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Italy Travel Guide

 🗝️ Key Facts

🏛️Capital: Rome

💶Currency: Euro €

🕙Time Zone: +1 GMT

📞Phone Code: +39

🌐Language: Italian

✈️Best time to visit: March to October

🍴Eat: Italian Ice cream, Pizza and pasta!

🍷Drink: Limoncello / Disaronno Liqueur

🗺️Don't miss: The Rome Colosseum

🗺 Menu of Contents: 

🤝 Welcome to Italy!
The Roman empire was at its peak in 117 AD, incredibly, a lot of ruins still remain for us all to admire them when we travel to Italy!

Italy, the historical centre of the Roman Empire, boasts some of the most magnificent cultural sights and attractions than you could ever hope to see in a single visit. In fact, Italy claim to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites (54 in total) than any other country in the world! 

From the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Coliseum, to the intricate Gothic architecture of Piazza del Duomo in Florence, to the almost obscene wealth of artwork housed in the galleries of Tuscany, a holiday in Italy is nothing short of spectacular.

Of course, Italy's culture does not only belong in the past - the country remains on the cutting-edge of fashion and gastronomy.  Shopaholics will feel as though they've found paradise, browsing the boutique stores of Milan's Fashion Quadrilatero; while gastronomes should prepare themselves for a holiday punctuated by unforgettable meals. 

The world-famous Italian cuisine is, naturally, even more delicious when prepared in its homeland. Visitors to Italy can look forward to trying interesting regional variations of their favourite pizza and pasta dishes.

Whether enjoying a cultural holiday in Venice, Milan or Rome, or relaxing on the staggering coastline, and exploring the incredible scenery and vineyards, Italy will be an experience visitors won't soon forget!

🛬 Getting there and transportation 

Located in Southern Europe, Italy is a very convenient destination to travel to from everywhere in the world, thanks to important air links from Europe, USA, South America, Asia and more recently the Middle East.

The national airline of Italy is Alitalia, which has undergone a big transformation thanks to the investment of partner airline Etihad Airways. Alitalia offers a traditional full service with frequent flights to Italy's main cities and good connections at Rome and Milan. As well if you are flying from out of Europe, Alitalia offers the best alternative to arrive direct to Rome from the USA, South America and Asia. Other national airlines also offer direct services to Italy via their respective hubs.

Travelling to Italy from Europe has become very cheap thanks to the revolution in low cost airlines, airlines such as 
Ryanair and Easyjet have an important presence at many Italian airports. You can now travel from Europe to much smaller Italian cities without the need to pay for ground transportation or expensive connections via Rome or Milan. When travelling from Europe you can enjoy direct services to many of Italy's renowned cities (Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence, Venice, Palermo, Bologna, Naples and Bari).

Once in Italy, travelling around is very practical via many transport options, South to North and vice-versa can take up to over 1 hour by plane, so it's worth checking flights if your time in Italy is limited. Ground transportation is affordable and convenient. Italy has well developed highways and a good infrastructure when travelling across the countryside. Trains are also popular when travelling between main cities, however smaller towns have limited train services and rely more on busses.

⛅️ Climate and Temperature  🌡️

Italy's weather can change substantially depending where you are in the country, as the country is spread in various longitudes. Most importantly, the best months for travelling in Italy are from April to June and September to October when temperatures are usually comfortable, rural colours are richer, and the crowds aren't too intense. For the best temperatures around Italy, travel Spring or Autumn for a comfortable 15-25 °C.

The high season, from July to early September, you will find it expensive, very crowded, long queues to get into popular landmarks and a scorching heat which is only pleasant to be near the coastline. Summer's can reach easily to 40 °C in the interior of Italy (Rome for example) whilst by the coast it can be close to 32 °C. 

The climate is Mediterranean, which means it's dry most of the time with light winds by the coast. On the other side, Winter's are fresh but only really cold the further North you travel. Cities like Milan, Venice or Turin might not be pleasant to visit during the Winter but the south is popular year round. Winter's in the north can easily fall below freezing and it's no surprise to spot snow as the proximity to the Alps makes it ideal for those seeking winter sports.

