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Honeymoon in Italy

History, archaeology, culture, art, food, wine, nature, beaches... Italy has the lot

Italy has such a long recorded history that the biggest problem facing the traveler is to choose among the nation's endless cultural attractions. All main centres, most of the provincial cities and many quite small towns have museums. Of all the countries in the world, there is none more magical than Italy, a traveler's dream destination. Ancient monuments and archeological sites are perfectly preserved; the museums are bursting with the genious of Italy's finest sons: Raffaello, Michelangelo, Tiziano, Canova; contemporary architects are still inspired by ancient buildings and squares (piazze). Italian cities are veritable living museums.

italyUNESCO World Heritage Sites - Italy

According to UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural branch, two thirds of the world's historical artistic heritage are in Italy. Tuscany, which is only one region of Italy, by itself possesses more artistic treasures than the whole of Spain, which is the second country in the world for cultural heritage. Practically all major styles of Western architecture can be found in Italy.

Art and culture

italyItaly is a synonym for culture, art and history. Artistic wonders can be found everywhere, and every corner of the country holds countless and wonderful treasures. Our artistic and cultural heritage is one of the most valuable in the world. Italy has more cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country. Rome, Florence, Assisi, Venice, Siena, Pisa, and Naples are some of its most renowned cities of art, but the whole nation can boast breath-taking beauties: 95,000 monumental churches, 40,000 fortresses and castles, 30,000 historical residences with 4,000 gardens, 36,000 archives and libraries, 20,000 historical cities and towns, 5,600 museums and archaeological sites, and 1,500 convents.

Tourists can explore and discover the private residences of ancient and noble families; visit world-famous museums such as the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Capitoline Museums in Rome, or the Brera Art Gallery in Milan; explore impressive archaeological sites, such as Pompei and Herculaneum, to immerse themselves in an exciting, grandiose past. And that's not all - there are a number of cultural, artistic, and musical events that animate the Italian life. Italy offers a rich combination of masterpieces from different areas, blending landscape and culture, history and art, architecture and city planning - it offers an exciting journey through time, from the Ancient Greeks and Romans to the present day, which is also marked by a wealth of artistic and cultural assets.

Discover Italy

Lazio (Rome)

lazioThe cradle of occidental civilization and Christian culture, of lakes and legends, of spas and history, of ancient roads and verdant hills. This is Latium, a region of central Italy bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea, furrowed by the waters of River Tiber and mainly characterized by hills and mountains, while it slopes down near the coast.

This region has different yet complementary features, unblemished sceneries and spectacular horizons among the towns. Visitors can enjoy incredibly beautiful views, like Villa Borghese in Rome, the Italian capital.

Villa Borghese is the most famous city park to walk on or to cycle in, and represents an unparalleled experience between art, with Borghese Gallery and its masterpieces, and the nature surrounding it, among lakes and ancient trees. Latium is also full of spas, whose history is bound to the several thermal water springs that had great success in the Republican Age and continued to be used in the Imperial Age. The Romans built sumptuous thermal baths and we can still admire their vestiges around the territory; first of all, the Terme di Caracalla, in the heart of Rome. Tivoli is another spa, but its fame is mainly due to the artistic beauties it contains, like Villa D’Este, with its splendid fountains, gardens and magnificent palace of the Renaissance, and Villa Adriana, the ancient residence of emperor Adriano. The two villas were inscribed on the World Heritage List by Unesco.

romaFor those who prefer the sea, this region offers some real pearls like Gaeta, Sabaudia, San Felice Circeo, Sperlonga and the islands of Ponza and Ventotene, while those who love lakes will enjoy Bracciano, an enchanting stretch of water encircled by the intense green of the surrounding nature, where a magnificent castle of the sixteenth century stands out. Walking along the medieval streets of the villages by the shores of the lake, visitors can feel that these places are not only bound to the Roman Empire, but were also the theater of different historical periods. Lake Bolsena, in the area of Viterbo, gives us an example of it, as it is the biggest volcanic lake in Europe and encloses two islands, Bisentina and Martana. This lake combines the charm of lush nature and its splendid views with the history and the traces left by the Etruscans and the Romans and by the following historical periods.

