Italy gave us pizza and pasta (thank you!), gelato, Vespas and well-dressed men (more thanks!) It changed the world through the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo and Michelangelo and wooed us with its romantic narrow backstreets and postcard-perfect canals. Yet there's more to the country than the usual icons. Enjoy my hand-picked recommendations...
Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Verona and Naples all have compact enough centres for a weekend break and easy flight connections to boot. There's no mistaking one for the other, though. Each city has character aplenty.
One approach is to thread together a few cities, for example Rome, Venice & Florence, all well connected by train. Alternatively, head into Italy's regions: her beautiful Amalfi coast or snowy and chic Dolomite mountains, depending on the season.
Travel by train between Rome, Florence, Milan, Verona and Venice. Experience the secluded charm of the Cinque Terre, hike the Amalfi coast or else take it easy and split your time between one week's hefty sightseeing in Rome and one on Puglia's beaches.
For me, Italy is just one of those countries where it doesn't seem fair. There's so much to see, so much to taste, so much to think about, so much to do. What about all the other countries in the world? Ah well, their loss, ours to explore!
Here's to Italy through the quote of a British philosopher:
"Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy." Bertrand Russell.
Trusted by the best in travel:
The best way to make a trip happen is just to book a ticket and let the adrenaline make everything else fall into place.
However, there are some key things to check out first. ALWAYS check out the health and safety advice for the region you're travelling to and make sure you're up to date with any recommended vaccinations and healthcare procedures. After that, it's up to you whether or not you book accommodation now or figure it out when you get there - or whether you'd prefer to let someone else take care of all the logistics for you through an individually designed tour.
For my general recommendations on equipment, tour operators and more, visit the Travel Resources page. For tips specific to Italy, read on below.
As ever, with any advice you find on the web, this is meant for help and guidance only. Always check with your own doctor, embassy, lawyer and spouse before making any irreversible plans...