Italy Travel Guide

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The winter is slowly passing away into the oblivion and sunny days are almost here. Almost. I don’t know about your whereabouts dear reader, but in my neck of the woods the weather is horrible, but I am the optimistic type.

Hence today’s article, about Italy and La vita bella. So, what’s up with Italy folks? I must tell you that I am a big fan of this EU country, which made for some of the best travelling experiences I’ve ever had, and I had quite a few.

Let’s begin with a few factoids: Italy is an European Union member, with a population of 62 million and a land surface of 301,000 square kilometers.

Basically, Italy is a that “love at first sight” kind of a deal and regardless of what you hear about it, you can bet that it’s never over-rated. Italy is like the first true day of spring, like the first kiss with a 16 year old girl, like the first sip of wine after you’ve crossed the desert.

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There are not many places on God’s green Earth that can brag with art, history, fashion and the good life, all in the same package, like Italy does.

Italy has it all, and everything intermingles effortlessly into the scenery: glacial lakes stay next to fiery volcanoes, but there are also beautiful, sunshine-invaded isles, together with electric blue surf, sleepy vineyards and lively urban landscapes.

Oh, I almost forgot: Italy harbors the most UNESCO World Heritage locations than any other country in the world. Are you beginning to get where I’m coming from?

If you’re not born yesterday, you definitely know a thing or two about Italy’s finest cities, like Rome (when in Rome…), Naples, Florence or Venice, these are places that draw millions of visitors, year after year. Also, Italy gave the world some of the most beautiful minds, like Michelangelo Buonarotti, Giotto, Marco Polo, the famous explorer, Leonardo da Vinci, the inventor and artist, Brunelleschi,  not to mention Pavarotti, Enzo Ferrari and, why not, the Italian cuisine which is among the best in the world.

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Italy is the quintessential place to visit and check out what is still legal to call the Western civilization and architecture. Italy is the place where the Renaissance started, a country packed with splendid paintings, palaces, monuments, museums, churches and all the wonders of the centuries that passed it by.

Italy can be described as an endless feast for your mind and for your senses, a place where you can go skiing in the Dolomites region, or hiking and cycling in wine country, dive in the crystal waters of Sardinia or climb the peaks of the Aeoloian volcanoes, everything is here, at the reach of your…credit card I guess.

What to see, what to do in Italy

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Imbibe in the Venice culture as you are passing by this old medieval city’s canals, a city boasting its marble palaces, its blue-waters, the garden islands and the world’s famous Grand Canal, also pay tribute to Doge’s Palace, where Casanova was imprisoned.

Europe’s most lively volcano is also in Italy, and I am talking about Mount Etna in Sicily. This makes for maybe the most important natural attraction of Italy and it gained notoriety from ancient Greek mythology, i.e. in this volcano Zeus’s lightning bolts were forged by the mythical Cyclopes.

Vatican City is a place where you can explore the religious riches of the Western culture, and I must mention the wonderful St Peter’s Basilica, the Pope’s residence-the Vatican Palace or Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, together with the Vatican Museum.

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa is another iconic image of Italy, as it sits in Pisa’s Campo dei Miracoli and it’s strikingly beautiful, yet geometrically awkward.

In Verona you’ll find true love, if you haven’t found it yet, as this place is the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; the Casa di Giulietta and the vast Roman Arena are tourist honey traps, to say the least.

Florence is another beautiful medieval city, best known for the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo’s Statue of David, together with the city’s amazing Renaissance architecture.

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Food and Drink

Italy is a delight for gourmands and gourmets, a place where you can indulge yourself with some of the best wines in the world, together with foods like gnocchi a la Romana, bagna cauda, ossobuco, ragu, parmigiano-reggiano, pesto, pizza and pasta and…just go there.

Visa Requirements

Italy is a member of the EU and it signed the Schengen treaty, hence if you’re from the European Union you can travel freely; else, you’ll require a valid passport, but essentially no Visa.

 

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