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Country guide Italy

Italy boasts a long history of artists, scientists and inspirational and visionary figures that changed the world forever. It’s a nation that is home to the greatest amount of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a medley of fascinating landscapes that draw in millions of visitors each year. From the overwhelming history of Rome with the seductive beauty of Venice - the mesmerising cities of Italy beckon infinite attention.

Things to do

With remnants of great antiquity, famed artworks, museums and a kaleidoscope of dramatic landscapes, the attractions found throughout Italy are bottomless.

With remnants of great antiquity, famed artworks, museums and a kaleidoscope of dramatic landscapes, the attractions found throughout Italy are bottomless.

For those wishing to explore the past, tours of Herculaneum and Pompeii offer glimpses into an ancient world that was perfectly preserved when Mount Vesuvius - the volcano that watches over the region - suddenly erupted. If, however, you wish to be captivated by one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a gondola ride through the canals of Venice is just what the doctor ordered.

Those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the major cities can take in the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean by hiking through the Sentiero Degli Dei on the Amalfi coast.

Places to eat

Italy is rightly revered for its cuisine. A wealth of dishes can be found here, from global favourites such as pizza to more traditional dishes such as Parmigiana - a dish made with a medley of Aubergine slices, cheese and tomato sauce.

Italy is rightly revered for its cuisine. A wealth of dishes can be found here, from global favourites such as pizza to more traditional dishes such as Parmigiana - a dish made with a medley of Aubergine slices, cheese and tomato sauce.

Italy also has an enviable reputation as being a hotspot for a number of other culinary delights including coffee, wine, breads, and many varieties of pasta based dishes.

With many local restaurants and cafés to choose from, there is no shortage of places to grab a delicious meal. However, Italy's food can also be explored on the go, through its popular street foods like zeppole - deep-fried dough balls that originated in Naples, or panelle - a simple fried chickpea polenta dish.

Shopping

When it comes to shopping, there is no shortage of temptation in Italy. Milan is famed for being a fashion capital, Venice is known for its glassware and Turin is celebrated for its chocolate. Florence is a great place for snapping up leather goods and Umbria is renowned for its ceramics.

When it comes to shopping, there is no shortage of temptation in Italy. Milan is famed for being a fashion capital, Venice is known for its glassware and Turin is celebrated for its chocolate. Florence is a great place for snapping up leather goods and Umbria is renowned for its ceramics.

If it's fashion that you seek, the major cities and towns of Italy have certain areas dedicated to high street stores and designer boutiques. From Via Toledo in Naples to Via Rizzoli in Bologna, you'll always be able to find your favourite stores and gratify your retail needs.

If you want to get a real taste of the Italian culture, however, then take a trip to an outdoor market. From the antique market in Arezzo, Tuscany to the Mercato Centrale in Bologna, you'll be able to bag some of the finest food and craft wares in Italy. It's a really great way of exploring what the nation has to offer.

Getting around

Thanks to increased tourism, getting into and around Italy has become a breeze. All major cities now have excellent transport systems in place that are guaranteed to take residents and visitors to their desired location efficiently and conveniently.

Thanks to increased tourism, getting into and around Italy has become a breeze. All major cities now have excellent transport systems in place that are guaranteed to take residents and visitors to their desired location efficiently and conveniently.

Thanks to the nation's excellent and extensive rail infrastructure, you can explore the bountiful beauty and picturesque landscapes that Italy has to offer and stay connected to other parts of the country. However, it should be noted that not all towns have train stations.

The bus is often the preferred form of public transport and there are reliable services in most urban locations. While the bus routes and maps can appear complicated, learning to use the system is an invaluable skill to possess.

You also have the choice of excellent Metro networks found in several cities, including Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin, Genoa and Catania.

Driving can be extremely daunting for those unfamiliar with Italy's road etiquette, as well as those who are not used to driving on the opposite side of the road.

There are also a number of international airports across the county such as Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa, which allow locals to connect to other parts of the world with ease.