For World Earth Day, let's reconcile with the world through 5 Italian places that embody the 4 elements: Water, Fire, Earth and Air.

World Earth Day is celebrated on 22 April. It was officially established in 1970 to celebrate our planet and remind us to preserve its resources.

The biggest environmental event in the world involves billions of people in almost 200 countries every year. They take the opportunity to turn it into an informative and educational moment at the same time. For this event, Visit Italy has selected 5 Italian destinations inspired by the four elements that connect the human microcosm to the nature macrocosm.

5. Air: the remarkable record in Calabria

Sila National Park

The Sila Park in the province of Cosenza boasts the prestigious record of being the place where you can breathe the cleanest air in Europe. This natural paradise in Calabria, set between the sea and the mountains, covers 74,000 hectares and is home to rich biodiversity.

Majestic ancient forests cover the plateau and immense expanses of greenery. It is crossed by many waterways and also includes lakes. The very high air quality is due to the conspicuous presence of trees and the absence of factories in the whole area.

You can practise various sports and outdoor activities in the park. With the snow-covered landscape, many choose dog sledging and skiing in winter. On the other hand, Nordic walking and horse riding are worth a try in summer. 

4. Fire: volcano excursion

Vesuvius

The bowels of Italy's soil never seem to rest. There are ten active volcanoes in Italy, all of which are located in southern and central regions:

-Stromboli, Lipari, Vulcano (Aeolian Islands), Etna, Pantelleria and Isola Ferdinandea in Sicily;

-Ischia, Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei in Campania;

-Colli Albani in Lazio.

The majesty of these places is equal to the fear they inspire. However, delegated Observatories always keep the eruptive situation under close control. Indeed, it is even possible to go on guided excursions to volcanoes such as Vesuvius and Mount Etna, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The experience of plowing through a mountain with magma bubbling inside is priceless. Of course, it is not a simple walk or trekking activity, but how many people can say they have seen a volcano up close?

3. Earth: natural wellness in Trentino

Forest Therapy

Nature is the essential element for rediscovering personal well-being and balance. Trentino region offers the most inspiration for sensory journeys in contact with nature.

Its magnificent landscapes make it the home of 'natural wellness' and the perfect location for numerous activities to reconcile with the world. You can practise 'forest therapy' at many regional sites. It includes barefoot forest walks, tree-hugging, water walks, forest bathing, etc.

These terms may sound unfamiliar, but they are real therapeutic paths in which the elements of nature become the cure. Take off your shoes, walk barefoot on the grass and then in the streams or rivers: you will leave your everyday "self" behind and let your innermost self re-emerge to free it from the negative energies of city life.

Lightness, simplicity and greater awareness of yourself and of the beauty that surrounds you: the landscapes of Trentino will be your trainer of physical and inner well-being!

2. Water: marine protected areas

Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve

Water is perhaps the most precious of our natural resources and should be protected in all its forms. Italy is home to 27 marine protected areas and 2 underwater parks. With more than 200,000 hectares of sea and 770 kilometres of coastline, Italy's water heritage consists of marine environments whose characteristics are remarkable from a natural and geomorphological point of view.

In particular, they are home to marine and coastal fauna and flora of high scientific and ecological importance. From North to South, each of Italy's dozens of marine and coastal areas represents a treasure trove of biodiversity to be known and safeguarded. However, it is also possible to live active experiences to admire Italy's "liquid heritage" more closely.

For example, in Torre del Cerrano (Abruzzo), it is possible to go bike trekking in the dunes of the local marine protected area. In the Torre Guaceto reserve (Puglia), on the other hand, it is possible to experience a less dynamic but equally fascinating activity. You can observe the protected marine fauna from the coast, boat, or promontory by booking a sea watching session. 

1. Water: underwater marine areas

Italy's only two underwater marine parks are in Campania. The Gulf of Naples is home to the Gaiola Underwater Park and the Baia Underwater Park, both of which are doubly important from a natural and historical point of view.

They are precious archaeological sites covered by the sea. The ancient history of Campania echoes under metres of splendid crystal-clear water. The natural phenomenon of collapsing earth's crust (bradyseism) has been concealing ruins for many years. You can rediscover them only by diving.

On the seabed of Gaiola and Baia Parks, there are the remains of Roman ports, statues, ancient villas and much more. These archaeological sites are part of the larger context of Campi Flegrei, which is immensely rich in wonders on the surface of the earth and at the bottom of the sea.

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