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Italy Intro
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April 25, 2017
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Home > Italy Hotels > Italy Intro


Italy Travel Guide - with Wired Destinations

     

Discount Hotels in Italy : Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice, Naples, Genova, Pisa, Turin, Assisi, Palermo, Bologna, Agrigento, Caserta, Catania, Siracusa, Verona, Siena, Salerno, Ancona, Brescia, Messina, Bergamo, Ferrara, Como, La Spezia, Lecco, Ravenna, Vicenza

 

Italy

Most of Italy is slipped into the big boot-shaped peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean Sea from the south of Europe. At the tip of the boot is the Italian island of Sicily. Sardinia, the other large Italian island, floats on the western edge of the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the north, the mighty Alps stretch from France across Switzerland and Austria to Slovenia. Forming the backbone of the Italian peninsula is the Apennines range. A coastline bounded by five different seas suggests countless bays, gulfs, inlets and natural harbours. Of the fiery Italian temperament prone to explosive display, one might consider the volcanic proximity of Vesuvius, Etna and Isloa Stromboli of having an influential effect.

Italy Map
Italy Map

"We have created Italy, now we must create Italians," said Massimo D'Azeglio, a major force behind the unification of Italy in the mid-19th century. At times, Italy appears a mosaic of regional differences stitched together for the sake of some semblance of a cohesive whole. In the somnolent south, Italians entrenched in traditional ways cast disparaging glances to the north. They are content with their life, their harvest and the sunny skies shinning down on a big blue sea. The cosmopolitan northerners zipping along in their trendy lifestyles chuckle over cappuccino at the expense of their drowsy southern brethren. The Holy See or the Vatican is the independent state and headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. A pillar of all that is virtuous, yet dwelling in the same country as the notorious homeland of the Sicilian mafia, birthplace of an international web of organized crime. The roots of the Roman Empire stand in ruins side by side with architectural marvels housing many of the world's treasured masterpieces. A leisurely evening stroll around the town is as popular today as ever, for both rural and urban Italians, a contrast to be sure, with the sight of a Ferrari roaring past in a blurred flaming red streak. Flamboyant fashion idols strut and pose behind dark sunglasses while plump ruddy faced farmwomen grin and chortle behind mounds of fresh produce. Italy may well be a country of contrasts, but for the visitor, this very quality can only serve to enhance the travel experience.

Rome

Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Colosseum in Rome, Italy

While in Rome, on the way to the forum, stop a moment and consider grandeur and scale of the ancient city. The stone and marble of these colossal buildings, the architectural engineering, the period relative to world events, and then try to imagine the level of achievement this represents without aid of modern machines and equipment. At the time, emperors forced slaves amassed from the empire's vast territorial conquests to create these magnificent structures aided simply by crude leverage devices, block and tackle, and backbreaking effort. Despite the less than humane method of construction, Rome was revered as a sparkling testament to man's ingenuity and creativity. Following the fall of the Roman Empire in the 6th century, the illustrious city lost much of its former prestige. Rome languished for the next several hundred years until the Italian Renaissance once again placed the city in the limelight. Other impressive buildings, cathedrals and monuments were added to the legendary city during this period. Since becoming capital of a newly united Italy in 1871, Rome has scarcely looked back and has forged ahead with an ever-increasing zeal for expansion. Today, Rome is the vibrant historical city known and loved the world over. The modern Rome of international trade and commerce surrounds the cultural riches of ancient Rome, providing a striking contrast between old and new. The splendour of Rome however, lies not just in the plethora of ruins, fountains, churches, museums and monuments but also in the warm and generous spirit of a city alive with colour and vitality. Sidewalk cafes, boutiques and restaurants crowd the sidewalks where every nationality imaginable comes to bask in the sunshine of the Eternal City. Rome is without doubt, as alluring today as was 1500 years ago.

Venice

Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy

Venice truly has to be seen to appreciate the unique quality of this remarkable floating city. A cluster of islands in a saltwater lagoon situated in the northeast region of Veneto provides the foundation for this eclectic jumble of Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. A maze of canals slice and dice the city serving as streets and corridors for every manner of water-borne conveyance including water taxis, trash boats, ambulance and fire brigade boats, small transport barges and of course, the famous gondoliers. The pivotal axis of Venice is Piazza San Marco where the ornate marble façade of Saint Mark's Basilica graces the skyline. From here, you can wander in any direction, cross over more than 400 bridges and everywhere you will find something to draw your attention. Aching feet aside, fascination becomes a primary factor and the motivating force driving you to further explore the nooks and crannies of Venice. On the way, you will encounter a myriad assortment of museums, monuments and exquisite churches, brimming with artistic treasures. Handmade Venetian lace, brocades, and tapestries and distinctive glassware created by local artisans are but a few of the other gifts to be found here. Venice, there quite simply is no other place like it!

