The 101 places in Italy worth visiting: interview with Beba Marsano

The 101 places in Italy worth visiting: interview with Beba Marsano

That Italy is the country of artistic, architectural, historical and naturalistic beauties is nothing new. It is not for nothing that it is the nation with the largest number of World Heritage sites recognized by Unesco. But few people know that in addition to the most famous places and monuments, there are many others little known that are worth discovering.

The recently released guide “Worth the trip – 101 other wonders of Italy to discover” by journalist and art critic Beba Marsano, published by CinqueSensi Editore, brings together more than a hundred churches, museums, sites and naturalistic places unknown which, just as the book invites you to do, they are worth the detour.

The author, who has traveled far and wide in Italy, reveals (again) 101 places of art and beauty off the traditional routes offered a “tourism now accustomed only to the great Italian myths”. Once again, because these 101 unpublished places are added to 202 others reported in the first two volumes of the “Vale un viaggio” guide, published respectively in 2016 and 2018. All the places that the author has visited first-hand, all open to the public, perhaps on specific days and times, and which he dispassionately recommends visiting.

Artistic sites, naturalistic places, abandoned villages, parks, churches and house-museums, villas, chapels and private collections. Among the 101 places, you will really find all kinds of local beauties, unique in their kind. We we chose three that we asked the author to tell us about and that convinced us to go and visit them.

The mysterious “unfinished”

Among the places of great charm that are worth visiting in Italy there is certainly the so-called “Incompiuta” which is in Basilicata. Its history is a web of events that see the Benedictine monks quarreling over the construction of a religious building with a Norman leader, as well as the terrible Pope Boniface VIII – the one Dante hated – and the Knights of Malta.

The result is an incredible place, an unfinished work but with a lot of charm. Here is how the author describes it: “Outside Venosa, home of the Latin poet Horace, a stone skeleton appears – almost unreal – in the splendid isolation of the countryside.

Report one of the most singular monumental complexes of medieval Italythat of the Holy Trinity: monastery, church, traces of the early Christian baptistery and colossal open-air architecture, the ghost of a great ecclesiastical building, the Incompiuta”.

The jewel of Aymavilles castle

Another place worth visiting is the Château d’Aymavilles, reopened after years of renovation works only last year, it’s a little jewel of the Aosta Valley that looks like something out of a fairy tale book.

But, in the opinion of the author, it deserves to be visited above all for a magnificent object contained in the rooms of the castle: “the ivory-white alabaster sculpture of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, the true “lady” of the castle, one of the most enchanting sacred works of art of the entire Middle Ages in the valley”, explains Marsano.

But of course he also deserves the castle”In the meticulously restored rooms”, explains the author “where one can admire charming painted doors, bizarre decorations (such as the Cacherano draining on the vault of the small private bathroom) and impressive architectural details (the attic , a real jewel of medieval carpentry)”.

The staircase that defies gravity

“It’s an exciting cameo to walk on Large scale of Monesteroliwhich allows you to discover a part of Liguria ignored by guides and travellers”, Marsano begins by explaining why this place is worth a visit.

“This extreme territory, which does not descend in slope, but falls into the sea, is the terminal edge of the Cinque Terre National Park where, to shelter the vines between rocks and ravines, the landscape has been shaped over the centuries with a colossal undertaking: these terraced vines supported by dry stone walls, worthy of the epic labors of Hercules.

No road connects them, but steep mule tracks and daring steps paved with gray Biassa stone, a local sandstone also used for this gravity challenge that is the impressive Grand Escalier de Monesteroli”.

To know the other wonders of Italy to discover gathered in the guide, you just have to read them.