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Italy

Italy

Land and Nature

The Sea

With its approximately 4,660 mi of coastline, Italy is the ideal place for water lovers. The wide variety of its beaches makes it perfect for every type of vacationer in search of nature, fun, and rest and relaxation. The Italian coast, with its countless gulfs, coves and inlets, touristic ports and long, sandy beaches, is truly adapted to the water lover’s every demand. It is chock-full of fishing villages, and coastal cities with sea resorts and day beaches - much of it easily reachable by car, train and planes, and vessels large and small.

From North to South, East to West, this mountainous land slopes into the rocky, indented coasts of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas in the west and southeast respectively, and toward the softer, sandier shores of the Adriatic in the east. From these seas that wash up upon the “beautiful country” surge two magnificent islands – Sicily and Sardinia – in addition to numerous tiny archipelagos. These include the Tuscan Archipelago, to which Elba belongs; the Archipelago of the Maddalena in Sardinia; the Campanian Archipelago with Ischia and Capri; and finally the Pontine Islands off the southern shores of Lazio. Between the coasts of Tunisia and Sicily, we also find the Pelagian (Lampedusa) Islands and, to Sicily's north, the Aeolians – with two active volcanoes, Stromboli and Vulcano – and the Egadi Islands, a natural reserve. Last but not least, in Puglia, there are the splendid Islands of Tremiti.

From Liguria to the Maritime Alps (west of Genova) and the Appenine zone of Liguria, the foothills of the Alpine Mountains push out and brush the waves that lap at the Italian Riviera. With their high and rocky cliffs, these rugged coasts are rich with gorgeous nooks, crannies and deep, deep sea-beds. The marvels of nature do not stop there. This area is a paradise for numerous animal species and for humans alike: whether you want to watch nature or seek the thrill of water sports, you can enjoy a variety of activities in both the protected areas of Cinque Terre and Poets’ Gulf.

The beaches on the Tuscan coast are lower and sandier even though it comprises the coast of the Apuan Alps, Versilia, littoral Pisa and the Etruscan Coast. All these spots have seen vibrant touristic activity since the 1960s. The rather well-known Islands of Elba and Capraia lie about 12 mi off the region’s coast, and although they make up part of the Tuscan Archipelago, they reside in the Ligurian Sea.

Continuing along the shores that line the Tyrrhenian, one finds the Maremma, Lazio and then Campania, in large part low and sandy in character but with random, rocky peninsulas that almost meet the edge of the Pontine Islands.

Going further south, the Bay of Naples eventually opens itself up to the Sea, followed by the Amalfi Coast, the Gulf of Salerno and the high, rocky promontory of Cilento. This wonderfully lofty and jagged terrain continues almost all the way to the Strait of Messina that separates Sicily from the rest of the Continent.
The Southern Coasts bathing in the Ionian Sea, resemble the shorelines sitting on the Tyrrhenian Sea: steep and precipitous bluffs where the Appennine Range is closest to the sea, and uniform, consistent where Calabria and Basilicata move toward Apulia, near the mouth of the River Po.
Excluding the promontories of Monte Gargano and Mount Conero, the littoral zone awash in the Adriatic Sea is made up of an immense sandy swathe of land, naturally the location for many seaside establishments. 

The largest Italian island, Sicily, is edged by a mountainous, serrated coastline in the north and east (as in Taormina), and by flatter shores in the south and west (think the Trapani Coast and Egadi Islands). Sicily, too, is covered in natural reserves and breathtaking landscapes. The region is absolutely astonishing, as are all its surrounding islets, where vacationers flock from every part of the world.
It is also in the Tyrrhenian Sea that we find the Island of Sardinia, where the shores are varyingly rocky and smooth (Costa Smeralda). Giant boulders, as well as other islands large and small (e.g. Maddalena, Caprera), make up the off-shore landscape of Sardinia.

The Mountains

In all its territorial variety, Italy boasts a large number of beautiful and evocative mountain localities, ideal for visiting any time of year, whether summer or winter. From north to south, the Italian mountain scene offers tourists a range of landscapes: lakes at high altitutude, incredible forests, enchanting villages and borgoes rich in history, traditions and, of course, gastronomic pleasures.

Sports, fun and relaxation marry themselves perfectly well in a mountain vacation in the Bel Paese, both amidst snow or in the conditions of fairer seasons.
The major part of Italy’s mountain retreats also invite visitors to experience a wide array of cultural and outdoor activities each season: ski, alpine skiing, snowboarding, trekking and Nordic walking, mountain biking… not to mention excellent structures for ice skating, swimming, tennis, horseback riding… the list just goes on!


THE ALP

The large European mountain range rises in the northernmost extremity of Italy, defining the geographical boundary. The imposing Alpine ridge passes through a number of regions, from Liguria to the Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto, and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

THE APENNINES

This mountain range unites the two extremities of Italy, from Liguria to Calabria, it passes through Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Abruzzo, Campania, Basilicata, Umbria and Molise. The mountains of the Apennines are not so high as the peaks of the Alps, but they are nevertheless home to some important skiing areas, such as Roccaraso, Campo Felice, and Rivisondoli. 

The thick vegetation and numerous watercourses help create exceptionally beautiful wild landscapes, which are also home to an abundant animal population. 

Lakes

Italy has many lakes; in fact, there are over a thousand, renowned for their incomparable beauty and each is characterized by distinct features. Lakes Garda, Maggiore, and Como, now well-known throughout the world, have become ideal destinations for spending some time in the sun and in close contact with nature. Italy’s major lakes are fully equipped and offer a range of accommodation facilities. The beaches provide all the comforts and are suitable for bathing. In addition to relaxing, visitors can have fun testing their skills with a variety of outdoor activities. Several water sports are offered: water skiing, canoeing, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving, and even fishing, with national level competitions. Sports such as golf, horseback riding, and mountain biking are also offered almost everywhere. A lakeside holiday also allows tourists to discover the surrounding areas, which are full of history and traditions.

