Thursday, 24 June 2010

Puglia Sightseeing

Want to find out about Puglia sightseeing highlights? Read the article below...

What to Do on Holiday in Puglia
By Andy Gibson

Puglia is popularly referred as the "heel of Italy's boot" and is the fine assortment of baroque churches, pagan dances and fairytale cottages. This captivating terrain is full of picturesque locations that are very popular with families staying in holiday homes.

Puglia boasts about its long history and has a wide range of sightseeing attractions that are well worth a visit. Puglia is divided into six provinces making it more interesting when renting holiday villas.

Many holiday makers visit Lecce. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations of this region. Lecce is regarded as a magnificent jewel of the baroque architecture. You will find different crafts of architecture constructed using the theme of yellow colors and splendidly preserved.

Other places to visit are Bari, Taranto, Ostuni, Otranto, Alberobello, Gallipoli, Isola San Domino, Bitonto, Isola Caprara, Castellana Grotte, Rignano Garganico, Monopoli, Brindisi and Foggia. Apart from sight seeing, you can also go to the zoo safari at Fasano.

Puglia has a wide range of markets including Putignanno, Alberobello, Noci and Martina Franca. These markets have a great selection of locally made crafts and food. There is nothing better than walking through a local market and sampling locally produced wine and cheese. The area also has many shopping centers and retail outlets.

You can buy fabulous art and craft works, designer attires, fashionable accessories and hi-tech gadgets, the markets in Puglia are there to serve you for all your needs and interests.

If you are true lover of adventurous activities, then Puglia has fun and entertainment in store for you. This is because there are many beaches such as Polignano, San Vito, and Castellanetta among others. The best thing about these beaches is that you can enjoy serene landscapes and sun basking to a large extent.

Along with this, these beaches are also popular for different adventurous activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, sea surfing, underwater swimming, fishing and splendid views of coral reefs. This will make your entire trip a memorable experience as these activities are entertained with the advance amenities so as to provide travelers with the most exciting experience.

If you are connoisseur of Mediterranean cuisine and wines, Puglia will never disappoint you as this terrain is popular for world class restaurants and eateries offering top quality and finger licking cuisine varieties made from tomatoes, courgettes, olives, chickpeas, sauces and cheese.

All these varieties are assorted with mouth watering friselle, bread rings, softened water and oregano. This way they are classically served to the people. Moreover, another attraction is its wine. You can taste all kinds of wines available in the world such as red wine, white wine and gold wine among others.

Some of the famous brands include Primitivo di Manduria, Salice Salentino and snifferes. So, travel to this terrain and enjoy all these things to a large extent and make your entire trip a rocking experience.

The relaxed way of life here combined with the abundant local foods makes renting holiday villas here so calming and easy, giving you time to explore the Puglia region with great ease.

Italy is an interesting country to visit on vacation and is full of a rich history and takes great pride in its local culture. You can stay in holiday rentals when you come here on vacation. If you bring your family you may decide to stay in a self catering holiday apartment in Puglia.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Sightseeing in Pisa

Are you thinking of doing some sightseeing in Pisa? Read this article to find out what not to miss.

Things to See and Do in Pisa
By Dennis C Wilson

Pisa in Italy is the perfect place to visit for short trip and it is also great for a long vacation. It is a city that is steeped in heritage and has a lot of history behind it's walls. Every place has a story to tell and you will be mesmerized at the sheer beauty and elegance of many of these places. There are various architectural sights that you must absolutely see when visiting Pisa.

You can start your tour of this great city at the Baptistery (Battistero), which is the largest baptistery in Italy. It dates back to the 12th century, making it a remarkable piece of European history. Designed in its round shape by the famous Deotisalvi, it has a rather large circumference of 348 feet. The construction of the lower drum was done in Romanesque style and the Gothic style upper part was added almost a hundred years later. It is famous for its huge dome, its carved front and the pulpit designed by the great Nicola Pisano.

