Abruzzo

 

Abruzzo city top view image

 

WHAT TO SEE

L'Aquila is the most representative city of the region and offers various history, art, and faith routes. It is located on the slopes of the Gran Sasso and is characterized by an inestimable artistic heritage. The magnificent Basilica of San Bernardino and the one of Santa Maria di Collemaggio to the 16th-century castle and the fountain with 99 embellished spouts from as many stone masks.

Unfortunately, on April 6th, 2009, an earthquake hit the city, and the surrounding area badly damaged its valuable art treasures.

In the Aquila surroundings, there is much evidence of Abruzzo's complex history. From the famous Celano Castle, which now houses the Museum of Archaeological and Sacred Art, to the remains of the ancient Roman city of Alba Fucens.

On the Adriatic Sea, characterized by long and sandy beaches, Pescara is an important tourist centre. This city preserves the memory of the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio.

The coastal tourist resorts are numerous and characteristic: Tortoreto, Giulianova, Silvi Marina, Roseto, and, to the south, Ortona, Vasto, and San Salvo.

Chieti is located on a hill near the coast and houses a beautiful cathedral from the 11th century. The National Archaeological Museum, which is rich in prehistoric finds and evidence of Greek and Roman civilization, is also of particular interest.

Another important city is Teramo, with its medieval cathedral and the remains of the Roman theatre and amphitheatre.

There are countless ancient villages, guardians of a peasant civilization that keeps its traditions alive through local folklore and handicrafts.

One of the most characteristic places is Scanno, with its narrow streets, baroque portals, and old palaces. It is a typical village of the Sangro Valley, located near an enchanting lake.

Sulmona, home of the poet Ovid, who owns valuable artistic evidence and the famous hermitage of Celestino V, is rich in history and traditions.

 

WHAT TO DO

The varied landscape of Abruzzo offers different types of holidays, all exciting and full of surprises.

The highest peaks of the Apennines and the well-known resorts of Roccaraso, Rivisondoli, Pescasseroli, and Campo Imperatore welcome visitors with modern facilities and a complete system of slopes for ski, snowboard and snow rafting enthusiasts, while the cross-country trails are open forward in the magnificent landscapes of the Abruzzo, Latium and Molise National Park.

There are numerous sports in contact with nature: walks and excursions on foot, by mountain bike or on trekking routes in protected areas or in places of particular naturalistic value such as the magnificent Sagittario Gorges and the Zompo lo waterfalls. Schioppo or the lakes of Penne and Serranello, where even the birds' rarest species can be seen.

From the Gran Sasso to the Sirente, the high mountain area is particularly suitable for mountaineering and climbing.

For those who love horseback riding, there are countless opportunities for horse riding. Simultaneously, in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga Park, it is possible to ride a bridle path for hundreds of kilometres between naturalistic contexts of unique value.

Along the coast, thanks to the presence of equipped beaches and modern facilities, you can practice all sea sports: sailing, canoeing, fishing, windsurfing. There is also plenty of space for bike paths through pine and beech forests and then for entertaining evenings in discos, clubs, and restaurants in the various coastal towns.

Also important are the archaeological remains of the Fucense area in the Fucino Valley. The seat of a dry lake, satellite territory of Imperial Rome, where the ruins of Alba Fucens stand out, a Roman city at the foot of the Velino, a few kilometres from Avezzano, and the remains of the ancient Roman Domus and native necropolis.

There are numerous religious routes to places of prayer immersed in uncontaminated environments. One is the famous Hermitage of Celestino the 5th in a cliff or the Romanesque-Gothic church of Santa Maria di Propezzano in the Vomano Valley or the church of Santa Maria in Porclaneta- Valley in the municipality of Magliano de' Marsi (AQ).

Those with a sweet tooth can wander through olive groves and vineyards, from the inland Adriatic coast to the Peligna Valley, to visit businesses and taste wines, oils, and exquisite local produce.

Also not to be missed are the folklore events and religious festivals. The famous "Festa Della Perdonanza" in L'Aquila, the celebration of Serpari di San Domenico in Cocullo, the live nativity scene of Rivisondoli, the September Lancianese are all events worth seeing. 

 

WHAT TO TASTE

Abruzzo has a rich gastronomic tradition with specific traditions linked to each province. The table's rulers are "Macaroni Alla Chitarra," homemade noodles cut with a steel wireframe. Typical of Teramo is the Scrippelle, thin pasta sheets in broth, and all soups with legumes. On the coast, the fish dishes dominate, often seasoned with tomatoes to improve the taste of the "poor fish" fished in the sea off ancient marine areas. Among the second courses is a typical recipe of Chieti fried fish pickled in vinegar. The same applies to the stew or "fish soup", which is mainly consumed in the coastal towns and Teramo areas.

However, Abruzzo's real meat, especially in the Teramo and Aquila areas traditionally dedicated to sheep farming, is the master of the table. However, everywhere in Abruzzo, there is an abundance of menus based on lamb, kid, and sheep. Cold cuts such as ham, loin, and Ventricina are the main dishes of the mountain areas.

The typical Abruzzo dish is rounded off by a selection of the best regional DOC wines. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Sangiovese, and Trebbiano d'Abruzzo have conquered the national and international market to maintain their production and the excellent quality-price ratio. There are many organic wine productions, especially in the Chieti and Teramo areas.

Among the desserts, often based on almonds and honey, the nougats stand out, the famous ones from Aquila, the sugared almonds, a speciality of Sulmona, and the Cicerchiata, small balls of fried dough covered with honey, but also the Mostaccioli and the famous Bocconotto, typical of the Chieti area.

  

WHAT TO EAT

Homemade and genuine, jealous of its traditions and past, Lazio cuisine is often identified with Roman cuisine. Still, it goes much further in reality, with many typical variations from area to area and contaminations from neighbouring regions.

The starters are the highest expression of Lazio cuisine and rich in authentic ingredients and combinations: among the more traditional dishes, bruschetta with oil or cherry tomatoes, Roman artichokes flavoured with parsley and mint, along with the fried artichokes alla giudia they are among the classic starters in the capital. A prevalent cooking method all over Lazio is frying: traditional starters are fried zucchini blossoms or "frittelli," fried Roman cabbage tips in the batter. 

The are many famous pasta dishes. The Bucatini all' Amatriciana, with a spicy sauce made from bacon, tomato, and pecorino from the town of Amatrice. 

Pasta alla Carbonara made from bacon, pecorino, and eggs. Spaghetti with "Cacio and Pepe" based on black pepper and the cheese Pecorino Romano. Gnocchi alla Romana, prepared with semolina, milk, butter, and parmesan.

One of the most classic dishes is the Abbacchio, oven-cooked lamb with garlic, rosemary, white wine, anchovies, and a pinch of chilli, accompanied by potatoes. Oxtail and braised beef tail in a ragù rich in herbs and vegetables, or saltimbocca alla Romana, Veal wrapped in raw ham and sage and marinated in white wine. For those who prefer fish, we recommend the Roman-style calamari, cooked with artichokes, parsley, and white wine, or the Bianchetti alla Giudea, small fish fried with garlic and parsley.

To finish off, you need a classic dessert: like the Maritozzi con la Panna, soft brioches with fresh cream, once a sweet feature of Lent, the Bignè di San Giuseppe, fried sweets with pudding, typical of Father's Day, and the tart with sour cherries, with ricotta and sour cherry jam, small red fruits similar to cherries.

Suppose you want something "on the fly." In that case, there is no shortage of street food in Lazio: everywhere you can find sliced ​​pizza, red, with tomatoes or white and golden, perfect with mortadella, in Rome, "Mortazza"; the Typical street food of Lazio cuisine is the delicious sandwich with porchetta (traditionally from Ariccia) and supplì, filled with rice and mozzarella, then breaded and fried or fried or baked calzones, usually with boiled ham and mozzarella. Cod fillets, breaded and fried cod fillets, and zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies are also fried. When it's hot, you need a refreshing "Grattachecca": ice cream (not mashed but scraped off by hand) plus syrup and fruit juices to taste.

Finally, the wines: The Lazio wines include excellent white wines such as Frascati Superiore (DOCG), Velletri DOC, Colli Albani DOC, Est! East! East! from Montefiascone and the Aleatico. Among the reds, the Cesanese del Piglio, the red Cerveteri, or the red Castelli Romani DOC are worth trying.

 

Basilicata

 

basilicata image

 

WHAT TO SEE

Matera, the Sassi city, is a unique place that, together with its many rock-hewn churches, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A stroll along the alleys of Civita, the oldest part of the city, will allow you to enter the ancient urban agglomeration, made up of a dense network of caves dug in the rock by shepherds for refuge for their families and animals to offer.

An ancient architecture without any design, from which a real monumental work emerged, has become an attraction for millions of visitors worldwide.

A place is so unique that it has been selected to have several films dubbed, including "The Passion."

Then there is the coast of Maratea, 32 km of coastline on the Tyrrhenian side of Basilicata, famous for the seabed's richness and beauty.

This beautiful country has countless small beaches where you can relax in the sun and cool off in the crystal clear waters of a pristine sea.

Besides, you can visit the many sea caves along the coast during the boat tours.

Maratea's city is a precious pearl in the suggestive Gulf of Policastro, dominated from above by the imposing statue of the Redeemer.

 

WHAT TO DO

Much of the territory of Basilicata is occupied by mountains covered by beautiful forests and beautiful forests. A spectacular landscape where you can regenerate, have fun, and eat well all year round.

When the snow covers the high peaks in winter, there are many opportunities for recreation and fun. But even in summer, the mountains are an ideal place for those who enjoy walking, climbing, cycling, or just relaxing.

There are many beautiful places in Basilicata that you can also explore on horseback, mountain bike, or only on foot on one of the many trails that climb the mountains.

Water is also a defining element like this land.

Streams and creeks are flowing down from the mountains, lakes surrounded by lush vegetation, and then the sea with a thousand blue shades, where you can practice many activities, such as rafting or canyoning, rowing or sailing, diving, or sport fishing.

Shopping and nightlife lovers will find that Maratea is the ideal destination: a look at the shop windows of the center, a dinner in one of the typical restaurants of the port, a dessert in the bars of the square, and finally, a dip in one of the many nightclubs Dance late into the night.

 

WHAT TO EAT

Basilicata's typical cuisine is based exclusively on local products, which are skillfully combined in the old tradition's typical dishes.

The Lucanian tables protagonists are durum wheat noodles, handcrafted with ancient tools such as Rasola, Cavarola (each with a blade and a small cutting board), and Macarunara. You need the skill and mastery of housewives to make specific pasta shapes such as Minuichs and Tria.

Chili pepper is ubiquitous in delicious sauces, called Diavolicchio here.

Panella - large loaves of bread with a batter made of flour and boiled potatoes - and Pancotto - toasted slices of bread softened in broth and enriched with eggs - are two typical bread-based dishes, another recurring food in Lucanian cuisine.

According to tradition, Lucanians often enjoy lamb-based dishes such as Cazmarr, internal meatloaf (called Gnumaredd in the dialect), and Cutturiddi, a stew type.

Head of lamb is also prized, baked in the oven, and seasoned with oregano and pecorino.

Lucanica is famous among the meats, a lean pork sausage prepared in numerous variations without the use of additives.

Another queen of Basilicata gastronomy is vegetables, which combine with chili and offer a large selection of delicious dishes. We remember the vegetable calzones, the Ciammotta (fried potatoes, peppers, and aubergines with tomatoes), the Cialledda with broad beans, potatoes, and artichokes with Lampaggioni salad.

An excellent vegetarian synthesis then forms the "Lukan herb dish," which we find cooked together and seasoned with olive oil, onions, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and parsley.

 

CALABRIA

 

CALABRIA pizzo image

 

WHAT TO SEE

Art lovers will not want to miss the opportunity to admire the famous "Bronzi di Riace" the Riace bronzes on display in the National Museum of Reggio Calabria, an essential testimony to Magna Graecia. This period profoundly marked the history of this country. These magnificent statues depicting two warrior heroes are a rare example of classical Greek sculpture.

For sea lovers, Calabria, with its 800 km of coastline, offers a wide range of beautiful beaches, including Capo Vaticano in the province of Vibo Valentia, defined as one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in the world: an extended area of ​​magnificent sand surrounded by centuries-old trees and surrounded by crystal clear water populated by a varied fish fauna.

Immersion in the wild nature of the Calabrian hinterland is an experience that you cannot miss. The parks of Sila, Serre, Aspromonte, and Pollino are one of the most interesting naturalistic destinations. The "rivers" and "big stones" of Aspromonte, the "vegetable patriarchs" of Sila, the fauna of the Serre are just some of the natural wonders that this land offers.

 

WHAT TO DO

When you think of Calabria, the first thing that springs to mind is the sea and magnificent beaches where you can bask in the sun's rays. The crystal clear water is also a "nature gym" where you can have a lot of fun. Windsurfing, kite surfing, or diving to discovering the beautiful backdrops in which colourful sea fans and fascinating wrecks from the Second World War live.

There are also many opportunities for fun and relaxation that Calabria offers for those who want to spend their vacation exploring the inland areas. The national parks, which cover a large part of the hinterland, offer such a wide range of possibilities that every need can be satisfied.

Those who love winter sports choose one of the many ski areas equipped with synthetic slopes for training all year round.

Those who want can go rafting along the river Lao or through the Sila Gorges.

Alternatively, you can go down the river without the help of unique boats, but "run," dive into the water and abseil yourself in the most challenging sections with the rope (canyoning).

The support of specialist guides can make these fascinating sporting activities accessible to everyone.

Another way to learn and have fun at the same time is orienteering, a sport born in the Scandinavian countries to measure orientation skills. Equipped with a map and compass, the participant must reach the finish line as quickly as possible and choose the route independently but must make stopovers.

And why not experience the thrill of "flying" over the breathtaking views of Calabria? Specialized instructors will guide you on the paths of the sky that are firmly attached to the saddle of a paraglider and allow you to admire the beauty of Calabria from an entirely different perspective.

 

WHAT TO EAT

Calabria is a land of strong and intense emotions. Its flavours are the same: an example of all of them is the famous Calabrian pepper. This ingredient is easy to find in many typical Calabrian dishes: from bruschetta with Nduja or Sardella - known as "poor man's caviar" - to pork sausages, from spices for the pasta to fish dishes.

The chilli pepper's strong taste contrasts with the sweet taste of the famous Tropea red onion, protected by the IGP brand, and used both to flavour dishes and for medicinal purposes.

Calabria's typical delicacies are: the extra virgin oil, wines, bergamot liqueur, liquorice, cedar or herbs, honey, jams, and pasta with characteristic shapes (Strangugghj, Fileja, Maccaruni) still worked with the old methods.

 

CAMPANIA

 

CAMPANIA city and mountain image

 

WHAT TO SEE

Those who want to spend their holidays in Campania are spoiled for choice among the many options it offers.

Naples captivates with its liveliness, the beautiful colours of the sea, and its history that reappears in every corner of the ancient centre, the largest in Europe, an authentic open-air museum.

