About Italy

Holiday in Italy

On a map of Europe a very distinctive boot outline is visible and this coastal outline in of Italy. It is in the shape of a boot and has water surrounding it right up to the top of the boot. At Italy’s top most section it is joined by 4 other major countries which share a border and these are France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. It has minor borders with San Marino and Vatican City but these are tiny. 

Italian climate population and culture

Rome, the capital of Italy is mid way down the boot on the Western side near to the Mediterranean and facing the Tyrrhenian Sea. On the Eastern side is the Adriatic Sea with Bari being the most well known city. Bari is very near to the heel of Italy’s boot shape. Italy has a beautiful Mediterranean culture and is well worth a visit. There are just over 60 million people living in Italy and because of the Mediterranean weather it is a great destination for holidaymakers with many spectacular sights to see. Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin are the biggest cities to visit. 

Italian coastline

Italy's extremely long coastline dividing two major seas is a huge attraction and many adventurers travel through this beautiful terrain. Italy has an industrial economy but also a big stake in the farming and fishing industries due to the ideal land mass and plentiful well stocked oceans.

First famous place to visit in Italy

World heritage site

Leaning tower Pisa

Pisa is on the Eastern coast of Italy and this is my starting point. The first of the many places to visit in Italy is Pisa which houses the famous leaning tower as pictured opposite. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a bell tower and it contains seven bells, the largest of which is very heavy, weighing in at about six tons. The seven bells are so heavy that they were once removed in an attempt to stop the building being top heavy, as it was thought at the time that the tower was listing further with every passing year. The foundation of the tower has been reinforced to prevent subsidence and to ensure than it will not tilt any further than its estimated 5° out of true (perpendicularity). The tower is not very tall at only eight stories high (about 180 feet) but it took more than 125 years to build and was completed hundreds of years ago in 1350. 

Galileo and gravity

Italian flag

There is a nice rumor concerning the tower and the famous Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. Some records state that he used the tower to demonstrate the effect of gravity and the speed that objects fall at, when they have different masses. He used two differently weighted cannon balls, apparently. He wished to prove that they descended at the same rate regardless of the differences in weight.

Second famous place to visit in Italy

DolomitesThe mountainous region is so beautiful in Italy and Mount Marmolada, as well as being the highest, is my favorite peak among the Dolomites. The Marmolada glacier is a feature of the range and is particularly beautiful. . Mount Marmolada's main ski run is open to skiers and snowboarders during the ski season. The range of mountains called The Dolomites are situated in the extreme north of Italy near Austria and are form from magnesium limestone which is a hard substance. The rock does not wear away as readily as other mountainous ranges and weather has little effect on it, so it retains a sheer shape. The Dolomites are a natural world heritage site.

Climbing and adventure

If you are of an adventurous disposition you might like to traverse the mountains of the Dolimites on a bicycle, Cycling through this beautiful landscape is thoroughly recommended. There are cycle ways for all levels of cyclist. Hiking too is an option and the old railway track has been converted and paved. Many of the treks and paths are suitable for the whole family to use and children are especially catered for. For the more serious hikers there are the long distance footpaths which take several days to travel on foot. World War I enthusiasts will find much of historical interest in the Dolomites which have open air museums and pathways created during the war years. 

Third famous place to visit in Italy

From the architecture of Pisa to the dizzy heights of the Dolomites I now turn to the floating city of Venice, which is also in the North East of Italy, like the Dolomites. This is an incredible city to visit and has to be experienced to be believed. Venice is called the sinking city mainly due to the fact that it was built on a lagoon and sits in water.

The floating city of Venice 

Venice the floating cityThe city is over 1,500 years old and the only transport is to walk or to go by gondola where you will see a city from an unusual perspective as you enjoy the architecture of the many bridges, palaces and building you pass. The buildings, campaniles and churches have been built on stills and foundations driven deeply below the waterline and the city still stands as proud today as it was hundreds of years ago.

 Grand Canal transportation

The main thoroughfare in Venice is via the water of the Grand Canal and using specially built gondolas and Vaporetti (Vaporetto buses). The Vaporetto is the water bus line service and the Number 1 travels the full length of the Grand Canal. There are more that 15 service routes running in the city and they are by far the cheapest means of transport in Venice. At night the canal is spectacularly illuminated and looks so different than during the daylight hours. The city is beautiful by day and even more beautiful at night. 

Venice is a must-see city if you get to travel to Italy but be prepared for a slower pace of living and even slower floating transport. But oh, the transport entertainment that is provided by singing gondoliers, as they ferry you through this magnificent city, is unmatched anywhere else on earth. Venice is the only city in the world that walks on water.

The Italian Option

Lonely Planet Italy
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