ARIES – The first sign of the zodiac, these rams love to be number one and aren’t afraid to dive into challenging situations, no matter how hard they may be. The same is true of MATERA, a city dug into a rocky outcrop in Basilicata whose challenges are (quite literally) as hard as stone. Annoyed by excessive details and needless nuances, Aries would love the intense primality of Matera, where until 1952, many residents lived in the Sassi, a network of cave dwellings carved into the mountainside of the ravine on one side of the city. Aries are intensely energetic, sporty and quite impulsive (they think after they leap) and would have a field day exploring and running around the bridges, caves and endless hiking paths of the Murgia Materana Park. And in navigating this intense landscape, Aries’ innate sense of leadership and ambition would be much appreciated. The scorching heat of this region of Italy also matches that of Aries’ tempers: although their fiery outbursts don’t last long (the zodiac sign is named after the Roman god of war after all), it’s best to avoid them until they’ve chilled out.
TAURUS – Although the perfect day for a Taurus, the bulls of the zodiac, would be spent cozied up in bed with a good movie and cup of tea, Taureans know how to roll up their sleeves. “Work hard, play easy,” could be their motto. Ambitious, focused and stubborn, these earth signs love stability and security and know how to appreciate the moment for a glass of red. It may come as no surprise that TURIN, whose name (in Italian, Torino) literally translates to “little bull”, is the city of the Taurus. A well-kept city that has never relied on the whims of tourism, the capital of Piedmont is close to the region’s bucolic hills of wine country and has a robust cinematic history (the National Museum of Cinema, located in the skyline-making Mole Antonelliana tower is a must!)–perfect for those snug movie nights… or days.
GEMINI – Geminis have big personalities. Often because they have two. Sicily’s second-largest city, CATANIA, perfectly reflects the zodiac twins’ spirit. The Gemini duality is often mistaken for a two-faced nature, but although one of the Gemini’s twins is social, kind and positive and the other is cold and detached, these air signs almost never have hidden agendas. Catania likewise has two sides–one of immense Baroque beauty and another of grunge and grit. But it’s exactly this undercurrent of scruffiness and darkness that makes Geminis and Catania fascinating. It would be remiss to speak of Catania without mentioning Mount Etna, the fiery, active volcano just 30km from the city. As Catanians never know when ash might rain down upon them, they really know how to live in the moment, just like playful Geminis who don’t let a moment go to waste, jumping from happy hours to birthday parties to beach clubs. Because of this predisposition, the twins love variety and Catania, a city that has been ruled by many different cultures over the centuries (Greek, Spanish, Arab, Norman and more), contains a diversity and dynamism in which Geminis would easily thrive. Geminis are very physically expressive, especially with their emotions: these chatty twins are known for talking with their hands, and although all of Italy is known for its gestures, the Sicilian fervor for la mano a borsa and il gesto dell’ombrello is unmatched.
CANCER – These homebodies are natural caregivers with intense connections to their emotions. BARI, where nonne line the city’s cobblestoned alleys, rolling out fresh orecchiette without even leaving their doorsteps, is the perfect place for Cancers. It’s no coincidence that the shape of orecchiette resembles that of Cancers’ crab shells. Cancers are self-protective, shielded by hard shells that can come off as cold or distant, but once you turn them over, you see their soft sides–gentle, compassionate and in the case of orecchiette, filled with a rich pasta sauce. Cancers prefer a comforting, home-cooked meal above any dinner out: they’d never get enough of the cuisine of the capital of Puglia, a region renowned for its cucina povera–cozy and exploding with flavor just like a Cancer.
LEO – These lions are spirited, theatrical and passionate and are not afraid to do what they want, when they want. Consequences are rarely on their headstrong minds, much like Neapolitans who drive full-speed into bustling intersections. For these fire signs, the city of NAPLES, beneath the active volcano of Vesuvius, is a perfect match, particularly when it comes to their penchants for chaos. Leos like to stir up chaos just for the thrill of it and the same often feels true of Naples, a disorganized chaos of bumper-to-bumper traffic, narrow alleyways, mopeds and “one-way streets”. Navigating Naples takes self-confidence and assertiveness–two traits that Leos are never lacking. You can immediately feel the magnetic energy of a lion (or a Neapolitan) when they enter a room, and no matter what negative characteristics they may have, it’s hard not to love them. Although both are notoriously proud to the point of egomania, Leos and Neapolitans are also intensely loyal to their family and friends (as anyone who’s read Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend would know) and generous (in every way)… Leos would happily participate in the Neapolitan tradition of caffé sospeso!
