Vatican City is the smallest city in the world, but it's bursting with activity for locals and tourists alike.
To find the world's smallest city, you'll need to look for the world's smallest country as well. You can find them both—Vatican City is in fact a country and a city—encircled by Rome, Italy. At only 0.17 square miles, the tiny city-state is not even a quarter of the size of the next smallest country, Monaco.
Though every country defines the word "city" differently, meaning some cities host populations of only a handful of residents, Vatican City is generally considered to be the smallest city by population size as well as by area. It has a population of only about 800 people, just over half of whom are citizens. However, many who do have Vatican City passports actually live abroad, working in diplomatic posts.
And one Italian town hopes to reward visitors for their lovemaking.
Ten hotels in Assisi, in central Italy, have signed on to a campaign from the Fertility Room initiative: Couples who conceive a baby during their stay at the hotels can get a free trip.
By returning with a birth certificate that shows a child was born nine months—give or take ten days—after their stay, a couple can either be reimbursed by the hotel or return for a free stay depending on the location, The Local Italy reported.
The campaign is intended to highlight low fertility rates in Italy, where the rate has halved in the past 50 years. With the lowest birthrate in the European Union and one of the lowest in the world, Italy has looked to encourage conception through a variety of programs in the past few years, to varying degrees of success. And with varying degrees of controversy.
Book a flight to Italy immediately—a fountain flowing solely with red wine has appeared in the Abruzzo region, just east of Rome. Installed by a local vineyard, the fontana del vino can be found along the Cammino di San Tommaso, a popular pilgrimage route that runs between Rome and Ortona. And the joys don't end there: Passersby can drink as much as they like. For free.
According to The Local, The Dora Sarchese vineyard was inspired by a similar fountain along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain, subsequently teaming up with the non-profit that maintains the Cammino di San Tommaso to bring its locally produced vino to the masses. Writing on its Facebook page, the vineyard explained that the wine fountain is a "welcome" to everyone who walks past. Notably, it also issued a stern warning to any wine lovers who might take the prospect of an around-the-clock wine fountain too far, adding that it is not intended for "drunkards" or "louts."
Settled high on the cliffs of Italy's Amalfi Coast is the picturesque town of Sorrento, arguably the ideal escape for those looking to breathe fresh bay air and sip locally made limoncello.
Check into the surreal Gio Ponti hotel, Parco dei Principi—one of Jonathan Adler's favorites. Drop your bags, and start your trip to Sorrento with an easy stroll through Villa Comunale, a public park with impressive vistas from the terrace out over the Bay of Naples.
Next, make your way to the beach. It wouldn't be a proper trip to coastal Italy without spending time sunning and swimming at one of Sorrento's beaches. Don't forget to stop by the Marina Grande to admire the fishing community's harbor houses and grab an apertif at one of the many waterfront restaurants. (Read More)
10 Experiences Every Traveler Should Have in Italy
There's a reason Italy ranks as one of the top-visited destinations in the world. Actually, there are a lot of reasons. Its exquisite beauty, its relaxed pace, its startling integration of the ancient and the modern—it all contributes to the magic. Whether you're flying down pistes in the Dolomites, or sunning yourself on the Amalfi Coast, here are 10 quintessentially Italian moments every traveler should experience.
The world's largest amphitheater, first foundations laid in A.D. 72 by Flavian Emperor Vespasian in the heart of Rome, is undergoing Phase 2 of 3 ambitious renovation programs sponsored by the luxury Italian leather-goods company Tod's. It's high time for a full facelift for this iconic monument—and until recently a blackened victim of lead-fueled traffic from Vespas and Cinquecentos, random bronze and iron support rods inserted in the 50s and 60s, and the footfall of millions of tourists. It's the latest in a string of high-profile renovations throughout Italy, many of which have been sponsored by luxe Italian fashion brands: the Spanish Steps are being spruced up courtesy of Bulgari, while Fendi donated the funds to care for the iconic Trevi Fountain.
While in Rome do not disregard to experience the majesty of the Vatican and its museum. An exclusive experience, this Vatican tour remains one of the most fascinating things to do in Rome. A city within a city covering 110 acres, it is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world. With so much to behold within its walls, it is one of the most popular Rome tourist attractions and an ideal opportunity to beat the crowds by taking a private tour. Bordered by palaces and gardens, take in the wonder of its double colonnade and circular piazza. Erected over the tomb of St Peter the Apostle, the basilica is the largest religious building in the world. Another key aspect of a private tour is the Vatican Museum where you will be guided through areas such as the Gallery of Maps, the Tapestry Gallery, the Four Rooms of Raphael and of course the famous Sistine Chapel with its wonderful ceiling depicting Michelangelo's The Last Judgment, and wall frescoes from artists such as Botticelli, Perugino, Rosselli, Ghirlandaio and Signorelli. Step out and take in the wonder of St. Peter's Square. Enclosed in Bernini's colonnade, enjoy the history and beauty of the square while discovering the 4000 year-old Egyptian obelisk, erected at the current site in 1568. You will hear how Bernini designed this structure to include the massive Tuscan colonnades in which to embrace visitors in "the maternal arms of Mother Church." For a special treat, if you are in the square on a Wednesday in the summer, you will see the Pope providing the Papal Blessing to the crowds below making for a grandiose end to your tours of Rome.
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Lake Como
Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe, Lake Como has put travel to Italy in an affluent class with its beginnings as a retreat for aristocrats in Roman times. Even now, it attracts the famous to its shores not only for vacationing but for permanent residence. Between Milan and the border of Switzerland, this jaw-dropping destination is surrounded by mountains and hills and is sprinkled in luxury villas and resorts. One of the oldest and most elegant hotels in the Lake Como area and the only 5-star deluxe hotel in Bellagio, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni has been the place to stay in Bellagio since 1873, when it was transformed from a private house into a luxury hotel. In a breath-taking position on the cape, the hotel juts halfway out into the lake providing its guests one of the most beautiful panoramas in the world. Beyond the views, you can experience the lake on motorboat from the hotel's private dock and take in the Italian-style gardens lush with Mediterranean and subtropical plants from the water. Upon returning, you can relax by the pool with lake views or enjoy relaxing treatments at the spa. Even more sophistication awaits you inside as you gaze upon frescoes and paintings of mythological scenes. The French style wall coverings, antique Persian carpets, crystal chandeliers and decadent marble staircases add to the nobility of this spectacular hotel. Frequented by royalty, aristocrats, sovereigns, and movie stars, it is no wonder the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni has been one of the most prestigious hotels in the world for the past 100 years.
Honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast
Probably, the most idyllic stretch of coastline in the Mediterranean, the Amalfi Coast is also the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon in Italy. Stretching along the Sorrentine Peninsula on the southern edge of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is a honeymoon haven that consists of towering cliffs, pastel-hued villages terraced into hillsides, precipitous corniche roads, luxuriant gardens, and expansive vistas over turquoise waters and green-swathed mountains. This is a place you can organize the honeymoon trip you've always dreamt of. Blessed with dramatic spectacular beauty and mesmerizing views, Amalfi Coast has dazzled tourists for centuries. Loving couples can embark on a journey of discovery; so discover the hidden treasures of this magical coastline, the remote beaches, the stunning landscapes, the picturesque villages and reviving nature, along with the area's landmarks. Watch the sun set from Ravello and the gleaming sea painting the sky in scarlet nuances while enjoying a limoncello from fresh local lemons. Nothing is more romantic than a private candle light dinner in view of the flickering lights of Positano town and the refulgent candles. Relish the finest seafood with popular choices of high quality local wine and take a walk in the moonlight, a walk to remember. Travel2Italy, with a great range of Italy honeymoon packages, provides you with the opportunity to enjoy your Italy honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast and experience its amazing landscape of towering bluffs, luxurious gardens, turquoise waters and some of the best 5 star hotels in Italy that for sure will all add a little extra shine to the memories of your wedding.
