Parks dedicated to nature will welcome visitors this weekend in honor of the 28th annual Spring Days (Giornate di Primavera). The weekend is organized by the nonprofit Fondo Ambiente Italia (FAI), which preserves historical landmarks and so far protects over 11,000 properties (many of which are private and only open to the public for these special days). Fifteen of these are historical and cultural landmarks in the Tuscan region. Typically the annual weekend occurs at the end of March, but due to the coronavirus emergency, the event has been postponed to this weekend, June 27 and 28. FAI also organizes an Autumn version of this event; the 2018 edition saw a water theme akin to the natural greenery motif of this year’s program.
2020 will see a special all-outdoor edition thanks to anti-COVID safety standards. Booking will be mandatory and it will be required to pay a minimum contribution of three euro for FAI members and five for all other visitors. This is a stark change to previous years as admission was typically free, with the three euro donation only a suggestion. But then again, these donations are particularly important this year after months of lockdown.
Those who wish to partake in the two-day itinerary will enjoy beautiful parks, nature reserves, and botanical gardens. Properties in the Tuscan region will celebrate the intersection between nature and culture. The Fattoria di Celle in Santomato in the province of Pistoia — one of the most beautiful park-museums in Italy which houses the Gori environmental art collection — will be open. In Florence specifically, the gardens of Villa Caruso di Bellosguardo in Lastra a Signa, Villa Guicciardini Corsi Salviati in Sesto Fiorentino, and Villa Guicciardini in Cantagallo will also be open. And at the Certosa di Pontignano, you can enjoy seeing decades-old lemon trees and a breathtaking view of the countryside and the city of Siena. If you want to see more fruit, visit the garden on Villa Sermolli in Buggiano which is known for its lemons, mandarins, and oranges.
In addition to these gardens, the nature reserve of Padule di Fucecchio will be open to visitors who want to experience the largest Italian marshland in addition to other landmarks including the famous Torre and Casa Campatelli in San Gimignano, the portico of Santa Maria delle Grazia in Arezzo, and the Rocco Silvano di Castell’Azzara in the province of Grosseto. More botanical treasures open to the public will include Paola Fanucci’s in Ponte Buggianese where one can enjoy open-air rooms. For the complete list of the itinerary consult FAI’s website here. The FAI spring (or perhaps I should say summer) days are the perfect weekend adventure for Italians after months of lockdown. (elizabeth berry)