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Italy

Italy Travel Guide Italy, the Historical center of the Roman Empire, boasts more cultural sights and attractions than you could ever hope to see in a single visit. In fact, Italy lays claim to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites (54 in total) than any other country in the world. Many of these awe-inspiring attractions - often rather casually located amid the hustle and bustle of modern city-life - are essential to an understanding of contemporary western civilization. From the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to the intricate Gothic architecture of Cathedral Square, to the almost obscene wealth of artwork housed in the galleries of Tuscany, a holiday in Italy is nothing short of spectacular. Of course, Italy's culture does not only belong in the past - the country remains on the cutting-edge of haute couture. Watching the famously stylish locals clip along cobblestoned streets in six-inch stiletto heels is almost a tourist attraction in itself. Shopaholics will feel as though they've found paradise, browsing the boutique stores of Milan's Fashion Quadrilatero; while gastronomes should prepare themselves for a holiday punctuated by unforgettable meals. The world-famous Italian cuisine is, naturally, even more delicious when prepared in its homeland. Visitors to Italy can look forward to trying interesting regional variations of their favourite pizza and pasta dishes. Whether enjoying a holiday in Venice, where the songs of gondoliers are carried on the evening breeze, relaxing on the staggering Amalfi coastline, or exploring Verona, sipping an espresso in a crowded piazza while the sun sinks behind a skyline of Gothic spires, Italy will be an experience visitors won't soon forget. Best time to visit Italy Most people visit Italy in summer, between June and August. However, the best times to visit Italy are in spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October), when the weather is cool and dry, the skies are generally clear, and - since there are fewer tourists around - accommodation is usually cheaper. The sea is warm enough for swimming between June and September. Most Italians take their vacation in August, and many shops and restaurants are closed during this period. The ski season runs from December to April, and the best time to go hiking in the Alps is between June and September. What to pack Remember that clothing is very expensive in Italy, so you should arrive well prepared. Pack comfortable walking shoes for daytime excursions as well as stylish shoes for evenings out. What to buy For a special trinket or a gift for a loved one back home, buy some authentic Murano glassware - you'll be purchasing something that comes from an artistic tradition dating back to the 7th Century. Olive oil, leather products and limoncello (traditional lemon-flavoured liqueur) are also popular things to buy in Italy. Eat Try regional variations of your favourite pasta dishes (such as cuttlefish-ink-based pasta sauces in Venice) - and of course, it is mandatory to eat pizza in Naples. A final word A country uniquely blessed with sights, attractions, great food and wine, and a lovely climate; Italy is not only the historical 'centre of the western world', but one of it’s most enthralling modern-day tourist destinations.

DISTANCE FROM AIRPORT TO CITY CENTRE: Milan: 50 kilometres, Rome: 30 kilometres, Venice: 13 kilometres, Bolonga: 10 kilometres | TIME ZONE: Summer: GMT +2 hours, Winter +1 hour | CURRENCY: Euro (EUR). No problems using credit cards, or tracking down ATMs all over the country | LANGUAGES: Italian, with English spoken in main tourist areas. |
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