Portofino by Night
Not just an Italian fishing village, Portofino is one of the most popular resort towns traveled to on an Italian Riviera vacation. The town encircles its small harbor and provides nearby beaches (such as Paraggi) for visitors to enjoy. Portofino also offers some historic sites like the Church of St. Martin (Divo Martino) and the Castello Brown hilltop fortress. However, activities like diving, hiking and beach-going are all the sought after aspects while spending time in this little slice of heaven. Frequented by celebrities, this Italian town is colorful and peaceful by day and even more stunning by night. With the light reflecting off the dark waters, visitors can be seen strolling through Portofino's quaint streets shopping at its boutiques and art galleries. Those seeking late night fares can be seen lounging at local cafes sipping coffee or perhaps poised at restaurants sipping wine and dining on local cuisine. With just over 500 permanent residents, it is a destination that exudes privacy and exclusivity for your Italian Riviera trip. Even in the moonlight, yachts are docked in the harbor awaiting the next day's sail. Still, as your night begins to close in this town, five-star accommodations such as the Hotel Splendido provide a glamorous retreat. One of the Italian Riviera luxury hotels, it overlooks the picture-perfect harbor. From your suite you can admire the beauty, calming qualities and simplicity of the sea against the night sky. If on an Italian Riviera honeymoon, have a late dinner of Italian cuisine from the terrace of La Terrazza to celebrate your day.
Doge's Palace, Venice
Resting comfortably at the top of the list of what to see in Venice for touring historical sites is Doge's Palace. Once occupied by a tenth century wooden stockade with watch towers and moat, it was converted in the fourteenth century to a grand palace to pay homage to the wealth and power of the time. Built in two major phases, it took over 110 years to construct and was where the Venetian Republic was ruled. A beautiful representation of Venetian Gothic architecture with byzantine influences, it is unique among Venice attractions and is considered the very symbol of the city. Located in St. Mark's Square near the Ponte dei Sospiri, enter the palace while on Venice tours and ascend a flight of stairs that once led to the Doge's private quarters. Referred to as the "Scala dei Giganti", it is flanked by massive statues of Mars and Neptune. The second floor houses the Grand Chamber where the ruling elite of the city once met. The largest room inside the palace, it measures nearly the length of the southern façade, with a full wall view of Tintoretto's "Paradise" and an amazing view over the waterfront. Be sure to take time on the third level in the "SaladelCollegio", where the Doge's once met with foreign ambassadors to look for the missing portrait for the family member who disgraced himself by attempting a coup d'etat. A fantastic experience during a Venice vacation, request a secret passage tour and hear all the behind-the-scenes gossip that once paraded between the palace's walls.
Piazza del Campo, Siena
In an area known for its wine and countryside, there is a unique destination hidden among things to do in Siena, Italy. Its historic center of Piazza del Campo is regarded as one of Europe's greatest medieval squares and is a stunning stop among Tuscany tours. A beauty of architectural wonder, the Palazzo Comunale, Torre del Mangia and various other Palazzo Signorili create a concave shell. A stunning site in the glow of night, the Palazzo Comunale, is unusually constructed on the lowest part of the square and accompanied by the tall, slender Torre del Mangia standing out against the sky at 102 meters. A romantic stop on a Tuscany honeymoon, walk along the paving of red bricks in a fishbone style and divided into a pattern of nine strips resembling a burst of sun. Each burst of light signifying the Government of Nine who ruled over the city from 1292 to 1355. The Fonte Gaia, a masterpiece in white marble, sparkles even in the dimmest of light. At the base of the Palazzo is the Chapel of the Virgin where you can take in the elegant façades of the Palazzo Signorili. Due to its location, it once held the entire population of Siena. Citizens would gather here to attend events, tournaments and buffalo and bull races. An opportunity to stand where all the most important historic events of the city until the Medici period, it now hosts the Palio di Siena, a horse-race held twice a year around its edges and is a unique addition to any Italy vacation.
Burano Island, Venice
"Burano" coming from the phrase "Porta Boreano" means the northern door of the city and is the most colorful island to visit when deciding what to see in Venice. Part of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges, it sits among the marshy water chain of land stretching between the Po and Piave Rivers. Floating across the many waterways of the city, you will arrive to Burano Island in a burst of color and lace artistry. Best known for the vivid colors used to paint its homes, Buranois the most vibrant stop to be made during your tours of Venice. Ancient legend narrates that the houses were originally painted in bright colors so that fisherman would be able to see and identify their own homes while out long distances. Today, as the island's main feature, they take on the role of separating properties and bringing delight to all who walk along the island's quaint and tiny streets and watch their colors dance on dazzling green waters. During a Venice walking tour, be sure to search the many "capitelli" (captials) until you reach the most famous and colorful house on the island "la Casa di BepiSuà"or the house of Joseph Sweaty. Not just an island of color, Burano is also known for their fine lace designs which can be viewed at the "Museo del Merletto" (Lace Museum). Playing home to artists such as Baldassare Galuppiand Remigio Barbaro and inspiring the genre of Arte Buranella, Burano Island is an unforgettable stop during any Venice vacation.
The Pantheon, Rome
Built and dedicated between A.D. 118 and 125, the Roman Pantheon is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. Named for its original function as a temple for all the gods, it is among the most frequented Rome tourist attractions and stands as a reminder of the great Roman Empire. Converted into a church in 609, it contains the tombs of the Renaissance artist Raphael and several Italian kings. Its trademark dome and oculus, its only main source of light, was the largest dome in the world until around 1436. During tours of Rome, private guides describe the oculus as a means for the ancients to admire the magnificence of the cosmos. Never covered, rain falls into the interior and runs off the floor to the original drainpipes underneath the structure. On Rome walking tours, the Pantheon can be reached by the Piazza della Rotonda and its imposing 16 columns weighing 60 tons each surround you as you step through its massive bronze door. The columns, each with a diameter of 1.5 meters and quarried in Egypt, support a pediment with an inscription attributing the Pantheon to Marcus Agrippa (even though it was built by Hadrian).Its ecclesiastical interior design seems to contrast the temple's structural design but the geometric patterned marble floor is still the ancient Roman original. A must-see during a Rome vacation, the Roman Pantheon in its present state allows a glimpse into the marvelous world of ancient architecture and a method in understanding why it has been used to inspire artists during the Renaissance.
Honeymoon in Lake Como
Nineteenth century composer Franz Liszt once said "when you write the story of two happy lovers, let the story be set on the banks of Lake Como." The very essence of Italian romance and famous for its natural beauty, this destination has inspired artists and poets for years. An Italy honeymoon preference for royalty and celebrities from around the globe its surrounding resort areas such as: Como, Lecco, Bellagio, Tremezzo, Menaggio, and Varenna each offer something different to experience. To see all of these towns and appreciate the full beauty of this lake, explore the area by water on a motorboat during your honeymoon. One of the top tours of Lake Como, this cruise sends newlyweds gliding over the water to admire the many villas, VIP homes, fascinating villages and marvelous gardens sprinkled about the shore. If time allows, walk hand-in-hand through the Villa Balbianello in Como or the Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo. Still, one of the most beautiful areas to stay during your Lake Como honeymoon is in the town of Bellagio. The area is characterized by century-old buildings, stone lanes and picturesque cobbled stairways filled with shops showcasing fine Italian clothing. Called the "Pearl of the Lake," its world class hotels and restaurants provide the perfect location to soak up the lake's famous panorama. One of the best sights Lake Como luxury hotels can offer is from a room at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. A five star accommodation, it has panoramic views of the Bellagio, Gringe and Balbianello bringing romance to the balcony of your luxurious honeymoon suite.
