Together with Greece, it is acknowledged as the birthplace of Western culture. Not surprisingly, it is also home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. High art and monuments are to be found everywhere around the country. It is also famous worldwide for its delicious cuisine, its trendy fashions, luxury sports cars and motorcycles, diverse regional cultures and dialects, as well as for its many beautiful coasts, alpine lakes and mountains. No wonder it is often nicknamed “Il Bel Paese” “ The Beautiful Country”.
Italy has many beautiful and historic cities worth a visit. Travel to cities is best done by train as driving in Italian cities may be very difficult and the extensive Italian train system is inexpensive. Remember that you must validate the ticket before boarding most trains, by stamping it in one of the yellow boxes (marked Convalida). Most city centres are well-suited to walking and parts of the city centres may be closed to transportation. Large Italian cities generally have a good public transportation too.
Rome is the capital of modern Italy. Rome is full of history everywhere you look. It has many ancient monuments, interesting medieval churches, beautiful fountains, museums, and Renaissance palaces. Modern Rome is a bustling and lively city and has some excellent restaurants and nightlife. The Vatican and St. Peter's are also found in Rome.
Venice is a unique city built on water in the middle of a lagoon. Venice is one of Italy's most beautiful and romantic cities as well as one of the most popular for visitors to Italy. The heart of Venice is Piazza San Marco with its magnificent church. There are many museums, palaces, and churches to visit and wandering along Venice's canals is a wonderful experience. Venice is in the northeast of Italy and historically was a bridge between East and West.
Florence is one of the most important Renaissance architectural and art centres. It’s Duomo (Cathedral Church) and Baptistery are magnificent and popular with tourists as is their large piazza. Florence has several interesting museums with many famous paintings and sculptures. There are also Medici palaces and gardens. Florence is in the famous region of Tuscany.
Milan, one of Europe's richest cities, is known for stylish shops, galleries, and restaurants and has a faster pace of life than most Italian cities. It also has a rich artistic and cultural heritage. Its Duomo (Cathedral Church), with its beautiful marble facade, is truly magnificent. La Scala is one of the world's most famous opera houses.
Naples is one of Italy's most vibrant cities. It lies on the coast south of Rome and is the most important city in southern Italy. Naples has recently undergone some renovation but still retains much of its old character. Naples historic city centre is the largest in Europe. In the immediate vicinity of Naples are numerous culturally and historically significant sites, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
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