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Venice's canals, Italy

Italy Travel Guide

Boasting timeless beauty and rich cultural heritage, there’s very little that Italy can’t offer. Explore the iconic city of Rome, where ancient ruins like the Colosseum and Roman Forum transport you back in time. Immerse yourself in the art of Renaissance in Florence, home to Michelangelo's David and magnificent cathedrals. Indulge in the romance of Venice, with its charming canals and gondola rides. Italy's diverse regions offer a wealth of travel experiences, from the stunning Amalfi Coast to the picturesque Tuscan countryside. Whether you're indulging in authentic Italian cuisine, admiring masterpieces in world-class museums, or simply strolling through narrow cobblestone streets, Italy captivates your senses at every turn.

One of the highlights of travelling in Italy is the chance to indulge in its culinary delights. Taste the flavours of fresh pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and gelato made with love. Sip on fine wines in the vineyards of Tuscany or enjoy a coffee in a quaint café. Explore the vibrant local markets and try regional specialities like Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or prosciutto in Emilia-Romagna. Italy's warm hospitality, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural treasures make it a captivating destination that leaves a lasting impression. From bustling cities to the idyllic countryside, Italy offers a travel experience that combines history, art, and culinary delights in a truly unforgettable way.

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  • Culture vultures will be in holiday heaven as thousands of years of history ooze with Italian charm in this cultural country. 
  • Close to home, and with only an hour’s time difference, Italy is a nearby destination that offers the gap year traveller amazing new experiences without the culture shock. 
  • It’s easy to travel to - Only a short flight away, and you don’t need to worry about visas, just hop on a plane and get going!
  • You can work in Italy without having to jump through too many legal hoops. 
  • It’s easy to hop between sensational sights in this picture-postcard-pretty and compact country. 
  • With pizza and pasta a-plenty, the food in Italy is mouth-wateringly fresh and delicious. 
  • See the seat of one of the world’s most ancient empires and roll through the ravishing countryside and relish the Roman ruins.

Rome: Home to ancient civilisations, the magnificent Coliseum, more Roman ruins than you can shake a stick at and bursting with cosmopolitan cool. Don’t miss the Vatican, an independent state within a city, with the splendour of St. Peter’s and the stunning Sistine chapel. Get lost in the hustle and bustle of Rome and marvel at the Italian magic, where ancient meets modern in this chic and stylish capital.

  • Fall for the romance of Rome, with its inspirational Italian squares, the power of St. Peter’s Basilica, the conquering might of the Coliseum and the sensational ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Have flights of fancy at the Forum, sweep down the Spanish steps or toss a coin in the towering Trevi fountain as Italian cool lurks around every corner. It’s the stuff that empires are made of! 
  • Be floored by fabulous Florence as you take in the grandeur of the Grand Tour and go culture crazy in this rare Renaissance treat. Bold and beautiful, Florence is home to some of Europe’s most amazing art, so make sure you stop off at the ultimate Uffizi gallery and fall in love with Leonardo or melt over Michelangelo. 
  • Invest in a Venetian adventure and see the wonderful waterways in the theatrical setting of Venice.  Cruise along the canals and pass under the Rialto Bridge, marvel at St. Mark’s Square and see glassmaking on the island of Murano. With churches, art and culture around every corner, Venice oozes romance and rare charm and is a city not to be missed. 
  • Invest in a Venetian adventure and see the wonderful waterways in the theatrical setting of Venice.  Cruise along the canals and pass under the Rialto Bridge, marvel at St. Mark’s Square and see glassmaking on the island of Murano. With churches, art and culture around every corner, Venice oozes romance and rare charm and is a city not to be missed. 
  • Invest in a Venetian adventure and see the wonderful waterways in the theatrical setting of Venice.  Cruise along the canals and pass under the Rialto Bridge, marvel at St. Mark’s Square and see glassmaking on the island of Murano. With churches, art and culture around every corner, Venice oozes romance and rare charm and is a city not to be missed. 
  • Wander around wine country as you get lost in the languid land of Tuscany. Slow down your pace and take it all in as you find yourself seduced by a little bit of Tuscan magic in the Italian countryside. 
  • See Europe’s most iconic tower, and learn that perfection isn’t everything in Pisa. The leaning tower is not Pisa’s only attraction; with pristine piazzas that offer an authentic taste of Italy, Pisa is well worth a pit stop. 
  • Climb along the captivating cliffs of Italy’s coastal region and see the UNESCO site of the Cinque Terre; five unspoilt mountain villages that have withstood the trappings of time and give a glimpse into Italy’s rural and rustic past. 

Italian cuisine is hailed as one of the finest and most delicious in Europe, and Italian cooking prides itself on its simplicity. Relying on the quality of the produce, Italian cooking uses only a few ingredients to create fresh and sensational meals. Pizzas are thin-based and sparing with the cheese, whereas pasta is served just cooked, or ‘al dente’ and comes in endless shapes, from swirls of fusilli to strings of spaghetti. Potato dumplings known as gnocchi are also popular, as are regional specialities such as the Venetian risotto, a rice-based dish, or the maize meal called polenta. Fresh seafood, tomatoes, meat and onions are common ingredients on any Italian menu, as are cheeses, including parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella. 

Italian suppers start late and are leisurely affairs, with each morsel being savoured at a slow pace. Often consisting of several courses, meals include tasty antipasto starters, pasta or risotto, followed by a meat and a cheese course, topped off with some true Italian coffee and a scoop of delicious gelato (ice cream).  Follow with an Italian liqueur and you’ll be enjoying a gastronomic feast well into the night! 

Italy is a country of climate contrasts, with the image of the Italian Riviera giving the idea that Italy is all about long hot summers. The reality is somewhat different, with winters being long and harsh in some areas, such as around the Alps. Florence is sheltered and swelters in summer, as does Rome, where temperatures skyrocket in the summer months of July and August, which are also the busiest tourist and holiday season. 

Venice can be humid in summer, due to its watery location, and can have bright and biting winter days.  If you head south to areas such as Sardinia or Sicily then winters remain mild and summers are long and leisurely. Italy is a great year-round destination due to the varied climate, and its historic sights and cultural charisma can be enjoyed whatever the weather. 


British travellers do not need a visa to enter Italy, just a passport valid until at least the end of their stay (although you should always allow for three months left on your passport when travelling). 


Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel.

The official language of Italy is Italian, which is descended partly from the ancient Latin language and is spoken by the majority of the population. 

Italy uses a two-pronged European plug and the charge is 220V. British appliances will require a universal adaptor. 

As a European country, Italy does not differ greatly from the UK in its culture and customs. Italy is a predominantly Catholic country and in religious sites and churches, it is customary to cover your shoulders and not to wear shorts or short skirts.  When you get to know people in Italy, you may be greeted with a kiss on both cheeks and hospitality is also very important, especially around meals and Italian food. 

Life passes on Italian time, which is leisurely and not always punctual, so expect everything to run a little late. The British love of queues is largely ignored in Italy so expect to be elbowed aside on occasion! 


Healthcare is good in Italy, and for British travellers, you should obtain a European Health Insurance Card before you travel, which entitles you to emergency medical treatment in Italy. You must also make sure you have appropriate travel and health insurance in place before you go. 


Italy is generally a very safe location to travel to, but be alert for pickpockets and petty crime, especially in the larger cities such as Rome and Florence, and in tourist areas. Rental cars can be targeted so don’t leave valuables in your car, and public transport is another common target.  Begging can also be a problem in bigger cities. Don’t buy goods from illegal street vendors who are to be found on most city streets. See our general guide to safety when travelling for further advice. 

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