Grand Hotel Timeo, Sicily
One of the 5 star hotels in Sicily, the Grand Hotel Timeo takes center stage among the most glamorous retreats in Italy. Across from the Greek theater, it has been an oasis of glamour since 1863 and a long time escape for artists, aristocrats and celebrities. Breaking apart from other luxury hotels in Sicily, its sweeping views of the coastline and Mount Etna provide a new outlook in an old world. It offers 70 guestrooms varying between double rooms, Junior Suites or Suites though additional privacy is available from their nearby Villa Flora. Each room's décor reflect the luxurious Italian flair noted in the overall atmosphere of this hotel. Its terraces or balconies provide unforgettable views of the Bay of Taormina and volcano. However, when choosing the Presidential suite, travelers can expect the added magnificence of Sicilian Baroque style, spacious and comfortable sitting rooms and opulent marble bathrooms. Guaranteeing relaxation during your Sicily vacation the hotel's heated pool provides panoramic bay views with a touch of elegance in its surrounding terraced garden. As part of the many amenities defining this among the luxury hotels in Sicily, the Grand Hotel Timeo shares exclusive access to a private beach located in the nearby Bay of Mazzaro in Taormina Mare. Guests are also invited to join the hotel's complimentary boat excursions that sail around the Sicilian Coast. Making a vacation to Italy complete, Grand Hotel Timeo's restaurant offers a sensational selection of Sicilian and Mediterranean cuisine along with local wines and Italian cocktails ensuring the perfect experience.
Positano by Night
According to ancient myth, Positano was founded by Neptune, god of the sea, for the love a nymph named Pasitea (in which the city was named). Whether you believe in myths or not, anyone who has visited Positano on an Amalfi Coast vacation can understand falling in love. A glamorous seaside town, it offers visitors an exclusive experience not only in the quaintness of the town but who you may be sitting next to while dining late at night. The night life when on travel to Amalfi Coast tends to come together in Positano where travelers partake in its panoramic sea edge restaurants, drink at a series of its fashionable bars or sip coffee at its pavement cafes. Buca di Baccois a popular late night aperitif stop and great place to sit by the beach. Be sure to look around as it is a great location for spotting the famous from the small and large screens. For dinner, try the Le Terrazze restaurant on the water's edge, a frequented stop by film star Denzel Washington. For those looking to dance the night away, go to Spiaggia Grande beach and try Music on the Rocks. The most famous club in Positano, you can dance until the sun comes up. Still, as your night draws to a close and you want to retreat far from the crowds, try one of the luxury hotels Amalfi Coast, Palazzo Murat. A historic hotel occupying a beautifully restored 18th century villa, it is a perfect escape during an Amalfi Coast honeymoon or any Italy vacation.
A Colorful Escape to the Italian Riviera
An Italian Riviera vacation begins as you arrive to a narrow shelf rising into sharply folded mountains. Dancing in colorful architecture, the Ligurian coastline's unique landscape beckons its guests to dock their yachts and explore on land. The Italian Riviera is surrounded to the south, toward Pisa, by the Riviera di Levante and to the west, toward the border with France, is the Riviera di Ponente. It is a picturesque destination for a vacation to Italy with its imposing views of where mountains meet the sea. It is also known as the Gulf of Poets as many have been inspired by the unique aspects of this area. With charming towns such as Positano, Santa Margherita and the Cinque Terre villages to experience, the Riviera has remained untouched in a discreet luxury unique to Italy. On a Cinque Terre tour, experience a collection of five villages comprising the most iconic images of the Italian Riviera. As part of Italy travel tours, visitors will explore the neatly stacked pastel buildings, cloistered tightly yet towering perilously on cliffs overlooking beautiful blue seas. Strolling through towns such as Sestre Levante as it sits on a peninsula overlooking two bays, visitors will sample the life of the surprising 20,000 people who live there. The town, filled with pastel structures, lines the waterfront and while showcasing an imposing hillside in the background. While in Vernazza, vacationers should try the curving pier acting as a natural diving board into marine reserve water. If time allows, wait on the west-facing beach for a beautiful view of the sunset.
What is your "Italy" Personality?
So you have finally decided to take that long awaited journey to Italy. Maybe you are going alone, with your spouse or perhaps your entire family, no matter, the decision has been made and the deposit put down for your trip. Now what? An Italy vacation brings so much opportunity to experience the diversity of a country rich in beauty, tradition and history. You could bask in the sun on the Amalfi Coast, sip wine in Tuscany or tour along the Italian Riviera. So, with so much to choose, how do you?
Unfortunately, there is no Myers-Briggs test that can behold your Italy personality. Your trip to Italy is special and must be tailored to you as a matter of preferences, experiences and memories you have of yet to bring to the surface. Travel2Italy will help you construct the Italy vacation that suits your travel needs and ultimately your Italy personality. Still, if you feel overwhelmed with the opportunities available in this beautiful country and are not quite sure how to narrow down your experiences, start here by asking the following questions: (Read more...)
The Roman Forum, Rome
In the valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills and covering almost one and half miles, is the Roman Forum. As a top tourist destination, it once was the heart of ancient Rome and where commerce, business and the administration of justice took place. When walking the site, you will behold the oldest courthouses, religious buildings and senate house of the city. As a central area, the Forum has seen its share of triumphal processions and elections, public speeches, criminal trials and even gladiator matches. It is one of the most celebrated meeting places of the world and a great addition to any tours of Rome. The Roman Forum became the spectacular showcase of the Roman Empire as it was filled with beautiful statues and architecture. Discussed on Rome walking tours, some of the main sites of the Forum include: the Arch of Titus, the Temple of Saturn, and the Temple of Vesta. A sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations, it showcases a collection of ancient temples, basilicas and triumphal arches that should be experienced during anyone's vacation in Rome. One of the most photographed elements amongst Rome tourist attractions is the columns of the Temple of Saturn. What is seen today are the ruins dating from 42 BC. The temple was used as the state treasury and housed the banners of the legions and the senatorial decrees. In 20 BC, the Milarium Aureum (a tall column) was placed in front of the temple by Emperor Augustus and all distances to Rome were measured by this column.
San Gimignano, Tuscany
Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine, produced from an ancient variety of Vernaccia grape, is for connoisseurs a critical part of any Tuscany wine tour. However, though San Gimignano is known for this wine, it's also known as the city of beautiful towers. A small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, it is famous for its architecture and unique preservation of around fourteen tower houses. This town once served as an important relay point for pilgrims travelling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built the tower-houses (some as high as 50 meters) in order to show their economic power. Today, these towers cause the town to retain its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The tower houses are from the fourteenth century and used to number seventy-two. The remaining towers can be seen rising above Tuscany's Elsa Valley and area much sought after part of any tours of Tuscany. During a Tuscany trip, visitors will see San Gimigano sitting on a hilltop and revel in its Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The foundation of the town dates back to 63 BC where according to legend, two brothers fled from Rome to escape a conspiracy charge and built two castles Castle Mucchio and Castle Silvia which would later develop into San Gimignano. Whether you believe this legend or not, the town offers many historical sites such as the San Gimignano Bell Tower, Piazza della Cisterna, Palazzo Comunale, the Church of Sant'Agostino, making it well worth a stop during any Tuscany vacation.
