The following pre-post conference holiday programme has been specially prepared for attendees of the International Conference on UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARKS 2018 and their family and friends in the event you would like to visit
Italy before to the conference or remain in the country for a few days afterwards.
An exclusive for this year’s edition, we are also recommending five tours of marvelous Italian cities - Milan, Venice, Genoa, Florence and Naples - enhanced with itineraries at Italian Geoparks for a unique vacation to better appreciate the geological, natural and cultural heritage of this beautiful country. There is also an opportunity to learn even more about the spectacular Dolomites, from west to east, all the way to the amazing city of Venice.
All under the guidance of local experts, who will pass down all the thrill and importance of being in such a special place. The program has also been specifically designed for you to experience Italy’s natural and cultural wonders in total relaxation, while also enjoying entertainment, recreational activities, and our excellent Italian cuisine and fine wines.
An innovative idea to spend a few days in Italy prior to the conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks 2018 on a one-of-a-kind pre-conference tour of the beautiful city of Milan, featuring its cathedral, La Scala opera house, and great many other attractions, and of the nearby Sesia–Val Grande Park with all its wonders before joining the other conference attendees in Madonna di Campiglio.
An excellent opportunity to visit the fascinating maritime city of Genoa with its wealth of history and marvelous, World Heritage Palazzi dei Rolli, which were once home to noble families with ambitions of welcoming dignitaries visiting the country. Genoa also features the Strada Nuova museums, the St. Lawrence cathedral, the old harbor, and the internationally renowned Genoa Aquarium, all of which are essential stops in this intriguing Italian city, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.
The nearby Beigua Geopark, another UNESCO World Heritage site, also has much to offer, such as the marvelous Liguria Trail that runs for roughly 600 km (373 miles) from one end of the Ligurian coast to the other.
Another idea before leaving Italy is to visit Florence, a city that has maintained all of the charm and splendor for which it has always been famous. This enchanting city never ceases to amaze with its works of art, the colorful marble of its churches, and other architectural marvels that embody the role the city played in the development of Renaissance art and of culture generally.
This tour continues with visits to two other major Italian Geoparks, the Apuan Alps, with their extraordinarily rich natural heritage and landscapes and which are famous largely for the beauty of their marble, the depths of their underground karstic caves and abysses, and the Tuscan Mining Geopark, the industrial archeology and natural resources of which make this poly-thematic park an experience that is difficult to match anywhere else.
A tour of Naples, one of the Mediterranean’s largest and most enchanting cities and the third largest Italian city (behind Rome and Milan), a city that owes its fame in part to the charm of its historical center, which boasts a 2,500-year history and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995.
From Naples, it is then possible to visit two other famous Geoparks. The first is the Cilento and Vallo di Diano Geopark, which is Italy’s second largest park and is known for its extraordinary natural landmarks, its diversity, and the mystery and mythology of a land that is so rich in history and culture. The tour includes visits to the Paestum archeological site and the thrilling landscapes of the Castel Civita cave. The other is the Pollino Geopark, which lies within two Italian regions, Basilicata and Calabria, extending from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Ionian Sea, and is considered Italy’s largest protected area. Here, the tour includes a number of guided tours of the park’s nature museum, a walk through Grotta del Romito and visit of the cave’s museum, and a visit of the Arbëreshë town of Civita, one of Italy’s most beautiful towns with a view of Belvedere del Raganello.
To complete the tour, we recommend a visit to Matera and its Sassi districts, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993 and features natural caves that were fashioned into homes which remain in use to this day.
One of the world’s most spectacular cities, where water is constantly seeking to encroach on land, Venice is visited every day by thousands of tourists. In this uniquely alluring city, time seems to have stopped, catapulting you back into the glorious past of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. It is a sort of open-air museum with unforgettable nooks and alleyways in which history, architecture and art intertwine from St. Mark’s Square all the way to new, modern Constitution Bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava.
For those of you who may feel like you were unable to fully appreciate the Dolomites because of the dense calendar of events at the Geopark conference, we recommend two more days dedicated to this fascinatingly diverse territory, one that is rich in both history and culture. The sheer number and concentration of carbonate rock formations in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and with their characteristic pale-pink color, along with geological traits that provide an excellent look at Mesozoic marine life, make this territory truly extraordinary. Traveling through the Dolomites from west to east one can admire all of the geological features of this series of nine Dolomite mountain ranges, all of which were named UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2009.