Viva Italia! Sample the seductive charms of Italy in 2015

Our featured properties in Italy have just gone on sale for 2015, so we thought we’d try and inspire you by picking a few of our favourite regions…and don’t forget you can currently reserve your 2015 property for £25! More info on our Italy page.   

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Italy is one of Europe’s top holiday destinations, and for good reason. It’s a breathtaking blend of stunning sights, romantic vistas, stylish people, mouth-watering cuisine and excellent weather. The list goes on and on, making this gorgeous country a place you must visit, at least once in your lifetime. Read on to find out more about Italy’s top tourist destinations:

The eternal city

Roman ruins in Rome, Forum

The Forum in Rome

Italy’s capital, Rome, is the eternal city – and it’s eternally popular with tourists from all over the world. Located in the central Lazio region of the country, Rome has everything you’d want in a holiday, whether a short city break or a stopover while visiting other parts of the country.

The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps are among the many natural tourist magnets. Then there’s the city within a city itself – the Vatican, with its equally famous St. Peter’s Basilica and square that attracts millions of people each year.

There’s no use counting calories when in Rome – delve right in to some of the most delicious pizzas, pastas and gelatos anywhere.

Tuscany

Tuscany landscape

Tuscany landscape

The wine-producing Tuscany region in central Italy is a romantic place of extreme natural beauty that has long been a favourite with people from all over. It’s where the Renaissance movement began, in Florence, and so is steeped in great art and culture, and there’s so much to explore. Who can go to Italy without seeing the Leaning Towner of Pisa, located right here? The medieval city of Siena and its Il Campo central piazza is also a top tourist draw.

Oenophiles (that’s wine lovers to you and me) will delight in the many wines produced in Tuscany, including its most well-known export, Chianti, a bold red enjoyed all over the world. Gastronomes, meanwhile, will revel in Tuscany’s simple and delicious country fare, including lots of vegetables, olive oil and stuffed pastas such as ravioli.

Up north

Venice by night

Venice by night

In the northeast of the country, romantic Venice is a natural choice for many people. Surrounded by water and now a World Heritage Site, Venice has been called one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. This astonishing “Floating City”, whose many canals are filled with water taxis and gondolas, has some extraordinary architecture, including Piazza San Marco, the main public square; Saint Mark’s Basilica and its striking Italo-Byzantine features; and the Gothic Doge’s Palace.

In the northwest, fashionable Milan, capital of the Lombardy region, is also an excellent holiday choice. Like other major Italian cities, Milan has a wealth of culture and sights, including Milan Cathedral, Sforza Castle and the shopping mecca of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which dates back to 1865. Many parts of Italy have their own particular cuisine, and Milan is no different. Try its succulent risotto alla milanese, which is made with saffron; cotoletta alla milanese, a fried veal dish; and minestrone alla milanese, with lots of vegetables and often also with pancetta.

Way down south

Sicily is a perennial tourist favourite, due to its wonderful Mediterranean weather and great natural beauty. Located off the southern tip of Italy, Sicily is the biggest island in the Med and is a natural choice for those seeking sun and sand while on an Italian holiday.

Palermo is the island’s capital and is an oasis of culture, history and amazing cuisine, and you’ll find some of the best beaches in Italy all around the coastline, places of white-sand perfection where you can truly relax and let all your worries just float away. For the adventurous, why not take a trip to see Mount Etna, one of three active volcanoes in Italy and one of the most active in the world?

The Calabria region of Italy takes up what’s known as the “toe” of the country, or its southernmost mainland mass. Its capital is the city of Catanzaro, looking out over the Gulf of Squillace and a place definitely worth visiting. It’s especially busy during the peak summer months, and it also enjoys a Mediterranean climate.

Out to sea

The sea at Sardinia

The sea at Sardinia

Way out to the west is another glorious part of Italy – the Mediterranean Sea’s second largest island of Sardinia, and also a top tourist pick. The island enjoys year-round sunshine and is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world.

The extremely old city of Cagliari, dating back many centuries, serves as the island’s capital and today visitors can take in lots of historical sites dotted around it, including a necropolis, amphitheatre, fortifications and a basilica. Elsewhere, there’s some stunning scenery around the interior of the island.

Italy has so much to offer visitors that it’s indeed hard to take it all in during one trip. Once you get a taste for this delightful place you’ll want to keep coming back to sample all of its many flavours.

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