The home of pizza, pasta, gelato, beauty (full humans), fashion, art, Aperol Spritz, romance, sun, the enchanting Amalfi coastline and even snow-capped mountains. Yup, Italy is basically the OG of Europe.
Foodies, THIS is where it’s at! Infamous for its fresh pasta, bruschetta, breads, gelatos, cheeses, prosciutto, stews, seafood and irresistible antipasti, Italy is probably the only place you can guilt free gorge bread in one hand and pistachio ice cream in the other.
But how da funk do you fit it all in (‘cos trust us, not eating everything isn’t an option)? Well, the Italians have that covered too! The history and tradition influenced cuisine consist of a few different courses: Aperitivo (a drink such as wine or prosecco to open the mean), antipasti (a board of breads, cheeses, meats, olives, vegetables etc.), primo (pasta or rice), secondo (different meats and types of fishes), contorno or insalata (a side dish of vegetables) and … if there’s any room, dolce (a desert such as tiramisu or pannacotta). Oh, and let’s not forget Caffè (coffee) and a Digestivo (a drink such as grappa, amaro, limoncello) to end the meal.
EAT IT ALL: CONTIKI MUNCH IS THE ULTIMATE FOOD EXTRAVAGANZA OF A VACATION
Well you can’t enjoy some good food without a drink to hand, right? And Italy always delivers. An Italian evening traditionally begins with an aperitif (pre-dinner drink) between 7-9pm to unwind, relax and kick start your metabolism before the main event. Famous Italian aperitif brands include Martini & Campari, and who can forget the MVP, Aperol (Spritz), the most commonly drunk aperitif in Venice and around Italy. Then there are the cocktails (Bellini, Negroni, Martini), the liquors, the sweet wines … and ALL the other wines. With more than 300 different grape varieties, the vast vineyards of Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia are quite literally rolling in wine, meaning that it’s also relatively cheap to drink delicious plonk in bella Italia.
What have Italians for centuries done when not eating and drinking? Get arty. This is a country known for its artists, architecture, Roman ruins and Renaissance masterpieces, with the likes of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Capitoline museums in Rome, and the Brera Art Gallery in Milan literally overflowing with greatness. Roman art, Italian renaissance, high renaissance, baroque, neoclassicism, futurism, modern art – all of these are movements derived from or heavily influenced by the Italian’s, shaping the style of much of Italy’s interiors, exteriors and decorations, with cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice all case in points of this.
And then there are the Italian artists – Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Giotto and Caravaggio all descended from Italy, so it’s little wonder this is a country carved to perfection.
A fairytale like floating city surrounded by enchanting bridges, secret squares, romantic gondolas and artistic excellence…where’s the appeal here?
A big old Italian triumph, this unique city and its Venetian architecture offers secret wine tours, canal cursing, a contemporary art scene and iconic sites including the magnificent piazza San Marco and St Mark’s basilica (Basilica di San Marco). Venice, there will always be a corner of our hearts reserved exclusively for you.
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Or should we say the world’s highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. That’s right, Italy holds 51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, representing 5% of the Word Heritage list, with an additional 40 spots currently up for consideration. Italy’s heaven of cultural and natural landmarks range from prehistoric cave paintings to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, proving the perfect testimony that this is a country inundated with beautiful landscapes, ruins, architecture and rich history.
No Italian city defines art, culture and history quite like Rome. The 2,000 year old capital boasts archaeological sites, Baroque churches, the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, cobbled streets, Renaissance piazzas, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, classical ruins, vivid colours, historical legacies and of course the world’s smallest county, the Vatican City. Combine this with its high fashion shops, great food and a buzzing Italian vibe, and Rome becomes a firm contender for best city in Europe.
The Amalfi Coast
Oh the Amalfi <3
Just when you thought Italy couldn’t possibly give anymore, this 30 mile stretch of coastline brings out the big guns. Deemed as an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape by UNESCO, the Southern Italy coastline offers plunging mountains, perilously perched colourful towns, rugged cliffs and sandy coves along one of Europe’s most beautiful shore lines. Looking like something out of a Bond film expect to find idyllic beauty, Italian luxury, winding seaside roads, scenic beaches, pastel chic hotels, a Mediterranean climate, boutique beaches and the beautiful Capri just a boat ride away.
The capital of Italy’s Tuscan region and a hub for Renaissance art, Michelin star restaurants, tuscan food, boutique shopping, classical music, contemporary art and within touching distance to the vine-covered hills of Chianti, Florence proves the perfect destination for culture, sophistication, food – pretty much everything good within the world. A work of art in itself, the entire city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, housing the fresco decorated Duomo and Bell Tower and The Sassetti Chapel in the grandiose Santa Trinità Basilica, the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio medieval bridge.
As well as sun, sea and cultural cities, Italy also boasts snowy mountains scattered across the Alps and the Dolomites. Home to more than 300 ski areas, the Italian mountains offer unparalleled scenery, good food and generally cheaper prices to neighbourhood skiing areas France and Switzerland. Resorts such as Courmayeur, Champoluc, Sauze d’Oulx, Alagana, Cervinia and Passo Tonale are ideal for hitting the slopes during the winter months of November – April and prove once again that Italy is absolutely where it’s always at!
La Dolce Vita
AKA The Good Life. Is there any surprise this is a phrase synonymous with Italian living? I mean, what with that Mediterranean climate, exquisite food, slow paced life, eye popping architecture and pinch yourself it’s so damn beautiful coastal areas, the question is surely WHY THE HELL ARE WE ALL NOT JUST IN ITALY RIGHT NOW?