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Italy: La Dolce Vita

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Italy: La Dolce Vita

story by: Mike Williams

La Dolce Vita – the sweet life – is an expression that perfectly sums up Italy.

Gondolas on Venetian canals, the Roman Colosseum, sundrenched vineyards in Tuscany – all of these classic scenarios speak to the Italian way of life in a way words can’t describe.

Italy is the birthplace of the Renaissance, having offered up a legacy of art, music, poetry and architecture that is almost unparalleled worldwide.

The people of Italy are equally as unique as the country itself – passionate and gregarious, fun-loving and friendly, and always dedicated to family.

Rome, Florence and Venice are abuzz with the daily hustle and bustle of inner-city tourism, but the Italian countryside offers a beautiful escape for those who prefer a quieter pace of life.

Your own backcountry adventure
A great way to explore Italy is by getting behind the wheel, either by yourself or choosing a guided holiday.

Here, life slows down a little – even outside of siesta time. Take time to savour a new local wine, linger over a tantalising lunch whilst overlooking the olive trees and stroll through the delightful cobblestone villages to really get into life as the locals do.

The Maremma region of southern Tuscany is a particular treat, with charming seaside towns such as Porto Ercole and Porto San Stefano, as well as medieval gems like Massa Marittima. Ensure you slow to a stop when you reach Etruscan treasures like Pitigliano, a speck of a city superbly squeezed onto a narrow, rocky ridge.

After a day of exploring, you’ll no doubt have worked up an appetite, but with so much variety in delicious Italian cuisine it can be tough to whittle it down to a single choice.

Roman indulgence
Nowhere is food more important than Italy, and when in Rome it pays to do as the Romans do and savour the delights of this great city.

Enjoy a slice of gourmet pizza served among jostling, exquisitely dressed Romans, a gelato in delectable Piazza Navona and finish up with Ravioli for dinner near the Spanish Steps.

With nearly 3000 years of history literally under your feet there is so much to discover in Rome. The chic shopping districts and historical highlights will tempt you into frenzy, including Vatican City, the Colosseum, Piazza Navona, the Roman Forum and Castel Sant’Angelo plus much, much more.

Fashionable Florence
The mix of the old and new world is no more evident than in Florence, the true heart of Tuscany and a city that boasts a seamless blend of history and modern culture. Overflowing with museums, galleries and churches, the city is a showcase for the world’s greatest artists including Michelangelo and Botticelli. Fashionistas can explore Florence’s famous markets and window shop along the Ponte Vecchio. Pick up some of the city’s wonderful Italian leather and linger over a lunch in one of the picturesque cobblestone squares.

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