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You can have the universe, if I can have Italy." - Giuseppe Verdi

This is the country with unmatchable combination of history, art, architecture, gastronomy, fashion and natural beauty. This splendid nation has produced geniuses like Caesar, Michelangelo, Galileo, Garibaldi, Fellini and Versace.

This country can be visited anytime of the year to experience the marvels of this land.
Italian summers offer infinite miles of beaches from Sardinia to Portofino which has now become international playgrounds.

During autumn, Italy blooms with grapes and olives which are magically converted into wine and olive oil, using ancient techniques and Italian know-how. In winters the snow covered mountains gather people from all across the globe. In spring the rites of Holy Week are practiced in small villages and big cities all over the country. And its a great time to experience the natural beauty of the Italian countryside in Tuscany and Umbria. So come to Italy to carry unforgettable memories with you!


ItalyFact File
Official name : Italian Republic
Government : Republic
Nationality : Italian
Capital city : Rome
Ethnic groups : Italian
Location : Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia
Continent : Europe
Currency : Euro; 1 Euro = 52.443 Indian Rupee = 1.2047 US $ = 0.678141 GBP(subject to change)
Population : 57.99 million
Languages : French, German, Serbian, Croatian, Italian
Religion : 84% Roman Catholic, 6% Jewish, Muslim and Protestant
Area : 301230 sq km
Famous for : Wines, Renaissance artists, pizzas, pastas and many more Italian cuisine.
Major cities : Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice
Clothing : Summer : light cotton, Winters : heavy woolens.
Major events : The pre-Easter Carnivale; Holy Week Easter processions, the Festas di San Nicola in Bari and San Gennaro in Naples, the Festival of Snakes in Abruzzo (May) and the Festa of Sant'Antonio in Padua (June), the Race of the Candles and Palio of the Crossbow in Gubbio (May), the Sardinian Cavalcade (May), the Regata of the Four Ancient Maritime Republics (which rotates between Pisa, Venice, Amalfi and Genoa, and is held in June), Il Palio in Siena (July & August) and Venice's Historic Regatta (September).
Things to Buy : Antiques, jewelery, household items, clothes.
Things to do : shopping, siteseeing, visiting art galeries ans museums.
Cuisine : Northern Emilia-Romagna has produced the best-known dishes - spaghetti bolognese, lasagne and tortellini, prosciutto and mortadella. Spectacular vegetable and pasta ,exotic meats. Desserts - cassata, cannoli, zabaglione, granita and marzipan - Sardinia is famous for its spit-roasted piglet. Beverages : Coffee, beer and wine


Visa Permit
Amalfi coast EU citizens require only a passport or ID card to stay or work in Italy for as long as they like. Citizens other countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Switzerland and Japan, do not need a visa if entering as tourists for up to three months.

Culture
Unparalleled in its diversity, Italy offers delights ranging from fine wines and exceptional cuisine to high art and great historical sites. Italian culture encompasses great literature, splendid architecture and great music. The country has produced writers from Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Livy and Cicero to Dante. The literally scholars like Petrarch, Boccaccio, Ficino, Mirandola and Vasari all belong to the Italian soil. Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio wrote chiefly in the Florentine dialect.
Art is a big part of Italian culture, and not only visible in its museums. Colorful streets are lined with buildings of every shape, size, and color - often charactorized by huge arches and columns. The country has a great architechtural marvels like the Etruscan tombs, Greek temples, cat-infested Roman ruins, Moorish architecture and statue-filled baroque fountains. Besides these there are Roman sculptures, Byzantine mosaics, beatific Madonnas from Giotto to Titian, gargantuan baroque tombs and trompe l'oeil ceilings steal all the appreciation. Italy has not been left behind in the field of music either as Italians invented both the piano and our system of musical notation, as well as produced Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Verdi, Puccini, Bellini and Rossini.

When to go
Its best to go in spring (April-May) and autumn (October-November).It is best to avoid August, as this is the time when most Italians take their vacations, and as a result many shops and businesses are closed.

Climate
Italy has favourable climatic conditions, due to the warm waters of the Mediterranean sea but in mountainous areas particularly around the Alps in the north there are long winters.
There are three distinct geographical regions with distinct climates. In the north, cold Alpine winters are followed by warm, wet summers, except in the Po Valley, where arid summers contrast with freezing, damp winters. Land close to the Apennines have snowfall during the winter months. Other areas that are protected by hills and mountains, such as Liguria in the north west, have a mild climate all year round.
Most of the rest of Italy has a pleasant climate with long, hot summers and mild winters - Generally, the hottest month is July (where temperatures can reach 30°C/86°F); the coldest month is January; the wettest month is November, with an average rainfall of 129mm; while the driest month is July, with an average rainfall of 15mm.

Getting There
Italy AirportBy Air : There are international airports in all the major cities which are well connectd to the city center.
By Train : Intercontinental trains are there to provide a comfotable journey from and to other european countries.
By Raod : For travel between Italy and other parts of Europe, including the UK, buses are the cheapest but most tiring type of transport.
By Sea : Ferries service Sicily from Naples, while Sardinia can be reached from Genoa, Livorno and Naples. Ferries connect the country with Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Malta, Albania, Croatia and Spain.

Getting around
By Trains : The Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) is the state railway. There are also a few private railway companies. The fastest trains (Rapido) operate on the networks between the major cities, while the regional trains are fairly slow.
By Road : Excellent coach services run between cities and towns and there are also good local bus services. Charter bus tours are available in every major tourist area.
By Air : Domestic airlines provide good service within the country.

Major Attractions in Italy
Rome, the capital city : The capital city of Italy, Rome has a history of 2,700 years and is one of the most important city in the western world. This capital of the expansive Roman Empire, once governed by the famous Julius Caesar was the center for the rise of Christianity in the west. The Vatican City within Rome is the seat of the Roman catholic church which makes Rome influential in the world even today. Besides the Vatican City, Rome has a large number of beautiful ancient Roman monuments, which includes the Forum, (the place from where Julius Caesar once ruled ancient Rome), the Colosseum and the ruins of the Circus Maximus.

In addition, various ancient Roman monuments, artefacts with some famous paintings and sculptures by artists of the Renaissance period such as Raphael, Bottecelli, Belini, Pinturicchio, symbolizes the glorious past of this great civilisation.

Amalfi Coast : Covering 50km (31mi) along a promontory from Sorrento to lie Europe’s most enchanting coastlines. The coastlines are lined with curving roads and the exotic blue waters present one of the most alluring sceneries.

Cinque Terre : It has five splendid villages which pose the most scenic mountainous region that outlines the coastal Liguria in the northwest of the country. The towns are linked by a lovely pathway that winds along the terraced hillside through olive groves and vineyards, and are car free.
Riomaggiore overlooks a tiny cove, and fishing boats are a major source of attraction, lying along the shore in the small square. Lovers' Lane links the village with Manarola, the most picturesque of the five villages. Corniglia is perched high above the water and is reached by tortuous steps. Vernazza is known for its sea views, with a promenade and a piazza overlooking the water. Finally, Monterosso dominates the beach and presents huge statues carved into the rocks that surmount it.

Paestum : Just south of Salerno, Paestum houses the country's best-preserved relics of the Magna Graecia colonies. This beautiful place has three Doric temples and it includes the temples of Ceres and Neptune, a forum, a basilica and city walls. The museum houses a collection of friezes which are one of the best collections of ancient architecture in the world.

Other Attractions :
Sardinia
Tremiti Islands


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