Italy offers a huge variety of places to go, making it hard to narrow down an itinerary. My picks for top places to go in 2020 include this year’s Italian Capital of Culture, 100 years of Fellini, the archaeological site of Aquileia, and the relatively unknown region of Molise. Where to go in Italy in 2020:
Parma, Italian Capital of Culture 2020
Parma, in the Emilia Romagna region, is known primarily for its food. But it also has a rich historical and cultural background. Its 12th century cathedral is a top example of Romanesque architecture with an interior decorated with beautifully restored frescoes. You can see the archeological and artistic collections of the Farnese family in the museums inside the 16th century Palazzo della Pilotta or visit the house of Toscanini, now also a museum. As the 2020 Italian Capital of Culture, more than 500 special events are planned throughout the year.
- Where to Stay: Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati has rooms, suites and apartments with views of the duomo in a historic building next to the Baptistery.
- Parma Map and Travel Guide
Rimini: 100 Years of Fellini
Federico Fellini was born in 1920 in the seaside town of Rimini and some of his films were set there. Special events celebrating Fellini will be held throughout the year, starting with a major exhibition at Castel Sismondo called Fellini 100: Immortal Genius and culminating in the opening of the International Federico Fellini Museum in December. In Borgo San Giuliano you’ll see murals depicting Fellini’s films painted on the walls of buildings. In addition to Fellini, Rimini is known for its long string of sandy beaches and nightlife, especially in summer. It also has a good historic center with beautiful piazzas, Roman ruins, theaters, and museums.
- Where to Stay: Grand Hotel Rimini is an elegant, historic hotel by the sea that was a setting for Fellini’s movie, Amaracord. Some events celebrating Fellini will be held here.
- Rimini Map and Guide
Rome: Fellini and Raphael
Fellini also filmed in Rome and the city will have special events for 100 Years of Fellini- including the special exhibit, Fellini 100: Immortal Genius, that travels to Rome from Rimini in April.
2020 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Renaissance painter Raphael, from Urbino. This spring, Rome hosts a major exhibition showcasing 100 of his paintings at the Scuderie del Quirinale Museum. The show, called Raphael, is the biggest exhibition of his art works ever and tickets are selling quickly. Raphael spent the last 10 years of his life in Rome and his tomb is in the Pantheon. Raphael’s works can be seen in several other places in Rome, including the Vatican Museums and Borghese Gallery. Where to see Raphael’s works in Rome. Special events will also be held in Raphael’s home town of Urbino.
Even if you’ve been to Rome before there are always new things to see and do. The mysterious underground Basilica of Porta Maggiore, is being restored and is partially open to the public this year. For 2020 there’s a new Colosseum ticket called the Full Experience. Good for 2 days it includes entrance to the Colosseum with access to the Arena or Underground, the Roman Forum-Palatine Hill including the special Super Sites, and the Imperial Forums.
- Where to Stay: JK Place is a top contemporary boutique hotel, near the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon.
- Rome Neighborhoods Map and Guide
Aquileia and Trieste – Northeastern Italy
The ancient Roman town of Aquileia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Italy’s top archaeological sites, celebrates 2200 years of history in 2020. Much of the town is an open-air museum with views of Roman ruins. Aquileia’s Basilica has stunning mosaics and 2 crypts with frescoes. The Paleochristian Museum also has beautiful mosaics. Near Aquileia is the island of Grado, connected by a bridge. It’s a nice bike ride between the two places.
- Where to Stay: Hotel Patriarchi is right by the site. Rooms have views of the basilica and bell tower and the restaurant serves traditional Friulian dishes.
- Aquileia Visitor Guide
Once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Trieste still shows Austrian and Hungarian influence. The magnificent city sports one of Italy’s largest squares, a castle, historic cafes, and Roman ruins. Trieste is the 2020 European Capital of Science and has the honor of hosting the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), the largest biennial European conference in research and innovation.
- Where to Stay: Duchi Vis à Vis is a designer hotel near the main square and harbor of Trieste.
- Trieste Travel Guide
- Aquileia and Trieste are in the Fruili Venezia Giulia Region
Molise is Italy’s newest region (formerly part of the Abruzzi) and one of its smallest. It may also be the least known region, even among Italians, so it’s a perfect place to get off the beaten track and explore traditional villages and towns. Agnone, known for its bell foundry, and Isernia are two of the main towns to visit but if you have a car you can really get out and explore. We found the people to be very friendly and welcoming to foreigners but it’s helpful to speak some Italian.
More Places to Go in Italy
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