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Top 5 Odd Tourist Attractions in Italy

Remains of Public Baths, Pompeii

While Italy is home to countless masterpieces of architecture and art, it is also home to a number of odd sights that show the crazy side of this country’s culture. Here are 5 of these odd tourist attractions in Italy:

  1. L.O.V.E., Milan
    Nothing says “F***ing capitalism!” than this sculpture of a giant hand flipping the bird, located right in the heart of the country’s financial district. Located in Piazza d’Affari, in front of the Italian stock exchange headquarters, is the sculpture entitled L.O.V.E.

    Created by Maurizio Cattelan in 2010, the sculpture got its name from four Italian words: Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità (Freedom, Hate, Vengeance, Eternity). Seen as a critique of the banking system that brought Italy down to its knees in 2008, the work is also quite political. Instead of the four other fingers folded back, they are actually cut off; if the fingers are complete, it would form a fascist salute, a nod to the country’s troubled past.

  2. La Scarzuola, Montegabbione
    While it was originally a convent founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1218, don’t expect this place to be a site of pilgrimage. With the convent and the surrounding areas bought by architect Tomaso Buzzi in the 1950s, it eventually became a playground of sorts for the builder.

    Buzzi drew up a plan for the ideal city—Città Ideale—and proceeded to construct it next door. Composed of seven theaters in different sizes, built in a mix of architectural styles, Città Ideale fulfilled its creator’s vision: a juxtaposition of secular thought against the religious ideals espoused by the convent next door.

  3. Castello Incantato di Sciacca, Sicily
    Imagine this: rows upon rows of stone faces staring back at you, each one painstakingly carved by hand; something that’s both haunting yet beautiful at the same time. That’s one of the sights at the Castello Incantato di Sciacca (The Enchanted Castle of Sciacca) in Sicily.

    Created by Filippo Bentivegna from 1929 to 1964, this garden of more than a thousand stone faces was said to represent the people he had met during his travels around America and Italy. While Bentivegna was regarded as a madman during his lifetime—he lived alone on the site, just carving these faces—these works are now regarded as a great example of outsider art.

  4. La Specola (Museum of Natural History), Florence
    Madame Tussaud’s, this is not. La Specola, considered the oldest public museum in Europe, houses one of the world’s largest and finest collection of wax figures. But don’t go looking for celebrity replicas here, as these models were originally made as a substitute for dissecting cadavers. Hence, you could see various figures splayed open to display intricately sculpted innards, from organs and muscles down to the veins. With some cut-up models posed in semi-erotic poses, it’s no surprise that this museum was once the favorite haunt of the Marquis de Sade.
  5. The Lupanar of Pompeii
    Speaking of erotica, the Romans really knew their stuff. One testament to this is the Lupanar Grande at the ancient city of Pompeii, or in modern parlance, a brothel. Here, walls were filled with frescoes of sexual acts; while there were ten small private rooms with stone beds, available for the customers of the prostitutes plying their trade. Ancient graffiti can be also found etched on its walls, a reminder that as glorious ancient civilizations may be, they’re still also made by humans.

Interested in visiting any of these sites? Contact us at Tour Italy Now for a custom tour!

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By Priscila Siano (266 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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