Italy travel tips
Italy borders on France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia but also shares a sea border with Croatia and with the enclaves of San Marino and Vatican City. The islands of Sicily, Sardinia, Stromboli, Vulkano, Lipari, Capri Island, Ischia and Elba are also part of Italy.
There are many airports in Italy: the largest cities such as Rome, Milan, Geneva, Turin, Verona, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Naples and Palermo all have an international airport, whereas Trieste, Bergamo, Pisa, Perugia, Foggia, Bari, Brindisi and others only have small airports.
Numerous ferry services operate from Greece, Albania and Croatia and primarily go to Venice, Ancona, Bari or Brindisi. Other regular ferry services go from Corsica to Geneva, Livorno, Civitavecchia and Sardinia and from several north African ports to Sicily.
Italy: climate and geographic zones
Italy can be divided up into three climatic zones: the Po area, central Italy and southern Italy including the coast of Liguria. In the area around the Po river, winters are cold with generally hot summers. In central Italy, the tyrrhenic camber means that higher winter temperatures prevail on the Adriatic coast. In the south of Italy on the other hand, there is a mild Mediterranean climate.
The longest rivers in Italy are the Po, Etsch, Arno and Tiber. Lake Garda, the Lago Maggiore, Lake Comer, the Lago di Bolsena and Lago Trasimeno are the biggest of Italy’s lakes. In Italy there are also well known volcanoes, the Vesuvius on the mainland and mount Etna and Stromboli on the Italian islands. There are also several small volcanoes around Sicily. The highest mountain in Sicily is Mont Blanc de Courmayeur with an altitude of 4 748 m (15, 774 ft).
Italy's tourist attractions and cultural highlights
Rome (Italian: Roma), the capital of Italy and the city of the seven hills is home to the Vatican. There are two international airports in Rome: the Leonardo da Vinci in Fiumicino and the airport of Ciampino. Rome is located on the banks of the Tiber in the vicinity of the Tyrrhenian sea. The Abruzzi are to the east of Rome and in the north-east are the Sabine hills and in the south, the Alban hills. The area inside the Aurelian Wall, which was erected around the seven hills of Rome (Kapitol, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquilin, Caelius, Aventin and Palatin), counts as the inner city of Rome.
The independent state, Vatican City, forms an enclave in the center of Rome. Vatican city and St.Peter’s Basilica were declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Museums worth seeing in Rome include the Capitoline Museums, the Vatican museums, the Villa Giulia and the Museo Nazionale Romano delle Terme which was designed by Michelangelo. Interesting buildings are the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Forum Romanum and the Forum of Augustus. San Paolo fuori le mura is a church that is also worth seeing, along with the Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano and the Piazza Navona with its three fountains.
Other important cities in Italy include Milan (Milano), known as the capital city of fashion, Naples (Napoli), Genua (Genova) the historical port and Turin (Torino), Venice (Venezia), Bologna, the trade center, Florence (Firenze), Catania, the port at the foot of Mount Etna and Palermo, capital of Sicily.