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Trip to Italy

Trip to Italy

There is really no other city quite like Rome in the world. While Rome wants to be a modern 21st-century city, it is desperately trying to keep its historical ruins and monuments from crumbling. The city is really one large archaeological dig that continues to discover its 2,800 years of history.

And preserving its past continues to be a monumental task for this city of 2.8 million people. To be able to walk through the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, where the likes of Romulus, Julius Caesar, and Nero once ruled, is a walk back in time.

If you love history, architecture, museums, great food, shopping, historical monuments, and great gelato, then head to Rome. As an added benefit to any visit, you get to also visit Vatican City, which is an amazing destination in its own right. These incredible ancient ruins and monuments might not last forever, so start planning a visit now.

Florence is just right in so many ways. The city is just the right size to make it one of the most walkable cities in Italy. The centerpiece of Florence is without a doubt the magnificent Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known as the Duomo, and it should not be missed.

This city is the rightful birthplace of the Renaissance and is loaded with wonderful art, architecture, and some of the finest museums in the world, the Uffizi and the Galleria dell’Accademia. Florence truly is of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The pace here is laid back and that is how the locals prefer it. There are no resorts, only B&Bs, apartments, and small hotels. And if you love seafood, then you have certainly come to the right place. Tourism, fishing, and farming the terraced hillsides are the only industries here. If you want to see one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, then add Cinque Terre to your list of must-see places.

Tuscany encompasses a pretty large area of central Italy, so I’m going to narrow this down to the Val d’Orcia region. Why? Because of its beautiful rolling hills and wonderful medieval hilltop towns.

This area of Italy is pure heaven. Stretching from Siena in the north to Montepulciano in the east, and including Pienza, Montalcino, and Monticchiello, this area makes for a great road tour.

Get lost on the cyprus lined back roads of the Val d’Orcia and you are bound to have your breath taken away by the beautiful rolling landscape of this region. Find an Agriturismo, rent a car for a few days, and discover this region of Italy that is famous for its wine and photographic beauty.

A big part of the whole Italian experience is without a doubt the food. I’m not sure I’ve had a really bad meal in Italy and this includes stopping on the autostrada at rest stops for a quick bite. The different regions of Italy all have their own specialties but no matter where you are, you will find wonderful cuisine.

And if you get an opportunity to have a home cooked meal you should jump at the chance, as these have been some of the finest meals we have ever had. Many of the agriturismos will host a dinner for their guests, so if the opportunity presents itself, take advantage of it.rom the wonderful seafood of Venice, Cinque Terre, and Sicily to the homemade pasta of Tuscany, you will not be disappointed with the food in Italy.

Sample the wonderful salami, prosciutto, and cheeses of a typical antipasto and by all means try a pesto pasta dish in Cinque Terre, which is the birthplace of this basil, garlic, pine nut, and olive oil creation.

Have a hankering for pizza? No problem. Traditional Neapolitan pizza can be found throughout the Campania region. If you find yourself in Sicily, be sure to try an arancini, a wonderful concoction of mozzarella, tomato sauce, and meat wrapped inside of a fried rice ball.

And for dessert, why not try a tiramisu or my all-time favorite dessert, the panna cotta with fig sauce? And when you need a quick snack to tide you over, don’t forget about the gelato, which I could eat every day, no problem.

And the wine. No Italian meal would be complete without a good house wine. There is so much wonderful locally made wine in Italy, so be sure to sample them all.

Sometimes Italians get a bad rap for their impatience with tourists and their notoriety as the pickpocket capital of the world. I have personally experienced none of this and to be honest, I have found the people of Italy to be a warm and hospitable bunch. Don’t get me wrong, there are unscrupulous types who will pick your pocket if the opportunity arises, but this can be said of almost any city. Just be sure to always be aware of your surroundings.

Our many great experiences with the locals are some of the most wonderful memories that we have. From the little Italian man who invited us into his home even though he spoke no English to show us his pictures of the local church that we were photographing, to Irene, the wonderful owner of a small trattoria in Cortina d’Ampezzo who absolutely made our day, we have had nothing but good experiences.

Often overlooked by visitors for the more popular destinations farther north, Sicily is a world of its own and is a great reason to visit Italy. With an extraordinary combination of Greek temples, Norman churches, Roman mosaics, and classic Baroque towns, Sicily is a melting pot of cultures reflecting thousands of years of foreign occupation. From the beautiful scenery of Taormina to the wonderfully preserved Temples of Agrigento and the magnificent Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily has so much to offer those who venture to the island. And don’t forget about Mount Etna. This massive, very active volcano dominates the landscape on the eastern side of Sicily and makes for a great day trip from either Taormina or Catania.

The mountains and lakes might not be the first thing that come to mind when considering a visit to Italy but they are reason enough to start planning that trip. From the stunning Dolomites in the northeast to the Italian Alps in the north, this is a playground for those of you who love to hike, bike, and ski.

And dotted among the valleys of these majestic mountains are some of the most picturesque lakes in all of Italy.

Drive the Grande Strada delle Dolomiti (Grand Dolomite Highway) for an unforgettable trip on one of the world’s most scenic roads as you traverse the Dolomites from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Bolzano.

Northern Italy is also home to some of the most scenic lakes, including Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Garda. To experience all of the natural beauty that Italy has to offer, head to the mountains and lakes in the north.

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