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Things To Do In Italy
Italy is an ancient country on the western coast of Europe, surrounded by many seas and holding many a histories in its lap. From the Babylonians to the Romans and even Greeks, Italy has seen the influence of them all. The country today is renowned for its food (re: pastas and pizzas), as well as for its famously beautiful wonders like the city of Rome, the Catholic Church of Vatican City, Florence, Pisa etc. You fill find that you have a lot of things to do in Italy, from Vatican City pilgrimage to roaming in Rome, touring the Amalfi coast and then exploring the destroyed city of Pompeii.
Go on a pilgrimage to the Vatican
The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, located in the city centre of Rome. You can only visit this place by going to Rome first. The Vatican City is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, one of the largest headquarters of Christianity. The museums here are right out of the history of the modern world, and exploring the Roman Museum is like opening a novel by Dan Brown. Do make it a point to visit the St Peter’s Basilica as well as Piazza San Pietro, along with the Vatican Palace and the Sistine Chapel.
Pompeii is the famed fabled Roman city that was said to be at the peak of its progress and destroyed by the eruption of a volcano from Mount Vesuvius. It was destroyed sometime in 79 AD and was recently excavated in Italy. The place is a fascinating exploration of the ancient streets that remain, suffused with ruins of buildings and surprisingly modern amenities like aqueducts and amphitheatres and gymnasiums. The frescoes are still partly intact on ceilings and other artefacts bring the Roman way of life to our eyes at once. Pompeii is, for all intents and purposes, an open air museum.
Drive down the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi coast is a stunning trail wedged between the mountains on one side and the pristine Mediterranean sea on the other. It is a dream drive for those who are fond of road trips and self-drives. The beautiful mix of colours on either side of you make a different kind of solace dance in your heart. You can stop at small secret coves for relaxation or to eat, run in the rolling lemon grooves on your way or take a detour to the hills of Ravello that are home to villas, gardens and outdoor opera houses. The sea-side Positano town is another stop for the night that you must consider.
Savour Italian Food
The Italians do many things well, but not as well as their food. Their cuisine is not the artist’s touch that has been developed carefully and delicately, but an explosion of scores of centuries, that has brought together the many dishes local to each part of Italy. The gourmet Pizza is really a humble pie of the land of Naples, while pasta is a staple because wheat is the most convenient crop in Italy. You must eat the usual fare here : pizzas in Naples, pastas and risottos in Bologna, Milan and Rome, gelatoes (ice-cream) and coffee everywhere. Other specialities here include the humble but very flavourful focaccia breads, lasagna, cured meats, deserts like tiramisu and cheeses like Parmesan from the town of Parma.
Take a History Lesson in Florence
Florence is one of the oldest cities of Italy and was the cradle of European Renaissance. Once upon a time it was blessed to be under the rule of an open-minded, curious and progressive ruler by the name of Lorenzo di Medici, who encouraged art, architecture and marvellous progress in science. He did not close off his mind just because Science went against the Church. He became the patron to the great Leonardo da Vinci. Such is the might of Florence, where you will witness not only museums of artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo but also the older works of Botticelli. Uffizi Gallery is the right place for it.
Gondola Rides in Venice
The romance in Venice is palpable as soon as you step foot in the city. With its canals and colourful homes by the bay, Venice makes for a nice romantic getaway. Visit the Grand Canal to take a gondola ride, one that will take you through some of the most renowned waterways of the world, under small foot bridges where you will need to duck your head and through creeks that will be narrow as a single line. You can also go for a water-bus ride (vaporetto) along many parts of the canal, and marvel at the Venetian architecture that passes you by. There are also many guided tours that include walking through the main city square, visiting St. Mark’s Basilica, praying at the Church of Gold and seeing Marco Polo’s house.
Tour Rome in a Day
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it sure can be toured in one. This ancient city has some of the most beautiful streets and cobbled pavements, vendors selling gelato at every corner and cafes serving freshly made pasta with coffees. There are old ruins, half-preserved monuments and structures that date back before Christ in Rome. Start with the Oppian Hill and wind down to the Colosseum where you can explore the arena of the amphitheatre. Head from there to the Roman Forum, which was once the political centre of Rome. You will also be able to go and see the House of the Vestal Virgins and Palatine Hill, as well as the charioteers race track of Circus Maximus.