10 Good Reasons to Visit Italy!

Visit Italy in 2016

There are many good reasons to visit Italy. Experience extraordinary architecture, remarkable works of art, fascinating history, as well as delicious cuisine and glorious natural beauty. Italy also has the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world, and is top of the list for world-class tourist attractions.

1.Rome

Monuments in Rome

neufal54 / Pixabay

Rome is bursting with historical monuments, ruins and artifacts. These include the world famous Colosseum, Roman Forum and Trevi Fountain.
Explore the Vatican city and see the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo and the incredible St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

2. Venice

Visit Italy Venice canal

Unsplash / Pixabay

If you visit Italy and bypass Rome, then you must not miss Venice. World famous for its 117 small islands which are separated by sleepy canals and linked by exquisite bridges. Add to that the gondolas and beautiful architecture, including Saint Mark’s Basilica. You can create memories that will last forever.

 

 3. Florence

Bridge in Florence

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The Renaissance City of Florence is extraordinary in its beauty. View the magnificent Baptistery, Michelangelo’s David and visit Piazza della Signoria, with its stunning statues and palazzi. Stroll along the Ponte Vecchio, a Medieval stone bridge in Florence, best known for the many shops built along it.

 

4. Pisa

Pisa Square of Miracles

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Pisa is a city best known for its iconic Leaning Tower. The Leaning tower of Pisa is a freestanding bell tower which stands next to the cathedral of Pisa, and started tilting during its construction in the 12th-century.

 

5. Siena

Siena

Samueles / Pixabay

Discover Siena, a picturesque medieval town in the heart of Tuscany, famous for its medieval brick buildings. Admire the wonderful architecture on Piazza del Campo, including the the Gothic palace, Palazzo Pubblico,  and its tower, Torre del Mangia.

 

6. Bologna

Bologna

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Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy, and is famous for its medieval towers. It is also known for its food and where tortellini, mortadella, tagliatelle and ragù originated from.

 

7. Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

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The Cinque Terre is a district where five centuries-old seaside villages are set along the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. See the enchanting colourful houses and ancient vineyards clinging to the terraces, soak up the amazing views, and experience the sheer beauty of the place.

 

8. Italian Lakes

Italian Lake

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Witness breathtaking views and serene surroundings when you visit the Italian Lakes region. From Lake Lugano to Lake Garda and the Dolomite Mountains, bask in the peaceful beauty of it all. Take a trip to Bellagio in the Province of Como, commonly known as ‘the pearl of Lake Como’, and be enchanted by this heavenly place.

 

 9. Naples

Bay of Naples

iviaggidigrace / Pixabay

The cosmopolitan city of Naples is Italy’s third-largest city and boasts a vast assortment of  archaeological treasures. This wonderful place is bursting with many historic palaces, monuments and statues, and the view as the sun sets on the Bay of Naples is outstanding.

 

10. Pompeii

Ruins at Pompeii

PhilP61 / Pixabay

Visit the excavations at Pompeii and prepare to be astonished by this haunting experience. Buried for centuries beneath volcanic ash after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, this  archaeological site lies preserved for all time. The ruins of Pompeii are simply extraordinary, providing a fascinating insight into ancient Roman life.

 

Vineyard

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Quite simply, immerse yourself in the Italian culture and let your heart be captured by this wonderful country.

You can plan to visit Italy with Global Coach Tours

Touring Tuscany!

TUSCANY

 

 

Tuscany is a region in central Italy with spectacular medieval hill towns and wonderful scenery. It is also one of Italy’s top holiday destinations.

Tuscany attracts tourists in their thousands because there are so many amazing places to see in its 8,900 square miles, most notably Florence, the regional capital.

With its historic cities, Renaissance art, hill towns, beaches, and beautiful countryside, there’s little wonder that Tuscany is so popular with tourists from around the world.

 

Florence

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Florence can be found in the heart of Tuscany, and is often regarded as the “pearl of the Renaissance”.

This culturally rich and beautiful city is full of delightful Renaissance architecture and some excellent museums.

Take a guided tour of Florence’s Cathedral, with its famous dome. Visit the Uffizi art gallery, home to the works of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Rembrandt and Van Dyck.

 

Pisa

JimboChan / Pixabay

 

To the north of Tuscany, you will find Pisa which is famous for its extraordinary leaning tower.

This famous leaning tower has tilted since it was built over six hundred years ago and still remains one of the most popular tourists attractions around the world today.

Join a guided tour and take a selfie which looks like you are leaning on the tower itself.

 

 

San Gimignano

KarinKarin / Pixabay

 

San Gimignan is a beautiful city southwest of Florence and is well known for its amazing Towers.

This medieval walled hill town has 14 surviving medieval towers which create an outstanding view from the surrounding countryside.

You can also see medieval houses and fountains as you take a guided tour through this enchanting market town.

 

 

Montepulciano

 

Montepulciano is another walled city in Tuscany which is built on a sloping and narrow limestone ridge.

Montepulciano also has an impressive main square as well as many beautiful Renaissance buildings to wonder at.

