With a capital like Rome, it's unsurprising that the rest of Lazio gets overlooked. But when Rome starts to feel like the Eternal City for all the wrong reasons, do as the Romans do and leave the city behind. You'll discover a region that's not only beautiful – verdant and hilly in the north, parched and rugged in the south – but also full of historical and cultural interest.
History, human genius and the hot midday sun have conspired to make Rome one of the world’s most seductive and thrilling cities. Roman Feasting A trip to Rome is as much about lapping up the lifestyle as it is gorging on art and historic sights. And there’s no better way of getting into the local spirit of things than by eating and drinking well.
Venice & The Veneto
Imagine the audacity of building a city of marble palaces on a lagoon – and that was only the start. Venetian Feasts Garden islands and lagoon aquaculture yield speciality produce and seafood you won’t find elsewhere – all highlighted in inventive Venetian cuisine, with tantalising traces of ancient spice routes.
Naples & the Amalfi Coast
Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast is the Italy of your wildest and most lingering dreams; a rich, intense, hypnotic ragù of Arabesque street life, decadent palaces, pastel-hued villages and aria-worthy vistas. Culinary Riches Naples and its region are the country's culinary soul, home to Italy's best pizza, pasta, mozzarella, vegetables, citrus and seafood.
The Italian Lakes
Formed at the end of the last ice age, and a popular holiday spot since Roman times, the lakes have an enduring, beguiling beauty. Artful Landscapes Travellers traversing the Alps wind down from the mountains to be greeted by a Mediterranean burst of colour: gardens filled with rose-red camellias, hot-pink oleanders and luxurious palms surrounding cerulean blue lakes.
From the look of it, you'd think Venice spent all its time primping. Bask in the glory of Grand Canal palaces, but make no mistake: this city's a powerhouse. You may have heard that Venice is an engineering marvel, with marble churches built atop ancient posts driven deep into the barene (mud banks) – but the truth is that this city is built on sheer nerve.
Return time and again and you still won't see it all. Stand on a bridge over the Arno river several times in a day and the light, mood and view changes every time. Surprisingly small as it is, this riverside city is like no other. Cradle of the Renaissance and of tourist masses that flock here to feast on world-class art, Florence (Firenze) is magnetic, romantic and busy.
Turin, Piedmont & the Italian Riviera
The beauty of northwestern Italy is its diversity. You only have to take a short train ride out of Turin and everything changes: food, culture, scenery – even the language. The seduction starts in Liguria, a thin, precipitous coastal strip famous for its food (pesto and focaccia), swanky resorts and the once-powerful independent trading empire of Genoa.
Puglia, Basilicata & Calabria
Southern Italy is the land of the mezzogiorno – the midday sun – which sums up the Mediterranean climate and the languid pace of life. From the heel to the toe of Italy's boot, the landscape reflects the individuality of its people. Basilicata is a crush of mountains and rolling hills with a dazzling stretch of coastline.