La Dolce Vita – a country full of sensory delights
Holidays in Italy are a feast for the senses. Art, history, song, wine, food, romance and football are all worthy celebrations of life in this vibrant boot-shaped country. The north of Italy is home to the Italian Riviera, the port of Genoa, beautiful Lake Como and important cities like Turin and business capital Milan. The northeast offers the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites and first-class ski resorts, plus the waterways of Venice. Central Italy breathes art and historic significance - see the remnants of the Roman Empire and the Colosseum in romantic Rome or soak up fine art and culture in Florence and the Tuscan hills. Southern Italy boasts the ruins of Pompeii, lively Naples, the exclusive Amalfi Coast and Calabria’s gorgeous beaches, while the islands of Sicily and Sardinia offer archaeology, fine cuisine and striking scenery.
Go for the galleries and museums, the laid-back lifestyle, the festivals and the famous cities. Go for the ice cream, the street cafés, the sunshine, mountains and beaches. Cycle around the provinces, take a tour of the vineyards, enjoy Venice by gondola or sail around the islands.
When to Go?
Many would say ‘anytime’! Realistically, the best time to visit is between April and June before the crowds descend, when the weather is sunny without being too stuffy. Temperatures and prices tend to soar during the school holidays in July and August. Italy is not quite the land of eternal sunshine – winter in the Alps can be severe and Milan’s climate is similar to London – however long, hot summers prevail in the south.
How to get there?
Italy’s main international airports are Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) and Milan’s Malpensa Airport (MXP) . Low cost carriers tend to use regional airports in Rome, Pisa and Venice. Sicily and Sardinia have their own regional airports, as do Naples and Bologna. British Airways, Alitalia, Easyjet, Ryanair, BMI Baby and Air One all offer direct flights from main UK airports. Alternatively, take the ferry from the UK to Calais and enjoy a leisurely drive through Europe.
Spend some time in Rome and toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain to be sure of returning to the city one day, because you’re unlikely to uncover all its treasures in one visit. Further afield, Siena, Ravenna, Piedmont and Perugia are all regions to be savoured as are the exclusive Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and Calabria. Pompeii is one of Europe’s finest archaeological sites while Rimini and the Romagna Riviera are Italy’s most popular beach locations. Don’t miss The Lakes and national parks, and for some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe, head to the Italian Alps for skiing and mountaineering.