Italy is one of the most popular summer destinations in Europe thanks to its fantastic location strutting into the Mediterranean and some of the best weather in the world at this time of year. If you’re planning a summer holiday to Italy then it can be tricky choosing just where to go. However, we’re on hand to look at the best Italy hotspots for 2012.
Of course Rome has to make the top of our list as it’s one of the most enticing and exciting cities in Europe. With an incredibly rich history spanning the Roman Empire and Catholicism this is one of the most interesting historical cities in the world. It’s also one of the most beautiful, warm and welcoming cities in Europe and perfect for a summer break with beautiful weather throughout the summer months. In terms of sights the Roman ruins and the Coliseum are the biggest attractions and incredibly impressive.
The Coliseum is set amongst acres of ruins at the heart of the ancient Roman Empire. You can literally spend hours here and you should to get a full experience. However, the second biggest attraction is Vatican City, the smallest country in the world and contained within Rome itself. The city is spectacular and contains St. Peter’s Basilica, the Papal seat and the Sistine Chapel. St. Peter’s Basilica is a beautiful, domed and gigantic church with beautiful art and incredible architecture. However the big attraction is the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s creation and some of the most iconic art in the world; words and pictures simply can’t do justice to the beauty on display here. Beyond the big sights Rome is filled to the brim with beautiful artworks, statues, architectural gems, parks and fountains. The food is also incredible and the atmosphere relaxed and open.
Venice is one of the most popular European summer destinations and is widely considered one of the most romantic cities on earth. The waterways and canals make this an incredible destination and there is nothing quite like seeing this collection of 118 islands turned city. The canals and the architecture are by far the biggest attractions and you can happily spend your days wandering the streets or hiring an exorbitantly priced Gondola (it’s much cheaper just to take a boat tour). The Grand Canal is the highlight with its beautiful bridges and incredible surrounding architecture. Beyond the waterways Venice has a huge amount to offer travellers. St. Mark’s Basilica and St. Mark’s Square are two of the cities architectural gems and display spellbinding architecture, art and decadence. The Doge’s palace is also a highlight thanks largely to its beautiful bridge that spans the canals and the impressive collection of art on display throughout its halls. Beyond these great sights the city boasts some fantastic museums and sights but the re highlights are wandering around; stopping in glassblowers, cafes and shops as you bask in Venice’s magnificence.
The Italian Riviera
In the summer sun few places are as popular as the Italian Riviera. It’s much more like the Algarve than the Costa del Sol and retains a fantastic old world charm with beautiful stretches of beaches and more rocky stretches of spectacular scenery. Throughout the region you will find beautiful old style villages without a hit of modern concrete jungle and a lively and warm atmosphere.
Wherever you go you can find a welcoming atmosphere with fantastic food and a real local flavour that is forever appealing. In the easterly parts of the Riviera you can find the very best scenery whilst in the west you can find some of the best beaches. The Riviera di Ponente is one of the best beach areas but you might also try the idyllic San Remo and the stretch of coast around Diano Marina. Across the region you can find beautiful villages and towns to explore; Ventimiglia with its beautiful pebble beach or the flower growing region along Riviera di Fiori are two particular highlights.
Sicily remains one of the most popular beach destinations in Italy and one that retains a unique local flavour and beautiful scenery. It’s relatively passed over by travellers from the UK but it’s actually one of the most beautiful and interesting parts of Italy. The areas beaches are perhaps the biggest attraction as the island sits close to the centre of the Med- meaning incredible weather throughout the year. Almost wherever you go you can find beautiful beaches and they won’t necessarily be very crowded. The south and north east of the island have some of the nicest beaches but it is easy to find something local and beautiful.
Italy’s coastline offers a plethora of great beaches but nowhere to sights, sun and sand come together as well as in Sicily. The area has some of the best temples in Italy with Segesta, Syracuse and the sprawling ruins at Agrigento being amongst the best remains of Greek and Roman civilisations in the world. Finally the mountain village of Taormina remains one of the most popular resorts. This idyllic town is close to the beaches and boasts an incredible amphitheatre with views out towards Mount Etna; another fantastic sight not to be missed. Sicily is a fantastic summer destination but, as we’ve seen, so is most of Italy. As always, be sure to take out a valid travel insurance policy for where you intend to stay and don’t forget your EHIC card when travelling abroad. For further information please visit Insure For All and have a safe trip!