If Venice is being toured during Italy holidays, then Doges Palace can be considered for visiting. Its main entry is on its façade, facing the lagoon that leads to the courtyard. To its right and left are the Piazzetta and Renaissance wings, respectively. Towards the north of the courtyard is the Basilica of Saint Mark, the on-site chapel and in the centre are two bronze chalices. A white marble staircase, with statues of Mars and Neptune at the top, lead up to a wooden door. People walk through the Renaissance façade, climb up the Senator Staircase and enter the upper Loggia floor, where government offices were located. The capitals in the palace museum are decorated with representations of historical and allegorical characters, races, animals, plants and themes of work, natural products, astrology and biblical scenes.
Apartments and Chambers
The apartments in the right wing are entered by the Golden Staircase, named after its golden barrel-vaulted ceiling. Armorial bearings adorn the roof of the Scarlet Chamber and its walls have sculpted arches. Scudo has two globes from the 18th century displaying heaven and earth, respectively. A wooden ceiling with golden and blue designs supports the crimson wall of Erizzo room. Paintings on the life of Jesus and those of Henry III of France are hung below the sculpted ceiling of the Stucchi section. Through the Philosopher Hall, housing portraits of officials, visitors enter the part where senate meetings took place. The other two enclosed sections of the apartments are known as Corner and Enquiry. Also worth seeing inside here during Italy tours are the named institutional chambers, located across three floors. Liago chamber and the hall of the council of forty are decorated with paintings and statues and the wall the Guariento depicts Paradise with various figures.
Scenes of war, portraits of doges, who were heads of medieval Italian states, can be seen in the hall of the Great Council while depictions of maritime conquests are in the Scrutinio enclosure. Inside the courtroom are wooden shelves and its upper room contains artworks on vices and virtues. The Square Atrium has personified portrayals of justice, peace, mythological instances and seasons while the Four Doors Room has those of virtues. Award ceremonies, and the personified city, glory and concord in the Antechamber and carvings of deities, values and battle scenes in the Council Chamber are worth seeing. The hall of the senate has a Christ statue, depictions of the power of the council are in its own room and representations of good governance are in the Compass section. Portraits of magistrates and bearings in the censors hall; Christ, virgins and saints in the state advocacies enclosure and the decorated walls of Scrigno room are also explorable.
Prisons and Armoury
The palace is also known for its prison cells that were built between the 14th and 16th centuries. In the middle part of the latter century, new cells were built across the canal on the right side of the complex. The Bridge of Sighs that connects the premises to the new prisons is among the most well-known part of the palace. It has small windows through used by prisoners to see Venice, one last time, before being transferred to their cells. The armoury contains armours, torturing devices, swords, cannons, crossbows, quivers and Turkish artefacts.
Italy is a peninsular country in the south of Europe that is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea in the south, east and west. France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia border it on the northwest, north and northeast, respectively. Its rich and long history has its roots in ancient Greece. According to Roman mythology, Rome – the capital of Italy – was founded by two brothers; Remus and Romulus. Until the historic Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Italy functioned like a republic. The war, which was won by Octavius Caesar, ended the republic rule and established the Roman Empire. Thereon, the empire started expanding and at its peak, included the entire continent south of Russia. Famous gladiator contests, which were held inside the Colosseum, were a common form of entertainment for the royalty and public. The Colosseum of Rome is one of the greatest architectural masterpieces in the world and people on their Italy holidays make it a point to visit it.
The Colosseum in the Italian capital of Rome is the greatest example of Roman architectural expertise. It is an amphitheatre, which was used mainly for terminal battles between the man and beast. Emperor Vespasian started its construction in AD 70 while his heir Titus completed it 10 years later. A capacity of 5000-80000 has been calculated by studying its structure and possible seating arrangements. It is an oval-shaped stadium, 615 feet long and 520 feet wide, with the outermost wall rising to a height of 157 feet. Arch-shaped windows are built on the entire wall, many of which are decorated with mythical figures. Pillars between the arches are of Ionic, Tuscan and Corinthian orders. The top of the wall had about 240 pillars, which support a roof-like structure to keep sun and rain away from the spectators. Its 80 entrances meant that the arena could be filled or evacuated quickly. As in modern stadiums, a passage was located below the seats, whence people could get to the stands.