Hotel Splendido, Portofino
A retreat suspended above the sea on the highest point of the cliffs, the Hotel Splendido rests overlooking the bay of Portofino. With breathtaking views of green hills, Mediterranean flowers, turquoise sea and terracotta roofs, this hotel is framed in an enchanting landscape making it one of the best hotels in Portofino. The 85 rooms and suites found at Splendido hotel Portofino blend sophistication and service while showcasing this town's special charm. For panoramic views, guests can request one of the many rooms offering private terraces. If time on the water is desired, the hotel's private boat can be chartered for up to eight people for an unforgettable trip along the Italian Riviera. For those looking for the ultimate indulgence during an Italian Riviera honeymoon, the hotel hosts one of the best spas in Italy with a wide range of treatments for a special treat of romantic relaxation as newlyweds. Another stunning aspect of this hotel is its luxurious saltwater pool nestled amid its lush gardens. For those looking for sporting activities during their stay, an all-weather tennis court can be enjoyed in privacy. Set on a hillside the court is surrounded by luxuriant trees and plants obscuring activity while still surrounded in beautiful views of the sea and hills. As one of the true luxury hotels in Portofino, Hotel Splendido offers exceptional wines and regional specialties at their La Terraza restaurant. A spectacular dining venue in the center of Portofino, visitors sample authentic and local Italian cuisine while making a toast celebrating the picturesque Italian Riviera in the background.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan
Architectural grandeur not to be missed on a Milan vacation is that of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The world's oldest shopping mall, it was originally built in an effort to redevelop the historic area between the Cathedral and Scala Opera house in 1860. Known as il salotto di Milano (Milan's living room) it is a historic structure that connects the Piazza del Duomo to the Piazza della Scala in central Milan. It was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni who was inspired by the historic shopping arcades of Paris during his time. A fun addition to Milan walking tours, this five story 19th century structure is formed like a Latin cross, with two iron and glass covered walkways meeting at an octagonal central glass dome 47 meters high and 36 meters wide. On the ground of the octagonal, there are mosaics portraying the Coat of Arms of the three Capitals (Turin, Florence and Rome) of the Kingdom of Italy. Best seen during tours of Milan, the Galleria also connects two of Milan's most famous landmarks: The Duomo and the Teatro Alla Scala though the Galleria is a landmark in its own right. The Galleria received its name from Vittorio Emanuelle II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. As far as Milan attractions go, it is considered one of the sites of Milanese luxury shopping and hosts many designer shops, famous cafes and restaurants. Offering its skyline of Parisian-inspired architecture, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is an ideal stop for those looking to experience the beauty and style of Milan.
Honeymoon in Venice
A dream come true for newlyweds, a Venice honeymoon is sure to be unforgettable with its unique waterways and charming streets. The Grand Canal takes center stage as an ancient waterway lined with over 170 buildings built between the 13th and 18th century by wealthy Venetian families. As one of the major water-traffic corridors in the city, many cruise up and down the canal, be it in private boats called vaporetti (water buses), water taxis or the famous gondolas. A popular excursion for honeymooners, the gondola makes for a romantic and unique experience in the city. For centuries, this Venetian rowing boat was the chief means of transportation and most common watercraft within Venice. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transport in the city, serving as traghetti (ferries) over the Grand Canal and a favorite activity for honeymooner. Those who fall in love with all the activity of the canal can choose from the luxury hotels in Venice with water views and perhaps looking on to one of its picturesque bridge ways such as the Rialto Bridge. It embodies the beauty and history of this most fascinating city as one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal. The Rialto stands on its own as the oldest bridge across the canal and the former dividing line for the districts of San Marco and San Polo. For newlyweds, its church bells ringing, elegant piazzas and glistening waterways, Venice exudes a romance all its own and takes a perfect seat as one of Italy's honeymoon destinations.
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
A vacation in Florence, Italy is enhanced the moment one steps before the The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Built on the ancient sacred area of the Roman castrum, the Il Duomo di Firenze it is one of Italy's largest churches and its brick dome remains the largest ever constructed. As an anticipated part of Florence walking tours, this cathedral is part of a complex in the Piazza del Duomo which includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanille. All three of these buildings comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering a historic centre of Florence, Italy attractions. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence and took 170 years in which to complete its construction. Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio at the end of the 13th century, the design of this cathedral went through numerous modifications over its millennia of development with the most obvious seen on the church's side, where the first four windows are closer together than those found toward the east. The trademark dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and completed in 16 years' time. During its construction Leon Battista Alberti described this brick masterpiece as "a structure so immense, so steeply rising toward the sky, that it covers all Tuscans with its shadow." The designer of this dome that has become a symbol of the city also has a Florence luxury hotel carrying his same name: The Brunelleschi. This 5-star accommodation is within walking distance of this famous religious site and is located in the Piazza Sant'Elisabetta.
The Bridge of Sighs, Venice
While in Venice you would appreciate that this city has numerous sights that worth a visit. One of them is the Bridge of Sighs, one of the most famous bridges in all of Italy. Also known as the Ponte dei Sospiri in Italian, the Bridge of Sighs was designed and built by Antonio Contino in 1600. It connects the Doge's Palace to the Prigioni, the prisons that were built across the canal in the late 16th century. Though highly ornamental, built of fine, white limestone with lattice-like screens covering two small rectangular windows, the footbridge served a very practical purpose. It was used to lead prisoners from the examining rooms to their cells in the Prigioni. Legend has it that the bridge earned its name from the fact that prisoners who crossed through it, on the way to their prison cells or the execution chamber, would sigh as they caught their last glimpses of Venice through the tiny windows. Another story says that if a couple kisses under the bridge while drifting below on a gondola at sunset, they will enjoy eternal love. Thus, the "sighs" are said to come from lovers who are overwhelmed by the romance of the whole scene. This romantic view was created by the Poet Lord Byron with his writings: "I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs, a palace and prison on each hand". Definitely, the Bridge of Sighs is a must-see for everyone. You can visit it through a great range of Venice tours offered by Travel2Italy as well as you enjoy a wonderful vacation in Venice.
Situated in Umbria, in Central Italy that is a quick drive from Rome, Spello is perhaps the most charming of the region's towns. Its location on a sloping hill makes for beautiful views of the gently rolling landscape dotted with vineyards and olive trees. Inside its medieval walls are a dozen churches from the same time period, delicious restaurants and cafes serving up local cuisine, wine bars, and boutiques. What makes this Italian hill town so charming? It might be the narrow cobblestone streets that wind aimlessly, leading you to doors that you know have stories behind them. It might be the mysterious quiet during the middle of the day, as everyone has retreated for a midday nap. It might be how easily you can imagine yourself walking through the same streets hundreds of years ago, as residents went about the things they still do today (albeit with the eases of technological marvels, like plumbing). Whatever it is, "it" is more evident in the hill town of Spello than in anywhere else. If all this still isn't enough, Spello is also known for its flower festival, L'infiorata, held each year on the Thursday after Corpus Christi, which is 60 days after Easter. Huge murals made of flower petals cover the town in an overwhelmingly beautiful display of art. The rest of the year, Spello residents continue their love of flora with colorful planters that line the streets, stairways, and porches.