Everywhere you look, you can see fascinating glimpses, tabernacles, churches, and baroque obelisks. The old manual arts meet, from those of the cribs (San Gregorio Armeno) to the incomparable guitar maker and the old Borgo degli Orefici. There are endless routes to visit the castles, museums, mansions, and historical buildings or take a tour of the many churches with sculptural and pictorial masterpieces of enormous value.

Due to the exceptional nature of the finds and their state of preservation, UNESCO has placed the archaeological area of ​​Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Torre Annunziata under its protection completely destroyed Vesuvius in 79 AD. The volcanic lava marked its destruction, but also enabled its exceptional preservation to this day.

The Amalfi Coast offers a unique landscape in the world: bays and picturesque villages that cling to the mountain in a miracle of balance. The blue of the sea, the green of the Mediterranean scrub, the colours and lines of the small houses merge perfectly and form one of the most beautiful routes on the Italian coast. Sorrento, Amalfi, Ravello, Vietri Sul Mare, and Positano are some of the precious pearls that make up the series of small villages (12 in total) of the coast. Short living nativity scenes with their old alleys, arches, and squares fascinate the atmosphere, sounds, and smells they emit.

The Royal Palace of Caserta, another UNESCO site, is an authentic masterpiece of art and architecture and a valuable masterpieces container. If you visit inside, you will be enchanted by the constant succession of works of art, stucco, reliefs, frescoes, sculptures, and inlaid floors. A piece of colossal proportions: four inner courtyards, 1200 rooms, more than 30 imposing stairs, including the famous grand staircase with 116 steps and a vast, magnificent park as a framework.

The Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with Paestum and Velia's archaeological sites and the Certosa di Padula, a crossroads of cultures and peoples since prehistoric times, await your visit.

A valuable testimony to this country's past is Paestum with the three best-preserved Greek temples in the world: the Hera temple, the oldest, the Neptune temple, the largest, and the Ceres temple, which is actually dedicated to the goddess Athena.

The Phocians, founders of Elea (now Velia), an ancient city famous for hosting great thinkers like Parmenides, landed in 540 BC. On the coast of Cilento. Don't miss a visit to the Certosa di San Lorenzo, better known as the Certosa di Padula, one of the world's largest monasteries.

A landscape of rare beauty, shaped by wind, sea, and people: Capri and Ischia offer places where the day is dedicated to relaxation and the night to unbridled fun.

 

WHAT TO DO

Campania offers endless possibilities to experience and discovers its land's beauty, a perfect harmony between history, nature, culture, folklore, and real flavours.

Enjoy your vacation in the name of culture, sport, and fun. Regenerate and regain your psycho-physical balance by pampering yourself in one of the many spas.

When it comes to spas, Ischia's thermal parks come to mind. One of the Gulf of Naples' pearls, which, thanks to its volcanic origin, has one of the most significant hydrothermal heritage in the world. Modern and well-equipped wellness centres offer a wide range of therapeutic and aesthetic treatments to find the best form, embedded in the magical landscape of this beautiful island.

In the magnificent landscape of the Gulf of Naples, besides Ischia, there is one of the most famous places globally, Capri, the queen of social life and luxury, a meeting place for political figures, jet-set personalities, movie stars. A stroll in the mythical square must reach the heart of this place full of charm and mystery.

The wonders of this island are many, and there are many ways to admire them. Rent one of the famous and comfortable Gozzo boats or get a helicopter tour that flies over the entire Bay of Naples, the Herculaneum and Pompeii areas.  

The sea is undoubtedly the main attraction of Campania, but the hinterland also deserves a careful look. Ancient paths, dating back 2000 years, enter the heart of the National and Regional Parks, where many artefacts from the past have been preserved in an exceptional naturalistic context.

And in a country that is kissed by the sun and the sea, an internationally renowned excellent wine production should not be missing. A wide range of wines of great value and with a more or less intense taste can be enjoyed by lovers of the "blood of Bacchus." Along with one of the wine routes, nature, tradition, and preference will be the extraordinary companions.

The many festivals and events organized throughout the Campania region also host international cultural events. The Ravello Festival is organized every year and is an event for those who want to be won over by the charm of great music in an environment of incomparable charm.

 

WHAT TO EAT

The Campanian cuisine is cheerful and sunny and is best known for the typical products of its land. Thanks to the sun, this land boasts the juiciest and tastiest tomatoes globally, which flavour many local dishes such as the famous Neapolitan pizza and calzones. The Neapolitan pizza, invented in a three-colour pizza shape with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in honour of Margherita di Savoia, is still known today under the legal name of "Pizza Margherita" and has become legendary.

Naples is also home to spaghetti. The spices are numerous and all delicious, but the most important thing is to cook perfectly. At this, the Neapolitans are real masters.

Another flagship of this region is the milk production with the famous buffalo mozzarella DOP Campania, which is masterfully made in the Mondragone, Battipaglia, Capua, and Eboli areas.

The most representative desserts are the Neapolitan pastiera, the fragrant ricotta Sfogliatelle, the Baba soaked in liqueur, and the refreshing Lemon Delight.

The liqueur Limoncello from Sorrento and Campania's wines are a great accompaniment to a dinner of Neapolitan cuisine. Enjoy it on a terrace with a sea view by candlelight with a beautiful Neapolitan song in the background!

 

EMILIA ROMAGNA

EMILIA ROMAGNA town and boats image

WHAT TO SEE

A lot of art, history, architecture, Emilia Romagna offers all of this.

Bologna, the city of fairs and trade, condenses these aspects in the Basilica of San Petronio, one of Italy's most beautiful churches with a unique facade: half raw, half-covered in marble.

To admire the city's landscape, you can climb the 498 steps of the Torre degli Asinelli. The panorama from above is the reward for so much effort.

The city of Ferrara, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, preserves its splendour build during the Renaissance. It expresses in the streets, in the facades of the buildings, and the artistic treasures of the Estense Castle, a real architectural gem.

In Modena, the city of flavours and home of Tortellini, it is worth visiting and admire the Romanesque cathedral and the bell tower of the Ghirlandina.

Another place with eight buildings recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO is Ravenna, the mosaics city. The masterpieces of this city are an example of the magnificence it has achieved in its long history. It has three times considered the capital. Among the monuments not to be missed are the Basilica of S. Apollinare Nuovo, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, and the Basilica of S. Apollinare in Classe.

Faenza is a city with a remarkable historical and cultural heritage, instead enjoys international fame thanks to its ancient ceramic industry, an art that dates back to the 13th century.

Emilia Romagna is also the land of speed, sport, and motors.  Automobile lovers may visit the Ferrari museums in Maranello and Modena and admire the most prestigious cars made by the famous automaker, whose trophies and symbols have made it famous worldwide. On the other hand, with its historic fortresses and squares, Imola is the seat of the famous Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit, home of various cycling and motorsport events.

 

WHAT TO DO

In the heart of the Adriatic Riviera, you can be from one part of Italy to another in seconds. Thanks to Italy in Miniature, a park that hosts many scale reproductions of the most important monuments of the peninsula and Europe and where children can have fun observing the beauty of our land.

Emilia Romagna offers visitors different itineraries tailored to their needs.

For nature lovers, there are two national parks, 14 regional parks, and 11 local reserves. For those who want to immerse themselves in the green and perhaps devote themselves to outdoor activities such as trekking, kayaking, and cycling, these are places of leisure and relaxation.

Horse lovers can follow the routes along the Via Francigena in the Piacenza and Parma areas and enter the parks and paths throughout the region.

Another path is that of well-being with the numerous spas that offer therapeutic and regenerative treatments in the name of pleasure and relaxation.

Salsomaggiore, Tabiano, Bagno di Romagna, Castrocaro, and Porretta are just some of the places known for their spas.

Speaking of routes: the wine and food routes are an opportunity to rediscover the region's historical and cultural identity with its typical products and unforgettable flavours.

Finally, how can we forget the many feasts and festivals held throughout the area for most of the year? You will be spoiled for choice!

 

WHAT TO EAT

The journey to Emilia Romagna cannot ignore the discovery of the art of taste, a cuisine with intense and refined flavours: from the farmers of Emilia to the sailors of Romagna.

Among the traditional dishes that we remember: the typical Erbazzone, a hearty cake with spinach, Pisarei and Faso, small gnocchi with beans from Piacenza, not to mention tortelloni, agnolotti, and all kinds of pasta that come with fillings, flavours, and aromas.

In Bologna, we stop to taste the mortadella, to be appreciated, why not with the famous piadina.

The undisputed ruler of the Parma table, known and tasted worldwide, is Parma ham, the backbone of the temple of Italian cuisine and wine, which, together with the beautiful Grana cheese and the now legendary Parmigiano Reggiano, is a worldwide pride.

Another feather in the cap of Emilia Romagna is wine.

From Gutturnio, fruit of the Piacentini hills to Trebbiano, through Lambrusco, Barbera, Sauvignon and Sangiovese.

The cuisine of Emilia Romagna, a cuisine for gourmets, is appreciated worldwide and is based on simplicity and taste.

 

FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA

FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA castello di miramare image

WHAT TO SEE

Among the eminent figures of Friuli Venezia Giulia stands out the ancient city of Aquileia, which was one of the most important centres of the Roman Empire. Aquileia has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is rich in evidence such as the forum, the remains of the river port, and the basilica, one of the finest examples of early Christian art.

The Dolomites are a natural monument of unique value. Another UNESCO site offers awe-inspiring landscapes and colours in winter and in summer: crystal clear water, snow-capped peaks, and lush valleys. From the Karst plateau to the sea, Trieste is waiting to be discovered: the historic cafes, neoclassical palaces along the Grand Canal, and other monuments show the charm of this Central European city and its glorious past.

Another destination not to be missed is Gorizia, with its decidedly cosmopolitan character and medieval castle that tells centuries of history. Udine is also full of charm, dominated by the old castle and embellished by the works of Giambattista Tiepolo. Finally, with its ancient palaces and the characteristic Corso with long arcades, Pordenone is well worth a visit.

Many towns and numerous small villages still enrich the region with their art and their traditions, such as Grado, characteristic of its Venetian historical centre, the small town of San Daniele, where the most valuable frescoes of the region in the church of Sant'Antonio are kept and Cividale del Friuli, a historic city and seat of the first Lombard duchy in Italy.

 

WHAT TO DO

The unspoiled environment of Friuli Venezia Giulia offers a thousand possibilities for an unforgettable vacation dedicated to physical activity, well-being, and fun. From the Dolomites to the Pre-Alps and the Carnic Alps, the Friulian mountains are the ideal destination for winter sports enthusiasts: skiing, snowboarding, climbing, ice skating, trekking. Renowned ski areas such as Tarvisio, Piancavallo, Sauris, and Sella Nevea offer visitors kilometres of slopes and modern equipment amid impressive rock massifs and enchanting views.

From the Grado lagoon to Lignano Sabbiadoro, you can spend relaxing stays on the sandy coast and the clear sea between exciting games such as beach volleyball, water skiing, windsurfing, sailing, long drives, and water games in fun water parks. This is followed by evenings devoted to entertainment and social life in discos, clubs, and restaurants.

There is a wide choice of golf courses throughout the area in the beautiful scenery. The various protected areas offer majestic landscapes and beautiful environments for walking and nature trails, trekking, or mountain biking: from the Cavanata Valley Reserve, which is also suitable for bird watching, to the Miraramare marine reserve, which is ideal for sea watching, from the Natural Park of the Dolomites, the Kingdom Mountaineering and climbing, the Carnic Hills also suitable for horse riding.

There are numerous ways to discover unspoiled surroundings, such as the rugged karst promontory between limestone cliffs and caves or the Tagliamento river banks or the Carnia. The naturalistic aspect merges with the historical under the remains of forts, galleries, and other evidence of the First World War.

For a relaxing holiday dedicated to health, wellness and beauty, you can reach the famous spas, including the historic Terme di Grado or the Lignano Riviera, with seawater-based treatments.

From the mountains to the sea, to discover wine and good food, the paths cross the entire region between vast vineyards and farms where you can taste specialities and typical products, including the famous San Daniele ham or Montasio cheese.

There are numerous events in every season: cultural events such as Pordenonlegge, characteristic religious festivals such as El Pardòn di Barbana, countless food and wine reviews, and festivals, including Sapori di Carnia in Raveo, Friuli Doc in Udine or Aria di Festa San Daniele.

 

WHAT TO EAT

The cuisine of Friuli Venezia Giulia is influenced by Slavic, Central European, and Venetian cultures. It is mainly based on simple recipes and on the authenticity of the ingredients: meat, dairy products, sausages, and legumes that are used to make delicious specialities.

Typical dishes are Polenta, Porcina, boiled pork and sausages, sauerkraut and mustard, and soups with vegetables and legumes.

San Daniele ham is the most typical product, which is known and exported around the world, followed by Montasio cheese and smoked ham from Sauris. Among the sausages, the salami, the sop press, the Salami, and the musèt with Brovada stand out, i.e., the Cotechino, which is served with beets leavened in the marc.

The most famous regional dessert is Gubana, a pastry bowl filled with dried fruits. The strudel and fruit cakes are delicious too. The production of high-quality red and white wines is vibrant. It can be combined with the Friulian tradition's delicious dishes, including Picolit, Refosco, Terrano, Malvasia, Tocai, and Rebula.

Friuli Venezia Giulia is also known for producing spirits, including grappas, ranging from traditional to flavoured.

 

LAZIO

LAZIO city/village image

Cities and villages, nature reserves and hidden treasures, archaeological sites, lakes, and beaches: Lazio is where Rome is, but there is so much more to it. The region is vast and rich in treasures: on its territory, there are mountains and sea, rivers, lakes, and volcanoes.

Another exciting aspect is the many archaeological sites, such as the Etruscan finds and the tombs of Tuscia in the Viterbo region, Ostia Antica, the Temple of Jupiter Anxur in Terracina, and the cemetery of Cerveteri.

The region is full of archaeological sites and locations of high cultural interest: Rome and the Vatican, the Villa Adriana sites in Tivoli, where the emperor of the same name lived, and the Villa D'Este, a masterpiece of the Renaissance. The Etruscan necropolis of Cerveteri and in Tarquinia in the Viterbo Area, in the Monte Cimino area and in the Bracciano-Martignano Regional Natural Park, a nature reserve between Lake Bracciano and Lake Martignano.

 

WHAT TO SEE

1. Rome: With a history of 28 centuries, treasures and sights unique in the world, and a charm that cannot be resisted, Rome is a constant surprise, a milestone on any "great tour" of Italy

2. Ostia Antica: In its beautiful archaeological park, remains from the 7th century BC are preserved. and it is an inevitable stop to relive the time of ancient Rome

3. Pontine Islands: In front of the Gulf of Gaeta in southern Lazio is an archipelago of six magnificent islands of volcanic origin that differ from each other (including Ponza, Palmarola, Zannone, Gavi, Ventotene, Santo Stefano).

