Almost everybody will agree with us: there’s no place like Italy. Yet, if you are travelling around the world and feel nostalgic about the Bel paese, do not despair. From dreamy castles to paradise beaches: here are 10 breathtaking places in the world that look like Italy. From north to south, islands included.
CASTLES OF THE LOIRE VALLEY / CASTLES OF THE AOSTA VALLEY
The Loire Valley, or the ‘Garden of France’, is known for her 300 beautiful châteaux, built starting from the 10th century along the Loire river. In Italy, the Aosta Valley – the smallest Italian region – houses over 70 medieval castles, built along the main valley crossed by Dora Baltea river. Most castles of both regions are open to the public. These castles are ideal for those who want to experience a ‘knightly atmosphere’. Visitors, indeed, can go back in time and relive a past era in which the sword was more relevant than camera!
ST. MICHAEL’S CAVE IN GIBRALTAR / THE GIANT CAVE IN SGONICO
St. Michael’s Cave in Gibraltar is one of the most beautiful limestone formations in the world. Its largest chamber is called Cathedral Cave. Thanks to its extraordinary acoustics, the Cathedral Cave houses an auditorium: here over 100 people can attend live concerts. Such a magnificence is comparable to the limestone Giant Cave, located in Sgonico, not far from Trieste. The Giant Cave’s central cavern is the world’s largest tourist cave, being 350 feet high. You’ll be always looking upwards while visiting these caves. But be careful not to fall down, the ground is slippery!
ROCK ART AT KAKADU NATIONAL PARK / ROCK DRAWINGS IN CAMONICA VALLEY
The Kakadu National Park, in Northern Australia, holds one of the highest concentrated areas of Aboriginal rock art in the world, dated up to 20 thousands years ago. In Camonica Valley, Lombardy, the rock drawings painted thousands of years ago represent an invaluable historic and cultural heritage. Today eight parks in Camonica Valley are open to the public. In 1979 this was the first Italian site to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. What else can we say? Two diametrically opposite places that share notable records!
THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA / THE PO DELTA
The Mississippi is the main river in the United States of America. With a length of 2,300 miles, it flows into the Gulf of Mexico with a delta mouth, after crossing 10 states. In Italy, the Po River, the longest Italian river, flows into the Adriatic Sea near Venice with a delta mouth as well, after a journey of 405 miles throughout the Padana plain. Both deltas of these famous hydrologic basins offer to environment lovers the chance to discover natural oasis and watch animals in their habitat: birds, mammals, amphibians and fishes. Do not forget your binoculars!
NAPA VALLEY / CHIANTI VALLEY
California is well-known not only for Hollywood and movie stars, but also for her wine. Napa Valley, indeed, is the most famous wine region of the USA, with its wide expanse of vineyards turning into delicious white, red and sparkling wines after the harvest. Similarly, The Italian Chianti Valley, in Tuscany, is a hill zone known worldwide for its famous wines. Located between Florence and Siena, this area offers breathtaking landscapes and stimulates palates, including the most demanding ones. Excursionists can stop in typical wine bars and taste a glass of delicious wine. Californian or Tuscan wine? There is no accounting for tastes.
THE AMBER FORT / THE MONTECASSINO ABBEY
Close to Jaipur, not far from New Delhi, the Amber Fort is a complex of architectonical palaces built on a hill, well-known for its magnificence, precious decorations and gardens. Its size and its strategic location remind of the Montecassino Abbey, a very ancient Benedictine monastery located in Latium, in central Italy. In spite of some similarities, these two complexes present a basic difference: tourists can reach the top of the Fort by riding an elephant, while Montecassino Abbey can be reached with more modern means of transportation.
KAGOSHIMA / NAPLES
Kagoshima is a city in the South-West of Japan, located on the homonymous island. It stands five miles far from the Sakurajima Volcano’s crater. The landscape reminds of the Vesuvio Volcano and the city of Naples, surrounded by the homonymous gulf and the Phlegraean Fields. Kagoshima and Naples are two cities that lie near two volcanos, and thanks to this common peculiarity Kagoshima is often called the ‘Naples of Japan’. Moreover, these cities are both located in the South of their countries. On top of that, Kagoshima has been twinned with Naples since 1960.
GOREME, CAPPADOCIA / SASSI DI MATERA
Goreme is located in one of the most enchanting regions of Turkey, Cappadocia. Here people remain breathless in front of rocky churches: created by Christians inside rock walls, they’re completed by colorful frescos. In the amazing Matera, in Basilicata, the Sassi and the Park of the Rocky Churches have the same effect. Dug in the rock, the Sassi are a required stop to understand the lifestyle of the first human settlements. Two different territories, two different cultures, with a common characteristic: a close bond with nature, specifically with rocks; in fact, this strong and durable material provided a sense of security to ancient inhabitants.
THE ACROPOLIS OF ATHENS / THE VALLEY OF TEMPLES IN AGRIGENTO
The Acropolis of Athens is the most important archeological site of the Ancient Greece. ‘High City’ overlooks the Greek capital, and it houses a large number of temples, monuments and statues that tell the history of a great civilization. The Valley of Temples, not far from Agrigento, in Sicily, is relevant as well. It is a 1,300 hectares wide archaeological area, unique in the world because of its vast landscape, the richness of its monuments and the well-preserved Doric temples. We strongly recommend to wear comfortable shoes while visiting both sites.
MAYAN BEACH IN TULUM / PELOSA BEACH IN STINTINO
Mayan Beach in Tulum, Mexico, is one of the most fascinating beaches of the Caribbean. Most people consider it a ‘paradise on Earth’, due to its white and fine sand, crystal-clear water and the famous Mayan ruins in the background. In Italy, approximately 1.2 miles far from Stintino, in the North-West of Sardinia, the amazing Pelosa Beach is in no way inferior to Mayan Beach: white sand, turquoise water and the Torre della Pelosa, a Spanish watchtower, which used to protect the coast. Do people have to go to the Caribbean Sea to swim in clear water? No, Italy has its own paradise as well.