Italy, the historical centre of the Roman Empire, boasts more cultural sights and attractions than you could ever hope to see in a single visit. In fact, Italy lays claim to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world (47 in total), and many of these awe-inspiring attractions – often rather casually located amid the hustle and bustle of modern city-life – are essential to an understanding of contemporary western civilisation. From the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to the intricate Gothic architecture of Cathedral Square, to the almost obscene wealth of artwork housed in the galleries of Tuscany, a holiday in Italy is nothing short of a compulsory experience.
Of course, Italy’s culture does not only belong in the past – the country remains on the cutting-edge of haute couture, and watching the famously stylish locals clip along cobblestoned streets in six-inch stiletto heels is almost a tourist attraction in itself. Shopaholics will feel as though they’ve found paradise, browsing the boutique stores of Milan’s Fashion Quadrilatero; while gastronomes should prepare themselves for a holiday punctuated by unforgettable meals. The world-famous Italian cuisine is, naturally, even more delicious, the flavours more sophisticated, when prepared in its homeland – and visitors to Italy can look forward to trying interesting regional variations of their favourite pizza and pasta dishes.
Whether you opt for a holiday in Venice, where the songs of gondoliers are carried on the evening breeze; or you choose to relax on the staggering Amalfi coastline; or you find yourself in Verona, sipping an espresso in a crowded piazza while the sun sinks behind a skyline of Gothic spires; one thing’s for sure, your holiday in Italy will be an experience you won’t soon forget.
Littered with more than 3,000 years of history, Italy is a sightseer’s paradise. Spend some time in Rome taking in famous sites like the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, and the Pantheon. With artworks on display from the likes of da Vinci, Caravaggio and Botticelli, it’s a visual buffet for all visitors.
Head north to explore the canals of Venice by gondola, or indulge in the wonderful shopping in the fashion capital of Milan. A little further is the magical city of Florence, teeming with culture and Italian flair. Or one can continue south past Rome to Naples and explore the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, destroyed by Mount Vesuvius, which can be seen standing sentinel over the city. Italy takes a lifetime to explore properly because there is so much on offer for visitors. From the gondola-lined canals of Venice to the white sandy beaches of San Remo, to the Alps, Dolomites and Apennines, Italy has everything from beach holidays to luxury mountain ski resorts and a whole lot more in between.
The most popular time of year to visit Italy is during the summer months when most of the country can be enjoyed like a fine Italian wine – slowly. A trip to the rolling hills of Tuscany is in order to sample some fine wine and olive oil, as well as plenty of old style Italian cuisine, while taking in the scenery of cypress trees, lush vines and olive groves. But if you’ve got a skiing holiday in mind, head to the Italian Alps and visit the resorts of Courmayer and Brevil Cervinia which boast world class skiing.