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The Unknown Italy

If you want to visit Italy or get information about it, the web will give you all sorts of resources, including – but not limited to – the official Italia web site. But that’s not everything.

The most important and unique parts – the most interesting ones, as far as I am concerned – lay beyond that.

Italy in the XII & XIII centuries
Italy in the XII & XIII centuries
© WHKMLA

What makes Italy unique is buried in its history. The fall of the Roman Empire left what we now call Italy as a land of conquest for the superpowers of the time, fighting each other, creating small feuds, growing them into states, destroying them, for more than a millennium, across the Middle Ages and Modern Times. The byproduct of this history is a long list of cities and towns that used to be capitals – at least for a short term. When they were not capitals, they were trading harbours, checkpoints on commercial routes, military strongholds, or any combination of the above.

Resources – in terms of money and labour – were spent by all subsequent lords of every feud, competing for influence against the neighbours; resources spent on castles, villas, parks, churches and other artefacts, that are now spread across Italy.

Interesting stories are then attached to places because of their occupants or other circumstances, that add to the values or the beauty of the artefact itself.

Map of Italy with regions
Map of Italy with regions
(from Pinterest)

I have researched some of these stories, that I am presenting together with the sources of my information. I tried to follow a geographical classification, based on the current twenty regions (Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Trentino-South Tyrol, Veneto, Friuli, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia), but it’s not always so straightforward….

I hope you’ll enjoy….