Piazza di Spagna, Rome
A masterpiece of the 18th century the Piazza di Spagna is undoubtedly one of the Eternal City's top meeting spots and one of the top attractions to visit during your Italy vacation in Rome. On entering the piazza, one is immediately taken aback by such elegance: the yellow, brownish ochre-colored buildings, Bernini's fountain and the celebrated Spanish Steps rising up towards the Church of Trinità dei Monti, all helping to create a refined, eighteenth century atmosphere. It is therefore no coincidence that high-fashion brands, such as Gucci, Bulgari and Valentino, all have show-piece shops just off the piazza. The Spanish Steps are an ideal perch from which to people watch or simply take a break from touring. Named for the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See (Vatican), they are the main attraction of the Piazza di Spagna. Though the Steps are clogged day and night with tourists, locals, and street vendors, they are also a venue for several events throughout the year. In the spring, the Spanish Steps are blanketed with big pots of pink azaleas – a beautiful sight to behold. In the summer, Rome hosts "Le Donne Sotto le Stelle," which is a fashion show during which models use the Steps and Piazza di Spagna as their catwalk. Considered both a priceless cultural gem as well as popular tourist attraction, the world-famous Piazza di Spagna is definitely not to be missed during your vacation or honeymoon in Rome.
The Ancient Theatre of Taormina, Sicily
During your Italy vacation in Sicily, do not neglect to visit the ancient Greek Theater of Taormina. This is one of the visitor hotspots, so make sure you put this in your list. Hauntingly beautiful, this ancient theater was built on a natural terrace sheer above the sea in a fantastic position and dipped into the blooming nature of this land. This perfect horseshoe-shaped theatre, suspended between sea and sky, offering a view of rare beauty of the seacoast and Mount Etna, was built in the 3rd century BC and is the second largest in Sicily (after Syracuse), and the most dramatically situated Greek theatre in the world. In the Hellenistic period, the Greeks hewed the theater out of the rocky slope of Mount Tauro; the Romans remodeled and modified it greatly. What remains today dates from the 2nd century A.D. Reserved seating existed even in Greek times; a seat bears the inscribed name of Philistide, wife of Hieron II of Syracuse. The conquering Arabs, who seemed intent on devastating the town, slashed away at the theater in the 10th century, which is why it's a rather sparse and dusty ruin. On the premises is a display of artifacts from the classical and early Christian periods. Today the Greek Theater of Taormina is the site of the annual Taormina film festival, and in the summer is the home of a robust entertainment program, attracting artists from around the world, making Taormina their only stop in Italy. In view of that, Travel2Italy offers you the opportunity to visit it through some of its exceptional Sicily tours.
Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi Coast
For travelers who know and love the special beauty of Campania, what better place than the Amalfi Coast as perfect destination for the most relaxing vacation in Italy? Combining Mediterranean style and contemporary luxury to perfection, Amalfi's Hotel Santa Caterina is for sure one of the most promising getaways that its visitors would surely enjoy and appreciate. Built in 1850, this is the oldest of the Amalfi Coast's grand hotels, just outside town on the coast road, and has been run by the same family for four generations. Such continuity pays off in serenity and in service that runs like clockwork. There is also a certain lived-in feel to this gracious 48-room mansion, which Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie enjoyed during the filming of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Rooms in the main building feature patterned Vietri or white-tiled floors, early 19th-century antiques, and balconies looking over the sea toward Amalfi's yacht harbor. Thirteen other separate accommodations are set around the verdant grounds, including four Garden Suites—our favorites are the Chalet Giulietta e Romeo, a little honeymoon cottage perched at the edge of the cliff amid the orange groves, and the Follia Amalfitana (Amalfi Folly), a romantic refuge with a sunken Jacuzzi on its panoramic terrace. Both these suites also have outside swimming pools. With all these incredible comforts plus its unbeatable service, the Hotel Santa Caterina is definitely one of the most exceptional 5 star hotels in Amalfi Coast; it will make your Italy vacation or honeymoon feel like a dream.
Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome
During your Italy vacation in Rome, do not neglect to visit one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, the majestic Castel Sant'Angelo. Built around 123 A.D. as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family, Castel Sant'Angelo has a destiny atypical in view of the historical and artistic capital. While all the other Roman monuments are overwhelmed, reduced to ruins or quarries counting to be recycled into new, modern buildings, the Castle - through an uninterrupted series of developments and transformations that seem to slip into each other through a seamless continuity - accompanies almost two thousand years the fate and history of Rome. From funerary monument to fortified outpost, from dark and terrible imprisonment of wonderful Renaissance that seems active within the walls of Michelangelo and the Risorgimento museum, the Castel Sant'Angelo is embodied in solemn Roman spaces, strong walls, in the sumptuous frescoed rooms, and in the history of the Eternal City where past and present seem inextricably linked.
Piazza San Marco, Venice
While on your Italy vacation in Venice – the city of romance, it is recommended to start your Venice walking tour at a very special place and this is none other than its central square, the San Marco Piazza. Being the widest swath of flat, open land in a waterborne city, Piazza San Marco, or Saint Mark's Square, has long been an important meeting place for the citizens of Venice and the design showcase for Venice's aristocracy. Piazza San Marco has famously been called "the drawing room of Europe," a quote attributed to Napoleon. The square is named after the unusual and stunning Basilica San Marco that sits on the east end of the square. The slender Campanile di San Marco, the basilica's bell tower, is one of the square's most recognizable landmarks. Adjacent to Saint Mark's Basilica is the Doges' Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the erstwhile headquarters of the Doges, the rulers of Venice. Filled with centuries of history, the St. Mark's Square is still the symbolic heart of Venice and a wonderful place to be. Sit and have coffee and watch the whole world pass by while a tuxedoed band plays. Then plunge north into the narrow streets full of shops leading towards the Rialto Bridge, or west into the city's pocket of high fashion designer stores finishing with an extremely expensive Bellini at Harry's Bar, the place that invented the peach/champagne drink. Definitely, Piazza San Marco is a fascinating place day or night, and leaves visitors spell-bound by its beauty and elegance.
Three Ways You Can Tackle the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, and for good reason: it is considered to be home to one of the greatest art collections found anywhere. With hundreds of Renaissance masterpieces available to look at, you're bound to find at least a few that strike a chord with you. Unfortunately, because there are so many things to see, proper planning is essential, especially if you want to give pieces the attention they deserve. The following are three different ways you can go about tackling the Uffizi Gallery and getting the most out of your experience. (Read more...)
Natural Hot Baths in Tuscany
The beautiful region of Maremma in the south of Tuscany has long been a seductive destination for visitors to the area, a place of outstanding splendour and magnificent scenery. It is through this idyllic landscape, over the centuries, that dusty travellers have made their way, stopping off at the rejuvenating thermal pools of Saturnia to refresh and clean their bodies and clear their minds. The town of Saturnia stands high on a Tuscan hilltop along the route of an ancient Roman road that links with Aurelia and Cassia. Over the centuries wondrous sights have been built within the medieval walls, and visitors can still walk through the Roman gate and pay a visit to the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena. However, what most people take the greatest pleasure from in Saturnia is a relaxing bathe in the warm, mineral waters. (Read more...)
Hotel Danieli, Venice
If you are looking to surprise your lovely one with a romantic escape in Italy there is no better way to do it than booking a trip to Venice. There, one of the best 5 star hotels in Italy, the Hotel Danieli awaits you to accomplish your every desire. Combining convenience, supreme comfort and a magnificent atmosphere while looking out over the lagoon and its myriad of islands the Hotel Danieli occupies one of the most prestigious locations in Venice, just a few steps from Saint Mark's square as well as artisan shops, outdoor cafès, restaurants and the most interesting attractions Venice has to offer. Remarkable and luxurious, Hotel Danieli is made up of three beautiful Venetian palazzi dating back to the 14th, 19th, and 20th Centuries, featuring hand-made Murano glass chandeliers, precious rugs, hand-carved marble columns, and many original antique pieces. These glorious interiors are rivaled only by the captivating panoramic views from the rooftop restaurant, La Terrazza Danieli which is essential to the Venetian experience by offering diners a culinary journey which retraces the oriental influences of spice traders and blends them with indigenous ingredients and mesmerizing views of the Grand Canal and Adriatic Sea. A truly romantic place where all senses are awakened and history surrounds, Hotel Danieli offers an endless variety of amenities that would make your romantic vacation or honeymoon in Venice seem like a fairytale.