4. The Castelli Romani: a hilly area in the Albanians, just outside Rome, famous for its picturesque villages (including Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of the Popes), stately villas, and excellent cuisine

5. Civita di Bagnoregio: called "the dying city," is a historic village on a hill and can only be reached via a footbridge near Lake Bolsena

6. Tarquinia: a city of art and a symbol of the Etruscan civilization. The city is home to an exceptional necropolis, medieval monuments, and a nature reserve along the coast

7. The Parco dei Mostri di Bomarzo: a unique natural park of its kind with basalt sculptures from the 16th century depicting monsters, gods, and mythological beings

8. Tivoli: a city 30 km from Rome, a place with sanctuaries and magnificent villas such as Hadrian's Villa, Villa Gregoriana Park, Villa D'Este, and the Sanctuary of Ercole Vincitore

9. The Circeo National Park: a large protected area along the coast between Anzio and Terracina, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, which also includes Mount Circeo and the uninhabited island of Zannone

10. Sperlonga: It sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea, between narrow streets and whitewashed houses.

 

WHAT TO DO

Rome's city has extraordinary treasures, but you can also explore the archaeological sites on the Appia Antica or the Archaeological Park of Ostia Antica and the taurine baths' archaeological site Civitavecchia. 

The archaeological site of Gabi's ancient city is an exciting archaeological site, unknown to many.

The site of Lucus Feroniae in the municipality of Capena on the ancient Via Tiberina. Then the Etruscan excavations of Vulci and the Etruscan necropolis of Tuscania and Cerveteri.  

Lazio offers much more besides history and archaeology. The coastline overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea provides 360 km of mainly sandy coastline, dunes, watchtowers, and impressive beaches. Among the most beautiful beaches is the very long beach of Sabaudia between sand dunes and Mediterranean scrub, the beach Litorale del Circeo in the same name with its clear and clean sea, the beaches Levante and Ponente in Terracina. Cala Nave di Ventotene beach, Tor Caldara beach, in Anzio, enclosed in a nature reserve, the Gaeta coast, 10 kilometres from Montagna Spaccata in Sperlonga with the beaches of Arenauta, Ariana, Sant'Agostino, and Serapo. The Grotta di Tiberio, a natural cave that is very popular with snorkelers, is imposing.

For relaxation and well-being, you can visit one of the most famous spas in Fiuggi, which has therapeutic properties known as early as 1200. The sulfurous Terme di Tivoli, known since the time of imperial Rome, is now recovered and known as "Terme di Roma" and the Terme dei Papi di Viterbo with their famous hyperthermic waters.

Those travelling as a family will delight children by taking them to the Sacro Bosco (or Parco del Mostri) in Bomarzo in the Viterbo area, a natural park with curious basalt sculptures depicting monsters, deities, and legendary beings, or to the Bioparco di Roma, the garden of Italy's oldest zoological park, Cinecittà World in Rome, a theme park linked to cinema and television, MagicLand, the amusement park of Rome Valmontone or one of the numerous water parks in the region.

Numerous celebrations are held on the Carnival occasion, including the Carnival of Rome, that of Civita Castellana, known for its large allegorical floats, the Carnival of Frascati with the famous funeral of Pulcinella, the Carnival of Ronciglione, and the Carnival of Tivoli. 

Another important date is the one with the Infiorata of Genzano in the province of Rome with its magnificent flower carpets on the occasion of the feast of Corpus Domini. In the Viterbo area, the Palio dei Borgia in Nepi is a re-enactment of the Franciscan crib in Greccio (during Christmas time) and the Representation of the ascent to the Calvary, which takes place at Easter in Bagnoregio. 

 

LIGURIA

LIGURIA Portofino image

WHAT TO SEE

Liguria is one of Italy's smallest regions, bathed by the Ligurian Sea and dominated in the north by the Ligurian Alps and the Ligurian Apennines. It is known worldwide for its magnificent Cinque Terre, but the custodian of many other treasures.

Which stops should be included in a discovery route within the region? Surely these ten:

 1. Cinque Terre: these are five small picturesque villages Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore and are located by the sea and in close symbiosis with nature

 2. Genoa: is famous for its old port and aquarium, but also for its narrow streets and historical centre (the largest in Europe)

 3. Portofino: exclusive destination of the international jet set east of Genoa. It is known for its pastel-coloured houses, marina, and coves

 4. Dolceacqua: a small medieval village in the western hinterland, made famous by Claude Monet, who was conquered by his suggestive bridge

 5. The Gulf of Poets: The Gulf of La Spezia is known to have been the home for famous writers and artists such as Lord Byron, George Sand, P.B. Shelley, Montanelli, Soldati, and D'Annunzio

 6. Sanremo: elegant resort, known for its music festival and carnival, as well as for its beaches and promenade

 7. Camogli: Nestled in the rock in the Gulf of Paradise, it is a charming village full of hiking trails, including the path that leads to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso

 8. The Riviera Delle Palme: it is a coastline that goes from Varazze to Andora and includes renowned seaside resorts such as Alassio, Loano, Albenga, the Baia dei Saraceni and Finalborgo

 9. Triora: notorious for witch trials in the 16th century. It's a small inland village with an interesting ethnographic museum and a witch festival

 10. Taggia and Arma di Taggia: They are divided between the seaside resort (Arma di Taggia) and the historic village (Taggia) and invite you to discover the Argentina Valley on paths and routes that are covered by motorcycle or bicycle can

The impressive villages of the Cinque Terre with their colourful houses, the paths overlooking the sea, and the terraced slopes have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, along with Porto Venere and Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, small islands at the western end of the Gulf of La Spezia. In 2006 Genoa received this prestigious recognition for its Strade Nuove. Four streets in the historic centre built by the Genoese aristocracy at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries and which are home to the Palazzi dei Rolli, splendid noble residences in the Renaissance and Baroque styles the size of Genoa in the eyes of the world.

 

WHAT TO DO

There are so many beaches where you can enjoy the sun and the sea: among the most beautiful is the Baia del Silenzio in Sestri Levante, the San Fruttuoso beach in Camogli (where the picturesque San Fruttuoso Abbey is located), the Saracen Bay in Varigotti, the coast of San Lorenzo al Mare, the shore of Bergeggi and the Bay of Paraggi in Santa Margherita Ligure.

The most recommended areas for diving are the Cinque Terre Marine Area. You can dive between shoals, wrecks, and caves, the Portofino Marine Park, which includes more than twenty dive sites between Santa Margherita Ligure and Camogli, Capo Noli, and the marine area the island of Bergeggi on the Riviera di Ponente, also suitable for beginners. Don't forget Camogli, in the 17 meters deep water of the statue of Christ of the Abyss, protector of divers.

The Ligurian Sea is part of the "Pelagos Sanctuary," a marine area between Liguria, Sardinia, and France populated by whales. Dolphins are often spotted when taking a boat trip. Tours from Savona, Genoa, or Loano organize whale watching tours where you can spot sperm whales, fin whales, turtles, and flying fish.

Liguria offers many delicious options for trekking enthusiasts. Hiking trails across the entire region: among the most popular are the routes in the Cinque Terre, such as the Sentiero Azzurro, which winds along the sea and connects all five villages, the Via dei Santuari, which combines five different sanctuaries (viable) also with the Bike or on horseback), the path halfway up the coast from Manarola to Corniglia or from Levanto to Monterosso or the 14 km path from Portovenere to Riomaggiore in the Gulf of Poets. The Cinque Terre National Park, the Regional Park Portovenere, and the Regional Park Montemarcello-Magra or the 15 km long panorama path from Sestri Levante to Moneglia. The Alta Via dei Monti Liguri, on the other hand, runs the entire length of the region, a total of 440 km from Lerici to Ventimiglia, further into the hinterland. Thanks to the Ligurian Apennines' exceptionally mild climate, the hiking trails are also accessible in winter.

One of the recommended routes for bike lovers is the Ciclabile dei Fiori, which winds along the sea from San Lorenzo a Mare to Ospedaletti, where the train once went (currently 24 km, but in the future 60). the Ciclovia dell'Ardesia (35 km) from Lavagna towards the inland valleys, which are also suitable for children, or the short but fascinating bike path from Levanto to Framura, which was built from the old railway.

As for the other sports, Liguria is an attraction for climbing lovers who can climb in this way with a sea view, like in Finale Ligure and Porto Venere. You could paraglide on the sea in Bergeggi or in Tigullio. If you like rafting and canyoning, there are opportunities in Val di Vara, and if skiing is your obsession, you can try in Monesi di Triora near Imperia.

Pay a visit to the beautiful Toirano caves in Borghetto Santo Spirito, which are also suitable for families with children. The Gambatesa mine near Genoa can be visited with a small train. The Parco della Val d'Aveto in Genoa is the only place in Italy where wild horses live.

For families with children, a visit to the Aquarium of Genoa is located in Genoa's old port. Also, in Genoa, in the "City of Children," you can find a science and technology centre for children and adolescents, and the Caravelle water park is a must. In Ceriale, in the Savona area.

Would you like to attend an unmissable event? These are the most famous events in the region:  Sanremo in Fiore, the Carnival of Sanremo with the favourite allegorical flower poses, the Infiorata of Pietra Ligure on the occasion of Corpus Domini, the luminous nativity scene of Manarola, in the nativity scene Cinque Terre. The largest illuminated festival in the world the Stella Maris Festival, a traditional celebration in honour of the Madonna, celebrated in Camogli on the first Sunday of August, and the Autunnonero Ghost Tour, dedicated to mysteries and legends, organized in Triora, the famous "City of" Witches. "

 

WHAT TO EAT

Suppose you want to start with an appetizer. In that case, you can choose a seafood and shellfish salad such as Cappon Magro, a luscious and tempting combination of fish and vegetables, or Frisceu, hearty pancakes with salad, whitebait, and cod, and cakes savoury like the Pasqualina cake filled with Swiss chard, parmesan, and eggs or in the form of chickpea porridge, one of the most famous dishes in Liguria.

The most classic Ligurian cuisine includes trenette or Trofie with pesto, a condiment made from extra virgin olive oil, basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmigiano Reggiano. On the other hand, Pansotti alla Genovese is similar to ravioli stuffed with vegetables, perhaps to be tried with walnut sauce. If you want to enjoy a first course with seafood, you can instead opt for fish ravioli with numerous variations, including vegetables.

We recommend the Genoese tip for second courses, the veal tip stuffed with eggs, peas, artichokes, pistachios, pine nuts, ham, and sweetbreads. For those who love fish, mackerel with peas, with only local fish, the squid Buridda, a classic Genoese, with squid, peas, and tomatoes or Ligurian fish, with your choice of fish, sea bass, sea bream, occhiate, or cooked Gallinelle with tomatoes, Pine nuts, olive oil, Taggiasca olives, and rosemary.

For dessert, we recommend Panera, a coffee parfait typical of Genoa, amaretti from Sassello, sweets made from sweet and bitter almonds and egg white, or Baci di Alassio, biscuits filled with cream on chocolate. Typical for the Christmas season are the Genoese pan dolce with raisins, candied fruits, pine nuts, and the Sacripantina, a sponge cake filled with buttercream with cocoa and hazelnuts.

If you are a fan of street food, you've come to the right place: Liguria can count on a vast selection of hiking foods, starting with focaccia, which is available in many variations: the Genoese focaccia brushed with extra virgin olive oil, water, and salt or focaccia with olives or onions or with sage or rosemary in the batter or the thinner and crispy Voltri Focaccia; or even the focaccia stuffed with Recco cheese. Another great Ligurian classic is the farinata made from chickpea flour, consumed as a starter or

 

LOMBARDIA

LOMBARDIA limone city image

WHAT TO SEE

On its vast territory, the landscape has receded in infinite variations: Lombardy stretches from the Alps to the countryside, from cities of art to small, historic villages in the great Italian lake region (there are more than fifteen). Lombardy perfect for those looking for a dynamic and engaging vacation where you will never be bored.

Where to start discovering Lombardy, Especially from these ten fabulous places:

1. Milan: The regional capital, a very modern and eclectic city, can always surprise thanks to its complete calendar of cultural events, historical itineraries, and artistic treasures

2. Bergamo: Walls protect the charming medieval village from the 16th and 17th centuries - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - located on the hills in a scenic location

3. The Orobie: a mountain range of protected areas and nature reserves that stretches from Lake Como to Valtellina and Val Camonica, including refuges, hiking trails, and sports activities

4. Mantua: It is one of the leading centres of the Italian Renaissance, located in a picturesque setting and surrounded on three sides by lakes in a nature reserve

5. Sirmione: Pearl of Lake Garda, its romantic village on the peninsula of the same name, is known for its Roman remains and its thermal waters

6. Lake Como: The third-largest Italian lake, whose enchanting landscape has attracted artists, poets, and famous people for centuries

7. Franciacorta: In the hilly area between Brescia and Lake Iseo, this is a well-known wine-growing area that combines its history with the production of a highly valued DOCG sparkling wine

8. Valtellina: a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The valley offers endless possibilities for a mountain vacation that combines sport, wellness, culture, and good food

9. Monte Isola: It is the largest lake island in southern Europe, a green mountain full of villages in the centre of Lake Iseo

10. Pavia and its Certosa: a city of ancient origins. It has an important historical heritage made up of great monuments, most notably the Certosa, a religious complex outside the city.

In Lombardy, you will find 500 museums and over a million cultural assets:

- The famous fresco of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

- The medieval Torrazzo of Cremona at 112 meters

- The highest historic bell tower in Italy

The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, inaugurated in 1778, is one of the most famous in the world for opera music. Lombardy is also the Italian region where most of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites are. In addition to the Venetian walls of Bergamo, there are also Mantua and Sabbioneta, the Park of the Rock Carvings of the Camonica Valley, the workers 'village of Crespi d' Adda, the Sacro Monte della Beata Vergine del Soccorso, and the Sacro Monte di Varese, as well as the Rhaetian Railway, the Tirano in Valtellina with Sankt Moritz in Switzerland.

 

WHAT TO DO

From lakes to mountains, from the countryside to cities of art, there is no shortage of fun and entertainment opportunities for a dynamic and entertaining holiday combined with sport, well-being, culture, or food and wine in all of Lombardy.

Nature lovers can choose from a multitude of activities in every season of the year: In the mountains, there are numerous hiking trails with different degrees of difficulty and lengths and numerous refuges that offer hospitality. Incredibly scenic trekking routes are, for example, the 160 km long Sentiero delle Orobie, which winds through the Orobie Bergamasche Park, or the many paths in the Stelvio Pass, the Alta Via dell'Adamello (for experienced hikers). Valtellina's main roads, such as the 130 km long Gran Via delle Orobie and the 110 km long Alta Via della Valmalenco for experienced hikers, or the Via dei Terrazzamenti, a 70 km long bicycle-pedestrian route through villages and vineyards from Morbegno to Tirano. You can also take exciting walks with a view of the lake, such as the Sentiero del Viandante, a 45 km route along the eastern shore of Lake Como, or the Via dell'Alto Lario in the western Alto Lario. Those who want to practice climbing can choose the Val di Mello in the lower Valtellina, the peaks of Adamello, or one of Lake Como or Lake Garda's cliffs. Valtellina is also the ideal place to practice rafting and kayaking, whereas Lake Garda, Lake Idro, and Val di Ledro for canyoning.

Those who like to ride a bike, on the other hand, will find many opportunities for cycling in Lombardy: One of the numerous routes is the Sentiero Valtellina, 114 km from Bormio to Colico on Lake Como; the Mincio cycle path that connects Peschiera del Garda with the city of Mantua along the Mincio river; the Ciclopista del Garda from where you will admire the coastal region of the lake from Limone to Riva del Garda. 

