Travel to Italy


Italy     
If you’ve always wanted to float down the canals of Venice, admire the original statue of David by Michelangelo in Florence, and visit St. Peter’s in Rome, now is the time.

Globus has created a selection of delightful itineraries to magnificent Italy. From the most important must-see sights, like the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, St. Mark’s Basilica, and the Doges’ Palace with the Bridge of Sighs, to the smallest details like the use of headphones on included sightseeing in Rome, Florence, Venice, and Pompeii, Globus covers Italy like no one else.

The historic capital of Italy, remains a firm favourite with tourists who love the blend of ancient and modern attractions, not to mention the irresistible food found here, from fresh pizza to gelato. A haven of Roman remains, you will be overwhelmed by the impressive Colosseum, whilst buildings such as the Pantheon and Castel Sant’Angelo are also must-sees when you visit. And don't forget to make a wish by throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain!
Return time and again and you still won't see it all. Stand on a bridge over the Arno river several times in a day and the light, mood and view changes every time. Surprisingly small as it is, this riverside city is like no other
Imagine the audacity of building a city of marble palaces on a lagoon – and that was only the start. Venetian Feasts Garden islands and lagoon aquaculture yield speciality produce and seafood you won’t find elsewhere – all highlighted in inventive Venetian cuisine, with tantalising traces of ancient spice routes. The city knows how to put on a royal spread, as France’s King Henry III once found out when faced with 1200 dishes and 200 bonbons. Today such feasts are available in miniature at happy hour, when bars mount lavish spreads of cicheti (Venetian tapas). Save room and time for a proper sit-down Venetian meal, with lagoon seafood to match views at canalside bistros and toasts with Veneto’s signature bubbly, prosecco.
In Siena the architecture soars, and could well lift your soul. Effectively a giant, open-air museum to the Gothic, its spiritual and secular medieval monuments still sit in harmony, many filled with collections of Sienese art. Add vibrant streets where every third door (literally) opens into a restaurant, enoteca or deli, and you’re in for a very fine time indeed. Because this is Italy before the Renaissance, magically transported to the modern day.
Italy's third-largest city is one of its oldest, most artistic and most delicious. Naples' centro storico (historic centre) is a Unesco World Heritage Site, its archaeological treasures are among the world's most impressive, and its swag of vainglorious palaces, castles and churches make Rome look positively provincial. Then there's the food. Blessed with rich volcanic soils, a bountiful sea, and centuries of culinary know-how, the Naples region is one of Italy's epicurean heavyweights, serving up the country's best pizza, pasta and coffee, and many of its most celebrated seafood dishes, street snacks and sweet treats. Certainly, Naples' urban sprawl can feel anarchic, tattered and unloved. But look beyond the grime and graffiti and you'll uncover a city of breathtaking frescoes, sculptures and panoramas, of unexpected elegance, of spontaneous conversations and profound humanity. Welcome to Italy's most unlikely masterpiece.
It is hard to grasp that pretty little Amalfi, with its sun-filled piazzas and small beach, was once a maritime superpower with a population of more than 70,000. For one thing, it’s not a big place – you can easily walk from one end to the other in about 20 minutes. For another, there are very few historical buildings of note. The explanation is chilling: most of the old city, and its populace, simply slid into the sea during an earthquake in 1343. Today, although the permanent population is a fairly modest 5000 or so, the numbers swell significantly during summer, when day trippers pour in by the coachload. Just around the headland, neighbouring Atrani is a picturesque tangle of whitewashed alleys and arches centred on a lively, lived-in piazza and popular beach; don’t miss it.
Once a maritime power to rival Genoa and Venice, Pisa now draws its fame from an architectural project gone terribly wrong. But the world-famous Leaning Tower is just one of many noteworthy sights in this compelling city. Education has fuelled the local economy since the 1400s, and students from across Italy compete for places in its elite university. This endows the centre of town with a vibrant cafe and bar scene, balancing an enviable portfolio of well-maintained Romanesque buildings, Gothic churches and Renaissance piazzas with a lively street life dominated by locals rather than tourists – a charm you will definitely not discover if you restrict your visit to Piazza dei Miracoli.
Shakespeare placed star-crossed lovers Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet in Verona for good reason: romance, drama and fatal family feuding have been the city's hallmark for centuries. From the 3rd century BC Verona was a Roman trade centre with ancient gates, a forum (now Piazza delle Erbe) and a grand Roman arena, which still serves as one of the world's great opera venues. In the Middle Ages the city flourished under the wrathful della Scala clan, who were as much energetic patrons of the arts as they were murderous tyrants. Their elaborate Gothic tombs, the Arche Scaligere, are just off Piazza dei Signori. Under Cangrande I (1308–28) Verona conquered Padua and Vicenza, with Dante, Petrarch and Giotto benefitting from the city's patronage. But the fratricidal rage of Cangrande II (1351–59) complicated matters, and the della Scala family were run out of town in 1387. Venice took definitive control in 1404, ruling until Napoleon's arrival in 1797. The city became a Fascist control centre from 1938 to 1945, a key location for Resistance interrogation and transit point for Italian Jews sent to Nazi concentration camps. Today, the city is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a cosmopolitan crossroads, especially in summer when the 2000-year-old arena hosts opera's biggest names.
