On June 7th the unique setting of Venice will provide the backdrop for one of the most spectacular events linked to the history of the Bel Paese: the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics, the origins of which date back to Italy’s glorious maritime tradition during the Middle Ages.

Every year, on the first moon of May, a woman would immerse herself in the sea to gather this gold and use it to make a yarn with which she would weave incredible fabrics. It sounds like a myth but it actually still happens in Italy today: this woman is called Chiara Vigo and she lives on the island of Sant’Antioco, the biggest of the islands of Sardinia, to the south west, around eighty kilometers from Cagliari.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization has spent the past few decades identifying and preserving natural and cultural heritage sites around the world, and Italy is home to a significant number of these sites. Discover the beauty and history of Italy at these five amazing sites: