Italy’s distinct boot shape makes it one of the most recognisable countries on the world map; as a peninsula it’s predominantly surrounded by the blue waters of the Mediterranean and offers visitors up to 5,000 miles of sandy beaches. Its cities juxtapose ancient architecture with contemporary structures while inland you’ll find green hills dotted with olive groves and wineries. Two mountain ranges, the Alps and the Apennine range, cover more than seventy-five per cent of the landscape and form the backbone of the country.
Home to an innumerable number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a prominent landmark in the world of fashion, and celebrated for its wine and cuisine, it is easy to understand why it is one of the world’s most preferred tourist destinations. Epicureans return again and again, while couples adore Italy as a honeymoon destination, romantic cities including Rome, Venice and Florence are perfect; families spend summer holidays exploring the artistic treasures and stunning coastlines which offer infinite pleasures, including diving from Sardinia’s golden Coast and the beautiful countryside with its ideal conditions for walking and cycling. Adventure-lovers, meanwhile can head for the world-class ski resorts in the scenic Alps and Dolomites. We recommend you combine a few nights in one of the cities with either the country, coast or, one of the islands.
Countryside & Lakes
Driving through the mountains and stopping for a leisurely lunch is a wonderful way to relax and discover Italy. The Italian countryside is simply stunning and the Tuscany region is perhaps the most well-known for its beauty – gently rolling hills studded with vineyards and olive groves are just part of its allure. Meanwhile, the picturesque Lake District – incorporating Lake Como and Lake Garda – is a patchwork of lush green mountains and deep blue water where there are plenty of opportunities for boating and plenty of lakeside towns and markets to discover.
Coast & Beaches
Pretty fishing villages abound in Italy and Portofino on the Ligurian Coast, with its colourful harbour and long list of celebrity fans, is particularly appealing. Moving south you’ll find a host of coastal resorts, many of which are elevated and offer incredible sea views. These include the popular town of Sorrento, and along the iconic Amalfi Coast you’ll find cliff top towns including Ravello. For beaches, the Puglia region offers soft sands, with the stunning countryside easily accessible.
For more gorgeous beaches injected with exclusivity and serious style, the Italian islands of Capri and Sardinia exude glamour and are favourite haunts of the jet-set who visit to chill out and enjoy the vibrant bars and restaurants. Sicily has an allure all of its own, and is a good choice for those who are interested in history or taking a closer look at one of the world’s most famous natural attractions, Mt Etna.
Whether you are considering a city for a few nights as a starting point for a wider tour of Italy incorporating a week or two relaxing at one of our Italian resorts or islands, or you’re planning a long weekend or mid-week break with plenty to do, Venice, Rome and Florence offer some of Europe’s finest culture, history and shops. These cities are amongst the most enchanting destinations on the planet. Visit with your partner for a truly romantic escape or for families, an Italian city break presents excellent opportunities for children to discover a new culture. If you’re planning on travelling alone, no doubt you will relish the freedom to see and do what you want when you want, and Elegant Resorts can make all your travel arrangements including private airport transfers, as well as pre-book activities, tours and spa treatments, if you wish.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
If you’re staying at the Masseria San Domenico in October you may find yourself joining in the annual festival of 'Inycon, Menfi and its Wine' the perfect occasion to taste some of the best Sicilian Wines.
If you wish to dine out from Hotel Splendido do try the Ristorante Puny, a quaint little restaurant set up on the stone square, it opens onto the harbour and all the activities therein, and is charmingly referred to as Portofino’s living room. Do try the home-made pasta, or Ligurian seafood specialities. The atmosphere makes this restaurant the perfect place to enjoy an elegant dinner or a romantic evening for two in Portofino.
Italy experiences a variety of climate systems; the inland northern areas (Milan, Turin and Bologna) have a humid subtropical climate while the coastal areas of Liguria and the peninsula south of Florence generally fit the Mediterranean climate profile - cool, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Northern Italy has hot summers and cold winters, although the temperature rarely drops below freezing during the daytime, while southern Italy enjoys mild winters and long, dry, hot summers. The mountainous areas such as the Alps and Apennines have long, cold winters with short, cool summers.
A great destination to visit year round Italy is particularly ideal if you're thinking of a city break. It’s at its most popular between April and June when the weather is at its warmest and most reliable. July and August are extremely busy as this when the Italians traditionally take their holidays, so you'll find the fashionable places crowded and prices slightly higher during these months. Milder weather can be enjoyed from late September through October.
Visitors will benefit from wearing lightweight clothing during the summer (except in the mountains) with light-to-medium weight clothing in the winter for southern areas, but warmer clothes elsewhere. Alpine wear is recommended for those visiting the mountain resorts in winter.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Italy.
British Airways from London Gatwick to Genoa, Verona, Naples, Bari and Catania (Sicily); from London Heathrow to Milan and from London Heathrow and London Gatwick to Venice, Pisa and Rome. Sardatur from London Heathrow to Olbia and Calgari using a British Airways chartered aircraft. easyjet from London Gatwick to Palermo and Catania. UK regional departures and charter flights are also available.
Flights to all of the destinations mentioned, from London, take between 2 and 3 hours, approximately.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.