Val d'Orcia, Tuscany
While on a Tuscany tour in Val d'Orcia you will be able to appreciate that medieval castles, sunny rolling hills, isolated hilltop towns, charming farmhouses and isolated rural homes, avenues of cypresses, rows of vineyards, olive groves, and golden wheat fields which are just some of the elements of the fantastic and harmonious landscapes of Valdorcia. Crossed by the Orcia River, from which the valley derives its name, this wonderful region in southern Tuscany stretches along the provinces of Siena and Grosseto. The area is now protected as a natural and cultural park, and it has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2004. Beautiful nature is the actual absolute protagonist in Val d'Orcia, with many different colors according to the season. There are few other places that are able to impress the traveler so deeply. It is almost a surreal, somewhat suspended land, which is home to the most precious and appreciated Italian wines. Without doubt, no Tuscany wine tour would be complete without visiting the local wineries. The impressive views of Val d'Orcia, which inspired so many Renaissance painters, is dotted with many little villages, castles, abbeys and hamlets, each telling a fascinating ancient history. Definitely, a vacation in Tuscany is a special journey between sweet tastes and marvellous panoramas that you will never forget. Some of the most beautiful photos you see of Tuscany come from this paradise!
Vernazza, Cinque Terre
No Italian Riviera vacation is complete without enjoying a private tour to Cinque Terre and one of its picturesque towns, Vernazza. With its narrow streets and small squares, Vernazza is arguably the most charming of Cinque Terre's five towns. Because it has the best access to the sea, it became wealthier than its neighbors–as evidenced by the elaborate arcades, loggias, and marblework. The village's pink, slate-roof houses and colorful squares contrast with the remains of the medieval fort and castle, including two towers, in the Old Town. The Romans first inhabited this rocky spit of land in the 1st century. Today, Vernazza has a fairly lively social scene. The action is at the harbor, where you'll find outdoor restaurants, a bar hanging on the edge of the castle, and a breakwater with a promenade, corralled by a natural amphitheater of terraced hills. In the summer, the beach becomes a soccer field, where teams fielded by local bars and restaurants provide late-night entertainment. In the dark, locals fish off the promontory, using glowing bobbers that shine in the waves. Definitely, Vernazza is the brightest jewel of the Cinque Terre and is not to be missed while on an Italy vacation.
Piazza del Duomo, Milan
During your Italy trip to Milan - the city of fashion, it is recommended to start your Milan tour at a very special place and this is none other than its central square, the Piazza del Duomo. Considered as a masterpiece of Milanese architecture, the Piazza del Duomo is the Cathedral Square and the main geographical and cultural center of the city. It is named after the Cathedral whose magnificence dominated the square; however the Duomo is not the only beautiful building. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Royal Palace also radiate grandeur. The Piazza has been slowly evolving for a long time. Azzone Visconti the Lord of Milan in the early 1300's was the first to have the vision which created the square. It was between 1865 and 1873 that most of the 'modern' landmarks were added, under the direction of Guiseppe Mengoni, including the Galleria. The Piazza managed to avoid any major damage since then and has retained its traditional beauty and elegance. Today, locals as well as frequenting tourists also cherish Piazza del Duomo as a centre for some of Italy's most vibrant and exciting arts and cultural movements. And while the piazza does indeed attract thousands of tourists year after year coming to seep in this most charming of Italian cities, this cultural meeting ground hosts notable commercial events and annual social ones that maintain its distinctly native vibe.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tuscany
A must-see while on a Tuscany vacation, the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of world's best-known landmarks and a symbol of Italy, to say
nothing about its being one of the most remarkable architectural structures of medieval Europe. Built as the bell tower for the cathedral on
Piazza del Duomo, also known as Miracle's Square, the tower leans approximately 13 feet off base due to the weight of the marble and the weak
soil. Mystifying and amazing the crowds for hundreds of years, the Pisa's famous tower has experienced many a calamity during its lifetime
but remains still standing—actually, leaning. The rich and vibrant history of this tower reaches back as far as the almost early medieval
times. Its construction began in 1173 and went on more or less for about two hundred years. The ground beneath the tower was soft, and so
even before the building was near completion it had already started to tilt. It was noticeable enough that the builders even tried to
compensate for it by angling the new construction differently than the old construction – if you look at the tower from the appropriate
direction you'll see it's not perfectly straight on one angle. Today, the Leaning Tower has become a must see for those who travel to Italy
as it is one of the major tourist attractions of Tuscany. If you are considering a vacation in Italy you should definitely place the Leaning
Tower of Pisa high on your list.
Romantic Gondola Ride in Venice
Looking for the ultimate Italy honeymoon experience? We definitely suggest to you to travel to Venice and enjoy a gondola ride with a singing
gondolier through its romantic charming narrow canals. There is a general belief that riding a gondola in Venice is one of the most charming
and romantic ways to celebrate your love. The gondola ride is believed to bring closeness to couples or newly-weds who are about to start
their new life together. Therefore, sit back and snuggle up in a red velvet-cushioned gondola, and let the gondolier paddle you slowly
through quiet side canals, under traditional historic bridges like the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto. As you gently bob up and down on the
wakes of passing boats, let the gondolier tell you stories about Marco Polo, where to eat the best Venetian food or how to cut an
extraordinary deal with a local merchant. Undoubtedly, no Venice honeymoon is complete without experiencing a gondola ride through Venice's
San Domenico Palace Hotel - Taormina, Sicily
A former 15th century monastery and now an exquisite deluxe hotel, San Domenico Palace is for sure one of the finest 5 star hotels in Italy.
Located in Taormina, in a setting of lush terraced gardens of flowers, palms and orange trees with glorious views of Mount Etna and the sea,
this impressive hotel offers a wonderful and enchanting atmosphere. The ancient monastery's cloisters reveal corners of rare beauty. Reality
turns into a fascinating fairy tale made of vivid sunlight rays, light sea breezes, scents of citrus fruits. The cordial hospitality of the
hotel's antique walls, the elegance of its spacious salons, a neat garden, a mosaic of flowers and colors, the brightness of precious table
linen, the nobility of old silver, the glimmer of candles, rich and sumptuous buffets at the Principe Cerami Restaurant awarded with two
Michelin Stars. Definitely, a stay at the San Domenico Palace is an irresistibly pleasurable experience. All the guest rooms of the hotel
reflect history and tradition without sacrificing modern comforts and facilities. Relax by the swimming pool or take advantage of the
tranquility found at the hotel's Beauty Corner, where guests can sample a wide range of beauty and well being treatments. A property of great
historic interest comprised of atmospheric buildings and beautiful grounds, the Hotel San Domenico Palace's great service and friendly staff
will ensure you have a unique Sicily vacation in the heart of Taormina.
Trevi Fountain, Rome
While on a Rome vacation you should definitely not ignore to include into your Rome tour a visit at Trevi Fountain. Positioned in the
historic centre of Rome, it must be the most famous and spectacular fountain in the city, and hence, one of the city's most popular tourist
attractions. A flamboyant baroque ensemble that was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and which depicts Neptune's chariot being led by Tritons
with sea horses – one wild, one docile – representing the moods of the sea, Trevi Fountain derives its name from its position at the
intersection of three roads (tre vie). You will not find any other place in the world that celebrates the ever-mutating and incredible power
of water like Rome does. A traditional legend says that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are sure to return to Rome.