Adda's cycle path can be ridden from Lecco to Milan along the banks of the Adda river, and the Valle Brembana cycle path from Bergamo to the upper Brembana valley.

In winter, ski and snowboard enthusiasts can rely on modern and well-equipped ski facilities that guarantee perfect snow: the Ponte di Legno-Tonale area is one of the centres. Monti dell'Aprica, Livigno, Bormio, Madesimo, and Montecampione (20 slopes, 11 ski lifts, 30 km in total). There are also numerous routes for snowshoeing and ice rinks and the option of snowmobiling with dinner at a refuge or helicopter flights. In Valle Camonica and Alta Valtellina, you can also experiment with sledge dogs, that is, sledges pulled by Siberian dogs.

You can practice various water sports at the large Lombardy lakes: Lake Garda, Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Iseo are the ideal places for sailing, windsurfing, and kite surfing, but also water skiing. , Canoeing, diving, wakeboarding, and stand up paddle.

Lombardy has some of the most spectacular and famous spas in Italy: from the Terme di Bormio in Valtellina, which was mentioned in ancient Roman times, to the Terme di Sirmione on Lake Garda, from the Terme di San Pellegrino in Val Brembana the Terme di Boario in Valcamonica.

The region is rich in monasteries, abbeys, and historical memories and a popular destination for religious tourism: Essential places are the Sacro Monte di Varese, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Chiaravalle Abbey, the Certosa di Pavia or the Abbey of San Benedetto in Polirone. Lombardy's southern area, between Pavia and Lodi, is crossed by the Via Francigena and other exciting routes such as the Augustine path and the San Colombano path in Mantua.

Finally, there are many flavours in the region: the Franciacorta street between Brescia and Lake Iseo, the Oltrepò Pavese street for wine and flavours in the Pavese region, the Valtellina wine and taste route. The "Strada dei Vini e Sapori Mantovani," "Strada dei Vini e Sapori della Valcalepio" and the "Strada del Vino and Sapori del Garda." All invite you to linger in vineyards and farms and cellar visits, where you can enjoy wine tastings and the most typical specialities of the region.

 

WHAT TO EAT

Lombardy cuisine is rich and varied, with intense and rustic flavours suitable for severe winters, which tells of the close bond with nature and its territory. Modern but respectful reinterpretations of tradition revive recipes handed down from generation to generation.

The journey to discover Lombardy's excellent food can best begin with a delicious platter of local cold cuts and cheese. Famous typical cold cuts there are bresaola della Valtellina, salami from Milan (also called Crespone), Salame d'Oca from Mortara IGP or Mantuan Coppa; When it comes to cheese, the choice is vast: some of Italy's top performers are born in Lombardy, including Grana Padano DOP, Gorgonzola, Bitto Storico, Salva Cremasco, Taleggio, Formai de Mut DOP and Stracchino delle Valli Orobiche.

The famous first pasta courses include the Pizzoccheri della Valtellina, a pasta made with buckwheat flour and seasoned with potatoes, cabbage, cheese, and melted butter. The Casoncelli is typical of Bergamo and Brescia, ravioli filling, the traditional Mantuan pumpkin Tortelli and risottos like the classic Milanese risotto with saffron. 

A classic dish of the region is among other things, Cassœula, pork cooked with cabbage, Milanese schnitzel, exclusively bones, boiled meat with mustard, typical of the Cremonese region, and many other meat dishes such as braised and steamed with polenta or delicious Polenta Taragna (also excellent alone or with mushrooms). A stay at the lake, on the other hand, is the right opportunity to try sea fish such as white fish, tench, or char.

Finally, try the Sbrisolona di Mantova cake made with almonds, the Amaretti di Saronno, the Torrone di Cremona, the Bisciola della Valtellina, a sweet bread enriched with dried fruits, the Veneziana, a sugar dough coated with sourdough, a typical Milanese dessert like the Christmas cake par excellence: panettone.

Among the top Lombard wines, the Franciacorta sparkling wine, the wines of Valtellina (among the most delicious, the Inferno, the Sforzato, the Valtellina Superiore), the Lugana of Lake Garda and the wines of Oltrepò Pavese (particularly noteworthy) should be highlighted classic method Oltrepò Pavese (Barbera, Bonarda), Moscato di Scanzo and Lambrusco Mantovano.

 

MARCHE

MARCHE urban image

WHAT TO SEE

The region recalls its great past in the cities of art, in the squares that look like living rooms, in the medieval villages where time seems to have stood still, in the streets and the noble palaces.

Ascoli Piceno represents Italy's monumental cities with its medieval historical centre and the Piazza del Popolo, with a vaulted loggia. Most of it with the battlements of the Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo. In the city, it is possible to visit some craft workshops that express Ascoli's creativity and skill, such as that of the guitar maker. On the first Sunday in August, the city's streets frame the historic "Quintana", where experienced knights compete against each other in the Saracen tournament.

Ancona is an old port junction known as the "Gateway to the East". It preserves prestigious monuments and an inviting beach. The Cathedral of San Ciriaco is located on an ancient Greek acropolis site and is considered one of the most impressive medieval churches in Marche.

Urbino's historic centre with the Palazzo Ducale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an impressive architectural and artistic example of the Italian Renaissance.

Gradara is also worth a visit with its fortress, a great example of medieval military architecture and a place where, according to tradition, Paolo and Francesca kissed, as Dante told in the fifth song of Hell.

The Mariano di Loreto sanctuary is an essential stage for religious tourism as it is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Catholic world.

For lovers of classical music, during two weeks in August, full immersion in the sheet music of Gioacchino Rossini, a native of Pesaro. The Rossini Opera Festival has become an indispensable event for music lovers worldwide in the impressive surroundings of the city, which offers not only cultural attractions.

For those with a sweet tooth, there is nothing better than going to Fano during Carnival. The Fano Carnival is of ancient origin and has at least three original elements: the start of sweets in the crowd from allegorical floats, the characteristic "volcanic" mask caricature of the most famous people of the city, and the Arabic music, a music band whose instruments are tin cans, Coffee pots, jugs.

 

WHAT TO DO

The sea and mountains in this region are an ideal combination for those who like to hike and immerse themselves in the surrounding sea's clear waters and the vegetation of its parks.

Precisely the latter occupies an excellent percentage of the area considered as a protected area.

Italy in green

The Marche with the National Park of the Sibillini Mountains and the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga Park offers impressive scenarios with flora and fauna of considerable interest. Greenlight for bird watching with sightings of golden eagles, peregrine falcons, eagle owls, trekking enthusiasts, long walks in the woods, horse riding, canoeing, and mountain biking.

In particular, the bicycle offers the possibility of pleasant routes to discover naturalistic, historical, and artistic beauties and food and wine specialities typical of the region.

For skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing lovers, the Apennines offer more than nine ski areas, snow parks, and cross-country trails of various lengths and degrees of difficulty. The Ussita Ice Palace, on the other hand, offers an enjoyable experience for those who skate on ice.

A trip to the Conero, the magnificent promontory of the same name's regional park, which extends south of the capital, should not be missed. The Conero with Portonovo, Sirolo, and Numana is the Ancona Riviera. Its high and indented coastline and beautiful sea make it one of the fascinating holiday destinations on the Italian coast. The seabed of rare beauty, rich in animal and plant species, is a destination for diving of rare charm.

In Ancona, the city celebrates the San Ciriaco Fair, the patron saint, in May's first days. The town fills up hundreds of stalls, craft markets, market exhibitions, even with typical flavours, street artists, and spontaneous paintings "en Plein air" for four days.

For music lovers, AnconaJazz brings international stars to the city and is the main event in the Marche region dedicated to jazz.

 

WHAT TO EAT

We are not talking about a single cuisine, but rather a union of aromas and flavours of the entire area with its specific characteristics. The hinterland's typical roughness can be tasted in meat dishes with pork in porchetta, marinated lamb, or other dishes based on truffles such as Acqualagna and Sant'Agata Feltria or those mushroom-based. The first courses tagliatelle, strozzapreti, and the traditional "Vincisgrassi," the forerunner of all baked lasagna on the peninsula.

The sea's fresh and sweet taste perceives in fish dishes; The undisputed master of the seaside table is the "Brodetto," which collects more than 14 fish specialities enriched with tomatoes in the Pesaro and Ancona areas and with saffron in Ascoli. The symbolic dish of the town of Ascoli is the mixed fried all' Ascolana: stuffed olives, cream, zucchini, artichokes, and lamb chops, while among the desserts, we find the Ciambellotto with aniseed mushrooms, cicerchiata, fried and stuffed ravioli of chestnuts, cream, and ricotta.

The Pecorino di Talamello, wrapped in walnut leaves and matured in tuff caves, the ham, the Lonzini, and the Coppa di Testa are noteworthy.

Piceni wines should accompany everything: the white Falerio dei Colli Ascolani, the Rosso Piceno, and the Rosso Piceno Superiore and round off the cooked wine, stored in barrels, with the Mediterranean touch of anisette and mistrà.

 

MOLISE

MOLISE termoli image

WHAT TO SEE

The route to discover the area begins in Campobasso, a city centre steeped in history and culture, dominated by the imposing Monforte Castle. Of particular importance is the Samnite Provincial Museum, which exhibits valuable evidence of the civilizations that populated the area from proto-history to the Samnite period.

Isernia's historic centre is exciting: the areas and monuments of most significant interest are the 13th-century fountains and the ancient prehistoric area outside the city. Also worth visiting are two small towns that still pass on old handicrafts today: Agnone, with artisans specializing in the manufacture of bells for the world's most important churches, and Scapoli, the village the bagpipes, which has a museum dedicated to this ancient musical instrument. The small town of Bagnoli del Trigno, called "the pearl of Molise," is also worth visiting.

Among the critical archaeological centres of Molise, the Samnite Pietrabbondante deserves a visit, with its wonderful Sepino theatre with the ruins of the Roman city and Larino, which combines the precious Roman remains with a great example of medieval art: the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral. Termoli is a holiday resort and port with the majestic Swabian castle and the Romanesque cathedral. Venafro with the Pandone castle, the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral, and archaeological finds from the Roman and pre-Roman times.

There are also numerous castles in the area, Pescolanciano and the abbeys and sanctuaries, including the Benedictine Abbey of San Vincenzo al Volturno, the Santuario dell'Addolorata di Castelpetroso and the Sanctuary of Canneto in Roccavivara. Finally, excellent examples of Romanesque architecture are the Church of San Giorgio in Petrella Tifernina and the Church of Santa Maria della Strada in Matrice.

Undoubtedly worth a visit are the Tratturi, unpaved roads where shepherds once brought their flocks in times of transhumance and which today are compelling testimony to rural and pastoral civilization.

Finally, a must for winter sports enthusiasts is Campitello Matese, one of the most famous ski areas in central and southern Italy.

 

WHAT TO DO

From the peaks of the Apennines to the coast, the unspoiled nature of Molise is the ideal place for a relaxing stay, sport, and excursions to the most characteristic places of the region.

Those who love a lot of green can walk or hike between forests, streams, gorges, and waterfalls in the various protected areas such as the Abruzzo, Latium, and Molise National Park or the WWF Guardaregia-Campochiaro oasis. Many hilly areas can be visited by mountain bike, while you can follow scenic bike paths along the coast.

Always in the heart of nature, you can experience a unique experience, such as horse riding along the "Tratturi," the thousand-year-old transhumance routes that make Molise so unique. In Pescolanciano, in several areas of the Province of Campobasso, and almost everywhere in the region, these historic trails offer the opportunity to immerse yourself in local history and civilization.

Well-equipped ski areas such as the Campitello Matese, the most important ski area in Molise, and Capracotta, known for its cross-country ski trails, ensure the thrill of skiing in the high mountains.

Instead, from Termoli to Campomarino on the coast, you can spend a seaside holiday and practice all water sports on wide sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and modern facilities. Those with a sweet tooth, on the other hand, can follow food and wine tours from the coast to the upper Molise through areas overgrown with vineyards and characteristic villages with stops to taste wines and typical products, including the famous white truffle of San Pietro Avellana.

Molise is a land of ancient traditions and still offers different spiritual routes in uncontaminated environments. Not to be missed are the sanctuary of Santa Maria del Canneto in Roccavivara or the impressive monastery of Addolorata in the rugged mountains of Castelpetroso.

Finally, events and festivals that keep local traditions alive are:

- The International Bagpipe Festival in Scapoli

- The White Truffle Fair in San Pietro Avellana and folkloric events such as "La 'Ndocciata," a torchlight procession in traditional costume.

 

WHAT TO EAT

Land with an agricultural vocation, Molise's typical cuisine is based on the products of the earth and pastoralism, enriched with the surrounding regions' influences. There are many signature dishes such as Maccheroni alla Chitarra, Pallotte with cheese and eggs, pasta and beans, polenta, lamb, and roasted Turcinelli, consisting of lamb entrails and offal.

Among the excellent products, extra virgin olive oil, Isernia truffle, and durum wheat pasta stand out. There are various sausages, including Saggicciotti, liver sausages, ventricina and Pampanera, and bacon with oven-dried chillies.

The gastronomic prerogative of the region is dairy products, in particular caciocavallo and stracciata from Agnone and Alto Molise, fior di latte from Boiano, buffalo mozzarella from Venafro, pecorino from Matese. Scamorza and burrini are made everywhere and consist of an outer part caciocavallo and an inner part butter.

The local wines are of excellent quality, including Biferno and Pentro. Typical sweets include grape mustard (jam typical of the Molise countryside) and, among other exquisite delicacies, Cauciuni (sweets filled with pasta and chickpeas), filled waffles (waffles filled with walnuts) and almonds), Peccellate (sweets filled with cooked must or jam) and Cippillati (baked ravioli filled with sour cherries).

 

PIEMONTE

PIEMONTE house and road image

WHAT TO SEE

Turin is the first stop to discover the region of Piemonte. The Egyptian Museum, one of the most important in the world, the Holy Shroud, one of the most precious relics of Christianity, the famous Mole Antonelliana that dominates the city landscape and houses the National Cinema Automobile Museum.

The Royal Palace of Venaria Reale is splendid, an architectural complex of extreme charm, recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site together with the other Royal Residences of the Savoy.

From the Royal Palace and Palazzo Carignano in Turin to the hunting lodge of Stupinigi, from the Royal Castle of Racconigi to the Palazzo Madama in Turin: the tour of the Royal Residences of the Savoy starts in the city of Turin and ends in the surrounding area.

Masterpieces of religious architecture are the Sacred Mountains, richly decorated places of devotion, spread throughout the entire region: in Varallo Sesia, Serralunga di Crea and Ponzano Monferrato, in Orta San Giulio, in Ghiffa, in Domodossola.

Not to be missed are some historic towns, including Cherasco, "the city with starry walls," Savigliano rich in monuments, Alba, Ivrea.

Among the most famous abbeys, that of Staffarda stand out, a representative example of Gothic architecture and that of Novalesa, near Susa.

The Sacra di San Michele, an ancient sanctuary, is incredibly important.  Here, the religious aspects blend admirably with the architectural and naturalistic ones.

