Parks, FAI Sites, Refuges and The Unknown Mountains. And much more. For many people, travelling in the Covid era is discovering destinations they would not have thought of before.
Despite the necessarily virtual format, with more than 2.3 million votes in 2021 the FAI Places of the Heart initiative was again a huge success. And as always, there were plenty of surprises in store. Who would have thought, for example, that the most popular place would be a railway? But that's exactly what it is: the spectacular historic Cuneo-Nice railway, overlooking the Val di Roja and the Colle di Tenda between Italy and France. And, thanks in part to the many news items that have featured the city, Brescia Castle, perhaps one of the most beautiful and even underrated castles in northern Italy, has finally regained visibility. But the South has also been very present, with the grandiose Aqueduct Bridge in Gravina di Puglia, restored in 1772, 37 metres high and 90 metres long; or with Modica , which boasts two places of the heart, the San Nicolò Inferiore rock church and the Via delle Collegiate, a route marked by some splendid churches.
Top Parks and Mountains
From North to South, the great feature for holidays between 2020 and 2021 - wherever and whenever possible - was the mountains, a natural and open-air destination par excellence. A different mountain, less "humanized", if not wild then at least more authentic. In view of the 2026 Winter Olympics, Lombardy is preparing to promote its mountains in grand style by focusing on just that: a unique variety of alpine landscapes from west to east where it is not just resorts and ski lifts that mark valleys and peaks, but paths and mountain huts. The mountain refuges of Lombardy are one of the strong points of Lombardy's mountain offerings, now increasingly focused on food and wine and hospitality without losing their Spartan charm.
But not only in Italy, tourism has shifted to nature parks all over Europe . According to figures reported in the New York Times, for example, the Swiss National Park, the oldest in the Alps, has seen an increase in visitors of over 50%, 40% of whom had never been to a national park before. And not without difficulty: in the UK, the Peak District National Park, which covers almost 1,500 square kilometres, was faced with an unexpected boom in visitors without being able to count on its usual volunteers.