What museums or attractions have you discovered on road trips?
The recent launch of the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo proved to be my first time in Italy, which obviously is on any car-nut's list of places to go. But not on the mainland where Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati ply their trade, but in Sicily. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, and has a pretty amazing history and mix of cultures and architecture styles thanks to several very different groups of conquerors over the years.
But one thing Sicily is also known for is the Mafia. La Cosa Nostra.
So when one of the other Canadian journalists on the trip mentioned there was actually a Mafia museum around, I figured great, but probably too far away from where we were staying. Turns out the Museo Della Mafia is in the town of Salemi, which our route was supposed to pass closely by on the second day. Everyone agreed it would be worth the detour, especially since we weren't in a rush to catch a flight at the end of the day.
Salemi is the very definition of old European city with tiny spiderweb of streets, alleys, walkways, staircases and more. After fighting our way to the city centre and - miraculously - finding a parking spot, it still required plenty of walking around and wrong turns to find the place.
The Mafia exhibit was a part of a local museum that focused more on the region's history, and once upstairs where the above photo was taken, we certainly were in for a shock. One curator (through the rough translation of our colleague) said that there was no romanticising here. No Godfather or Goodfellas. Just mini-documentaries (unfortunately in Italian, but general enough to get the drift), and a maze-full of walls covered in reproduced front-page stories from some of Sicily's important newspapers.
The photos weren't glorified, nor censored. Just as true a depiction of how the island's suffered under the Mafia for hundreds of years. A pretty humbling way to spend a couple hours, but I would have felt like I'd missed out otherwise.
Have you made similar trips or out of the way discoveries? Given that it's almost road-trip season again, do you have favourite places to visit that you'd recommend? Let us know in the comments!