Italy


Venice

Pisa

 

 

 


Greetings from dreamland 

Boundless beaches of the finest sand,  dream-like bays, sheer  cliffs plunging into the sea, rocks carved by  the wind to form sculptures with surprising forms, townships proud to show themselves in all their beauty to those arriving from the sea. The sea is the sound track to a journey through Italy, accompanying all travelers with its intense  landscapes,  its strong scent, its  unexpected  views, and the  brilliant colors  of its waters.  Over seven thousand kilometers of coastline frame this country that extends smoothly into the Mediterranean. The itinerary offers enormous variety, from the step slopes of the Lingurian Sea, to the pleasant beaches of Versilia, the villages clinging to the rocky Amalfi Coast, the rugged countryside of Calabria, and the boundless sands of the Adriatic coastline. Seven thousand kilometers dotted by a succession of welcoming ports, charming cities steeped in history, unspoiled beaches and solitary inlets. Not to mention the dozens of islands, from imposing Sicily and Sardinia to tiny Gorgona, which emerge from the waters to add a touch of magic to Italy’s seas.

CAPRI (12)

Capri

Renowned islands such as Capri, favored by the international jet set, charming spots such as the Aeolian islands, a UNESCO world heritage site, or popular spots such as Elba, chosen by Napoleon as his place of exile. Then there are solitary islands such as Ustica, lying right in the heart of the Tyrrhenian Sea, or Pantelleria, Italy’s southernmost outpost in the Mediterranean. Under the surface of the sea we found the getaway to another enchanted world.

Hotels in Rome
Thanks to the crystal clear water, you can admire the luxuriant sea bed with its multicolored undersea forests and marvellous inhabitants:gigantic groupers, fascinating jellyfish, and shy moray eels. And all surrounded by vast shoals of colorful fish, which satisfy their curiosity by patrolling the countless wrecks resting on the bottom. A source of endless pleasure for divers.

Lake Como

Lake Como

Romance of the Lake

Little worlds in miniature, where people and things have a familiar air. The charm of the lakes lies entirely in their peaceful landscapes, in the reassuring nearness of the shores, in the aristocratic presence of manicured gardens, and in the way these elements dominate the entire landscape. The townships lining the lake shores are small architectural gems: tiny roads, hidden paths, windows that overlook other windows, houses that cling to one another as if viewing for the scant space available. The shores of the three largest lakes boast some splendid architectural aranto, which face each other on the opposite shores of Lake Maggiore. The Scaligera fortress in Sirmione and the medieval stronghold in Riva del Garda are two privileged observation points set at the two extremities of Lake Garda. Then there is the superb Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, from whose immense gardens visitors can enjoy peerless views of the two branches of Lake Como. No less beautiful are the smaller lakes of Iseo and Orta, whose most sumptuous treasures are hidden in the middle of their  waters in the form of two islands that draw all eyes. One, Monte Isola, is the largest and highest island of all of Italy’s lakes. The other, San Giulio, is dominated by the imposing bulk of its great seminary.

Trevi Fountain – more about Rome

Fascinating microcosms, surpassed in beauty only by the Borromeo Islands, the pearls of Lake Maggiore, which boast grandiose aristocratic mansions. While the north Italian lakes are characterized by their elongated shapes and the quasi omnipresence of the Alps, those of Central Italy have completely different landscapes and contours. Once volcanic craters, their waters are very deep> And it is this volcanic origin that explains the characteristic round shape of lakes such as Bolsena, Vico, and Bracciano. Lake trasimeno surpasses them all in size, but its shallow waters (six meters) reveal its different origin. The biggest lakes in southern Italy lie by the shores of the Adriatic: only a slim strip of sand separates lakes Lesina and Varano, home to fish and birds of various species, from the waters of the sea. But to find the greatest number of lakes we have to travel all the way back up the peninsula to the north, to the Alps. In fact the mountains enclose, hidden because of their height, a myriad of small, crystal clear lakes in which the surrounding peaks are reflected in all their majesty.

Positano

Discovering these places can be a demanding enterprise, requiring some relatively long climbs. But the effort is amply repaid by the majestic views of the landscape. Italy is also a country of rivers, which run calmly through most of its cities. Along their banks and at their mouths there lie some authentic hidden natural paradises, which rival the beauty of the magnificent palazzi in the cities that line the courses of the various rivers.

