Not only museums: there are many other interesting places where you can discover more about Italian culture and history
Our virtual tour of Italian museums ended at the Vatican Museums, but our journey to discover Italian cultural heritage continues today, not far away from the Vatican City. All the following places brim with history and are worth a visit, but we can start feasting our eyes on these wonderful destinations right now from our screens – and without the stress of packing!
The archaeological site of Ostia Antica
The archaeological area of Ostia Antica is among the ten sites awarded with the European Heritage Label last March. This recognition goes to “sites that have played a significant role in the history and culture of Europe or the building of the European Union.” A gateway to Rome and a strategic commercial city, with its melting pot of people coming from different areas of the Roman Empire, Ostia Antica symbolizes today’s European values and integration. This archaeological site takes part in the #iorestoacasa campaign by moving online the conferences scheduled for this period, allowing everybody to attend them from the comfort of their couch. Moreover, the official website hosts a section dedicated to distance learning, called Ostia Antica per la scuola, where you can even learn how to make a fresco like an ancient roman. On Facebook, in addition to information about the conferences, you will find short videos that will make you dream of visiting this archaeological site on a sunny day.
Gabriele D’Annunzio’s childhood home, Pescara
The house where Gabriele D’Annunzio was born on March 12, 1863 is now a house museum open to virtual visitors from all over the world. The tour of this typical middle-class home from the 19th century will give you a taste of the atmosphere of that period, thanks to original paintings, furnishings, sculptures, and some excerpts from the poet’s works, where he nostalgically recalled his childhood. During your tour, don’t forget to look up at the beautiful ceilings! If you are in the mood for dropping by Lake Garda, thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you can visit the Vittoriale degli Italiani, the large complex of buildings and gardens where the poet spent his last years.
Fun fact: Did you know that the word tramezzino was invented by D’Annunzio?
The archaeological site of Herculaneum
Herculaneum, or Ercolano antica, is usually mentioned along with Pompeii because of their tragic destiny – they were buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, they are among the best-preserved ancient cities in the world due to the thick layer of volcanic material that covered them. Despite being smaller, Herculaneum was wealthier than Pompeii, and we can still easily tell it from its splendid mosaics and larger, two-storey houses. As it was covered by ash instead of lava, it is also better preserved, which can be noticed during the virtual tour. The main initiative organized for the lockdown is represented by the Lapilli, short videos posted every Wednesday on Facebook to let us learn something new about this amazing archaeological site.
The Swabian castle in Trani
What images come to your mind when you think of Puglia? Mare, trulli e panzerotti? Well, now add castles. Yes, because Emperor Frederick II of Swabia (13th century) ordered the construction and the restoration of 111 castles in Puglia and Basilicata, an impressive defensive network created to protect the Kingdom of Sicily. Despite the alterations undergone over the centuries, the Swabian castle in Trani is still a recognizable example of a medieval fortress, inspired by crusader castles. If you love castles, the virtual tour created by Politecnico di Bari is exactly what you were looking for. User-friendly and full of valuable information about the building, it will allow you to discover all of its secrets.