Oh Italy, what can we say? It’s so easy to fall in love with your beautiful buildings, your amazing pasta, sensational ice cream and ridiculously handsome people, that picking just 5 highlights seems almost impossible…
This boot shaped peninsula really does have it all; from the snow-capped Alps in the North, to the balmy poplar lined rolling hills of Tuscany to southern mountains of Calabria. It has more history than you can shake a stick at and enough attractions to last a life time. Here is just a taster of what you can discover…
5 WAYS TO EXPERIENCE THE VERY BEST OF ITALY
FALL FOR THE CHARACTER OF ROME
The best way to explore this ancient city is to simply… get lost in it. Around every corner is a new discovery, a fabulous fountain, a momentous monument, even a ginormous gelato (or seven).
Not to be missed is the Vatican (take at least half a day to see it properly), the Colosseum (be wary of the Russell Crowe look-alikes dressed in gladiator costumes by the entrance charging €30 a picture), and the forum, which feels like a great stage on which history was played out. Sitting in the afternoon sun on the Spanish steps, watching the life of the city sweep by is a perfect way to end a day in the eternal city, though one day will never be enough in Rome.
LOSE YOURSELF IN ART
Italy has produced some the greatest artists the world has even known. Leonardo, Donatello,Raphael, Michelangelo and many others who were not immortalised in Ninja Turtle form.
The Vatican and its museums are obvious draws, and it’s hard not to feel a little awed gazing up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or into the eyes of Leonardo da Vinci’s Saint Jerome. Outside the capital are other gems such as the Last Supper fresco on the walls of a convent in Milan and the birth of Venus (that one where she’s coming out of the shell) which hangs in Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
ABSORB THE POIGNANCY OF POMPEII
Much of the Italian history can seem so removed from the present that it’s hard to imagine what the lives of the Italian people once was.
However, Pompeii provides an enthralling, if sometimes quite gruesome, antidote to this distance. The casts of the victims of Vesuvius’ eruption, which include sleeping figures, embracing couples and even dogs and pigs, along with some beautifully preserved architecture, tell an incredible story which will stay with you long after you leave Pompeii’s ancient streets.
TREK THROUGH THE DOLOMITES
Italy is a country dominated by its fabulous cities; and while Verona, Genoa and Milan are fantastic additions to any itinerary, why not get back to nature and go for a trek among the beautiful Dolomites.
Unbelievable scenery coupled with bracing mountain air and delicious local food will clear the smoke from your lungs and leave you with a new lease of life… and very tired feet!
GLIDE THROUGH THE CANALS OF VENICE
The capital of masquerade (if that was a thing) and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Venice has suffered somewhat from its incredible popularity. If you’re heading to Italy in peak season, the crowds of people are so enormous that it’s best to skip Venice and come back when you can actually see the Rialto Bridge!
Pick the right time however and the winding maze of canals, stunning (if subsiding) architecture and a history, which is in equal parts bloody and romantic, will simply take your breath away!