On your travels throughout the Mediterranean, you will undoubtedly come across a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Italy alone is home to the most places with that designation at 58, and Spain and France are close behind with 49 and 48, respectively. The icons, like the historic center of Rome, the works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, and the Acropolis in Athens only begin to scratch the surface of the treasures this region holds. Below are four destinations where you can explore UNESCO Sites that may not be as well-known as their aforementioned siblings, but are awe-inspiring nonetheless and play an equally important role in preserving our shared history.
The term Isleña, meaning island girl in Spanish, is what we call my grandmother. A term of endearment exclaimed whenever she walks in the door. ¡Llegó la isleña! (The island girl is here!) I grew up thinking it was a reference to our Cuban heritage, but when I became more inquisitive about our family’s lineage, I discovered that her nickname was a tribute to her Canary Island roots. Her father emigrated to Cuba from Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the nickname, along with a strong emotional connection to Spain, was passed down to her.
Good company, good wine, good welcome,
Can make good people.(Henry VIII, 1.4.6-7)
I boarded a small van with a group of strangers. We exchanged pleasantries and discovered that we were all in Tenerife for different reasons, some for pleasure others for business and me for a little of both. But it was our shared love of wine that was the reason for our paths crossing on this impromptu tour.
His English accent thick with disdain for the way my Miami accent shortcuts words with too many consonants. To his refined ear, it sounded like I said ‘stonehetch,’ but I assure you, I know there’s a letter ‘n’ in there somewhere.
Cover photo: PBS
While Macchu Pichu is the more obvious attraction in Peru (and rightly so), I’ve always leaned toward forgoing the trek to the city in the clouds for an actual flight above the World Heritage-listed rectangles, triangles and swirls. And no, my fascination with this site does not involve a belief in the popular lore that these shapes somehow relate to alien life. I think it’s more amazing that human beings were able to accomplish this extraordinary feat.
Paris welcomes more that forty million visitors per year.
Forty million people attracted by the Parisian mystique, delicious food, avant-garde fashion, Gothic architecture, and extraordinary history.
Out of those forty million, there are 12 people who don’t like it.
Twelve Japanese tourists, on average, every year suffer the devastating blow of disappointment known as the “Paris Syndrome.”
Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome over the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, which hangs in the Uffizi. Michelangelo’s Madonna of the Stairs that is on exhibition at Casa Buonarroti. The incomparable Boboli Gardens dreamed up by Bernardo Buontalenti. Each one commissioned by a member of the Medici family.