According to the same tradition if you throw in a second coin you'll fall in love with an Italian, while a third will have you marrying him
No Italy trip which includes Capri is complete without at least a few hours spent out on the Mediterranean Sea surrounding the island.
Accordingly, a private yacht charter is the ideal inclusion for your luxury vacation in Italy as you would be able to experience Capri's lush
jet-set atmosphere, its divine blue seas, and to take in its incredible beauty. In fact, many of the most enchanting stretches of the Capri
coastline are completely inaccessible by land. By boat, visitors are able to reach those secluded bays which are just perfect for swimming or
sun bathing - far from the crowds crammed onto the tiny pebble beaches. Surely, Capri is a great summer destination that would make your
Italy vacations be unforgettable.
Atrani, Amalfi Coast
The Costiera Amalfitana, or Amalfi Coast, is widely considered Italy's most scenic stretch of coastline, a landscape of towering cliffs,
pastel-hued villages terraced into hillsides, precipitous corniche roads, luxuriant gardens, and expansive vistas over turquoise waters and
green-swathed mountains. On that breathtaking coastline, lies the Atrani town which is without doubt one of the most characteristic and
enchanting locations on the Amalfi Coast. Situated just 700 meters away from the famous Amalfi, the Atrani town is the smallest municipality
in the whole Southern Italy. A picturesque fishing village, isolated from the traffic, is definitely an amazing destination for an Italy
vacation. Atrani, like all the other towns of the Amalfi Coast, was the residence of noble Roman patricians, evidenced by the sumptuous
villas that archaeological excavations are constantly bringing to light. It was mentioned for the first time in a letter of Pope Gregory the
Great, in 596. Atrani today maintains it's distinct fishermen's town atmosphere. The main entrance to the town starts from the beach, and
from there, the traditional houses climb up the steep mountain valley, intertwined with gardens, and vibrant lemon terraces. Atrani is away
from traffic, and confusion, because it only opens to its beach and the sea. This is probably the secret of its pleasant square, recently
preferred by some connoisseurs' to the famous square of Capri. Definitely, the Atrani town is the ideal destination for a great Italy trip
and you have the opportunity to experience it through our great Amalfi Coast vacation packages.
If you happen to be one of those travelers who love to explore places with a rich artistic legacy, with influence on culture and with a
unique culinary tradition, then a Tuscany vacation and more especially a Tuscany tour in Monteriggioni is definitely what you need to
consider. Located on a natural hillock in the Siena Province of Tuscany, Monteriggioni is, without doubt, one of the most classical and best
known Italian walled towns. The town was built by the Senesis in the years 1213-1219 on a hilltop overlooking the Cassia Road. Its ideal
position allowed controlling the Elsa and the Staggia Valleys in direction to Florence, the historic enemy of Siena, which at that time was
rapidly expanding its territory. Since the Middle Age its fame was so big that also the great poet Dante Alighieri signals to its 'round
enclosure' in the Divine Comedy (Hell, chant XXXI vv. 40-41). The town walls, nearly intact, cover a length of 570 meters and are alternated
by 14 towers and two gates. Today, inside the walls, you can visit the little museum and climb a couple of places on the walls to see an
overview of the village and the surrounding countryside. While, for wine lovers, a Tuscany wine tour will be the perfect experience as
Monteriggioni is surrounded by vineyards, and is known for its wine production. If you're traveling with someone who just has to rush around
for 18 hours a day seeing everything, definitely, Monteriggioni is the place to take them for a day of chilling out.
Voted by 90 million people in a survey launched in 2007 by UNESCO, the Coliseum has become one of the New Wonders of the World and also a
great incentive for us to travel to Italy. A masterpiece of unquestionable value, loved by the Romans and by the rest of the world, the
Flavian Amphitheatre, as was its original name, was built by the Emperor Vespasian and was the venue for the games which took place in
ancient Rome. It was the first permanent amphitheatre to be raised in Rome, and the most impressive arena the Classical world had ever seen.
Of particular fame were the gladiator fights, usually slaves or prisoners of war, trained with the aim of ferociously and bravely fighting in
order to regain their freedom. Even 2,000 years after it was built, and despite centuries when the abandoned construction was pillaged for
building materials, it is instantly recognizable as a Classical template for the stadia of today but also as an iconic symbol of Imperial
Rome and a major tourist attraction with thousands of tourists each year visiting it. Definitely, no vacation in Rome is complete without
visiting the Coliseum. In view of that, Travel2Italy offers Rome private tours which give you the opportunity to visit to the imposing
Coliseum with both style and leisure.
If you are planning a vacation in Italy you should absolutely not ignore Italy's most popular lake, Lake Como. Located in the shadows of the
Alps and just an hour from Milan, Lake Como is a jewel-like oasis of tranquility, majestic snow capped mountains, courteous folk and style,
and superb cuisine. Its breathtaking beauty and rich cultural heritage made Lake Como a popular retreat for aristocrats and the rich already
during Roman times, and a very popular tourist attraction with many artistic and cultural gems in our own. From poets, like Lord Byron and
Percy Bysshe Shelley to composer Giuseppe Verdi, the lake has held famous authors, musicians, and other artists in its romantic thrall.
Nowadays, the best hotels in Lake Como are hosting the most well-known celebrities around the world, of whom the aforementioned George
Clooney has also owned an 18th century lakeside villa. With its dramatic landscape and beautiful climate the lake is also an ideal place for
boat trips and leisurely walks. In addition, a Lake Como honeymoon will convince you that it is a hugely popular holiday destination, a
must-see for travelers past and present, especially for romantic breaks. Whether your passion is food, hiking, shopping, or sightseeing, a
Lake Como vacation is sure to leave you with lasting memories and a taste of La Dolce Vita.
Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Florence
The only surviving bridge from Florence's medieval days, Ponte Vecchio is also the oldest bridge crossing the Arno River. Probably going back
to a Roman time with its stone pillars and wooden planks, it was built in stone but then it was destroyed by a flood in 1333. It was built
again twelve years later to a design by Taddeo Gaddi. Through a Florence walking tour you will see that Ponte Vecchio's inimitable architecture
begins with three graceful masonry spans—long, low and a marvel of medieval construction. Above these sit the famous gold and jewelry shops,
crowded along the carriageway and cantilevered asymmetrically—chaotically—over the river. Above one side runs the Vasari Corridor, built in
late Renaissance and complete with all the artistic and political bravado of the Medici rulers who commissioned it. Nowadays, Ponte Vecchio is
one of the city's best known images and a world renowned monument that draws millions of people to Florence every year. Thousands of couples
especially visit the bridge while enjoying a Florence honeymoon as there is a legend according to which if you and your loved one attach a
padlock to any surface of the famous bridge and then throw away the key into the Arno River below, your love will last forever. Conclusively,
no Florence vacation could be complete without at least some time spent dawdling on the Ponte Vecchio and for that reason we certainly
include it in all of our Florence vacation packages.
Hotel Caruso, Ravello
Since the end of the 19th century, Hotel Caruso has captivated travelers with its grace and charm. Located on the highest point of Ravello and
perched on a cliff top 1150ft (350m) above sea level, Hotel Caruso is overlooking the spectacular Mediterranean sea of the Amalfi Coast. It is
undoubtedly one of the most outstanding 5 star hotels in Italy. It offers an amazing range of possibilities for its guests. Fifty very
spacious luxury rooms and suites, each with its own unique style, most with sea view and terrace and many also with a private garden, and all
of them reflecting the Neapolitan style and tradition. The most breathtaking place of the hotel is its elliptically shaped pool which blends
perfectly into its natural surroundings. As you bathe in the gently-heated water, gazing out to the horizon, sea, sky and mountains all seem to
come together in one. Its stunning location, breathtaking views, spectacular frescoes, vaulted terrace and magnificent rooms and suites are
the perfect setting to create an enchanting environment for an unforgettable Amalfi Coast honeymoon or vacation. Certainly, Hotel Caruso is
the place that you have always dreamed.
