Italy is a land rich in art, culture and history. Italy's extensive history radiates from the architecture, paintings, cathedrals and sculptures across this land. Throughout history, Italians have produced some of the most stunning and innovative works of art and architecture. Monuments and fountains permeate city landscapes. One can view an abundance of stained glass, paintings and perfectly crafted marble statues created by artistic masters such as Michelangelo, Donatello and Da Vinci. Great art is everywhere.
Italy provides the opportunity to "travel back in time". Archeologists have determined that the first people settled on the Italian peninsula as early as 1,000,000 BC, in the Paleolithic era. Visitors today can get a taste of that distant past, but it is the later epochs of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance that have enriched this land with its greatest treasures.
Religion has also played a major role in shaping Italy's past, present and future. Italy has thousands of Catholic churches and houses of worship from other religious denominations. Each reminds us of the influence of religion on Italian history, and most contribute to the wonderful pastiche of architecture and artwork that is Italia.
The wonderful flavors, aromas and textures of the foods of Italy are unique in the culinary world, and of course, delicious. "Italian" is a favorite food of most Americans. Yet, no matter how familiar you are with some of the dishes, you will be amazed to discover that the food in Italy is better and more varied than the Italian food served in even the best American restaurants. The regions of Italy have their own specialties, styles and ingredients. Each region is an adventure! Mangia!
Good food and fine wine go together. Italy offers some of the best wines, and indisputably the best wine values in all of Europe. As unique as the food it accompanies, the wines of each region come in a broad variety and there are usually a few really special local treats. Salute!
Beauty, sensuality and a languid pace of life are the perfect breeding ground for romance. And Italy has it in spades! So it's no mystery that this boot shaped peninsula has throughout the centuries lured some of the world's greatest lovers, artists and poets as well as totally unknown escapists and connoisseurs of the good life.
Italy is a shopper's paradise, with an abundance of authentic Italian goods available throughout the country at near-bargain prices. Of course, if cosmopolitan shopping is your preference, Rome offers some of the best shopping anywhere in the world.
Highlights and Places to visit
Florence, nestled in the Tuscan hills, rimmed by olive groves and vineyards, bathed in a mysterious soft light that enchants the world. This fountainhead of the Renaissance is also a shopper's paradise. Enjoy a breathtaking panorama atop Piazzale Michelangelo, and the Academy of Fine Arts where proud "David" stands .
Napoli, birthplace of Caruso, Sophia Loren, Bel Canto and O Sole Mio! Arrive via Vomero Hill overlooking the Bay of Naples, Capri, Ischia and Vesuvius. Descend to the city along the seafront promenade, seeing Castel dell'Ovo, San Carlo Opera House, Santa Lucia, Town Hall and Angevin Castle ...with today's date in flowers.
The atmosphere of Rome is unforgettable, romantic and mysterious. A magic evoked by the splash of thousand fountains, the slow and silent flow of the Tiber, the long shadow cast by the lights at night, and the scent of old stone in the ruins. Yet it is a modern, bustling metropolis. No place blends old and new like Roma!
In Venice everything floats. Not only the gondolas, launches, barges and vaporettos on the Grand Canal, but also the buildings and the people float. One floats luxuriously with such a sense of freedom, never tormented by traffic or even disturbed by the sound of a horn. It is this "floatingness" which is the essential quality of Venice .
With its breathtaking view, Como is a jewel-like oasis of tranquillity, a magical combination of lush Mediterranean foliage and snowy alpine peaks .
In the walled city of Siena, we stand firmly planted in the Middle Ages. Siena preserved its original character more markedly than any other city in Italy. The Duomo, Piazza del Campo and the Town Hall are but a few of the treasures here. Explore and enjoy!
Milan is among the most progressive Italian cities. Yet Milan also offers the Duomo, the mightiest Gothic building ever created, with a capacity of 40,000! Milan is also home to the glass-topped Galleria - the world's first shopping mall, the famed La Scala Opera House and da Vinci's restored "Last Supper" fresco.
Capri, the lush little isle that has entranced the world. Visiting Capri by hydrofoil or catamaran adds to the adventure. Visit the Blue Grotto, where the water glows a scintillating neon blue. Ascend the cliffs to Villa Jovis for a breathtaking view. Explore and experience Capri!
Catania, a lava built city is not far from hovering Mt. Etna, the largest volcano in Europe.
Part of a wonderous drive along the beautiful Bay of Salerno, near its sister beauty the village of Amalfi, lies Positano, a rare pearl embedded in the cliffs. It is generally acclaimed that the Amalfi Coast is the most beautiful stretch of scenery in the entire Mediterranean .
Part of a wonderous drive along the beautiful Bay of Salerno, near its sister beauty the picturesque village of Positano, lies charming Amalfi. It is generally acclaimed that the Amalfi Coast is the most beautiful stretch of scenery in the entire Mediterranean
Nothing has captured imaginations like the Leaning Tower, the most recognizable structure the world... But there's more to this little city. See the Cathedral where Galileo's Lamp and chandelier were used to formulate the laws of the pendulum. And the Baptistery - where the echo has enthralled visitors for years!
Warm beaches, charming hilltop villages, fascinating history, and a relaxed atmosphere make the Mediterranean Island of Sicily the perfect vacation spot. Enjoy everything this beautiful island has to offer from the convenience of a single hotel in one of the most popular resort towns, Giardini Naxos. Nicknamed the "crossroads of civilization," Sicily contains some of Europe's finest archeological sites where you can see an impressive collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. On a visit to Taormina, a picturesque village perched high above the Ionian Sea, you'll enjoy a guided tour of the Greek Theater, the Duomo, and the beautiful public gardens. An unforgettable motorcoach ride will take you up to see the spectacular fire-shaped landscapes atop the largest active volcano in Europe, Mt. Edna, which continues to release smoke and ash over the island. Then visit a vineyard whose famous wines are produced from grapes grown in the rich volcanic soil. And of course, your trip just wouldn't be complete without experiencing a delicious Sicilian meal with local specialties, fine wines, and traditional folk music. On an optional excursion, see the true colors of the island's villages at a Sunday outdoor market, where vendors sell fresh local produce and foods. In the medieval town of Piazza Armerina, located in the breathtaking Erei Mountains, tour the Villa Casale with its collection of Roman mosaics that date to the 3rd century BC. You'll also visit a studio in Caltagirone to watch the traditional craft of pottery making. Even with all of these amazing experiences, you will have ample leisure time to soak up the sun on the gorgeous beaches, dine at lively sidewalk cafes, or browse the many local boutiques.