With its vast Mediterranean coastline, Italy has left a significant mark on Western history and culture. It is a country that inspires, exhilarates, and moves like no other, and it is home one of the world’s finest collections of art, jaw-dropping architecture and exquisite cuisine. [ReadMoreMob]
Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites than any other country on the planet. Its capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as a swathe of landmark ancient ruins, such as the gladiatorial Coliseum. The volatility of Italy’s extraordinary landscape is on view at Pompeii and Herculaneum, while its sheer beauty comes to life across the fields of Tuscany.
The country’s turbulent history and how the pendulum of prosperity has swung back and forth across the centuries is writ large across its ports like Palermo, Genoa and the bustling cosmopolitan cities like Naples with its boutiques and cafés. Italy is a country that oozes romance. Take Venice, with its dreamy canals, iconic St Mark’s Square and must-ride gondolas, or the perfect charm of the Italian Riviera’s Sorrento, Capri or the achingly-wonderful Positano. [ReadMoreDesk]
Of course, food, or rather eating, is a major pastime in Italy, and there is always a raft of the finest ingredients like fresh olives, tomatoes, aubergines, olive oil and fish to be enjoyed. The regional wines and cheeses are second to none – visitors are genuinely hard pressed to find a bad meal anywhere.
Italian cruises are full of history, natural beauty and welcoming people and at the end of a voyage to this magical land, most are left with only one desire – to go back again and again.
Gondola ride on the Grand Canal
The Grand Canal is the main waterway of Venice, following a natural channel that traces a reverse-S course from San Marco Basilica to Santa Chiara Church and divides the city into two parts. Slightly more than 2 miles (3 km) long and between 100 and 225 feet (30 and 70 metres) wide, the Grand Canal has an average depth of 17 feet (5 metres) and connects at various points with a maze of smaller canals. These waterways carry the bulk of Venetian transportation, as automobiles are banned throughout much of the city. In the heyday of the Venetian Republic, some ten thousand gondolas transported dignitaries, merchants, and goods through the crowded canals and lagoons of the water-logged city.
St Mark’s Square
St Mark’s Square is often referred to as the ‘drawing room of Europe’ and has long been the symbolic icon of Venice. Here you will find St Mark’s Basilica, with its stunning golden façade mosaics, and marble and bronze statues; the Doge’s Palace, the magnificent 14th century palace that was once the seat of power; the Bridge of Sighs and the Campanile, the city’s tallest building.
Prosecco & Macarons
Italy’s Champagne is a sparkling wine that originates from nearby Trieste. Although thought to have been invented in France, the macaron was in fact produced in the Venetian monasteries since the 8th century A.D. During the Renaissance, Catherine de' Medici's Italian pastry chefs made them when she brought them with her to France in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.