Traveling to Italy.

by

Colosseum_in_Rome,_ItalyInternational calling to Italy

Save money with 011Now on international calls to Italy. No fees, no taxes, no PIN. Easy dialing and free trial!

I remember a cool scene from a movie, when a submarine crew were asked by their captain, let me quote him on that: “What’s the most beautiful country in the world?” and the sailors replied in a choir: “Alabama, Sir!”. That cracked me up. Now, Italy really can be regarded as the most beautiful country in the world, and that’s for a few reasons: first, it’s the center of our modern civilization. Italians are the direct descendants of the Roman Empire, the greatest empire in the ancient world, an empire based on civilizing the conquered conquer; an empire based an idea, whose center was Rome. Even today, when we’re talking about the USA we’re (most of us at least) referring to it as the new Rome. Now, Italy is a country that makes for a once in a life time experience, being filled with ancient places bursting with history and culture. There are just a few countries in the world like Italy, where food, fashion, art and the good life (la dolce vita, as Italians say) intermingle seamlessly. Modern Italy has a land surface of 116,348 square miles and a population of 61 million, as per 2014 Census. Italy is a very diverse country, filled with natural beauty, ranging from awesome urban landscapes to rolling vineyards, glacial lakes, sunny isles, fiery volcanoes; basically, in Italy you’ll find the most UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other place in the world. That would give you an idea about Italy. It’s a place like no other. There are cities like Venice, Florence and Rome (the capital) which are true architectural treasures, filled with ancient buildings and museums, bursting with art and culture; these are the places where Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto and Michelangelo Buonarotti started the western Renaissance, making art and architecture their creed.

Today, Italy is best known for its automotive industry, brands like Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, high-fashion (Gucci, Fendi, Dolce&Gabbana, Prada) and Italian food, which is pretty cool in my book, times are changing.

ferrari world

What to see and what to do in Italy

Where to begin with? Well, if you want to enjoy Caribbean blue waters, look no further than Sardinia, with its spectacular coral rich seas and impressive grottoes. Sardinia is something very close to paradise on Earth, where you can experience wind and kite surfing or sail under the granite cliffs of the beautiful Golfo di Orosei.

golfo di orosei

Cinque Terre is a place which inspired lots of writers, like Ezra Pound and Yates, one of the most picturesque sites you can visit in your life time.  The pine covered mountain slopes, the oil groves and vineyards will offer you a taste of high life-dolce vita style.

cinque terre

The Italian Lakes are an excellent tourist destination for the summer, a relaxing spot to chill out in the mild Mediterranean micro climate of Italy; here you can meet Russian billionaires and celebrities/movie stars, especially in the blooming and luxurious tropical gardens or the art deco villas you can admire at Lake Como.

Padua is a place imbibed in ancient culture and art, where Giotto painted the outstanding frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel, two hundred years before Michelangelo did the Sistine Chapel. Here you can visit the University of Palazzo’s Bo where Galileo Galilei and Copernicus used to taught science to their flabbergasted students.

scrovegni chapel

Florence is a beautiful city, home of the medieval bridge Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery where you can admire splendid art collections, including Michelangelo’s David statue in the Galleria.

walk-the-vecchio-medieval-shopping-bridge-in-italy

Sicily harbors old Greek sites, from which many are better preserved than the ones in actual Greece (Sicily was part of Greece for over half a millennia).

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a national pride and a honey pot for tourists from all over the world; the tower was used by Galileo to test his theory of motion in 1589.

europe-leaning-tower-of-pisa

Ravenna is bursting with Christian and Byzantine  mosaics and monuments, like the magnificent Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Mount Etna is one of Europe’s biggest active volcanoes and a famous natural attraction in Sicily. Here the ancient Greek heroes (Ulysses) fought the Cyclops. Pompeii and Herculaneum will make you understand how our ancestors, the Romans, lived their lives, before being erased in the great eruption in AD 79.

ravenna

Verona is one of the most romantic cities in the world, the place where Romeo and Juliet were living their love story; Rome is the capital and home for dozens of epic monuments and museums, being the repository of millennia of European culture and art. To see Rome, then you can die with a smile on your face, this old saying still applies to modern times, believe me folks. While here you can enter the Vatican, an independent state well known for being the home of the Pope (he lives in the Vatican Palace) and the St Peter Basilica, along with the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.

vatican

Food and Drink

Italians love to eat and everybody knows about their traditional pizza and pasta dishes.  Visiting la Bella Italia you can enjoy lots of traditional and regional specialties, i.e. a wide array of cheeses and salami, Milanese risotto, Tuscan bean soup, Piedmontese truffles, Parma ham, Roman offal, Bolognese pasta, Pugliese bread, Sicilian sardines and ice cream and a wide array of cheeses like gorgonzola, taleggio, pecorino and parmesan. Regional drinks include wines named after their area of origin; the most spread is the Chianti made in vineyards located in Tuscany. Other varieties are Albano and Frascatti (Roman wines),Barolo, valpolicella in Veneto, pinot bianco/grigio, cabernet, all sorts of vermouths and aperitifs, i.e. Campari or Punt e Mes. Liquors are also hugely popular in Italy, for example Limoncello, Amaretto, Strega and Grappa etc.

Supreme_pizza

Visa Requirements

Italy  is a member of the European Union and it signed the Schengen treaty, hence if you’re an EU citizen, you’ll not require a passport, just an ID card for visiting the country. For USA/Canadian tourists, a passport is required (no Visa though).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: