Italy, the best of both worlds © PhotoLab XL
Italy dips down out of Europe and into the Mediterranean like a lady's leg firmly planted in a sleek stiletto, so it's hardly surprising that Italians are known for their impeccable style and fashionable dress sense. Italy once had an empire that stretched across the globe. Today, it is home to the most spectacular churches, frescoes, sculptures, and Renaissance paintings in all of Europe.
More than 3,000 years of history are spread across landscapes ranging from quiet, pastoral hillside olive farms and seaside fishing villages, to the Armani-wearing, scooter-driving, espresso-drinking buzz of the big cities. Italy is also home to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country on earth, with an incredible 54 sites of global historical significance dotted around the country.
Italy's cities reveal awe-inspiring architecture from the curved arches of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence to the crumbling magnificence of the Colosseum in Rome. Home of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Botticelli, its artworks are a visual feast.
Nestled into the outskirts of Rome is the independent Vatican City, seat of the Pope and home to the famous St Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel. The influence of the Holy Catholic Church on the people of Italy is still evident today, with holy festivals, carnivals, and parades in almost every city, town and village.
From the twisting canals of Venice, to the beaches of the Riviera, and the rocky crags of the Alps, Dolomites and Apennines, Italy offers unique experiences to every kind of tourist.