Afterward, you can visit piazza dei Cavalieri. It was designed by Giorgio Vasari in the year 1560 and is one of the most important piazzas of Pisa. It is a curved open space that leads up to the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. This piazza was the former seat of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen (Ordine dei Cavalieri di Santo Stefano), who were an organized group of religious warriors who protected the city from the Turks.

For those who enjoy being close to nature, there is the Botanical Gardens (Orto Botanico di Pisa). It was built sometime in the 1540s and is claimed to be the oldest botanical gardens in all of Europe. Visitors can look forward to an amazing experience viewing various fantastic species of plants from all over the world. It has a very relaxed atmosphere and most visitors appreciate the calm and quite. It is closed on Sundays and there is no admission fee.

Any visit to Pisa is incomplete without a trip to the Leaning Tower (Torre Pendente) of Pisa. There are many people every year who make a trip to Pisa just to see this tower. It is actually the bell tower of Pisa Cathedral (Duomo di Pisa). Its sand foundation caused it to lean over time and has now made it the famed monument that it is. Climbing the stairs is a unique experience.

Italy is a country with so much to explore and discover. Hiring a car in Italy may be an option worth considering particularly if you plan on traveling about and taking in some of the other wonderful locations within Italy such as Venice, Rome, Milan and Naples.

There are lots of holiday bargains to be had in Italy when it comes to flights, car hire, lodgings and other holiday necessities. Companies are fighting tooth and nail for your business. So if you fancy a value for money trip to Italy well now may be the time to start searching.

Take a look at our resource sites at car hire Pisa and car hire Venice Airport for more information.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Sicily Sightseeing

Are you planning some Sicily Sightseeing? If so, read on to find out the highlights of Sicily.

The 5 Best Tours of Sicily
By Mark Scriven

When it comes to travelling in Sicily, independent travel and exploring is possible, thanks to the vast amount of tour and excursion packages which can be found on this beautiful island. These can be found and organized by either contacting your local travel agents or a tour operator once you have arrived on the island, but below is a taste of the fantastic sights you can look forward to seeing.

For the ultimate in luxury sightseeing tours, look no further than a day tour of Palermo which will take you to some of the city's most aristocratic homes. This is perfect for those history buffs who love nothing more than soaking up as much culture as possible whilst on their vacation. Many may find interest watching documentaries based on art and architecture from the Middle Ages to the Baroque era, but on this tour you can view it for yourself-providing an experience not to be missed.

This is a full day tour which includes a lunch, sampling some of the most delicious Sicilian specialties that you can find on the island. Your tour will take you to some of most breathtaking and historical monuments you can find within Europe, from Steri Castle to the Martorana Church, making this a truly cultural day out. The Golden Sicily Tour is the best tour for those who want to see the major sights within Sicily.

Beginning in either Palermo or Taormina, this 6 day tour will allow you to see all this fantastic location has to offer, rather than 'dropping' you off for a brief time at different locations. With hotel bookings made for you, you are free to enjoy the culture, history and decadent cuisine of Sicily-perfect for those who are looking to explore the main attractions within the island, whilst still allowing for your own personal time to do some exploring on your own. These tours run throughout most of the year but also have the advantage of add-on days such as gourmet cooking classes and jeep excursion and lunch.

When it comes to tours of your holiday destination, many may feel that they are provided with similar tours they have experienced before-never providing them with something new and exciting. The Best of Sicily Tours involves a mixture of hotel bookings, small guide groups and some of the best in Sicilian cuisine-in all, making your holiday what it should be.

Again, this tour allows for your own personal time to explore which is great for those who are not used to travelling with aid of a tour guide before. The Sicilian Impressions Tour looks to provide you with as much culture, history and good food as possible within the space of 5 days-allowing you to extend your vacation in Sicily for your own leisure if you've not quite had enough of this beautiful island. Crossing over from Palermo to Taormina, this is the ultimate in tours for those who love nothing more than embarking in a spot of Sicilian history and culture. Whilst enjoying the traditional food you will get to view for yourself some outstanding landmarks such as the Greek temples in Agrigento to Mount Etna. Finally, for the ultimate foodie there is Market cooking classes in Palermo.

