Of course, there are must-sees such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Vatican, but you should also allow time to discover the heart of Italy. Sip espresso at an outdoor cafe, wander down winding back streets and join the locals for the passeggiata, a gentle evening stroll as the sun goes down. Here you’ll discover galleries filled with superb works of art and more Unesco World Heritage cultural sites than any other country on Earth. Italy is also famous for its food and wine which is so good that it’s almost worth visiting for this alone. It’s not just the food and wine either. It’s the spirit of hospitality and warmth of the locals which nourishes you as a visitor to Italy.
Sorano in Tuscany
Visit a traditional cafe
Italy’s climate can vary greatly between the north and the south. The higher you go, the warmer it gets in summer and the colder it gets in winter. In the north of the country around the Alps the seasons and temperatures vary greatly. In the centre of the country, the climate is less extreme with longer summers and warmer winters. Snow sports are a popular pastime in winter. If you are heading to a town either on or near the ski fields, prices can be high at this time of year. Some roads are closed due to snow in winter so keep an eye on driving conditions. Summer can be busy, especially around the coastal areas where locals take their summer break and people go to swim. Spring offers fewer crowds as does autumn, although you might get some rain at this time of year.
Rome is justifiably famous but don’t limit your trip to the capital cities. Italy’s smaller towns and rural areas are equally captivating in their own way.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to eat well in Italy. Some of your best meals will likely be found at low-key family run restaurants and cafes.
Traditional gelato isn’t brightly coloured. Avoid shops selling garish flavours and opt for busy gelaterias that are packed with locals.
Lesser known art galleries and museums can be just as impressive as their famous counterparts, not least because they’re not full of other tourists.