Italy Travel Review

Italy Images/Photos
Images of Italy

Did you know: The average Italian consumes half a pound of bread a day.

Italy Map

Italy History

The heart of the Roman Empire, Italy provides an insight into a civilization that was the foundation of today's political, architectural, artistic, religious and culinary standards. Well known movies like Ben Hur and Spartacus provide an entertaining glimpse of Roman times, but we cannot conceive their true impact until we stand in the Colosseum and realize....this place ACTUALLY EXISTS!

Although there are many great cities to visit, we recommend starting in Rome. Capital of one of the greatest empires known to man, it will always be known as the "Eternal City". Fringed by the Tiber River, its roots lie shrouded in the mists of history. According to legend, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus were born around 771 B.C., the offspring of the god Mars and the mother Rhea Silvia. They were abandoned and left in the Tiber River to die, but were later saved by a she-wolf. As they grew to adulthood, the two became leaders, but struggled for power, Romulus killing Remus and founding the city named in his own honor. The Romans were the dominant culture in western Europe and the Mediterranean region for over 700 years. Along with Greece, Rome and its surrounding countryside is considered the birthplace of modern western civilization. Along with Florence and Venice, Rome holds treasures depicting life over the last 3,000 years.

Italy Locations of Interest

Rome is a place where you can view the latest trends in fashion and film while strolling cobblestone streets laid two millennia ago. Any student of history has heard of the Colloseum and the Roman Forum, but there are literally thousands of fascinating sites in the area worth visiting. Home to the only nation on Earth where population growth has always been zero (Vatican City), visitors can walk through the Sistine Chapel to view Michelangelo's masterpieces and later make a wish before throwing a coin into the famous Trevi Fountain. Magnificent carved stone structures from centuries ago retain their beauty, inviting tourists to view them from different angles for that perfect photograph. You do not need (nor do you want) a car. The city is quite walkable and many of the most famous historical sites are nearby. The most popular locations include the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Vatican, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. Where to eat is simple because there is no bad food. Italian cooking is much lighter than our versions and always fresh. The wines seem less potent and can be consumed with all meals without feeling tipsy (O.K.- maybe not for breakfast). For those between site rests, we recommend sitting at any outdoor cafe and partaking of a hot cup of cappuccino. Art is everywhere and although we find most of ours in museums, the best place to see great art is in the churches...any all are magnificent. You should set aside three or four days of your trip to Italy for visiting Rome.

Florence is the city where the Renaissance began around the year 1350; visitors can see Michelangelo's 'David' along with masterpieces by Giotto, Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio and many others in the Galleria Uffizi. Art lovers come here to marvel at the thousands of priceless works of architecture, painting and sculpture which caused the transformation of society from the Middle Ages into the modern era. The nearby countryside is equally beautiful, beckoning tourists to stroll along their streets where centuries of human have tread along rustic trails in towns like Siena and San Gimignano. The Etruscan countryside contains the Necropolis, where you can climb down into the tombs which date back to the year 9 B.C. The seaside city of Portofino is lovely with its pastel colored buildings fringing the harbor.

Venice is famous not only for its charming gondoliers cruising the Grande Canal, but also its splendid Piazzo San Marco, breathtaking to behold. Venice is one of the world's most romantic cities. From Doge's Palace to the lovely Rialto Bridge, you'll be inspired by the essence of this ancient metropolis as French novelist Marcel Proust was on his first visit when he wrote: "My dream became my address." Another famous author- Ernest Hemingway- spent time in Venice having his favorite cocktails at the venerable Harry's Bar from which he included scenes in his his novel 'Across the River and Into the Trees'. Venice is known for its Murano glass, hand made lace and gold jewelry. You can actually visit the small nearby islands that produce these wonders by taking the Murano-Burano-Torcello boat excursions that are called out all day at St Marks water edge. Spend a day just walking the small streets and crossing the many canals. Each turn provides a new delight and you will find yourself repeating one of Indiana Jones' lines "Awe....Venice".

Italy Customs and Culture

Italy is home to so many things worth experiencing, making a list is almost unnecessary. The cuisine is first rate and includes numerous locally grown vegetables, dozens of varieties of homemade pasta, freshly pressed extra-virgin olive oil and desserts which will astound you. The wines- both red and white- are ranked as some of the finest in the world. The personnel in many of the hotels, restaurants and museums speak English, so getting around is not a problem. The problem is finding the time to take it all in! For first time visitors, a minimum 7-10 day excursion is recommended, split equally between Rome, Florence and Venice which will provide a good sampling of this wonderful culture. A trip to Italy can be easily made by yourself and does not require a tour group or any special preparation.

Italy Top Five Attractions

Way too many to list, but here are some of the "best of the best":




When in Rome do as the Romans! ENJOY- the food...the art...the wine...and the history!!!