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All About Italy - Virtual Travel Guide

Where do fine food and wine, history, culture, art, and romance all come together? In Italy, of course! This beautiful country, also known as Italia, is world famous for its wonderful food, beautiful landscapes, unique art treasures and passionate operas. Visitors to Italy have many activities and attractions from which to choose and often end up coming back repeatedly to explore the country more thoroughly

 

How location and geography influence Italy

Italy is located in the heart of Mediterranean Europe, bordered by France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. Its strategic and cultural importance has been the source of envy, desire, and action over more than three thousand years. The land is productive and fertile, while the climate is comfortable and enjoyable. Italy boasts an assortment of terrain, from rugged mountains to pristine beaches and so much in between.

   

Art, history and culture

With over three thousand years of history, you can be sure that Italy is full of art, history and culture. Visitors can spend time at famous Roman ruins such as the Coliseum or take in some of the world's most significant art collections at the many acclaimed museums in Italy. There is a rich assortment of medieval history all across Italy, ranging from ancient towns to rugged forts. A particularly interesting place to visit is the Roman Civilization Museum, where travelers can spend hours enjoying the largest collection of Roman artifacts in the world. The museum also boasts an amazing scale reproduction of what Rome looked like around 500 B.C.

 

The island extravaganza

Italy boasts extraordinary coastal areas and beaches – after all, it is a large peninsula surrounded by seas. Many travelers decide to go beyond the traditional coastline areas and venture out to one of Italy's scenic island regions. Some of the most popular include Sicily, Capri, Elba, Sardinia, and Procida, where you can spend your days strolling through the markets, taking in the scenic beauty, and exploring some of the most historic resort areas anywhere in the Mediterranean Sea.

 

A taste of Italy

If you like to eat, then Italy is the vacation spot for you. There is an amazing assortment of cuisine that varies from region to region, emphasizing local ingredients in nearly every case. Breakfasts tend to be small and light, with lunch and dinner being the main meals. Cappuccino and coffee are abundant at all times of day, so there is no reason to set aside your need for caffeine just because you're on vacation.

Italian restaurants are famous for presenting food as nearly an art form. It is not unusual for a restaurant or even a town to have a traditional specialty dish, so be adventurous. Check the menu, talk with your server, and try something other than spaghetti, lasagna or pizza.

   

The rugged side of Italy

The mountains in Italy are rugged and scenic. The Alps and the Apennines both offer excellent skiing in winter plus hiking, biking, and camping in the summer. Many travelers don't realize just how rugged the mountains of Italy can be, because the country has such a reputation as a Mediterranean destination. Rest assured, though, that visitors to the Alps or the Apennines will experience mountainous terrain every bit as spectacular as anywhere else in Europe.

 

Climate and weather

The climate and weather in Italy is typically Mediterranean, especially along the coastal areas. You can expect summers to be dry and hot, while winters are usually mild. The weather can be changeable in fall, winter, and spring, so travelers should dress in layers to accommodate changes easily. A good windbreaker, lightweight cotton shirts and pants, and sturdy walking shoes are always good choices to bring along, along with heavier clothing if you plan to venture into the mountainous regions during cooler times of the year.

All About Venice - Virtual Travel Guide

Venice is different from other European cities because instead of being built in dry land, it is built across 177 islands located in the mudflats of the Venetian Lagoon in the Adriatric Sea. These islands shape and support the city of Venice thanks to the layer upon layer of wooden posts and foundation material poured into the muddy bottom through the centuries. Venice is essentially a series of interconnected rafts, all built on mudflats and constantly in need of support and repair.

The classic Venetian travel experience is to meander through the canals in a gondola, water taxi or water bus (also known as motoscafi or vaporetti). The streets are so tight and so crowded in Venice that regular taxis are banned from the city, and even bicycles are frowned upon as a mode of transportation. Perhaps no vacation experience is quite as wonderful as cruising along the Grand Canal with taking in the architecture and splendor of the many buildings that line both sides of the canal

Historic locations in Venice

Venice is an enchanting destination that attracts and affects travelers thanks to its sense of romance and its uniqueness. Along with all of this romance, though, come historic locations all over the city that attract and hold the interest of vacationing people. All along the Grand Canal are churches, monasteries, piazzas and more, most of which are easily accessible to the public. Many of the most interesting museums, galleries, palaces, and examples of architectural diversity are in the area immediately surrounding the Piazza of San Marco, or St. Mark's Square.

This large piazza is located in the center of Venice and is a main hub of bustling city life. It is surrounded by the Doge's Palace and St Mark's Basilica, as well as St Mark's Campanile. The bell tower stands separate from the church and is the tallest building in Venice, with impressive views from the top. After exploring the wonders of St. Mark's Square, many visitors move along to one of the city's many museums. The Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the Museo Di Storia Naturale (Natural History Museum) are two of the most popular.

