With its rich history, its renaissance art and architecture, picturesque landscapes of sweeping valleys, vineyard and the beautiful coastal vistas, it is little wonder that Italy has been drawing in visitors for centuries.
It is the land where art and life intermingle as one. Once the centre of the Roman Empire it is now a haven of ancient ruins such as the City of Pompeii. The birth place of the Renaissance, it is here in Italy that you will find Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, Botticelli's Primavera and Da Vinci's Last Supper. Italy was also home to the famous poet Dante, the painter Titian and of course the romantic composer Verdi, renown for his operas including La Traviata, Rigoletto and Aida. But it is not just Italy's past that captures the tourist's interest, Italy is also home to many modern artists and is of course lauded for it's designers such as Prada, Versace, Armani and Valentino. Nothing demonstrates better the mix of contemporary and traditional as does Italy's cuisine, exemplified by the Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi regarded as the founder of modern Italian cuisine. Food is a passion in Italy, and one they will be eager to share with you. There are now many gastronomic tours that you can join to learn how to cook that perfect Italian meal, make cheese or learn to make Italian wine.
But Italy is so much more, for the sport lovers the Italian Alps offers some of the best ski resorts in Europe for that perfect skiing holiday. In the summer months the Alps make a perfect choice for walking holidays. Or you can climb Mount Etna, the famous volcano on the island of Sicily, which is perfectly conical in shape and rises to 11,000ft above sea level. Another of Italy's islands, Sardinia, is an idea destination for divers. Southern Italy has a history of volcanic activity and its amazing volcanic rock formations are home to many different coral-like species, sea fans, sponges mussels as well as larger creatures such as barracudas, goupers, amberjacks, moray eels, lobsters, octopus, nudibranch, star fish and so on a great opportunity if a diving holiday is something you are interested in. There are also some incredible wreck sites for the keen diver to explore. Back up north Lake Garda is great for those of you who prefer to be on top of the water as it has perfects conditions for sailing and windsurfing holidays, against a spectacular mountain backdrop.
Italy may have some of the most romantic cities in the world in Venice, Florence and Rome, for the ultimate in city break destinations and romantic holiday getaway, but it also has more to offer like the Amalfi coast. The mesmerizing town of Capri is a picture perfect destination filled with quaint boutique hotels and some world class Medical Health Resorts, or the beautiful beaches of Puglia where you can enjoy a beach holiday away from the over populated beach destinations found in other Mediterranean coastlines.
In all there are 20 different regions each unique in landscape, traditions, architecture and cuisine. From the well known region of Tuscany with its vineyards producing the classic Chianti wine, to the less well known region of Piemonte in the north, home of Gorgonzola cheese and risotto. Italy's diversity truly caters to all.
Whether you are looking for a city break, romantic holiday, beach holiday, family holiday, gastronomy holidays historic or cultural tour or something a little more active such as hiking or biking holidays, windsurfing holidays or even skiing holidays then Italy is a great choice. For more information, call our specialists at Diplomat Travel on 020 7730 2201.
Main Towns and Cities:
Rome, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Milan, Lake Garda, Lake Como, Verona, Bari, Puglia, Naples, Sorrento, Sicily and Sardinia,
Population: over 62070 971
Language: Italian. (English and French are widely spoken also)
International dialling code: 00 39
Main Airports: Rome Fiumicino(FCO), Rome Ciampino (CIA), Milan Malpensa(MXP), Milan Linate (LIN), Florence (FLR), Venice (VCE), Naples (NAP), Turin (TRN), Bari (BRI), Catania Sicily (CTA), Palermo Siciy (PMO), Olbia Sardinia .
Typical flying time: 2 hours
Visa Requirements: non for British passport holders
Health requirements: None
Currency: Euro (All major credit cards accepted)
Tipping: service charges and taxes are included in all hotels and restaurants, otherwise 10% is customary
Time: GMT =1
Electricity: 220 volts (Adaptor required)
Driving: They drive on the right. If you do not have a photo driving licence please carry your passport with you at all times.