ITALY "IL BEL PAESE"
The Republic of Italy is often referred to as the “bel paese” which means “beautiful land”, a name that couldn’t be more apt. Located on the Southern European peninsula, Italy also claims host to two of the largest and most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean: Sicily and Sardinia.
More than 40 million tourists a year visit Italy to sample its incredible wealth of art, cuisine, history, fashion and culture. Not forgetting the beautiful coastline and beaches, mountains, and priceless ancient monuments from Venice to Pompeii. There are 24 National Parks in Italy and more UNESCO World Heritage sites than in any other country.
Italy is truly one of the most incredible countries in the world.
Italy shares its northern Alpine borders with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia and also contains the independent states: the Vatican City and San Marino. Italy is divided into 20 regions. The regions are divided into provinces, 110 in all, varying dramatically in size. These provinces are divided into communes, of which there are 8,100.
Italy is mostly a mountainous country with narrow coastal plains making it perfect for winter and water sports. In general, Italy has a Mediterranean climate which makes the temperature fairly mild along the coast, but much warmer inland and south, especially during the summer.
Italy is world famous for its incredible historical origins and monuments. Having giving birth to several different cultures and civilizations including the Etruscans and the Roman’s, Italy was also the started the movement of the Renaissance, that began in Tuscany and spread all over Europe.
Rome, Italy’s bustling capital city was once the centre of Western civilization, laying Vatican City, located in Rome, is the centre of Catholicism, one of the worlds largest religions it remains one of the most visited locations on Earth. Today, Italy is a democratic republic, and a developed country and a founding member of what is now the European Union (having signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957), and also a member of the G8 and the Council of Europe.
Italy has made an incalculable contribution to the culture of Europe and the rest of the world. writers such as: Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio - artists such as: Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and Michelangelo; and composers such as: Vivaldi, Rossini, Verdi and Puccini have all had a tremendous and lasting influence on the development of Western civilization.
Contemporary Italian artists, writers, filmmakers, architects, composers, and designers continue to contribute significantly to Western culture, with fashion houses Fendi, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana playing an active role in the development of Italy’s cultural scene, exporting their unique fashion lines to discerning customers across the globe.
Italy has a long sporting tradition and has been extremely successful at an international level in various sports. In Olympic history, Italy has finished in the top five of the medal count eleven times in the Summer Olympic Games and three times in the Winter Olympic Games.
Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Italy and the Italian National Football team (the 'Azzurri') are currently the second most successful football team in the world after Brazil, having won four FIFA world cup titles. Italy is one of the main basketball nations of Europe, with the national team winning a Silver Medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2004. Italians also excel in winter sports, having won the Olympic gold medal twice for cross country skiing and luge.
Italian cuisine is characterized by its simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients as a general rule. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Ingredients and dishes vary by region and often are highly contentious as to which regions produce the best dishes. Naples, for example, is famous for making the best pizza. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated with variations throughout the country such as carbonara and other pasta-based dishes.
Wine is a major part of the cuisine, with many variations and Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) regulated appellation laws. Italy has overtaken France as the biggest wine exporter in the world and has become famous for Prosecco (sparkling wine) as well as variations of red and wine wines including Chianti and Barolo. Coffee is also an important part of Italian cuisine and diet. On the corner of every city street is a cafe that takes pride in the espresso that is made, often by specially trained baristas.
Italy is home to world-renowned car manufactures Ferrari, a house-hold name in car racing. The Ferrari F1 racing team, founded by Enzo Ferrari, has competed in Formula One Racing since 1948. They are the most successful Formula One team in history with a record of 15 drivers' championship titles and 16 constructors' championship titles. Italian motorcycle racer, Valentino Rossi, is one of the most successful of all time, with nine Grand Prix World Championships to his name, a record seven in the premier class. Also home to luxury car manufacturers Lamborghini and Maserati, Italy takes motoring very seriously.
There are countless reasons to visit Italy and experience it’s broad variety of sights and senses.
Planning a trip to the bel paese is something we specialize in and can tailor-make a bespoke itinerary that can cater to your interests, whatever they may be.
To begin your trip today, contact us directly.
Sean Finelli & Brandon Shaw.