It is no wonder Italy is called Il Bel Paese – the beautiful country! From the northern snow-capped peaks of the Alps and the idyllic hilltop villages of the renowned central Tuscany and Umbria area, to the rugged southern shores of Sicily, lies a plethora of distinctive regions and people. Explore Italian villages and cuisine with World Journeys.
• Lake Como
• The Cinque Terre
• Amalfi Coast
Italy can be visited all year round but our favourite months are April – June and September/October.
One of my favourite parts of Italy is the Lakes area north of Milan. I recently returned to Lake Como and stayed at the stunning little village of Bellagio which is wonderfully located in the central Lake area. After a leisurely breakfast on the hotel terrace we strolled to the ferry pier and bought a pass for the day. Today we decided we would have a progressive lunch – one course at each of four villages on the lake. We enjoyed antipasti at Varenna Mon Amour in Varenna, enjoyed homemade pasta Il Ristorante di Paolo in Menaggio, dined on freshly caught fish at Ristorante Belle Isole in Cadennabia and finally a fabulous gelato at Gelateria Helvetica in Tremezzo. We caught our final ferry back to Bellagio very happy and very sated and yet again believing Italian cuisine to be some of the world’s best! Brett
Why we love it Few countries can offer such a diversity of scenery as Italy. From the lakes of Northern Italy surrounded by majestic mountains, to the cliff-hanging villages of the Amalfi Coast, from the tranquil countryside of Tuscany to the Grand Canal of Venice – Italy is a top favourite of ours. Needless to say the relaxed lifestyle, great wine and cuisine just add to make travelling in Italy a real highlight!
Weather Italy can be visited year round. In winter (December to February) the mountains are covered in powdery snow. In summer (June to August) it can be very warm particularly in the South. Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) can be a wonderful time to visit.
Social customs and quirks It is not uncommon for entire families to be living under one roof in the more traditional southern region. The family heads the social structure in Italy. Italians are also highly fashion conscious, Bella Figura is the concept of presenting a good image in both dress and personal style. Italians make wonderful hosts and are experts in making guests feel welcome. Arriving a few minutes late for a dinner is the norm, as is bringing wine or chocolates as a small gift.
Festivals and events Festivals in Italy are boisterous, fun-filled celebrations, whether they are focused on religious occasions or simply the joy of life. The sheer number of events year-round ensures every visitor has a chance to experience Italy like a local. Carnevale and Easter Week are two of the most popular holidays.