Italy seems to have everything. It’s modern – think Fiat and Olivetti. It’s a leader in world fashion yet also is very traditional. Italy has many hidden secrets. You want to discover? It is almost impossible to be disappointed by Italy. So… check out the Italian articles below and plan your trip to Italy.
There is, however, a large north-south divide. Northern Italy is a powerhouse of economic dynamism, whereas the South has been somewhat economically deprived. No place is perfect and Italy is becoming economically more integrated. The north, in general, is the most cosmopolitan part of the country. In the south the colorful city of Naples is the beating heart of the region. And close by are the antique wonders of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The Aga Khan got his eye on the Costa Smeralda in the 1960’s and spent millions in this unknown area, creating a holiday village for the rich and famous..
The wealthy continue to flock to the posh hotels at Porto Cervo. This is also the place where Princess Diana and Dodi spent their last night together before flying off to Paris.
The waters here really are a deep emerald green. The area is stuffed with sweet-smelling shrubs and trees, and mimosa and oleander shade the walls of the pastel-colored villas that dot the landscape. There’s a Moorish feel to the architecture – perhaps because of the island’s proximity to North Africa. Hedges of rosemary and lavender cluster against huge granite boulders which people have brought down from the hills to use as gate posts or garden sculpture.
A Place of Legends
Sardinia is full of legends about witches and giants, and it’s not hard to see how these came about. The gigantic rocks all around the coast have weathered into strange shapes; ‘hook-nosed witches’, strange ‘birds’ and ‘animals’ gaze down on the white beaches. Some of the cleanest beaches in Italy are in Sardinia and swimming in these clear turquoise waters is heaven.
The Barbagia and the Nuraghe
Sardinia has two faces, one is the coast with its resorts and hotels, the other is the mountainous interior, the Barbagia region which contains around 8,000 strange, ancient structures known as nuraghe, which are found nowhere else in the world.
According to the locals, this is the real Sardinia, full of history, with many small mountain villages and remains of ancient civilizations.
The people who built the nuraghe also left behind huge graves, known as Giants’ Tombs. They were originally built as communal graves in which the bones of the dead were piled up. Some were found to contain as many as 100 to 200 skeletons. In time, the locals forgot what their original use was and they became known as Giants’ Tombs, contributing to the many myths that have emerged over the centuries. Some are at least 35-feet long. After traveling through this dramatic landscape, with its high mountains and huge empty spaces dotted with strangely carved rocks which look like, birds, animals and even witches, You might be ready to believe anything.
There’s something a bit surreal about the Barbagia. There are no Tuscany-like medieval hilltop villages. The mountain tops are bare, jagged, and can look menacing when a cloud covers the sun and the peaks suddenly turn dark. It looks like a land in which it would be hard to survive and yet, when you take a second look, the mountain slopes and isolated valleys are groomed and look well cared for. This is entirely because of the constant munching of some of Sardinia’s four million sheep.
Tuscany’s Historic Villages
What other country is as stuffed with art treasures? Tuscany alone has more classified historical monuments than any country in the world and there are reminders of the great Roman Empire everywhere. There are wonderful beaches, great ski resorts and shopping to die for.
Tuscany is known for its beautiful old villages – here are six of the best for you to discover.
There are many lovely hill villages in this part of Tuscany but San Gimignano attracts most of the tourist traffic. In order to spread this largesse around a bit a collective of six villages has been formed. They include San Gimignano and all are in the area of Valdelsa. The others are Poggibonsi, Colle Val d’Elsa, Monteriggioni, Radicondoli, and Casole d’Elsa. There’s less than an hour’s drive between each village. Supporting this cooperative venture seemed is a good way to see some places off the beaten track.
Walking on Capri
Explore the island on foot. It’s a paradise of sweet-smelling bay trees, olive groves,lemon trees and hundreds of species of wild flowers – a lush, green, perfumed land.
The Leaning Tower is the icon of Pisa. However, it is but one part of a trio of architectural wonders which inhabit the Campo dei Miracoli.
The Alto Adige
The Alto Adige contains some of the most spectacular scenery in Italy as well as some of the best mountain-walking in Europe. This area of the eastern Italian Alps is the Bolzano province, known officially in Italy as Alto Adige, but to most people as the South Tyrol.
Italy – South Tyrol – Seiseralm
To the east of Bolzano, the capital town of the region, is Europe’s largest area of mountain pastureland – the Seiseralm. It’s a magical place high above the valleys, surrounded by the dramatic Dolomites, where acres of brilliant wild flowers bloom throughout the summer.
Italy – South Tyrol – Castles
Castles are a big feature of the area and walking from castle to castle is a popular activity. There are over 350 of them brooding on hilltops, nestling in vineyards or clinging to rock faces. Most were built in the 12th and 13th centuries and many are still lived in. Some are run as hotels and restaurants.
So don’t delay the trip once all hidden secrets have proverbial to you.
I’m Victoria James, a travel blogger and a writer from London who loves to express her recent journeys. I write articles for blogs and websites during my free time. Currently I am focusing on ESTA which is now useful for all travelers to the USA who plan to enter the country by air or sea. Did you like this post? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.