Introduction to Italy
Romeo loved Juliet. Casanova loved, well, all women. And, you are going to fall madly in love with the seriously romantic country of Italy where every day feels like Valentine’s Day. If the food and fine wine doesn’t seduce you, the art and history of Italy will certainly charm the pants off you. And then there’s the fashion. You’ll be smitten.
Bordered by France, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia, Italy really needs no introduction. For centuries, its capital, Rome, has been one of the leading religious and political centres of the Western world. But its history goes back even further than centuries. Human inhabitance of this area has been detected as far back as the Paleolithic period some 200,000 years ago with early man arriving about 40,000 years ago and ancient Rome emerging around 753 BC.
Italy remains a land famed for its history with much of the past protected for the world to admire. You can still see parts of ancient Rome like the Colosseum and Palatino neighbourhood. Another important part of Italy’s history is its incredible art. You’ll find artistic wonders everywhere but particularly in major cities like Rome, Venice, Assisi, Florence, Siena, Naples and Pisa.
It’s also a country that’s a favourite setting for many hit films. And, that’s no surprise really. With 90,000 monumental churches, 30,000 historical residences, 5,600 museums and archaeological sites, 40,000 forts and castles; and 4000 gardens, Italy is a filmmaker’s paradise. The Italians themselves also deserve a special mention, for it’s really the people you meet that will make you love Italia. Italo-American Madonna wore it best: ‘Italians do it better’.