Italy

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A Quick Guide to... Italy

History Italy

Italy is famous for many things and remains a tremendous tourist attraction for people around the world. All that Italy is loved for is the result of 25 centuries of glorious twists and turns in the paths of history. Italy had good times as well as bad times, which certainly makes sense. It may be up to the historians to make an account for the 2,500 years of Italian history, but it is up to the visitors of today to enjoy the results of this history. It was the Greeks and the Etruscans that preceded the Latin in the Italian peninsula. Even though Italic tribes were present since the 9th century BC, it was around 350 BC when Rome emerged as a dominant power in central Italy. The Romans were brave warriors, brilliant organizers and above all great learners. They soon dominated the peninsula and moved on to declining Greece. Taking only the good elements of Greek philosophy they were impressed with, as well as parts art and culture, the Italians even adopted the Greek religion, or at least the parts of this that fitted in with their own beliefs. Naturally, this was after making the necessary changes to make the religion more Roman. With the fall of the eternal city of Rome in AD 476, the Empire was split into many city states. The middle Ages were harsh on Italy but the glorious Renaissance period (the Italian Quattrocento) gave new breath to the restless Italian spirit and made Italy the center of the world once again. The Vatican in Rome saw that the Catholic faith was spreading to the new world and blessed the establishment of the New Kingdom of Italy in 1861. The 20th century was shaded by WWII, which left Italy in ruins but it has since recovered and is once again the passionate country it has always been.

When to go Italy

Italy is a truly splendid part of our world, truly a land for all seasons and in all honesty one who has set a foot on this country will find it difficult to make suggestions about the best time to visit the country. In fact, it would be a lot easier to say when not to visit. For example, ski lovers should not visit Sestriere (a famous ski resort near Torino) as the lifts are not in operation. Mount Vesuvius during an eruption is an experience you could do without. All other dates in the calendar are open and visitors will truly not be disappointed. As for the best time to visit each part of Italy, that really depends on personal taste and available time. To escape the obvious, namely that summer is the best season for your visit (which all things considered is not far from the truth) visitors to Italy should decide if they would like to see Michelangelo?s magnificent Dome of St Peter Cathedral laced with a sprinkle of snow under the melancholic winter sky of the city of cities, or if they would rather watch it glow in divine beauty under the warm Roman sun. In either case Michelangelo remains a master. The Italians are masters of hospitality. IT (information Touristique) desks can be found in every single Airport in Italy. In every train or central bus station, every little Piazza (square), and in every small pension, you will find people who will gladly provide you with tons of leaflets (sometimes even if you don?t ask for them) informing you on local festivals or cultural events. There is also lots of information (including weather forecasts) on the Internet. Whatever choice you make try not to miss St Francis restored chapel in the astonishing Assisi, Umbria.

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Weather Italy

Italy, one of the world?s most beautiful countries, is a popular destination for millions of tourists from around the globe. Visitors come to Italy for many reasons. From sightseeing to business, from water sports to hiking, cycling and skiing, from food and wine to secular art, Italy truly has it all and can proudly claim the title of the land for all seasons. Italy is a long and narrow peninsula that extends from the Alps in the north and almost touches the African continent in the South. Venice in the North is at the same latitude as Zagreb and Limoges, Rome is more northern than Istanbul and the southern tip of Sicily is as south as the south coast of Turkey. Italy has an endless coastline, the Italian Alps and the Apennine Mountains, large lakes and rivers, huge plains and lovely hill covered landscapes. Two large and many smaller Mediterranean islands belong to Italy. Visitors of Italy can understand how difficult it is to talk about the weather in this gracious land without at least distinguishing three parts. Northern Italy generally enjoys a Continental-Central European climate. It is windy all year round with some snow in the winter and drier sunny summers. Coastal areas have tamer conditions and in the summer the beaches are full. Beaches are also full in southern Italy for the best part of the year as the weather here is typically Mediterranean, sunny with hardly any snow and little rain. Central Italy, probably the most interesting part of Italy for visitors and tourists, is blessed with a divine climate, pleasant all year round with no temperature extremities, never too cold in the winter, just a little refreshing snow, wet enough to keep Umbria green, sunny and lovely in the summer so visitors can enjoy the sights as well as the beaches.