Finally, mountain lovers will not be disappointed in Latium, thanks to the ski resorts of Terminillo, Livata and Campo Staffi. This land evokes memories of unrivalled places and intense emotions, but also a clear perception of the relentless march of time, that justifies the attempts of our ancestors to challenge time and leave us their remembrance. The provinces of the region are: Rome (regional capital), Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, Viterbo.

Veneto

veneciaSituated in the north-east of Italy, Veneto extends from the Dolomites to the Adriatic Sea, going across a wide belt of hills and a valley furrowed by rivers, channels and the Po delta. The typical scenery of the Venetian coast is the lagoon, and a unique city stands on that very lagoon: Venice, visited by thousands of Italian and foreign tourists every year.

Yet Veneto, a region with thousands of facets, guards natural treasures, art and traditions in its hinterland as well. Veneto boasts an extraordinary variety of sceneries: the Dolomites, embellished by the pink shades of the sunset and by the eastern side of Lake Garda with Peschiera del Garda, Torri del Benaco and other tourist towns. Then long and sandy beaches, alternated with memorable bathing establishments like Jesolo, Bibione, Cavallino, Caorle. In this spectacular natural framework is a rich cultural heritage that makes Veneto a particularly charming region, from its cities of art to the magnificent “Palladian villas” scattered along the Brenta Riviera, up to the small villages of Arquà Petrarca, Monselice, Asolo and Bassano del Grappa which gather the most peculiar traits of this many-sided region. Veneto is also an ideal destination for a relaxing holiday in the pursuit of comfort and well-being, thanks to the presence of thermal waters with precious therapeutic properties: the mild rises of the Euganean Hills host the well-equipped facilities of the Euganean Spas, like Abano, Montegrotto and Teolo, to combine treatments and baths with pleasant excursions in the surrounding area. The provinces of the region are: Venice (regional capital), Belluno, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Verona and Vicenza.

Calabria

Calabria is the tip of the boot, the extreme south of Italy, lapped by the splendid waters of the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian Sea and separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina. The warm climate, the beautiful colors of the sea, rocky coasts alternated to sandy beaches, the wild and mysterious nature, the strong and genuine flavors of local food and the vestiges of its ancient origins make Calabria a unique place to admire both in winter and summer. Any wish can be fulfilled.

calabriaThose who love nature, its scents and mysteries, can explore the Calabrian hinterland, discovering pure and unpolluted sceneries, where huge green belts alternate with blue lakes and falls.

On the other hand, those who want to bask in the warm rays of the sun and dive into a crystal-clear sea can choose from the many charming towns dotting the long Tyrrhenian and Ionian coasts. As for those who prefer to know the past of this region, Calabria, the cradle of the Magna Graecia and land of ancient settlements, offers a wide choice of churches, monasteries, castles, palaces and places where age-long traditions still survive.

Campania

Campania is one of the regions of Southern Italy and stretches along the Tyrrhenian Sea, from the mouth of the Garigliano River to the Gulf of Policastro. The mildness of the climate, the beauty of the coasts, the richness of its art and history and the love for food make Campania an enjoyable land.

campaniaThe journey starts from the sea, uncontested king of the region, with its intense colors, its coasts rich in bays, coves and rock faces, as well as the islands of Capri and Ischia, true natural masterpieces. This is made even more charming by the flourishing Mediterranean vegetation, interrupted by some small yet pretty towns where to spend your holidays, amid the history and traditions of Campania. Still, we cannot forget the monument of nature that dominates this region: the Vesuvius, dark and mysterious, loved for its beauty and feared for its power. Then Naples, famous worldwide for the intensity and passion of its music, which, just like the town, mingles cultural and popular, sacred and profane, joyful and melancholic aspects.

