Two Italian regions and one city made The New York Times’ recently released annual list of 52 places to go in the coming year. According to The New York Times, each place they picked had to answer the question, why go now?
Let’s take a look at the Italian destinations selected for 2020 and why they were included.
At number 7 is Sicily, and the reason is, “A new wave of green tourism is washing over the Mediterranean island, where nonprofit grassroots groups have begun to spearhead sustainable volunteer tourism initiatives.” The newspaper then goes on to cite some of the people and organizations leading this movement, such as EtnAmbiente, for its app that helps “locals and tourists photograph and report pollution, increasingly an islandwide problem;” Tasca d’Almerita wine family, who is launching the Food Heritage Association, “a nonprofit group celebrating Sicilian ingredients;” the Historic Trains of Taste, scenic rail excursions that “take visitors on trips to lesser-known food and wine spots;” Uncovr Travel, which is launching “electric-car tours to local food producers and artists;” and more.
At number 37 is the unsung region of Molise, where, The New York Times writes, “even many Italians haven’t been to.” Among the highlights cited by the newspaper are: “Roman settlements like Saepinum (a complex of baths and a forum that rival those in Italy’s capital, but without the crowds); a pristine coastline that includes towns like Termoli, overlooking the Adriatic, with a Swabian castle; and mountains like Campitello Matese, home to a wide network of slopes for skiers. Hikers will also want to explore the routes of transumanza, the centuries-old tracks, along which sheep and oxen were herded, from Abruzzo through Molise into Puglia in the colder months.” In addition, there are many traditional festivals to attend. The New York Times recommends exploring the region by train, on what is called the Trans-Siberian of Italy, a “remote and spectacular route, it has carriages from the 1920s carrying passengers from Abruzzo’s Sulmona to Molise’s Isernia, past forests and mountain villages.”
At number 51 is Urbino because 2020 marks 500 years since the death of one of the Renaissance’s greatest artists, Raphael, who was born and lived in this university town in Le Marche. Reasons to visit include Raphael’s “perfectly preserved house just down the street from romantic Piazza di San Francesco;” “trade shows, conferences and spaces dedicated to literature and dance;” the town’s artistic vibe, which is “alive and well”, according to The New York Times. In addition, Urbino boasts “one of the world’s oldest universities” and is considered “Italy’s book capital because of its Institute for Book Decoration and Illustration.” “A walled city on a hill with numerous views of the underrated countryside of Le Marche, Urbino has everything Tuscany has — but at half the price and with half the tourists,” concludes the newspaper.