With a capital like Rome, it's unsurprising that the rest of Lazio gets overlooked. But venture out of the city and you'll discover a region that's not only beautiful – verdant and hilly in the north, parched and rugged in the south – but also littered with historical and cultural gems.
Venice & The Veneto
Seen in the early rose light of dawn, the tranquil rhomboid of Piazza San Marco seems like an impossible dream. At the heart of Venice, which in turn lies at the core of one of Italy’s most powerful regions, the square with its basilica, ducal palace and soaring bell tower, is an unforgettable sight.
Naples & the Amalfi Coast
Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast are the Italy of your wildest dreams; a rich, intense, hypnotic ragù of Arabesque street life, decadent palaces, pastel-hued villages and aria-inspiring vistas. Southern Lifestyle Passionate, effusive and often generous to a fault, Campanians have a way of making other Italians seem just a little uptight.
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.
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.
Turin, Piedmont & the Italian Riviera
The beauty of northwestern Italy is its diversity. Piedmont's capital, Turin, is an elegant, easy city of baroque palaces, cutting-edge galleries and fittingly fabulous dining. The region might be an economic powerhouse, but has managed to retain deep links to the soil.
Puglia, Basilicata & Calabria
The Italian boot’s heel (Puglia), instep (Basilicata) and toe (Calabria) are where you can witness the so-called Mezzogiorno (southern Italy) in all its throbbing intensity. This is a land of drying washing on weather-worn balconies, speeding scooters in Dickensian alleys and dilapidated centro storicos (historic centres) that haven’t yet qualified for a Unesco listing.