The main tourist cities to visit in Italy are certainly beautiful, but there's more to the country than what you've seen in history textbooks.
A great deal has been written about Rome, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Milan, Naples and the other major cities in Italy and rightly so. All of these cities offer the essence of history, architecture and more.
In this article, let us give some of the other cities in this great country of all kinds of treasures a closer look. The country has history including ancient ruins and monuments, the best of museums, more than 7,500 kilometers of coastline with the most beautiful beaches you would never want to leave, mountains; over 50 of them, cuisine that is more popular in the world than any other and the greatest masterpiece of all; nature.
This capital of Sicily which is also the birthplace of the mafia takes you way back in time. Even though the mafia is still meant to be around, Sicily is rated as moderately safe. In other words tourists are not bothered and I have never known anyone who visited Palermo and met an actual mafioso. In fact, you will meet some of the friendliest people here. Palermo is the tourism, cultural and economic capital of Sicily. The moment you land in Palermo the vast history of the city hits you. Work on the royal palace began in the 9th century, the cathedral was built in the 12th century and so was the city center which is more popularly known as Quattro Canti translating to four corners. The opera house, Teatro Massimo, is relatively “new” and was built in 1897 and is one of the most important landmarks. The last scene of Godfather III was shot there. Almost on a daily basis there are events, concerts, and ballet at Teatro Massimo.
The architecture of the city goes from the Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, to Art Nouveau, which includes the churches in Palermo.
One of the greatest pleasures is to walk in the crowded markets, mainly Ballaro street and Vuccira which is close to the port.
The city is quite safe and the nightlife is rich. The wines are excellent and the cuisine par excellence. Even though Sicilian food is considered Italian, it has been shaped historically by the Italians, the Greeks, the French, the Arabs and the Spaniards.
Many tourists head for the Mondello beach though the beaches in Cefalu just an hour’s drive from Palermo are far worthier and among the best in Italy.
This undervalued and ancient port city is in the centre of the Italian Riviera. Often overlooked, Genoa which is just a little over an hour from the fashion capital of Milan has more than 30 kilometers of beautiful beaches and history in every form. After all this was a major maritime trading center during the Renaissance. The others being Venice, Milan and Florence. To this day, Genoa remains one of Italy’s main port cities.
Apart from the beaches, the major attraction of the city is the noble palaces, of which Genoa has more than any other city in Italy. After you have spent a few days exploring Genoa and enjoying the beaches, it would be entirely worth your while to take the funicular from the city center to the mountains to enjoy the breathtaking views. The funicular was built as early as the 19th century.
Absurd it is that Genoa is not much favoured by the average tourist. This is what makes it all the more attractive for exploring all its richness, including the museums, the fabulous palaces, the beaches, the aquarium— which is the largest in Europe, and the glorious city itself.
Even the word sensational cannot begin to describe this powerful town built right below lofty cliffs on the southwest coast of Italy. This jewel takes you back centuries in terms of architecture and history and at the same time the natural beauty is what you will not get enough of.
A little touristy but absolutely worth it, even for the restaurants that serve the most enjoyable seafood.
While there, visit the Saint Andrea cathedral which remains superbly maintained to this day. Remember to collect sea shells, or buy some at one of the shops that sell them there.
Another beautiful costal country is Spain. Check out another article from this series below.
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