Saturday 21 July 2018

Why you need to visit Italy this summer

Whether you are looking for sun, sea, culture or cuisine on your summer break, Italy really does offer it all.

With the glistening Mediterranean Sea to the south, the pristine Alps to the north and rustic countryside in between, Italy’s geography offers as much as its art, architecture and gastronomy. We’ve charted the highlights of north, south and inland Italy to help you plan the ultimate summer getaway.

Rural delights

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Le Marche

If you’re looking for a break with a difference, look beyond perennial favourites like Rome or Venice and discover another of Italy’s picturesque regions, slightly off the beaten track.

For a taste of ‘Real Italy’, head for Le Marche, an area of outstanding natural beauty. You won’t find hordes of tourists here, but instead Renaissance art, awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes and stunning beaches. Nestled along the Adriatic coast, Le Marche is made up of small villages and hill towns dotted up and down its length, each offering something unique. Think authentic sausage stew in San Leo, unbelievable architecture in the walled city of Urbino and untouched stretches of white sand in Pesaro.

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Tuscany

Located in the heel of Italy’s famous ‘boot’ is the region of Puglia, another gem in Italy’s countryside crown. The conical whitewashed ‘Trulli’ which dot the landscape around Alberobello are a delight to see, while foodies will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the local cuisine. Puglia is famed for the herby olive oil it produces, its tiny ‘orecchiette’ pasta and creamy burrata cheese.

For rustic charm, you can’t beat Tuscany. Regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci have called Tuscany home throughout the centuries. Old world meets new when it comes to taking in Tuscany’s expansive art scene; think Renaissance masterpieces and conceptual street art jostling for attention in the region’s galleries, museums and streets.

Go lakeside

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Lake Garda
 

Sure, beaches are beautiful, but if you are looking for a waterside escape with a difference then the Italian Lake District is a must-visit.

Located in Italy’s north, Lake Garda is surrounded by luscious green hills to the south and majestic mountains to the north. Lose yourself in bustling towns like Riva del Garda, with its waterfront promenade offering sweeping views over the Lake.

The lesser well-known Lake Maggiore is a haven of alpine landscapes embellished with lush gardens and sheltered villages, overlooking the shimmering blue waters.

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Lake Como

Lake Como is perhaps the best known of the three, thanks to its spectacular landscape, popular resorts and towns and huge range of lakeside activities like sailing and boat tours. With a thriving dining scene, there are plenty of authentic trattorias as well as contemporary dining spots where you can sit back with a glass of Lombardy wine for a spot of people watching.

Head south for the sea

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Sicily

The remote Italian island of Sicily is a little slice of paradise at the southern-most tip of Italy. With endless stretches of ocean on all sides, this really is a coastal escape. Combine that with its colourful history, amazing architecture, ancient archaeological sites and, of course, sublime Sicilian food and you may not want to ever leave.

Sicily has a tumultuous history and its links to Spanish, Germanic and Islamic cultures, to name but a few, have resulted in the rich cultural tapestry that is modern day Sicily. There are traces of its former empires, including Greek and Roman, to be discovered, as well as the imposing natural wonder that is Mount Etna, Europe’s highest volcano.

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Taormina Sicily

Palermo is Sicily’s multicultural capital and a hub of art, gastronomy, architecture and commerce in the middle of the Med. Thanks to the multitude of ethnicities and cultures that have arrived on Sicilian shores through the centuries, today you’ll find of one Europe’s most diverse, and delicious, street food scenes in Palermo. Head to this bustling city and discover one of its sprawling markets where you can pick up locally grown produce and traditional delicacies like delicious crispy chickpea fritters, panelle, or stigghiole, succulent meat skewers, perfect for eating as you wander through the cavernous streets, looking for your next foodie pitstop.

Ready to go?

With over 20 years’ experience, Travel Department has become a specialist for Italian holidays, offering a range of guided tours to regions such as The Italian Lake District, Rome, Tuscany, Sorrento and many more. Our holidays include return flights, hotel accommodation, guided transfers and excursions. Your experienced local guide will also be available to assist you throughout the tour with recommendations for what to see and do in your leisure time. Click here to see the full range of Italian destinations and get packing.

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