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A feast of art, food and scenery

Italy holidays can be whatever you want them to be – and they call it the ‘beautiful country’ for a reason. The long, narrow, boot-shaped nation is edged by a 7600 kilometre coastline, which encompasses rolling vineyards, white beaches, towns and villages sprung from romantic fairytales, and towering mountain ranges that turn into a winter sports playground during the ski season.

This country has always excelled at the finer things in life – whether fashion, design, coffee, or ice-cream. But there’s also so much else to enjoy on holidays to Italy, from Michelangelo’s artworks to outdoor opera, and from coastal clubbing to drinks on sun-dappled piazzas.

If you like to holiday with your toes dabbling in warm Mediterranean, head to the Puglian, Sardinian or Sicilian coasts. For art and architecture, the cities of Rome, Florence and Naples are practically bursting with masterpieces, as well as some of the world’s most famous ancient sites, including Pompeii and the Colosseum. Venice is a city that seems to float on its historic canals, lined by extraordinarily picturesque palaces and churches. Other highlights include pastel-painted villages clinging to the Amalfi Coast, the volcanic summit of Mount Vesuvius overlooking the Bay of Naples, the rich culture and cuisine of Sicily, and the celebrity-thronged lakes of Como and Garda. Style hunters and art lovers will want to head to sophisticated Milan, Italy’s fashion and design capital and home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. With everything from scenic splendour to the perfect pizza, Italy is the ideal setting for a memorable holiday.

Three tips for a top trip

Load up on carbs Fabulous ingredients and fine cooking are in the Italian DNA. There are incredible regional pasta specialities, and will you prefer the pizza in Naples or Rome?
See art for free Many of Italy’s masterpieces are housed in churches, so you can see thousands of artworks and some of the world’s finest architecture without spending a cent.
Take something smart Italians are famous for their sense of style and like to get dressed up, so a holiday here is a great chance to get your glad rags out.

Don’t-miss dates in Italy

February

In the week of Shrove Tuesday Italy celebrates carnival, with parades and processions in many towns, the most famous of which is the masquerade in Venice.

Easter

Holy Week, leading up to Easter Sunday, sees some of Italy’s biggest religious celebrations, with colourful processions all over the country, most famously in Taranto, Puglia.

July and August

You’re pretty well guaranteed perfect beach weather during the summer months, and it’s a great time to travel here, with food and music festivals and a party atmosphere.

Best things to do in Italy

Take a Tuscan road trip

Travel around winding lanes through vine-lined hills, visit some of Italy’s prettiest villages, enjoy wine-tasting at local vineyards, and take in the view from medieval hilltop towns.

Visit ancient Rome

The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon and the Appian Way – in no other city are there so many extraordinary reminders of this ancient empire.

Hit the Amalfi Coast

To see some of Italy’s epic coastal scenery, with sea cliffs and terraces overlooked by grand Italian villas, take a dreamy boat trip along the beautiful Amalfi Coast.