Every year, since 1993, the third weekend of March, FAI (Italian Environmental Foundation) organizes the  FAI Spring Days, a unique opportunity to discover hidden treasures across the country. This year the impressive celebration will take place on March 24 and 25 with the extraordinary opening of hundreds of locations across regions in Italy. A not-to-be-missed event featuring unusual heritage sites that are not generally open to the public.

When 25 years ago FAI organized the first edition of the FAI Spring Days to celebrate the beauty of Italy with 50 places open to the public in about thirty cities, it was difficult to imagine that they would become one of the most important events in the Italian cultural scene. Nevertheless, thanks to the commitment of FAI’s passionate volunteers, in these years, over 10 million people have been able to visit over 11,000 special locations in 4,700 cities guided by over 35,000 middle and high school students in the guise of ‘apprentices ciceroni’.

Hence, FAI Days have become a coveted appointment, a national event of great attraction, but they have not lost the original spirit: that of accompanying Italians and foreign tourists to discover or rediscover the beauty that surrounds them, which often goes unnoticed or, worse, is forgotten and defaced. FAI founder Giulia Maria Crespi’s motto is “You protect what you love, and you love what you know”. Therefore, the FAI Spring Days, as well as the FAI Autumn Days, have one objective: to  keep on growing to bring more and more people closer to the beauty of art, culture, and history of this amazing country.

The FAI Spring Days will open the doors of historic buildings, archaeological areas, villages with ancient and mysterious traditions, former hospitals, places of sport, crafts and industry, churches, and monuments usually closed and inaccessible or lived in a different and partial way. The appointments – all listed on FAI’s website – are obviously many, and each region has its own calendar of events held in the most diverse locations. Among the many locations: Palazzo Giustiniani in Rome – a late sixteenth century building theater of fundamental moments in the history of Italy -, Casa Bortoli in Venice – a new FAI location inaugurated for the occasion -, the Bisentina island on Lake Bolsena – privately owned and normally not open to the public -, Meazza stadium in Milan – with exclusive access to Milan’s and Inter’s locker rooms. But not only buildings, gardens, parks, archaeological sites, and places of worship will be open, but also special guided tours of entire villages will be offered all over Italy; so it will be possible to discover all the secrets of fascinating villages such as Asciano (Siena), Finale Emilia (Modena), Curinga (Catanzaro), Castelbuono (Palermo), and Capalbio (Grosseto).

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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