The upcoming weekend should be marked on your calendar. Yes, because FAI Spring Days, scheduled for Saturday March 19th and Sunday March 20th 2016, are able to charm any type of person, even those who are most reluctant to spend their time in a cultural spot. The reason of such magnetism is easily explained: for the occasion the FAI allows the doors to places usually closed to the public and hardly accessible for outsiders of the organizations to open. This weekend over 900 locations throughout Italy will be open and free (among which, archeological sites, gardens, villages, palaces, churches and castles). An occasion not to be missed! The full list is available on their website, but we selected with the help of FAI Giovani, 7 hidden gems to discover in Italy, places we would really love to visit. And not just this weekend; all the locations protected by FAI are in fact freely accessible throughout the whole year for all its members!
1. Palazzo Turati, Milan. Open after several months of restoration, this wonderful neoclassical building features breathtaking indoor spaces. As Sala di Flora covered in silk velvet, mirrors, decorations, sculptures and frescoed ceiling. A gem in the heart of the city!
2. Biblioteca dei Girolamini, Naples. This is the 2nd oldest library in the country and it cherishes historically invaluable books. In addition to its abundance of books and collections, this library boast an internal structure that will leave you speechless, featuring 18th century frescos on its facades and virtually intact decor.
3. Teatro Verde, Venice. Its construction is relatively recent and it dates back to 1952, when 2 architects came up with the genius idea of designing a theater inspired to the Greek and Roman pan. The result is incredible. A huge outdoor entertainment area immersed in the green. Longtime preferred stage for world’s most important dancing companies and works.
4. Rock-cut church of Santa Maria della Vaglia, Matera. We could not find something with higher historic value: a medieval rock-cut church. As many other similarly-built churches it features frescos sculptural elements the, besides their decorative function, served the purpose of introducing to contemplation and prayer.
5. Porto Vecchio, Trieste. A true example of territorial redevelopment. An architectural heritage of great historic and artistic value located in the heart of the city that extends over a surface of approximately 600, 000 sq. m.. This is only one of the reasons that make it a true gem not only for the Northern part of Italy.
6. Magistral Villa of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Rome. You know the famous keyhole you can see Saint Peter’s dome through? Well, it’s part of this amazing historic building located on the Aventine, that also feature a wonderful garden portrayed by Sorrentino in the movie The Great Beauty.
7. Sala Reale Stazione Centrale, Milan. Another hidden gem in the heart of Milan. Could you ever imagine that inside Milan Central Station (one of Europe’s busiest) there is a real Royal Pavilion? Well, there is and it was built in 1931 to welcome the Savoia Family. Today, after a long restoration, has finally opened its doors to the public, displaying inlayed flooring, decorated halls, mosaics and marble decorations. A place with an ancient, surreal flavor, that emotionally clashes with the hectic movement of thousands of passengers welcomed by the station everyday.