The Piedmontese shore of Lake Maggiore is full of renowned resorts, such as Arona with the colossal seventeenth-century statue of San Carlo, Stresa, and the Borromean Islands, with accommodation facilities, villas, and gardens.

The Sestriere and Via Lattea ski area are one of Europe's most important winter sports slope systems.

There are also many reserves and natural parks, including the virtual tour Gran Paradiso National Park, which is home to glaciers, natural lakes, and protected flora and fauna.

 

WHAT TO DO

Rich in natural and landscape resources, Piedmont offers the opportunity to experience a holiday dedicated to the sport, relaxation, and fun, alternating leisure moments with visiting the artistic heritage.

Internationally renowned resorts such as Sestriere, Val di Susa, and others offer a vast network of slopes to practice many different sports in an enchanting alpine scenery. From the steepest descents to cross-country skiing, from ice skating to snowboarding, adventure lovers can devote themselves to rock climbing or rafting in rushing streams.

In summer, the reliefs and valleys offer trekking routes of varying difficulty, and some Via Alpina stretches with paths and shelters equipped from Monviso to the mountains around Verbania.

There are still numerous activities to be practised in the open air: cycling routes along the Po and in the Vercelli area, mountain biking along the banks of the Sesia, golf in various centres throughout the territory, and also sailing, windsurfing, canoeing on the banks of the Lake Maggiore.

There are also many paths to discover the local culture and the region: for example, in Val Germanasca, where guided tours take you to the talc mines that have marked the history of the territory, while the Sacri Monti offers devotional itineraries in magnificent protected areas.

Piedmont is a land of excellence for viticulture; from Monferrato to Langhe, Asti, Tortona hills: the numerous wine roads lead to fascinating landscapes with stops at companies and cellars to taste wines typical local products, such as the fragrant Alba truffle.

For a holiday dedicated to health and well-being, you can opt for the region's renowned spa towns, including Acqui Terme, framed by the evocative remains of a Roman aqueduct.

Finally, not to be missed are cultural events and manifestations of international importance, such as the Book Fair and the famous chocolate festival "Ciccolatò" held annually in Turin, and local cultural celebrations and festivals such as the famous Ivrea Carnival. , the Palio of Asti, and many others.

 

WHAT TO EAT

The most distinct specialities of regional cuisine are fondue and Bagna Cauda: sauces that enhance the Alba truffle and raw vegetables. The mixed fry, braised meat in Barolo, hare in civet, and the wide selection of cheeses are also exceptional: Tome, Robiole, Bruss delle Langhe, gorgonzola from Novara, Salenium from Biella.

Typical sweets are present in every city: in Turin, the chocolates (how can we forget the exquisite Gianduiotti produced with hazelnuts from the Langhe and Monferrato), in Novara the biscuits, in Vercelli the Bicciolani, in Casale the "scabs," in Cuneo the Cuneo people with rum and glazed chestnuts, nougat in Alba, Baci di dama di Alessandria and Asti, amaretti in Novi.

Finally, originating in Turin are products of worldwide fame and diffusion: breadsticks and vermouth.

Piedmont produces some of the finest Italian red wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara, Ghemme, Nebbiolo, Freisa, Grignolino, Barbera, Dolcetto.

 

PUGLIA

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WHAT TO SEE

Land of the sea, endless hills, and plains, Puglia attracts visitors for its splendid coasts with more than 800 kilometres between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Cities of art and its picturesque historic villages, where ancient religious traditions still live intact. Country farms surrounded by olive groves, and its products of the earth with an old and incomparable flavour. Puglia is always worth the trip, for many reasons.

Here is a selection of ten places to plan your journey to the discovery of the region:

1. Lecce: the city of Baroque jewel art, it is a real open-air museum dotted with masterpieces and extraordinary monuments

2. Gargano: the "spur of Italy" is a peninsula of unspoiled nature and beautiful beaches, picturesque villages, olive groves, and citrus groves

3. Alberobello and the Itria Valley: between gentle hills and centuries-old olive trees, it is the "Valley of the Trulli" and characteristic villages such as Alberobello, Locorotondo, Cisternino, and Martina Franca

4. Ostuni: it is called "White City" for its historic centre entirely painted with white lime, a real feast for the eyes

5. Tremiti Islands: the only archipelago in the region, it includes five islands within a marine nature reserve with a sea that is a paradise for diving

6. Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve: a natural oasis and a protected marine area, a precious ecosystem where many animal species live

7. Castel del Monte: built by Frederick II of Swabia in the 13th century, it is famous all over the world for its particular octagonal plan and is the most visited monument in the region

8. The Castellana Caves: a complex of underground cavities 3 kilometres long, they are considered the most spectacular caves in Italy

9. Salento Peninsula: a fascinating land unique for its history and traditions, between farms and white sandy beaches with crystal clear sea (not surprisingly called "the Maldives of Italy")

10. Polignano a Mare: perched on a rock spur overlooking the Adriatic Sea, a seaside resort also appreciated its sea caves and the remains of Roman domination.

Thinking of Puglia first evokes the Trulli, the dry buildings with a cone roof typical of the countryside scattered throughout the region's central-southern region. The Trulli are incredibly famous buildings that you can find in the Itria Valley and Alberobello. Here, the historic centre is made up entirely of them: the Trulli of Alberobello has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1996. Another symbolic place of Puglia is Castel Del Monte, a thirteenth-century fortress not far from Andria, also included among the Unesco Heritage assets, as well as the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, a place of pilgrimage in the province of Foggia, and the Reserve Natural Forest of Umbra, in the Gargano. Undisputed symbols of the region are also its dry stone walls, widely spread in Salento and the Valle D'Itria. Its millenary olive groves produce a highly prized oil, the real "gold" of Puglia.

 

WHAT TO DO

Sea, mountains, hills, plains: in Puglia, the landscape is varied and heterogeneous. The activities, dynamic or relaxing, to which it is possible to dedicate oneself. Numerous festivals of religious and folkloristic traditions occur throughout the region.

First, given the considerable coastal development - there are 865 kilometres of coastline in Puglia - there are many water sports you can do.  Salento, at places such as Torre dell' Orso and Lido Marini or in Gallipoli, the beaches of Frassanito and Alimini, a prevalent activity is kitesurfing. Stand up Paddle, wind-surfing, and wakeboarding are ideal sports here, as the wind and waves are suitable for surfing, kite, and windsurfing.

Torre Guaceto, Palese, Santo Spirito, and Giovinazzo. Vieste, in the Gargano, is also a popular destination for surfing and windsurfing, especially the bay of Santa Maria di Merino and Manaccora.

The best spots for diving are those on the Tremiti Islands, in the Gargano National Park.  Famous locations are Santa Maria di Leuca, where the Adriatic and Ionian sea meet, and Porto Cesareo, where specimens of Caretta-Caretta turtles live. Torre Canne, in whose waters the Gulten Islamoglu wreck lies, and Torre Ovo's extraordinary backdrop of the Petrified Forest, the only forest of fossil remains in Italy. Excursions by boat - including sailing - can be made along the entire coast, from the Gargano (ideal starting point for visiting the Tremiti Islands) to Salento, through the Bari coast from Polignano. 

The Gargano, with its cape covered by the dense vegetation of the Umbra Forest, offers numerous opportunities for trekking: within the national park, you can follow the Path of the Promontory, 12 kilometres from Rodi Garganico to Vico del Gargano, from the sea to the woods, or go up on Monte Nicola, which offers splendid views of the sea, on Monte Calvo, the highest peak (1,065 m) of the Gargano or go along the Vallone dell' Inferno, among old mule tracks and places of faith, or on Monte Sacro along the Path of Orchids. Alternatively, go horseback riding or enjoy some bike and e-bike excursions along the cape's paths. 

Trekking paths also wind through Salento: you can go on excursions on the Ostuni Hills, in the Idro Valley, along with the Via dei Pellegrini, to the Laterza or Palagianello ravine, in the Punta Pizzo Park or along the salt roads for then continue to the Cipolliane caves. Alternatively, you can visit the Salento Natural Parks, including that of the Island of Sant'Andrea in Gallipoli or the Costa d'Otranto Park. The road from Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca is very suggestive of travelling by car or motorbike.

Bicycle lovers can choose from numerous proposals throughout the region, particularly suitable in spring and autumn when temperatures are milder: among the most famous routes, the Salento Ring, 200 kilometres mainly flat, through small towns and stops food and wine, or the country roads of the Itria Valley, between Trulli and dry stone walls, with stops in Alberobello, Locorotondo and Cisternino. Or take the coast road from Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca or along the seafront between Monopoli and Fasano, part of the Adriatic Cycle Route. This 1,300-kilometer cycling route connects Trieste with Santa Maria di Leuca.

A unique natural oasis of its kind is the Torre Guaceto Reserve, between Carovigno and Brindisi, along a pristine stretch of the sea: here it is possible to move by bicycle or on foot, relaxing among wild beaches and centuries-old olive groves, farmhouses, and farms in the Mediterranean scrub.  In reserve, it is possible to participate in guided excursions on foot, bicycle, and night visits to discover the incredible native fauna and flora.

Puglia has a robust gastronomic vocation: its many wine roads testify to this. From north to south of the region, there are many taste paths to discover, real naturalistic and cultural itineraries along which it is possible to make tastings and visits to cellars or mills. Among the most famous roads, the Appia dei Vini Classica Brindisi-Ostuni, the Strada dei Vini Doc Castel del Monte, the Strada Del Vino Vigna Del Sole, and the Strada del Vino Doc Locorotondo and Martina Franca.

Within its territory, Puglia holds numerous churches, monasteries, and places of faith: unmissable stops on tour dedicated to spirituality are the Cathedral of Otranto, the Basilica of San Nicola in Bari, the Basilica of Santa Croce in Lecce, the rock Church of San Michele, in Gravina, the Church of Sant'Antonio in Alberobello (a naturally shaped Trullo) and the Sanctuary of San Pio da Pietrelcina, in San Giovanni Rotondo which preserves the remains of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

For "the little ones," the most recommended place is Fasano, in Brindisi,  with its zoo and amusement park, the Zoosafari Fasanolandia, or Miragica in Molfetta, the Splash water park of Gallipoli, the Ippocampo Water Park of Manfredonia, and the Indiana Park of Castellana Grotte.

In addition to the numerous festivals related to the products of the earth organized throughout the region, there are some events of particular importance: among them the Carnival of Putignano, among the oldest in Europe (it has existed since 1394), in the province of Bari, with its spectacular allegorical floats; the Notte della Taranta, a famous music festival held in August in various municipalities in the area of Lecce, with a final concert in Melpignano; the Valle d'Itria Festival, between July and August, with opera performances; the Locus Festival, in August in Locorotondo, with music from all over the world; the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, an international diving competition held in Polignano a Mare since 2009, scheduled for July; Holy Week in Francavilla Fontana, from Holy Wednesday to Easter, with sacred celebrations and the parade of the "Pappamusci" and the Focara di Sant'Antonio which takes place in Novoli, in the province of Lecce, with the festivities in honor of the patron Saint Anthony the Abbot.

 

WHAT TO EAT

The Apulian cuisine bases on simple ingredients and rich in products of the earth: to accompany these dishes, there are always vegetables of all kinds such as chicory, turnips, tomatoes, onions, aubergines, and peppers.

The antipasti of the Apulian tradition offer tasty and delicious land or sea dishes. Apulian preserves such as peppers in oil (be careful, they can also be very spicy!) or eggplants in oil.  Delicacies worth trying are fried bread balls with anchovies and capers, a delicious dish to be enjoyed as a second course, fried mussels or fried sweet olives, with chilli pepper and garlic, to be combined perhaps with Altamura DOC bread, Taralli, or a selection of local cheeses such as Pallone di Gravina, Canestrato Pugliese or burrata.

In the Apulian cuisine, first courses are an inevitable dish, with many innumerable variations of pasta types, possibly homemade, according to recipes handed down from generation to generation.  The most famous Apulian first courses are the Orecchiette with turnip tops or with tomato and salted Ricotta. Typical Apulian is also the Tiella, made with rice, potatoes, mussels, onions and tomatoes, and the baked ziti, with tomato, sausage, and mozzarella.

Among the second courses, there are many specialities to try, both fish and meat: for example, the Apulian Bombette, rounded veal rolls stuffed with bacon and caciocavallo; or lamb and baked potatoes, typical of the Easter period, or mussels alla Taranto, flavoured with tomato sauce, sea bream alla Pugliese, with potatoes and pecorino, or octopus alla Pignata, a classic from Salento in which the octopus cooked in a clay pot with onion, tomato, and herbs. The choice of vegetables is vast: from mashed beans with chicory to stuffed tomatoes and artichokes, from fried Lampascioni to aubergines cooked in a thousand variations.

To conclude on a sweet note, an undisputed must is the Pasticciotto from Lecce. It is the typical Salento dessert, a shortcrust pastry filled with custard to add black cherries, regular of the Salento breakfast. Or in its variant: the fruit, with white almond cream and a heart of quince or pears, covered with chocolate, perfect to accompany a coffee, or the Pitthedde, star-shaped pasta from Salento cuisine.

As for street food, Puglia's proposals do not lack: among the products to try is the Bari focaccia, in numerous variations from area to area. The traditional recipe includes fresh tomatoes and olives, but there is also a variant with potatoes. The Panzerotto, fried, prepared with minced meat and peas, Caciocavallo and Mortadella, turnips and Scamorza cheese, or the classic Lecce rustic, puff pastry filled with mozzarella, béchamel, tomato, and pepper.

Puglia is also a land of famous wines: among the most renowned labels are the Primitivo di Manduria, a red DOC and DOCG from the province of Brindisi and Taranto, the Negroamaro, a native vine of Salento, also in the variant of Salice Salentino DOC, which it can also be rosé, and Castel Del Monte Aglianico, a DOC red wine produced in the provinces of Barletta-Andria-Trani and Bari.

 

SARDEGNA

cala goloritze image

WHAT TO SEE

It is not easy to prioritize the enchanting beauties that can be admired in Sardinia. Areas such as San Teodoro, Santa Teresa di Gallura, Poltu Quatu, Baia Sardinia are just some of the evocative places that are worth discovering.

One of the first areas to see is the Maddalena Archipelago with the so-called "seven sisters," the archipelago's main islands. Visitors will be able to sail along the coasts of the Maddalena National Park with its seabed full of life for diving enthusiasts.

Caprera, the second-largest island after La Maddalena, is rich in pastures and pine forests and hosts Garibaldi's place. It has been transformed into a house-museum immersed in the typical Mediterranean vegetation full of relics that trace the life of the hero of the Two Worlds. His tomb and that of his family still remain on the island.

Sailing from Caprera towards the Strait of Bonifacio, one is struck by the beauty of the uninhabited and wild island of Budelli, with its enchanting Pink beach. This natural masterpiece owes its colour to particular corals and shells.

Still in the extreme north-west of the coast of Sardinia, in front of the Natural Park of the island of Asinara, there is one of the best-known tourist destinations, Stintino, to combine the charm of the lively fishing village with tourist facilities of the highest level. This small seaside village seems to have come out of a painter's brush. With its white houses and the contrast between a crystalline sea and the sky's blue, it offers endless possibilities for recreation, from golf to hiking and diving, cycling, or horseback riding.

