All Natural attractions

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    Neptune’s Grotto

    Neptune’s Grotto is one of the largest marine caves in Italy, located on the Capo Caccia promontory, inside the Porto Conte Park, about 25 kilometers from Alghero.   SHORT HISTORY Neptune’s Grotto was discovered in the 18th century by a local fisherman, and it became over time a popular tourist attraction. The cave took its name from the Roman divinity of the sea, Neptune. Until 1959, the date of completion of the Escala del Cabirol (Roe Deer Staircase), the stairway which descends to the cave on the rocky wall of Capo Caccia, the Neptune’s Grotto could be visited only from the sea, and therefore accessible only in calm sea conditions.   DESCRIPTION Inside the cave, we can find astounding large rooms with magnificent karst formations, an underground lake and a sandy beach. The Lake Lamarmora is an underground salt lake with a depth of about 9 meters, a maximum width of 25 meters and a length of 100 meters. The lake has a stalagmite column in the center called Acquasantiera (Stoup), due to the receptacles in the upper part which contain fresh water. On the bottom of the lake, there is a formation of stalagmites called Christmas Tree. In the Read more [...]

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    Isola Bella

    Isola Bella (Isula Bedda, in Sicilian dialect, and Beautiful Island, in English) is a small island located near the beach with the same name, in the Ionian Sea, in Taormina. Sometimes, when the tide is low, Isola Bella connects to the beach through a narrow sandy strip, becoming a peninsula. The beach in front of the island is also beautiful, but is made of pebbles and the sea floor is rocky, making it uncomfortable for some people. The beach is free, but the entrance to the Isola Bella Nature Reserve costs 4 euros.   SHORT HISTORY The island was donated in 1806 by Ferdinand I of Bourbon to Pancrazio Ciprioti, Mayor of Taormina. In 1890, it was purchased by Florence Trevelyan, who built a small house on the island. The island was later inherited by the lawyer Cesare Acrosso, the godson adopted by Salvatore Cacciola, husband of Florence Trevelyan. In 1954, Isola Bella was bought for 38,000₤ by the brothers Leone and Emilio Bosurgi, who built a village with 12 autonomous residences and a tiny swimming pool nearby, in order to host their friends. The Bosurgi family owned Sanderson, a historic citrus processing company. In 1982, the bankruptcy of the Read more [...]

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    Parco Querini

    Parco Querini is a public park in Vicenza, located in the northern part of the historical center of the city. The park takes its name from a building located in the immediate vicinity, a noble residence first owned by the Capra family, then purchased by the Querini family.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 19th century, a document reports that the area of the current park, owned by the Capra family, included meadows, vineyards and vegetable gardens. In 1811, Antonio Capra, notary and councilor of Vicenza, bought from the Municipality the former monastery of the Poor Clares of Araceli. In 1813, the monastery disappeared and in its place are indicated an orchard, a garden and greenhouses, a sign that the new owner intended to expand and embellish the garden. In 1821, a long avenue was built that leads to a circular hillock dominated by a small round temple surrounded by water. In 1969, 9.5 hectares were expropriated by the Municipality, and two years later the area was opened to the public as a city park.   DESCRIPTION Parco Querini is surrounded on two sides by the banks of the Bacchiglione River and its tributary Astichello. From the back Read more [...]

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    Villa Belvedere

    Villa Belvedere, officially known as Giardino Vittorio Emanuele III, is the largest public garden of Acireale, located in the northern part of the town, in Piazza Indirizzo, at the end of Corso Italia.   SHORT HISTORY Villa Belvedere was built in 1848, and took the name of Belvedere for the splendid panorama we can admire from its large balcony, located at the end of the main avenue.   ARCHITECTURE From the balcony, the main attraction of the garden, we can see in front, below, the Timpa, the terrace of lava origin on which Acireale was built. To the left, we can observe the eastern coast of Sicily up to Taormina, and even Calabria during the clear days. To the right, we can see the same coast of Sicily, but this time to the south, up to the hills of Augusta. On the left side of the garden, there is a gazebo which, in the summer, is used for musical events. Further on, there is a small sports field recently built. On the right side of the garden, there is the basin with the marble sculptural group of Aci and Galatea, inspired by a work of art now found in the Read more [...]

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    Giardino Ibleo

    Giardino Ibleo is a public garden located on the eastern limit of Ragusa Ibla, the ancient part of Ragusa, overlooking the valley of the Irminio river.   SHORT HISTORY Until the early 19th century, the area of the garden was a deserted enclosure, with only some ruins of the Cathedral of San Giorgio, collapsed during the earthquake of 1693. The garden was built in 1858, on the initiative of some local nobles and a large part of the population, who worked for free for its contruction. A fence was added in June, 1907. On that occasion, the entrance to the garden was moved to its current position.   DESCRIPTION The garden rises on a spur of rock, at an altitude of 385 meters, and occupies a surface area of about 15,800 square meters, with a perimeter of about 600 meters. Giardino Ibleo is characterized by the interesting coexistence of plants and trees with beautiful fountains and remarkable buldings, such as the monumental churches of San Vincenzo Ferreri, San Giacomo Apostolo and Sant’Agata, and the Capuchin convent located in the southeastern corner of the garden. In the garden, it is possible to distinguish approximately three areas corresponding to the different phases Read more [...]

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    La Rocca di Cefalù

    La Rocca, locally called u castieddu (the castle), is a fortified cliff 268 meters high overlooking the beautiful town of Cefalù, rising on the Tyrrhenian coast, one of the most important reference points for navigation between Palermo and Messina. The relief of La Rocca has at its base a triangle with the ridges facing east, west and south. On all sides, the Rocca is characterized by very high cliffs that are practically inaccessible. The complex of fortifications (lower walls, upper walls and the castle on the top) is therefore adapted to the extraordinary topography of the site, constituting a real acropolis. The lower western part of La Rocca is characterized by the ruins of a series of mills and pipelines that collected and exploited the water that descended on the slope. On this side, the path fortified in the Middle Ages climbs to the top of the hill. The perimeter halfway to the top is surrounded by crenellated walls dating back to the Middle Ages and completed, in the recent part, in the 15th century. On the western side of the walls, opens the access gate to which the path leads. Still halfway up the hill, about 150 meters above Read more [...]

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    Isola Tiberina

    Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) is a small island in Rome, on the Tiber River, connected to the two banks of the river by Ponte Cestio and Ponte Fabricio.   SHORT HISTORY According to legend, the island was formed in 510 BC from the wheat and grain harvested in the nearby area of Campo Marzio (Field of Mars), a land owned by the hated tyrant Tarquinius Superbus. In the 3rd century BC, the island housed the temple of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. In the first half of the 1st century BC, Isola Tiberina was paved with travertine and the bridges Fabricio and Cestio were built. By then, the island resembled a ship, and an obelisk was erected in the middle, symbolizing the vessel’s mast. In time, the obelisk was destroyed and replaced with a column. After the column was removed in 1867, Pope Pius IX had an aedicula (small shrine) put in its place. In 998, Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, built the Basilica of San Bartolomeo all’Isola, on the ruins of the Asclepius temple. Due to the church, in the early 20th century, the Tiber Island was called Isola di San Bartolomeo (Saint Bartholomew Island) and the Cestius Read more [...]