People used to sit on stairs, which were constructed on stands. Common folk sat in the open while the royalty, nobles and senators in special rooms. The main stage or playing area is epileptic, measuring 272 by 157 feet.
An underground chamber, known as hypogeum, was constructed below the wooden floor, which was covered with sand. The underground level itself comprised two storeys, comprising tunnels and cages where fighters and animals were kept before games began. Detailed examination of the hypogeum has revealed that it was modified at least 12 times. Tunnels in the hypogeum were used to bring animals and fighters from nearby stables and also allowed the king to exit the arena without having to go through the insane crowd. Predecessors to modern elevators and cranes can also be seen in the chamber. They were used to raise animals, fighters and scenic props to the arena.
How to Reach
International holidays to Europe have to be opted for reaching the historic architectural marvel named Colosseum. It is situated in piazza del Colosseo and can be accessed via the blue line of the Rome metro. Entry tickets cost Euros 4.50 for Europeans aged 65 and above, Euros 10.50 for Europeans between the age of 18 and 25 and Euros 15 for everyone else. It opens every day at 9:00 am in the morning while closing hours are different for different months.
Italy has witnessed most of the developments in the western civilisation over a long period of time. Hence, the country has a number of historical places and is often referred as a giant museum. It has the maximum number of World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO. The eternal city of Rome, shining beaches and rocky mountains are integral parts of an Italy tour, and are reasons behind making it one of the most frequented tourist destinations of the world. Ancient cities and towns of the nation still feature years-old public works, showcasing different architectural styles and artworks. It is not just a centre of art and culture, but is also popular for featuring a number of destinations for outdoor activities like skiing, sailing, rock climbing, mountaineering and rafting. This nation has something special for every type of traveller, be it an art or history lovers or adventure seeker. Apart from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Venice, Museum of Florence and the stunning Amalfi coastline, there are a number of offbeat places, which can be explored by travellers.
Friuli lies in the north-eastern region of Italy and has a historical and cultural identity of its own. Udine, the most important city of this area, was also the capital of the Patriarchate of Aquileia in the Middle Ages. Bordered with Slovenia and Austria, the full name of this region is Friuli-Venezia Giulia – known for its unique geography and history. Tourists can see the picturesque views of mountainous terrains with criss-crossed rivers during their Italy holidays to this place. It was dominated by Austria in the early modern period that left a deep impression in the area. Instead of Renaissance, which was popular in Venice and central Italy, this region flaunts the medieval architectural and artistic style combined with local characteristics.
Giovanni Antonio Pordenone is a renowned artist from this place, and his frescoes and canvases can be seen by art lovers in the various cathedrals named after him. The historic centre of Pordenone is a pleasant place to relax, featuring cafés and food centres serving delicious local dishes. It is the best site for people, who want to see the traditional side of this nation. To see the best-cured ham, travellers can head towards north of the region to reach San Daniele del Friuli and go as far as they want to into the mountains. Ravenna is another less-explored place, which can be a centre of attraction for history lovers.
This region is known for its mosaics, a tradition which started towards the 5th-6th centuries and is continued even today. Eight buildings of Ravenna are part of the World Heritage List of UNESCO, and it is quite popular among pilgrims. This place was under the Byzantine rule for a long time and its influence can be seen in the form of the Eastern architecture of churches and buildings. The most significant church of Ravenna is St. Vitale Basilica, showing mosaics of Emperor Justinian and his wide Theodora along with their attendants. It is a centrally-planned church having a unique basilica modelled after Constantinople. The Baptistery of Neon, built in the 4th century and decorated with mosaics, can also be seen by travellers while exploring the region.
