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Italy is located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea and shares open borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City.
Travelling around is an absolute pleasure and Italy has everything from history, art, architecture, fashion, food and sport, it is no wonder Italians say, when asked, that living in Italy is simply la dolce vita(“the good life”). There are sunny isles, amazing beaches, fresh water lakes, fierce volcanoes and urban landscapes with more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country on Earth.
Few places offer such variety and few visitors leave without a fervent desire to return. The artistic and architectural treasures of Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples draw visitors in their millions every year. The Romans set out to conquer most of the known world, the Venetians did not want to miss out on creating history and sent Marco Polo a Venetian merchant traveller whose travels are recorded in “Livres des merveilles du monde” - Book of the Marvels of the World, also known as The Travels of Marco Polo, to discover the world, while Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo started the Renaissance in art and architecture. Italy is bursting with splendid palaces, paintings, sculptures, churches and monuments all painstakingly built and created by centuries of hard work and crafted by hand using traditional techniques. There are so many things to do and places to visit so do make sure you plan your visit and your Itinerary as no trip is complete without taking time to discover Rome the Eternal City for 2,000 years, Venice, one of the north’s Byzantine cities, with its canals and ancient palaces, the museums of Florence with their Renaissance masterpieces. The stunning Amalfi coastline, one of the world’s most spectacular drives, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius, all in the Bay of Naples area. The Basilica of St Francis at Assisi and its surrounding Franciscan sites, Vatican City the smallest country in the world and the richest and the Vatican Museum and the breathtaking ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Pisa’s iconic Leaning Tower and splendid cathedral. Milan for its fashion and amazing shopping experience and home to 2 of the best football teams in Europe AC and Inter Milan and Turin with its stately baroque buildings and old cafes home to the world famous team Juventus. And if you are not able to tick all of thee places off your list then it gives you the great excuse to have to return again to this amazing Country.
Renowned the world over for their love of food and wine, Italian cuisine is not just Pizzas and Pasta and to really discover true Italian food is to visit Italy and explore the regional variations as seen most famously on the TV programme Two Greedy Italians hosted by Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo. To the north for dishes heavy in meat, cream and butter, while further south, beyond the central region of Emilia-Romagna, the cooking turns lighter with foods based around ingredients such as olive oil, tomatoes and fish.
Italians are fiercely proud of their regional specialities and their traditions in food , with each town or village proclaiming their local salami or cheese to be the best and each region having a twist or variation on the most popular dishes ,these variants include regional dishes include Neapolitan pizza, Milanese risotto, Sicilian sardines, Tuscan bean soup, Roman offal, Pugliese bread, Bolognese pasta, Parma ham and Piedmontese truffles.
The secret, of course, is in the ingredients and how they are cooked , which are chosen with careful consideration for ripeness, texture and flavour. So eat local on your Italy vacation and after each meal you will proclaim that is the best meal you have ever had.
Wines in Italy cannot be underestimated with a great variety of both red and white wines that are suitable for every choice of meal and if wine is not your tipple then of course there are really good choices of beers including Perini and Moretti as the most popular.
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