Italy vacations - Stylish, historical and stunning
Birthplace of the Renaissance and Epicentre of the Roman Empire. From the Arabic influences of Sicily in the south to the serene beauty of the northern lakes, this is Bella Italia
Dine, explore and relax in this beautiful country
Bella Italia, it really needs no introduction, with its world-famous art, historic sites, landscapes, wines and gastronomy. There is so much to see and experience in Italy, that a tour really is the only way to make sure you’re not missing anything.
Summing up the key Italian cities in one word – magnificent! There is historic Rome, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe. There is exquisite Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance with its abundance of art treasures. Magical Venice, the romantic City of Canals, and stylish Milan, with its smart shopping and beautiful architecture.
From the countryside of Tuscany, with its rolling hills, cypress trees and vineyards, to the rugged coastal vistas of Amalfi and the Italian Riveria, the landscapes of Italy are truly spectacular.
Why visit Italy?
- Let’s start with the food – Italian cuisine varies hugely between the regions, each with their own special dishes and ingredients. Venice is known for its risotto and on the Sorrento Coast frittura mixta is a classic way to eat the beautifully fresh fish. Cheeses and cured meats are an important part of Italian cuisine, and are matched perfectly in each region with the local wines. Pasta specialities vary from town to town, with the surprising speciality of Bologna being the filled pasta Ravioli, whereas pici is prevalent in Tuscany – a thick spaghetti rolled by hand. But one thing that is common throughout Italy is the gelato - arguably the best ice-cream in the world.
- Rome is truly a magnificent city, with its astonishing history preserved in such monuments as the Roman Forum, the Coliseum and the Circus Maximus.
- Florence – known as “The Cradle of the Renaissance”, was culturally one of the most important cities in Europe throughout the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. It is home to numerous museums and art galleries such as the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitto, the spectacular cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore known as the Duomo, and the iconic bridge – the Ponte Vecchio
- One of the joys of Italy is wandering through the streets and squares of one of the many historic villages, towns and cities. In Siena, it is a lovely experience to meander the narrow winding streets with quaint shops housed in medieval buildings which lead to the spectacular Piazzo del Campo, flanked by the magnificent 13th tower and town hall.
- Similarly on the Italian Riviera, the five ancient fishing villages of Cinque Terre are a heavenly place to ramble. Cars and coaches are prohibited, so the pace is slow and the views are breath-taking. Pretty painted buildings nestle next to beautiful old churches, and town squares are filled with cafes where you can relax and soak up the atmosphere.
- A walking tour around St Mark’s Square in Venice will allow you to see some of the most beautiful historic buildings in the world – the Doges Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and the Clocktower
- The Italian Lakes are a region of unsurpassable beauty. Lake Maggiore is one of the largest and most impressive, with its picturesque Borromean Islands – Isola Bella where there is a palace and awe-inspiring gardens; and Isola dei Pescatori with its charming restaurants and craft shops. Lake Orta is on a smaller scale but no less beautiful, and here you will find the enchanting Isola di San Giulio - a tiny convent island where you can walk the Way of Silence
- The preserved Roman town of Pompeii is a sight to behold. Villas, streets and even the casts of people and animals frozen in time after being buried in 20 feet of ash and pumice from the eruption of Vesuvius two thousand years ago
- Last but not least, the island of Sicily is a tantalising mix of picturesque coastline, dramatic mountains and the brooding presence of Mount Etna. It is home to the Valley of Temples dating back to 5th century BC and the capital of Palermo is a fascinating and vibrant city, with enchanting town squares, Gothic churches and impressive Norman Palace.