And Sorrento, a town that lays on a terrace of tuff falling sheer to the sea. In this view of paradise, indented and inaccessible coasts alternate to small and hidden beaches, which set up a unique scenery. Here, the work of man was grand. The roughest areas are now made up of a series of terraces sloping down to the sea, used for the cultivation of citrus, olive trees and vines. These gardens give off heady scents of oranges, lemons and orange-blossoms. Music, sea, entertainment and nature, but also history and culture. Visiting places like Paestum, Ercolano, Pompei, the Chartreuse of Padula or the Royal Palace of Caserta is an unforgettable experience.

Tuscany

tuscanyTuscany is situated in central Italy and stretches from the Apennine to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its landscape, its artistic heritage and important cities, first of all Florence, make Tuscany an unquestioned protagonist of world tourism. In this region, nature has many different facets, starting from the coast that alternates long and sandy beaches, like the Versilia beach, with rocky cliffs and steep headlands. The islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, a crystal-clear sea and rich seabeds, are peerless. You can admire sceneries of uncontaminated nature in the Apuane Alps and in several protected areas, like Ortebello lagoon, which houses many species of migrant birds, including pink egrets. However, the most typical sceneries of the region are those that merge the beauty of nature with the millenary work of man.

The amazing Gulf of Baratti and the sites of Vetulonia Vulci and Pitigliano guard necropolis and vestiges of the Etruscan civilization, while Roselle and Cosa evoke memories of the Roman Age. Then medieval small villages, historical towns, castles and defence systems, rural churches (the so-called “pievi”) and beautiful abbeys, like that of St. Anthony, are all over the territory and their profiles stand out in the landscapes of the Crete Senesi, Orcia Valley, Garfagnana, Chianti and the Maremma. Finally, Tuscany is full of spas: Montecatini, Saturnia, Montepulciano, Monsummano and Bagno Vignoni, which offer relaxing holidays thanks to their thermal waters and their well-equipped facilities for all types of treatment. The provinces of the region are: Florence (regional capital), Arezzo, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, Siena.

Sicily

siciliaSicily is the biggest Italian Island, divided from the continent by the Strait of Messina and lapped by the Ionian, the Tyrrhenian and the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the pearls of Southern Italy and can be discovered, known and experienced through a series of itineraries for all tastes that range from nature to history and tradition. Nature seems to have endowed all of its wonders to this land: mountains, hills and above all the Mediterranean Sea, with its incredible colors, its crystal-clear water and the beauty of its seabeds, in no way inferior to those of other seas. Here, the Mediterranean Sea, with its many little islands scattered around the coasts of Sicily, offers unique and intense sceneries, scents and flavors of uncontaminated nature. Last but not least are the grand volcanoes, symbols of the irresistible exuberance of this incredibly charming region. The fascination of this region grows with the precious archeological vestiges that tell the story of the ancient origins of Trinacria (ancient name for Sicily). The provinces of the region are: Palermo (regional capital), Agrigento, Catania, Caltanissetta, Enna, Messina, Ragusa, Siracusa and Trapani.

Lombardy

Lombardy is one of the largest regions in Italy and is situated in the north of the peninsula, bordering Switzerland. Its territory stretches from the Alps to the lowland of the Po Valley, creating a wide range of landscapes.

lombardiaThe scenery of the Alps is particularly charming, with Valchiavenna, Valtelline and Camonica Valley. Winter sports lovers will find modern equipments and facilities in Lombardy, like the popular resorts of Tonale, Bormio, Livigno and Madesimo. Another typical landscape of the region is offered by the tracts of hills, like the area of Franciacorta, famous for its vineyards and wine production. Then, the charm of the great lakes.

