Italy is a modern, industrialized nation; it is the forerunner of
style, its designers leading the way with each season's fashions, it is
strongly family-oriented, with an emphasis on the traditions and rituals
of the Catholic Church, and also largely agricultural. But it is also a
Mediterranean country, with all that it implies.
Italy stretches from
the snow-covered Alps in the North to the sun-kissed island of Sicily
in the extreme South. Italy has some truly spectacular natural
landscapes: the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean offer one of
Europe's most beautiful stretches of sand, sea and sunshine, while the
snow-covered slopes of the mountains of the Italian Alps make for a
fabulous retreat for winter sports enthusiasts.
Rome combines a
sense of living history with a bustling, lively capital city. It is
endlessly fascinating, utterly compelling and a feast for the eye with
fountains, churches, palaces and ancient monuments at every turn. From
the awesome splendour of the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, the
Pantheon, the Trevi fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Vatican and St.
Peter’s Basilica oozes romance and excitement. Visitors come to Milan
for its fashion, cuisine, opera, church, Renaissance castle and da
Vinci's Last Supper fresco. But this is very much a working city, the
country's business and finance capital.
Other cities not to be
missed are Venice, with it’s maze of canals, mysterious narrow streets,
wonderful bridges and impressive architecture. Florence, the jewel of
the Italian Renaissance, is one of the world's great historic cities. It
is a commercial, industrial, and tourist centre full of art galleries
and fabulous architecture.