Italy

Italy is in southern Europe and is one of Europe’s most popular countries for tourism. It is known for its fashion industry, sports cars, art, history, religion, alpine lakes, mountain ranges (the Alps), beautiful coast line and delicious food.

Italy is best described when it is divided into regions and cities because each region is different and Italy’s major cities have collective attractions that make them distinctive. The four regions of Italy that seems to be fitting are:

Northern – The northern region is full of famous major attractions like the Italian Riviera, the Alps, beautiful landscapes like the Lake Como area and the canals of Venice. The major cities in the northern region that have distinctive attractions are:

• Bologna is one of the world’s great university cities that is filled with history, culture, technology and is known for its wonderful food.
• Genoa is a major port city on the Mediterranean Sea that is an entry port for tourism and trade. It was an important medieval maritime republic and is known for its art and architecture
• Milan is one of the main fashion cities of the world but also Italy’s most important center of trade and business
• Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and is known for its history, art and of course its world famous canals which makes Venice one of the most romantic cities.

Grand Canal at Dusk in Venice Italy

Central – The Central Region is best known for history, art and beautiful county side. The major cities in the central region that have distinctive attractions are:

• Florence is known for its Renaissance architecture and art that had a major impact throughout the world
• Pisa is world famous for the Leaning Tower of Pisa
• Rome is best known because it has some of the most famous remains of the Roman Empire but it is also the capital of Italy and has a vibrant big city feel. Rome is probably the most common entry point into Italy for most travelers. Rome has the largest number of things to see and places to visit.

There are many famous sites in Rome. Some of the most famous sites are the Roman Colosseum, The Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the many piazzas. These sites are famous because of history, architecture and craftsmanship. Although these are the most famous sites in Rome there are others that I would recommend seeing and I will feature these in future posts.

Southern – The Southern Region is best known for the Amalfi Coast, Capri, the ruins of Pompeii and stunning beaches. The major cities in the central region that have distinctive attractions are:

• Naples is one of the oldest cities of the Western world with a historic city center that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, Naples is the birth-place of pizza.

Sicily and Sardinia – The island of Sicily is famous for archaeology, seascapes and some of the best Italian cuisine. Sardinia is a large island with beautiful scenery, megalithic monuments and nice beaches.

Italian Food

Italian food is a big element of visiting Italy. Most people know a lot about Italian food and have their favorite Italian foods so I won’t go into too much details on Italian foods. Some of my favorite Italian foods are:

Main Dishes

• Risotto is a rice dish that has been sautéed and cooked in a shallow pan to make creamy dish. It can be made with meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables and cheese.
• Pizza is a quick and convenient meal. In most cities there are pizza shops that sell pizza by the gram.

Desserts

• Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. The non-fruit flavors are usually made only with milk. Gelato made with water and without dairy ingredients is also known as sorbet.
• Tiramisu is Italian cake made with coffee, mascarpone, and ladyfingers (sometimes rum) with cocoa powder on the top. The name means “pick-me-up”.

Wine

Italian wine is my favorite wine and I never had a bad glass of wine when in Italy. In Italy wine is drank with almost every meal.

Coffee

In Italy there are an enormous number of possible ways of having a cup of coffee.
There are various kinds of coffee and the most popular are:
• Caffè (known as “espresso”). This is the basic kind of coffee that is normally consumed at breakfast or after a meal.
• Caffè ristretto. This uses the same amount of coffee but less water making it lighter because less caffeine is extracted.
• Caffè lungo. Like ordinary coffee, but additional water is allowed to go through the coffee beans.
• Caffè americano. This has much more water and is served in a cappuccino cup. It is more like an American breakfast coffee but the quantity is far less than you would get in the States.
There are coffee drinks with milk:
• Cappuccino. If you are a coffee drinker then this needs no introduction. If you don’t like the froth you can ask for cappuccino senza schiuma.
• Caffè latte. Often served in a glass. This is a small amount of coffee with the cup/glass filled up with hot milk.
• Latte macchiato. This is a glass of milk with a dash of coffee in the top. The milk can be hot or cold.

I have made 1 trips to Italy for a total of about 9 days within the country. I have seen several of the tourist sites and some places that are unknown to most tourist but there are still many things that I want to see and I intend on returning to Italy again to see them.

Where I’ve been in Italy:

Florence
Pisa
Rome
Venice

Note: click on the link above to see my posts on archived topics from each city.
The posts about Italy in this blog will feature many of the interesting sites within Italy. I hope that you will join me as I reveal all of the wonderful things that Italy has to offer.