Destination: Italy

Destination: Italy

Italy is a large state in southern Europe. It shelters a huge number of World Heritage pieces, protected by UNESCO. Throughout the country, you will meet a multitude of historic monuments and works of art. The country is also famous worldwide for its national cuisine, fashion, sports cars and luxury motorcycles. Beautiful coasts, lakes, mountains and numerous ski resorts are also worth mentioning.
mapIn Italy, there are two independent pocket states: San Marino and Vatican City. Although they don’t formally make part the European Union, both countries belong to the Schengen zone and the European Monetary Union.
Italy is located in the Mediterranean part of Europe and has borders with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. It is located on a peninsula in shape of a boot, bordering the Ligurian, Sardinian and Tyrrhenian Seas in the east, the Sicilian and Ionian seas in the south and the Adriatic Sea in the east. Italian is the most spoken language for the majority of the population, but travelling about the country, you will realize that there are many different dialects of Italian, depending on the region. Italian landscape is very diverse, primarily it can be called mountainious, taking into account its mountain ranges of the Alps and Apennines. The country includes two large islands: Sardinia, located at the west coast, and Sicily, which is located near the southern edge (“sock”) of the boot. The capital of Italy is Rome.

Climate and weather in Italy

Italy has a typical Mediterranean climate. Summer is hot and dry here, the hottest month of the year is July. In the north, winters are quite cold in comparison with the mild winters of the gesturessouth. In some southern areas of the of Italy there can be no rain at all. Long mountain ranges have a significant impact on the climate, so from  town to town, the weather changes dramatically.

Cities and regions

The north of Italy is the most densely populated and developed part of the country. Cities such as Turin, Milan, Bologna, Verona and Venice attract many tourists. Magnificent landscapes like the Lake Como area, spectacular mountains – the Dolomites and Italian Alps with first-class mountain resorts such as Cortina d’Ampezzo and others merit being seen.
In the central Italy, everything breathes with history and art. Rome is famous for preserved surfingwonders of the Roman Empire and the world-famous attractions such as the Colosseum. Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance – the most attractive tourist city in Tuscany. Although its nearby cities – Siena, Pisa and Lucca on their way to become a part of rich cultural and historical heritage of the country, are able to amaze you with lots of interesting things.
Southern Italy. Bustling Naples, dramatic ruins of Pompeii, romantic Amalfi Coast Apulia and also  developing agrotourism make this non-tourist part of the country quite attractive for travelers.

Italian islands. Primarily it is  Sardinia and Sicily, the large island on the south of the peninsula (the “ball”, that the “boot” is about to kick), as well as Capri, Ischia, Elba, Procida, Aeolian Islands, the Egadi Islands, Tremiti and Pantelleria.

What to see

Italy has much more things to admire, besides  Italian cities, stuffed with places of interest. Its nature, at least: leave for famous islands in the Bay of Naples, the picturesque Lake Garda and Lake Como in northern Italy, Italian Alps, including great ski resorts in Italy, and much more. ItalianBut the main treasure of the country is its rich cultural heritage.

Thermal resorts in Italy

Thermal capital of Italy is a small town of Montecatini Terme, and its name uncovers its meaning.  First sources were built during the second half of XVIII century – they are Bagno Regio, Terme and Terme Leapoldina Tettuchio. But Montecatini became a thermal place indeed in the late XIX – early XX century. It was then that new luxury hotels construction was started, togeone could meet celebrities. For example, Giuseppe Verdi restored his health here once a year for 20 years long, the resort was svisited by Benito Mussolini, etc.

Skiing and snowboarding in Italy

Italy, thanks to the Alps, is one of the leading countries in the ares of ski tourism. Italy offers wonderful alpine ski slopes, both beautiful and convenient in terms of infrastructure. There is located the highest peak in Europe – Monte Bianco.

Surfing in Italy

Ithermaltaly is a country with no access to the ocean, so an ordinary tourist will hardly associate it with surfing, but in fact there’s no problem in mastering this sport in the Apennines. Along the coast of Italy, there’s is a huge variety of surf spots, which are always full of life. Cold weather does not deter surfers, and you can see them on the line-up even in the off-season. Various competitions and festivals often take place in such spots.  You can get on board on the beaches of the Adriatic coast, but the best place to surf in Italy is believed to be in Sardinia. On this Mediterranean island, active surfing continues throughout the most part of the year; island is famous for stunning beaches and good waves of the Mediterranean Sea. Mastering surfing in Italy can be easily combined with a sight-seeing program and beach holiday. Coasts like Forte dei Marmi on the Ligurian Sea, are suitable for such a match of a beach holiday and mastering active surfing. Surf schools with experienced instructors are always at hand in such places.
Furthermore, in Italy, you can easily learn to operate a kite variation  of surfing, a key feature of which is controlof the  board with the help of a kite , that is a special sail. Tuscan coast with such places as the Maremma and Grosseto Province will greatly fit for this sport. Sea bottom makes it easy to get into the water, absence of rocks and abundance of sands make these spots comfortable for beginners. Actually, one can learn to operate a kite almost all the year caferound, but the most active season lasts from mid-September through October, when the beaches are empty and the wind blow  is strong enough. Usually, at this times, permanent thermal wind are blowing from the afternoon and till late evening, and in some cases even after sunset. By the way, on the beaches work professional instructors, so even “dummies” can benefit from their services.
Italians are generally welcoming and friendly, and to not have any trouble, it will be enough to stick to  elementary politeness.
Communication

As could be expected, most of the population of Italy speaks Italian. In the north of Trentino-Alto Adige (South Tyrol) German is widely spread, in the Valle d’Aosta they speak French, and in the region of Trieste, Gorizia Slovene  language is the most common. In southern Calabria and Apulia there are small communities of Greek-speaking population.
windkitingAs a second language Italians actively use local dialects, and people from different areas speak with different accents. A large number of dialects is considered to be a consequence of centuries of fragmentation of the country (Italy was not fully integrated until 1871), with different accents even in neighboring towns.
English is common for tourist trips, but you’d better have some Italian dictionary near by. Although even dictionary can be of no help in small towns and villages, because of the same diversity of dialects, and you will not find such phrases in a general phrasebook. Knowledge of other Roman languages, especially Spanish, can be helpful, as many Italians tend to know and use these languages more often than English.

Culture

People in Italy are often using many gestures while talking, and it is not regarded as a manifestation of bad manners. This free-and-easy love of gestures usually surprises and amuses foreigners because general gesture habits is very different  from one country to photographyanother.
In Italy, a fairly large percentage of the population constitute elderly people, and they are commonly treated with respect. Assist them whenever you can, for example, give a seat in the bus. They will be grateful and treat you positively.
Italians are  ready to discuss many things, but not their income: they never talk about their salary and questions about it are considered unacceptable. Discussions about politics and complain about politicians are almost a national sport, so if you criticize the government, be sure to meet someone at your side. At the same time, questions about personal political beliefs may be considered for tactlessness. Italians also talk a lot about football, it is the national sport and it is taken very seriously, perhaps even more seriously, than politics.
You can safely make photos, but some people do not want to be pictured, so it’s better first to ask for permission. You’d better not make photos of children: it can greatly irritate Italian parents.Beach

Categories: Italy, World