Milan

Cathedalin Milan, Italy
Cathedalin Milan, Italy

Whether you have come to the Lombardia region for the beautiful lakes or to view the prehistoric rock carvings of Val Camonica, Milan or Milano as it is called in Italy, is a great place to visit while you get your bearings. This is the hub of the country's financial, commercial and industrial sectors, where fast-paced high-flying lifestyles come with the territory. Yet it is surrounded by mountains, valleys and hills where sheep and cattle graze and where orchards and farms combine to lend a pastoral compliment to the bustling modern city. Once past the industrial suburbs, in the heart of the city, you will find Milan is also an important centre for intellectual and artistic life (a large book and music publishing industry operates in Milan). One of the world's premier art collections is housed in the Pinacoteca di Brera. Biblioteca Ambrosiana located on the Palazzo dell'Ambrosiana, opened in 1609, is thought to be the first public library in Europe. The internationally acclaimed La Scala opera house is based in Milan. The focal point of the city is the main square, Piazza del Duomo where the imposing triangular façade of the Gothic cathedral displays a staggering number of spires, turrets, and statues. Not far from the Piazza del Duomo, one finds the 15th century Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and a former Dominican monastery, which houses Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper fresco. If you still have the energy after visiting all the important cultural sites, sample the mouth-watering cuisine or shop the trendy boutiques. If not, a sidewalk café offers a ringside seat from which to enjoy the pizzazz and flair of downtown Milano.

Florence

Florence town view, Italy
Florence town view, Italy

Founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C., Florence is today a world heritage site, reflecting the highest achievements in art and culture from the 11th and 15th centuries. In the 15th century when Florence was at height of its glory, it came under the rule of the powerful Medici family, who later became the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Florence has somehow managed to retain an extraordinary wealth of art and cultural treasures reading like a 'who's who' of masterworks: Donatello, Della Robbia, Filippo Lippi, Fra Angelico, Pisano, Michelangelo, Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Galileo, Botticelli and museums the Uffizi, Galleria Palatina, the Bargello, the Accademia, the Medici Chapels, Cassa Buonarroti, the Bardi Horne, Stibbert, Romano Museums, the Modern Art Gallery, the Museum of the Duomo, the Silver Museum and the Pietre Dure Museum and monuments like the Baptistry with its mosaics and the Duomo with its sculptures, medieval churches, public and private palaces such as The Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Palazzo Davanzati not to mention, monasteries and cloisters and convents and "cenacoli", the Certosa the list goes on and on. The Tuscan capital city is such a powerful pole of attraction, it is quite difficult to tear your self away and visit other points of interest in the surrounding countryside.

Naples

Nigh landscape of Naples, Italy
Nightly landscape of Naples, Italy

Originally, a Greek settlement, Naples is today, a thriving seaport built on the sloping hills surrounding Golfo Di Napoli. The large harbour caters to passenger as well as merchant vessels and there are several smaller harbours that accommodate fishing and pleasure craft. Mount Vesuvius dominates the view south of the city. Naples is a pleasant southern Italian city noted for its colourful street life. Good food and song combine to enhance the atmosphere of this popular tourist destination. Among the places of interest are Castel dell'Ovo, Castel Nuovo, Castel Sant'Elmo, the Church of San Domenico Maggiore, and the Cathedral of San Gennaro, which contains the tomb of the city's patron saint. The former royal palace in Naples, the Palazzo Reale, now houses the National Library. Near the palace is the Teatro San Carlo, one of the largest theatres in Europe. The National Museum in Naples is renowned for its collection of Greco-Roman paintings and sculpture. Naples is the capital of the Campania region.

Verona

Verona Arena, Italy
Verona Arena, Italy

Verona, in northern Italy, is a city rich in art and architecture dating back to the 1st century. The ruins of the renowned Roman Arena and amphitheatre are the city's chief feature and venue for summertime open-air operas and concerts. San Zeno Maggiore is the medieval Romanesque basilica that attracts both worshipers and sightseers alike. Once a stronghold of the wealthy Scaliger family, the medieval Castel Vecchio, has now been transformed into a museum. The Venetians took an active role in the beautification of Verona by constructing the magnificent palace of the Loggia de Fra'Giocondo, and by fortifying the city with the town gates of Porta Palio, Porto Nuova, and Porta Vescovo. A notable figure associated with Verona is Paolo Veronese, the great master of the Venetian school, who influenced late Renaissance art. Verona is probably most famous in literature, as the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Visitors the region who enjoy good wine will not be disappointed.


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