This is the perfect way to spend your vacation for those who simply cannot part with the delicious food you will find in Sicily. These half day lessons will begin with you finding your ingredients during a trip to one of Palermo's street markets, after which you will prepare lunch under the direction of one of Palermo's finest chefs. This is not only a fantastic way to hone your cooking skills, but also allows you to take some of your experiences within Sicily back home with you.

When it comes to your holiday in Sicily, there are no limitations to the ways in which you can explore this fantastic island. Why not combine a few tours together for the ultimate experience or work your tours around the most appealing factors of the island? Whatever you decide, you are sure to be astounded and amazed by the sheer beauty which comes from all Sicily has to offer.

Mark Scriven is an online marketing expert and has written many articles on business, travel and the internet. For a wide selection of holiday villas in Sicily visit Cottages to Castles, specialists in luxury Sicily villas.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Italy Bicycle Trips

Are you thinking of taking an Italy bicycle trip? Read on to get some ideas for ideas for Italy bicycle trips.

Bicycle Tour Europe - Top 5 Cycling Regions of Italy
By Tom Oxby

One of the most visited European destinations for bicycle touring is Italy. You will not be alone as many local cyclists also fill the bicycle paths and country roads. Surprisingly, Italians are very gentle when passing cyclists so do not let their reputation for fast driving deter you.

The top 5 bicycle touring regions of Italy:

Tuscany - this region is on the must do list of everyone who bicycle tours. Although there are no signed bicycle routes in the region there are many quiet and scenic roads between the major towns which are well signed. You can expect some major climbs as you bicycle tour through the hills covered with either sunflowers or bright red poppies, depending on the season.

In the southern Tuscany your cycling is in the area between Cortona, Montepolciano and Montalcino. In central Tuscany you will be bicycle touring it is the area between Siena and Florence including San Gimignano and the wine region of Chianti. And in the north the best cycling is found in the area around Lucca. Either base yourself in a villa for daily trips or easily join the three regions in one longer journey.

Umbria - the next door neighbor to Tuscany which often combined to create a longer bicycle touring journey including both regions. Cyclists will want to head for Perugia, well known for its chocolates, the hilltop town Todi and the religious center of Assisi. Umbria, like Tuscany is a hilly region so expect many nice climbs.

Puglia - a little to the northeast of Umbria is Puglia with bicycle touring along the rugged Adriatic coastline. So you can expect excellent Italian seafood cuisine along your way.

The countryside also features olive grove plantations surrounding charming white walled villages.

Veneto - Just because the terrain of this area is mostly flat you may be surprised by the fabulous scenery and historic towns. Unlike some of the other regions there are a number of bicycle paths for the cyclist. In Bassano del Grappa taste the famous liqueur made here; in Asolo you have elegant homes and great red wines; Stra is known for its many villa which are really palaces. In Padua there are some ancient museums and one of the world's oldest universities. Of course, there is Venice, to both visit and cycle along the islands of the Lido area.

Piemonte - not as well known this northern bicycle touring region offers rolling terrain along quiet roads. The region is best known for its medieval towns surrounded by vineyards with the Alps in the background. Along your journey enjoy fine truffles, cheeses and the excellent chocolate.

The best time to go bicycle touring in any of these regions is from May to June or September to October.

So for you next European bicycle touring journey go to the land you have always dreamed about, Italy. It is everything you always imaged.

And every year Tom Oxby explores North America and Europe on while bicycle touring and hiking. He has found that proper planning is essential to get the most from your cycling adventure.

