Europe

Italy Travel Guide Information

Italy is truly one of the cradles of Western civilization, with one of the longest histories and richest cultures in Europe. Rome was the capital of the ancient Roman Empire. The capital Rome is said to have been founded in 753 BC, when Romulus, son of the god Mars, yoked a bullock and a heifer to a plowshare, marked out a boundary, and built a wall. Be that as it may, the city has at least 2,500 years of unparalleled cultural accomplishment. The Vatican, the Colosseo, (Colosseum) and the Spanish Steps are just the beginning of the treasures preserved here. Florence, home to Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, was one of the greatest centers of the Renaissance, and is filled with beautiful art and wondrous architecture. Venice, whose wealth was built on trade with the East, rose on a series of islands; canals became its streets, linking piazzas, palaces, and fabulous churches.

Italy is truly one of the cradles of Western civilization, with one of the longest histories and richest cultures in Europe. Rome was the capital of the ancient Roman Empire. The capital Rome is said to have been founded in 753 BC, when Romulus, son of the god Mars, yoked a bullock and a heifer to a plowshare, marked out a boundary, and built a wall. Be that as it may, the city has at least 2,500 years of unparalleled cultural accomplishment. The Vatican, the Colosseo, (Colosseum) and the Spanish Steps are just the beginning of the treasures preserved here. Florence, home to Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, was one of the greatest centers of the Renaissance, and is filled with beautiful art and wondrous architecture. Venice, whose wealth was built on trade with the East, rose on a series of islands; canals became its streets, linking piazzas, palaces, and fabulous churches.

However, modern Italy is much more than a museum of its past glories. The mountains of the southern Alps, particularly the Dolomites, and the peaks and valleys of the Apennines lend Italy a rugged natural beauty. With thousands of miles of coastline, Italy is also a major resort destination; its islands—Sicily, Sardinia, and more remote archipelagoes like the Aeolian Islands—have become popular getaways for those seeking summer sand and sun.

In spite of its imposing history and its natural beauty, perhaps Italy’s most enduring attractions are its people and contemporary culture. While the stereotype of the typical Italian is no more accurate than any other, Italians in general live life with passion and a vibrant sense of style. Quality food, wine, and design reach heights in Italy rarely approached elsewhere in the world. Plan on spending at least a few days in an Italian city—full of cafés, open-air piazzas, and the hustle and bustle of people going about their lives amidst ancient landmarks—and take in the flavor of modern Italian culture.

Built around the river Arno, Florence has remained a relatively small, compact city with narrow, cobbled streets making up most of the central area. The Renaissance movement is clear for all to see, from the design of the buildings to the art and sculpture galleries. Medieval Florence is a work of art in its own right. Everybody should see the Uffizi Gallery at least once- leave it until late afternoon when it’s quieter. In the meantime brush up on Michaelaneglo at the Galleria dell’Accademia, Donatello at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Titian, Raphael and Veronese at the Palazzo Pitti. The Duomo is masterpiece in its own right- climb up inside the dome itself for a fabulous view of the city. Spend an evening at the Teatro Comunale at one of the concert performances, otherwise there is a wonderful music festival held between May and July each year.

Where to go:

1. Rome

Rome is the capital of Italy and of its Latium region. It is located on the Tiber and Aniene rivers. The Vatican City, a sovereign enclave within Rome, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and the home of the Pope.

2. Florence

Florence is the capital city of the region of Tuscany in Italy and also capital of the province of Florence. The River Arno winds through the red-tiled buildings, under the Ponte Vecchio, like a silver ribbon; the Duomo of Brunelleschi – the fourth largest in the world, towers over this Renaissance city. Florence is a shining jewel set among countryside rich in wine, food and sunshine. Capital of Tuscany and a landmark of Western culture, Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance and no other city in Italy can match the variety of artistic treasures found in its galleries and museums. Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and Michelangelo’s “David” are just two of the most well-known of the thousands of stunning works that can be found in the Uffizzi, the Galleria dell’Accademia, and so many more.

3. Milan

Milan’s name has for many centuries been recorded as Mailand, which is still the German name of the city today. It comes from the Celtic Mid-lan (meaning “in the middle of the plain”) and was known as Mediolanum by the Romans.

4. Venice

Venice is the capital of the region of Veneto and of the province of Venice in Italy. The city is included with Padua (Padova), in the Padua-Venice Metropolitan Area, population 1,600,000. Although the climate is variable with influence of the nearby Alps and warm winds sweeping in from North Africa, the humidity remains high all year round. Because of the water that makes Venice so unique, the cooler temperatures feel colder and the warmer temperatures hotter. During the fall and winter months Venice can suffer from flooding, that in November seems to occur on a regular basis. The flooding of Venice is directly related to tides in the Venetian lagoon. So high water “aqua alta”, normally only lasts a few hours a day.

5. Naples

Naples is situated in the region of Campania in Southern Italy, about 2-hours south of Rome. It sits on the coast on the northern edge of the Bay of Naples, and its harbor is the most important port in Southern Italy. ). It is located just halfway between the Vesuvius volcano and a separate volcanic area, the Campi Flegrei, all part of the Campanile volcanic arc. Naples is the main city in the south of Italy, the capital of its home region of Campania, and the third biggest town in Italy. It’s an overcrowded and sprawling metropolis holding around a million souls, with a further two million Neopolitans populating the suburbs. The seaport has large shipyards and thriving industries including iron and steel, petroleum, and porcelain.

6. Palermo

Palermo is a fast, brash and exciting city. The mix of Arabic and viking influences is one of the strangest and unexpected surprises the city has to offer. Buildings dating from the 11th and 12th century, the heyday of Medieval Sicily, offer this peculiar quality. The most noteworthy and an absolute must is the Palazzo dei Normanni. Among the most important tourist attractions of Palermo are the city’s Norman Cattedrale and the Saracen-Norman-Spanish Palazzo Reale (or Palazzo dei Normanni), a former royal palace added to and altered over the centuries, and now the seat of the local parliament.

Categories: Europe, Travel

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