"Italy has always been at the centre of European history, from the glories of Ancient Rome to the cultural flowering of the Renaissance, and it’s easy to forget that a unified Italian nation has only existed since the late 19th century."
Touring in Italy
Italy has always been at the centre of European history, from the glories of Ancient Rome to the cultural flowering of the Renaissance, and it’s easy to forget that a unified Italian nation has only existed since the late 19th century. The peninsula’s history as a fractious collection of rival city states is reflected in a patchwork of regional dialects and traditions, and there is still a deeply felt divide between the wealthy, urbanised North and the rural South. The sights of Rome alone could take up the entirety of your holiday, and yet Italy’s majestic capital is just one amongst a whole constellation of magnificent cities rich in culture, architecture and history.
Marvel at the Renaissance treasures of Florence, get lost amongst the impossibly romantic canals of Venice, and shop till you drop in Milan’s upscale fashion district. The glittering Amalfi Coast and the pastel-hued villages of the Cinque Terre add a dash of glamour, while the islands of Sardinia and Sicily are an entirely different proposition, each with its own distinct culture and history. When it comes to natural beauty Italy delivers in spades, from the spectacular peaks of the Italian Alps and the stunning Lakes to the fiery volcanoes of the Aeolian Islands. And all of this comes with a side order of the most mouthwatering cuisine on the planet, served up by some of the friendliest and most engaging people you’re ever likely to meet.
Touring Highlights of Italy
- Rome, the ‘Eternal City’, is one of the world’s great capitals. The traffic may be crazy, the Colosseum may be crumbling, but nowhere on earth can match Rome for sheer historical resonance and grandeur.
- The charms of St Mark’s and the Grand Canal are well known, but the real joy of Venice is getting lost amongst the quiet backstreets of this incomparably romantic city.
- Milan is Europe’s fashion capital and Italy’s richest city, home to cultural treasures including La Scala opera house, the Pinacoteca di Brera gallery and the striking Duomo cathedral.
- The Amalfi Coast is not just about glitz and glamour; it’s also within easy reach of Naples and the fascinating ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum.
- The beautiful UNESCO-listed city of Florence spills over with handsome palazzi, medieval churches and museums filled with treasures from the masters of the Renaissance.
- Sicily is a world apart from mainland Italy, moulded by countless invaders and occupiers over the centuries. Highlights include smouldering Mount Etna, the ancient ruins of Siracusa and Agrigento, and the crumbling streets of gritty Palermo.
- The Italian Lakes have been attracting discerning holidaymakers for centuries, lured here by the elegant waterfront towns, invigorating spas and beautiful Alpine scenery.
- The central region of Emilia-Romagna is a real culinary hotspot, the home of Parmesan cheese, Modena’s famous balsamic vinegar and the foodie-friendly town of Bologna.
- Puglia is the ‘heel’ of Italy, a sun-drenched region where attractions include the unique trullo houses of Alberobello and the beautiful baroque city of Lecce.
- Most visitors to Sardinia are attracted by the gorgeous white beaches, but it’s also a rugged and largely unspoilt island where you’ll find dense forests, mysterious prehistoric ruins and some of the best food in Italy.