Kefalonia, Greece

Kefalonia is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea known for its chasms. It is the largest and most mountainous of the Ionian Islands. The main cities are Argostoli, the capital, Lixouri in the peninsula of Paliki, and Sami. More than a third of the inhabitants of the island are in Argostoli. The island has remarkable natural formations, you can find katavothres also known as sea mills (holes that swallow sea water), the cave of Melissani and Drogarati cave. Its highest point is Ainos Mount (1628 meters) with its national park created to protect the pine of Kefalonia. Unfortunately it is an earthquake zone. The island remained mostly wild and that’s what today it brings a tourist who appreciates this kind of condition that does not exist elsewhere. The island had a significant emigration and many of its inhabitants have gone to the United States, Canada or Australia. To visit: St. George fortress, the ruins of the fortress of Assos, the remains of St Mark’s Church, the underground lake Melissani, the caves of katavothres, the museum and the library of Korgialenios, the remains of the Roman city in Skala, St. Gerasimos monastery; among others.

Tips

There is a cave 4 km southwest of Sami that descends to a depth of 95 meters and it s upper limit is 60 meters under sea level. If your visit is especially in summer, find out because it is possible to attend concerts because of the very good acoustic sound. Its temperature is constant at 18 ° C with a humidity of 90%, so it would be convenient to bring a jacket or a sweater long sleeves.

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Viggianello, Potenza, Basilicata, Italy

Viggianello is an Italian town in the province of Potenza, Basilicata, located at the foot of the Pollino in the Mercure Valley. It is considered on the list of most beautiful villages in Italy. The point of the highest town is the castle of Roman origin. The Normans built the square tower and restored the walls enclosing the village, but unfortunately we find nearly no traces. The oldest church, Byzantine and Norman, dedicated to St. Nicolas, is in ruins and retains traces of ancient frescoes. The Byzantine chapel of St. Sebastian hosts a precious wooden statue dedicated to Blessed Stefano Seno. Nearby is the calvary, made with local stone, in 1611. In the chapel of the Holy Trinity, we find a typical Byzantine Basilian dome and there are also traces of frescoes. In the mother church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, Byzantine, there are many works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there is a baptismal alabaster fountain  of the sixteenth century, a marble altar of the eighteenth century, clams in white marble of XIX century, a  pipe organ dated of 1880, a Virgin made in stone of sixteenth century, a wooden statue of the saint patron, a relic of the Holy of Alexandria and a crypt where there are, among many burials, three mummified priests sitting on a bench and covered in gold clothes. The church of Santa Maria della Grotta has a white stone Renaissance portal. The economy is based on tourism, which is growing. In the products of the region there are olives, grapes, cereals, fruit, cheese with the strong presence of raising goats and cattle. There are also a number of archaeological sites.

Tips

There is plenty to see in the village, but if you want to enjoy your visit in conjunction with a celebration of the country, consider that at Easter there’s a Via Living Crucis, the first week after Easter and last week of August there are festivities in honor of St. Francis of Paul. The third Sunday of August is the celebration of the Madonna del Carmine, festivities related to crops, especially wheat, and the fertility of the fields.
The pilgrimage to the Madonna dell’alto (900m) in the old town, is the last Sunday of May and the first Sunday in September. A simple gesture made popular devotional prayers and songs that are full of effort and boldness for the long trail that connects the old town to the Sanctuary (about 15 km). In May, the Virgin is climbed to the mountain where it remains for three months until September to return to the Church of St. Francis of Paul.
Another ancient tradition of the village is the festival of fires on March 19th and April 2nd where they are burned in the streets of the old town and neighborhoods as a sign of good luck and good wishes for a fruitful spring and auspicious season.

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Cetona, Siena, Toscana, Italy

Cetona is an Italian municipality of the province of Siena, in Toscana that since 2001 is included in the list of the most beautiful Italian towns. You can see Garibaldi Square in the middle of the town with an important palace with a notice saying Garibaldi and his wife slept there in 1849. You can also find two interesting churches St-Mary’s Annunciation that make part of the houses of the town with its rich interior artwork fating from the XIIth century and St-Michael’s Arcangelo just opposite it., founded in 1155. There’s also a stone fountain in the square. You can also find Rivellino Tower which is a vestige of Cetona’s wall of defence; actually, this tower is one of the entrance to the historic center. To see: the government building, the Holly Trinity church, the Monastery of St-Francis, the Civic Museum, among others.

Tips

If you visit Cetona in April, you’ll see a very beautiful festival Cetona in flower, on April, 25th. The square is full with blossoms and many private gardens are open for a visit. There are also different activities for the whole family.

Another interesting event takes place at the end of July-beginning of August with the Race of the Ceramic Pitcher where men and women take part or a race carrying water pitchers of different weights around the square and trying not to lose any water.

Enjoy going to the Belvedere Archeodromo, an outdoor park outside the town; it’s very interesting cause it’s an Archaeological Park. It’s good to visit with children.