ART AND CULTURE
Italy, a land of art and history
Italy is a synonym for culture, art, and history. Artistic wonders can be found everywhere, and every corner of the country holds countless and wonderful surprises. Our artistic and cultural heritage is one of the most valuable in the world. Italy has more cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country. Rome, Florence, Assisi, Venice, Siena, Pisa, and Naples are its most renowned cities of art, but the whole country can boast towns of breathtaking beauty, as these numbers demonstrate: 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, and 1,500 convents.
Tourists can explore and discover the private residences of ancient and noble families; visit world famous museums such as the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Capitoline Museums in Rome, or the Brera Art Gallery in Milan; explore impressive archaeological sites, such as Pompei and Herculaneum, to immerse themselves in an exciting, grandiose past. That is by no means all – there are numerous cultural, artistic, and musical events that animate Italian life.
Italy offers a rich combination of masterpieces from different areas, blending landscape and culture, history and art, architecture and city planning – it offers an exciting journey through time, from the Ancient Greeks and Romans to the present day, which is also filled by a wealth of art and culture.
Italy has been, since antiquity, the centre of history, culture and art. Our museums, collections and archaeological sites reveal countless tokens of the past and the many civilizations that have passed across this country, evidence of which is still inextricably woven into the present day landscape.
Italy, a land of lakes
Italy has many lakes; in fact, there are over a thousand , renowned for their incomparable beauty and each is characterized by distinct features. Lakes Garda, Maggiore, and Como, now well-known throughout the world, have become ideal destinations for spending some time in the sun and in close contact with nature. Italy’s major lakes are fully equipped and offer a range of accommodation facilities. The beaches provide all the comforts and are suitable for bathing. In addition to relaxing, visitors can have fun testing their skills with a variety of outdoor activities. Several water sports are offered: water skiing, canoeing, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving, and even fishing, with national level competitions. Sports such as golf, horseback riding, and mountain biking are also offered almost everywhere. A lakeside holiday also allows tourists to discover the surrounding areas, which are full of history and traditions
Italy’s lakes create enchanting landscapes thanks to the extraordinarily prosperous ecosystems that have developed over the millennia, and the evolution of the many and various plant and animal species. Small Alpine lakes, which are quite common in high-altitude areas, are excellent destinations for exciting hikes to explore breathtaking landscapes. Visitors have a world of emotions to explore, following their instinct and their passions, savouring fragrances and tastes. A lakeside vacation gives guests the rare opportunity to discover and enjoy Italy’s charm, reflected in cool, pristine waters.
The great lakes , Lakes Como, Maggiore and Garda, are the largest lakes in Italy, they have always been a major holiday destination, and their fame has never stopped growing.
Italy, a land of coasts and beaches
Italy is the ideal destination for a seaside vacation. It boasts around 8,000 km of coastline, lapped by the waves of the Adriatic, the Tyrrhenian, the Ionian, the Ligurian, and the Sardinian Seas. From north to south, stretches of sandy beaches alternate with jagged shorelines and sheer cliffs that plunge into the sea – a land full of picturesque, fascinating seaside locations and islands with spectacular natural views that are well worth visiting. The wide variety of landscapes makes it possible to choose from different kinds of vacations, combining rest and entertainment, privacy and leisure.
The vast, sandy beaches on the Tyrrhenian coast are the ideal location for families, while the steep, rocky coastlines and small inlets of the Ionian and Sardinian Seas are perfect for those who are looking for a more isolated, “wild” atmosphere. The Adriatic Sea is calm, with long sandy beaches sloping gradually down to the water. It is an ideal setting for children to play in and have good, safe fun.
Wherever you go , there is a wide range of accommodation facilities – from luxury resorts to clubs that offer entertainment, activities, and all types of sports, to family hotels that mix comfort with hospitality in picturesque coastal areas, quaint fishing villages, or small towns built on the cliffs with breathtaking panoramic views of harbours and inlets. These vacation spots ensure visitors an intense, magical experience and offer young people the chance to enjoy nights out in the many different clubs that populate the Italian rivieras.
The Ligurian Sea is divided into the Riviera di Ponente (Western Riviera), with famous tourist destinations such as Bordighera, San Remo, Alassio, and the Riviera di Levante (Eastern Riviera), characterized by the Tigullio Gulf: Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Portovenere are some of its main towns.
The Adriatic Sea extends from Friuli-Venezia Giulia to Apulia, and it is characterized by its diverse tracts of coastline : featuring rocks or wide beaches in Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Abruzzo and Molise, and interesting rock formations along the coast of Apulia. Some of its most famous are Lignano, Bibione, Rimini, Riccione, Cattolica, San Benedetto del Tronto, Giulianova and Vieste.