For more fascinating information about bicycle touring visit his website at http://www.easybicycletouring.com

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Sorrento Sightseeing

Here are a few tips for Sorrento Sightseeing:

Sorrento, Italy
By Hannah Rollmaker

For visitors to Italy you will find a country which is brimming with an abundance of natural beauty, friendly native inhabitants, interesting sights to visit and a number of interesting cities and towns that you can explore to your heart's content. One such city you will enjoy exploring is that of Sorrento. You will be able to find this small city in the Campania region of Southern Italy. Due to the numerous modern amenities to be found in this city as well as the close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea Sorrento is a popular tourist destination for many people the world over.

From the city of Sorrento you can travel with ease to neighboring cities and islands as it is close to Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Ischia, Amalfi and Positano. In addition to visiting these other cities you will find Sorrento provides you with an excellent view from many places in the city of Naples which can be clearly seen across the bay. Other sights you will be entranced to see are that of the island of Capri and the still active Mount Vesuvius.

Once you have familiarized yourself with these sights which can be found both in and close to Sorrento you can take your time to visit some of the more memorable places of interesting in this city. The first item to remember as Sorrento is regarded as a holiday destination you might want to include hiking as well as lounging on the beach as part of the way to pass time enjoyably. However if you want to absorb some of the culture and history of this lovely city you may wish to visit the Archeological Museum of the Sorrentine Peninsula.

In this Archaeological Museum you will be able to look at a number of different artifacts which shows the history of southern Italy as well as Sorrento. You will have the chance of learning how the culture of this city developed into the one which the world is familiar with today. Once you have toured this museum you may like to head over to the Museo Correale di Terranova. This museum is considered to be Sorrento's primary picture gallery. Here you will be able to look at the many different paintings which have been done by artists from a number of eras.

The talents of these artists will provide you with a wonderful way of seeing the past through art. While visiting these museums is quite delightful you will also be able to learn about the history of Sorrento from its various religious buildings such as the St. Francis Monastery, the Basilica di Sant'Antonino or even looking at the Duomo which is a fabulous Cathedral that you should visit while you are in Sorrento.

The next time you are looking forward to a fabulous Italian holiday remember you can sightsee in the beautiful city of Sorrento. The memories that you will make here are ones that you can talk with friends and family for many a month to come.

Find your next Sorrento hotel, here.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Italy Sightseeing Tips

Are you planning an Italy Sightseeing trip? If so, here are a few facts about Italy to prepare you for your vacation.

Introduction to Italy

Italy, the birthplace of pasta and pizza provides a wide range of choices for art lovers. They have a temperate climate with very hot summers and mild winters. Sightseeing is best in spring and autumn when they have pleasant temperatures and scenic views. At that time of the year, the place isn’t crowded much and things can be enjoyed in leisure.


Italian Culture

Italian is widely spoken and is the official language. English isn’t very familiar to the locals but in popular sightseeing locations you will often find that English is spoken in shops, restaurants, hotels and at popular sights.. Family ties are of utmost importance here and hence social courtesies mean a lot to the locals. The Roman Catholic Church has a great impact on the culture here. Since Italian is spoken on a wide scale, it is highly recommended to learn few common Italian phrases which can be of great use.

Social gatherings call for formal wear, but one can dress in casuals otherwise. At some religious places, sleeveless shirt and shorts are frowned upon. So they are better avoided. Purses and wallets should be well guarded and in case of any theft, police should be informed about the incident.


Shopping

Shops in Italy are generally open from 9am to 8pm and closed for lunch.Popular items include crystals, lacework, leather good, and jewelry. Tipping of 10% is customary along with the service tax levied on the bill. Italy is famous for top designers of the world, so do buy clothes and accessories to update your wardrobe. Cruises have formal gatherings in the evening, so ensure to buy a cocktail dress or some formal wear, though casuals can be worn at other times.

Practicalities

The voltage used is 220 volts and 50 Hz frequency.

There is a high content of chlorine in tap waters, so bottled water is recommended for staying fit during the trip.

