A democratic republic, ranked as the 25th most developed country of the world, Italy is surrounded by water and is an elongated peninsula. Italy shares its land border in its northern Alpine region with Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and France (moving from east to west). Italian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines of the world. Italian cuisine with its diversity in taste and flavour has influenced not only the cuisines of other European countries but also the cuisine of many Asian countries. Cheese and wine are two major mixes in Italian cuisine. Each area of Italy offers its own specialities. Don’t forget to relish different varieties of Pasta and Pizza. Hotels, bars, restaurants and nightclubs are plentiful in Italy and also cater to the need and budget of every individual.
What to do in Italy
Rome: The capital and the biggest city of Italy, Rome is a global city in the true sense. One of the fashion capitals of the world, a shopping heaven having a 2,500 year old historical and cultural heritage, Rome the Eternal City is one of the most visited capital cities of the world. Situated on the bank of River Tiber, few cities like Rome, offers so many unforgettable and worth visiting places in and around a city. Centro Storico (Historic center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Santa Prassede (a beautiful church), Colosseum (Historic Site, Ancient Ruins), the Galleria Borghese (Art Museum), Pantheon (Historic Site, Ancient Ruins) is arguably the top 5 out of 1160 worth visiting places in and around Rome.
Milan: The second biggest city in Italy, Milan has the largest urban area in Italy and is considered the financial as well as industrial and commercial hub of Italy. Milan is a global city that is visited by nearly 2 million visitors every year. Milan Cathedral (the 4th biggest Cathedral in the world), Santa Maria delle Grazia (a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for Leonardo da Vinci paintings), Duomo (Cathedral), L ‘Ultima Cena (Art Museum), San Siro (a great place for soccer fans and home ground to two of the best teams of Italy (AC Milan and Inter FC), is arguably the top 5 out of 273 worth visiting places in and around Milan.
Naples: Capital of the Campania region, Naples is the third biggest city of Italy after Rome and Milan. No other city of the world has so many historical and monumental churches as Naples has (448 monumental churches). It has one of the largest city centres in the world and this historic centre is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cappella Sansevero (Art Museum), Teatro di San Carlo (Theater, Historical Site), Herculaneum Ercolano (Historic Site), Catacombe di San Gennaro (cemetery, Historic Site), Gesu Nuovo Church (Religious Site) is arguably the top 5 out of 237 worth visiting places in and around Naples.
Sicily: Located in the central Mediterranean and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily holds a prominent place for great archeological and historic sites. Rabbit Beach, Ex Stabilimento Florio (Museum), Stanze al Genio (Speciality museum), Temple of Athena (Religious Site), Valley of the Temples (Ancient Ruins, Religious Site) is arguably the top 5 out of 818 worth visiting places in and around Sicily.
Florence: The capital city of the province of Florence and Tuscany (Italian region) and famous for its history, Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. A city of innumerable museums and art galleries, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, The Duomo (the largest dome in the world built in brick and mortar), Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio is the top 5 out of 480 worth visiting places in and around Florence.
Palermo: A 2700 year old city, Palermo is the capital of the Province of Palermo and the autonomous region of Sicily. It has been a tourist hub for long for its nightlife, unique food culture, churches, music, palaces and buildings. Ustica (Island), Teatro Massimo, Palazzo Branciforte (castle), Mondello (beach town/beaches) is arguably the top 5 out of 159 major tourist attractions in and around Palermo.
Venice: World famous for its artworks, architecture and the beauty of its setting, this historic city is located in northeastern Italy and in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site. Grand Canal, Musica A Palazzo (Opera), Palazzo Ducale (Museum), San Rocco (Historic Sites), Teatro La Fenice (Opera) is arguably the top 5 out of 348 worth visiting places in and around Venice.
Beaches in Italy
Capri: In southern Italy, off the Sorrento Peninsula, Capri has many breathtaking beautiful beaches both on the north and the south side of the island. Most of the beaches provide great amenities, ideal for sunbathing, swimming, playing beach volleyball and relaxing with your family.
Tuscany: Viareggio is the largest beach town of Tuscany and located to the south on the Italian Riviera. This beach town provides great nightlife, sumptuous food and pleasant beaches. Further south in Monte Argentario’s coves and bays, scuba divers can have the best scuba diving experiences. Maremma (in Western Tuscany) provides nearly 100 miles of coastline with crystal clear water and plenty of water sports.
Sicily, Sardinia and Venice provide some lovely beaches with all the amenities needed for relaxing, sunbathing and swimming.
Skiing in Italy
Italy offers unforgettable skiing and winter sports vacations from the Alps (of Northern Italy) to Mt. Etna (Sicily). Many ski resorts in Italy are ideally suited for summer hiking and climbing vacations. In northwest Italy, in the villages of the Piemonte region (that hosted the 2006 winter Olympics) there are 53 ski resorts and nearly 1300 km of runs. Cervinia (near the Swiss Border) offers a run of more than 20 km and is considered to be one of the longest in the world. Courmayeur (an alpine village near the France border) offers the highest ski elevation (2763 meters) with 16 ski lifts. Advanced and expert skiers cross the border into France. Italian Dolomites (near Austria border), Val Gardena, Mt. Etna (Sicily), Abruzzo (Central Italy) provides some great ski resorts and skiing for experienced skiers as well as intermediates and beginners.