If travel to Italy becomes possible later in 2021, my picks for top places to go include this year’s Italian Capital of Culture, 700 years since the death of Dante, Italy’s top cities, and the relatively unknown region of Basilicata. Where to go in Italy in 2021:
Italy’s Major Cites
When travel opens up again, 2021 should be a good time to visit Italy’s major cities. It’s likely that there will be fewer tourists than usual. Museums and sites will still have restrictions on the number of visitors allowed in at any one time, so it will be a good chance to visit popular places when they’re less crowded. So even if you’ve visited these cities before you might want to consider adding one or two of them to your itinerary.
Parma, Italian Capital of Culture 2021
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 2021 Italian Capital of Culture, more than 500 special events are planned throughout the year (extended from 2020).
- 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
- Emilia Romagna Region Map and Guide
Florence and Ravenna: 700 Years of Dante Alighieri
700 Viva Dante celebrates 700 years since the death of Dante Alighieri, known as the father of the Italian language. Events will be held in Florence, the city of his birth, and in Ravenna where he died in 1321 at the age of 56 and where his tomb is located. In Florence, visit the Dante House Museum and see his statue in front of the Basilica of Santa Croce and his death mask in the Palazzo Vecchio museum. Ravenna is in the Emilia Romagna region and events will be held in other nearby towns as well.
- Florence Map and Travel Guide
- Ravenna Travel Guide
- Dante Alighieri and places in Tuscany related to his life
- Dante 2021 web site
The Basilicata region of southern Italy, the instep of the boot, is well worth exploring if you like to get off the beaten track. Although the city of Matera has become popular with tourists, most of the rest of the region is relatively unexplored. From beaches to mountains and picturesque medieval villages to ancient Greek and Roman sites, Basilicata offers an amazing array of things to see and do. For a great introduction to the region, read Karen Haid’s excellent book, Basilicata: Authentic Italy.
Vagli: Submerged Village in Northern Tuscany
Here’s a chance to see an unusual sight in a lesser-known part of Tuscany. In the remote Garfagnana, a beautiful mountainous area north of Lucca, the submerged 13th century village of Fabbriche di Careggine will be visible in 2021 when Lake Vagli is drained. Residents were moved out of the old town in 1946 and the area was later flooded for the construction of a dam to supply electricity to the area. The lake has only been drained a few times, the last time being in 1994, bringing many tourists to see remains of the submerged town. In 2017 a suspension bridge was built across the lake with a sculpture garden at one end. Vagli is about 22 miles northwest of Lucca.
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