Italy is a country in Europe that earns global recognition for its varied aspects. Tourism has been an integral part of the booming economy of this nation since olden times. In ancient and medieval times, the country was visited by people for the purpose of trade and conquests. As the 17th and 18th centuries arrived, it became a destination frequented by European aristocrats for the purpose of leisure. As the country developed with the passing years, its historic sites and natural sights were discovered by explorers from all over the world. This is how it emerged as a popular tourist destination and garnered attention for various factors. In present times, it is counted amongst the top five most-visited countries and receives a great influx of travelers from all across the globe. Italy tours are mostly focused on its arts, cuisine, heritage, culture and fashion, which fascinate people with their sheer richness.
There are several famous cities in Italy that have their own specialities and distinctness. While Milan is amongst the chief fashion capitals of the globe, Venice is a city of romance. Florence earns fame for its artistic and architectural achievements, whereas Pisa is recognised for its unique leaning tower. Bologna, Genoa, Naples and Turin are other significant cities, which are continuously frequented by tourists. However, it is Rome – the capital city of the country, which defines tourism in the true sense. Europe tour packages to this part of the world are incomplete without a visit to this impressive destination.
Rome is the official national capital of Italy that has a splendid heritage spanning across two millennia. Founded in 8th century BC, it is often regarded as an eternal city. The entire Roman cityscape is dotted with architectural masterpieces, lush parks and gardens, iconic fountains, ancient statues, imposing obelisks, old catacombs and famous bridges. These constructions belong to different periods and are significant reminders of its glorious past.
Colosseum – the universal symbol of Rome – is an ancient amphitheatre, which belonged to the Roman Empire. It was used as a venue for gladiatorial fights, mock sea battles, animal hunts and classical drama performances. This site has an honourable mention in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
Another well-preserved building of ancient Rome is the Pantheon, which is known for its classic Corinthian pillars.
The Roman Forum is a historical plaza, which was the nucleus of the urban life in olden times.
Beautiful landscaped parks and gardens in the city include Villa Borghese and Villa Ada, which have several monuments and notable structures within their precincts.
The Trevi Fountain is a remarkable site in Rome that exemplifies the Baroque style of architecture.
It has been extensively mentioned in popular culture and is one of the most recognized fountains across the globe. The city also earns fame for its statutes, which are generally referred to as the talking statues of Rome. Ancient obelisks built by the Egyptians and Romans also adorn the cityscape. The Tiber River of the city has several historical and modern bridges built across it that serve as major landmarks.
Over the years, Italy has been recognized for its history, fashion, art treasures and breathtaking landscapes. It is the birthplace of famous historical personalities like Christopher Columbus, Benito Mussolini, Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci. This European country has been a significant site of several civilizations, conquests, wars, treaties and other historic events. There are several sites within this nation that narrate stories of its ancestry and antiquity. Two important places, which provide an insight into its history are Pompeii and Herculaneum. Both of these ancient Roman cities are considered World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Tours to Italy provide a chance to delve into the glorious past of this country by taking tourists to these places.
Ruins of Pompeii
Pompeii is a city known for its ancient ruins, which provide information about this Roman habitation. According to available historical records and local beliefs, it was founded around the 6th and 7th century BC by the Osci people. There are several buildings in this Italian city that date back to 2nd century BC century, before Pompeii declared a war against Rome. It was later conquered by L. Cornelius and was declared as a Roman colony. The tomb wall and a portion of the arch supporting the temple of Venus were destroyed due to a volcanic eruption in 1st century AD.
In present times, this excavated site is regarded as an outdoor museum, showcasing the remains of ancient Roman settlements. The two main attractions, which have survived the hardships of the time are Forum Baths and Amphitheatre.
Along the Forum Baths, there is an athletics field named Grande Palestra and a few public buildings. The Amphitheatre is surrounded by a huge portico and the Temple of Jupiter.
This temple was the site of discussions related to political, commercial and administrative issues. In addition to these edifices, there are various exhibits like jars and frescoes, which draw the attention of visitors.
