With more art, culture and UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country, defining Italy is no mean feat.
A good place to begin are the beautiful cities of Venice, Milan and Rome.
The pull of Venice is hard to resist. Pick your way through its winding streets or visit characterful islands just a short vaporetto ride away.
Milan is the perfect destination for fashionistas. La vida moda (the stylish life) is in evidence everywhere. Milan’s pavements are like catwalks, filled with well-dressed Milanese and lined with the biggest names in the fashion industry. It’s one of the best places on the planet for people watching. But we love the views from the top of the cathedral best of all – on a clear day you can peer through its forest of church spires and see all the way to the Alps.
In Rome you’ll find reminders of its empirical past at every turn. Crumbling frescos, towering columns, and the unmissable spectacles of the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain will keep you in awe for hours, if not days. Visit the Vatican or the Borghese Gallery. Stand a few feet from the masterpieces of Michelangelo and Raphael. Or, for a true sense of Roman life, turn away from the main tourist hotspots and wander the labyrinth of cobbled streets of Trastevere.
After the sensory overload of the cities, the coast and countryside beckon. Head to the Italian Lakes, where snowy peaks meet vast bodies of water, or the sky-blue waters of the Amalfi Coast.
When to go
There’s no right or wrong time to visit. Italy tends to be quieter and a little cooler from April to June and mid-September to October. That said, the country’s major cities are just as beautiful in winter and you’ll still manage to find a quiet beach in high summer if you look far enough.