To truly experience Italy, be sure to go to the incredible Sistine Chapel on a private after-hours visit, the glorious Vatican Museums, the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, the famous St. Peter’s Basilica, and the largest amphitheatre ever built – the Colosseum - while venturing in Rome. See for yourself how the unfortunate town of Pompeii came to be frozen in time following the almighty volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the first century. Venturing in Florence has to include admiring Michelangelo’s Statue of David, among other impressive art collections within the Accademia Gallery. In Venice, the majestic Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs, and a gondola ride on the romantic canals are an absolute must. On Luxury Gold’s ‘Ultimate Italy’ 13-day tour, experiencing all of these major landmarks is a given. You’ll get to do all this in true VIP style with exclusive, private access and no waiting in line as you visit the best that Rome, the Isle of Capri, Florence, Tuscany and Venice have to offer - perfetto!
Do you know your bucantini from your cannelloni? Italy does pasta like nowhere else; hundreds of different kinds exist and when you add to that the multitude of options for accompanying rich sauces, sampling the ultimate pasta dish becomes quite the adventure. Together with pizza, these noteworthy Italian staples are not the end of the story. In Venice, you might be surprised to learn that rice, rather than pasta, will typically be served alongside delicious fish dishes. The antipasto (the traditional first course before a main meal) takes many guises, usually in the form of cured or pickled meats, olives, a variety of vegetables, or an assortment of cheeses. And when it comes to desserts, Italian treats like gelato, tiramisu, biscotti, tartufo (an ice-cream based dessert, usually with a syrup or frozen fruit centre) and zeppole (deep-fried dough balls) are a must for anyone with a sweet tooth.
If you love wine, you will be in your element in Italy, with over 70 DOCG wines (the highest classification, indicating the finest production and quality) to choose from. Wine is in itself an ‘event’ in Italy; you can visit vineyards, learn the secrets of the best grape-growing techniques, make an afternoon or evening of wine tasting, and of course savour the optimum varieties while dining. Chianti, Prosecco, Gavi di Gavi and Barolo are just some of many delights you can try during an Italian vacation.
While your first thoughts of Italian scenery are likely to be the picturesque canals of Venice, Italy boasts a range of surprisingly varied landscapes, with everything from the highest Alpine mountain - Monte Bianco (more commonly known as Mont Blanc), to the ancient canyons of the Po Valley. Olive groves and vineyards, the warm, crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean, Italian Riviera towns, and 13 volcanoes all have their place.
Given the diverse landscapes in Italy, native Italian wildlife is equally varied and includes: marmots, Alpine ibexes, rabbits, wolves, lynxes, stoats, owls, woodpeckers, golden eagles, herons, deer, mountain hares, crested porcupines, badgers and chamois (goat-antelopes with short horns).