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A quick guide to Italy

Italy’s capital is one of the world’s most spectacular cities. Situated in the northwest, it’s a glorious mix of cultural delights and architecture dating back to ancient times. As for attractions – there’s the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Vatican. The only problem you’ll have is fitting all the wonders in.

Italy’s third-largest city was founded by the Greeks in the first millennium BC. It’s one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban places in the world. Visit the city center and you can see why UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Site. You’ll also be able to enter the Chiostri di Santa Chiara, a network of fascinating historical cloisters.

The second biggest city in Italy is situated in the north and is home to the stock exchange. It’s also one of the fashion world’s big four and the Milan Fashion Week is a semi-annual highlight. And from Renaissance art to contemporary showpieces, culture vultures are spoilt for choice.

The capital of the Tuscany region is considered by some historians to be the birthplace of the Renaissance. Thankfully for everyone, many of its cultural highlights remain, including the Duomo cathedral, the 12th-century Romanesque Baptistery and the Galleri degli Uffizi, home to one the world’s most famous art galleries.

For romance and beauty, few cities can rival Venice. Grab a gelato by the Grand Canal and watch the water taxis drift by in the sun. Alternatively, get some Insta-worthy snaps of the Gothic-style Doge’s Palace. Then walk across the Rialto Bridge, as seen in films including Casino Royale.

The capital of the southern island Sicily, Palermo is rightly famous for its history, culture and food. Italian food is renowned, but Palermo’s street food will tantalize your tastebuds. Make sure you sample the fried balls of rice called Arancina, or a pane con le milza (sandwich stuffed with veal).

This old fishing port is nestled on the west coast of Sicily and a charming example of Italy at its best. Highlights include the old town with its delightful fish market. And the medieval Erice Village, balanced on a rocky cliff, provides a spectacular view of Sicily.

At the base of Mount Etna lies Sicily’s second largest city. Catania has survived several earthquakes and is one of the island’s most popular destinations. The late-Baroque architecture has to be seen to be believed, as does the Piazza dell’Universita, which houses not one but two palaces.

Few cities have backdrops as fantastic as Turin. This northwestern city lies at the foot of the Alps and is famous for the iconic Fiat car and first saleable hard chocolate. However, it’s not stuck in the past – Turin is also known for contemporary art and an envious live music scene.

Awesome architecture, landscapes to die for and gastronomic delights aplenty make this northern Italian city full of sights to soak up. Don’t miss the unfinished Church of Saint Francis, or a chance to travel by bike or horse along the Suburban Ring.

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