Ruins of Herculaneum
Herculaneum is another ruined and excavated city in Italy that is visited by thousands of travellers during their Italy vacations. After the Vesuvius volcanic eruption destroyed this place, a new town called Resina was built over its remains.
In 1969, this place was renamed as Ercolano, which translates to ancient Herculaneum in Italian. This was done on a request made by the Town Council in the honour of the old city. Excavations of the town were started in 1738, after which half of this ancient settlement has been excavated till date.
One of the important building at this place is the Villa of Papyri, inside which around 1800 carbonised papyrus scrolls were found preserved. According to records, this building was built and owned by the father-in-law of Julius Caesar. Inside Casa del Tramezzo di Legno, tourists get to see a carbonised wooden partition along with three doors. Some other buildings, which can still be seen at the main site are the House of the Mosaic Atrium, Casa del Nettuno ed Anfitrite, Terme and House of Bicentenary. The National Archaeological Museum in Naples houses ancient artefacts discovered from Pompeii and Herculaneum.
(Pompeii was also famous as one of the prostitution hubs of the ancient world. The following classic documentary from History Channel brings out this rather stark fact about the society of Italy during those times. This documentary contains matters related to sex and viewer discretion is solicited.)
One of the spectacular attractions, which travelers cannot miss to include in their itinerary of Italy tours, is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This free-standing bell tower stands tilted in one direction and is a remarkable architectural wonder. It is situated inside the premises of the cathedral of Pisa and is the third oldest structure here. The structural inclination began during the construction works of the monument due to soft ground foundation on one side. Gradually, the tilt increased over years and decades until recently when it was partially stabilized in the late years of 20th century. This extraordinary monument is a must-visit destination attracting hordes of tourists from different parts of the world.
This campanile is more than 180 feet high from the ground on the lower side and approximately 185 feet above the ground on the higher side. The walls are over 8 feet high at the base, and feature intricate carvings. There are more than 200 steps in this structure. The tower was inclined at an angle of 5.5 degrees prior to the restoration work, which was done between the years 1990 and 2001. At present, the edifice leans at an angle of around 4 degrees. The top of the structure remains displaced horizontally at approximately 4 meters. The construction of this architectural wonder was completed in three different stages, over span of about 200 years.It has been constructed using white marble, which gives it a spellbinding magnificence.
The construction work of the ground floor of this monument began in the year 1173. This part of the Leaning Tower is a blind arcade, which has been articulated with engaged columns and classical capitals of Corinthian origin. After the establishment was hiked to the second level, the sink in the building started. During this point the construction was restricted for almost an entire century due to the ongoing wars and battles during that period. This proved beneficial for the stability of the building as the soil settled over the decades. In the year 1198, several clocks were installed at the third level temporarily. The year 1272 marked the restart of the work under the popular architect of Camposanto – Giovanni di Simone.
The engineers, who were involved in the construction works of the tower during this period, tried to make up for the tilt by building floors with unequal sides. This led to the curved appearance of the structure. The work came to a halt once again in the year 1284, due to the Battle of Meloria. The seventh level came to completion in the year 1319. It was built under the supervision of Tommaso di Andrea Pisano and he introduced Gothic elements in the bell chamber. There are in total seven bells, representing musical notes, in this Romanesque tower. The largest bell was installed in the year 1655. Today, this historical ancient structure remains a prominent tourist attraction across the world. People from every nook and corner of the world come to witness this unique building all-year round. The structure captivates its onlookers with its exquisite and unique design.
