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.
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.
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