Return to Italian Art and Nature After COVID-19
By reservation and in compliance with safety standards
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The National Environment of Italy (FAI) days are back on June 27 and 28, marking a return to Italian art and nature after the hopeful end to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The organization was established in 1975 on the model of the National Trust of England, Wales.
In an unprecedented and surprising edition, Italians and foreign guests are accompanied to discover outdoor places, under the banner of “culture of nature.” FAI Outdoor Days looks at Italy with new eyes to learn about the immense green heritage of the country.
“It is pleasant and instructive to wander amidst an unfamiliar vegetation. The usual plants, like any object that has long been known to us, do not arouse us any thought, and what is it worth looking at without thinking?” wrote Johann W. Goethe, in his “Journey to Italy” book.
Historical monumental parks and gardens, natural reserves and botanical gardens, woods, forests and country sides, millennial trees and bizarre plants, paths immersed in nature and walks in the urban greenery, public gardens to be rediscovered and secret private gardens that are revealed to the public by a giant sequoia that survived the Vajont disaster in 1963 up to the seedbed that produces the urban greenery of the city of Rome every year – these are just some of the places that can be visited in this special edition of the FAI Days.
The event takes on 2 unusual open air days on Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28, 2020, in over 200 places in more than 150 locations in Italy, by reservation and in compliance with safety standards, thanks to the tireless organizational push of the groups of volunteers from the FAI delegations scattered throughout the country.
An initiative to awaken curiosity and intelligence in the face of what surrounds us, to ask ourselves – as Goethe writes – about what we usually see, but do not know if not on the surface, and which will also feature all the FAI assets, for the occasion also focused on “open” proposals declined on the green heritage.
Finally, during the FAI outdoor days, more than 4 hectares of greenery within the walls of the Upper City will be revealed to the public for the first time, a few months after the agreement between the FAI and the Foundation of the imposing Gardens of Palazzo Moroni in Bergamo. This is FAI’s homage to the city that has dramatically suffered from the health emergency and needs to find the well-being and beauty that only nature can offer.
YOU PROTECT WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVE WHAT YOU KNOW
This new edition of the FAI Days is charged with a special and emblematic meaning: the historical moment we are experiencing has forced the whole community to reorganize and reinvent itself, and the FAI is ready to return to offering the public a rich and intense visit experience, respecting maximum safety for all, taking the opportunity to put the “green” outdoor heritage of nature, environment, and landscape of the country at the center of its proposal.
Since its inception, FAI has pursued the goal of bringing Italians closer to nature and the landscape, to rediscover and cultivate a “culture of nature” and to promote knowledge of Italy’s green heritage, starting with its assets.
Our mission is based on the principle that “we protect what we love, and we love what we know” understanding nature, therefore, reveals the way to educate us to “protect it.” Today, it seems easier for an Italian to recognize a monument or a famous work of art than the species of trees around us, but both are fundamental knowledge for an educated man and for a responsible citizen who cares about the protection of the immense Italian heritage of art and nature.
This is why FAI, from the crisis generated by the pandemic, tried to seize an opportunity and for the first time, after 35 editions of FAI Days, it presents a program of openings entirely dedicated to the relationship between culture and nature, involving the goods and the territories in which its delegations operate within the FAI mission. It will be surprising to look at Italy with new eyes and discover all its multiple shades of “green.”
Taking part in the FAI Days is also a way to participate in the Foundation’s mission to care and protect the Italian cultural heritage, which in the over 2 1/2 months of closure has interrupted all activities, from visits to the properties, to the restoration sites, to events nationally.
Now the FAI has restarted for this in addition to the minimum contribution – 3 euros for those who are already enrolled in the FAI, 5 euros for the non-enrolled – required when booking online, all visitors will be able to enroll in the FAI with the reduced rates (reduction of 10 euros) at all open places and Foundation assets. Between botany lessons, visits organized by agronomists, and anecdotes told by historians and landscape experts, the theme of the initiative will always focus on the relationship between man and nature.
For example, at Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como the “raped green” nature forced by man’s hand in unnatural and daring forms will be told “from the large holm oak pruned” to umbrella “to the ficus ripens that wraps in a spiral the columns of the Loggia Durini” as explained by FAI.
In Puglia, at the Abbey of Santa Maria di Cerrate in Lecce, visitors will instead witness the “sick green olive trees” due to the Xylella epidemic. In Sicily, on the island of Pantelleria, the Pantesco Garden of Donnafugata “represents in its typicality a primeval green,” the prototype of the garden, consisting of a single orange tree protected by a dry stone wall, which it guarantees survival according to an ancient cultivation method.