Littered with more than 3,000 years of history, Italy is a sightseer's paradise. Spend some time in Rome taking in famous sites like the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon. With artworks on display from the likes of Da Vinci, Caravaggio and Botticelli, it's a visual buffet for all visitors.
Head north to explore the canals of Venice by gondola, or indulge in the wonderful shopping in the fashion capital of Milan. A little further south is the magical city of Florence, teeming with culture and Italian flair. Continue south past Rome to Naples and explore the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, destroyed by Mount Vesuvius, which can be seen standing sentinel over the city. Italy takes a lifetime to explore properly because there is so much on offer for visitors. From the gondola-lined canals of Venice to the white sandy beaches of San Remo, to the Alps, Dolomites and Apennines, Italy has everything from beach holidays to luxury mountain ski resorts and a whole lot more in between.
The most popular time of year to visit Italy is during the summer months when most of the country can be enjoyed like a fine Italian wine - slowly. A trip to the rolling hills of Tuscany is in order to sample some fine wine and olive oil, as well as plenty of old style Italian cuisine, while taking in the scenery of cypress trees, lush vines and olive groves. The more adventurous travellers can head to the Italian Alps and visit the resorts of Courmayer and Brevil Cervinia for some world-class skiing.
Capitoline Hill was the original capital of Ancient Rome and continues to serve as the seat of the city's government. It is the smallest, but also the most famous, of the Seven Hills of Rome, and once housed the Senate. The main feature... see full details
Known to be one of the most impressive buildings of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum was the largest structure of its era. Emperor Vespasian, founder of the Flavian Dynasty, started construction of the Colosseum in 72 AD and it was completed in 80... see full details
The stately Pantheon is one of the world's most inspiring architectural designs; almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. Built as a temple to the Roman gods by Hadrian in 120 AD,... see full details
Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)
The tiny Piazza di Trevi has been immortalised through this fountain, built for Pope Clement XII. Arguably the most famous and most beautiful fountain in all of Rome, and the largest Baroque fountain in the city, the statues adorning this watery display represent Abundance,... see full details
St Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)
The Basilica lies above the reputed site of St. Peter's tomb. It has an overwhelming interior, containing notable sculptures including Michelangelo's Pieta, which is protected by bullet-proof glass since the damaging attack on it in 1972. In the central aisle stands Arnolfo da Cambio's... see full details
Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel
The Vatican City is a remarkable entity in that it is an independent state administered by the Roman Catholic Church, and one of the world's richest countries. The population of this enclave doubles during the working week as residents from Rome cross into the... see full details
The Uffizi (Gallerie degli Uffizi)
The Uffizi is one of the world's greatest art galleries, with a collection of Renaissance paintings that includes the works of Giotto, Masaccio, Paolo Ucello, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian and Caravaggio. The collection is housed on the top floor of a... see full details
Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square)
Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo or Cathedral of Florence, is set in the heart of the city and perches above the metropolis like an emperor before his subjects. Its most distinctive feature is the enormous dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and built... see full details
A circular route from Siena through the Chianti hills provides visitors to Tuscany with a wonderfully scenic and sensory travel experience. The route covers the villages of the Chianti Classico wine region, garnished with ancient castles and rambling farmhouses. The vineyards and wooded hills... see full details
In the year 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman city of Pompeii in volcanic lava and ash. The most evocative testimony to its victims is the 'frozen people', plaster casts of the victims whose anguished contortions and facial expressions reveal the horror... see full details
The Grand Canal (Canalazzo)
Venice's main waterway splits the city in half, with sestieri in equal parts to the west and east of it. It is the hub around which much activity in Venice is concentrated and is encircled with the elegant facades of the palazzi, which testify... see full details
St Mark's Square
St Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) has always been the nucleus of Venice. The city's first citadel and church were erected on its stony foundations: the Palazzo Ducale and the Basilica di San Marco, respectively. The Basilica di San Marco is a unique juxtaposition... see full details
Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)
The looming Duomo, one of the world's largest Gothic cathedrals, presides over the Milanese Piazza that bears its name. Its construction began in 1386 and continued sporadically until Napoleon ordered its completion in 1809. Its lengthy creation bestowed on it 3,400 statues, 135 spires... see full details
Nestled in a sheltered inlet within the stretch of the Italian Mediterranean is the coastal fishing village of Portofino which is famous for its picturesque harbour and has become an upmarket resort. It has long been the playground for the rich and famous, attracting... see full details
Strung along just over 11 miles (18km) of rugged cliffs between Levanto and La Spezia, the UNESCO-listed Cinque Terre is one of Italy's greatest treasures. Cinque Terre means 'Five Lands'. These are the five related fishing villages that nestle precariously on the cliffs, overlooking... see full details
The town of Amalfi sits elegantly against a backdrop of steep cliffs and thickets of lemon trees. Terraced buildings climb down to the shoreline, their pastel hues enhancing the fairytale allure of this Italian seaside retreat.
A centre of rich historical significance, Amalfi was... see full details
An underwater city and a landscape of petrified black lava are the characteristics of the unusual little island of Ustica in the Tyrrhenian Sea, just a short ferry ride of 36 miles (57km) from Palermo. The ancient volcanic island was once inhabited by... see full details
Sicily's greatest natural attraction is the (very) active volcano, Mount Etna, which has been spewing lava and shaking the earth for centuries, most recently in 2008, while ash eruptions occur almost continuously. About 20 miles (32km) from Catania, the craters below the summit can... see full details
Despite the invasion of tourists over the summer months, Positano retains the authentic character that enamoured artists and writers, including Picasso, Escher, and Steinbeck. Pastel-coloured houses and bougainvillea-draped hotels are connected by steep roads and steps to a boat-filled harbour below. In the town... see full details
Surely one of Italy's most iconic images is that of gondolas being oared through the narrow canals of Venice by stripe-shirted, serenading gondoliers. These flat-bottomed boats are unique to the canals and waterways of Venice, and taking a ride in one is considered by... see full details