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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Italy

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Italy Holidays 2017/2018

There's a very good reason why Italy is known as 'Bella Italia,' and that's because this country is truly beautiful. From the amazing natural features of the Italian Lakes to the architectural splendours of Tuscany, you're always going to find something to wow you here.

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Italy, where style and natural beauty dominate

The Italians have a wonderful phrase for putting your best foot forward. It's 'bella figura' – which literally means making the best of yourself. When you wander around Italy, you'll notice that this is a country that oozes style.

Whether it's in the hilltop villages of Tuscany or the wonders of the Neapolitan Riviera, you're sure to come across some jaw dropping sites when travelling through this beautiful country.

Even when people-watching in a local cafe or sunning by the beach in Alghero, Sardinia you'll be overwhelmed by the Italian vibe. Prada, Gucci and Ferrari all come from Italy, and there's something quite magical about sitting in the warm sun and gazing at a wonderful view that inspires creativity and talent.

Where to stay in Italy

Italian Lakes
Italian LakesView on Map

The grandeur and scenic inspiration to be experienced at the Italian Lakes makes them a consistently popular tourism hotspot, where classic Italian architecture and warmth blends with stunning natural beauty. Whether you sail over the water or enjoy wine and meals by the lakeside, an unforgettable and tranquil trip is waiting for you.

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Neapolitan Riviera
Neapolitan RivieraView on Map

The Neapolitan Riviera offers iconic cliffside scenery with charming resorts where you can unwind and soak up the relaxed atmosphere. Ideal for families and couples, the area is surrounded by vineyards and lemon groves and has several stunning churches and gardens. It's an ideal base for day trips to Naples.

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Sardinia
SardiniaView on Map

Sardinia is an Italian island rich in heritage, although there are plenty of modern comforts to be savoured here too. Traditional evenings of pasta, music, wine and good company, all set against a dramatic view of verdant hills and Adriatic splendour, entices visitors to Sardinia year after year.

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Sicily
SicilyView on Map

The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily is dotted with vineyards and ancient castles, offering travellers a sensational reprieve from the world. Staying in Sicily you can experience the great food, hospitality and scenery that Italy offers, yet with a sunkissed twist that only Sicily's own unique culture can provide.

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Tuscany
TuscanyView on Map

The beating heart of the Renaissance and the realm where the Italian language first emerged, Tuscany is the crux of modern Italy's identity. Filling meals, winding streets and terracotta rooftops drenched in sunshine make Pisa, Florence, Siena and beyond truly evocative of Tuscany's sublime embrace, with miles of golden countryside laced with vineyards too.

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Venetian Riviera
Venetian RivieraView on Map

Although the city of Venice is its beating heart, the Venetian Riviera lets the classic and contemporary collide. Dining among beautiful buildings is a daily pleasure, while beachfront resorts give the chance for sunbathing and watersports in equal measure. Island trips and excursions out to the countryside round off an active yet relaxing region.

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Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Euro
  • Italian
  • 60 million
  • GMT +1

Contrasting views

The very old lives in close proximity to the very new in Italy. Take your Italy holidays in one of the more traditional towns such as Ravello and you'll see some beautiful formal gardens created by English landscape designers in the 19th century. Just a heartbeat away in Positano however, you'll find some of the most upbeat and cool nightclubs you'll be able to visit in this part of Italy.

The countryside varies here too, from the rugged cliffs along the Neapolitan Riviera to the hilltop beauties of Tuscany. Before you leave, be sure to check out the calm coastline along the Venetian Riviera too.

La Dolce Vita

Italians don't just sit revelling in the beauty of their towns and landscape – they like a good party too. If you're staying on the Neapolitan Riviera then the towns of Positano and Sorrento have some fantastic nightclubs where you can chill out to the very best dance tunes around.

Sicily has some uber-special cocktail bars, and if you're looking for night-time fun in the Italian Lakes you can either sample the bars around Lake Garda or dance on the rocks by Lake Maggiore. Package holidays to Italy are always fun, and offer plenty of destinations in which to release your inner party animal.

Architecture rules

Italians are justifiably proud of their stunning architecture and you'll find some wonderful gems in the more popular destinations such as Venice and Florence. In fact, the magnificence of St Mark's Square or the glories of the Uffizzi Palace are hard to beat. You'll soon see however that most towns in Italy have some beautiful monuments, churches or even just a stunning fountain in a village square.

If you're staying in the Neapolitan Riviera, a day trip to Pompeii is easy and a visit to this extraordinary archaeological site is fascinating. While Sicily has been invaded by nearly everyone over the years, and all of these visitors have left their mark on the local architecture.

Beaches and beauty

Cefalu is a fantastic resort for a beach holiday in Sicily. The main beach, Lungomare, is a generous five kilometres of sandy space where you can worship the sun, and families can swim in its shallow waters.

You'll find that Cefalu is much more than just a beach though. Wander around the town you can lose yourself in its medieval walkways among the Norman cathedral and a bathhouse that dates back to the Saracens.

Sardinia's Alghero may be renowned for its kilometres of sand, but the town itself is also well worth a visit. The old town is medieval and is where you'll find many of the best restaurants in the area, situated in some of the town's most beautiful buildings.

Or for a more resort-type beach holiday, which is quite hard to find in Italy, head to the purpose-built Lido di Jesolo on the Venetian Riviera. It has the longest beach in mainland Italy plus a funfair and waterpark.

And then there’s the food and the wine

While the French may claim their cuisine is the foundation of European cooking, the Italians would passionately disagree. Everywhere you visit in this beautiful country you're sure to understand why the Italians are so passionate about food and drink.

From humble pizza best eaten in its founding town, Naples, to the slow-roasted meats and game stews of Tuscany, this country's food will keep you coming back for more. The Italians extend their love of style to to their passion for food, and very often the plate carrying your meal will be presented like an artist's palette.

Each region of Italy is also famous for its own alcohol. When staying in the Italian Lakes for instance, the selection of local wines is usually quite exceptional. Tuscan wines are renowned the world over and the fiery reds of both Sicily and Sardinia are vibrant and tasty.