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Your guide to Italy
All About Italy
Italy is a country known for gastronomic delights, awe-inspiring art and cultural attractions, sweeping coastlines, historic architecture, esteemed fashion houses, and fantastical countryside. If immersing yourself in Italian city life is on your list, make sure you take in the big four metropolises of Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence. These cities, respectively, contain the ancient Colosseum amphitheatre and the iconic churches and cathedrals of St. Mark’s Basilica, the Duomo di Milano, and the Duomo Santa Maria Del Fiore.
You could also explore the heralded wine country in Italy and seek out mouthwatering local fare in smaller cities like Bologna, the region of Tuscany, and fishing towns like Genoa. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Amalfi Coast and Italian Riviera, with their magical Mediterranean coastlines, and the Alps, with world-class skiing and the famous Lake Como, are almost too beautiful to be believed.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Italy
Northern Italy experiences four seasons and winter can be very cold, but much of southern Italy maintains a relatively temperate climate all year influenced by the Mediterranean. Spring and fall are popular times to visit because the weather is still pleasant and the number of visitors has thinned out.
Bear in mind that summer is the high season for traveling in Italy, especially along the Italian Riviera. Going in a shoulder season, or any time during the long Christmas holiday that begins on December 8 (Immaculate Conception) and ends on January 6 (Epiphany), could be your best bet, when crowds and apartment rentals in Italy are more manageable for the budget-conscious.
Top things to do in Italy
Immerse yourself in the art-rich Renaissance history in Florence. You’ll have the chance to visit many of the world’s greatest structures, including the UNESCO World Heritage listed 15th-century cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo; stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge over the Arno River; and take in the museums and art galleries in the Palazzo Pitti on the south side of the Arno.
Boat into the Blue Grotto
On the coast of the jet-setting summer resort island of Capri in southern Italy is a hidden sea cave known as the Blue Grotto, or Grotta Azzurra. It’s a natural cavern where the Mediterranean waters shimmer in the sunlight, illuminating the interior and turning the water a translucent shade of indigo. There are many boats available for hire at the Marina Grande, so lay back and enjoy as your guide rows you into the depths of this ethereal cavern.
In Italy’s Puglia region, you'll find trulli, historic cone-shaped limestone dwellings, some of which date back to the mid-14th century, dotted around the valleys. These UNESCO-protected little homes look like something out of a fantasy novel; in Italy, these houses are for rent and are among the most unique architectural structures in the country.