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Adventures in Italy
By Joe Boone

Italy has had a profound influence on Western culture and cuisine for centuries, dating back to the days of the Roman Empire and beyond. Its rich history, ancient ruins, long Mediterranean coastline, alpine lakes, mountain regions and diverse regional cultures and dialects inspired a Renaissance that has stood the test of time.

Home to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country, Italy ranks high on the bucket list of most world travelers. Tens of thousands of visitors flock to its doorstep each year and with so much to see and do, utilizing the expertise of a professional guided tour professional can go a long way in making your taste of Italy a grand adventure.

Italy by River

For a truly unforgettable experience, consider one of Uniworld's unique vacation collections that combine boutique river cruises with escorted land journeys. Their credo, "No request too large, no detail too small!" comes to life in every interaction they share with their guests, on board and onshore. Innovative onshore programs go well beyond landmarks and group tours, offering a generous menu of excursions and activities designed to immerse guests in the local culture. Staying on board any one of Uniworld's river cruise ships comes with its own rewards, including lavishly appointed river-view staterooms and suites, all-inclusive dining and unlimited beverages including fine wine, beer and spirits. Each of Uniworld's exquisitely appointed river cruise ships is a work of art and its admirable crew sets the standard for excellence in hospitality, culinary and nautical practices in river cruising.

Uniworld's ever popular 10-day Milan to Venice "Gems of Northern Italy" guided tour is a classic example, combining eight days of well-planned and executed onshore experiences with a scenic seven-night cruise on board the River Countess. Unforgettable sights and hidden treasures are uncovered on this odyssey through Northern Italy that begins in Milan, known for its high-end fashion, dazzling artistic landmarks, and Leonardo da Vinci’s magnificent fresco – The Last Supper – and ends in legendary Venice, the romantic “Queen of the Adriatic.”

Soak up the enchantment of “The City of Water” and three outer-lying Venetian islands, Burano, Mazzorbo, and Torcello. Discover the charm of seaside Chioggia, loved by fishermen and artists alike. Enjoy a multi-course lunch complete with wine pairings at a historic wine estate in Valpolicella. Explore medieval Padua, once home to Galileo and Copernicus; indulge your culinary senses in “bountiful” Bologna; and witness the beauty and cultural importance of four UNESCO World Heritage sites including Ferrara, with its broad streets and numerous palaces dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. Ideally suited for romantics, connoisseurs of food and wine, and lovers of art and architecture, it’s the perfect venue for exploring the hidden gems of Northern Italy.

The Grand Tour

Another great way to see the sights and explore the culture of Italy is through Trafalgar Travel. They've been creating exceptional guided vacations for almost 70 years. Offering more than 230 trips to worldwide destinations, they're one of the largest guided travel operators in the industry.

Trafalgar's 13-day "Best of Italy" guided tour is perfect for an enchanting look at Italy's best cities, lakes and coastlines. Add a dash of “issimo” to your love affair as you explore Italy's captivating landscapes, culture, and mouth-watering flavors that have inspired its residents to coin the phrase: "First we eat, then we do everything else." Follow in the footsteps of Michelangelo and da Vinci when visiting the Vatican Museums. Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and walk among ancient sites like Circus Maximus and the Colosseum.

Check out the excavations at Pompeii, St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, picturesque Lake Como and the medieval city of San Gimignano. Witness the exquisite craft of glassblowing on Giudecca Island. Join Signor Telli for an exclusive dinner and “bei tempi” at his family run restaurant on the secluded Isola Madre island on Lake Maggiore. View the Benedictine Abbey in Monte Cassino, the fabled balcony of Romeo and Juliet in Verona, the Gothic Cathedral and La Scala Opera House in Milan, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Duomo in Florence. Enjoy a scenic cruise by private water taxi along Venice's Grand Canal, admire the magnificent palazzi, as well as catch a glimpse of the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's Square. Later, you'll glide gracefully on a gondola along Venice’s dreamy, narrow waterways. It's all here and more, just waiting for your personal enjoyment.

Explore Southern Italy

If you prefer to focus your travels on Italy's southern region, perhaps the "Highlights of Sicily & Southern Italy" guided tour offered by Globus is more to your liking. Family owned and operated since 1928, Globus has been providing travel services for more than 85 years and today, the Globus family of brands reaches every corner of the world.

At Globus, the perfect vacation is all about great hotels, amazing food, incredible sightseeing, and memories galore! Everyone loves extras – until they're charged extra, so Globus includes more visits, more experiences, and more sightseeing in the price of their vacations. The only surprises you'll encounter are the ones they have thoughtfully planned for you. Many travel operators tend to over-schedule, instilling the need for a vacation after your vacation. Globus weaves in just the right amount of free time for individual exploration, quiet reflection, or a book and a latte at a sidewalk café.

High-end hotels and VIP access to wondrous attractions give you an Italy vacation in style – from the ancient ruins of Rome to the scenic Amalfi Coast, their staff of travel experts bring Italy's destinations to life with firsthand, in-depth knowledge of the area, culture and people. They speak the language and know the history and they'll guide you every step of the way, insuring minimal lines, minimal wait times, and maximum fun.

Globus’ fabulous 14 day "Highlights of Sicily & Southern Italy" tour from Rome to Palermo combines spectacular scenery with fascinating architectural remains, ancient history and numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you’re interested in Roman history, this tour is for you. You’ll stop in Matera, where you’ll visit one of the Sassi Houses — prehistoric cave dwellings built into the rock — thought to be some of the first human settlements in Italy. You’ll also visit Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, known for its blue skies and rich heritage; the ancient Greek Theater in Taormina, built in the 3rd century B.C.; the ancient Greek structures of Agrigento that have survived for 2,400 years; and the 12th-century Norman Cathedral in Monreale, famous for its 50,000 square feet of precious byzantine mosaics. Photos and words cannot adequately capture these sights.

History buffs will also enjoy Pompeii, which was completely buried during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., giving you an amazingly detailed look into life at the peak of the Roman Empire. Of course, you’ll also visit some of the ancient structures in Rome, such as the Colosseum. In Naples, you’ll visit Reggia di Capodimonte, a grand Bourbon palace that houses the National Museum of Capodimonte, just another out-of-the-ordinary experience included by Globus. You’ll visit Sorrento and Capri, both offering breathtaking views of the crystal-clear, blue sea. Spend time gazing at the mesmerizing water, shop at the boutiques, and dine at the fabulous restaurants visited by celebrities. For those desiring amazing scenery, this Italy tour is sure to delight.

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