Best romantic holiday: Italy
Italy has long been associated with love and romance and is a country full of colour and contrast. It was not only shaped by Roman civilisation, Germanic, Greek and Moorish influences played their part as well.
Many of Italy's main regions proudly protect their traditions, with different areas characterised by unique histories, art, food and commerce.
Geography: Italy is located in southern Europe and includes the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea; Sicily and Sardinia. The boot-shaped country shares its northern borders with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia, with the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic Seas' smothering the southern region.
Venice is a city made for lovers
Currency: The Euro
Climate: The influence of the sea and the protection given by the alpine mountains give Italy a pleasant temperate climate. However, winter in the Alps is very cold and foggy. The summer is hot and dry, but the temperature on the coast is cooled by sea breezes.
GMT: Italy is one hour ahead of GMT.
Visa: If you hold a valid British passport, you will not need a visa for a visit of less than 90 days.
Language: There are quite a few dialects spoken in Italy (including Sicilian and Sardinian) but the main language is Italian. As English is not widely spoken, keep your phrase book handy.
Do's & Don'ts
- Do wear conservative clothes when visiting religious buildings and traditional communities.
- Don't forget to tip generously when you can.
Getting there/getting around
It's also possible to travel by car to Italy via France. RailEurope have details of various train routes to the country. Urban Italy has a good transport infrastructure so getting around shouldn't be a problem.
With 38,000 hotels and motels, there's no shortage of accommodation in Italy. Most motels have all-inclusive rates.
If you want to rent a room in a house during your stay, you'll need to contact the local tourist office of the city you wish to stay in. You'll need to go through the same process if you wish to stay in youth hostel accommodation. Camping is also very popular in Italy. Check out Easy Camping and Interhike for more details.
The exquisite Trevi Fountain
Sightseeing & activities
Italy is popular for its cities as well as its breathtaking countryside. Venice and Verona are the perfect cities to take someone you love.
The masked balls and courtesans of Venice may be no more, but the air of romance within the city lives on. Venice is made up of 117 islands, all linked to the mainland town of Mestre. The architecture, winding waterways and beautiful bridges are just some of the features that make Venice unique. The churches and basilicas provide the decorative icing on the cake of this magical city.
Well worth a visit is Castelvecchio - Verona's main castle, which for the last 80 years, has been a museum displaying most of the city's artistic masterpieces.
A trip to Verona wouldn't be complete without experiencing the Veronese Opera, which takes place in the city's main amphitheatre, Arena di Verona.
Entertainment & nightlife
Verona is a city of culture and romance, rather than a party town. There's more on offer in the way of good quality restaurants and understated bars.
Nearby Venice has more to offer for the pleasure seeker. The bars and nightclubs are in St. Mark's Square, Cannaregio, and San Polo areas. But be aware that Venitian nightclubs are few in number due to strict local laws on noise pollution.
Food & drink
Italian food tends to be light and healthy and is accompanied by a range of salad combinations tossed in first-rate olive oil. Pasta is a staple, making an appearance in most meals. Breakfasts are light in Italy - usually coffee accompanied by a light breakfast cake, such as brioche.
Italy has arguable one of the best cuisines in the world so remember not to just stick to pizza.
The final word
Tanya Gould, 22, says: "Italy's a great country and I've been many times. Venice has to be the most memorable city I've been to. A ride on a gondola with your boyfriend around the widening canals is enough of a reason to go. It makes Venice such a unique experience."
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