🍴 Food and Drink  🍹

When thinking of Italy you can't help to note the typical food which has made the country so famous, probably as much or more than it's landmarks! Italian food is renowned worldwide. It's one of the most sought after cuisines, whenever you feel like a meal, an Italian restaurant option always comes to mind! The rich ingredients used together with spices, seasoning and oils make the Mediterranean cuisine not only tasty, but also it's considered one of the healthiest diets in the world by the quality of it's products. The good weather factors and careful consideration for ripeness, texture and flavours are the secret to the Italian recipes.

Cooking concentrates mainly on vegetables and oils, like Olive Oil, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Cucumber etc but also meats and fish are widely used (salami, ham, pepperoni etc). Each region specialises in certain dishes and can find many variations of the most renowned dishes like pizza, , pasta dishes, cannelloni, lasagna etc when travelling from North to South.

Besides the more typical dishes mentioned, there are some regional specialities which we can highlight: Gnocchi alla Romana, known in English as Roman gnocchi, these dumplings are made from a rich semolina dough. Bagna càuda, a hot dipping sauce from the Piedmont region, made with anchovies, garlic, olive oil, butter and occasionally, cream too. Pesto, a classic Italian sauce combining basil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. Parmigiano-reggiano, also known as Parmesan cheese, this hard cow’s milk cheese is often shaved over dishes. Ossobuco, a Milanese dish made with veal shanks cooked in a rich tomato and wine broth. Ragù, a thick, slow-cooked meat sauce from Bologna served in lasagne, with tagliatelle or other types of pasta. Porchetta, a succulent pork roast infused with herbs, garlic and fennel, and encased in a crackling skin. Panettone, a Italian Christmas cake with sultanas and candied fruit. Ice cream, discover the birth place of ice cream in Italy and taste the many natural flavours and combinations which can be found in the dedicated shops selling ice cream along every city. 

As for drinks, Italians love their coffee. You will find many cafes and bars offering well made coffee, anytime is good to sit down and enjoy a cup of the dark aromatic flavours so characterised by Italians. Limoncello, a lemon-flavoured liqueur from Southern Italy, drank cold as a digestif. Campari, a ruby-red coloured aperitif with a bittersweet flavour.  Disaronno Originale, is an amaretto-tasting liqueur with a characteristic almond taste. Its maker, Disaronno, maintains its original "secret formula" is unchanged since 1525.

Wines are also very popular and are drunk in combination with meals or evening drinks. Celebrated Roman wines include frascati, pinot bianco and pinot grigio (whites); barolo, valpolicella, cabernet and pinot bero (reds).

Orecchiette Pasta
Conchiglie Pasta
Fresh oranges and other fruit are locally grown.
📝 Author's Comment  

When travelling to Italy you can't avoid getting immersed with the local cuisine, world famous for it's pizzas and pastas amongst many more specialities which are always on hand to try through every street in Italy! But not only food comes to your head when going to Italy. There's one of the oldest civilisation remains in Rome from the Romans. Legendary historical sites which have been preserved extraordinary well, and now are available for thousands of visitors to see daily. They are really marvellous and you can't avoid to think and imagine how did people live in those days. It's most impressive remains and buildings are to be seen in Rome, it's capital, the cultural centre of Italy which is a must start to any new visitor. However there are many more cities in Italy which are worth seeing for their historical value and famous landmarks. (Milan, Naples, Venice, Turin, Bologna..etc). 

If you like your food, are a fashion-victim and enjoy hot weather then Italy will blow you away! The country is also a heaven for shopping and naturally it's weather is a big factor to why it's so popular for tourists coming to unwind and relax by its many resorts and beaches around the more southern part of the country. There is a lot of Italy to discover, so you will need to plan a few trips in order to take everything in! On a personal note, it definitely left me with an appetite for more tourism and see other of the countries famous cities, monuments and attractions! 

(visited 2 times)

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