Do you know the land where lemon trees blossom; where golden oranges glow amid dark leaves? A gentle wind blows from the blue sky, the myrtle stands silent, the laurel tall: do you know it? There, O there I desire to go with you, my beloved!
With these verses, the German writer and poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe described Italy at the end of the 1700s, during a trip to Italy and its beauty. His trip to Italy, which was initially supposed to last a few months, lasted almost two years, so much was the enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge and study. From these few verses, one immediately deduces the diversity and complexity of the Italian territory. In the collective imagination, Italy, also known as "the Beautiful Country", is famous for its pizza, pasta, the Colosseum of Rome and the gondolas of Venice. Furthermore, Rome is the heart of Italy since it is the capital, and it is also the centre of Christianity, because the Pope resides here, in Vatican City. But the landscape is really much more complex and difficult to condense into a story. And all of you who have never visited my country, you will for sure get lost in the beauty of Italy.
Italy is located in the heart of the Mediterranean, and, since ancient times, it was highly coveted for its strategic position and commercial links. All the civilizations that occupied the Italian territories have left many traces, and for this reason, Italy possesses infinite historical, archaeological and works of art.
The Italian coasts are bathed by the sea for about 7500 kilometres, 42% of the Italian territory is hilly, and mountains occupy about one-third. The Italian side of the Alps stretches for about 1300 kilometres, while the Apennines run through the entire peninsula and form its backbone. Furthermore, Italy is rich in rivers, which arise from the mountains, and lakes not too large. This variety of morphology helps to understand the complexity of the territory and ecosystems, from which a great diversity between regions derives.
As already mentioned, in Italy in every corner, in every small church, crossroad, village, even the smallest, we find evidence of the past reproduced on paintings, statues, facades, courtyards, squares and museums. Like in Florence, we can travel in time and document the city's link with the great geniuses of the past such as Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, or like the finest royal palaces in Italy. Or, always travelling in time, we can find evidence of the Renaissance in Florence, Urbino or Montepulciano, or we can get lost in the magnificence of Ravenna's mosaics. Nothing less we will be fascinated by the visit to magnificent Sicily or Sardinia.
The Beautiful Country is also known for its food excellence. The most famous Italian dish is pizza, which was invented in Naples. The best-known is the Margherita pizza, with tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil.
Another dish known and appreciated all over the world is pasta, which can be seasoned with any type of sauce. In Italy, each region has its own type of pasta, such as tortellini in Bologna or Bolognese ragù or the many types of Fresh Pasta in Apulia. Fettuccine Alfredo are famous worldwide but were born in Rome, and you can try the original recipe at Ristorante Il Vero Alfredo and Alfredo alla Scrofa.
Italy is one of the world's leading wine producers. Sardinia has the Wine Roads, wine routes that run through vineyards and farmhouses, where you can enjoy wonderful tasting experiences. One such winery is Tenuta Olianas, where bio-integrated agriculture is practised, and excellent biodynamic wines are produced. Also in Franciacorta, in the Lombardy region, they produce very interesting and good wines, and wine cellars tours can be organised.
Italy does have not only famous cities but also everything a nature lover could wish for. First of all, it has wonderful beaches such as the beautiful ones in Apulia in Salento or on the Gargano, in Cilento, or the wild beaches of Sardinia, where you can admire the wonderful flamingos. And for places where the sea is not so close, the beaches are invented, like the beaches of Milan, Florence or Turin. For those who love more relaxing tourism, here we find the thermal waters spread throughout Italy, as in South Tuscany or Sirmione. Finally, for those who love to immerse themselves in the green of nature going through woods and forests, we suggest the Foreste Casentinesi National Park, a trip to Valcamonica, the Majella National Park or the National Park of Gran Sasso in Abruzzo, or trekking itineraries on the hiking trails in Sardinia.
One of the Italian regions where active tourism is most practised is Piedmont. In this region, in fact, there are several choices for practising the most extreme sports. The whole of northern Italy actually offers opportunities to practice active tourism, as the Western Alps region, but also in central Italy and Sardinia you can practice skiing and ski mountaineering. And what about the emotion you get from spending a night in a treehouse or sleeping under the stars?
Like any other country rich in history, Italy boasts a large number of traditions throughout its territory. Just think of the Carnival in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Viareggio or Puglia, the Christmas markets in northern Italy, or the flower carpets to celebrate religious holidays. Interesting are also the events where the sacred and the profane are mixed together, such as the Holy Week rites in Iglesias or May Day in Cagliari. Every region in Italy is rich in traditions, from north to south, including the islands. Indeed, paradoxically, the islands better preserve their own traditions and identity.
In short, there is so much to discover in this wonderful country, and a trip to Italy and its beauty is one of the experiences to do at least once in a lifetime. This and much more await you. No matter when you visit it, one thing is guaranteed - you will get lost in the beauty of Italy!
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