Italy / Italian Republic
People mainly visit Italy for its rich culture, cuisine, history, fashion and art, its beautiful coastline and beaches, its mountains, and priceless ancient monuments. Italy also contains more World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world.
San Marino (map) and the Vatican City (map) are two microstates surrounded by Italy. As they use the euro, the Italian language and have no border controls, they are easy to visit.
Rome, as the capital of the powerful and influential Roman Empire, attracted thousands to the city and country from all over the empire, which included most of the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, mainland Great Britain (England) and the parts of the Middle East.
+ More information > Wikipedia • Wikivoyage • UNESCO
Real “tourism” only affected in Italy in the second half of the 17th century, with the beginning of the *Grand Tour (wikivoyage). This was a period in which European aristocrats, many of whom were British, visited parts of Europe; Italy, Greece and other Mediterranean places were amongst the most popular.
This was in order to study ancient architecture and the local culture. Due to the Grand Tour, tourism became even more prevalent – making Italy one of the most desired destinations for millions of people.
I Borghi più belli d’Italia – is an association of small Italian towns of historical interest (wiki).
Every major city has museums, but some of them have national and international relevance. Uffizi Gallery (map) and Galleria dell’Accademia (map) in Florence, is one of the greatest museums in the world and a must-see. Pinacoteca di Brera (map) in Milan. The Etruscan Academy Museum of the City of Cortona, Tuscany. Egyptian Museum in Turin, holds the second-largest Egyptian collection in the world. Roman Civilization Museum in Rome, hold the world’s largest collection about ancient Rome.
The Vatican Museums. Not, strictly speaking, in Italy as the Vatican is a separate territory. Visit the 54 “galleries” of the museums to see the Sistine Chapel, the rooms painted by Raphael.
One of the great things about Italy is that its long thin shape means that when you get fed up with sightseeing, you are often near a beach. In many of the more popular areas, large sections of beach are reserved as paid beaches.
Italian food inside of Italy is different than what they call “Italian food” in America. It is truly one of the most diverse in the world, and in any region, or even city and village you go, there are different specialities. In Italy, cuisine is considered a kind of art.
Violent crime rates in Italy are low compared to most European countries. If you’re reasonably careful and use common sense you won’t encounter personal safety risks even in the less affluent neighbourhoods of large cities.
Regions & Cities
Northwest Italy – Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardia and Valle d’Aosta.
Home of the *Italian Riviera, including Portofino, *Sanremo, and of *Cinque Terre. There are many historic cities in this part of Italy: Turin, Milan, *Genoa are the most popular tourist destinations of the area. Other cities like Aosta, Bergamo, Brescia and Como have a rich cultural heritage, which share the region’s visitors with beautiful landscapes such as the lakes *Garda (map), Como (map) and Maggiore.
There are also important ski resorts like Sestriere (map), *Courmayeur (map), Breuil-Cervinia (map), Livigno (map) and Bormio (map).
Northeast Italy – Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto.
This part of Italy also boasts several important tourist attractions, such as the canal-filled city of Venice, the cities of Verona, *Vicenza, Padua, Trento, Bolzano, Cremona, Bologna, Ferrara, Mantova/Mantua, Parma, Ravenna, *Cesena, *Rimini and Trieste. There are also several mountain ranges such as the Dolomites, the Carnic and Julian Alps and first-class ski resorts like *Cortina d’Ampezzo (map) and Madonna di Campiglio (map).
Central Italy – Lazio, *Marche, Tuscany and Umbria.
Rome boasts the remaining wonders of the Roman Empire and some of the world’s best known landmarks such as the Colosseum (map). Florence, regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, is Tuscany’s most visited city, whereas nearby cities like Siena, Pisa, Arezzo and Lucca also have rich cultural heritages. Umbria’s population is small but it has many important cities such as Perugia and Assisi.
Southern Italy – Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Abruzzo, and *Molise.
Naples is the most visited city in the area, and the ruins of Pompeii (map) are the most visited sights. Other important tourist destinations include the *Amalfi Coast (map), *Ravello, *Benevento, *Caserta, *Salerno and *Pozzuoli. The natural parks of Abruzzo, the greenest region in Europe, include the *Abruzzo National Park, the National Park of Gran Sasso and *Monti della Laga the Maiella National Park and Sirente-Velino Regional Park.
Apulia, which includes the historical cities of *Lecce and *Bari and villages composed of trulli. Calabria it is famous for its coasts the capital city is *Catanzaro but its most populated city is Reggio Calabria (map). Basilicata is very famous for so-called *Sassi di Matera (map).
Sicily – The largest island in the country is a diverse and popular tourist island, famous for its archaeology, seascape and unique Sicilian cuisine. There are many important cities such as Palermo, Messina, Catania. An important sight is *Val di Noto (map) that offers a lot of Late Baroque cities built after the catastrophic earthquake of 1693.
Sardinia – is a large island some 250 km west of the Italian coastline. It includes several popular tourist attractions and has several beaches and archaeological ruins. It is also known for its beaches, that are among the most beautiful in the world, and include the famous pink beaches in the archipelago of *La Maddalena (map).
BUS > Arpa (Abruzzo) • Sais (Sicily) • Busweb • Saj (Calabria) • Marino (Apulia e Basilicata) • Sena (Tuscany) • Autostradale S.p.A. (Lombardy).
Flixbus • EuroLines • Busabout Adventure Coach Travel Europe • Europe by Bus • Buses on the Web.
RAIL > Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori • Trenitalia + International Rail • RailEurope (*Rail travel in Italy)
AIRPORTS > Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (Fiumicino) • Ciampino Airport (Ciampino) • Milan Malpensa Airport • Linate Airport • Orio al Serio Airport.
WATERWAYS > Grimaldi Lines > Spain, France, Sicily, Sardinia, Malta,Tunisia and Corsica. Gnv Grandi Navi Veloci > Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, Tunisia, Malta, Morocco. Moby Line > Sardinia, Corsica, Elba Livorno, Civitavecchia. Snav > Sicily-Sardinia-Greece / Croatia, Aeolian Islands. Emilia Romagna Lines > Croatia, Slovenia. Saremar > Corsica – Sardinia. > (*Ferries in the Mediterranean)