Italy is famous for pizza, pasta, fine wine and designer items such as Prada, Fendi, Gucci, and Armani. It also has some stunning architecture, fascinating museums and is the birthplace of many great thinkers, artists and musicians. The Italian countryside is considered by many to be the most beautiful in Europe. The Italians themselves call it "Il Belpaese" which simply means "the Beautiful Country".
Italy is a wonderful mixture of ancient architecture and stunning natural landscapes - from the Byzantine wonders of Palermo in the south to the epic peaks of the Dolomites; from the stunning walled Assisi to the beautiful Amalfi Coast. Italy is a country of majestic mountains, placid lakes, idyllic islands, splendid cities and wonderful walled villages. The spectacular architecture of Venice, Florence and Rome is unequalled anywhere else on earth.
This fascinating country has inspired the works of some of the greatest artists in the world - Botticelli, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Caravaggio along with classic opera composers, Verdi and Puccini and, of course, one of Italy's most famous opera singers - Pavarotti. The legendary Italian filmmaker, Federico Fellini, produced many of his films here (including "La Dolce Vita" - the sweet life).
The best time to visit is spring (April - May) and autumn (October-November). This is when the countryside comes is at its most beautiful; the colours are amazing. The temperatures are bearable and it's not too packed with tourists.
Italy has so many things to offer. Venice has its canals, Rome has the Coliseum, Florence has its heritage of art, Tuscany has its fantastic colours and the whole country has hundreds of miles of seashore and beaches. But of all the beautiful and historic sights Italy has to offer, its greatest wealth is its people. Italians are colourful, gregarious yet charming and gracious. You'll find them very friendly and easy to get to know. They love their food, their families, their music and their history and heritage.
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