Italy's secret sites open for FAI Spring Days 2022

Historic sites across Italy open for 2022 edition of Giornate FAI di Primavera.

Around 700 noted Italian buildings and historic sites open their doors to the public on the weekend of 26-27 March as part of the annual Spring Days initiative organised by the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI).

The sites include rarely-opened palaces, castles, abbeys, libraries, parks, nature trails and gardens in 400 towns and cities across Italy, in what is the 30th edition of the popular event.

Some of the highlights on this year's itinerary include:

Rome: the Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, or Villa Aurora, the palace with a Caravaggio mural that goes up for auction again on 7 April; and the 16th-century Collegio Romano complex housing Italy's culture ministry which will open the usually inaccessible Spadolini Room and Meteorology Room.

MilanPalazzina Appiani, built by the French in the early 19th century as the guest residence to host the family of Napoleon.

Turin: the neo-Gothic Montestrutto Castle which was constructed around a tower dating to the ninth century.

Genoa: the Mackenzie Castle, an eclectic city manor in Renaissance and neo-Gothic style built at the end of the 19th century by the then-unknown architect Gino Coppedè.

Naples: the so-called English Cemetery, or Cimitero acattolico di S. Maria delle Fede, the final resting place of many Swiss, German, American, Irish, Scottish and English people who lived in Naples, were passing through on the Grand Tour, or were merchants or sailors.

Similar to Britain’s National Trust, FAI works to preserve and promote Italy’s cultural heritage through education, restoration and annual open days.

Since it began in 1993, the spring open day initiative has attracted more than 11.6 million visitors.

The complete list of participating buildings and monuments, as well as visiting times can be seen on the FAI website.