The greatest remnant of the antiquity, the archetypal amphitheatre, an engineering wonder, the epitome of architectural excellence, a standing proof of both the grandeur and the cruelty of the Roman world – the Colosseum has been dubbed myriad ways, but there’s just no way of grasping their meaning until you see the blues of the sky through the perfectly curved arches. Designed to hold 50,000 spectators eager to watch the bloody spectacle, today it annually draws around 5 million willing to verify its world-acclaimed magnificence and never fails to make them catch their breath. A definite must see on your trip to Italy
Although Vatican is an entirely separate state, the access to its magnificent collections is only through Rome. Centered on the splendid St Peter’s Basilica and Piazza San Pietro, it is the spiritual hub of the Catholic world and one of Rome’s most eagerly visited areas. Subsequent popes called upon the best masters to enhance and decorate the Catholic capital of the world, turning it into a work of art both inside and on the outside.
- Taste the local food and drinks
One of the absolute must-do’s when visiting Italy (or in fact during any of your travels), is to enjoy the local food and taste. Sardinian food, for example, is characterized by very strong flavours, of which Cannonau, the local wine, is the perfect example. Carasau (a type of thin crispy bread) and Culurgiones (a ravioli-like pasta filled with pecorino cheese, mint and other ingredients) are other products of the Sardinian gastronomic tradition.
- Visit one of the 8,000 Nuraghi
Nuraghi are beehive-like stone dwellings from the bronze age, and can only be found on Sardinia. The exact use of these structures is unknown, but many believe that they were either used as religious temples, or military strongholds. The most well-known Nuraghe is Nuraxi su Barumini, which has been declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Barumini is located at approximately 60 kilometres North of the Sardinian capital Cagliari.
- Relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches
Sardinia and the Amalfi Coast are believed to have the most beautiful beaches in the entire Mediterranean Sea. Beaches like Cala Gonone, Li Coggi beach, or the touristic Costa Smeralda consistently appear in the top of ‘The World’s Best Beaches’ lists of international magazines and travel websites.
Pretty little Amalfi with its sun-filled piazzas and small beach is not a big place – you can easily walk from one end to the other in about 20 minutes. Amalfi occupied a high position in medieval architecture; its cathedral of Sant’Andrea, the campanile, the convent of the Cappuccini, founded by the Amalfitan Cardinal Pietro Capuano, richly represent the artistic movement prevailing in Southern Italy at the time of the Normans. 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.
- Eat two scoops of gelato daily
This is easy to do no matter where you are in Italy! Remember, Italian gelato is made with milk, not cream, so it’s a lot less fattening than you think. And you’re walking everywhere, anyway, so it’s a well-deserved treat.
- Visit Italian vineyards
Italy is famous the world over for its wines, so even if you’re not a serious wine enthusiast you’ll surely appreciate the scenery and tradition of a trip through Italy’s vineyards. Almost every region in Italy produces wine – in fact, the country claims 20 major growing regions, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and more than 2,000 grape varietals. Some are certainly better known than others, but no matter where you are in Italy you’ll not be far from a vineyard or two.
- Valley of the Temples
The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily is an extensive archaeological site containing the well-preserved remains of various Doric temples dating from the 5th century B.C. The site being nested on a ridge overlooking the town, the term “valley” is obviously a misnomer, but it quite aptly captures the vastness and grandeur of the place.
- Trevi Fountain
In the maze of narrow, meandering streets, Rome hides a sparkling jewel held to be a triumphant example of Baroque finesse and the natural artistry of water- one of the world’s most stunning fountains and a work of art in one.
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