Published: 21 August 2014
Italy is a fascinating country with plenty to see, do and experience. It is made up of regions which were, historically, different countries. Though these are now well-unified, their separate histories lend the country a lot of cultural variety. Combined with a long and glorious history – not least the ancient days of Imperial Rome – this makes Italy one of the most packed sightseeing destinations in Europe.
Rome is Italy's capital city and is packed with sights to see. Many of these are historical buildings, and the world-famous Coliseum is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular. Dating back to the first century AD, it was the largest Roman Amphitheatre ever built with up to 60,000 people able to take their seats and watch gladiators in their bloody battles. Despite being partially ruined it is still one of the most impressive structures on Earth. Other highlights of the city's ancient architecture include the catacombs, the Pantheon, and the 4th Century Basilica of St Paul.
Rome is a city that is famous for its fountains. There are a number of fountains throughout the city which combine impressive water displays with spectacular feats of design, sculpture and architecture. The most famous of these is undoubtedly the Trevi Fountain, built in the eighteenth century and still one of the most spectacular water features in the world.
While the key sights to see in the city of Rome are drawn from centuries of human achievement, the must-see features of the region of Tuscany are predominantly natural. There are more than 120 designated and protected nature reserves in the region, and there are various breathtaking landscapes to be found there. Massive mountains, gentle hills, lush fields and gorgeous beaches can all be seen in Tuscany, and every single one is worth seeing if you can.
Sometimes, the beauty of nature can be deliberately cultivated by humankind. This is where one of the very best attractions of Tuscany comes in. On the rolling hillsides in the centre of the region, lush grape vines are cultivated by the vineyards that produce the world-famous fine chianti wines. Tours of the vineyards and wine tasting experiences are truly unmissable for those visiting the area. They allow tourists to appreciate the natural beauty of the setting, the fascinating process that goes into making wine, and the delightful end product.
Naples is one of Italy's largest cities, and is also a great centre of culture. It is famous for its wealth of museums and galleries. Not least of these is the Naples National Archaeological Museum, which houses one of the world's biggest collections of Roman artefacts and artwork, along with items from the cultural explosion known as the Renaissance. The Museo di Capodimonte is one of the most notable art galleries in the city, with works by many great masters through five centuries.
Not far outside of Naples is one of Italy's most famous and incredible ancient sites; the Roman city of Pompeii. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD buried the city in its prime, and as a result it has been uncannily preserved. Here and in nearby Herculaneum, preserved by the same eruption, you can walk the very streets that the Romans did and step inside their homes.