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Italy

 

About Italy
Region: Cities and Towns:
Country : Italy
Continent : Europe
Population : 59,943,933
Area : 301,338 sq km
Latitude : 41°54′N
Longitude : 12°29′E
Visiting Italy

from WikiTravel

 
Italy is a country in Southern Europe. Together with Greece, it is acknowledged as the birthplace of Western culture. Not surprisingly, it is also home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. High art and monuments are to be found everywhere around the country.
 
It is also famous worldwide for its delicious cuisine, its trendy fashion industry, luxury sports cars and motorcycles, diverse regional cultures and dialects, as well as for its beautiful coast, alpine lakes and mountain ranges (the Alps and Apennines). No wonder it is often nicknamed the Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country).
 
Italy is, for the most part, a peninsula situated on the Mediterranean Sea, bordering France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia in the north. Italy, which is boot-shaped, is surrounded by the Ligurian and the Tyrrhenian Seas to the west, the Mediterranean and Ionian Seas to the South, and the Adriatic Sea to the East.
Italian is the official language spoken by the majority of the population, but as you travel throughout the country you will find that there are several distinct Italian dialects depending on the region you're in. 
 
Italy has a very diverse landscape, but can be primarily described as mountainous, including the Alps and the Apennines mountain ranges that run through the vast majority of it. Two major islands are part of this country: Sardinia, which is an island off the west coast of Italy, and Sicily, at the southern tip (the "toe") of the boot.
 
Two independent mini-states are surrounded entirely by Italy: San Marino and Vatican City. While technically not part of the European Union, both of these states are also part of the Schengen Area and the European Monetary Union (EMU). Apart from different police uniforms, there is no evident transition from these states and Italy's territory, and the currency is the same. Italian is also the official language in both countries.
 
REGIONS OF ITALY
  • Northwest Italy (Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy and Aosta Valley) - Home of the Italian Riviera, including Portofino and the Cinque Terre. The Alps, world class cities like the industrial capital of Italy (Turin), its largest port (Genoa), the main business hub of the country (Milan), share the region's visitors with beautiful landscapes like the Lake Como and Lake Maggiore area, and little known Renaissance treasures like Mantova.
  • Northeast Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto) - From the canals of Venice to the gastronomic capital Bologna, from impressive mountains such as the Dolomites and first-class ski resorts like Cortina d'Ampezzo to the delightful roofscapes of Parma and Verona these regions offer much to see and do. South Tyrol and the cosmopolitan city of Trieste offer a uniquely Central European flair.
  • Central Italy (Lazio, Marche, Tuscany and Umbria) - Breathes history and art. Rome boasts the remaining wonders of the Roman Empire and some of the world's best known landmarks, combined with a vibrant, big-city feel. Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, is Tuscany's top attraction, whereas the magnificent countryside and nearby cities like Siena, Pisa and Lucca have much to offer to those looking for the country's rich history and heritage. Umbria is dotted with many picturesque cities such as Perugia, Orvieto, Gubbio and Assisi
  • Southern Italy (Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Abruzzo and Molise) - Bustling Naples, the dramatic ruins of Pompeii, the romantic Amalfi Coast and Capri, laidback Apulia and stunning unspoilt beaches of Calabria, as well as up-and-coming agritourism help making Italy's less visited region a great place to explore.
  • SicilyThe beautiful island famous for archaeology, seascape and some of the best cuisine the Italian kitchen has to offer.
  • SardiniaLarge island some 250 km west of the Italian coastline. Beautiful scenery, megalithic monuments, lovely seas and beaches: a major holiday destination for high budget tourists.
 
MAJOR CITIES
  • Rome (Roma) — the capital, both of Italy and, in the past, of the Roman Empire until 285 AD
  • Bologna — one of the world's great university cities that is filled with history, culture, technology and food
  • Florence (Firenze) — the Renaissance city known for its architecture and art that had a major impact throughout the world
  • Genoa (Genova) — an important medieval maritime republic; its port brings in tourism and trade, along with art and architecture
  • Milan (Milano) — one of the main fashion cities of the world, but also Italy's most important centre of trade and business
  • Naples (Napoli) — one of the oldest cities of the Western world, with a historic city centre that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is also the birth-place of pizza.
  • Pisa — one the medieval maritime republics, it is home to the unmistakable image of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Turin (Torino) — a well-known industrial and historical city, first capital of Italy and home of FIAT and other automobiles and the aerospace industry. The city's also renowned for its large amount of baroque buildings and its "Mole Antonelliana", a former synagogue with a characteristic shape.
  • Venice (Venezia) — one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, known for its history, art, and of course its world famous canals
  • Palermo — an important city in Italy; know for its beach,cuisine,architecture
 
OTHER DESTINATIONS
  • Italian Alps — some of the most beautiful mountains in Europe, including Mont Blanc and Mount Rosa
  • Cinque Terre — five tiny, scenic, towns strung along the steep vineyard-laced coast of Liguria
  • Varese — a pleasant hillside town located a few kilometers from the Swiss border, with a strong tourist vocation developed at the beginning of the twentieth century
  • Lake Como — its atmosphere has been appreciated for its beauty and uniqueness since Roman times
  • Lake Garda — a beautiful lake in Northern Italy surrounded with many small villages
  • Padova — located in Veneto region, Padova is known as the city of S. Anton. Not far away form Venice, the city offers a stunning city centre rich of churches and first-level museums
  • Val d'Orcia is characterised by gentle, carefully-cultivated hills occasionally broken by gullies and by picturesque towns and villages such as Pienza, Radicofani and Montalcino
  • Pompeii and Herculaneum — two neighbouring cities covered by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, now excavated to reveal life as it was in Roman times
  • Vesuvius — the famous dormant volcano with a stunning view of the Bay of Naples
  • Amalfi Coast — stunningly beautiful rocky coastline, so popular that private cars are banned in the summer months
  • Capri — the famed island in the Bay of Naples, formerly a favoured resort of the Roman emperors
  • Lecce — regarded as the Florence of south Italy, Lecce is distinguished by its elaborate style of baroque buildings
  • Matera — in the Basilicata region, Matera boasts the "sassi", well-preserved rock-cut settlements that are a World Heritage site and one of Southern Italy's many important attractions
  • Taormina is a charming hillside town on the east coast of Sicily, and is one of the island's main tourist resorts

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