The Tyrrhenian Sea is the Sea of the Etruscans and of Naples, of the Lazio coast and the rocky shores of Calabria, even reaching the Aeolian Islands with their active volcanoes.
The Ionian Sea is the sea of Magna Graecia, of the Byzantines and of the Normans. In Rossano, Sibari, Scanzano Jonico, Taranto and Gallipoli tourists will find historical tokens.
The Sea of Sardinia is the tract of sea that divides one of the most beautiful islands of the Mediterranean from the Balearic Islands. It mainly washes the Western coast of Sardinia, and meets the Tyrrhenian Sea through the Strait of Bonifacio.
The Strait of Sicily laps the western and southern coasts of Sicily as well as the northern coast of Tunisia.
Italy has numerous high-quality beaches that are awarded the prestigious “Blue Flag ” year after year.
NATURE AND WILDLIFE
Italy, a land of nature
Wildlife parks boasting untainted beauty offer an ideal setting for those who decide to spend their vacations in contact with nature, discovering Italy’s flora and fauna, visiting its sunny islands and surrounded by the typical Mediterranean landscape.
Tourists can enjoy an unforgettable experience exploring Italy’s rough and wild environment. There are many national parks well worth exploring : the Gran Paradiso, Circeo, Stelvio, Dolomiti Bellunesi, Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga, Cilento and Vallo di Diano, and Gargano National Parks, the parks of Calabria and Aspromonte, not to mention the Maddalena and Tuscan Archipelagos, the Vesuvius, the Cinque Terre National Parks, and many other protected areas, nature reserves, and marine parks.
Italy’s lush and diversified environment provides many ideal settings for vacations in close contact with nature, for a natural rush of energy. There are many welcoming country tourist locations offering a relaxing and intimate atmosphere, the chance to taste genuine food, and discover local history and traditions. A perfect vacation in any moment of the year, revealing a different, and in many ways, secret Italy.
Italy, a land of mountains Immense valleys surrounded by green fields, amazing mountain spires emerging through white clouds, clean waters…these are the Italian mountains. The perfect scenario for a vacation in any season. Italy boasts a charming environmental heritage to enjoy throughout the whole year and many tourist destinations where it is possible to live the extraordinary experience of coming into contact with nature. F
rom the Dolomites in Trentino-Alto Adige to the Alps of Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta and Lombardy, from the Alps of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia to the Apennines of Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, eventually reaching the impressive profile of Etna, Sicily. A mountain vacation is an unforgettable experience. Italy has high-quality tourist structures, perfect for family vacations as well as the more active holidays preferred by nature lovers.
There is a wide array of options that meet everyone’s needs: hotels of various ratings, wellness centres, chalets, apartments, apartment hotels – everything you need to have an enjoyable mountain vacation surrounded by an extraordinary landscape.
The large European mountain range rises in the northernmost extremity of Italy, defining the geographical boundary. The imposing Alpine ridge passes through a number of regions, from Liguria to the Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto, and Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The Alps of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta
The numerous tourist facilities equipped with winter sports apparatus, perfected for the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics, welcome the many enthusiasts who visit this area. The best known locations are Bardonecchia and Sestriere. The Valle d’Aosta is an outstanding destination for mountain enthusiasts, home as it is to Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and Gran Paradiso. Its best known location is Courmayeur.
Alpine Foothills and Lombardy Alps
The Lombardy Alpine chain is characterized by high peaks and the presence of numerous glaciers. Large and important valleys, such as the Valtellina, divide the mountains, creating exceptionally beautiful landscapes, rich in watercourses, lakes, and woodland.
The Dolomites are on the eastern arm of the Alps, and extend through Trentino Alto Adige, and large areas of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place of amazing panoramas, with its characteristic pointed silhouettes, crags, sheer cliff faces, precipices, and valleys. The territory is also home to some of Italy’s best know skiing areas: Cortina, San Vito di Cadore, Val Gardena, Val di Fassa and many others.
This mountain range unites the two extremities of Italy, from Liguria to Calabria, it passes through Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Abruzzo, Campania, Basilicata and Molise. The mountains of the Apennines are not so high as the peaks of the Alps, but they are nevertheless home to some important skiing areas, such as Roccaraso, Campo Felice, and Rivisondoli. The thick vegetation and numerous watercourses help create exceptionally beautiful wild landscapes, which are also home to an abundant animal population.
CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Italy, a land of culture
Italy is a nation that hosts unique and fascinating events of international resonance throughout the year, providing innumerable opportunities for experiencing intense emotions.
Art exhibitions are inspired by over a thousand years of heritage, and events such as the Venice Biennial with its design and contemporary art focus, are flanked and alternate with theatre and ballet performances. For classical music lovers, the festivals and operatic seasons offered by Milan’s La Scala and the Verona Arena are unique. Italy is a synonym for music and art in every form. But that’s not all. It offers a wide range of traditional and modern cultural events, such as the many Carnivals held, most notably in Venice, but also in many other regions, and the various historical and religious representations that fill Italy with fantasy and vitality throughout the year.
