GMT +1 hour
Art, history and mouth-watering cuisine
With thousands of years of history to be discovered in well-loved cities, outstanding natural landscapes – from coast to countryside – world-renowned cuisine all within such easy reach of home, it’s no surprise Italy is one of our most popular destinations. Despite its popularity it is relatively easy to get off the beaten track here, you just need to journey south to the country’s ‘heel’ and explore the somewhat unique regions of Puglia and Basilicata.
- This is an ideal destination for a multi-centre holiday – we recommend following an art or culture-based city break with a beach, lake or countryside stay
- Foodies will love the culinary themed Highlights of Sicily and Highlights of Tuscany tours
- If you are seeking solitude, as well as fine food and wine, retreat to a converted monastery overlooking Chianti's rolling hills
- For those with more unique tastes should spend a few nights in an ancient sassi, or cave, in the town of Matera, Basilicata
- Join the A-listers on the shores of Lake Como in one of the region’s grand hotels
Best time to visit Italy
• The days are brighter and sunnier from March to October
• If you're exploring the countryside or cities then it's more relaxing and less crowded during the quieter periods of the year (November to February)
• From November to June many outdoor swimming pools are closed and from November to May a number of beaches are not accessible. We advise checking with your Personal Travel Expert before travel to avoid disappointment.
Italy holiday highlights
Relax on the impossibly romantic shores of Lake Garda which sits in the foothills of the majestic Dolomites and offers breathtaking views, charming restaurants and gorgeous trails for walking and mountain-biking.
Admire the beauty of ancient Rome, from the dramatic Colosseum to the peaceful Palatine during your holiday in Italy. Glide by gondola down the Grand Canal in the iconic city of Venice - a perfect mosaic of islands linked by an intricate network of canals.Visit Florence - the driving force of the Renaissance, which created a heartbreakingly beautiful city boasting an abundance of cultural treasures.
The city of Matera in Basilicata is beautifully carved out of the white rocky cliffs. Wander around the underground labyrinth of streets and churches, and discover the region’s incredible caves. Explore the picturesque town of Alberobello in Puglia which appears to have sprung out of the pages of a fairytale book and is famous for the distinctive conical roofs of the white-washed Trulli houses that pepper the pretty landscape.
Visit the Neapolitan Riviera and enjoy breathtaking views along the Amalfi Drive, cruising up a slender ribbon road along jagged cliffs zig-zagging into the clouds. Discover the small resorts of the Riviera and roam the impossibly romantic and resplendent gardens of Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, described by Gore Vidal as ‘the most beautiful view in the world’.
Whilst visiting Rural Tuscany, secure tickets to Palio in Siena – the most famous bareback horserace in history – where the riders and their steeds strut past the crowds in colourful finery. Experience one of Italy's oldest folklore displays with the famous Festa di Ceri in Gubbio, Umbria. Watch men run down uneven steep streets with enormous wobbling saints’ heads.
Explore the Old Town and charming castles of Sardinia's historic capital city Cagliari and watch a sea of pink flamingos feed in the surrounding marshes.
The snow-capped mountains and rolling hills of Merano in the north provide the perfect setting for a wellness holiday. This charming spa town is home to thermal springs, spellbinding Alpine scenery and Villa Eden, an award-winning luxury medical spa that offers excellent wellbeing and fitness boosters, and anti-ageing and weight loss packages.
Hiring a car is one of the best ways to discover everything that Italy has to offer. It gives you the freedom to explore historical sites, beautiful landscapes and friendly cultures at your own pace. Escape the crowds and venture off the beaten track to follow winding roads through rolling hills peppered with tiny villages and castle ruins; explore the rugged coastline and find secluded beaches; or choose your own wine route and stop off at vineyards for tastings.
Independent exploration of Italy opens up a world of fascinating sights and mesmerising scenery from the vertiginous cliff-top roads of the breathtaking Amalfi Coast to Tuscany’s glorious countryside and medieval towns, and the majestic peaks that border the romantic shores of Italy’s enchanting lakes.
It's also a great way to experience an authentic flavour of your chosen destination – enjoy traditional meals in family-run trattorias, sip espressos with the locals in sleepy hamlets, and stop off at a farm shop to buy soft, freshly-baked bread, delicious cheeses and organic olive oil. Speak to your Personal Travel Expert to find out about our car hire options.
Recommended Italy Hotels
7 nights, Room & Breakfast, 16 Jul '18
5 nights, Dinner & Breakfast, 17 May '18
5 nights, Dinner & Breakfast, 03 May '18
5 nights, Dinner & Breakfast, 05 Oct '18
Suggested Italy Cruises
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