Fusing haughty elegance with down-to-earth grit in one beautifully colonnaded medieval grid, Bologna is a city of two intriguing halves. On one side is a hard-working, hi-tech city located in the super-rich Po valley where suave opera-goers waltz out of regal theatres and reconvene in some of the nation's finest restaurants and trattorias.
Modern-day Pompeii (Pompei in Italian) may feel like a nondescript satellite of Naples, but it's here that you'll find Europe's most compelling archaeological site: the ruins of Pompeii. Sprawling and haunting, the site is a stark reminder of the malign forces that lie deep inside Vesuvius.
Sicily's main city is draped in a mantle of unpredictability and adventure: its streets are chaotic, its buildings are magnificently dishevelled and its residents – many of whom have a penchant for rule bending and a healthy suspicion of outsiders – can be an inscrutable lot. To gain an initial understanding of the city's unique culture, start by wandering the streets of the old city. The mix of architectural styles points to the wave upon wave of invaders who have claimed the city as their own, as does the look of the locals. Put simply, there's no one style or people in this urban melting pot, and there never has been.
For mosaic lovers, Ravenna is an earthly paradise. Spread out over several churches and baptisteries around town is one of the world's most dazzling collections of early Christian mosaic artwork, enshrined since 1996 on Unesco's World Heritage list. Wandering through the unassuming town centre today, you'd never imagine that for a three-century span beginning in 402, Ravenna served as capital of the Western Roman Empire, chief city of the Ostrogoth Kingdom of Italy and nexus of a powerful Byzantine exarchate. During this prolonged golden age, while the rest of the Italian peninsula flailed in the wake of Barbarian invasions, Ravenna became a fertile art studio for skilled craftsmen, who covered the city's terracotta brick churches in heart-rendingly beautiful mosaics. Ravenna's brilliant 4th- to 6th-century gold, emerald and sapphire masterpieces will leave you struggling for adjectives. A suitably impressed Dante once described them as a 'symphony of colour' and spent the last few years of his life admiring them. Romantic toff Lord Byron added further weight to Ravenna's literary credentials when he spent a couple of years here before decamping to Greece.
More than any other city, Syracuse encapsulates Sicily's timeless beauty. Ancient Greek ruins rise out of lush citrus orchards, cafe tables spill onto dazzling baroque piazzas, and medieval lanes lead down to the sparkling blue sea. But handsome as it is, the city is no museum piece ? life goes on here much as it has for 3000 years, as you'll soon see from the snarling mid-morning traffic and noisy markets. It's difficult to imagine now but in its heyday Syracuse was the largest city in the ancient world, bigger even than Athens and Corinth. It was founded by Corinthian colonists, who landed on the island of Ortygia in 734 BC and set up the mainland city four years later. It quickly flourished, growing to become a rich commercial town and major regional powerhouse. Victory over the Carthaginians at the Battle of Himera in 480 BC paved the way for a golden age, during which art and culture thrived and the city's tyrannical kings commissioned an impressive program of public building. The finest intellectuals of the age flocked to Syracuse, cultivating the sophisticated urban culture that was to see the birth of comic Greek theatre. Syracuse's independence abruptly came to an end in 211 BC when invading Romans breached the city's defences, ingeniously devised by Archimedes, and took control. Under Roman rule Syracuse remained Sicily's capital but the city's glory days were behind it and decline set in. It was briefly the capital of the Byzantine empire but was sacked by the Saracens in 878 and reduced to little more than a fortified provincial town. The population fell drastically, and famine, plague and earthquakes marked the next 800 years. It was the Val di Noto earthquake in 1693, though, that was the catalyst for energetic urban renewal as planners took advantage of the damaged city to undertake a massive program of baroque reconstruction.
Trieste, as travel writer Jan Morris once opined, 'offers no unforgettable landmark, no universally familiar melody, no unmistakable cuisine', yet it's a city that enchants many, its 'prickly grace' inspiring a cult-like roll-call of writers, travellers, exiles and misfits. Devotees come to think of its glistening belle epoque cafes, dark congenial bars and even its maddening Bora wind as their own; its lack of intensive tourism can make this often feel like it's true. Tumbling down to the Adriatic from a karstic plateau and almost entirely surrounded by Slovenia, the city is physically isolated from the rest of the Italian peninsula. Its historical singularity is also no accident. From as long ago as the 1300s, Trieste has faced east, becoming a free port under Austrian rule. The city blossomed under the 18th- and 19th-century Habsburgs; Vienna's seaside salon was also a fluid borderland where Italian, Slavic, Jewish, Germanic and even Greek culture intermingled.









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