Opposite the famous La Pelosa beach stands the tower of the same name, an Aragonese structure from the 1500s, one of the ancient watchtowers found throughout Sardinia. On the island's central-eastern coast, in the Gulf of Orosei, dream beaches characterized by clear sands and wild nature await you.

Caves and coves in Cala Biriola, the Grotta del Bue Marino, Cala Liberotto, and Cala Goloritzè are just some realistic scenarios where time seems to have stopped.

Sardinia knows how to combine sea, nature, popular traditions, mysticism, and curiosity. Examples are the giants' mysterious tombs or the "Domus de Janas" (or witches' houses) present in the Sulcis Iglesiente, ancient tombs carved into the rock that dots the region. But what makes Sardinia famous are, above all, the Nuraghi, old stone towers that are the most massive and best-preserved megalithic monuments in all of Europe. The Nuragic village par excellence is the SU Nuraxi site in Barumini, in Medio Campidano, considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In addition to admiring the numerous colonies of flamingos in the lagoon in Cagliari, it is worth attending the traditional festivals and fairs throughout the year, including the feast of St. Efisio, one of the most important religious and folkloristic events in the whole of Sardinia.

Going up towards Oristano, a must-stop is the one at the Roman era's archaeological site, Tharros, which enjoys a very suggestive terrace view over the sea.

 

WHAT TO DO

Stintino offers endless possibilities for recreation: golf, boat trips, and diving, relaxing walks, bike rides, or perhaps on horseback and explorations in the hinterland to admire the typical Mediterranean vegetation or ancient archaeological finds such as the nuraghi in nearby Porto Torres.

Attend and participate, if you wish, at the end of August, in the Vela Latina regatta, an important international event dedicated to ancient sailing, which sees hundreds of traditional boats arriving in the crystal clear sea of ​​Stintino. from all over Italy. The Vela Latina was the typical Mediterranean glaze since the times of the Maritime Republics.

With its windy islands rich in natural inlets and characteristic landings, La Maddalena is an ideal destination for sailing holidays. But that's not all: the area is also suitable for horseback riding and mountain biking, an alternative way to experience the beaches at sunset granite panoramas, and natural sceneries.

It is worth taking an excursion to the Asinara National Park on the island of the same name, considered as one of the most evocative of the whole Mediterranean, among the colonies of white donkeys that still live there in the wild. Various activities can be carried out in compliance with the park rules: trekking along thematic itineraries, cycling, equestrian walks with horses born and raised on the island, excursions on a sailing boat, guided dives, and visits with the rubberized train that allows admiring the landscapes encountered by stopping in the most suggestive points.

In Gennargentu, a vast mountainous territory of singular beauty, it is possible to carry out various activities, including trekking, excursions in archaeological areas, and skiing among the Bruncu Spina reliefs - one of the highest peaks with its 1829 meters. - and Monte Spada, where there are ski facilities and refreshment facilities.

 

WHAT TO EAT

Sardinian cuisine satisfies the most demanding palates with its simple taste and rich in natural ingredients. The main ingredient is wheat, processed into its best-known product, Pane Carasau, and a base for the famous Malloreddus, Culurgiones, and Fregola.

You cannot leave the island without tasting the tasty Porceddu, a suckling pig cooked on the grill, and served on cork trays sprinkled with myrtle branches. Those who love the sea's flavours cannot help but try the lobster from Alghero, the bottarga from Cabras, and the tuna from Carloforte. Other delicacies for fish-based dishes are clam soup and spaghetti with sea urchins.

Even cured meats and cheeses are local products of the tastiest local cuisine, among which the most famous is undoubtedly Sardinian pecorino.

And to accompany the tasty Sardinian dishes, the territory offers excellent quality wines such as Vermentino di Gallura or Cannonau. The myrtle liqueur is also perfect.

 

SICILIA

SICILIA village image

WHAT TO SEE

Sicily is the largest island in Italy and in the Mediterranean, a surprising land rich in history and traditions, where art and culture interlace with extraordinary natural beauty. There are so many reasons to visit Sicily, from the sea to the mountains passing through the countryside, volcanoes, and seaside villages. As Frederick of Swabia, King of Sicily, exclaimed, "I do not envy God Heaven, because I am happy to live in Sicily".

What are the things to see during a trip to Sicily? The places to mention would be many, but the top ten of the most emblematic places in the region cannot fail to include:

1. Taormina: a refuge for artists, in a panoramic position between the sea and the mountains, it is a refined town which holds splendid treasures, such as its incredible Greek Theater

2. Ragusa Ibla: it is the oldest district of the city of Ragusa, which rises from the top of the hill between the Iblei mountains, and which boasts more than fifty churches and noble palaces

3. Scala dei Turchi: with its white cliff that rises above a very blue sea, it is one of the most beautiful beaches of Sicily

4. Aeolian Islands: seven islands, each one different from the other, with dream beaches and coves and two active volcanoes where you can go walking and trekking.

5. Syracuse and the island of Ortigia: a great city of art with one of the largest archaeological areas of the Mediterranean.

6. Palermo: from the Norman to the Arab style, from the Greek to the Spanish testimonies, the regional capital is a melting pot of cultures and a place of lively local markets

7. Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples: is one of the most popular destinations with its preserved archaeological park, the largest in the world

8. Noto: it is the undisputed capital of Sicilian Baroque, with an artistic heritage of exceptional churches and palaces

9. Lampedusa: boasts a splendid sea and beautiful beaches, such as Isola dei Conigli, ranked among the most beautiful in the world

10. San Vito Lo Capo and the Zingaro Reserve: the western end of the island contains sensational beaches, unique archaeological sites, and spectacular nature, such as the Zingaro Reserve

Seven Sicilian sites appear in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites: in addition to the baroque cities of Noto, Modica, and Ragusa, the Aeolian Islands, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and Syracuse with the rock necropolis of Pantalica, they have obtained this prestigious recognition also of Etna - as one of the most emblematic and active volcanoes in the world -, the Villa Romana del Casale, in Piazza Armerina, and the Arab-Norman Route of Palermo, Monreale, and Cefalù, an itinerary of discovery in Arab history- Norman with excellent artistic contents.

 

WHAT TO DO

In Sicily, it is possible to engage in various activities: from sea life to mountain excursions, from participation in local folklore events to more adventurous sports activities. Entertainment opportunities are numerous in every corner of the region and at any time of the year.

The sea and the beaches of Sicily are among the most beautiful in the entire Mediterranean basin: it is impossible to resist the temptation to enjoy a bit of sea life along its beautiful coasts and on its many islands. Among the most beautiful beaches, the one of San Vito lo Capo, the small beach between the tuff caves of Cala Rossa, on the island of Favignana, the Isola dei Conigli in Lampedusa - always present in the rankings of the most beautiful beaches in the world -, the white cliff of Scala dei Turchi, in Realmonte, the coast of Cala Capreria, within the Zingaro Reserve, Isola Bella in Taormina, the beach of Calamosche between Vendicari and Noto, the beach of Mondello, near Palermo, and the fascinating Isola delle Correnti in Portopalo, the extreme south-eastern tip of Sicily, where the Ionian Sea joins the Mediterranean Sea. Boat trips between the Aeolian or Egadi volcanic archipelago islands, or along the coasts of Pantelleria or Lampedusa, are highly recommended.

Trekking lovers in Sicily will not be disappointed: it is possible to go hiking along scenic trails or on the slopes of still active volcanoes in the region. On the Aeolian Islands, there are the volcanoes of Stromboli and Vulcano. Moving away a few kilometres from Catania, climb to Etna's top, with its 3,350 m, it is the largest volcano in Europe.

Reach the summit on foot along paths of varying length and difficulty and sleep at high altitude in various hiking refuges. Alternatively, take part in a jeep tour or take the cable car that leads up to 2,500 meters or continue with off-road vehicles up to 2,900 meters.

Make an excursion on foot or horseback: for example, between the Peloritani Mountains and the Nebrodi Mountains, in north-eastern Sicily, or within the Madonie Park, a protected natural area not far from Palermo, as well as in the Alcamo Nature Reserve. or in the Necropolis of Pantalica, the largest European Necropolis, between streams and calcareous canyons. In the Alcantara Gorges, between a and Catania, it is also possible to practice canyoning, hydrospeed, or body rafting. Those who love walking can try their hand at the "Iblean Way," a fascinating nature trail that winds for 150 kilometres in the Sicilian hinterland, in the Iblei Mountains, between the provinces of Ragusa, Syracuse, and Catania. Or even go to discovering the archaeological and naturalistic area of ​​Cava d'Ispica, a canyon carved out by nature in the Iblei highlands. Those looking for something different can go trekking with donkeys inside the Floristella Mining Park, an important example of industrial archaeology around Piazza Armerina, or visit Trapani's salt pans Paceco, today a protected natural area of ​​the WWF, or the Vendicari Nature Reserve. This wildlife oasis stretches along eight kilometres of pristine beaches.

Travel by car or with a bicycle. You can follow an itinerary of culture and taste along with one of the thirteen Wine and Flavor Roads of Sicily, among which the Val di Noto Wine Road, the Erice DOC Wine Road, the Wine and Flavors Road of Val di Mazara or the Terre Sicane Wine Route. Along the way, it is possible to visit family-run wineries and taste local products in a combination of history, nature, and flavours.

Thanks to the mild climate and the soil's particular composition, Sicily also boasts an ancient spa tradition. Segesta is home to the Segesta waters. These waters are alkaline, highly mineralized, and sulfurous, excellent for thermal baths, mud baths, and anthro-therapy.  Also, go to the natural spas on Vulcano's island and Lake Specchio di Venere's on Pantelleria's island.

For those travelling with children, an opportunity not to be missed in Sicily is to attend a puppet show, the typical Sicilian marionettes: concerts are held at the Teatro dei Pupi in Syracuse, at the Charlemagne Theater, and the Opera House of the Puppets of Palermo. Furthermore, near Catania, there is Etnaland, the largest amusement park in southern Italy, the City of Science in Catania, and three water parks: Etnaland in Belpasso (Catania), Scivolandia in Cammarata (Agrigento), and Acquapark Conte in Sommatino (Caltanissetta ).

Among the important recurring events in Sicily, we find the Carnival of Acireale, one of the most famous in Italy, with the parade of allegorical floats and floral floats, the Corpus Domini Infiorata in the streets of Noto in May.

 

WHAT TO EAT

The dishes of Sicilian cuisine are known and loved worldwide: a journey to discover his land is also and above all, a trip through its culinary specialities, which are a real riot of colours and flavours.

A typical Sicilian meal starts at its best with a wide variety of appetizers: from the simple combination of olives, cheeses, and salami to the classic caponata (fried vegetables dressed in tomato and sweet and sour sauce), to eggplant rolls or eggplant parmigiana, fried eggplant and au gratin in the oven with tomato, basil, garlic, and one or more cheeses.

When it comes to Sicilian first courses, the choice is extensive, with many specialities depending on the area. The most typical are: Pasta alla Norma, originally from Catania, macaroni with tomato sauce, fried eggplant, and salted ricotta. The pasta with sardines, based on Bucatini, fresh sardines, and fennel.  Busiate, a traditional Trapanese pasta, enjoyed the local Trapanese pesto prepared with tomato, basil, garlic, almonds, and pecorino.

Among the best Sicilian second courses, it is fish that is king: it is mandatory to try at least once the Sarde a Beccafico, a tasty fish roll with pecorino and raisins, anchovy meatballs, or Sicilian swordfish, with cherry tomatoes and capers; those who prefer meat should try the Falsomagro or "Bruciuluni," a large roll filled with cheese and vegetables.

Does anyone offer you a dessert? In Sicily, it is better not to decline the invitation because the desserts are real delicacies. The most famous is Cannoli, fried and filled with fresh sheep's milk ricotta, chocolate drops, and orange peel or chopped pistachios. The Sicilian Cassata, prepared with ricotta, chocolate drops, candied fruit, and marzipan laid on sponge cake and almond paste sweets, always present in every Sicilian pastry.

If, on the other hand, you want to take advantage of a quick meal, there is no shortage of street food offers: inevitable are the arancini, breaded and fried rice balls stuffed with tomato, ragù, or fish; in Palermo, bread and Panelle, chickpea flour fritters, crocchè, croquettes made only with potatoes and eggs, then breaded and fried, and Sfincione, similar to a pizza but seasoned with tomato, onion, anchovies, and oregano are inevitable, and pane Cunzato, a bread seasoned with oil, fresh tomatoes, oregano, anchovies, salt, and pepper but also cheese and onions. Perfect at any time of the day - even if in Sicily it is typical for breakfast - is the Granita with Brioche, to be enjoyed in many delicious variations of which we recommend the one with almond or mulberry.

Among the wines, the most famous labels are those of Nero D'Avola, the most typically Sicilian red grape variety, native to the south-east of the island, Etna wines, such as Etna Rosso, Faro and 'Etna Bianco, Alcamo from the Trapani and Palermo area, Moscato di Noto, Malvasia delle Lipari, and among the liqueur wines Marsala and Zibibbo from Pantelleria.

 

TOSCANA

TOSCANA village and country side image

Tuscany is a trove of historical treasures unique globally: it is full of cities of art and small picturesque villages with an immense cultural heritage. It is also extraordinary for its enchanting views made of the rural countryside and rolling hills. To all this are added its magnificent islands and splendid coasts, its protected parks and, last but not least, its cuisine, simple and with genuine flavours, and its wines, among the best in the world: the reasons to visit Tuscany they are very many.

 

WHAT TO SEE

What not to miss during a trip to Tuscany? To begin with these 10 locations:

1. Florence: cradle of the Italian language and the Renaissance, is a real open-air museum that houses works of inestimable value

2. Siena: one of the fascinating medieval cities in Italy, it is known all over the world for its historic Palio

3. Pisa: with its treasures of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, it is an unmissable stop on tour through the art cities of Tuscany

4. San Gimignano: with its high towers and suggestive alleys, it is a small jewel that keeps the medieval atmosphere intact

5. Val d'Orcia: wide and characterized by sinuous slopes dotted with cypresses and vineyards, it is the ideal place to immerse yourself in beauty

6. Chianti: among small villages and solitary abbeys, the Chianti hills are an invitation to relax and indulge in good food and good wine

7. Maremma: between the wild countryside, spas, beaches, and Etruscan testimonies, the Maremma offers significant points of interest

8. Garfagnana: close to the Apuan Alps, between medieval fortresses and characteristic villages, it is the greenest and most unspoiled area of ​​Tuscany

9. Gulf of Baratti: on the coastal stretch between Livorno and Grosseto, surrounded by a pine forest of uncontaminated nature, it preserves wonderful beaches

10. Elba Island: enchanting beaches and crystal clear sea, together with the other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, it is a must for sea lovers

A trip to Tuscany allows you to see monuments and places of inestimable value. The symbolic sites of Florence: Brunelleschi's Dome, Giotto's Bell Tower, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio.

The famous Leaning Tower, in the city ​​of Pisa, and the scenic Piazza del Campo, in the centre of Siena, where the famous Palio di Siena every year, takes place, which attracts tourists from all over the world. Not far from Siena, there are some of the most characteristic places of the region: the ancient village of Monteriggioni, on the top of a hill, surrounded by medieval walls, and, in Chiusdino, the Abbey of San Galgano, a hermitage in a ruin that keeps a mysterious sword in the stone.

