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A hotel in Italy offers us all the chance to live the Dolce Vita. Its regional cuisines are varied but always delicious - offering earthy and rustic foods with a touch of class. There are fantastic wines - and beautiful wine-growing regions - to help you wash every mouthful down. Its rich cuisine is matched by historical riches - from Roman ruins to medieval palaces - and cultural riches - from Renaissance art to contemporary opera. Nature has as much to offer as the elegant cities: glacial lakes, volcanic craters and dramatic coastlines all add to the good life on offer. Throw in Italy’s fashion designers, its welcome habit of eating gelato on an evening stroll and perfect espressos in vibrant cafes and it’s not hard to see why whatever you do in Italy is imbued with a sense of style.
Rome - The Eternal City, Rome, offers iconic sights, awe-inspiring art, enviable nightlife, grand hotels and luxury apartments that make it one of the most appealing capitals in the world. Every step of Western art’s development is showcased here and much of it was first created here. There is 3000 years of history to explore - including the Colosseum, St Peter’s and the Vatican - nestled next to stylish cafes, exquisite restaurants and vibrant clubs.
Naples and the Amalfi Coast - Beautiful bays and dramatic cliffs are given a heightened sense of drama by the brooding presence of Mount Etna. The volcano’s power is revealed at the archaeological sites of the two Roman towns destroyed by it in the 1st century - Herculaneum and Pompeii. The coastal pleasures and beachside hotels and villas of Amalfi are never too far from the city delights of Naples whose historic centre of lavish palaces, ruined castles and monumental churches provide the perfect counterpoint to its culinary, cultural and nightlife scene.
Florence - The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is an art lover’s dream, but you don’t have to be an aesthete to appreciate the romantic views that this city offers. Tucked away in its narrow lanes are stories of the great men and ladies who have lived here and some very fine dining, shopping opportunities and beautiful town houses.
Lake Garda - The largest of the Italian lakes is surrounded by alpine mountainscapes, undulating hills, vineyards, olive groves and citrus trees. Its character changes as you travel around it, as do its cuisines - from the Austrian salted beef of the north the French-influenced foods of the south. Book an agritourism or a waterside hotel in Lake Garda for a little slice of perfection.
Iconic buildings are everywhere in Italy: from the Coliseum to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. History really comes alive as you view the archaeological sites of Pompeii but so too does the sense of natural beauty and power as you wander over the crater of Mount Etna or survey the Tuscan landscapes from a remote hilltown.
A night at the opera can be enjoyed at La Scala or in the Roman Arena of Verona. Dining out is a joy but those keen on learning more about Italy's culinary traditions can take cooking classes or a food tour of places like Parma. Milan, Rome and Florence all have strong connections to the fashion world and designer boutiques offer a diverting way to spend an (expensive) afternoon. Renaissance art is everywhere and the best way to appreciate it is to take a tour of the churches and museums of the major cities. Beaches and the coast can be enjoyed all over Italy, you are never too far from the sea, but the best spot for sun-worshippers can be found on Sardinia’s south coast.