By Claudia Quesito
At the beginning of 2020, Italy was the first country in the Western world to be hit by COVID-19 and its immediate response has been “strong and effective,” as reported by the WHO. Italians were strictly locked down for two months: schools, offices, stores, and any kind of recreational activities were closed, and people could not go out other than for work or urgent matters that could not be postponed.
After the initial shock, many cultural institutions have organized themselves to be available online, offering virtual tours, workshops, lectures, and such. It’s not the same as the actual, physical experience, but as they say, piuttosto che niente, meglio piuttosto (which literally translates “rather than nothing, better rather,” meaning anything is better than nothing).
And so, you can now make virtual visits to the Duomo di Milano (the largest church in Italy and a fine example of gothic architecture, overlooking a big, airy piazza); the Palazzo Reale in Genova (if you are feeling more baroque style); the amazing Terme di Caracalla in Roma (which dates back to 212 CE, covers an area of 1,100,000 square feet and—as strange as it sounds—inspired Chicago’s Union Station and the original Penn Station in New York City).
Along this line, many museums started offering virtual tours as well, including the MAXXI in Roma; the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milano (where, within the My Brera project, each member of the staff presents a piece of artwork through their personal perspective); the Museo Egizio in Torino; the MAMbo in Bologna; and the Galleria degli Uffizi in Firenze, just to name the most famous ones.
If you are not into traditional visual art, you may want to explore the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia in Milano, the biggest science and technology museum in Italy. Or maybe the Triennale Milano, a must-see for design lovers. Or why not explore the arte dei motori? The Museo Ducati in Bologna and the Museo Ferrari, based in Maranello—where else?—will allow you to dive into past and present legendary Ducatis and Ferraris.
The options are endless in a country rich in art—and initiatives as well, in this case. Sustaining art and culture is always a good idea—and practicing the language is too, so make sure to select the Italian language while touring museums and such online!