Getting there

Alitalia is the national airline of Italy. Many other flights connect to Italy from USA, UK, Canada and Australia and there is big competition to attract passengers giving a wide range of offers to travelers. Rome airport is located 26 km away from the city and it takes 45 minutes to get there from the airport. Trains connect directly to Termini Station from where one can take taxi to get to their destination. Milan has another busy airport here, which is at a distance of 45km away from the city.

Brindisi, Ancona, Naples and Venice are the major seaports of Italy. Italian State Railways connects many European cities. But, Eurostar provides the fastest train service.

If choosing to drive, don’t forget to carry international driving license and international insurance certificate. Roads connect Italy to France, Austria and Switzerland. Many coach services are provided from the neighboring countries.

Naples Sightseeing

Naples Sightseeing: Italy - Naples Attractions
By Lucia Mancini

A positive outcome of the mess caused by the trash emergency is what has been called a rebirth of Naples Italy and the new and old attractions of this city. Naples has its problems, no doubt, but there are few cities in the world that have the incredible charm of Naples and its people.

Some of Naples attractions that you should not miss include:
- the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina which has been open for three years and is the result of the restoration of Palazzo Regina on Via Settembrini.

-the doll hospital called "l'ospedale delle bambole" is a delightful place where broken toys are given new life.It is on Via San Biagio dei Librai 81.

One of the best attractions includes Naples' eateries. The locals have their preferences for just about everything and will boastfully tell you where you can get the best food, drinks, etc. In fact, just about everyone will agree that the locals prefer to have their coffee at Spaccanapoli, at bar Nilo, where they say there is no comparison.

Naples is also the birthplace of fried fast food which includes "crocchette,arancini, panzerotti". Again locals will tell you the best eatery for these is at Le Belle Figliole in Forcella. For those who have a sweet tooth "la sfogliatella" is in piazza San Domenico Maggiore at Scaturchio. For dinner don't miss Cicciotto at Marechiaro. Appetizers include fried mozzarella and fried baby octopus. For happy hour "il migliore" or the best is at Bufala Cafe' at Via Luca Giordano 33 after 7 pm.

Another attraction not to miss is the best place to see the sunset! Lungomare or seaside between Mergellina and Castel dell'Ovo is the best place for this view. It is no wonder you will find a plethora of couples exchanging glances and embraces in this spot!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Umbria Sightseeing - Perugia, Assisi, Orvieto & Terni

I Love Sightseeing Tours of Italy - Winter Attractions and Events In Umbria

Umbria is a landlocked region of central Italy. Its winters are relatively mild. Of course, the higher the elevation, the more snow and wind. The Perugia Antique Trade Fair runs for about a week from the end of October in Umbria's capital. Then go to the Citta di Castello Truffle and Forest Products Fair on the weekend that starts on the first Friday of November. In addition to peerless white truffles you'll find delicacies such as mushrooms, chestnuts, honey, wild-berry jams and some great oil, wine and cheeses. Towards the end of November visit the Torgiano Tasting of Italian Wines that focuses on Umbrian wine. Don't miss the local wine museum.

Perugia's Christmas market starts in early December and runs for approximately one month. It includes crafts, movies, music, family shows and food. The Soul Christmas festival of gospel music starts a few days later in the theaters and churches of Lake Trasimeno. Mount Ingino, perched above the small town of Gubbio, Umbria, boasts a huge Christmas tree, the tallest in the world with some 500 lights. It's about half a mile (800 meters) high and the star on top can be seen for almost 30 miles (50 kilometers.) The tree is lit on 7 December, the evening before the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

You may want to spend Christmas in Assisi, the home of Italy's patron saint, Francis of Assisi. Umbrian nativity scenes and holiday concerts abound; the list of towns and villages is too long to reproduce here. Citta di Castello celebrates Christmas Eve on the Tiber River. Several canoeists, each dressed as Father Christmas, wend their lighted canoes to the Porta San Florido Bridge where a crib is suspended over the water. They exit their canoes and give small presents to the children.