Italy is also a natural film set. Its beautiful scenery make it the perfect background for every kind of film production: From its metropolises, to its Renaissance palaces, and amazing natural landscapes.
Italy is an ensemble of art, culture, natural landscapes, traditions, magic…in a word, diversity. Enjoy Italy and its daily, countless events!
RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY
A land of religion and spirituality
As the heart of one of the world’s most significant religions , Italy has always been a destination for those who have made their faith a way of life and who wish to explore the roots of a world that has produced art, architecture, and objects of inestimable value.
Italy is a land of pilgrimage – one of the foremost in the world – and is home to countless places of devotion and worship: San Giovanni Rotondo, the city where St. Padre Pio of Pietralcina lived and worked; Assisi, the city of St. Francis, with its magnificent Basilica and Holy Convent; and the Sanctuary of Loreto, one of the most prominent spiritual and cultural centres in Europe. But the ultimate destination for religious pilgrimages is undoubtedly Rome, the Capital of Christianity and Seat of the Papacy, where one can find St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Christian church in the world. Another of the countless destinations is Turin, site of the Shroud of Turin, a relic bearing the everlasting image of Christ after the crucifixion, which can only be seen during scheduled exhibitions.
Italy is an unparalleled and mandatory destination for anyone wishing to travel the historical roads of Christianity , such as the Via Francigena, or explore the numerous places of worship in every region, or simply take a spiritual trip to admire the artistic, cultural, and religious heritage of this country.
EATING AND DRINKING
Italy, a land of flavours.
Italy has always been a synonym for “good food,” offering an unmistakable explosion of flavours, scents, and aromas. Aside from having one of the most famous cuisines, it also proposes an immense variety of different regional dishes and recipes.
Visitors cannot miss the food and wine itineraries – journeys through Italy’s gastronomic culture, in search of ancient recipes, genuine products, and simple food inspired by classic Italian cooking and innovative creations. World renowned products such as Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, Parma and San Daniele ham, Modena balsamic vinegar, Genoa’s pesto, buffalo mozzarella from Campania, Alba truffles, and cured meats are just some of the symbols that make Italy the land of good food. And how could anyone forget pasta and pizza, universal synonyms for Italy?
Italy’s wines, those noble ambassadors of Italian excellence throughout the world, must not be neglected. The pleasure of tasting a fine wine in its native environment is unparalled – a glass of Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, of Barbera or Barolo in Piedmont, of Prosecco di Valdobbiadene in Veneto, of Lambrusco in Emilia Romagna, or the Sicilian wines or the white wines in Friuli and Trentino-Alto Adige, or the great reds of the Valtellina, just to provide a few renowned examples. Italy has a world of flavours to taste and tempt the palate , eyes, and heart!
The Ancient Greeks used to call Italy “Enotria”, in deference to its renown for producing extraordinary wines. It would be impossible to list all of the features of Italian wines, world famous for their variety and quality.
The main elements of the Mediterranean Diet – whose positive effects are well known – are bread and oil.
The Italian landscape is characterized, from north to south, by golden wheat fields and green olive groves – where different kinds of bread and high-quality oil are produced.
Choosing farm holidays: accommodation, food, services and amenities of this kind of holiday.
WELL-BEING AND HEALTH
Italy, a land of well-being
Feeling good in Italy is easy. This country boasts the largest number of thermal spa centres in the world, with a tradition of body and soul treatments that dates back thousands of years – to ancient Rome. Throughout the country, from north to south, it is possible for visitors to experience a unique vacation centred on general well-being l at our numerous natural thermal springs. These places are renowned for their therapeutic properties and for their excellent aesthetic treatments. There are ancient baths that have remained intact for centuries and take visitors back in time, offering a primitive sort of appeal, with their natural saunas, hidden caves surrounded by vegetation, and hot steam with a pleasantly ferrous scent – excellent spots for reinvigorating the body and treating the skin.
A thermal spa vacation is always revitalizing, thanks to effective treatments and a wide range of services, but, most importantly, thanks to the enchanting natural landscapes in which they are located. Italy has various world famous thermal spas: Saturnia, Montecatini, San Gimignano, Abano, Salsomaggiore and Ischia, to name just a few for a holiday devoted to health, beauty and physical well-being, in quiet resorts with all mod cons. Special consideration should be given to the wide array of options available at the wellness centres in Trentino-Alto Adige, Umbria and Tuscany. Their facilities are specifically equipped to make use of the latest apparatus and techniques, with innovative treatments that provide guests with a vacation dedicated to physical well-being and relaxation.
Thermal Spas, Spas and Wellness
Italy offers a number of thermal spa locations.