Italy : Everything Italy Tour
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Rome is a city that remains virtually unrivalled in the sheer volume and diversity of its cultural repertoire. One could spend months in Rome and still only scratch the surface of treasures to be discovered in this phenomenal ancient city. 3000-years of haphazard urban development has resulted in a complex cocktail of art, history and architecture full of fascinating cultural clashes and contrasts. Classical ruins as well as countless early Christian catacombs and clandestine churches sit alongside (or beneath) magnificent Renaissance palazzos and breathtaking Baroque fountains. This unique combination of a rich historical tapestry interweaved with a thriving and vibrant modern community living life to its fullest as only the Italians can, makes Italy's Eternal City one of the world's most intriguing and inspiring tourist destinations.
The gorgeous capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence, lies towards the centre of the country, a tiny city with a massive heart and an even larger supply of artistic and historical treasures. For centuries, travellers have flocked en masse to the birthplace of the Renaissance movement to marvel at its abundant array of grandiose masterworks of architecture and art. Paramount to any itinerary are Michelangelo’s David, the awe-inspiring Botticelli works, the Uffizi (packed to the brim with pieces by Caravaggio and Da Vinci), and, of course, Brunelleschi’s remarkable cupola, the religious heart of Florence, which dominates the skyline. Once these popular tourist favourites have been ticked off, take a stroll around the alluring Boboli Gardens or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte to experience enthralling views of this beautiful, beguiling city.
Set in Tuscany, Italy, roughly halfway between Livorno and Viareggio, the historical city of Pisa is famous for its Leaning Tower of Pisa; however, visitors will discover a treasure trove of other historical sites and architectural wonders. The iconic tower itself is only one small component of Pisa’s breathtaking Campo dei Miracoli. This spectacular gleaming white architectural assemblage is comprised of the Pisa Cathedral, a masterpiece of Pisan Romanesque architecture, an impressive Baptistery and Campo Santo, a massive, oblong Gothic cloister. Venture slightly further afield to discover Renaissance piazzas lined with lively cafes and bars and a vibrant street life dominated by laid-back locals rather than hordes of foreigners. Throw in some gloriously relaxing natural hot springs and some delightful restaurants, and it becomes apparent that Pisa certainly has more to offer than just a lopsided tower.
The city is spread across three hills in the heart of Tuscany, the compact city of Siena is a historic jewel centred around the sloping Piazza del Campo. Watched over by the glorious Palazzo Pubblico, the town is known worldwide for the famous Palio run, a horse race run around the piazza twice every summer. Siena has managed to retain its quaint old-world charm to a remarkable degree. Its beautiful Gothic buildings include the city’s Duomo, arguably one of Italy’s most impressive Gothic cathedrals, as well as numerous other architectural treasures. The town is also home to a wealth of exceptional early Renaissance art. At the same time, the city bustles with modern life, and the 17 neighbourhoods into which the city was historically divided are each as captivating as the next.
Venice is a small, unique city in Italy’s Veneto region, a historical centre consisting of 118 small islands in a lagoon of the Adriatic Sea, linked together by a complex web of canals and footbridges. Imagine the audacity of building an entirely man-made city of marble palaces on a lagoon with no visible means of support. The inexplicable nerve required to undertake such a project is part of the mystery of this astonishing island city. The stately palaces and ancient churches exist as fascinating remnants of what was once an important trading centre between Europe and the Orient. From the famous Gothic Palazzo Ducale, and the breathtaking Basilica di San Marco to the incomprehensible radiance of Titian's Assunta altarpiece illuminating an entire cathedral, Venice has remained virtually unchanged in the past 600 years.
The Venetian Lagoon is a crescent-shaped bay between the Italian mainland and the Adriatic Sea, in northern Italy. While the magnificent city of Venice is certainly the highlight of the area, the lagoon is home to numerous lesser-known islands just waiting to be to discovered. The main islands are Murano, famous for its fantastic glass laboratories; Burano, known for its wonderfully handcrafted lace works; and Torcello, where you can visit the fascinating ruins of the Santa Maria Assunta Complex. Surrounded by one of the most ecologically rich bodies of water in the Mediterranean, the lagoon is a haven for a wide variety of marine life, birdlife and occasionally, bottlenose dolphins. This remarkable lagoon is an ideal natural getaway for travellers seeking a tranquil retreat from the bustling hordes of tourists and frenetic energy of Venice.