Freedom in Nature

Unspoilt  woodlands where deer, roe-deer, chamois and ibex live in peace. Enchanted lagoons chosen as a refuge by thousand of birds. Protected marine parks where rorqual whales and dolphins swim undisturbed. Inaccessible peaks where the golden eagle wheels in the skies. Unique landscapes that provide a habitat for bears, wolves and mouflons. The environment that man has partly modeled is today safeguarded and protected: Italy has 18 National Parks, 89 Regional Parks, and over 400 reserves, 47 protected wetlands, and seven marine reserves. Places where thousands of plant varieties live, over 600 of them endemic, not to mention a similar number of animal species that take refuge there. Proud mountains where denseforests gradually give way to the rocks and the beauty of the snow fields: from the high peaks of the Gran Paradiso or the Stelvio/Stilferjoch, to the splendour of the Dolomiti/ Dolomiten, to the Apennines of the Majella and the Gran Sasso, to the untamed nature of the Pollino and the rugged slopes of the Sila and the Aspromonte. Gentle hills that in springtime are covered with the myriad colours of wild flowers and in autumn explode into a symphony of hues that only falling leaves can provide, like those of the Foreste Casentinesi or the Apennines of Tuscany and Emilia. Then there are wild, jagged coasts that man has always rendered hospitable, such as the Tuscan archipelago or the Cinque Terre. All places where it is still possible to savour the scents of nature in its unspoilt state and to experience the traditions, activities and ritualsthat people have developed over the centuries in order to live in an environment that was once hostile. Today an extensive network of paths makes exploration easy. And the experience and skills of the guides enable us to learn about plant varieties, animal habits, and the way in which the landscape was formed, as well as the activities that make it possible to keep its charm and beauty intact.

Italian architecture

         Hotels in Milan

          Nature places of Interest

   TRENTINO/ALTO ADIGE –    Idyllic mountains and a   majestic silence in which to enjoy the spectacle of the  great Alpine peaks, magical woods, solitary paths, and the discreet presence of the ,, masters of the house,, like the placid ibex.

SICILY / ETNA – For centuries, the warm welcome of a crystal clear sea and the drowsy power of majestic volcano have been vying for the admiration of visitors to these spellbinding places.

TUSCANY/MAREMMA – Copses of pines and cypresses cast their shade over the hilltop, huge expanses of sunflowers in their perennial search for the warm light, a land imbued with a deep brown: here the landscape is sheer poetry.

Monasteries and Abbeys

Forgotten paradises, where time seems to have stopped. Dream-like corners from which to contemplate the marvels of the world. Oases of silence where you can pause to rediscover peace and serenity. Precious deposits of art treasures, waiting to be revealed to those who get on their trail. Places of the spirit, where you can withdraw into meditation or listen to ancient melodies of ravishing power. Solitary presences that linger in the memory. The discreet presence of Italy’s monasteries and abbeys embellishes the city squares, the hills, and the most evocative corners of the country. Whether set in the cities, immersed in nature, or dominating the landscape from the hilltops, they offer a welcome to those wishing to savor their atmosphere, learn about their history, or to enjoy the beauties left by famous artists or the humble faithful alike.

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St. Marc Square – more about Venice

Travel tips – Sightseeing in Italy

– Churches offer some amazing art (usually free), a cool respite from heat, and a welcome seat. A modest dress code (no bare shoulders or shorts for anyone) is enforced at larger churches, such as Venice’s St. mark’s and Vatican’s St. Peter’s, but is often overlooked elsewhere. Some churches have coin-operated audio boxes that describe the art and history;

– Reservations are highly advisable for some of the more famous museums;

– Hours listed anywhere can vary. On holidays, expect shorter hours or closures. In summer, some sights are open late, allowing easy viewing without crowds. You can confirm sightseeing plans each morning with a quick telephone call asking if they are open on the day of your visit and the time they usually close;

– Some sights jack up their admission prices by charging a few euros extra for a special exhibition, which you have to pay whether you want to see it or not;

– Audio guides  are becoming increasingly common at museums. These small, portable devices give you information in English on what you’re seeing;

– About half the visitors at Italian museums are English speakers. If a museum lacks audio guides and the only  English you encounter explains how to pay, politely ask if there are plans to include English descriptions of the art. Think of it as a service to those who follow;

– WC’s at museums are usually free and clean.

Suggested reading:

Rome

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Comments
  1. […] Rome, Florence, and Venice are authentic open – air museums, as are Ferrara, Naples, Siena, Urbino, Verona and Vicenza. Not to mention smaller marvels such as medieval San Gimignano, renaissance Pienza, and the Baroque cities of Val di Noto. Then there are the ”Sassi” of Matera, ancestral cave dwellings restored to new life, and the quaint, conical houses known as ,,trulli” in Alberobello. Then there are the Sacred Mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy, which bear witness to a popular devotion that still runs deep. Most of the eight thousand communes into which Italy is divided guard some hidden pearl:because Italy is a country with over 25 thousand churches, 20 thousand castles, and 3 thousand museums, a country where for millennia the genius of man has been engaged in an incessant contest to create prodigies capable of rivaling the marvels of nature. […]

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