For several days starting in late, late December Orvieto is the site of the Umbria Jazz Winter Festival. Concerts run from noon until late at night in several locations including the Fourteenth Century Palazzo Soliano. Don't miss the New Year's Eve feast or, for a change of pace, the New Year's Day gospel concert held in the magnificent Cathedral.

The Umbrian town of Terni celebrates their patron saint, Valentino, with a jewelry exhibition and contest and a torchlight parade. On the third Sunday of February Spello hosts an Olive and Bruschetta Festival. The month of February ends with the Norcia Fair devoted to the Norcia Black Truffle and typical specialties from the Valnerina. Besides great food you'll enjoy music, dancing, crafts, folklore, and sports events.

About the Author:

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books but he really prefers drinking fine wine with the right foods. He loves teaching computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel, wine, and food website www.travelitalytravel.com and his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com featuring a weekly review of $10 wines and new sections writing about and tasting organic and kosher wines.

Colosseum Sightseeing Rome

Are you planning a visit to Rome? If so, you don't want to miss the Colosseum when you are sightseeing.

All About the Colosseum in Rome, Italy
By Roxanne Bridger

One of the most iconic images of Rome is the colosseum. Construction began on it in 70 and 72 AD and was complete about 8 years later in 80AD. Its purpose was not only to be an amphitheatre to seat 50,000 spectators, it was also designed to impress the thousands of people who would travel far and wide to come and stare at this astonishing building. Being one of the most visited hotspots in the city means that even today, people travel miles to come and see what is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture.

The Colosseum was not thought of as being a very sacred place to begin when it was first created. However, in the 16th and 17th century this all changed and, despite some opposition, the area became synonamous with religion. It still has very strong connections with the Roman Catholic church and every year on Good Friday, the "Way of the Cross" procession starts in this area and is lead by the Pope.

The different tiers in the structure were allocated to different types of people. In the days when the amphitheatre first opened it's doors, the best seats in the house were reserved for the Emperor and other royalty as they offered the greatest views. Then there was the senatorial class's level. These were reserved for a certain type of upper class people and had amazing views as well -visitors even got to bring their own chairs. The levels above that were for the poorer visitors as the view made it a lot harder to see what was going on.

The building is in such well-preserved condition, despite a number of devastating earthquakes and people stealing the stones. Thanks to a recent €3million restoration and structural reinforcement effort, the amphitheatre is opening its doors to the public and allowing the public access from the 1st July 2010.

The access to the colosseum is very limited at the moment. You can go up to the second level and get a reasonably good view, but the third and fourth tier have been off limits to the public since the 1960's. In the past it wasn't good if you got a seat at the very top, but these days the views that are on offer are incredible and this is the level us tourists want to be.

If you do plan on visiting the newly opened areas of the colosseum, have a look at our experts recommendations of the best cheap hotels in Rome before your trip.

By Roxanne Bridger - a travel enthusiast who loves to explore the world!

Sightseeing in Piedmont

Are you thinking of doing some sightseeing in Piedmont? If so, read the article below to learn more about exploring Piedmont.

Explore Piedmont, Italy's Wine Region

By Adam Singleton

Those who enjoy a nice glass of wine are sure to have heard of Piedmont. A region of Italy well known for producing some excellent boutique wines, Piedmont is also a gorgeous destination with views of grassy vistas and alpine ranges. Surrounded by the Alps on three sides, Piedmont is a gem in the Italian borders and its main city, Turin, is home to Italy's royal family, so you can rest assured there will be plenty to see and do in the region.

A trip to sample some of Piedmont's finest wines means a chance to get to grips with a beautiful, but expansive, region. Hiring a car to let you discover Piedmont's treasures at your own pace can be a great way to make sure you don't miss out.

Like Tuscany, Piedmont is a favourite destination for wine buffs - producing world-renowned selections such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto and Moscato D'Asti. However, it's also a perfect destination for travellers hoping to enjoy some fine dining along with their drinks, and its local dishes are some celebrated throughout Italy. If you're taking a trip to Piedmont to experience some of the finer things in life, then indulging in some of Piedmont's precious white truffles is a must.

