It’s no secret that the entire country of Italy is full of wonders and treasures – from the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (a ranking shared with China) to breathtaking natural landscapes. And the FAI, the Italian National Trust, has a census meant specifically to rank all of Italy’s wonders according to the place they hold in Italians’ hearts.

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The whole purpose of the Luoghi del Cuore (literally Places of the Heart) campaign is to highlight the richness of art and nature throughout Italy by having people vote both online and offline for their favourite places in the Bel Paese. The votes are then compiled in the general ranking which has recently been published – and here is the top five.

Castello di Sammezzano, Tuscany
The Castello di Sammezzano is a one-of-a-kind residence dating back to the 16th century but that obtained its current look a century later when it was bought by a marquis with a fascination for Orientalism. The castle is one of the most important examples of Orientalism in Italy and Europe, and the 187-acres park that surrounds it is open for the public to enjoy.

A picture of the interior of the Castello di Sammezzano
The Castello di Sammezzano is a one-of-a-kind residence that has already topped the ranking once before, in 2016 © greta6 / Getty Images

Railway Nice-Ventimiglia-Cuneo, Liguria and Piedmont
Known as “the railway of wonders,” this particular train line was meant to connect Italy and France as well as the mountains of Piedmont and the seashore of Liguria. The railway is almost two centuries old and it’s an engineering marvel since in less than 50km it climbs up an almost 1000m height difference.

Ponte dell’Acquedotto, Puglia
The Ponte dell’Acquedotto is located in the small but popular town of Gravina di Puglia, and while its exact construction date is unknown it’s almost certain that it was already there in the 17th century. It was originally built to allow people to cross the creek and reach a church on the other side, but it was turned into an aqueduct in the 18th century by the area’s ruling family.

A landscape shot of the bridge at sunset
The bride in Gravina di Puglia dates back to the 17th century and was turned into an aqueduct a century later © Francesco Vaninetti Photo / Getty Images

Bergamo, Lombardy
The city of Bergamo, located at the feet of the Alps, is divided into two very distinct areas. Bergamo Alta is a traditional medieval old town with narrow streets and walls that have today been turned into walk routes, while Bergamo Bassa is the newer part of the city with large public gardens and avenues.

Via delle Collegiate, Sicily
The Via delle Collegiate in the town of Modica is a route connecting three of the churches in Modica’s city centre, churches that already share similar history and traditions. Their institution dates back to the 16th century and they are a treasure chest when it comes to the history of the area and the changes in art and culture that have taken place over the last five centuries.

Several smaller lists have also been also compiled from the votes, like the most beloved seaside location, or the most beloved historical wellness area. The former showed Sicily’s breathtaking Scala dei Turchi as the most voted spot, while the latter had the gardens of the Ospedale Militare in Taranto, Puglia as the winner.

A landscape shot of the Scala dei Turchi beach
The white cliffs called Scala dei Turchi are located near Agrigento in Sicily, and they're one of the most popular seaside destinations in the country ©nikolpetr / Shutterstock

If you’d like to explore the rankings more and see where your favourite place stands you can check out the official website here. And voting is also open for the 2021 ranking – it will remain so until December 15.

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