Amongst the several scenic nations in this continent, Italy ranks high in the list of tourist destinations. Most of the regions in the country are sheer paradise for vacationers and when it comes to the coastline, Italy stands a class apart. Bordered by five seas – Ligurian, Mediterranean, Ionian, Tyrrhenian and Adriatic, this country boasts a sprawling coastline of more than 7000 km. Some of the most beautiful shores in the world are present in this country, which are flocked by globetrotters throughout the year. My favorite picks among the various beaches of Italy are:
Amalfi Coast in South Italy is considered to be one of the most beautiful shores in this country and is known for its unpredictable twists and turns. A number of picture-perfect hamlets are dotted along this seaside that offer the best ways to spend a memorable vacation. Ideal for swimming and sunbathing, this place is a perfect getaway from the busy and monotonous urban lifestyle. The view of its undulating cliffs and blooming flowers is beautiful and make for timeless clicks. The spectacular cultural landscape of Amalfi Coast has earned it honourable mention in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Isola Bella Beach
Isola Bella Beach lies on its namesake island, which is situated towards the southern region of Italy and is known as the Pearl of the Ionian Sea. Facing a small bay in the sea, this waterfront is a birdwatching destination and an integral part of a nature reserve. This rocky beach is ideal for sunbathing, swimming and spending a relaxing day lazing on the shore. Furthermore, entertainment activities (snorkelling) are also conducted in the emerald waters of the sea. Apart from exploring the seaside, shopping and tasting the local Italian cuisine add to the enthralling experience at this place.
Mondello Beach is situated in Palermo – the capital of Sicily and is an ideal place for spending a leisure trip. The turquoise waters, apart from being a personal choice for unwinding, offer plenty of opportunities for windsurfing. The waterfront at Mondello is situated between the two cliffs of Mount Pellegrino and Mount Gallo. This picturesque destination is also an ideal spot for sunbathing and is one of the top visited vacation spots in Italy. Originally famous for fishing activities, the coastline is also dotted with a number of restaurants, which offer visitors various seafood options and other delicacies from the Italian cuisine.
Lampedusa is among the southernmost islands of the nation and apart from being my personal favourite, it is one of the most frequented beach destinations in the country. Its crystal clear turquoise waters and golden beach is ideal for sunbathing for long hours. This place ranks among the top destinations to indulge in scuba diving for those people who like to go for an adrenaline-rush activity during a vacation. The mesmerising view of the waterfront is a treat for the eyes as a result, visitors from around the world throng this coast around the year.
The location of the Numana Beach at the base of a steep and jagged cliff adds to the general beauty of this popular tourist spot. It is situated inside the park of Mount Conero along the scenic Adriatic Coast. This destination is perfect for those people who are looking to spend some quality time along a beach dotted with lush green vegetation. The cool breeze imparts a peaceful aura to the environs, and the view is captivating from the seaside. Apart from the usual beach activities, there are also ample opportunities on offer for taking part in birdwatching and other interesting activities.
San Vito lo Capo Beach
Among all the coasts in this country, there is hardly any other more beautiful than San Vito lo Capo Beach. White sandy beaches along with a palm-fringed coastline attracts thousands of visitors to this part of the world. The waters are shallow and turquoise in colour, thus providing ample swimming opportunities. It is famous for its picturesque, crystal clear waters and is often termed as the Maldives of Italy by many. Furthermore, it is in proximity to the Zingaro Nature Reserve, which offers a breathtaking array of cliffs, majestic rocks, caves and grottos. This unique landscape has nurtured the growth of a variety of flora and fauna, thus enhancing the natural beauty of this place.
Among the numerous beaches in Capri, Marina Piccola, along the southern coast is most famous. The coastline is rocky and offers mesmerising views of the rock formations of faraglioni. The clear azure waters here offer a opportunity to indulging in swimming. However, the best way to spend a memorable day here is by renting a deck chair and sunbathing on its golden sands. Bathing establishments have been built along the coastline as thousands of visitors spend their day swimming at the bay here. This place ranks as one of the most visited in Capri.
Located amidst the vast Tyrrhenian Sea along the western coasts of Italy, Palmarola Island has emerged as a popular holiday destination in the last couple of decades. This quaint isle is usually connected from the mainland of the nation by boats and is flocked by tourists during the summer season. It has also evolved as a natural reserve and is the second largest in Pontine Island. This island is an ideal getaway for those who are planning to spend a quiet retreat at a picturesque destination. The shore at this location is jagged and mostly uninhabited with an extensive covering of cliffs, bays and grottos.
