Italy has enough diversions and discoveries to make everyone tick, whether you’re travelling with family, friends or going solo. It’s time to give your senses the feast they deserve.
So, what’s your passion?
Who doesn’t love a good cheese paired with a divine wine? There’ll be plenty of both to taste, beginning in the foodie’s paradise of Bologna, where fertile lands have produced some of Italy’s greatest dishes and brought world-class prestige to the region. You can sample a belt-loosening cornucopia of fantastic cheeses, try Modena’s renowned balsamic vinegar and prosciutto, say ‘saluti’ at a famous wine cellar in Franciacorta, then head west to the Langhe Region, to hunt down one of the planet’s most prized delicacies – the truffle.
Any student of art history knows that Florence is the birthplace of Renaissance art. Where better, then, to brush up on your knowledge of the greats in the place where it all began and tick off famous masterpieces from Titian to da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo. Nothing compares to the ‘pinch-me’ moment of viewing them up close with your own eyes, in awe-inspiring galleries crammed with almost unimaginable treasures.
If Florence is a birthplace of art, then Rome can lay claim to being one of the origins of early Western civilisation, where democracy was born alongside advances in engineering and science. Learn about the workings of Imperial Rome while exploring its ruins, then delve into the history of Catholicism on a tour of The Vatican. One of Italy’s most spine-chilling sites is the ruins of Pompeii, where an entire city was engulfed by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius and the poignant remains of its citizens and animals lie forever frozen in time.
Music is an integral part of the Italian psyche, from folk to classical and opera, and the Sorrento Musical combines all three in a thrilling extravaganza of music and dance, telling timeless stories in the songs of the Neapolitan tradition. Catch a performance of this must-see show at Naples’ historic Teatro Tasso, a beautifully converted former convent.
You mustn’t go to Italy without dropping into some of the many jewels dotted along its coastline. From The Amalfi to the Cinque Terre, Italy’s coastal regions add a sprinkling of glamour to any trip with their dramatic cliffs, colourful villages and glittering seas which have provided the backdrop to many a Hollywood movie. Sorrento is a highlight, as is a trip to the upscale island of Capri, with its designer outlets and yacht-filled marinas. The inland coast of Lake Como is just as spectacular, dotted with little beaches and vast mansions, where the pastime of people-watching turns into a game of star-spotting.