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Gondola on Venice's Grand Canal, Italy

Italy is high atop many travelers bucket list and for good reason. The food, the wine, the history, the language; Italy has it all. From the romantic canals in Venice to the birthplace of pizza in Naples, or from the scenic hills of Tuscany to the history scene in Rome: a vacation in Italy is one to savor slowly.

Rome is an important and impressive tourist destination. With so much to see and do, it is no wonder that at one time all roads led to Rome. The capital city, located in central Italy, enjoys relics from the ancient city, medieval basilicas, renaissance art and architecture, and plentiful cafés. From the Roman Empire to the Renaissance periods, Rome’s influences over modern culture, customs and traditions are still felt today. Perhaps the most notable artifact remaining from the Roman Empire is the Coliseum, the largest of its time. Talk with a Luxe Travel advisor about how you can get exclusive access to the underground tunnels of the Coliseum, discovering the narrow spaces where gladiators spied the captive animals one last time before funneling into the stadium. While in Rome, explore the many squares, known as piazzas to discover the scores of buildings and fountains constructed from the renaissance to neoclassical days. The Trevi Fountain, the largest Baroque fountain in the city, depicts Triton taming the waters. Rome’s temperate climate means you can delight in the various outdoor cafés for a traditional Roman meal of spaghetti alla carbonara. Take pleasure in watching the Italians and tourists alike whisking around the city on its preferred mode of transportation, the vespa.

Coliseum in Rome, Italy

Within the city of Rome, Italy, is the walled enclave of the sovereign city/state of Vatican City. Enjoy a private tour of the Vatican Museum with a personal guide and exclusive trip through the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Raphael Rooms, and the Sistine Chapel, taking in Michelangelo’s famous paintings along the ceiling, including the Creation of Adam. Nothing compares to seeing these amazing works of art in person. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the significant church erected over the tomb of Saint Peter.

One of the most intriguing and beautiful cities of Italy and the world, Venice is a city built upon many islands connected by bridges and canals. Instead of roads, Venetians get around by foot along the narrow pathways, or by boat. Arrange for a symbolic gondola tour for a romantic view of the city. While in the sinking city, visit Piazza San Marco, home to St. Mark’s basilica and St. Mark’s Campanile. The tall red bell tower is one of the most recognizable sights of the city. If you stay in Venice for more than a few days, consider a few side trips to Verona, and search for Romeo beneath Juliet’s balcony. Shakespeare borrowed much of his famous play (along with two others) from stories written about this area.

Florence, Italy Sunset

Italy’s Tuscany region is a gorgeous area full of rolling pastoral hills, sprawling vineyards and olive groves, artistic centers and medieval castles. One popular way to travel around Tuscany is on one of the many biking tours. Peddle to and from small towns sleeping in premiere inns and villas, while learning secrets of Tuscan cooking and exploring the scenic rolling fields. In the heart of Tuscany lays Florence, known for its great collection of art. Start with The Academy of Fine Arts to see Michelangelo’s David and other sculptures. Enjoy gelato in Signoria Square, then visit the Uffizi gallery home to collections by da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael and countless others. While in Tuscany, don’t miss Pisa and her leaning tower for which she’s famous. Constructed over nearly four centuries, the tower’s tilt has always been one of its features. Arrange to stay at the Castello Banfi Il Borgo while in Tuscany. Ensconced alongside a medieval castle and surrounded by vineyards, the Castello Banfi has everything you need for a perfect Tuscan getaway.

If you have a passion for fashion, be sure to include Milan, Italy on your itinerary. Premiere labels such as Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada, and Armani make Milan their home. Be sure to shop along Via Monte Napoleone for upscale luxury designs. Milan does have more than just fashion, however. A mixture of old world art and modern architecture makes Milan a well-rounded destination. See the Convent of Sta. Maria delle Grazie with Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and the Milan Cathedral while here.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

The southern coastline of Italy from Sorrento to Solerno, called the Amalfi Coast, is popular for its colorful seaside villages and relaxed atmosphere. Sorrento beaches are strewn with rocks, meaning sunbathing takes place on a deck chair. However, you cannot beat the views from the many resorts and hotels jutting out of the cliffs. Across the Gulf of Naples, find the city of Naples known best as the birthplace of Pizza. Stop off here for a culinary tour including Neapolitan or Magherita Pizza, spaghetti and Neapolitan ice cream or gelato. A short boat ride away takes you to the Capri Island, and a visit to the Grotta Azzurra, a spectacular blue and silver underwater grotto.

Many of us list Italian food as some of our favorite cuisine, and a trip to Italy is certainly every foodie’s dream. Each Italian region has unique dishes, and no visit would be complete without trying the “house” specialty. Venice and northeastern Italy is known for quality risotto. Follow this with a delicious tiramisu for dessert. Tuscany’s simplicity does not mean it is short on flavor. Try minestrone or Florentine steak with a bottle of Chianti. When in Rome, eat rigatoni with pajata sauce sprinkled with Pecorino Romano cheese. Naples rich history with food includes many seafood dishes in addition to its infamous pizzas. Also, find many dishes with mozzarella, like parmigiana. No matter where you dine, be sure to complete your meal with an Italian espresso or cappuccino.

Perhaps we are in love with Italy, because so many of our favorite movies are filmed here. From Roman Holiday to Eat, Pray, Love, the Italian setting is much like a character we fall in love with. Tour Rome the way Audrey Hepburn did in Roman Holiday, on the back of a vespa, visiting the Bocca dell Verita as you cruise along through the infamous piazzas. Perhaps you’d like to leave the guns and take the cannolis on your visit to Savoca, Sicily. Follow in The Godfather’s footsteps to the Vitelli bar and the church of St. Lucy in this charming authentic Sicilian town. Not many tourists visit here making it a great getaway. No matter what your Italian desires are, a Luxe Travel expert will make it memorable. Contact the Luxe Travel team at 1-866-365-8747 or concierge@luxetravel.com.