Would you wish to get on a plane, and fly to Italy, rent a car and explore the whole country?
Italy is a country of diversity, with the snowy Alp mountains in the north, the Mediterranean in the south, and in between the most beautiful landscapes, cities, and food, of which the Italians are immensely proud.
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North of Italy
In the northern part of the country, you find cities like Bologna, Milan, Verona, Torino, Venice, Modena, and many more which are definitely worth a visit. Watch out when you are in Venice, as a cup of coffee can cost you around 25 euro in St. Marco Square. A further introduction is not needed for your romantic escape in Venice. In Modica, you can visit the Ferrari museum and taste the finest Balsamic vinegar in the world. If you like to buy some extra clothes, then in Milan you are at the right location. Verona is best known for the setting of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, “Romeo and Juliet”. Verona is a picturesque city filled with Roman ruins, Renaissance palaces, and medieval buildings. Portofino is one of the prettiest towns on the Italian Riviera. Short climbs up the hillside will take you to the medieval Castello Brown, the historic Church of San Giorgio, or the lighthouse at Punta Portofino, which offers photographic views of the charming city. A visit to the Gran Paradiso National Park, which is the largest and best-preserved wilderness area in Europe. Lake Garda is visited by many European tourists during the summer months.
Center of Italy
Here you find cities and regions like San Marino, one of the world’s smallest and oldest republics. San Marino isn’t, technically, Italy. You’re probably already aware that Vatican City in Rome is an independent nation-state situated in Italy, but did you know that it’s not the only one? San Marino, the third-smallest country in Europe and the fifth-smallest in the world, is also located within Italy’s borders, in the region of Emilia Romagna.
Florence is a must if you like to pay a visit to museums, palaces, and churches. Florence and its magnificent treasures await your visit! Tuscany is a wealth of historic treasures considered one-of-a-kind. The region is full of art cities and little picturesque villages with huge cultural heritage, but Tuscany is also extraordinary because of its fascinating landscape, with its bucolic countryside and rolling hills. Not to mention its amazing islands and coastal areas, its protected parks and, last but not least, its food, simple with authentic flavors, and its wines ranked among the best in the world.
The capital city of Italy is Rome, which is the third most visited city in Europe and the fourteenth worldwide. Tourists love to discover the impressive monuments, archeological sites and not to mention their cuisine and lively atmosphere. Here you must visit the Colosseum, Vatican City, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon.
Naples is a city that might in a way belong to the southern part of Italy, as it is well known as the capital city of the South. However, we like to mention it with the central region. The city of Naples is also known as the modern birthplace of pizza. King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889. Legend has it that the traveling pair became bored with their steady diet of French haute cuisine and asked for an assortment of pizzas from the city’s Pizzeria Brandi, the successor to Da Pietro pizzeria, founded in 1760. The variety the queen enjoyed most was called pizza mozzarella, a pie topped with soft white cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil. Perhaps it was no coincidence that her favorite pie featured the colors of the Italian flag. From then on, the story goes, that this particular topping combination was dubbed as pizza Margherita.
South of Italy
The sun shines almost all year round in this wonderful area, the Mediterranean! Paestum is a town on Italian grounds but it was founded by the ancient Greeks when they were in control of this part of Italy, then it was known as Poseidonia after the god of the sea.
The Greek architecture alone is worth a visit. Alberobello is the best-preserved example of Trulli architecture to be found in all of Italy. Homes built in the Trulli style are made with conical stone roofs. The oldest homes date back to the 14th century and are totally stunning, making Alberobello one of the must-see and beautiful towns in Southern Italy. Capri is technically a small island that you need to explore. Pompeii and Herculaneum are two Roman towns/villages. Volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted way back in 79AD and created the towns as we know them today. If you’re a history buff, then make sure to visit the Herculaneum Archaeological Area. Amalfi Coast is the place to be for your post-wedding pictures. It is actually a cluster of cliff-top towns and little villages along with one of southern Italy’s most beautiful coastal roads that is pretty hair-raising to drive. You’ll be spoilt for choice and will need to prioritize what and how you actually want to plan your sightseeing. Those colorful villages’ homes, staggered on terraced cliffs, fragrant lemon groves, delicious freshly made Italian food, and turquoise waters, pretty much make this a dream spot.
This is one fantastic island that will take your breath away. Your first attraction should be the volcano, Mount Etna. In your rented car, you can drive halfway up to the Etna, park your car, and visit the souvenir shops. After that, you can take the cable-car up to 2,500 meters (8,200 Ft) following a ride in a truck like a moon lander, which will bring you up to 2,800 (9,186 Ft) where you can hike around a crater with a professional tour guide. The view is amazing, which makes it a fantastic experience of walking on an active volcano.
The drive downhill is spectacular, and you can easily follow your route to the most touristic place in Sicily, Taormina. In the 1800s, after Goethe praised its beauty throughout Europe, mentioning it in his book “Italian Journey”, Taormina became a mandatory stop on the Grand Tour – the long journey made in continental Europe – by the young European aristocracy of the time to enrich their own culture. Today, it is the tourist capital of Sicily and many travelers enliven its streets throughout the year visiting the boutique shops and tasting local food. A visit to the Ancient Theater is a must from where you have a wonderful view. Sperlinga is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy: entering into the heartland of Sicily is not a mystical or figurative operation. Ruins of an ancient drawbridge, show human talent and hard work, in places that often, whispering, tell us the meticulous Siculi work. You can also opt for some adventure activities at Gole Alcantara Botanical and Geological Park, like body rafting, River Trekking, Canyoning, Nordic walking, and bike tours. Marzamemi is one of Sicily’s prettiest seaside villages. It was the Arabs of the 10th century who put Marzamemi on the map. They not only gave the village its poetic name, Mars al-hamam (translating as something like Turtle Dove Bay) but also built the original tonnara (tuna processing plant), which was to become one of the most important on the island. Although the tonnara itself is no longer in function, Marzamemi continues its artisanal fishing and processing activities, producing all manner of delicacies, including canned tuna, dried tuna roe (bottarga), smoked swordfish, marinated anchovies, seafood pasta condiments, tuna salamis, and much more!
In Trapani you must visit the old town. It is recommended to go around the town on foot and make some stops to see museums and churches. The local fish market is fantastic to see and obviously to taste the local fish. In Palermo, you can dazzle away in the sun and clouds that paint endless shades, from turquoise to emerald green. Colors that remain etched in the memory. You should not miss a visit to the Palatine Chapel, just to find out how rich it was, or seeing an opera at the Massimo Theater. Or you might be more up to the Puppet theater, which is the first Italian Heritage that UNESCO, in 2008, has included in the list of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Volcano Island is a small island in the north of Sicily and is perfect for hiking and trekking, where you can enjoy the beaches and the villages, and go for a mud bath for just 3 euro.
Sicily is just amazing, and I could write about it all day. I didn’t mention the regional cuisine enough…you have to taste their typical food, the local wine…. Specially made with the grapes from the Etna area, or the olive oil from the Ragusa area… to complete your experience on the island!