Tips and Inspiration for your European holiday

Italy travel informationWhat is it that makes Italy one of the most-visited countries in the world? The articles below will give you an idea of what this amazing country has to offer the holiday-maker and why it lures us back time and time again.

Clinging to the steep slopes of the Monte Ingino, Gubbio appears an imposing and aloof city. Its Gothic stone buildings rise up the windy hillside and the waters of the Camignano gorge run down through its centre. The surrounding countryside is breathtaking as the town sits between unspoilt pastureland and the wooded Apennine mountains.

Freya Middleton is an Australian who, after stints in France and England, has settled in Florence where she shares her passion for all things Italian with tourists who join one of her private tours of Florence. Freya's Florence tours was created to give the visitor not just another day of sightseeing, but an opportunity to really feel part of the city. As a resident of Florence, Freya was the perfect person to ask to share her insider secrets with us.

Abruzzo is arguably one of the regions of Italy least known to foreign visitors. In spite of lying just one hour driving time to the east of Rome, the area is unspoilt and tranquil, home to stunning Apennine peaks, silent valleys and ancient villages. It is a walker's paradise and offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Italy.

With a reputation as a rapidly growing industrial city, many travellers decide to steer clear of Liguria's Genova, located on the northern coast of the Mediterranean, in Italy. However, this may be a poor decision as Genova is also a city rich with history and beauty.

As the capital of Italy and having so many tourist attractions, it's no wonder that Rome is so popular. I was lucky enough to have a short stay there during one of Italy's public holidays, the Immaculate Conception (Thursday, 8 December, 2011).

Many would agree that no holiday to Italy, or indeed Europe, would be complete without a visit to Venice.  Represented worldwide by its gondoliers and carnival masks, Venice is also home to priceless art, magnificent architecture and ancient crafts.

The regions of the Northwest of Italy are frequently overshadowed by Tuscany and Umbria to the south. However, their understated beauty, proud history and outstanding gastronomic heritage are worthy of more attention.

With respect to international tourism, Italy’s region of Lombardy in the North West of the country often takes a back seat to the more illustrious regions of Tuscany, Piemonte, Liguria and the Veneto. However, this overshadows the fact that Lombardy has a host of delights to offer all visitors to the beautiful “Bel paese”.

When most Australians plan a holiday to Italy, the cities of Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice usually head up their list of must-see places to visit. Suggest Lake Garda, or Lago di Garda, (as it’s known in Italian) to them, and they will probably look at you in bewilderment. There are, however, plenty of things to see and do around Lake Garda.