Saturday, 2 August 2014

Top 6 most picturesque places in Italy

Some of you will know the love I have for Italy; the food, the wine, the opera, the renaissance period, the art. 

Top 6 most picturesque places in Italy (that I have been to). 

Amalfi Coast & Bay of Naples

Nothing can prepare you for the rugged coastlines of staggering dimension which Odysseus is said to have sailed past, taking in the vertiginous views and avoiding the fatal sirens. The imposing cone of Mount Vesuvius make the surrounding lands fertile for growing tomatoes and Lemon. It is this area we have to thanks for producing Limoncello, the lemon liqueur. Make your own Limoncello and enjoy as an aperitif or why not use it to make a delicious torte al limone (lemon tart)

The Amalfi coast, the Bay of Naples, including the Island of Capri, to me, has some of the most magnificent landscape in Italy. I wouldn’t, however, say the same thing about Naples. Things to do at the Amalfi Coast, in Pompeii and Naples. 

If you would like to read more about Naples then I would recommend Napoli Is In My Heart written by Gabriella Sannino of Naples. What a 3min video about the events of Pompeii.

Southern Tuscany

Olive groves, vineyards, cypresses, wine towns and wheat fields studded with farmhouses capture the cultivated beauty and essence of Tuscany. Val d'Orcia (around Pienza) in Southern Tuscany is said to have some of the loveliest countryside in Europe. If you fancy driving through this fabulous area then I’d recommend a days drive following Stu Dudley’s well travelled route. Read Gloria's recommendations of 10 alternative things to do in Tuscany.

Soriano nel Cimto, Viterbo

In the hills north of Rome, in the foothills of Mount Cimino lies a fairy tale village at the feet of an imposing castle. Throughout its history, this medieveal hill hown, Soriano nel Cimino was home to Etruscans, Romans, popes and nobles - each ensuing wave leaving its mark upon the vestiges of the last.

Today, Soriano is a jealously guarded secret getaway used as a first or second home by Rome's most fortunate inhabitants. Frequent trains from nearby Orte, a 15 minute drive away, reach the city of Rome in around 45 minutes. This is an amazingly close and convenient oasis also appeals to travellers seeking to blend eternal Rome with the spacious affordability of life. The area is well known for it's wild boar. 

Enjoy Italian wine? Enjoy Italian food? then why not look into an All-Inclusive, 8 Day and 7 night cooking vacation that includes 4 cooking classes and wonderful sightseeing excursions in Tuscany, Umbria, and alto Lazio. The week includes visits to three wineries, and olive mill & cheese producers.

Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso

Valleys, plateaus, peaks and rises highlight the former hunting ground of King Vittorio Emanuele II (1820-78). The park is named after Gran Paradiso mountain, which is located in the park. Crystal clear lakes reflect the Gran Paradiso peaks. The land the park encompasses was initially protected in order to protect the Alpine ibex, but also protects other species such as chamois, badgers and other mountain-dwelling creatures.

Aeolian Islands, Sicily

Pebbly inlets or vertical rock faces edge the islands. Secret swimming coves can be found riddled in between the rocks which can only be accessed by boat. Rent your own or hire a driver. Stromboli is the most spectacular of the islands, as it's the only one that is currently volcanically active. In fact, it’s the only volcano in the world that is known to have been continuously active throughout recorded history. 

The approach by ferry from Lipari takes one past the sheer sides of the island that rise towards the summit crater, which is permanently shrouded in clouds of its own making. The must-see attraction, please don’t think me mad, is the night-time climb up to the crater. The going is tough (you will be climbing approximately 850m) so you will need to be fit with sensible footwear but you will see an amazing sunset and the eruptions are incredible. The trip is rounded off by running down the volcanic ash slopes, in the dark! You can also learn to cook the Sicilian way.

San Vito lo capo, Sicily, Italy picture provided by Andrea

Faraglioni di scopello, Sicily, Italy picture provided by Andrea

Lake Garda, Bardolino

The lake is the largest in Italy and has numerous pretty islands and five main ones, the largest being Isola del Garda. The sulphur springs at the tip of the peninsula have a reputation for the healing of catarrhal ailments, particularly those involving the ear. Take a trip on the boat and enjoy the views of lemon trees basking in the sun, particularly at Limone sul Garda.

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