Best locations of Italy

Italy is a magnificent South European country full of wonderful sights and cities with modern spirit. It is virtually impossible to visit the country only once and see all of it. That is probably why most visitors usually come back again and again, seeing something new each time they are there. If you love Italian fashion you should visit Torino and Milano in August during the summer sales. You will get great bargains and still get to drink your espresso on Via Roma and see the Duomo. If you want to visit a place where buses are boats and where you will see nothing but glorious palaces and wondrous churches then go to Venice. Finally, you do not have to leave the region of Umbria to see Heaven in pure lapis lazuli blue. But if you only have the opportunity to visit a single place it would have to be Bella Roma. The grand 5 million citizen city combines all of the above and more. The ancient sights are miraculously well preserved (the Italians have seen to that). If you visited the Coliseum 30 years ago you would not have recognized it. Continuous excavations bring to light enough findings to fill a new museum every 10 years. The Pantheon is nothing less than magnificent and Foro Romano makes you think you hear the voices of vendors selling goods in Rome ancient market places. Going forward in time, a traveler should visit the Vatican. St Peter Cathedral is an impressive Renaissance monument and a praise to God Holy Glory while Capela Sistina is a true proof of how sometimes genius and self-sacrifice come to the realms of madness. You will have to go to Firenze to witness such divine beauty. Shopping around Piazzas and cosmopolitan streets, the visitor of Rome will then be ready for his dolce vita trough the Roman night.

Disable visitors Italy

Italy, a serene, passionate, overwhelming country is truly inviting. The warm heart of the inhabitants, the beauty of the cities and its amazing countryside guarantee that the visitor time will be well spent on a holiday in Italy. Disabled holiday makers can equally enjoy this amazing country. Starting from their arrival at any major International Airport in the country, travelers with special needs will find all that they require for a safe transport to their accommodation. Special toilet facilities, ramps and pathways, wheelchairs and special carts will assist them for as long as they are in the airport area. The main gateway airports are impressive in service but even in smaller ones, Italian hospitality is great. Disabled visitors should also keep in mind that there are strict International regulations concerning the matter of their safety and comfort and any airport in the world cannot be licensed without abiding by them. There are many lovely hotels and pensions whose owners have gone to great length to make arrangements for disabled visitors. Lists of such hotels and provided amenities can easily be obtained at any information Touristique office (Tourist Information Office) or through relevant Internet sites. In every city of Italy there are special provisions for the disabled making any visit comfortable and safe. Not just in hotels but also in sights and museums, special preparations have been made so that people who are physically impaired can also visit the amazing sites and enjoy all Italian pleasures like every other visitor. It is also good to know that the extensive network of Italian trains, coaches, trams and buses is a very comfortable way to go around the country and disabled people will always have a seat available. Hence, there is no need to worry that you may have any difficulties in visiting this country if you have any form of disability or impairment.

People Italy

Italy is a country of amazing diversity. Travelling from one end of the country to another, an intriguing panorama of changing landscapes immediately catches the visitor?s eye. And if the visitor happens to be crossing the country by train then they will certainly meet a few Italian people trying to make conversation. Italians are warm hearted, extrovert people. More reserved, though always polite, in the North, Italians are far more outspoken in the South, always refusing to accept the fact that not everyone in the world speaks fluent Italian. Since many of them don?t speak English very well (their second language is French) visitors will have to be a little patient on the matter. With a mixture of hand gestures and pig English, both parties will find common ground and have a nice chit-chat. Italian people are keen on sports, and not just soccer and basketball. They like to do everything in style and they love fashion. This is obvious in every occasion, whether they are walking down a busy city street going to work or shopping or if they are hiking at 2,300 meters with their car parked 10 km away. Of course, both Italian men and women love their cars. Visitors from all over the world are sure to admire the shiny Alfa Romeos and Ferraris they come across in Italy. Like everywhere else in the world, Italians who live in the big cities are a little more stressed and anxious than people in small towns or villages. But being born and raised in such wonderful surroundings (not one of the big Italian cities is without an old town center) they keep their taste for good food and wine, enjoy music and dance and travelling and they keep fighting over politics! Do expect to hear raised voices, but this is passion rather than anger.

Red tape visas Italy

The beautiful Mediterranean country of Italy is a founding member of the European Union and control is minimal for visitors from other EU countries. You can actually drive through the border of Italy and France and not realize that you have changed countries until you make your first stop for petrol. Typically, as long as you have a new type EU identification card you do not need a passport but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Visitors to Italy coming from the European Union should not be bothered by any red tape. British, Irish and other EU visitors can enter the country and stay as long as they like, providing they are carrying a valid passport. American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens also need only a passport but their stay is limited to three months. Visitors from other countries should contact their local Italian embassy or consulate. If you are going to be driving in Italy, you ill l need a valid driving license, plus an International Green Card or other form of insurance. UK driving licenses or EU pink licenses are valid, but green-colored licenses must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit. Road assistance in case of accident or car failure is very well organized in Italy. EU visitors will find that their country?s health care privileges apply in Italy and one should get the same treatment as an Italian citizen in case of a medical emergency. Customs should also not be a problem for visitors coming to Italy from the EU. Visitors from other countries should check their customs allowance as they will probably buying a lot of Italian products to take back home. Also, when traveling by car, remember that Switzerland (bordering with northern Italy) is not in the EU hence, different rules apply should you choose to visit Italy picturesque neighbor.