Italy: the country with world’s highest number of World Heritage sites – 51 in all. The country is home to Europe’s largest active volcano Mt. Etna – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, providing a spectacular sighting of eruptions, lava flows, soot-filled skies and extensive caves. Interestingly . Its great cities of art, like Rome, Venice and Florence are world famous and have been attracting visitors for centuries. Besides its art and culture, Italy also features beautiful coasts, alpine lakes and mountains. No wonder it is often nicknamed the Bel Paese (beautiful country).
Formerly the capital of the Roman Empire, Rome today is the government seat and capital city of Italy. Located in the country’s central region of Lazio, Rome is a vast and complex city that is both historic and modern at the same time. Best known for housing ancient Roman structures and the Vatican City, Rome has endured for more than 2,500 years as an important centre for culture, power and religion. From ancient romantic plazas to stunning cathedrals and Renaissance architecture, there is so much to see and do in Rome, that it could take months or even years to see it all.
Vatican City, the planet’s smallest country, boasts the its biggest church. Centred on the domed bulk of St Peter’s Basilica, it boasts some of Italy’s most revered artworks, many housed in the vast Vatican Museums. It is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. . Inside the massive, marble-and-gold St. Peter’s Basilica is Michelangelo’s marble Pietà sculpture and Bernini’s bronze altar canopy. Visitors can climb to the top of the church’s dome for panoramic views of Rome or descend to the Grottoes to see tombs of saints, popes and monarchs. It’s home to the Pope and a trove of iconic art and architecture.
First-time visitors in Venice are often stirred deeply, awaking from their ordinary lives to a fantasy world unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. With its historical canals, gondolas, and winding streets, Venice is considered one of the most romantic and visited cities in the world. The car-free streets suddenly make walkers feel big, important, and liberated. By day, Venice is a city of museums and churches, packed with great art. At night, when the hordes of day-trippers have gone, another Venice appears. Dance across a floodlit square.
Florence and Pissa
Florence, the home of the Renaissance and birthplace of our modern world, has the best Renaissance art in Europe. If you love art, the amount of galleries here will keep you busy for weeks on end, with the most popular works being the David and the Uffizi. More than art, there are beautiful Renaissance churches, buildings, and streets to be had. Italy’s fashion industry was born and bred here. The city is also a great jumping-off point for Tuscany wineries, food tours, and it also boasts a great nightlife.
Pisa is located in Tuscany and is world-renowned for its leaning tower. While the city has historical churches, tons of outdoor activities, delicious food, and history, most visitors simply make this place a stopover to take their super cliched picture with the tower. The rest of the city is virtually tourist-free and merits a wander for its rich history, architecture, and student vibe. Stylish, pedestrianized Corso Italia is the main shopping street.