Italians love to surround themselves with beauty, and it shows. A more fitting country could not have been designed by Michelangelo himself: from medieval hilltop towns to sun-drenched Mediterranean islands, Italy is sublime. Icons are so numerous it's difficult to choose. Some are entire cities: Venice, Florence and Rome are works of art in themselves, and Italy has played host to arguably the greatest collection of art, architecture and artists the world has ever seen. Home to more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country, Italy is nothing if not cultured; an education was once considered incomplete until one spent time in Italy. Today this tradition continues, as visitors from around the world come to surround themselves with beauty and immerse themselves in la dolce vita. Viva Italia!
Venice Carnival (EIVC)
Peel back the mask and uncover the secrets of Venice during the legendary Carnival. From the marvels of St Mark's Square to the exuberant crowds in full costume, Venice is a feast for the senses. Feel the pull of mystery at the Bridge of Sighs and visit the tiny fishermen's island of Burano, known for its lace-making and painted houses. Explore Byzantine basilicas and the famous traditional glass-blowing studios of Murano. And of course, immerse yourself in the sounds and energy of the crowds on festival night.
Highlights: Experience the costumes and masks of Carnevale di Venezia, witness spectacular glass-blowing, explore fishing villages and Byzantine basilicas, wander the labyrinth of streets with other revellers, drink mulled wine and dance all night
Cinque Terre Coastal Walk (EICW)
Isolated from the rest of Italy by the impressive landscape, you're here to hike. The rugged villages of Cinque Terre still remain a world away from the bustle of Rome. Follow coastal trails and discover villages clustered on windswept cliffs and perched above beautiful coastlines. Hike and swim by day and sample the fresh seafood and local delicacies by night. For the active traveller who wants to experience a real slice of Italian life, this compact adventure tops the menu.
Highlights: Walk narrow coastal trails with magnificent sea views, sample the local cuisine and wines, stay in a Cinque Terre village.