Piedmont is made up of a number of provinces, and if you're visiting to take a tour of some of its most famous wineries Langhe in Cuneo Province is the perfect destination for you. Its hills are home to some of Piedmont's most stunning vineyards and you can pay a visit to famous wine towns Monforte, Serralunga d'Alba, Barolo, La Morra and Barbaresco.

Other areas that are a must see for any discerning wine buffs include the Roero hills which are situated in the west bank of the Tanaro River. Also famous for its honey and peaches, visitors will have a chance to see the vineyards of Piedmont's Arneis wines. Monferrato is another favourite, and is well known for Barbera d'Asti wine and is home to some particularly fine truffles.

A trip to Piedmont wouldn't be complete without a stop in Turin however, and the city's grand boulevards and impressive architecture makes it an awe inspiring choice for any travellers. There are plenty of shops to peruse, as well as a number of art galleries and leafy parks. Turin car rental is also available, meaning it could be a good place to start and end your wine tasting adventure in Piedmont.

Learn more about Turin car rental. Adam Singleton writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Palermo Sicily Sightseeing

Palermo Uncovered - Things to See & Do in Palermo, Sicily
by Michelle Elkins

Like the country itself, the people of Sicily burst with colour, passion and vitality, welcoming visitors to their spectacular island with a warmth that is infectious. As the capital of Sicily, Palermo concentrates all this wonderful enthusiasm and provides a getaway for holiday-makers that is unforgettable. Although parts of it are still crumbling, much work has been done to restore the grandeur of this amazing city which is rich in medieval ancestry and the sights, sounds and flavours of the Mediterranean.

Palermo Airport, also known as Punta Raisi Airport or Falcone-Borsellino Airport is located 32km northwest of the centre. For those not organising car hire at Palermo Airport, onward transportation comes in the form of trains, buses, taxis or a Palermo Airport Transfer, which is well worth the few minutes it takes to book in advance. Direct flights to Palermo from the UK go from Stansted Airport and are provided by the low cost airline, Ryanair.

While the Piazza Pretoria equates the central point of Palermo, where the famous Pretoria Fountain complete with nude figurines takes centre stage, the Quattro Canti is at the original heart of the city. This ancient square is where the main roads of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda diverge and divided the town into quarters. It is here that one of the most impressive structures in Palermo lies, at least internally, the Palazzo dei Normanni, which is now where the Sicilian parliament resides. This Arab-Norman palace has been rebuilt significantly from the outside but inside is made spectacular by the unbelievable mosaics which cover the walls and ceiling of the Cappella Palatina and the old Royal Apartments.

Other places of interest to visit are the Museo Archeologico Regionale with its Greek and Roman artifacts, the Galleria Regionale within the Gothic-styled Palazzo Abatellis which exhibits a host of masterpieces, and for music lovers there is the Teatro Massimo. Finally finished in 1897, after 22 years of construction, it is the largest opera house in Italy.

For a truly spine-tingling treat however, the Capuchin Catacombs offer something a little more macabre. Situated under the monastery of the same name, it is home to over 8000 mummified cadavers which line the walls in a state of lifelike suspension. The effect is due to the special preservative used to freeze the corpses, although some have fared better then others. Some of the bodies date back to the 16th century, but the last person to be buried there was a 2-year-old called Rosalia Lombaro in 1920 who the locals have nicknamed "Sleeping Beauty". It is open daily between 9am-12 noon and 3pm-5pm.

After all that sight-seeing, a leisurely trip to the beach may well be in order and on the north coast of Sicily the choice is fantastic. The chance to wade in mesmerising, warm blue waters and lay out on soft, golden sands in the glorious Sicily weather is guaranteed along the north coast.. Travel west 12.2km, a journey of around 25 minutes in a Palermo hire car, and you come to the riviera-type resort of Mondello. This pretty seaside location is full of beautiful grand villas, many in the art deco style, and swaying palm trees sat cocooned between the gentle, lulling sea and the majestic mountains of Cape Gallo and Mount Pellegrini. The town has plenty of quaint cafes to find refreshment in or for something altogether swankier, there is a beach club with a restaurant located at the end of a pier which treats diners to some spectacular views. To get back to nature, the Capo Gallo National Park provides some fantastic walks with its rocky, lush green beauty and is just a further 20 minute drive north.

