Italy isn’t considered one of Europe’s most beautiful countries for nothing – not only does it have a wealth of sights to behold, it also has an abundance of places immersed in culture and history. In fact, if you want to get a glimpse of the grandeur of both modern and ancient Europe, visiting Italy would be one of your best bets.
Now when going on educational tours to Italy, the problem isn’t the lack of destinations, but the abundance thereof. From the ruins of Rome to the canals of Venice, it is packed with sights and experiences that will truly leave you in awe. But worry not, because we have listed some of the region’s most beautiful and culturally significant spots that you and your students can head off to, such as:
Bear witness to the sheer magnificence and power of the ancient Roman Empire by visiting this architectural marvel. The ‘Colosseo’, as it is known in Italian, used to be the Roman Empire’s largest amphitheatre. Emperor Vespasian had it constructed in the 1st century AD as a gathering area where his subjects can enjoy. Its original name was the Flavian Amphitheatre, after the family name of Vespasian, and it was built mainly as a symbolic gesture signifying the distinction between Vespasian and Nero, his predecessor. It is probably best known for being the venue where gladiator competitions were held.
More commonly known as the Vatican Museums, these house some of the world’s most important and impressive historical artwork and artefacts. The site for these museums was originally used for the papal palaces, but several galleries have replaced these today. Among its collections are Pio-Clementine Museum’s classical statues and Raphael’s beautiful frescos. It also houses The Gallery of Maps, whose walls are adorned with Italy’s topographical maps. Then there’s the painting of Saint Jerome made by Leonardo Da Vinci, which is certainly one of the museums’ highlights. The Musei Vaticani has an extensive collection of pieces from various periods in history.
Florence Cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore)
Often referred to as the “Duomo”, this is one of the country’s most iconic sites and Europe’s fourth largest church. It was constructed in September 1296 and consecrated on March 1436 by Pope Eugenius IV. Its dome, which is one of its most famous parts, was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, an architect of the Renaissance. He took his inspiration from the Pantheon’s engineering style. Today, the Florence Cathedral has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Castel del Monte
Located in Puglia, Italy, this medieval palace was originally built by the Emperor Frederick II as a hunting lodge. Later, he turned it into his seat of power. Its construction began in the 13th century and its completion was in 1240. The UNESCO has described Castel del Monte as a “unique piece of medieval military architecture” and has since recognized it as a World Heritage Site. Architectural-wise, the palace is a marvel to behold, as Frederick II made use of his knowledge of mathematics, natural sciences, and culture to build several castles, with the Castel being the biggest. For a medieval building, its symmetry is rather impressive.
Civita di Bagnoregio
It is also called ‘Il paese che muore’ (translated: the dying town), this place is situated between two valleys on top of a rocky outcrop. Through the centuries, erosion has transformed what used to be a thriving settlement into something isolated – a lone citadel, I might add. It used to be a major trade route before it fell under the Roman Empire’s governance. Today, the place can be accessed only through a foot bridge and only a few residents remain in the area. Despite its location, history, and architecture, it is part of the 100 Most Endangered Sites list.
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