Italy is a country of eternal summer and pleasure, a country that everyone knows. There are beautiful beaches, steadily warm weather and a huge number of historical monuments and cultural masterpieces. The whole country is essentially at least three different regions, the differences between which lie not only in the traditions of cousine or accents - different Italians literally live here. Each region has its own peculiarities, so it is worth getting to know each of them separately.
Top 10 interesting places and activities:
Feel the atmosphere of the eternal city of Rome
See the largest city on the water in the world - Venice
Go around the whole island of Capri
Visit the unique trulli houses in Alberobello
One more: feel the southern flavor of Italian Sicily
Approximate costs (person/day):
Sights map of Italy
Travel around Italy
Italians is one of the indigenous European peoples, leading its history from immemorial time. The greatest bloom in the whole history of Italy occurred during the time of the Roman Empire - the strongest European empire in the history of mankind. The Roman rulers, the Caesars, controlled vast territories of the whole Mediterranean and millions of armies, thanks to which they took over more and more new possessions. Having existed for more than 5 centuries, it was collapsed due to internal strife, religious contradictions and increased pressure from subordinate peoples. Since 555 AD Italy was seized by another rich Byzantine Empire, that held power in the region until the arrival of the Gothic troops.
At the same time, the Holy See was created - the center and stronghold of Christianity in Europe. The rich and exciting new lands were gaining strength in the Kingdom of Sicily. The isolated regions of Italy, governed by the vicars, were under the control of various peoples for a very long time, but they strove for unification. Due to the constant conquests of the local lands by the Spaniards, Austrians and other peoples, Italy could not unite into a single republic until the end of the 18th century, when Napoleon, who had captured the entire Italian peninsula, announced the creation of a single Italian Republic. However, after the departure of the French troops in 1814, Italy was again divided into regions. In the next century, several attempts were made to unite the Italian lands, which gradually led to success. The capital of the revived Italy in 1870 became Rome.
In the First World War, Italy practically did not participate, which cannot be said about the World War II. The fascist regime of Benito Mussolini turned the country into an ally of Nazi Germany, which led to the participation of Italy in the wars in the Balkans, East Africa and Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, thanks to the actions of the United States, Britain and their allies, in 1943 the fascist regime in Italy was overthrown, as a result, the regime capitulated. In the 1970s, terrorist attacks and abductions repeatedly occurred in Italy related to the activities of organized criminal groups (the so-called "Italian Mafia"), and even the Bologna station was blown up. However, the authorities managed to resolve most of the conflicts; as a result, by the end of the 20th century, Italy had become one of the most prosperous countries in Europe.
Today, Italy is a prosperous country with a wonderful climate, where the agrarian and industrial complexes are well developed, as well as the sphere of cultural and beach tourism, which annually attracts up to 15% of GDP to the state treasury. Italy, among other things, is the birthplace of a huge number of delicious dishes, famous wines, and one of the leaders in world exports of southern fruits. The local population, although it does not always seem rich and prosperous, nevertheless lives in stability and prosperity, which is a good news of course.
Italy is a country that everyone knows. Here is beautiful beaches, consistently warm weather without much hesitation, a huge number of historical monuments and cultural masterpieces. All of that inscribed Italy in the top of the most important countries in the world. A huge country in fact - at least three different regions, the differences between which lie not only in different cooking traditions or accents - different Italians literally live here. Of course, each region has its own traits and beauty, so lets get acquainted with each of them.
Northern Italy is about business workers, businessmen and fashion designers, technical and IT-masters, who create about half of the country's GDP. Business is always in full swing here, people are always focused and intelligent. Northern Italy is the Alpine ranges, the huge lakes of Como, Garda and Lugano, the villas and palaces of the Roman emperors (for example, the famous Bellagio Palace). This is the capital of world fashion and the industrial center of Italy, Milan, amazing old city-state on the water Venice, incredible fishing villages on the Ligurian coast of the Cinque Terre.
Central Italy is a region of farmers. Here they grow huge yields of fruits and grains, providing the whole country and the nearest states with food. Here is located the majority of sea resorts, which come to rest millions of people every year. Central Italy is about cities on rocky ledges, endless landscapes of Tuscany, ancient Italian culture and art, a comfortable beach holiday. Here are architectural masterpieces of Florence, ancient artifacts of Rome, the fantastic complex of Pisa, ancient Italian villas of Siena and many more other places...