The east side of Lake Garda, with Sirmione and other renowned towns, is a very attractive tourist resort; Lake Como and Lake Maggiore are extremely beautiful as well, surrounded by aristocratic villas, parks and picturesque small towns. The region is also characterized by the great flat tracts of the lowland of the Po Valley, dotted with water stretches and cultivated with rice-fields: this is the typical landscape of Lomellina, the folkloristic land of rice weeders. There are thousands of other distinctive aspects in this region. Lombardy, aided by its geographic position and fertile soil, is a particularly rich land, where nature, history, art and culture are harmoniously combined with innovation, technology, fashion, entertainment and modernity. The provinces of the region are: Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Mantua, Milan (regional capital), Monza and Brianza, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese.

sardiniaSardinia

… a journey to sail on an emerald sea among small and big coves with snow-white sand … this is Sardinia, an Island that strikes its visitors with natural contrasts, the lights and colors of a region that guards old traditions, amid wilderness and pure nature. Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia is a mainly mountainous region, without high peaks, with a vast and charming, yet bittersweet, natural environment. In fact, the presence of man does not seem to affect this territory; great surfaces still preserve their natural composition, with woods, deserts and marshes, but also deers, wild horses and raptors. The sea reigns over this region with its colors and creeps in the coves, along the coasts, the beaches and the most popular resorts.

The Emerald Coast with its pearl, Porto Cervo, combines the sweet shades of colors of the sea with the history and culture of a region that has old traditions, as well as a cheerful and colorful night life. Porto Cervo (Deer Port) was named after its enchanting cove, which looks like the antlers of a deer; its Old Port is considered the best-equipped tourist port in the Mediterranean Sea. In the north of the Bay, we can find new Porto Cervo Marina, a charming and picturesque location where you should definitely visit the church of Stella Maris, which contains a painting by El Greco and an organ of the 17th century. Porto Rotondo is a famous location, too; it overlooks the ample Gulf of Cugnana and is full of villas and piazzas embedded in a splendid natural environment. Those who prefer the mountain instead of the sea can explore the area of Gennargentu, the biggest range of mountains in Sardinia, with its peculiar landscape, where Man and Nature met and decided that the former should have the priority. This region is rich in flora and fauna, with its mouflons, golden eagles, Sardinian deers and several species that are now dying out. The provinces of the region are: Cagliari (regional capital), Carbonia-Iglesias, Nuoro, Olbia-Tempio, Oristano, Medio Campidano, Sassari, Ogliastra.

Thermal spas

Italy's richness in thermal and mineral waters, combined with the mildness of the climate and the beauty of the scenery, have made it a favourite venue for "health care tourism". Since the last century hotels with extensive facilities have grown up around spas, which have established international reputations. Abano, Salsomaggiore, Chianciano, Montecatini, Fiuggi and Ischia are just a few names among the many which are known throughout the world and which attract millions of visitors every year.

The determining factor in the presence of hot water or mineral springs is the geology of Italy, a relatively young country, which is rich in volcanic phenomena and permeated, in every sense of the word, by a dense network of groundwater channels. In north-eastern Italy many spas have developed on the slopes of the Euganei Hills in Veneto, volcanic highlands where numerous hot water springs gush out. The main form of treatment is mud therapy, recommended for rheumatic illnesses and problems of the respiratory organs and the female reproductive organs. Abano Terme alone has almost two million visitors a year, half of whom come from abroad.

spasMoving further south, there is a series of thermal resorts in Emilia-Romagna on the foothills of the Apennines. There are about fifteen localities, including in particular Tabiano, Salsomaggiore, and Castrocaro, all of which have the word "Terme" (Spa) as part of their official names.

Another Italian region with a high concentration of spas is Tuscany. The exploitation of this resource also has a long tradition here. A number of springs which were already in use in Roman times are still popular today, including Saturnia, Roselle, Chianciano and Chiusi.