VIRGO – This earth sign, represented by the goddess of wheat and agriculture, would thrive in FLORENCE, a city surrounded by fertile hills and a region rich in agriculture from the plains of Maremma to the vineyards of Chianti. Logical and systematic, Virgos are detail-oriented perfectionists who can drive themselves crazy chasing the “ideal”. Florence may be the capital of Tuscany, but it was also the nexus of the Italian Renaissance, a movement that preoccupied itself with sublime perfection in all ways–the human form, urban planning, art, architecture… Brunelleschi (of the Duomo’s dome), Da Vinci and Michelangelo–all three of whom have been called “notorious perfectionists”–created some of their greatest works in Florence, many of which can still be seen today. Famously, Michelangelo, unhappy with the progress of his sculpture La Pieta, took a hammer to the Carrara marble. For those Virgos who need a reminder that imperfections can be beautiful, the unfinished, flawed Pieta rests in Florence’s Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
LIBRA – The most romantic of the zodiac, these air signs are unashamed aesthetes in constant pursuit of beauty and art. Libras love for their environments to reflect their taste for the exquisite: what better place than VENICE, which shimmers and glitters with gold around every corner? Thanks to its many artisans and yearly Biennale, Venice has beauty and art in abundance, easily satisfying Libras’ desire for the two (plus, the Biennale’s endless drama is great for gossip-loving Libras). Represented by the scales, Libras are devoted to harmony and balance–a value which the capital of Veneto, in a precarious balance between water and land, is well aware of. This need for equilibrium can also make Libras chronically indecisive, but at Venice’s ciccheti bars, in which it’s easy to pick multiple little bites, Libras will feel comfortably safe from FOMO. Plus, this sociable sign is guaranteed to be the life of the party at Carnevale: A night of wild dancing? In intricate costumes? Sign Libras up!
SCORPIO – Scorpios, with their boundless passion and power, are often mistaken for fire signs, and yet these scorpions are actually water signs: in GENOVA, wandering the dark, narrow caruggi of the city, you’re quick to forget you’re just a few meters from the sea. But the port city and capital of Liguria derives its strength from the water just like a Scorpio. For over seven centuries, from the 11th century to 1797, Genova was the capital of one of the most powerful maritime republics in the world and a leader in Europe’s commercial trade. The city’s naval power was one to be envious of and made it subject to many (many!) attacks over the centuries, from the Carthaginians in 209 B.C. to the French-Savoys in 1625. It’s no wonder that Genova built a scorpion shell of its own (the region is also known for its Brutalist architecture). Scorpios and Genoa are tough-minded and hate being told what to do, and although Scorpios are often mistaken as nefarious, they just know what they want and aren’t afraid to be strategic to get it. Like a Scorpio, Genova knows how to lie in wait–through sieges, invasions and destruction–ready for the exact moment to sting.
SAGITTARIUS – There’s no better place than CAGLIARI, capital of Sardinia, for the independent Sagittarius (350 kilometers from the mainland, Sardinia is undoubtedly the most independent of the Italian regions). Passionate, curious and adventurous, Sagittariuses hate feeling caged or bored. Luckily, a city like Cagliari has a bounty of nature at its fingertips: on one side, the sea and on the other, the mountains. Born-to-explore Sagittariuses will have a field day in the rugged landscape of Sardinia, from the wild island of Caprera to the Valle della Luna (Valley of the Moon). In 1971, one of the first Italian hippie communes was founded in these natural caves and today, is still populated by this community–some permanently and some for a short period of time. A place where you can climb rocks and nothing is tying you down? Sounds pretty Sagittarius to us.
CAPRICORN – Ambitious, resilient and logical Capricorns match the energy of MILAN, the second-largest city in Italy and the country’s primary financial hub (Capricorns are quite economically savvy!). Capricorns are determined to achieve their goals and often come off as conservative and controlled–much the way gridded Milan seems cold and industrialist to those who don’t know it well. But the reason why Milan and Capricorns are such a true fit is not their big-picture mindsets, but because they are misunderstood in exactly the same way. Only the ones close to a Capricorn see this goat’s untamed side, a side that really knows how to party (another round of natural wine, anyone?). The same is true of Milan: it’s not easy to win her over, but once you get beneath the city’s surface, you’ll find there’s a whole lot of fun to be had from the bohemian Brera neighborhood to the bar-filled Buenos Aires district.
AQUARIUS – On the outside, you can spot an Aquarius, the most rebellious sign in the zodiac, by their colorful dyed hair or funky sense of style. What you can’t see, however, is their humanitarian, innovative and intellectual nature. What better place for an Aquarius than BOLOGNA–the lively, liberal and hip capital of Emilia-Romagna known as “la dotta [because it’s home to the oldest university in Europe], la grassa [because there’s lots of trattorias with heavy, comforting food], la rossa [for the red bricks of its buildings…alternatively, for its historic Communist leanings]”. Aquariuses hate small talk and would much rather discuss the “greater good” and how to change the world: they’ll find ample partners for revolution planning in the University of Bologna’s student population… a topic best discussed over a bowl of tortellini in brodo. Plus, they’ll fit right in at the discoteca with their avant-garde fashion!
PISCES – They say “ROMA non si spiega, si vive” (“Rome cannot be explained, it is lived”). Replace the word “Rome” with “Pisces” and the statement is just as true. One of the most creative and dreamy signs of the zodiac, Pisces have boundless imaginations and Italy’s capital, with its dramatic monuments, is the perfect playground for Pisces’ creativity. Constantly divided between fantasy and reality (represented by their symbol of two fish swimming in opposite directions), Pisces would make excellent employees at Rome’s Cinecittà. These water signs need to feel in love all the time and that’s an easy task for Rome to satisfy: the light! The colors! The people! The history! As Rome is, Pisces are famous for disorganization and messiness, counterintuitively indispensable for their inner machinations and creative process. Pisces have a unique gift for finding beauty in chaos, seeing the divine in the material, and although the glory of Rome’s past is lost in the eyes of many, Pisces see it in everything, from the little sanpietrini to the grand Colosseum. Lucky that Pisces are patient, because in Rome, the bus is never on time… except when you don’t need it to be. To really live in the Eternal City, the chaos should never be fought, it should be surrendered to… well this water sign knows how to go with the flow.