Italy is well renowned for its varied treasures and historical heritage, and as such each region around the
country has its own folklore and cultural character that reflects Italy’s overall diversity in its many
forms—from its artistic and architectural wonders imbued with the wisdom of millennia, to the natural
habitats and wonderful Mediterranean nature which add to its unique and diverse character. Where to start,
when deciding to go on an Italian holiday? There are so many places to see and visit (including secluded
spots away from the crowds) that you must choose wisely to enjoy your vacation to the fullest!
Rome, the eternal city, has a history that goes back to the 8 th Century B.C. and has its general origins in the
story of Romulus and Remus, the two brothers who began laying the foundations around the 7 capitol hills.
But it goes even farther back to the time of Troy, and specifically to Aeneas, a refugee from the Trojan War
who was the first to land at the shores of the Tiber and establish the first settlements. With this is mind, if we
consider the Greek and Roman influences it is easy to see why it holds the most fantastic treasures of the
ancient world—from ancient temples, Cathedrals, Churches filled with intricate mosaics, castles and
perfectly preserved monuments. A visit to St. Peter’s is enough to convince you of the extraordinary skills of
sculptors and painters like Leonardo Da Vinci and Botticelli. Shopping is the name of the game and what
also makes this city unique – with the best designer fashion shops around this is also a lady’s vacation in
style. Your kids can also have a blast taking pictures with gladiators in full costume at the Colosseum, and
yes there are great toys including swords and gladiator helmet replicas at the local shops!
When it comes to regions in general, Tuscany is renowned for its rolling hills of cypress trees and lovely
vineyards where you can sample the best food (try tagliatelle with Boar Sauce and you will know what I
mean) and the greatest wines of Tuscany. Napa Valley, in California tried to emulate this balanced
ecosystem to a certain or lesser degree! Visit the Uffizi in Florence for some of the greatest art collections in
the world and take a midnight stroll along the Ponte Vecchio for a romantic moonlight escapade.
Sicily has been known since ancient times as the Jewel of the Mediterranean and the Gateway to Europe, and
its cosmopolitan character is shaped by the many civilizations that visited or settled in the country for over
3000 years (Greeks, Romans, Arabs, North Africans, Spanish, Northern Europeans and more) up through the
crusades and all the way up to the Renaissance Period. It has the best diversity of local customs and some of
the best preserved ancient Greco-Roman temples (the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento comprises the 5 th
Century B.C. Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temples of Juno and Hercules), Amphitheaters (like the one in
Taormina), and Arab and Norman Cathedrals. It is also a great place for visitors that want to enjoy the
vacation immersed in the life of the locals, and there is a rising trend among tourists to rent vacation
homes including beachfront villas directly from local owners at great budget prices through sites like
The Amalfi Coast is where the crème de la crème of high society enjoys their vacations in style and luxury.
Filled with beautiful beaches and high-end resorts, yacht clubs and scenic bars, this is the place to be if
you’ve got money to spend and want to live like a celebrity. Don’t be too surprised if you see a famous actor
or the odd billionaire sipping a cocktail next to you at a local restaurant! The towns of Salerno and Amalfi
are celebrated for their wonderful art, churches and cathedrals like the Duomo di Amalfi holding the remains
of St Andrew the Apostle and the Byzantine influences of the 9 th -11 th Century. The 8 th Century Arechi Castle
in Salerno is another must-see: a fortification perched on top of a hill with majestic views of Salerno and the
*Written in collaboration with Mary.D
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