The birthplace of artists and scientists who have made an invaluable contribution to the development of world art, culture and science, the «home» of an impressive number of UNESCO sites and a kaleidoscope of fascinating prospects — this is Italy! A country where the antiquities of Rome, the romance of Venice, the hills of Tuscany and the fantastic fashion world of Milan peacefully coexist.
Who and why should come to Italy
Italy has the longest coastline in Europe. The country is washed by five seas at once: the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Ionian, Tyrrhenian and Ligurian. And each region boasts its own distinctive features of a beach holiday.
In Italy, every city in itself is already a landmark. The canals of Venice, the ruins of Rome, the grandeur of Milan, the state within the state of the Vatican, the art galleries of Florence — all this deserves the closest attention of high connoisseurs of culture.
Shopaholics regularly go shopping in Milan, Rome or Florence. Seasonal discounts on things from the world’s leading fashion designers (Versace, Armani, Prada, Furla, Dolce, Gucci) start from the beginning of January and last until mid-July.
Gastronomic tourism is also well developed. No wonder they say that Italians are real gourmets. They know a lot about the leisurely savoring of delicious dishes, and Italian cuisine is rightfully considered one of the best in the world. You can try real spaghetti, pizza, parmesan not only in Rome, but also in Genoa or Naples.
Cultural and historical sights
Arena di Verona
Verona for many admirers of Shakespeare’s work is the place where the action of the play «Romeo and Juliet» unfolded. However, the city is famous not only for this. One of its main attractions is the Roman amphitheater, which was built 2000 years ago.
Despite its venerable age, Verona di Arena is surprisingly well preserved. Once, more than 30,000 people were accommodated within its walls. Today, musical and cultural events are often held here.
At the foot of Vesuvius is the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum. Almost 2000 years ago, a volcanic eruption destroyed it. But, as in Pompeii, fossils have been preserved under a layer of dirt and dust, which are of particular historical value.
At the site of the lost city, visitors can see the original restored houses that looked exactly like they did 2,000 years ago, as well as petrified remains, mosaics, and even the first advertisements.
Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in Urbino
Doge’s Palace, or Ducal Palace is a monumental building of the Renaissance. It was built in the 15th century, at some point it was inhabited by more than 600 nobles.
The Palazzo is currently open to the public, many of the rooms in it have been preserved almost in their original form. The National Gallery of the Marche is also located here, which presents a huge collection of paintings by artists — contemporaries of Leonardo da Vinci.
Valley of the Temples
Archaeological site located in Sicily. The site is home to several ancient Greek Doric-style temples, many of which are over 2,400 years old. The most popular is the Temple of Concordia, which was restored in the 18th century — it is better preserved than the others.
The construction is the largest and most famous monument of the Roman world. Its construction was started by Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and completed by his son Titus in 80 AD.
The Colosseum could accommodate about 50,000 spectators who entered the building through 80 entrances. It was protected from rain and wind by a sail called «velarium», which was attached to the roof.
Today, only ruins remain of it, but once the Forum was an important government building of the Roman Empire. For several centuries, this place remained the center of everyday life of the townspeople: all triumphal processions, elections, public speeches, criminal trials and even gladiator fights took place here.
The forum is located between the Palatine and Capitoline hills of Rome.
Arch of Constantine
It was installed in 315 to commemorate the victory of Constantine I the Great in the Battle of the Malvius Bridge. The material for the construction was the construction of buildings that previously stood on this site.
Aqueduct Aqua Claudia
Aqua Claudia, the world’s oldest plumbing system, was commissioned by Emperor Caligula in 52 AD. It is one of the four great Roman aqueducts and 30,000 people were called to build it. The source of water supply was canals in the Anio valley.
Natural attractions and parks
Gran Paradiso (national park)
A magnificent place with stunning views, located in the Graian Alps. The Gran Paradiso National Park was created to preserve the endangered population of mountain ibex, badgers, wolves, lynxes, stoats and birds. It is open to tourists all year round.
The Giardinodelli Aranci was smashed in 1932 by Raffaele de Vico. Its creator wanted to invite visitors to admire Rome from a small hill. Now several types of ornamental orange trees grow in the garden, under the shade of which artists often work. Many guests of the city consider this place one of the most romantic in the world.
The Dolomites are a mountain range in Northern Italy. The place is popular among tourists who are fond of winter sports (alpine skiing, snowboarding). However, the Dolomites can be visited not only in the cold season.
Regardless of the season, the mountains capture the eye with their incredible scenery — at sunset, their peaks can be painted in pink and purple colors.
Another natural attraction rises on the island of Sicily — the active volcano Etna. This is one of the highest mountain peaks in the country.
Etna is surrounded by a national park with vineyards. Tourists are allowed to explore lava and steam craters, fissures and volcanic rocks.
