Italy ranks as one of the most visited countries in the world, with very good reasons. Often described as the birthplace of Western Culture, it is a land that has plenty in every sense of the word and has attractions to suit every tourist. Italy is a world leader in many areas, from haute couture fashion to flashy sports cars, from magnificent historical buildings to the best of modern architecture and from the finest collections of art to ballet and opera. Italy also has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, including the Vatican. A population of sixty million inhabitants live in a colourful tapestry of six diverse regions which range from the snowy Alps in the north to the sunny Mediterranean in the south.
The main cities on the mainland are Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence and Venice, while the islands of Sardinia, Sicily, Capri and Ischia are all worth visiting. Region by region, each has its own charms. In the northwest there are stunning lakes and mountains, the world’s fashion capital, Milan, and the medieval port of Genoa. On the far west is the Italian Riviera with quaint towns to explore such as Cinque Terre and Portofino. The north east is dominated by the romantic city of Venice and the extraordinarily interesting city of Trieste.