Cala Goloritzè Beach
This destination has topped the charts quite a number of times in independent surveys as the top beach location in this nation. Apart from being one of my favourites, it is ideal for those people who want to have an entertaining time at the shore. Several water sports like deep sea diving and snorkelling are practised here with great enthusiasm. The picture-perfect environs allow for other activities like trekking, birdwatching and free climbing to be practised here. This spot is ideal to spend time with friends and families as well as engage in sunbathing. Accommodation options are offered aplenty for visitors to spend a memorable time here.
Situated along the middle eastern coastal region of Sardinia in the Nuoro province, Cala Mariolu is one of the most favoured vacation spots in the nation. The stunning pebbled waterfront offers some of the most idyllic spots to spend a memorable weekend with friends and families. Apart from the usual sunbathing and swimming, people can also indulge in diving and snorkelling at this coast. Little islands have emerged as a result of the rocks and boulders and add to the beauty of the picturesque turquoise waters. The beauty of the Mediterranean vegetation along the coastline offers an ideal backdrop for timeless pictures.
These are some of those spots in Italy that should never be missed by those people on Italy tours mean something special. I have visited a number of these and have realised that some of the best coasts in the world are located in this country. Whether it is to engage in exciting water sports with friends or spend a quite weekend retreat with family, the country offers a plenty of options. The azure waters of the surrounding seas, the picture-perfect coastline, palm-fringed vegetation and all those things that are associated with stunning beach locations can be found here. Travellers who are planning to visit any of these seaside locations or any other can avail local transport options. Make sure to bring a still or video camera to capture all the timeless moments at the shores. Visitors can also do ample shopping at this destination and take away souvenir items with them as memories.
Italy is located in the southern part of Europe and is bordered by the countries of France, Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. This land is not only bestowed with several sightseeing wonders but its locals take pride in their customs and traditions, which are perennial. When it comes to automobiles, they are called the mad creators who have produced the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. When it comes to pizzeria, avid foodies only have one name lingering in their mind – Italy. This land was once the core of the great Roman and Greek empire, whose glory is known worldwide. Both these realms had a deep influence in the art, literature, customs and architecture of the country. The same can be witnessed across the nation, especially in its capital – Rome, which is acknowledged among the places that gave birth to western civilization. Rome is the largest pilgrimage for Catholics from all over the globe who largely flock in to explore the divine charm of Vatican City – the birthplace for Christianity. Tourists planning their Italy tours can witness a multitude of beautifully designed Roman edifices in the capital region.
St Peters Basilica
St Peters Basilica is considered the foremost example of Renaissance architecture – the design depicting ancient Roman and Greek elements. Its principal architects were Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porto, Carlo Maderno, Donato Bramante and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. According to Roman catholic traditions, this place marks the burial ground of Saint Peter, who was among the 12 chief disciples of Jesus.
Historians suggest that the tomb of the apostle is located directly below the main altar of the church. This church has often been described as the most significant church for Christian community all over the world and ardent followers throng its complex throughout the year.
This basilica stands on the ground of an old basilica, which is believed to be constructed by emperor Constantine during the 4th century. It was restored in 15th century under the supervision of pope Nicolas V, who carried out expansions in the layout of this building. Further additions were carried out by pope Julius II and the new edifice was finally consecrated again by pope Urban VIII in 1626. Each of the architects made a significant contribution in adorning the complex, from facades to ceilings, domes and frescoes. The church at present is one of the largest churches in the world and has a massive nave and beautifully embellished interiors. Travelers from all over the world come to witness its majesty and are left awe-struck by it imposing structure.
A trip of St Peters Basilica enlightens the travelers about the various aspects of Christianity. Frequent travelers recommend this place a must visit if people are planning their vacations in Rome.
Numerous other sites can also be explored by visitors, such as Vatican Gardens, Sistine Chapel, Castel Sant Angelo, Raphael Rooms and Apostolic Palace.
Each of these structures are world famous for their grandeur and attract a considerable amount of tourists from all over the world.