 

WHAT TO DO

Tuscany offers endless entertainment opportunities for every taste and every need: it knows how to please those who want a relaxed holiday, but also those who want a stay dedicated to the sport, outdoor activities, or those who want to follow paths of taste.

You can practice many activities in nature: from the Apuan Alps to the Maremma Park, from Garfagnana to Casentino;  go trekking along paths for both experts and beginners. Those who love hiking can retrace the pilgrims' journey to Rome along the Via Francigena, among monasteries, panoramic views, and picturesque villages. Those looking for something different can try their hand at the geological paths of the Archaeological-Mining Park of San Silvestro, or go in the footsteps of the quarrymen along the Marble Path in the Apuan Alps.

If you love cycling, you have plenty of choices: there are many itineraries suitable for racing bikes and mountain bikes along roads with little traffic that wind through spectacular landscapes. Those looking for an experience out of the ordinary can opt for a balloon flight over the Val D'Orcia, or gradually discover Tuscany, aboard old steam trains with tours in Mugello, Val D'Orcia, and Garfagnana, or take tours on a Vespa or aboard an exclusive Ferrari.

On the sea, there is no shortage of opportunities to indulge in water sports: along the Tuscan Coast, you can go sailing, diving, or surfing; It is also possible to go rafting along the Arno and along the Serchia river, in the province of Lucca, while the more adventurous can embark on exciting hydrospeed descents along the Lima river, on the Pistoia Apennines, and in Bagni di Lucca, in the Garfagnana. Tuscany is a region much loved by golfers too: green enthusiasts find exciting courses in the countryside, near Florence, Prato, Pisa, and Montecatini, and on the Coast, in Punta Ala, in Maremma, on the Argentario, and in Versilia.

Those looking for relaxation and well-being can choose one of the many spas in Tuscany: such as Saturnia, in Maremma, where there is a renowned spa park and the Cascate del Mulino, outdoor thermal waters that flow naturally warm in a beautiful landscape; Montecatini, historic resort of thermal tourism, but also Rapolano, Sorano, Chianciano, San Casciano dei Bagni and the natural baths of Bagni San Filippo.

Tuscany is the destination par excellence for all lovers of food and good wine. Follow the Wine Roads' gastronomic routes, which wind throughout the region, from the Florentine Hills to Chianti passing through the Etruscan Coast. Along the way, you can stop at wineries and farmhouses where you can enjoy tastings and tastings. Everywhere in the region, it is also possible to discover the tasty Tuscan cuisine and its traditional recipes by participating in courses and cooking classes.

Do you love the nightlife? You can choose the famous clubs and discos of Versilia, from Forte dei Marmi to Viareggio, and places such as Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano, in the Argentario. A fundamental stop for those who love shopping in Florence and Siena's boutiques, and the various fashion outlets and luxury brands in Tuscany - such as The Mall Luxury Outlet, the Barberino Designer Outlet, and the Valdichiana Outlet Village - and the numerous craft shops in the region. You can buy entirely handmade products, such as Florentine leather, alabaster objects from Volterra, Casentino wool, ceramics from Montelupo Fiorentino, and glass artefacts from Colle Val d'Elsa.

As for the calendar of events, the unmissable appointments during the year are:

 - those with the famous historical re-enactment of the Palio di Siena (every year on July 2 and August 16)

 - the Viareggio Carnival with its favourite allegorical floats of paper-mâché

 - the Eroica, a non-competitive cycling event with vintage racing bicycles held in Chianti on the first Sunday of October

 - the Scoppio del Carro, a widespread tradition that is renewed every year on Easter Sunday in Florence

- Lucca Comics & Games, an international fair dedicated to comics, takes place between October and November

- in Arezzo twice a year (in June and September), the Giostra del Saracino takes place, an equestrian tournament of medieval origin

- every first weekend of the month, Piazza Grande and the historic centre's streets host the Arezzo Antiques Fair, the most ancient and great of Italy.

 

WHAT TO EAT

Tuscany boasts a robust culinary tradition of simple recipes and genuine flavours with many different specialities from area to area: every corner of Tuscany is a gastronomic surprise!

A typical traditional Tuscan meal will begin with an appetizer of black croutons, or Tuscan bread, without salt, spread with a paté based on chicken livers, anchovies, and capers. Those who like salami will appreciate a platter of local cured meats, such as Finocchiona, a typical Sienese sausage flavoured with wild fennel, lard from Colonnata. Pork lard specialities from the Apuan Alps, salami and Tuscan ham, or even with Pecorino di Pienza, perhaps paired with pears and walnuts or a fig jam.

The offer of first Tuscany courses is extensive: the Pici (large handmade spaghetti typical of southern Tuscany) is always very popular with cheese and pepper or garlic. Pappardelle with wild boar sauce, a robust and tasty traditional dish from the Maremma. Typical of the Florence area are the Ribollita, a delicious soup made with stale bread, vegetables, legumes, and the Pappa al Pomodoro, a low dish prepared with stale Tuscan bread, tomatoes, and herbs.

The choice of second courses is also rich.  Symbol of Tuscan cuisine par excellence is the Florentine steak, a succulent veal or Scottona meat - possibly Chianina meat, a bovine breed typical of the Val di Chiana - to be cooked on the grill or grilled. A historical Tuscan dish is instead the Peposo dell' Impruneta, a beef stew cooked for a long time in Chianti wine and flavoured with pepper, characteristic of the Florence area. Those who prefer fish will undoubtedly appreciate the Cacciucco, a local dish from the Coast between Livorno and Viareggio: a soup prepared with different qualities of fish, shellfish, Molluscs, and tomato sauce placed on slices of toasted bread. Do not be fooled by the Chianti tuna: despite the name, it is an ancient Tuscan recipe based on pork, herbs, and olive oil (it is not fish, but it is still an exquisite dish).

A typically Tuscan meal ends beautifully with one of the many desserts of the region: for example, with the classic Cantucci, biscuits with almonds to be dipped in Vin Santo, a local fortified wine, or with Castagnaccio, a flavoured chestnut flour cake from walnuts, pine nuts, raisins, and rosemary; or again with the panforte, originally from Siena, based on almonds and candied fruit, or its spicy variant, enriched with cocoa powder, candied melon, and pepper: the peppered pan.

For a quick meal or a snack, there is no shortage of specialities in Tuscany. The most famous Tuscan street food is the Lampredotto, or bovine entrails, the traditional Florentine sandwich's main ingredient. The sandwich with Porchetta is well-known and is eaten with bread, or focaccia or flatbread. Everywhere in Tuscany, you will find the Scagliozzi, pieces of fried polenta, the chickpea cake, which has different names depending on the area. It is called "Cecina" in Pisa and only "cake" in Livorno). The Brigidini are aniseed puff pastry originating from Pistoia but spread throughout the region.

 

TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE

TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE castle image

WHAT TO SEE

The Dolomites represent a real natural monument, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which offers an unforgettable experience to ski and winter sports enthusiasts.

The region also holds art treasures not to be missed, monuments, and architecture that blends the Austrian-Gothic style with the Italian Renaissance.

The discovery itinerary of the region begins in Trento, famous for hosting the Ecumenical Council, with its Lombard Romanesque-style cathedral and the Buonconsiglio Castle.

The second stop is Bolzano, the "Gateway to the Dolomites", a city symbol of the union between Latin and German culture, as evidenced by its Gothic cathedral.

Other important places are Rovereto with its museums, castles, the Hermitage of San Colombiano, the great "bell of peace" and the Mart, the new pole of modern art, and Riva del Garda, with the Palazzo Pretorio and the Rocca del XII century, with an austere and elegant appearance.

There are also numerous sanctuaries, including the monastery of Montagnaga di Pinè and Madonna del Monte di Rovereto.

The region's castles are full of charm, including Castel Tirolo, Castel Roncolo, Castel d'Appiano, and Castel Beseno, which offer a fairytale atmosphere with enchanting views.

 

WHAT TO SEE

Against the backdrop of Europe's most beautiful peaks, Trentino Alto Adige offers exciting and fun holidays to experience the mountains in all its aspects and all seasons.

The white scenery of the Dolomites is the ideal destination for lovers of skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, climbing, "snowshoeing," and trekking at all levels.

The region is home to internationally renowned ski areas, including Madonna di Campiglio and Val Gardena. The famous resorts Selva di Val Gardena, Ortisei, and Santa Cristina, Val di Fassa with Canazei and Moena, the Marmolada group, San Martino di Castrozza. An enchanted kingdom connects countless tracks in a single circuit hundreds of kilometres long, surrounded by majestic mountains and fascinating landscapes.

Typical restaurants, clubs, and discos provide entertainment and worldliness in the evenings.

In summer, Trentino Alto Adige is the ideal place for walks and excursions in pristine environments such as the Stelvio National Park paths, among the woods of Val di Fassa or high-altitude lakes.

Trekking enthusiasts can explore the highest peaks following the Via Alpina's magnificent stretch, equipped with trails and equipped shelters.

In the Alps' heart, a particular path for its historical-naturalistic value is the Path of Peace, dedicated to the memory of the First World War.

Lake Garda, surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, is ideal for many different activities: mountain biking, sailing, windsurfing, diving, and excursions to the surrounding hills.

Numerous food and wine tours lead to the famous Pinot Noir vineyards with sparkling wines and white wines or other areas to discover local specialities, including the beautiful chestnuts around Lake Varna.

The apple route in Val di Non reveals a unique spectacle of colours and smells: it is the kingdom of apples known worldwide, from golden delicious to rennet.

Various spas offer a holiday dedicated to wellness.  Many hotels, including those at Terme di Levico or Merano, famous for their radon treatments and cosmetic treatments of all kinds, offer body-mind harmony.

A land rich in folklore, Trentino Alto Adige has a calendar full of events: from the characteristic Christmas markets of Bolzano and Merano to the feast of San Vigilio in Trento, to folklore festivals, to the countless festivals dedicated to wine, chestnuts, mushrooms, and to other delicious local products.

 

WHAT TO EAT

The traditional cuisine of Trentino Alto Adige is based on simple dishes, but rich in taste, made with the products of agriculture and local livestock.

The best known regional speciality is speck; delicious, among the cured meats, the Kaminwurz, a raw and smoked sausage of pork or venison; Trentino grana, mountain toma, and Casolet are the most typical cheeses.

The most famous of the first courses are Canederli and polenta, prepared with corn or buckwheat flour, seasoned with meat sauces, cheeses, or mushrooms.

Other typical first courses are barley soup, pasta and beans, mushroom soup, and above all the "brò brusà," a simple and tasty soup.

As a second course, we can distinguish the rabbit with grappa, the goulash, the roe deer with polenta, the trout seasoned with various sauces, the "lucanica", a pork sausage.

The queen of local gastronomy is the apple of the Val di Non, used to prepare the famous Strudel and fruit pies. The production of fine wines is remarkable, including Merlot, Cabernet, Pinot, Chardonnay, and the area's excellent sparkling wines.

 

UMBRIA

umbria village image

WHAT TO SEE

Umbria's charm comes from the fusion of art and nature, the peace and serenity that inspire its evocative places, from the presence of Renaissance masterpieces and the medieval villages set in the hills.

Gubbio is one of these, the oldest city in Umbria. In the Middle Ages, it reached its maximum splendour; the Cathedral, the Palazzo dei Consoli, a symbol of the town, the Ducal Palace are just some of the testimonies that make this city a real jewel.

Not only art attracts visitors to Gubbio but also the spectacular folkloristic events of the Corsa dei Ceri and the Palio della Balestra, the former in honour of the Patron Saint, and the latter a memory of an ancient past.

In Umbria, one can find many fascinating places: Orvieto with its famous Cathedral, one of the masterpieces of Italian Gothic art, and the Well of San Patrizio, an engineering masterpiece around which two non-communicating helical staircases with 248 steps turn to go to reach the water 62 meters deep.

How can we forget Spoleto, a picturesque city that boasts a thousand-year history that still retains the vestiges of medieval and Renaissance architecture?

Its stone paths and its most outstanding monuments are the settings for international cultural events such as the Festival dei due Mondi: an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in an artistic atmosphere of great quality.

Between art and spirituality, the visit to Assisi's medieval city will be unforgettable, inscribed in the list of Unesco sites "World Heritage of Humanity," representing "a set of masterpieces of the human creative genius."

Everything speaks of its most illustrious citizen, St. Francis, patron saint of Italy, from the Basilica dedicated to him with the saint's tomb, to the Eremo delle Carceri, just outside the city walls, where St. Francis retired in prayer.

Assisi is very welcoming and festive, and its inhabitants seem to want to share their ancient traditions with the people. One of them is the Calendimaggio, a splendid historical re-enactment that transforms the city into an old medieval village populated by knights, ladies, archers, and flag-wavers of a time now passed.

Perugia, the capital of Umbria, is a city of ancient origins.

The historic centre is teeming with masterpieces of art and architecture with a museum heritage among Italy's richest. Perugia is a real cultural centre: two universities and some manifestations of international echo make it a cosmopolitan city of great tourist interest.

 

WHAT TO DO

Set like a stone in Italy's green heart, Umbria is the ideal place for those who love being in contact with nature and, through cycling itineraries, discover woods, castles, sanctuaries, villages, and magnificent towns such as Assisi and Spello.

Near Terni, the Marmore Falls attracts visitors from all over Europe for the spectacular waters and the possibility of canoeing and kayaking and animated visits for children to discover the area along the park path.

Another fascinating journey in timeless places is faith and spirituality that sees as witnesses the most illustrious children of this land, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare, and St. Benedict of Norcia.

The Via Francigena di San Francesco, to be covered on foot, puts us in contact with boundless landscapes in an intimate dimension, on the one hand, and friendliness with other pilgrims, on the other.

Along the way, it is possible to find various accommodation facilities where to sleep and exist.

Another exciting itinerary is the famous "wine roads": a journey made of nature, flavours, history, and traditions.  In addition to tasting good wines, you can learn about local food and wine and artisan traditions. Many artisan shops with ceramics, glass, and wood are typical expressions of the traditional culture of ancient origins.

A visit to one of the many mills scattered throughout the area is also mandatory; a way to learn about Umbrian oil's grand culture, a flagship of all companies, oil consortia that have also obtained the DOP Umbria oil.

 

WHAT TO EAT

A small land of great flavours, Umbria can satisfy every palate type: for meat lovers, the flagship is pork. Thanks to the butchers' skill, the latter is transformed into delicious sausages or into tasty hams and cured meats, known from Norcia, to be enjoyed with bland bread that enhances its flavour.

Cheeses also have substantial tastes worthy of note are aged pecorino, fresh or aged goats.

They are used in dishes or as a side dish, like in the Castelluccio di Norcia lentils, a tasty ingredient, and soups, which have obtained the IGP (protected geographical indication) from the European Union.

The rich assortment of dishes goes hand in hand with the genuine quality of the earth's products, among which the truffle is the main protagonist. The black truffle used as a condiment in pasta, and the game, especially in the Norcia and Spoleto area, is a delicatessen. The prized white truffle can also be found mainly in the Tiberina Valley in Orvieto and Gubbio.