You can try some exquisite wines in nearby Montalcino, which has a castle at the edge of the town that has wine tasting.

 

 

Siena

dsantandrea / Pixabay

 

Siena is a wonderfully classic medieval hill town in Tuscany famous for its large fan-shaped piazza, the Piazza del Campo. It is one of the finest medieval cities in the world.

The Piazza del Campo now stands where the Roman forum once stood, and is dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tall bell tower, Torre del Mangia. Climb the 500 steps or more too experience a wonderful view of Siena and its extraordinary surroundings.

There is still more plenty to see on a guided tour, including the Civic Palace, Civic Museum and Siena’s Beautiful Gothic Cathedral.

 

The Chianti wine region

KarinKarin / Pixabay

 

Particularly popular among travellers, the Chianti Classico wine region lies between the larger cities of Florence and Siena. This region is renowned for its picturesque villages,  beautiful countryside and very special wineries.

A delightful drive through the cypress and olive groves will bring you to some beautiful places where you can explore medieval castle, taste local produce and explore many artisan shops and cafes.

Touring the region also provides a chance to visit wine-makers to get an insight into their wine making process. This allows free wine tastings and soaking up the glorious atmosphere – perfect!

5 Things To Do In Florence!

Unsplash / Pixabay

Samueles / Pixabay

The two images above just about sum up my presumptions of Florence.

On the first picture, the gods seem to be dancing on this magnificent city, enjoying recollections of past events. On the second, the sheer architectural beauty cries out to be explored and feast upon.

Florence is the capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region and is famous for its glorious history. This includes being one of the the wealthiest cities of the medieval period and the birthplace of the Renaissance, and is widely regarded as the “the Athens of the Middle Ages”. It was also home to the Medici family, the most powerful family in Florence who ruled the city during the Renaissance era from the 15th to the 18th century.

Classed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, Florence is one of the most visited places in the world, attracting  millions of tourists each year who come via coach tours to see the amazing architecture and monuments, and abundance of museums and art galleries bulging with Renaissance art.

marmax / Pixabay

 

As a tourist, I believe my 5 main attractions would be as follows……….

1. The Duomo

rFonz / Pixabay

The most famous site of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as The Duomo. The actual dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi around 600 years ago and is still classed as the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world.

The exterior is covered in a mixture of pink, white and green marble, while the interior has a striking array of mosaic flooring. The only way to see the inside of the dome up close is to climb its 463 steps to the top, while also admiring Giorgio Vasari‘s frescoes of the Last Judgment (1572-9) on the way up.

 

2. The Tower of Palazzo Vecchio

juliacasado1 / Pixabay

The Palazzo Vecchio is another architectural masterpiece which dominates Florence’s skyline, and literally towers over Florence at 95 metres high.

This majestic Tower is also an art museum, and overlooks the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David statue and the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi.

An interesting fact links to the replica of Michelangelo’s David statue. The original stood at the tower entrance from 1504  but was moved to the Accademia Gallery in 1873, with the replica subsequently being erected in 1910!

 

3. Michelangelo’s David

PatrickSweeney / Pixabay

Michelangelo’s David is a Renaissance marble statue standing at 5.17 metres and was created by the great artist between 1501 and 1504.

The statue represents the Biblical hero David, and was originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roof line of the Florence Cathedral. This never happened, so instead the statue was placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, and later moved to the Accademia Gallery.

Another interesting fact in regards to David is that during World War II, he was entombed in brick to protect him from damage coming from airborne bomb strikes!

 

4. Ponte Vecchio

ahundt / Pixabay

The Ponte Vecchio is a bridge which sits over the Arno River in Florence and is a truly magnificent piece of architecture that also houses an array of shops built along its edges and held up by stilts.

This wonderful bridge is known as the Old bridge and is also unique because of its Vasari Corridor, a covered passageway which runs above the shops.

The current bridge was rebuilt in the 14th century, and interestingly, is the only bridge in the city to have survived World War II intact because the retreating German troops chose to spare it in 1944!

 

5. Florence Baptistery

pixabairis / Pixabay

The Florence Baptistery has the status of a minor basilica and is famous for its Gates of Paradise, magnificent doors found on the east of the building and created by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in the city and has eight equal sides with a rectangular addition on the west, built in the florentine Romanesque style. It is crowned by a magnificent mosaic ceiling and decorated with majestic statues on its exterior.

Did you know that the “Gates of Paradise” situated in the Baptistery today are a copy of the originals? After five hundred years of exposure, it was decided that the panels were to be removed and preserved for future prosperity in a more protective environment in the  Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the museum of the Duomo’s art and sculpture.

5 outstanding places to visit in Italy!

 

1. Rome.

RC

 

Of course you can’t go to Italy without seeing Rome! From the amazing sight of the Colosseum to the breathtaking Vatican City, Rome has it all. Feast your eyes on the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and the Roman Forum and be taken aback by the Trevi Fountain in all its glory!

