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Are you passionate about art and cuisine? Or have a flair for design and fashion? Perhaps the legends and history are what you want to experience. Too boring for you – are you looking for sport and adventure? No matter what kind of traveler you are, Italy has a bit of something for everyone.
The Urban Fashionista
If you like architecture, design and fashion than Milan is the city for you. The architectural variety spans from ancient churches to Liberty style villas, to high-tech, modern skyscrapers. You would not want to miss The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, adjacent to the Golden Quadrilateral, Milan’s shopping district. The gallery is the oldest glass covered gallery in Europe, which is the heart of Milan’s luxury shopping. The original Prada store can be found here as well as other boutiques and hotels. Villa Necchi Campiglio, Via Mozart 14, once home to a wealthy industrialist, is now a house-museum and not only is a step back in time in the building and décor but holds one of the most complete collections of twentieth century art; the Alighiero ed Emilietta de’ Micheli Collection the Claudia Gian Ferrari Collection of Italian works from the 20thCentury. Every April, Milan is buzzing with events for the Salone dei Mobile, the international design fair. For the fashionista, the time to visit is during Fashion Week. Womens’ fashion collections are in February and September whereas the Mens’ Fashion collections are in January and June. Even if you can’t get invitations to shows, the whole town is celebrating fashion and you just may get a glimpse of the models rushing to their next appointment. Although everyone thinks of Milan as the place to go shopping, you can get some good deals at the outlets outside of Milan. The Mall is near Florence has designer shops like Gucci, Loro Piana, Sergio Rossi, Armani, and Bottega Veneta.
The Cultural Connoisseur
If art, history and food culture is your passion, then the city of Florence and the surrounding countryside of Tuscany are just your style. Florence is home to the Uffiizi Gallery, a must for the art lover. With masterpieces by the greats like Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo and Da Vinci you cannot miss it. Skip the line passes are available so you don’t have to wait in long queues. Every corner of Florence has beauty and art. You can enjoy both art and your passion for the culinary arts with a tour on a Tuscany Countryside Wine Tour. Venture out to the Chianti region where wine production dates back to the Etruscan era, and sit back and take in the beautiful rolling hills with full bodied glass of wine and a Fiorentina steak. If you’re vegetarian, you may like to try a local specialty called Ribollita, a vegetable stew. Don’t forget to finish it off with a rich espresso coffee and some cantucci biscuits! The renaissance cities of Siena and Asisi as well as the infamous leaning tower of Pisa are not too far either.
The historical tourist is harder to please as there is history everywhere in Italy. The best place to start is Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire. We have all heard the expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and when you see the city you will truly understand the meaning of that. With precise, painstakingly detail, the monumental buildings live side by side with the newer modern city of today. The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon and Palatine Hill, are the heart of ancient Rome. Ruins are peppered throughout the city greatly appreciate by the history lover, are hardly even stop to look at by the locals. The Vatican and its museums are a must see. Also not to miss in Rome, is a walk along the Tiber River and over the ancient bridges throughout the city.
Again another difficult choice…romance is everywhere in Italy! Venice is certainly a good choice. A ride on a gondola and romantic walks at night through the narrow alleyways always looks nice in films. James Bond always seems to find a speedboat to race down the canal, but in reality, the boats go very slow and during the summer months Venice is teeming with tourists, but nonetheless, it’s always fascinating!
Lake Como is the place for the romantic getaway. Varenna is one of the most romantic little towns along Lake Como. North of Lecco, it’s a unique, little village on the hills. Cobble stoned paths and staircases wind through the old town (remember to wear comfortable shoes!) . You must do La Passagiata d’amore , the Lovers Lane along the shoreline or a Sunset boat tour. Surrounded by quaint little houses upon hills, the ferry port is bustling with passengers commuting to and from Bellagio. Varenna is home to two gorgeous villas with botanical gardens; Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi , both of which can be visited . Villa Cipressi is now a luxury hotel and restaurant. The Vezio Castle overlooks the cove from the hilltop above Varenna and is a manageable hike up. Villa Balbianello and Villa Carlotta can be found on the eastern shore.
The Adventurer & Nature Lover
Tour the trails of the Dolomites. Tour the Fassa Valley by bike or on foot and experience complete quiet and immerse yourself in nature. Every July the Dolomite Skyrace is held in Canazei with athletes from all over the world looking to conquer the 22 km mountain trail (10 km uphill to 1750 mt, and 12 km downhill). You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to enjoy this part of Italy, bike rentals and hiking trails of various different levels are available for everyone!
For the winter ski enthusiast, Italy Dolomite Ski Season opens from December to April. White, pristine snow and some of the slopes even offer night skiing!
So, no matter what your passion or travel style is, Italy has something for everyone!
About the Author
Celia lives both on Lake Como and in Milan, Italy. She shares her discoveries of her travels and experiences in Italy and beyond, giving readers an insider’s view of what to do, where to go and how to do it in style. Celia is creator of ItalyTravelandMore.com. Follow on Twitter @CeliaAbernethy
This article originally appeared in Vietnam Discovery and was syndicated with permission by the author
Tuscany and Dolomites photos via Pixabay/ All other Photos by Celia Abernethy