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

ahundt / Pixabay

 

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

jarekgrafik / Pixabay

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

DEZALB / Pixabay

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

pcdazero / Pixabay

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

joduma / Pixabay

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

alohamalakhov / Pixabay

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

Riviera Italian Lakes and Mountains!

Experience the Italian lakes and mountains like never before on a Riviera ‘Lake Garda, Venice & Verona Tour‘.

Delight in the the sheer value on what’s on offer and take a trip of a like time to see the wonderful places below:

 

Lake Garda

lake-270916_1280

Lake Garda is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is the largest lake in Italy. It’s popularity as a holiday destination first began in the late 19th century when the middle and upper classes visited during the summer to take in the clean mountain air and gentle climate. It is located in northern Italy, between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan.

The outstanding natural beauty of the place is helped by a particularly mild climate that favours the growth of some Mediterranean plants, including olive and citrus trees.

On the south of the lake sits the ancient fortified town of Sirmione, home to the Virgilio & Catullo Spa Complexes and their precious sulphurous water, containing sodium chloride, bromine and iodine, flowing naturally from the depths of the lake. The mineral properties in the water help in the cure of problems of the respiratory system, the treatment of rheumatic complaints and motory rehabilitation, and has made Sirmione one of the most important thermal spas in Europe.

lake-garda-493441_1280

 

 The Dolomites

dolomites-224718_1280

The Dolomites are a stunning mountains range located in northeastern Italy and are a result of geological activity some 230 million years ago, giving them a gorgeous pink and lime-green hue. The foothills are strikingly green pastures dotted with the occasional small shepherd’s house, there are a few sheep and goats here and there and pine forests stretch into the distance. Interestingly, you could believe you were in another country as the houses in the picturesque tiny hamlets resemble Swiss or Austrian style chalets, low and sloping roofs with enormous window boxes crammed with flowers of every imaginable colour. The people are somewhat different too, generally taller than Italians and speaking a dialect of German!

One national park and many other regional parks are located in the Dolomites, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. There are also large amount of rare and unique wildlife in these parks, including chamois, ibex and golden eagles which are a wonderful sight to behold.

dolomites-208685_1280

 

Venice

st-marks-square-470561_1280

Venice is a unique city which seems to have been caught in a time warp. Its prominence in the 10th century grew in wealth and power and reached its peak during the 15th century. It was then that many of the amazing buildings you see today were built. At one pint, Venice was the greatest power in the Mediterranean with an empire encompassing Crete, parts of Turkey and a huge portion of Northern Italy and it soon created a capital to match.

St. Mark’s Basilica was built to house the relics of St. Mark himself, and is one of Europe’s most exotic and opulent cathedrals. The decadent decorations include over 40,000 square feet of detailed mosaics of every colour covering the entire interior and coloured marble columns in gold and red. St. Mark’s Square is also a major focal point of the city where you can enjoy the pavement cafés and shops while absorbing the beauty around you.

But Venice is not just art and monuments, it has to be seen from the water as well. This is where the gondola comes in, beautifully made boats that can provide a lovely and peaceful way to explore the backwaters of the city.

venice-194835_1280

 

 

 Verona

verona-264526_1280

Verona is one of the most beautiful and pleasant cities in Italy and is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy. The beautiful old town has Medieval pink-hued buildings complete with contrasting frescoes underneath archways unchanged for centuries.  Quaint cafés with serenading violinists and tasteful shops, so typical of Italy, are abundant, and reminders of Verona’s artistic heritage are everywhere. The city has also been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and beautiful architecture.

Three of Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, are set in Verona. Romeo and Juliet in particular has inspired countless films, poems and dramas and you can actually see the balcony where the immortal words “O Romeo, Romeo” were reputedly spoken.

verona-489001_1280 (1)

 

 

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!

Boat Trip to Riva del Garda and Malcesine

It was a warm morning in late September 2013 when I set out for Riva del Garda. I waved goodbye to my wife Sue and our dog Coco as we did not possess the required muzzle to bring Coco on board.  So it was a day trip on my own. The fast ferry was covered on the top deck, but not enclosed at the sides. Going out this morning it was a little cold once the ferry got up to cruising speed.

Lake Garda

Setting out for Riva del Garda

We called at three ports on the way including Limone. Riva and Malcesine are both much more commercial than Gorgnano, but have more of a centre you can walk around exploring. They both have old castles to visit. Riva has a tower in the square too. It’s castle is located high above the town so would be an uphill walk away, whereas Malcesine has the castle in the town. You can rent boats and pedallos in Riva. As an option this may be a good time to buy a new custom powerboat for recreation.

Lake Garda
The further north in the lake you go, the more sports you see. Sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, even paragliding off the steep mountains that tower above. In Malcesine you can take a cable car ride up the mountain. The slow ferry is best in fine weather – it has an open top high up and the seats swivel to give you breath taking 360 views!  This is the Riva to Malcesine leg of the journey.

 

I took tour 8 which gives you an easy timetable to follow with approximately 2 hours in each place. It costs 25 euro with a promo card from your hotel. One of the boats incurs a supplement for going faster. You can’t pay the supplement when you buy the ticket. Due to procedure adopted by the ferry company you must pay it later, but before you board! Don’t buy the all lake day ticket unless you are really good with timetables. See the tour plans below.

Coco kept Sue company for the day at our dog friendly hotel, the Villa Sostaga A large  male dog called Lupo had arrived at the hotel and Coco was beside herself! I would recommend this hotel and restaurant for the stunning views and good service.

Enjoy tours of the entire Italian Lakes region with Trafalgar’s Highlights of the Italian Lakes  or Cosmos Magic of the Italian Lakes

 

Garda ferry tours