Photo Credit: Markus Spiske / Ramrot.com
Editor: Mike Carioscia
Italy is a beautiful country with a diverse range of activities and attractions for people to enjoy. The majority of the most popular places to visit lie within the country’s major cities and it is to these that many thousands of tourists flock each year. However, Italy has lesser known and very weird landmarks and attraction that only the most hardcore Italians know about. Here is an overview of some of the weirdest attractions that Italy has to offer.
1) Lake Reschen
Lake Reschen is located in South Tyrol. It is an artificial lake created by an electricity company who built a dam to provide the area with power. Unfortunately, this meant that the residents had to move away in 1950. The town is now covered by the water and the remains of 163 buildings lie below the surface. Only the bell tower of the church is visible and when the lake freezes over in winter, visitors to the site can walk to the tower, though caution is warned.
2) Lingotto Conference Center
Located on the top of an old Fiat factory is one of the world’s coolest racetracks. When the factory was operating, cars gradually worked their way up the factory as they progressed through the production process. The final stage was the test track on the roof. Although the building is now used as a conference center, concert hall, shopping arcade and theatre; it is possible for people to visit the track at the top of the building.
3) Capuchin Monastery Catacombs
Not for the squeamish or faint-hearted, the Capuchin Monastery Catacombs is one of the most morbid attractions in Italy. Located in the city of Palermo, the catacombs are home to approximately 8,000 corpses. While in many cultures the dead are kept hidden, there is nothing between the living and the dead.
4) The Monsters of Bomarzo
Also known as the Gardens of Bomarzo and the Park of the Monsters, this attraction is best-known for its huge sculptures. Many of these are carved into the rocks and are both fascinating and frightening. One of the most famous sculptures in the park is ‘Orcus’. This gargoyle-like sculpture has its mouth open wide and an inscription that translates as ‘All Thoughts Fly’ on its upper lip. Other sights include dragons, lions, nymphs and turtles.
5) Poveglia Plague Island
This forbidden island lies just half a mile from Venice and has a twisted and dark past. Between the years of 1793 and 1814, the island was a quarantine station for approximately 160,000 infected people who spent their final days there. It is believed that human remains constitute 50 percent of the soil on the island. Poveglia, a man-made island constructed on a fortification, was also used by Napoleon to store weapons.
6) The Sunken City of Baia
The wonders of a Roman Sodom are hidden in an underwater archaeological park. For many centuries, Baia was a popular tourist resort for the Romans. However, the Saracens sacked the city during the 8th century and by 1500 the town was abandoned. Although the remains now lie underwater, visitors can view the archaeological site by glass-bottomed boats, snorkeling or scuba diving.
7) Temple of Valadier
The isolate Temple of Valadier sits inside a mountain cave in Marche. Originally, there was also a Madonna and Child sculpture with the temple, but this is now in a museum. The temple was built in 1928 as a pilgrimage for people who are seeking forgiveness and it is often referred to as the Refuge of Sinners.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Although these attractions may seem weird, they can add a unique element to any Italian vacation. If you have the opportunity to do so, you should definitely add these to your vacation itinerary as you will have an entirely different experience of this fascinating country to people who simply visit the country’s best-known landmarks.
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