Another symbolic product of these lands is the oil, golden and fruity, which enriches every dish without covering its flavour, reaching a quality level such as achieving the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin).

Among the desserts, you cannot give up the typical dessert, the gingerbread. There are also many local sweets, whose recipes have been passed on for centuries.

Finally, the Umbrian soil is particularly suitable for viticulture, and the temperate climate has allowed this land to produce refined white and red DOC wines, including, among the many known, the Assisi Grechetto and the Sagrantino di Montefalco wine.

 

VAL D'AOSTA

val d'aostra mountains and bridge image

WHAT TO SEE

When you think of the Aosta Valley, your mind immediately goes to Cervinia's ski slopes, Courmayeur, Pila, known throughout Europe as an essential destination for winter sports lovers: from skiing to snowboarding to ice skating.

A symbolic gateway for those coming from the south is the town of Pont Saint Martin, from which the road leading to the beautiful Gressoney Valley starts.

The Roman bridge of the 1st century BC on which the ancient consular road to Aosta passed, is an example of Roman influence.

Along the valley that leads from Pont Saint Martin to Courmayeur, there are 82 buildings, including primitive fortifications, military fortresses, residences, and watchtowers, bearing witness to the Region's rich feudal history. They stand like sentinels over the valley, offering the visitor the opportunity to follow an itinerary of great charm and interest. The Valdosta manors' best known is the Fénis Castle, famous for its scenic architecture, used as the Chalfant family's prestigious seat.

The Castle of Issogne, Sarriod de la Tour, Sarre, Saint-Pierre, Ussel, to name a few, are also worth visiting.

The road traced by the castles leads to Aosta, a concentration of Roman and medieval history.

Roman city in its essence, it brings with it the visible signs of that era thanks to essential monuments such as the Arch of Augustus, the Porta Praetoria, the city walls, practicable almost entirely with a long and pleasant walk.

Of great interest is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, with a visit to the archaeological excavations located under the existing floor, Piazza Chanoux, and the monumental complex of the Collegiate Church of Sant' Orso dating back to the 11th century.

The fair that takes place every year in Aosta at the end of January is named after Sant' Orso.

Thousands of tourists fill the city centre's streets dressed up, exhibiting the most ancient Aosta Valley artisan production, from sculpture to wood, from wrought iron to soapstone, leather, wicker woollen fabrics, lace, games, and masks.

 

WHAT TO DO

During all seasons of the year, visit Monte Rosa, where you can practice sports or walk along the paths that climb up to the peaks, from which you can enjoy an enchanted landscape made magical by the play of lights and colours.

The sports that Monte Rosa and its valleys allow to practice are numerous; the three gorges of Ayas, Gressoney, and Valsesia are home to one of the most important Italian ski centres.

It is possible to try your hand at disciplines such as cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, ski mountaineering, and snowboarding in winter. In summer, the Region turns into a splendid open-air gym: mountaineering, rafting, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, golf, and mountain biking, to name a few, without forgetting air sports such as parachuting, hang gliding, or paragliding.

To admire the glaciers' beauty, we recommend Punta Helbronner, a magnificent natural terrace from which you can enjoy the landscape.

A cable car leads to Mont Fréty, where it is possible to visit the Naturalistic Oasis of the Pavillon du Mont Fréty. This large protected area hosts numerous alpine fauna specimens and is home to the Saussurea Alpine Garden, among Europe's highest. Over 900 plant species of the spontaneous flora of Mont Blanc and other mountain ranges around the world grow here.

In the summer, trekking lovers will appreciate the paths that wind through the Oasis, an ideal place to establish contact with the alpine environment and contemplate the majesty of the landscape. If, on the other hand, you want to fly over Mont Blanc, an excursion in a balloon offers intense emotions, almost touching the peaks, in an enchanting setting.

For lovers of good wine, the Aosta Valley offers the wine route that leads tourists through vineyards and cellars, where you can meet passionate winemakers and winemakers and discover the curiosities and excellences of mountain wines.

 

WHAT TO EAT

The regional Aosta Valley cuisine is robust and creative and full of genuine flavours. Typical meat-based specialities such as Carbonada, a meat stew kept in wine, onion, and herbs; Mocetta, dried beef or ibex meat flavoured with mountain herbs.

Cured meats are another delicacy to be tasted like the fragrant lard of Arnad, the boudin de la Valle d'Aosta, stuffed with boiled potatoes, lard, spices the well-known Bosses ham (Jambon de Bosses).

Excellent cheeses including Valle d'Aosta Fromadzo and the famous Fontina Dop, the basis of many recipes including fondue, preceded or followed by the typical Valle d'Aosta soup, based on cabbage, savoy cabbage, fontina, stale bread of rye.

Thanks to the RegionRegion's microclimate, the vine can bear fruit up to 1200 m high, while the fruit trees offer delicacies such as walnuts, chestnuts, rennet apples, and the famous Martin Sec pears.

Wine lovers can enjoy excellent mountain wines with controlled designation of origin such as Arnad Montjovet, Enfer d'Arvier, Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle, or Donnas. To finish with the extraordinary "Genépy des Alpes" herbal liqueur or a typical Aosta Valley coffee to be enjoyed in the traditional "cup of friendship."

 

VENETO

venice grand canal image

WHAT TO SEE

Thanks to Venice - the regional capital - it is first in Italy and among the very first in Europe in terms of the number of visitors: the reasons for visiting the Veneto region are not limited only to its extraordinary city on the water. Veneto is home to cities of art and small historic villages, mountains, and natural oases.

Among the most famous destinations that are worth the trip, we suggest these ten:

1. Venice: together with its lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an incredible city for its immense artistic and historical treasure

2. The Palladian villas: built around the middle of the 16th century, scattered between the provinces of Vicenza, Padua, Treviso, and Rovigo.

3. The Belluno Dolomites: among the most beautiful mountains in the world, they include some of the significant Dolomite groups, such as the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the Marmolada, the Civetta

4. The Prosecco Hills: the prized white wine known throughout the world, is produced in the hills embroidered with vineyards between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.

5. Verona: the city of love and work, an elegant city full of attractions

6. Po Delta: it is a vast protected area of ​​wetlands between the Po di Goro and the Adige River inhabited by over 300 bird species. 

7. Lake Garda: famous for the picturesque villages and spas, trekking opportunities, and amusement parks.

8. Cittadella: a fascinating walled city of medieval origins a few kilometres from Padua

9. Padua: a refined town worth a visit only to admire Giotto's masterpieces in the Cappella Scrovegni.

10. Bassano del Grappa: this town sits at the foot of Monte Grappa and is famous for its covered wooden bridge built by Palladio and is a historical centre.

Venice and its symbolic places are known worldwide: Piazza San Marco with its Campanile, the Basilica of San Marco and the Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge.

Its palaces and churches, its canals, its streets ( the "calli"), Carnival and the Historical Regatta, the Murano glass, and the Burano lace.

Venice is not the only one in Veneto to boast the title of Unesco World Heritage Site: among the protected Venetian palaces, there is also the city of Verona, with the Arena, its charming historic centre, and Juliet's House, linked to the events of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet; Vicenza and the villas of Andrea Palladio, the Botanical Garden of Padua, the oldest university garden in the world (dating back to 1545), the mountain range of the Dolomites, where the largest ski area in the world is and, last in order of time, the wine-growing region of ​​the Prosecco Hills.

 

WHAT TO DO

From cultural visits to sporting activities, from trekking in the mountains to natural oases, passing through relaxing spas, amusement parks, and villages rich in history, the activities to be done are indeed varied and exciting throughout the Veneto region, to meet the needs of every type of traveller.

There are many trekking routes in the mountains and hills of the region: the Alte Vie delle Dolomiti crosses the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites and thematic paths and trails covered on horseback or by mountain bike.

A great classic for mountain lovers is the Route of the 52 tunnels of Mount Pasubio, in the Vicentine Pre-Alps. This incredible work of military engineering carried out by the Italian army during the First World War has great historical value. The Path delle Vedette, which winds through the Prosecco Hills, among tunnels and trenches, dates back to the Great War.

In the province of Padua, on the Euganean Hills, exist thirty trekking routes: the Alta Via dei Colli Euganei, the Atestino Path, and the Naturalistic Path of the Central Euganean Hills are among the most beautiful. But also paths for mountain bike lovers ( including a 63 km ring), climbing gyms, and the Y-40 - "The Deep Joy," the deepest diving pool in the world. In the Lessinia Park, between Verona and Monte Baldo, several trekking itineraries and museums are dedicated to fossils in an area with remarkable geological and naturalistic features.

As for winter sports, Veneto boasts a total of 549 km of slopes where skiers and snowboarders can indulge themselves in the presence of spectacular scenery, among some of the most beautiful mountains.

Cortina D'Ampezzo, so-called "Queen of the Dolomites," is a historic holiday resort and destination for the international jet-set; there are 120 kilometres of slopes and a snow park, 60 km for cross-country skiing and toboggan runs.

In the Arabba / Marmolada area, you can ski along 63 km of very scenic slopes, just a step away from the Sellaronda ski tour (40 km between Arabba, Val Gardena, Alta Badia, and Val di Fassa).  At the foot of his majesty, the Marmolada, the highest peak of the Dolomites, devote yourself to cross-country skiing or have fun in the snow park with activities also designed for families. In the Civetta ski area, between Alleghe, Selva di Cadore and the Val di Zoldo, you can find 80 km of slopes and two snow parks with the possibility of skiing,  also during the night.

Veneto is one of the Italian regions with the highest number of cycle paths: among the most exciting itineraries is GiraSile, the Greenway del Sile, a network of 125 kilometres of cycle paths (but also accessible by boat) that crosses the Park Regional Nature of the River Sile, in the Treviso area. In Treviso's province, you can cycle along the Treviso - Ostiglia cycle path built parallel to the old railway: 118 km long. It crosses the whole region up to the border with the province Mantua.

There are numerous itineraries to be undertaken by mountain bike on the Asiago plateau, from the most straightforward and suitable families to the most demanding routes, such as the Giro delle Malghe, the Strada del Vecchio Trenino, and the itineraries on Mount Ortigara, a symbol of the Great War. On the other hand, those who want something more than a simple bike ride can dedicate themselves to cycle tourism along the cycle path from Venice to Munich (560 kilometres long), which crosses Italy, Austria, and Germany. Inside the Po Delta, between Veneto and Emilia Romagna, you can cycle through various nature trails and do real bike safaris (the Po Delta is a perfect oasis for birdwatching). Here it is also possible to indulge in nature photography, excursions by boat, canoe, or horseback.

Along the 160 kilometres of the Veneto coast, there are many sea activities available: between Bibione and Cavallino, it is possible to practice beach volleyball, boating, surfing, water skiing, or cycling; water sports such as sailing, boating, or diving are also possible on Lake Garda. Golf lovers will find many 18 and 27 hole courses throughout the region, from the countryside to the hilly areas, from the sea to the mountains: among the most exciting golf courses, the Golf Club of Verona, or the Golf Club Villafranca, in Custoza, the Padua Golf Club, the Asiago Golf Club, or the Venice Golf Club.

In terms of relaxation and well-being, Abano Terme and Montegrotto, in the Euganean Hills, offer numerous thermal treatments and mud therapy centres.  Bibione, a famous seaside resort, has large thermal pools and spas to practice mud-balneotherapy. The Garda Thermal Park of Villa dei Cedri, in Colà di Lazise, ​​a few steps from Lake Garda, is famous for its thermal lakes immersed in a park of secular trees.

A unique experience is to attend a concert or opera performance at the Verona Arena, perhaps in conjunction with the Arena Opera Festival, the famous opera festival held during the summer season.

Wine connoisseurs can instead set out to discover the many Wine Roads (sixteen throughout the region), from Valpolicella to the Euganean Hills, from Prosecco to Piave or Bardolino.

To the delight of the little ones, unmissable stops are the large amusement parks on Lake Garda such as Gardaland, the Sealife Aquarium, the Movieland film studios, the CanevaWorld water park, the Medieval Times of Lazise, ​​the Natura Viva Naturalistic Park, and the Garden Park.

The events not to miss in the region are the Feast of the Redeemer held in Venice on the third Sunday of July each year. At the same time, the first Sunday of September is the turn of the Historical Regatta. Between the end of August and the beginning of September, the International Film Festival takes place. The Game of Chess in Marostica takes place on the second weekend of September of even years. Vinitaly, the international wine fair, takes place every year in Verona in April.

 

WHAT TO EAT

It is a cuisine with ancient roots. Venice - the gateway to the East for Europe - was the first to welcome flavours and ingredients from all over the world, such as corn, sugar, cod, and rice. Four essential ingredients of Venetian cuisine: rice, polenta, beans, and cod, prepared in an innumerable number of variations within the various areas of the region and combined with a large number of vegetables, such as Radicchio Rosso di Treviso, Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco, white asparagus or onions.

A good meal can start with Venetian-style liver pate, veal liver, and onion, a platter of typical cold cuts, for example with Soppressata or horse salami or cheeses (such as Asiago, Montasio or Provolone Valpadana), sardines in saor, seasoned with sweet and sour onions, a must in the "Cicchetti," the typical Venetian appetizers to be consumed in the "Bacari," the traditional taverns.

In selecting the first courses, it is impossible not to mention "Pasta e Fasoi alla Veneta," a tasty bean soup of traditional peasant cuisine. Risi e Bisi, a rice-based on peas halfway between a risotto and a soup, or bigoli, a type of long pasta spread throughout the Veneto region, tasted in many variations, perhaps with duck sauce (the Bigoli co l'Ana) or with onion and sardines (the Bigoli co le Sardele).

Among the latter to steal the show is the cod, cod preserved in salt, to be enjoyed, for example, cooked in the Vicentine style. With tomato, capers, and onion, or creamed, reduced to a delicate cream prepared with oil, garlic, and parsley.

Among the most famous second courses, there is the Venetian liver, veal liver cooked with onions. Venetian snails, sea snails cooked with garlic and parsley or Musso stew, donkey meat stewed with red wine and vegetables, be served with polenta, be it yellow or white.

Among the desserts, it is worth recommending the Tiramisu, widespread throughout Italy but originating - apparently - from the Vicenza area, the Pinza, a dessert prepared with dried fruit and a glass of grappa, the Fregolotta, a dry pastry cake with almonds and aromas, and, at Christmas, Pandoro, the Christmas cake from the city of Verona.

Those who love street food can indulge themselves with Cicchetti based on a meatball. Crostini with cod, sardines in saor, cold cuts, and cheeses accompanied by a glass of wine or a Spritz.  A bag of fried fish, polenta and sausage or a sandwich col Fromai (cheese) and Pastin, coarse-grained minced meat.

Veneto is a land of fine wines: connoisseurs cannot fail to appreciate Amarone della Valpolicella, a DOCG dry passito red wine produced exclusively in Valpolicella, in the province of Verona. Soave Superiore, a DOCG white wine from Veronese. Prosecco di Conegliano -Valdobbiabene, a DOCG white wine produced on the Treviso hills, or Bardolino Superiore, a red wine typical of Lake Garda.