2. Florence.

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Florence is best known as the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’ and a must see for anyone who appreciates fine art and architecture. The Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio and Santa Croce Basilica are just some sights to see. The street sculptures are also amazing, and talking about great sculptures, don’t forget to visit the  Galleria dell’Accademia and see Michelangelo’s masterpiece sculpture ‘David’!

3.Pisa.

Pizza, italy

Pizza, italy

 

 

Oh, the joy of Pisa – everyone has to witness the great Leaning Tower of Pisa at least once in their life! It is probably the most famous bell tower in the world and it’s not hard to see why. The tower’s famous tilt began during construction, thought to be because of an inadequate foundation on too soft ground. The tilt gradually increased until the tower was stabilized in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The majestic cathedral is also as beautiful as much as the Tower is unusual!

4. venice

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Venice Festival!

 

The unique city of Venice should be on everyone’s wish list as it is definitely one of the most enchanting cities to behold, and is an absolute must for any romantic trip. Enjoy a gondola ride on the picture perfect canals, drink wine and eat delicious food in one of the many quaint little cafes or admire venetian masks that adorn the windows of the local gift shops.

5. Pompeii

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Visit Pompeii for a truly unforgettable experience! Explore the ancient ruins of this roman town which fell victim to Mt Vesuvius and be taken aback by what you see!

Where to find UNESCO Heritage Sites in Italy!

 

Ahhh Italy – one of the first great influences of Western culture, and of course, land of the Romans and birthplace of the Roman Empire.

Hardly surprising then that it is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. High art and monuments are to be found scattered everywhere around this magnificent boot shaped country!

 For starters, the Piazza del Duomo is located in the heart of Florence and can boast as being one of the most visited places in Europe and the world!


Next, we have the most famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, well known worldwide for its unintended tilt to one side. This amazing construction measures 55.86 metres  from the ground on the low side and 56.67 metres on the high side. It has been steadily moving ever since it was constructed in 1173 and had an incline of 5.5 degrees until some restoration work was performed between 1990 and 2001. The tower now leans at an  angle of about 3.99 degrees – amazing!

Another Italian UNESCO Heritage Site is the ancient Roman City of Pompeii. It was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 – 6 metres of ash when mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD but has been excavated and open as a tourist attraction for the last 250 years!

Obviously, this is just a fraction of the sites to see, but these and many more can be visited by going on tours that visit these fascinating places. You can find tours that last for as little as 2 hours, 10 days or some  that cover a whopping 29 days!

Of course, there are also some fabulous tours that can take you to places such as the glorious city of Venice and the beautiful Italian Lakes as well as all the other wonderful locations.

For a more opulent tour of Italy, try some first class hospitality and embark on a ‘Country Roads of Italy’ tour. This 15 day tour will combine your love of travel with a passion for wine! Italy’s cultural cities of Rome, Florence and Venice are perfectly complemented by rustic villas in the wine-growing areas. Add an expert wine adviser and someone to drive, it sounds like heaven and makes perfect sense to me!

Top 10 world destinations to add to your bucket list!

1. PARIS, FRANCE

Paris, the perfect romantic destination, visit the great galleries, take side trips, stroll by the Seine, window-shop in the Faubourg St-Honoré or just enjoy a pleasant hour or two watching the passers-by from a Parisian café – glorious!

2. NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

Journey through  the amazing city of New York  and see the towering Empire State Building and expansive Central Park. Enjoy stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline – so many ‘WOW’ factors!

3. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

Experience  London – one of the world’s greatest cities! See all the sights including Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace – tradition at its best!

4. ROME, ITALY

Explore Rome,  one of the world’s most historic cities, filled with classical antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and baroque churches – absolutely fascinating!

5. BARCELONA, SPAIN

 

 Barcelona is Spain’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan city! See Gaudi’s architecture at the inspiring Sagrada Familia. Walk the Ramblas and visit Plaça Catalunya – enchanting as well as dynamic!

6. VENICE, ITALY

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Savour the unique sights of Venice including its heart, St. Mark’s Square. Marvel at the Bridge of Sighs, the magnificent Doge’s Palace and the Byzantine basilica adorned with glass mosaics . If feeling adventurous, go visit during the Venice Carnival from February to March!

 

7. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

 Discover the iconic sights of San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge to vibrant Chinatown – a truly vibrant and lively city!

8. FLORENCE, ITALY

Explore the finery of Florence, renowned for its majestic museums, which include the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia. Savour the city’s rich tapestry of medieval and Renaissance history – just wonderful!

 

9. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

 

Explore Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Maticka Praha – ‘little mother Prague’ – was largely undamaged by WWII, and the cityscape is stunning. Its compact medieval centre remains an evocative maze of cobbled lanes, ancient courtyards, dark passages and churches, all overlooked by an 1100 year old castle – stunning!

 

10. SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Land on Sydney around the New Year and see the stunning harbour Bridge as a backrop to the New Years Eve celebration, one of the most spectacular in the world. Each year, the balmy summer celebration centers around the city’s famous harbour with some of the most breathtaking fireworks ever – celebrating at its best!