Accommodations in Venice

Venice has a large selection of hotels and guesthouses, many located on, near, or with great views of the canals. Visitors who want a luxurious experience can easily find hotels that provide such an experience, but there are plenty of lower cost options such as lodging houses, bed & breakfast, or hostels. Be aware that because Venice is such a tourist-oriented city, hotels and other accommodations are frequently full. This means prices will tend to go up, and travelers need to book their rooms well in advance if they are to be assured of having a place to stay.

Getting to Venice

The nearest international airport to Venice is Marco Polo International airport, located on the mainland in Tessera. It is linked to Venice's bus and train stations, and also to St Mark's Square by water taxi. While it is far more practical to take the bus or train to get from the airport into the city, why not allow some extra time and take a water taxi instead? The pace will be more relaxed, you will have a better opportunity to soak up the atmosphere, and it is just more fun than taking a plain old bus or train.

All About Tuscany - Virtual Travel Guide

In central Italy lies a wonderful travel destination – Tuscany. This region is widely regarded by travellers as one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. It is known for its beautiful landscapes, rolling wooded hills, and olive groves. Tuscany enjoys a warm, Mediterranean climate that makes it pleasant year round.

Tuscany is famous as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and its museums contain a wealth of beautiful artistic treasures that are truly a wonder to see in person. Florence is the capital city of Tuscany, and was a central location where the Renaissance grew and flourished. Many of the world’s most famous and important works of art are displayed in the Uffizi Gallery located right in Florence. The Arno River runs in and around the city, which required the building of many stunning bridges just so the inhabitants could move around. One of the most beautiful and most photographed of these bridges is the Ponte Vecchio.

The architecture in Florence is noteworthy as well. Tourists are astounded by amazing structures and locations such as San Lorenzo, the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, and the striking Sante Maria de Fiore, commonly known as the Duomo. Other towns in Tuscany also have architectural sights, such as the Cathedral and Piazza del Campo in Siena, the famous leaning tower in Pisa, and the wide city walls of Lucca where tourists can stroll around and take in the city. Tuscany is home to another famous location - the island of Elba, the exile location of Napoleon. Boat tours are available to Elba, where you can explore the island and learn more about its place in history.

And of course, this being Italy, there is wonderful cuisine to be found throughout Tuscany. The region is famous for its food and particularly its award winning wines, so leave your diet at home on this vacation. Visitors can dine in the many restaurants, pizzeria and bars, or tour the vineyards and try Tuscany's home grown wines such as Chianti and Morellino di Scansano.

History buffs will enjoy visiting the Lunigiana area of Tuscany. It is located between the Apuan Alps and the coast, and is characterized by rolling hills planted with row after row of chestnuts. The medieval villages of Lunigiana are most interesting; Fivizzano and Fosdinovo are just two examples of places where you can catch a glimpse of what Tuscany was like several hundred years ago.

There are many festivals and celebrations throughout Italy, but especially in the Tuscany region. The most famous (or perhaps foolish, depending on your point of view) of these is the Palio. This extraordinary horse race can date its origins back to medieval times and is still run in much the same way it was back then. Riders race their horses through the town center in Siena, pushing and shoving each other mercilessly in order to win the race. Accidents are common, usually resulting in injury to the rider, the horse, or both.

Tuscany offers a wide range of accommodation from luxurious and comfortable hotels in the cities, to cosy guesthouses, farmhouses, villas, and even campsites. The towns of Tuscany are picturesque, friendly, and charming places to stop and stay for a while. There is plenty of sunshine to go around, so whether you choose a five star resort or an intimate guesthouse, be sure to bring along your sunscreen and hat.

Air travel to Tuscany is easy via the Peretola International Airport, and once on the ground there are several options for getting around the region. The public transportation system is generally reliable, with trains that regularly run connections among the towns of Pisa, Prato, Siena, and Lucca, just to name a few. Towns and cities that are not served by rail can be reached via buses and motor coaches. You can easily get where you need to go using public transportation in and among the towns of Tuscany, but if you plan to venture out into the more rural and undeveloped areas you should plan to rent a car to use as transportation.

Posters of Italy

Buy Beautiful Posters, Prints & Calendars

This page is dedicated to posters, prints and calendars of Italy. We are offering these in affiliation with AllPosters.com. As always, we only recommend products to you that we are entirely happy with ourselves. We have already ordered a collection of panoramic detination posters and prints from AllPosters.com which will be adorning Travel Scrappa's office walls very soon!

These products are beautiful and of a very high quality. Although we don't produce and distribute them ourselves, we do take our user feedback very seriously. So if you've purchased products from this supplier, we'd love to hear your feedback — good or bad.

See our favorite posters, calendars and art prints below. These feature images of Italy's beautiful scenes and landscapes including, Rome, Venice, Florence and rural Tusany. Click on the images below to see larger versions and hundreds more.