Southern Italy is a region that is traditionally associated with "real Italians" - hot, sharp, friendly and at the same time extremely lazy. Here, people tend to rest rather than earn extra money, as a result they live poorer than their northern neighbors, but (probably) more happily. Here you can see a smile or emotional conversations, frequent siesta (up to 2-3 times a day), a leisurely walking and enjoy in all the processes. Southern Italy is a full-fledged Italian flavor, dirty and noisy, but tasty and warm. Bustling with life Naples, Europe’s largest active volcano Vesuvius, the city of Pompeii that was destroyed by it, the luxury resorts of the Gulf of Naples islands (Capri, Ischia and Procida), the fabulous landscapes of the Amalfi Coast, the unique architecture of houses in Alberobello, the unique Sicilian flavor in Palermo ...
A few examples of the most beautiful and charming places in Northern Italy. First of all, it is the Cinque Terre National Park, included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cinque Terre is nature: high mountains jutting out into the sea, blue water of bays and endless sea expanses ... Cinque Terre is architecture: five villages are located on the rocky spurs of the mountains, climbing from the sea to the very top; houses are painted with bright colors, which make you feel pleasant and light... Cinque Terre is an atmosphere: it is difficult to find another example of such a cozy and at the same time delightful combination of life and the natural landscape tamed and included in the lives of ordinary people who turned its a legend! These are places where you want to come back again and again ... feel the skin with the wind and the sun, overcome yourself at the limit of opportunities, move towards the goal and finally reach it, enjoying every moment of freedom and love for the world. Cinque Terre is a place where the love of the world finds its final embodiment in nature and human achievements! In addition to the Cinque Terre, several bright and colorful settlements are located on the Ligurian coast: the large port city of Genoa with one of the Europe’s largest Aquarium, the paradise coast of Rapallo and the unofficial “romantic capital” of Italy - the village of Portofino.
Getting to the Cinque Terre is most convenient from Milan, the capital of fashion and industrial Italy. It has a lot of business centers and shopping streets; the city rages day and night, that is a little remind of Moscow ("Tre Torre" and "Porta Nuova" districts). But Milan is also a city of churches and castles, endless galleries and technical museums. This is a place where snow happens every 5 years, but which is decorated in winter as a Christmas tree. This is a city of culture and art: here are the most famous theater in the world "La Scala" and one of the oldest cemeteries in Italy. From Milan you can get to the Alpine slopes (Aosta Valley, the Dolomites and the Graian Alps), as well as to several picturesque lakes and palaces in a couple of hours. For example, Lake Garda is the largest lake in Europe, where the ancient villa of the Roman Emperor is located on the very tip of the peninsula in Sirmione. According to legend, he loved to stay in these places and contemplate the sprawling landscapes. The Roman emperors ruly had excellent taste! You can also go to Lake Lugano, climb Mount Monte Bret and take a look at the misty peaks of the ridges that grow right from the waters of the lake. Being in Milan, you should definitely go to the alpine Lake Como, on the cape of which is located the real pearl of Italy - the settlement of Bellagio. Finally, you can go to Lago Maggiore, where among the paradise floral island Isola Bella garden stands the beautiful Borromeo Palace.
Venice deserves special attention, because it is one of the most colorful cities in Italy. Pompous, luxurious, rich, unique ... also completely built on the water. Historically, it developed as a center of international trade between Western states and the East. The patronage of Byzantium, the prevailing importance of material gain and the desire to be the main trading port in Europe led Venice to an incredible flourishing at first, and later - after the wars with the Ottomans - to gradual fading. Although the city is built on numerous islands, they slowly subside as a result of climate change and rising water levels in the lagoon. The richest palaces with the masterpieces of world art, including the famous Doge's Palace (the rulers of Venice) and many churches / basilicas that beat bells every half hour still create the noisy atmosphere of the commercial capital. The same is about crowds of tourists who come here to ride gondolas along hundreds of large and small canals, spend time contemplating art at Biennale exhibitions, plunge headlong into the atmosphere of carnival, and also meet sunsets and sunrises on endless embankments and beaches. Some of the tourists go to the neighboring islands of Murano and Burano, each of which has its own zest. Venetian glass, famous all over the world, is made on Murano, so you can learn about it in the local museum. Burano island is famous for its Venetian lace, but mostly for the colorful decorations of all residential buildings. This city on the island comes from the pages of a good fairy tale; it is a great pleasure to enjoy it in sunny weather.
