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Travel to Italy

 

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Italy offers a collection of beautiful 5 Star Hotels and Luxury Resorts perfect for a honeymoon, family vacation or European getaway.

Italy is a place of great history, lore and intrigue. Visit the sites of famous artists and scholars. Walk the same steps where Roman legions once marched. Wander through the countryside and experience the essence of Italian food and wine. Whether it’s your first or your fifth trip to the epicenter of Mediterranean culture, Italy will continue to amaze and delight you.

Some of the most romantic, enduring places call Italy home – including Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence, Lake Como, the Tuscany region and the amazing Amalfi Coast

It’s no wonder Italy is regarded as the land of la dolce vita (the sweet life).

ITALY – A ROMANTIC EUROPEAN HONEYMOON

Few places in the world offer the romance of Italy, which can be perfect for a short but sweet getaway or a long, extended one. The vast options of quaint European-styled hotels, 5 star hotels or luxury resorts in Italy serve as a great way to unwind after a day soaking up the country’s countless treasures.

ITALY TOURS AND ACTIVITIES

Sightseeing in Italy – Known for its architecture, artistry and rich history (two-thirds of the world’s historical artistic heritage is here), there is no shortage of sites to visit no matter where you are in the country. Be sure to explore your options depending on the region or city you are in. If you’re in the countryside, take in the vineyards or olive groves.

Art and History in Italy – To say Italy is a destination for great art and history is a major understatement. Find proof in its 95,000 monumental churches, 40,000 forts and castles, 30,000 historical residences with 4,000 gardens, 36,000 archives and libraries, 20,000 historical cities and towns, 5,600 museums and archaeological sites.

Nature in Italy – Architecture, beautiful coastlines and amazing cities often overshadows the nature and wildlife of Italy – although it’s abundant. There are many national parks to explore including the Gran Paradiso, Circeo, Stelvio, Dolomiti Bellunesi, Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga, Cilento and Vallo di Diano, and Gargano National Parks and the parks of Calabria and Aspromonte, not to mention the countries many other protected areas, nature reserves, and marine parks.

Beaches in Italy – Italy is surrounded by water, which makes for amazing coastlines, quaint swimming coves and beautiful beaches. Visitor-friendly beaches can be found throughout the country, with the Italian Riviera, Sicily and Sardinia being among the world’s finest.

Hiking in Italy – With the 20+ National Parks in Italy, hiking is a great way to experience some of the unspoiled countryside.

Boating and Sailing in Italy – With all the inland and seashore waters in Italy, it’s little wonder that boating is a popular past time for locals and visitors alike. Whether it’s on Lake Como, out to the Island of Capri and around the stunning islands of Sicily and Sardinia, experiencing the mix of blue grottoes, azure waters and natural beauty is a must while in Italy.

Nightlife in Italy – Italy’s cities often organize their entertainment and hours of operation by the season. Summer months offer concerts in the open and standing happy hours outdoors. Be sure to check hours and manage your late-night expectations in fall and winter.

Shopping in Italy – Rarely does someone visit Italy without doing a bit of great shopping! The country is famous for its designer items such as Prada, Fendi, Gucci and Armani. Try the designer outlets in the northern provinces outside Florence, Como, and Milan for great buys. Also look for antiques, clothes, wood carvings, lace and embroidery, violins, ceramics, silver and gold jewelry, wine and shoes.

Dining in Italy – Probably the world’s most notable destination for great food and drink, Italy’s cuisine explodes with flavor and freshness. It’s hard to pass up any of the local restaurant with their fresh bread, olive oil, various pastas, buffalo mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, cured meats, and of course, pizza.

ITALY FAST FACTS

Population of Italy – 60+ million

Languages in Italy – Italian is the official language, although many others are commonly spoken, including English.

Predominant Religions in Italy – Christian (Roman Catholic) is by far the dominant religion.

Time Zone in Italy – 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +1). Daylight Saving Times is observed the last Sunday of March until the last Sunday of October.

Voltage Requirements in Italy – 230 volts

Currency in Italy – The euro is the official currency throughout the country (officially replaced the lira in 2002).

Weather in Italy – Weather varies greatly from the north to the south and from season to season. In the Alps, temperatures are a bit lower and winters can be long. The weather is typically warm from July to September, but watch the rainfall forecasts. The Po Valley (Venice, Florence, Rome, etc.) has some pretty severe winters and hot summers. The south of Italy and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia have a moderate Mediterranean climate.

Italy Geography – Most noted by its boot shape, Italy is characterized by rugged, mountainous terrain and thousands of miles of dramatic coastline. The Alps form a barrier to the north and the Apennines run the length of the boot. Flat land (relatively speaking) can be found in the Po River Valley in the north and Puglia in the south. Because of its wonderful location, no place is very far from the sea.

Safety in Italy – As in many destinations, be sure to keep valuables and belongings out of sight and close at hand. Purse and jewelry snatching and pickpocketing can be an issue in urban areas. As in most cases, it’s always wise to leave your best jewelry at home. Be especially aware at tourist attractions, on buses frequented by travelers and at railway stations.

ITALY FUN FACTS

  • The Vatican is a separate sovereign nation, its own country.
  • Rumor has it the colorful uniforms of the Vatican’s Swiss Guard were designed by Michelangelo. But don’t think the guard is just there for ceremonial purposes or to look pretty—it’s a highly trained security force sworn to protect the pope.
  • Italy is home to the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites – more than 40.
  • To say the Italians take their wine seriously is an understatement. In fact, there is a squad of Italian police dedicated to sniffing (and tasting) out fraud. Trained as professional sommeliers, they make sure that the wine in the bottle is the same as the wine on the label. In 2007, they arrested a group of men shipping unmarked Italian wine to Germany, to be fraudulently sold as fine wine.
  • The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine a year.
  • With almost 40 million visitors, Italy is the 4th most visited country in the world.
  • The thermometer, typewriter, optical eyeglasses, espresso machine, ice cream cone, Vespa scooter, piano, violin, cello, opera and, of course, pizza all hail from Italy.
  • There are more than 3,000 museums throughout the country.
  • Venice alone has over 400 footbridges.
  • Rome is further North than New York City. New York City is about the same latitude as Naples Italy
  • Bubonic Plague killed one-third of the Italian population in the 14th century.

ITALY – INSIDER TIP

Much of Italy has a 3-hour lunch break (generally 1:30-4:30 pm), when most businesses and shops close down. And don’t be surprised if nothing but cafes and gelaterias are open on Sunday.

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PIQUE Travel Design is a travel agency based in Minneapolis, Minnesota serving clients across the globe.