Italy

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Italy occupies a long, boot-shaped peninsula, it is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranked as the fifth major tourist destination in the world.

Italy did not exist as a state until the country’s unification in 1861. The creation of the Kingdom of Italy was the result of the efforts by Italian nationalists and monarchists loyal to the House of Savoy to establish a united kingdom encompassing the entire Italian Peninsula. It became a Republic after a referendum held on June 2, 1946, a day celebrated since as Republic Day.

A large country in Southern Europe, it is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, art and monuments are everywhere. It is also famous worldwide for its cuisine, its fashion, luxury sports cars and motorcycles, as well as for its beautiful coasts, lakes and mountains. Italy is a volcanically active country, containing the only active volcano, Etna, the second-largest active volcano in Europe, as well as the Vesuvius, famous for destroying the city of Pompeii.

The land known as Italy today has been the cradle of European cultures and peoples, such as the Etruscans and the Romans. Italy‘s capital, Rome, was for centuries the political center of Western civilization, as the capital of the Roman Empire. After its decline, Italy would endure numerous invasions by foreign peoples, from Germanic tribes, to the Normans and later, the Byzantines, among others. Centuries later, Italy would become the birthplace of the Renaissance, an intellectual movement that would prove to be integral in shaping the subsequent course of European thought. Through much of its post-Roman history, Italy was fragmented into numerous kingdoms and city-states, but was unified in 1861. In the late 19th century, through World War I, and to World War II, Italy possessed a colonial empire, which extended its rule to Libya, Eritrea, Italian Somaliland, Ethiopia, Albania, Rhodes, and a concession in Tianjin, China.

You are always a relatively short distance from a beach in Italy, but when you get there you might be rather confused, especially if you come from a country where beach access is free to all. In theory that is the case but a lot of things in this country the practice may be somewhat different to the law. Many stretches of beach, particularly those close to urban areas, are let out to private concessions, covering almost all the beach with rows and rows of sunbeds (lettini) and umbrellas (ombrelloni). You should be able to pass through these establishments to get to the sea, and should be able to walk along the sea in front of them, but you may be prevented from doing so. Topless women are more or less accepted everywhere but nudity is limited to certain beaches, but mostly non-existent. These are unlikely to be announced, so you will have to be guided by what others are doing.

In general my overall opinion of Italy is a nation rich in culture and history with plenty to amuse anyone. However, it does have limitations regarding ones freedoms and not the most ‘open’ liberal and accepting nations, mostly governed by the church and the influence of the Vatican, but saying that, what the people practice doesn’t always follow the ways of the nation, but usually behind closed doors.

 

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Rome

Italy’s capital Rome was for centuries the center of Western civilization, it also spawned the Baroque movement and seats the Catholic Church.

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Venice

Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it stretches across 118 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy.

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Catania

Located on the east coast of the island of Sicily, at the foot of the active volcano Mount Etna. Baroque buildings and churches, volcanic rock beaches, markets and streets littered and marked by graffiti.

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Taormina

A small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, a popular tourist destination since the 19th century. The site of the old town is about 300 meters above the sea.

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Florence

Beware. You may get effected with the Florence Syndrome when you visit, there is nowhere else on earth that has as much art and culture as Florence has on offer. If you love art, Florence is a feast for the eyes!

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Pisa

World famous for its leaning tower, a small town worth visiting for a day.

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Siena (Sienna)

A picturesque city medieval city in the region of Tuscany, located in the north of Italy some 70 km south of Florence, declared aWorld Heritage Site byUNESCO, and famous for the Palio, a traditional horse race from the 11th century held twice annually in the town square.

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San Gimignano

A small walled medieval city in Tuscany, Italy, famous for its towers which may be seen from several kilometres outside the town, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

 

Italy

Europe, Italy |

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