Home of Leonardo da Vinci, pizza and the Pope, Italy defies all expectations of a holiday destination. Its culture is so vast and varied and undeniably incredible, it can’t be pinned down. Without further ado, we give you our destination of the month.
Italy at a glance
It’s difficult to know just where to begin with describing Italy. Birthplace of the Mona Lisa, the ancient conquerors of Rome, world famous explorers, fashion brands like Versace and Prada, and home to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world, Italy is a Renaissance city in more ways than one. It’s even the site of the first pizza parlour.
Italy got its start some 200,000 years ago, though the famous Roman Empire didn’t kick into business until around 753 BCE. Fast forward a few centuries and much of Italy still looks like it did all those years ago with old school architecture for miles. That’s not to say Italy isn’t modern – it still has a bevy of beaches, museums, Italian wine and, of course, incredible cuisine.
5 fun facts about Italy
- Italy only officially became a country in 1861, making it just over 150 years old
- Italians are cited as being the inventors of much-loved items like the thermometer, pianos, typewriters and electric batteries
- The three colours on Italy’s flag – green, white and red – are representatives for hope, faith and charity
- The Vatican City – situated in the Italy’s capital – is the only nation in the world that can close its gates
- Winos unite – Italy is the largest producer of wine in the world
Things to do
Eat at the world’s first pizzeria
Naples is famous as the mother of pizza, as tomatoes on bread was a historically common food among the poor in Italian. It fell into the mainstream with the help of the world’s first pizzeria, the Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, where you can still pick up a fresh slice today.
Spot stars at Lake Como
Celebrities are known for owning swanky villas along Lake Como, arguably the most famous of the Italian Lakes. You’d be wise to keep your eyes peeled for the likes of Julia Roberts and George Clooney as you stop by designer boutiques or pick up a gelato in town.
Take a gondola ride in Venice
Cheesy though it may be, taking a classic gondola ride through Venice’s waterways is kind of a must here, not only because it’s one of two ways to get around the city, but because it’s a gorgeous way to see the sites and a sure-fire Instagram hit.
Here are some of our top money-saving deals on holidays to Italy.
Pina Villa, Massa Lubrense
In this simple villa you can live as the Italians do, but with a terrace that overlooks the waterfront. Staying here will get you access to the hotel’s restaurant, which is located just over the road and happens to be one of the best in Sorrento.
Santa Lucia Hotel, Minori
This family-run hotel is steeped in traditional Italian charm and located just a few minutes from the beach. On offer is a restaurant featuring a buffet breakfast and table service at dinner, plus a lounge bar for late-night glasses of Italian wine.