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Italy, my favourite holiday destination

When someone asks me why I love Italy, I can’t believe they even have to ask. All you have to
do is see a few photos and your heart will melt at the sheer beauty of this amazing country. But
it’s not just the beauty, the rugged coastlines, the verdant green hillsides in Tuscany, the diverse
architectural styles, the delicious food, or its many iconic monuments. This ancient land never
ceases to amaze, providing fresh discoveries and unexpected pleasures in many different ways.
Italy is a conundrum.
Italy is located in southern Europe and comprises the long, boot-shaped Italian Peninsula, the
southern side of Alps, the large plain of the Po Valley and some islands
including Sicily and Sardinia. Corsica, although belonging to the Italian geographical region, has
been a part of France since 1769. Italy is part of the Northern Hemisphere. Including islands,
Italy has a coastline of 7,600 km (4,700 mi) on the Adriatic Sea, Ionian Sea, Tyrrhenian
Sea, Ligurian Sea, Sea of Sardinia and Strait of Sicily. A very ancient country and yet a modern
one, Italy did not become a unified nation until 1861, after the successful military campaigns led
by General Giuseppe Garibaldi. But before then, Italian influence stretched all the way back to
the mysterious Etruscans, on through the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire and Holy Roman
Empire, and into the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Modern civilization owes much to Italy.
In Italy, visitors can imbibe the spirit of the past while feeling the energy of the present.
The best time to go to Italy: The best time to visit Italy is in the spring (April to June) or fall
(September and October) when there are fewer tourists, lower prices, and moderate temperatures.
The summer months can be hot, crowded, and expensive.
You can explore Italy's incredible history in any number of ways. In the city of Rome, especially,
different eras seem to coexist together. There's the Rome of the ancients: the Pantheon,
Colosseum, the Roman Forum. There's the Rome of the Renaissance: the Sistine Chapel, palaces
and churches, paintings and statuary by Michelangelo, Botticelli, Caravaggio and a long list of
other great artists. Romans of the Renaissance were mindful of their ancient heritage; during this
period, archaeological activity took place on a large scale that uncovered ancient artifacts. When
in Italy, attend at least one Opera performance to get a glimpse of the European culture.
The performances are incredible and the architecture of the amphitheater, spellbinding.

If you are in Italy and heading home without getting the taste of authentic Neapolitan pizza,
many would count it as sin. Naples is said to serve the best pizzas in Italy and in the
world. From charred crust and fresh Mozzarella to San Marzano tomatoes and fresh
herbs, every ingredient adds to the out-of-the-world taste of these pizzas. Spaghetti
carbonara the king of Roman pasta dishes, a creamy, peppery mix of eggs, pecorino
cheese (cured pigs cheek) stirred through al dente pasta. Like gelato, Tiramisu comes in
all sizes and styles. Most are the traditional alternating layers of cake and cream, but
some restaurants create the tiramisu in ice cream glasses, which feature bulk layers of
cream and one thin layer of cake. Italian coffee, it’s actually a shot of espresso. Go to a
“bar,” which serves traditional shots of Italian espresso. Milk lovers may order a
cappuccino while black coffee sippers can order the dark and bold, Americana. Be
prepared for small beverages while paying a hefty four to six euro per drink to sit and
enjoy the coffee at the café. The traditional choice when visiting any new place is a hotel.
Italy has tens of thousands of choices all over the country, which come in all shapes and
sizes from small ones to seven-star hotel (the Seven Stars Galleria in Milan). A villa or
apartment rental can actually be a very affordable option, especially if you are traveling
with a larger group.

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