6 reasons to travel to Italy
For centuries, millions of travellers have visited Italy to discover the finer pleasures in life: everywhere you look, there's a wealth of culture, nature and cuisine. If you're hoping to revise your knowledge of the Romans, visit the monuments classed as UNESCO world heritage sights for a change of perspective: a trip to Italy is a must.
Lose yourself in the cultural riches of Florence
Italy has centuries of rich history: Greeks from Sicily, Etruscans from Tuscany, Romans from Latium, Byzantines from Palermo, Normans from Southern Italy, Renaissance artists and Baroque palaces, right through to contemporary design. Italy is a magnet for those who enjoy cultural trips.Florence is a great example of what's on offer. Birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence hosts a thousand marvels: the Duomo, the Giotto bell tower, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi gallery and Ponte Vecchio are some key sights.
A visit toRome, the eternal city, is a rite of passage during a trip to Italy. Rome has three facets: the ancient Rome of the emperors; the Rome of the popes, the capital of the Catholic world, with the Vatican City; and finally, the modern Rome, with its multiple identities, a hugely popular metropolis. To discover Rome's rich art scene, take a walk past the Colosseum, the Forum, Michelangelo's Pietà and the Basilica of Saint Peter to the Trévi fountain: an unforgettable Italian outing!
Admire Italy's lakes
In Lombardy, you'll find Italy's lakes between the Alps and the Pô plain: Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Lake Garda (the largest) and lakes Orta, Lugano and Iseo (smaller). Each of these lakes is unique: one is an Alpine jewel with sapphire-tinted water (Lake Maggiore); another a pearl nestled in Mediterranean countryside and very temperate (Lake Como); another a paradise for watersports fans (Lake Garda); another the perfect destination for romantic getaways (Lake Orta); still others offer splendid views of the rocky scenery and the island of Isola (Lakes Lugano and Iseo).
Roam through the Tuscan countryside
Tuscany in itself reflects the variety of Italy's scenery. The region is well known for its Apennine mountain chain and its coastline, but it's in particular the Tuscan countryside which will blow you away. Its calming scenery is a harmonious blend of untouched nature with cultivated land. All around you, you'll see vast hills, terraced vineyards, green olive groves and willowy cypress trees. The Val d'Elsa is a famous example, with the Colle di Val d'Elsa forest, the villages of Monteriggioni, perched high up, and the vineyards and olive groves of San Gimignano.
Bask in Mediterranean waters Stretching along the coast for several hundred kilometres, Italy's coastline is incredibly varied and beautiful. You'll see sweeping beaches along steep, rocky coasts (Campania), wild dunes populated with Maremma pine trees (Tuscany), majestic promontories with fine sandy beaches by turquoise-coloured water (Apulia), wild, enticing islands (Capri) and intimate coves with crystal-clear water (Calabria).
Savour the pleasures of eating
A stay in Italy means enjoying its gastronomy. Every region is proud of its specialities: polenta gorgonzola in Lombardy; pasta e fagioli (pasta with beans) in Venice; bistecca alla fiorentina in Tuscany; truffle pasta in Umbria; tortellini with parmesan in Emilia-Romagna; porchetta (grilled pork) in Latium; pizza in Campani; and couscous with king prawns in Sicily. Not to mention the wines, such as the renowned Brunello. Mealtimes are a great time to meet the warm, friendly locals. The Italians will tell you about their families and their recipes handed down from generation to generation.