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Italy - Travel Tips

There's more to Italy than Rome

Photo by Linh Nguyen

Italy - Travel Tips There's more to Italy than Rome

Rome is where modern Europe began and its beauties are vast, from the banks of the Tiber to the Colosseum, St Peter's Basillica and the Roman Forum.

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TRVL

But Italy only became one country in 1861 and, before then, a number of cities, towns, and villages burgeoned and flourished. So perhaps there's a bit more to the country than its capital?

Well, yes there is. Let's go on an adventure.

Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre are five old villages (one of which is pictured above) on Italy's Riveria coastline. It's easy to hop between all five of them by train, and all of them are absolutely beautiful.

These villages are a haven for foodies. The Cinque Terre have preserved much of the region's food traditions, from farinata (a delicious, thin bread made from chickpea flour) to trofie, a precursor to more modern kinds of pasta that's often made from chestnut flour and usually served with pesto.

History and cuisine aside, go to the Cinque Terre for some of the most incredible landscapes in Europe.

Explore Cinque Terre

Florence

If Rome birthed modern Europe, Florence gave Italy bragging rights as the home of the Renaissance. For a short time (1865 - 1871) it was even Italy's capital.

One of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, Florence is heaven for any lover of the arts. If you can name an Italian writer, chances are they lived in Florence: Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, and Guicciardini were all Florentines.

Head to the Uffizi, the Ponte Vecchio, or Duomo for signs of Florence's medieval glory. For the brave, enjoy lampredotto: that is, the famously Florentine dish of broth-infused tripe.

Explore Florence

Palermo

Next stop, Sicily, where you'll find possibly the best food on earth.

Palermo is the capital of this southern Italian island, and it is joyous. Go for the pizza, stay for arancini, caponata and pane con panelle. 

If you're looking for somewhere less 'imperial' than Florence, certainly more rough around the edges than Rome, and with a certain 'fizz' in its nightlife, go for Palermo.

Explore Palermo

Milan

See Da Vinci's The Last Supper or worship at the altar of fashion.  Milan ranks alongside London, Paris and New York as one of the world's four fashion cities: if you want to see a city transformed by fashionistas, get to Milan in February and March or September and October.

Milan is also a home of football: two of Italy's biggest teams, AC Milan and F.C. Internazionale, share a stadium. The games between the two clubs are known as the Derby della Madonnina and are some of the most important games in the country.

The derby takes its name from the statue of Virgin Mary (the madonnia), which sits on top of Milan Cathedral. Which, you know, isn't half bad either.

Explore Milan

Bari

The capital of Puglia in Southern Italy, Bari might just be the best budget holiday destination of 2018.

Visit the Mercato Coperto Santa Scolastica -- a local's favorite, and an excellent market -- and go to the Basilica San Nicola. It's the best free attraction in the city.

For a taste of Italy that doesn't break the bank, check out Bari.

Explore Bari

Sardinia

West of Italy, and just south of Corsica, is the island of Sardinia: it's an island with an identity all its own. It's also one of the oldest pieces of land in all of Europe, so it's the perfect place to step into the past.

Not only that but Sardinian -- the traditional language of the island -- is closer to Latin than modern Italian. Though Italian is the most spoken language on the island, around two-thirds of the Sardinia's residents speak some Sardinian.

History seeps into everything on the island. One of Sardinia's traditional foods is pane carasau, a crispy toasted flatbread. Archeologists have found traces of pane carasau at sites that date back further than 3000 years.

Explore Sardinia

Other stories about Italy

Tourism may be a mainstay of Florence’s economy but it also has a thriving industrial sector based on its history of craftsmanship. Italy’s fashion industry relies on the city for the production of goods such as leather, including shoes, as well as jewelry, embroidery, textiles, ceramics and metalwork.

Peek over the walls and you'll see the real Florence

“Rome is a whore,” says Giambaccio, a ploud Florence native. It has just gone midnight, and we have wandered through the moonstruck streets around Florence’s Piazza San Spirito for hours before winding up here: in a haphazardly cluttered art studio Giambaccio has modeled on a ship’s deck. “She opens her legs for everybody. But Florence...” He mimes chastity – the shutting of two knees – with his fingers. “We are a walled city. We are closed.”