Sunbathing and Swimming at the Seaside in Italy

The Mediterranean hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Italy's beach resorts attract more and more tourists year after year, for it is said the Italian beaches are like treasures to discover and behold. The beach resorts were home to many tourists during the summer season, today many now claim this their year round home.

italy_beachThe wonders of sea air provide some of the healthiest fresh air, known for their regenerative properties; the sea air is a relief and a healthy escape from city life. Italy is a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia. Its 7,600 km of coastline have some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, the Ligurian Sea, the Sardinian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the west the Sicilian Sea, and the Ionian Sea in the south and the Adriatic Sea in the east. After exploring the cities, touring the lakes and walking in the mountains, the beaches are the perfect place to relax, unwind and reflect. Most of the year the beaches are sunny, and with 7,600 miles of shoreline bordering Italy and its islands, you can easily find waters where the temperatures are ideal for swimming. Miles upon miles of golden, sun drenched sand, in some places up to 1 km deep. The sea welcomes the sun seeker in comfort and style. An array of colours, which one can quickly identify by the rows of neatly laid out sun umbrellas and deck chairs, which seem to almost dot the entire seashore.

Eating and drinking

italy_foodItaly has always been a synonym for "good food," offering an unmistakable explosion of flavours, scents, and aromas. Aside from having one of the most famous cuisines, it also proposes an immense variety of different regional dishes and recipes. Visitors cannot miss the food and wine itineraries - journeys through Italy's gastronomic culture, in search of ancient recipes, genuine products, and simple food inspired by classic Italian cooking and innovative creations.

World-renowned products such as Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Parma and San Daniele ham, Modena balsamic vinegar, Genoa's pesto, buffalo mozzarella from Campania, Alba truffles, and cured meats are some of the symbols that make Italy the land of good food. And how could one forget the pasta and pizza, which are universally synonyms for Italy?

And wine, a noble ambassador of Italian excellence throughout the world. The pleasure of tasting a fine wine in its native environment is unparalled - a glass of Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, of Barbera or Barolo in Piedmont, of Prosecco di Valdobbiadene in Veneto, of Lambrusco in Emilia Romagna, or of the white wines in Friuli and Trentino-Alto Adige, just to provide a few examples. Italy has a world of flavours to taste and tempt the palate...along with the eyes, and the heart!

Italian wines

mediterranean_foodAncient Greeks used to call Italy “Enotria”, since it was renowned for its extraordinary wines. It would be impossible to list all of the features of Italian wines, world-famous for their variety and quality.

Its climate, soil and very old traditions of viticulture make Italy a natural wine growing nation. The wines are as personal as a name, as different as the colors of the rainbow and as much a part of Italian life as almost 3,000 years of tradition can make them. The Etruscans of North-Central Italy, who created one of the peninsula's earliest civilizations, left evidence of how to make wine. The Greeks who soon after established themselves in the South gave Italy the name Enotria (the land of wine). For centuries wine growing has been the cultivation which used most of the labor of the Italian farmers; this is still true today; a large part of the population is engaged in the vine and wine industry.

Other Italian drinks include aperitifs, blended principally over a base of the world-famous Piedmont Vermouth; dessert wines, such as Moscato, Marsala and Malvasia from Sicily and sparkling wines from Piedmont, Veneto, Tuscany and the Islands. Italy also has excellent beers and a great variety of effervescent mineral waters.

General information

Climate

The moderating influence of the sea and the protection given by the Alpine barrier from the cold north winds join to bless Italy with a temperate climate. Nevertheless, the weather varies considerably according to how far one is from the sea or the mountains. The winter is very cold in the Alps, cold and foggy in the Po Plain and the central Apennines; mild and even warm on the Ligurian coast, the Neapolitan coast and in Sicilia.

The summer is hot and dry, but the temperature is mitigated on the coast by sea breezes and in the Apennines and Alps it is pleasantly cool. In mountain areas, winter is ideal for skiing, and summer for excursions, hiking, etc. Seaside and lake resorts, with their excellent hotel facilities, have an intense tourist season in the summer, while the cities that are rich in art treasures are ideal in spring and autumn.

Money

The new monetary currency is the Euro which is divided as follows: bills of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500; coins of 1, 2, 5, 10 Euros, 20 and 50 cents.

Source: http://www.italia.it

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