FAI spring weekend offers many events across Lombardy

24-25 March. Italy’s environmental foundation opens many doors.

The 26th edition of the traditional “Spring days” of FAI, Italy’s environmental foundation, the equivalent of Britain’s National Trust, takes off this weekend 24-25 March with cultural initiatives all across the nation.

Churches, villas, villages, palaces, archaeological sites, castles, gardens, television studios and music archives are among the hundreds of places – many of them not normally open to the public – which will be thronged with visitors, thanks to staffing by over 25,000 FAI activists and volunteers.

Some 20 sites in Milan alone offer environmental treats. In the city, for example, visitors will be able to admire the ceiling painted by Tiepolo in 1741 in Palazzo Clerici (pictured), one of the most luxurious aristocratic family homes.

By contrast, visitors can marvel at a construction site for Milan’s new M4 metro line, a miracle of modern engineering.

One of the favourite sites in previous editions of the FAI weekends is Palazzo Mezzanotte, named for its architect but better known as Milan’s stock exchange. Visitors can see the former trading hall, used when bidding used to be by shouts, and the remains of a Roman theatre in the basement.

There is an interactive map on the FAI website with full details of the many places to visit in the city or within comfortable reach of a day trip.

A small number of places around the country will be open only to FAI members, but this includes those who sign up on the spot. At all the others, a voluntary contribution is requested, dedicated to the recovery, maintenance and preservation of the historical sites.