Italy: Introduction

Way more than just good spaghetti bolognese.

Italy Introduction Italy Introduction

For a country with such a long and colourful history, it’s no surprise that Italy is packed full of great places to visit. The cities are fast, chaotic and modern, whereas life in the idyllic, sun-baked countryside moves at a much slower pace. You could never hope to see a tenth of the incredible visitor attractions on a weekend break to Florence, Rome or Venice, but these are some of the most popular destinations for short holidays and city breaks in Europe. Because of this, it’s also very easy to find last-minute deals on hotels, restaurants and car hire in Italy.

History buffs will be in heaven at places like the Colosseum in Rome, still standing after 2000 years, or wandering around the tragically beautiful ruins of Pompeii. But to experience the real spirit of Italy, you have to venture out into the countryside. Car hire in Italy is as easy as anywhere in Europe; however, driving here can be intimidating, so it’s not recommended for those lacking confidence. A far better way to get around is by train; public transport in Italy is extensive and relatively cheap. If there’s one thing Italians are famous for more than anything, it’s probably the local cuisine – but you really haven’t tasted great pizza, or beautifully-prepared fresh pasta until you’ve had the real thing. It’s also pretty easy to find cheap restaurants in Italy.

The country is also fames for its love of fine fashion. Milan is one of the world’s great fashion capitals – with a hefty price tag to match at the designer stores – but you can find great shopping bargains in Italy during sale seasons. (Don’t forget to claim back the sales tax, if you live outside the EU – it can save you a further 20%). But if it’s sheer romance you’re after, look no further than the winding canals and sweeping architecture of Venice – one of the best destinations for a romantic city break in Europe.