Central Italy has a different nature, history and culture. Here is the medieval city of Siena, surrounded on all sides by hills with grape and olive plantations of the Tuscany province. The whole city center is surrounded by a high fortress wall; on the main square there is a castle with the town hall, and next to it is a huge cathedral, which is visible from the most distant settlements. Next to Siena is the famous city of Pisa, which many (if not most) know from the Leaning Tower with a height of 56 metres, where Galileo Galilei conducted his experiments with mass and weight. Although the overwhelming majority of tourists visit only the central square with the Cathedral, the Tower and the Baptist, Pisa still has a magnificent promenade, quiet streets, small fountains and squares where local Italians drink the aperol and talk about life. Moving further, the capital of student Italy Bologna is located, with the oldest university in the world. It was here that the famous arched spans on the first floors of buildings originated, which became the prototype of the majority of Italian-style buildings around the world. Moreover, nearby is the eternal Florence ... This city gave the world such people as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Niccolò Machiavelli, Dante, Galileo ... still there are traces of their creations in some places, but most are concentrated in a multiple museums that attract crowds of tourists. Finally, in this region is the eternal city of Rome - one great work of art with a great history and many beauties that you should definitely see with your own eyes!
Southern Italy is as beautiful and charming as the other two regions. It is best to feel the southern atmosphere in the large port megapolis of Naples, a city of big contrasts: wealth and poverty, luxury and asceticism, friendly smiles and violent calls for trade... here you will want to dive as deep as possible into the city and into the culture of Italy. And then, when you find yourself on one of the city hills and you look at the swirling city that stretches beneath you in the streams of the morning sun, and Europe’s highest active volcano rises on the horizon ... you begin to feel this particular southern romance! By the way, this Vesuvius volcano caused the tragedy of the ancient Pompeii, which today is a Mecca for tourists from all over the world. The volcano can be reached by public transport from Pompeii for 40 minutes and 3 euros one-way. The bus will reach 1000 metres above sea level, where the hiking trail to the crater begins. But it is not worth even a tenth of the money spent (10 euros, a dusty road, and many tourists making noises). Much better to bypass Vesuvius around and climb it from the other side. In silence and alone with the harsch nature, contemplating the stunning landscapes of the settlements below, the sea and the mountains ... feeling freedom and inspiration with a full breast.
Also the south of Italy is a luxury class resorts and fabulous Italian architecture. All the Amalfi Coast is part of UNESCO World Heritage, and along with the Cinque Terre is a monument of Italian culture and identity. Here, vineyards coexist with villas and holiday homes, marinas and sails with cafes right under the overhanging rocky cliffs, and it is impossible to distinguish locals from an abundance of tourists from all over the world! It is unlikely that anywhere in the world you will encounter such narrow streets, such a large number of buses with tourists and crowds of motorcyclists who are trying to maneuver between them on the highway, literally three meters wide! Here, small settlements cling to each other among the cliffs, ancient watchtowers and lighthouses stand on the tops of the mountains, and under them stretches the breathtaking landscape of the Mediterranean Sea, from which the soul becomes warm and light... The most beautiful settlements on the coast are Maiori, Amalfi, Ravello, and Positano. Try to set aside at least a week for a leisurely and contemplative vacation in these places, and the impressions will remain with you for the whole life. The pearl of Southern Italy is an islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, among which the island of Capri has a special charm. Here is the bluest water in the Mediterranean Sea, the most expensive prices in hotels and the most beautiful seascapes in Italy. At different times, Bunin, Gorky, Lenin, Mann, Turgenev, Tchaikovsky, Aivazovsky and many other Russian people lived and worked on Capri. No doubt, people were able to get high from life that days; and I am sure you can too! But there are still beautiful places further south: mysterious trulli houses in Alberobello, the ancient eastern cities of Matera and Syracuse, dry and hot Sicily in the shadow of the Etna volcano...
Undoubtedly, Italy deserves a lot of long and meaningful trips. I am sincerely convinced that everybody should discover Italy. But it is impossible to understand the country, moving with a guide or along a given route; here it is worth getting lost in time. Move on your own, hitchhiking or by local public transport, climb one of the mountains or meet the sunset over the landscapes of Tuscany, drink cheap Italian wine on the terrace in Manarola or Positano, dive into the purest waters of Capri ... do not regret anything, wait for nothing, do not rush and enjoy every minute. Italy is a country where haste should be banned, and true enjoyment will come only in harmony and tranquility from local landscapes. To fall in love with Italy and leave it in your heart forever, it is not enough to visit the noisy megalopolises of Rome, Milan and Naples - you should definitely go outside. After all, getting to know Italy is more than just another vacation trip. This is an acquaintance with yourself, with your soul and body; if everything is done correctly and sincerely, then you can fall in love with these places forever as well as we love ourselves.
Welcome to Italy - a place where enjoying life require no rush!