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Italy has it all: popes, painters, polenta, paramours, poets, political puerility and potentates. Its dreamy light and sumptuous landscapes seem made for romance, and its three millennia of history, culture and cuisine seduces just about everyone.
You can visit Roman ruins, gawk at Renaissance art, stay in tiny medieval hill towns, go skiing in the Alps, explore the canals of Venice and gaze at beautiful churches.
ITALY TOURS & TRAVEL:
ROME Tours, Travel and Activities
Make like the locals in Rome and souse your senses in the pleasures the city has to offer, from the grandiose thrill of feeling centuries of turbulent history under your feet to the small but potent intoxication of eating chestnut gelati on a hot day.
Of all the monuments in Rome, the Colosseum thrills the most. It was here that gladiators met in mortal combat and condemned prisoners fought off hungry lions. This great symbol of eternal Rome still excites the imagination as you'll see from the hordes waiting to get in.
Marcus Agrippa's Pantheon is one of the world's most sublime architectural creations: a perfectly proportioned floating dome resting on an elegant drum of columns and pediments.
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AMALFI Tours, Travel and Activities
Amalfi is a town and commune in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania, Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno, 24 miles southeast of Naples. It lies at the mouth of a deep ravine, at the foot of Monte Cerreto (1,315 meters, 4,314 feet), surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery.
The town of Amalfi was the capital of The Maritime Republic of Amalfi, an important trading power in the Mediterranean between 839 and around 1200.
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BOLOGNA Tours, Travel and Activities
Bologna offers a chance to rest and savor before joining the masses of tourists in Florence and Venice. Surrounded by hills, the city's center is still much as it was during the Renaissance: dusky red-colored buildings, wide piazzas and arched porticoes with floors laid with marble.
If you're a racing or car enthusiast, head to the stomping grounds of some of the most famous Italian sports cars - Ferrari, Maserati, Minardi, Ducati and Lamborghini.
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FLORENCE Tours, Travel and Activities
The cultural and historical impact of Florence is overwhelming. Cradle of the Renaissance and home of Machiavelli, Michelangelo and the Medici, the city seems unfairly over-blessed with art, culture and history.
Its striking buildings, formidable galleries and treasure-crammed churches attest to the Florentine love of display. Even long after it had set on the political and economic horizon, Florence upheld its elegant appearance: its skyline, all russet rooftops and lofty domes, is indeed picturesque.
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MILAN Tours, Travel and Activities
Milan is the country's economic engine room, home to Italy's stock market and business centres. This stylish city is also the world's design capital and rivals Paris as a leading fashion centre.
Milan is all about worldly pleasures. Shopping is of almost religious significance. Theatre and cinema flourish in this fashionable milieu, as does a hopping club scene and a slew of tempting restaurants.
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NAPLES Tours, Travel and Activities
Naples (Napoli if you live here) is raucous, polluted, anarchic, deafening, crumbling and grubby. It's also a lot of fun. Superbly positioned on a bay, Naples has a little - and often a lot - of everything. It pulsates with noisy street markets and their colorful characters.
Situated on the shin of Italy, Naples has a fair expanse of Mediterranean in front of it, bringing those hot dry summers and cool sea breezes straight to Naples' door.
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PISA Tours, Travel and Activities
Once, if briefly, a maritime power to rival Genoa and Venice, Pisa now draws its fame from an architectural project gone terribly wrong: its Leaning Tower. But the city offers quite a deal more.
Indeed, the tower is only one element of the trio of Romanesque beauties around the green carpet of the Campo dei Miracoli - along with Piazza San Marco in Venice, one of Italy's most memorable sights.
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SORRENTO Tours, Travel and Activities
Sorrento is a small city in Campania, Italy, with some 16,500 inhabitants. It is a popular tourist destination. The town can be reached easily from Naples and Pompeii, as it lies at the south-eastern end of the Circumvesuviana rail line. The town overlooks the bay of Naples, as the key place of the Sorrentine Peninsula, and many viewpoints in the city allow sight of Naples itself (visible across the bay) and Vesuvius.
The Amalfi drive (connecting Sorrento and Amalfi) is the narrow road that threads around the high cliffs above the Mediterranean. Ferry boats and hydrofoils provide services to Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capri and Ischia. Sorrento's sea cliffs are impressive and its luxury hotels have attracted famous personalities including Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti.
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TURIN Tours, Travel and Activities
Turin, a large city of about one million inhabitants, is set in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, a one-hour drive from the French border and slightly more than that from the Mediterranean sea. Turin was the first capital of modern Italy, and was the host of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. While it's not a famous cultural city like Florence or Rome, the setting is pleasant, with the Po River flowing through the city, and the Italian Alps off in the distance.
Turin is an important city of technology and industry, and the FIAT automobile company is based here. (The 'T' in the name stands for Torino).
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VENICE Tours, Travel and Activities
Venice , Venezia, La Serenissima, Queen of the Adriatic, city of canals and palaces… or tawdry sewer alive with crowds and charlatans?
For a thousand years the city was one of the most enduring mercantile sea powers on the face of the earth. Today the brilliance and influence have long since faded, leaving a town of tarnished glories, out of time and out of place, so achingly beautiful it's hard not to look for the back of the set.
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