Italy's lakes create enchanting landscapes thanks to the extraordinarily prosperous ecosystems that have developed over the millennia, and the evolution of the many and various plant and animal species. Small Alpine lakes, which are quite common in high-altitude areas, are excellent destinations for exciting hikes to explore breathtaking landscapes. Visitors have a world of emotions to explore, following their instinct and their passions, savouring fragrances and tastes. A lakeside vacation gives guests the rare opportunity to discover and enjoy Italy's charm, reflected in cool, pristine waters. 

The great lakes, Lakes Como, Maggiore and Garda, are the largest lakes in Italy, they have always been a major holiday destination, and their fame has never stopped growing. 

Nature and Wildlife

Wildlife parks boasting untainted beauty offer an ideal setting for those who decide to spend their vacations in contact with nature, discovering Italy’s flora and fauna, visiting its sunny islands and surrounded by the typical Mediterranean landscape. 

Tourists can enjoy an unforgettable experience exploring Italy's rough and wild environment. There are many national parks well worth exploring: the Gran Paradiso, Circeo, Stelvio, Dolomiti Bellunesi, Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga, Cilento and Vallo di Diano, and Gargano National Parks, the parks of Calabria and Aspromonte, not to mention the Maddalena and Tuscan Archipelagos, the Vesuvius, the Cinque Terre National Parks, and many other protected areas, nature reserves, and marine parks. 

Italy's lush and diversified environment provides many ideal settings for vacations in close contact with nature, for a natural rush of energy. There are many welcoming country tourist locations offering a relaxing and intimate atmosphere, the chance to taste genuine food, and discover local history and traditions. A perfect vacation in any moment of the year, revealing a different, and in many ways, secret Italy.

Culture, Art and History

Art and History

Italy has been, since antiquity, the centre of history, culture and art. Our museums, collections and archaeological sites reveal countless tokens of the past and the many civilizations that have passed across this country, evidence of which is still inextricably woven into the present day landscape.

Artistic wonders can be found everywhere, and every corner of the country holds countless and wonderful surprises. Our artistic and cultural heritage is one of the most valuable in the world. Italy has more cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country. Rome, Florence, Assisi, Venice, Siena, Pisa, and Naples are its most renowned cities of art, but the whole country can boast towns of breathtaking beauty, as these numbers demonstrate: 95,000 monumental churches, 40,000 forts and castles, 30,000 historical residences with 4,000 gardens, 36,000 archives and libraries, 20,000 historical cities and towns, 5,600 museums and archaeological sites, and 1,500 convents. 

Tourists can explore and discover the private residences of ancient and noble families; visit world famous museums such as the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Capitoline Museums in Rome, or the Brera Art Gallery in Milan; explore impressive archaeological sites, such as Pompei and Herculaneum, to immerse themselves in an exciting, grandiose past. That is by no means all - there are numerous cultural, artistic, and musical events that animate Italian life. 

Italy offers a rich combination of masterpieces from different areas, blending landscape and culture, history and art, architecture and city planning - it offers an exciting journey through time, from the Ancient Greeks and Romans to the present day, which is also filled by a wealth of art and culture. 

Culture and Entertainment

Italy is a nation that hosts unique and fascinating events of international resonance throughout the year, providing innumerable opportunities for experiencing intense emotions. 

Art exhibitions are inspired by over a thousand years of heritage, and events such as the Venice Biennale with its design and contemporary art focus, are flanked and alternate with theatre and ballet performances. For music lovers, the festivals and operatic seasons offered by Milan’s La Scala and the Verona Arena are unique. Italy is a synonym for music and art in every form. But that’s not all. It offers a wide range of traditional and modern cultural events, such as literary festivals or the many Carnivals held, most notably in Venice, but also in many other regions, and the various historical and religious representations that fill Italy with fantasy and vitality throughout the year.  

Italy is also a natural film set. Its beautiful scenery make it the perfect background for every kind of film production: From its metropolises, to its Renaissance palaces, and amazing natural landscapes. 
Italy is an ensemble of art, culture, natural landscapes, traditions, magic…in a word, diversity. Enjoy Italy and its daily, countless events! 

Cities of Art

The Italian art cities are some of the most-visited destinations in international cultural tourism.  Rich in monuments, churches, castles, museums, and historic dwellings, Italy’s cities of art are an ideal target for low-season tourism, fulfilling a desire to know them any time of the year. 

Of course, many are Italy’s art cities: Turin, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Ferrara, Florence, Perugia, Rome, Naples, and Palermo, just to name a few.

Almost all of them preserve an important historic, artistic and architectonic heritage that narrates the succession of century after century. Rich in signs of the events of the men who moved about in them – Italy’s art cities were often the seats of governments and principalities, and the stages for the events that changed the course of history. More specifically these cities, due to their particular relationship with various axes of power, were made over several times – i.e. as residences of princes, dukes, popes, kings and emperors. 
Frequently characterized as an urban textile that preserves the original framework, such as a Roman stronghold or a Medieval borgo, Italy's art cities represent vestiges that each seem to be frozen in different times – some even seem to straddle the divide between more than one historical period, perhaps not having completed the transformation initiated by one conqueror or another. Marked by the initiatives of great artists and patrons, these cities are not only the repositories of poignant artistic expressions, but are themselves true masterpieces of art. 
Open-air museums that can be enjoyed and admired on foot – these cities offer modern and inspiring itineraries for discovering shops and artisan workshops, markets and fairs, festivals and theatrical events that are a great blessed union of traditions, culture and excitement. 

 

Information Courtesy Of Italian Tourism

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