Trevi is one of the visiting cards of the Eternal City. The fountain was built in 1762 by Nicolo Salvi. It depicts the god Neptune surrounded by allegorical sea creatures.
According to legend, in order to return to Rome once again, you need to throw one coin into the fountain, in order to find love — two, and if you want to marry your chosen one, then three. At night, the fountain is lit up with colorful lights, creating a romantic atmosphere around.
leaning tower of pisa
The world-famous building was built for about 177 years. Almost immediately after the construction in 1173, the tower began to sink into the ground due to an unsuccessfully laid foundation.
In this state, it lasted for about a century. When the builders resumed work, the engineers had to add several floors so that one side was higher than the other.
Thus, the specialists wanted to compensate for the slope. The construction was finally completed in the second half of the 14th century. The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been open to the public since 2001. Anyone can climb to the top floor by climbing 296 steps.
Piazza del Campo in Siena
The square is the most visited historical site in the center of Siena (Tuscany). It is known worldwide for its beauty and architectural integrity. Palazzo Pubblico, the tower and other palazzisignorilis belonging to the richest families of Siena, form a kind of shell.
Santa Maria delle Grazia
Saint Mary of Grace is a monastery located in Milan. The building belongs to the Renaissance. But tourists come here for the most part in order to personally see the famous fresco by Leonardo da Vinci «The Last Supper».
Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna
The city of Ravenna in Northern Italy was once the capital of the Western Roman Empire. Today it is famous for its main attraction — the Basilica of San Vitale. It was built in the 6th century and is the repository of a rich collection of mosaics. The frescoes that adorn the walls of the building depict scenes from the Bible.
Basilica of San Francesco
One of the significant places of religious pilgrimage in Italy is located in Assisi. The church was built in honor of the martyr — St. Francis, who lived a poor, simple life.
However, the most beautiful basilica looks like the exact opposite of a humble pilgrim. The two-level building in the Romanesque style with a crypt and decorative windows is a real work of art.
Cathedral of Orvieto
Orvieto Cathedral is a prime example of Italian Gothic architecture. The building, which began to be built in the XIV century by order of Pope Urban IV, was erected for almost three centuries.
Today it has 7 floors and a majestic facade with horizontal marble inserts. Most of the frescoes decorating the interior depict apocalyptic scenes from the Book of Revelation.
St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice
The huge church of San Marco on the square of the same name was built in the 11th century. It is decorated with 500 columns, several domes, countless Byzantine mosaic panels and gilded frescoes. Attract the attention of visitors and antique bronze horses, which are installed at the entrance.
St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
The visiting card of the Vatican is crowned with a crown-like dome, which is painted on the inside by Michelangelo himself. Built at the beginning of the 16th century, St. Peter’s Basilica is now an impressive church that can even fit a spacecraft.
The majestic facade, paintings by Michelangelo and the opportunity to see the Pope are more compelling reasons to visit this place.
Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence
Founded in 1296 and completed in 1436, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore is the most beautiful cathedral in Florence and a symbol of the city. Outside, it is lined with polychrome marble panels of different shades (green, pink, white). The dome of the basilica is the largest brick dome ever built in the world.
A city that has collected a collection of ancient cave dwellings, collectively known as Sassidi Matera. They are the very first human settlements on the Apennine Peninsula. According to scientists, they may be about 9,000 years old.
The caves are carved right into the rocks, many of which are now urbanized — local residents have built houses, cafes and even small businesses right in them.
The most beautiful city of the Italian Riviera is famous for its quiet harbor, green landscapes and random rows of houses scattered along the hill and the embankment. Located just a short drive south of Genoa, the small fishing village is incredibly popular with weekend tourists.
There are few iconic sights in the town — the 16th-century fort Castello Brown and the church of Saint-Martin. However, the main feature of Portofino is the local natural beauties and the unhurried way of life of its inhabitants.
The village, located in Tuscany, is called medieval Manhattan. And she became famous for her majestic buildings. The peak of prosperity and power of San Gminiano is associated with the construction of 70 towers, which were supposed to protect the city from enemy attacks.
But after the spread of the plague in 1348, the authorities abandoned it. Today, only 14 of the fortifications have survived.
On August 24, 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering the nearby city of Pompeii in ash and earth. Since that fateful day, the dead city has been preserved intact.
Literally everything — from dishes and tables to paintings and local residents — is frozen in time. The excavations of the city gave an extremely detailed idea of the life of people who lived two thousand years ago.
Grand Canal in Venice
The city on the water is gradually falling into decay, but this does not stop tourists. Venice’s central waterway is the Grand Canal, which connects the lagoon to St. Mark’s Basin. Locals travel along it on water buses (vaporetti), while travelers prefer private taxis or romantic gondolas.