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On Sunday, October 16 FAI opens the doors of Italy’s art treasures

by Lorenzo Zanini

Palaces, churches, castles, theaters, villages, parks, industrial sites, sports pavilions: these are the places whose doors will be opened Sunday, October 16 by FAI, the Italian Environment Fund, allowing us to visit some of the most beautiful and sometimes lesser known locations in Italy.

You will in fact even have a chance to visit sites that during the rest of the year are often closed to the public, or newly restored monuments.

A path through beauty that winds through 150 routes, where visitors, led by the younger members of the Italian Environment Fund, will be able to access 600 places and heritage sites. To find out about the routes, just visit the FAI website (www.fondoambiente.it).
For example, in Naples you will be able to take a stroll through the history of the Rione Sanità neighborhood and discover the treasures that are hidden within its walls, streets and under the ground, accompanied by readings of pieces by Neapolitan comedian Totò.

The path in the Paestum archaeological park will for the first time allow you to enter the Temple of Athena, exceptionally opened simultaneously to the site’s other two main monuments: the Temples of Neptune and Hera.

In Palermo, the spotlight will be on the old Kalsa neighborhood, with the fortified citadel built by the Arabs in 937 and accessible through four gateways.

In Catania visitors will get a chance to view the Cutelli boarding school, that houses the oldest high school in the Sicilian city: it is a rare example of 18th century school building.
The building still preserves its original architecture, characterized by the circular monumental courtyard paved in black and white, and dominated by a baroque tower with clocks.

In Rome, FAI offers a tour in the Ostiense area and in the Testaccio district, between the Centrale Montemartini (a former industrial area converted into a museum), the Gasometer and the river port on the Tiber.

In Florence, the itinerary includes the complex of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi: established in 1257, it was dedicated to Santa Maria Maddalena of the Converted (Mary Magdalene of the Converted), since it stood on a shelter for “repented” prostitutes who followed the rule of St. Benedict. The Main Chapel is one of the masterpieces of Baroque architecture in Florence.

In Milan, you will have the opportunity to take a stroll in the Fiera neighborhood and witness how it has evolved over time: the area formerly housed the city’s parade ground, later the trade fair and has been redesigned by great architects, with the new urban regeneration project CityLife.

In Turin, visitors will have a chance to take part in a free tour on a historic streetcar from 1911, that will make a stop at the former home and studio of Giacomo Soffiantino, one of the most renowned abstract expressionist painters in Italy, and at the Academy of Fine Arts, considered as one of the oldest in Italy.

In Venice, the sites whose doors will be open include the Old Jewish Cemetery and the churches of San Rocco and Santa Maria dei Derelitti with the adjoining Hall of Music, important examples of Venetian welfare culture.

The list is well-stocked: just wear comfortable shoes. Your eyes will open by themselves.


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