Italy is a long peninsula lying in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a country composed of regions that were only united as a country in 1861. This helps to explain the differences that are found in the way of life of the people and in the cuisine of the different regions. Italy includes the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Much of the land is mountainous and the winter season is very popular with skiers.
Italy is home to many beautiful cities from Venice, Florence and Rome where visitors are overwhelmed by the wealth of spectacular buildings often housing works from the ‘old masters’. The choice of holiday in Italy is vast, from the lakes in the north to the beaches in the Venetian Riviera and from the Tuscany coast to the Neapolitan Riviera. City breaks to the many wonderful cities are perfect for early and late season when the weather is cooler.
Why Go To Italy?
Italy has so much to offer the holidaymaker regardless of age and interests. It has good weather, mountains, lakes, beaches and magnificent cities Added to this the food and drink in Italy is always appetising and the people welcoming.
Who Is Italy Popular With?
Italy holidays are so varied that they attract all age groups and appeal to all interests. Skiers will find a large number of excellent resorts with first class facilities both on and off the slopes. Sun worshippers and beach lovers have a choice of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea. Those interested in the architecture and culture of Italy will find city breaks are the perfect way to explore the magnificent churches, museums, monuments and ancient historic sites found its great towns and cities.
When To Go To Italy?
Italy has a year round holiday season as the climate is very hospitable having mild winters and hot, usually dry, summers. Italy skiing holidays begin in December and last until spring. The summer holiday season begins in April in the south and ends in October. City breaks can of course be taken at any time of year but are most popular in the spring and autumn when the temperature is not so high.
Italy - The Place
Italy has much to offer holidaymakers from cultural city breaks to seaside holidays. The regions have differing geographical features as well as distinctive dialects and cuisine. The standard of living in the cosmopolitan north is higher than in the south with Milan and Turin being its wealthiest cities. The lakes in the north are very popular with British tourists as is the romantic town of Mantua. The flatness of the area makes it ideal for cycling. Venice, in the north-east, must not be missed. Although it is expensive and, at the height of the season very crowded, it never fails to impress. There are magnificent buildings at every turn, many of them housing famous works of art. A trip along the Grand Canal is like being in a Canaletto painting. The Venetian Riviera also has very good beaches being washed by the clear waters of the Aegean.
Rome, the spiritual centre of the Catholic Church on the west coast, has so much to see that you will need to prioritise your sightseeing. It is impossible to do justice to the city in a few days. If your time is short try to visit the Vatican and the ancient Roman sites including the Coliseum and the Forum.
The south east is known as the Italian Riviera and is very popular with Italians during the summer months. The islands of Sicily and Sardinia are favourite destinations for those looking for sun and sandy beaches.
An Italy holiday really does have something for everyone.
Italy is culturally very rich having, over the centuries, produced wonderful architecture and works of art. The great churches and museums have more than their share of the work of the world’s greatest artists, but even in the smallest country churches and monasteries you can often find old murals and paintings by celebrated painters. The Italians are very proud of their heritage and take great care of their ancient monuments.
Nightlife in Italy depends on where you choose to holiday. The large cities offer excellent bars, clubs and restaurants. Young Italian adults do not generally spend their evenings drinking excessively and women who do over-indulge are frowned upon. Instead of drinking they enjoy a lengthy meal with beer or wine in a civilised atmosphere. The nightclubs liven up at midnight and dancing continues until dawn.
Italy is the fashion centre of Europe and the large cities have wonderful boutiques and fashion houses as well as jewellers and interior design shops. Florence is well known for its leather goods and Venice for its glass ware. The opportunities for present buying and memento hunting are endless.
Italians are a nation of people who like to eat out and it is easy to see why this is so. You don’t need to eat in an exclusive restaurant to enjoy a good meal. A small trattorie, which is frequented by locals, will never disappoint. There are culinary differences between the regions with fish being a large part of Sicilian and Sardinian diet. Rome is famous for its cannelloni dishes while Tuscany is known for its pork, ham and salami and Venice for its risotto and tiramisu. The regions also produce excellent wines, from young fruity chiantis to full-bodied reds.
Children are always welcomed in restaurants where their tastes and portion sizes are accommodated.
Local Italy Customs
Italians are a friendly, charming people who welcome visitors warmly. This is particularly so in the south of the country. Family is very important to southerners who have close contact with their extended members and large family meals are the norm.