi Gras (around February and March), Venice turns into a world of bright colours and mystery on the occasion of Venice Carnival, and if you have the chance to visit the city during this time you will see the most beautiful and famous Venetian craft masks. As you probably noticed Venice provides many opportunities for cultural travellers to enrich their lives; learning not only about history, art, and architecture but also about some local business traditions that had a significant influence on the past.
In conclusion, I believe that Venice and Rome are without any doubt a perfect examples of what the Italian peninsula can offer because of their historical and artistic heritage and their unique, romantic, and magical look. Most of the world‟s historical sites are in Italy, and an incredible number of masterpieces from the Renaissance period, like Michelangelo‟s and Raphael‟s works, are preserved in Italian museums. Moreover, Italy is one of the most popular destinations for cultural tourists; therefore you can find exactly what you are looking for: educational tours and cultural entertainment. So, if this is what you have always desired, make your dream come true and live a once-in-a-life experience in Italy.
Author: Patrizia De Cillis