Beyond the crowds on the Adriatic Sea, the clamor of Rome and the charming but tourist-beleaguered Tuscany lies an Italy yet undiscovered.
South of Naples, in the "toe" area of Italy's boot, bounded by the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Sea sits Calabria, a region of breathtaking coastlines hugging emerald waters and ancient villages that mirror their Greek past. The warm climate; the beautiful colors of the sea; the rocky coasts
alternating with sandy beaches; the wild and mysterious nature; the strong and genuine flavors of local food and the vestiges of its ancient
origins make Calabria turn into an attractive destination for those who travel to Italy. Any wish can be fulfilled. Those who love nature, its
scents and nuances, can explore the Calabrian hinterland, discovering pure and unpolluted sceneries, where huge green belts alternate with blue lakes and falls. On the other hand, those who prefer basking in the warm rays of the sun and dive into a crystal-clear sea can choose from the
many charming towns along the long Tyrrhenian and Ionian coasts. Definitely, Calabria is a great destination for those who are seeking a
vacation in Italy.
No vacation to Italy can be complete without visiting the pearl of the Mediterranean. Located on the edge of western Europe, Sicily is a unique and distinct entity from the rest of Italy. Separated from the continent by the Strait of Messina and surrounded by the Ionian, the Tyrrhenian and the Mediterranean Seas, it is the largest of the Italian islands. Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman and Aragonese conquerors have transformed the landscape, and Sicily's diverse history has left it with an abundance of archaeological remains. A land rich in history and culture, Sicily is home to lively, enticing cities of art, ancient fishermen's villages where time seems to have come to a standstill, and amazing natural wonders. Nature seems to have endowed all its wonders to this land: mountains, hills and above all the sea, with its incredible colors, its crystal-clear water and the beauty of its sea-beds, is in no way inferior to none other. Sicily can be discovered, understood and experienced through a series of itineraries dedicated to areas of interest ranging from nature to history and local traditions. Travel 2 Italy offers a variety of Sicily vacation packages, such as luxury tours and honeymoons, that will always be remembered.
Located in the heart of Italy's Tuscany Region, in western Italy along the Arno River, Florence is definitely one of the most beautiful and timeless cities in Italy and the world. The cultural and historical impact of this city is just irresistible and this is what makes it an open-air museum attracting millions of visitors from all over the world every year. Considered as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence was cradle to many of the men who have most profoundly influenced the course of human history in every field of knowledge, art, literature and philosophy. Its unique architecture with the impressively striking buildings, the russet rooftops and the lofty domes, make this city so picturesque and singular. For those who are going to travel in Italy, we definitely recommend a visit to Florence.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como
If you are planning a romantic honeymoon in Italy and you have not decided on any precise destination yet, we definitely suggest to you the
Lake Como area. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo there may be what you are looking for. It is one of the oldest and most exquisite luxury hotels in
Lake Como-- an authentic Art Nouveau palace that offers a warm and inviting welcome plus all the delights of a true 5-star property. Family
owned and managed, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo was built in 1910 and has 90 rooms and suites situated in the old historic Palace and in an 18th
century Villa next to the central building. Like all the historic villas in Lake Como, the hotel is immersed in a beautiful, century-old park
with a blaze of flowers and plants that give a sensation of harmony and tranquility in all seasons. From its unique lakeside position it offers
unparalleled views of Bellagio and the stunning Grigne mountains. A unique setting which combines exclusivity and proximity: that's Grand Hotel
Portofino, Italian Riviera
For many people, when they think of a luxury vacation in Italy, Portofino is usually on the top of their list. Located in the wide Tigullio
Gulf on the Italian Riviera, Portofino, is blessed with a sunny summer weather. Although it began as a fishing town, nowadays it has grown into
a resort village with some of the finest 5 star hotels in Italy lodging many well-off and famous people on vacation. In Portofino, nature and
worldliness come together. The very atmosphere in this special place hints at La Dolce Vita and that is how many feel about staying or living
there. No doubt about it, you will feel like you have been taken back to the 1950's and 60's. That is when Portofino became popular with jet
setting celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, Frank Sinatra, Brigitte Bardot and on and on. The rich and famous would arrive
by yacht and spend their time lounging around luxury hotels and private villas. It was the place to see and be seen. Portofino, still today,
remains a magical and enchanting place whose visit reveals different but always fascinating dimensions to be discovered and appreciated in all
their fine nuance.
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre
One of the most colorful towns on earth, Riomaggiore located in Cinque Terre, remains enchanting even when the sun goes down. Its beautiful
colors along with its lights which reflect perfectly on the sea surface make one wonder if it is real or it is just a marvelous painting. There
are many colorful towns in Italy, but Riomaggiore, with its high-drama cliff sides, stunning mountain backdrop and the riot of yellow, orange,
red, and green popping out from every window, from every door and around every corner, is arguably the best of them. Moreover, Riomaggiore is a
popular tourist destination not only for its impressive vista and colorful cliff walls, but also for its fresh seafood and delicious local
wines, such as the sweet and irresistible dessert wine, Sciachetrà.
Photograph by Artur Staszewski
Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City
Dominated by St. Peter's Basilica and its embracing colonnade, Vatican City covers 108.7 acres [44 hectares] on a site known to ancient Romans
as Mons Vaticanus. Popes lost political power over Rome and the surrounding Papal States with the unification of Italy (1861-70) but remained
in residence as self-styled 'prisoners of the Vatican.' Mussolini's government recognized Vatican City as an independent state in the 1929
Lateran Treaty. Operating its own bank, post office, pharmacy, and commissary, Vatican City employs nearly 2,000 people, mostly lay workers
from Rome, and counts about 300 residents.
Positano, Amalfi Coast
A pearl of the Amalfi Coast, Positano presents itself as a cluster of pastel houses clinging to the steep ledges of the Lattari
Mountains, which reflect themselves in the clear sea below, surrounded by an intense fragrance of lemon and
bright and vivid colors of bougainvillea. A maze of alleys and steps with small shops displaying the typical products
of local crafts, which, together with the undisputed beauty of the landscape, have contributed to make Positano and the
Amalfi Coast famous world-wide. Described as a "dream place" by the writer John Steinbeck in 1953, Positano still
today, remains unbelievable romantic and beautiful.
Rialto Bridge, Venice
Watching the activity of the Venetian nightlife unfold you can realize that the eternal city of water and stone rises like a dream
from the waters of the lagoon. "A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic, by mere faithfulness to what he
saw before him," observed Welsh poet Arthur Symons. For modern visitors, part of the city's unique appeal is its human
scale and anachronistic carless infrastructure, with its narrow, mysterious streets and captivating canals, crossed by
hundreds of gracefully arched marble bridges above and gliding, silent gondolas below.
Manarola, Cinque Terre
A scene of the tiny village of Manarola on the Cinque Terre coast of Italy. Manarola consist the second smallest
village of the five that makes out Cinque Terre. Its unique colorful houses lie on the edge of a cliff along Linguria.
The tiny harbor at Manarola features a boat ramp, picturesque buildings tripping down the ravine and the town's
swimming hole. Although there is no real beach here, it has some of the best deep-water swimming around.
Photographer Paul Hogie camped on this spot for some time waiting for the right balance of light as the sun set. He was
rewarded with many great shots of the late afternoon and even in moonlight. This long exposure captures the essence of
the village with the locals all joining for a party near the boat ramp.