Travel in the other direction, 67km or 55 minutes east from Palermo by car and Cefal├╣ offers the perfect place for a day trip. More classically Italian in spirit, Cefal├╣ boasts a colourful beach and a plethora of traditional eateries, while the town´s Norman and medieval heritage is still very much in evidence in its narrow winding streets and architectural remnants. The Palermo-Messina trains also stop along this route and buses regularly stop here.

It would be impossible to come to Sicily though and not visit one of nature´s biggest attractions. Although Mount Etna is over a 3 hour drive from Palermo, roughly 250km, the chance to see the most active volcano in the world is unmissable. The south side of the mountain is free for all to climb but to get to the very top and stare into the eye of the volcano, a guide is necessary. Here the scenery changes from vines and wooded areas to a spartan wasteland of craters and hardened black lava, dotted with snow for much of the year. The result is akin to the conditions on Mars which is why scientists frequently use the area to test robots before they are sent there.

Although it can be done in a day, it is advisable to stop off in nearby Catania for the night and take the opportunity to visit some of the unusual black sandy beaches, a direct result of the resident volcano. Also on the list should be Siracusa, approximately 66km and an hour´s drive south. The town itself and the nearby Necropolis of Pantalica are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites, and have some amazing examples of ancient Greek and Roman archaeology.

Michelle Elkins is a regular contributor to the Sicily Airport Guide, which provides the best rates on Palermo Airport car hire and information on everything from Palermo Airport transfers to Palermo Weather.

Rimini Sightseeing

Here are a few Rimini Sightseeing tips from Hannah Rollmaker...

Rimini Italy

In the country of Italy you will be able to find the city of Rimini. This city which is located in the Emilia-Romagna region is the capital city of the Province of Rimini. The city which is located close to the Adriatic Sea is situated between the Rivers of Ausa and Marecchia. Of the various coastal resorts you can find in Italy you will discover that Rimini along with Riccione are the most famous of the seaside coast resorts to be found on the Adriatic Riviera. While tourism plays a large role in this city you will find there are other industries which help to make Rimini a thriving and lively place. These are the traditional industries of fishing and coast navigation.

In many ways you will see how the culture and history of Rimini have been combined with the modern pleasures of a seaside resort. The many hotels, restaurants and bathing establishments that you will be able to find are some of the simple ways to unwind from the stresses of day to day modern living. The sightseeing such as statures, monuments, and interesting looking buildings will help to enhance your appreciation for the beauty of this city.

As there are numerous interesting sights you can see while you are visiting Rimini you might want to take the time to see how you can fit these sightseeing activities into shopping, relaxing on the beach and enjoying the sumptuous gourmet delights you can savor in fine Italian restaurants. Some of the interesting places that you can visit while you are in Rimini are the Archeological museum of Rimini, the bronze statue of Paul V, the church of St. John the Evangelist which is also known as St. Augustine.

Another place of interest that you will find in your exploration of Rimini is that of the Arch of Augustus. This arch which was built in 27 BC has a single gate to it. This gate stands about 9.92 meters high and it is abut 8.45 m wide. The merlons that you will see on this arch were added during the Middle Ages. By the time the 18th century arrived it was necessary for the arch to be renovated. For the renovation process Tommasso Temenza was chosen. Today you can see the beauty of this resorted arch as you explore the city of Rimini.

Another interesting place that you might like to visit while you are in Rimini is that of the church of San Giovanni Battista. This church was erected during the 12th century. As you look around this beautiful looking church you will see that it has a single nave. The nave has been richly decorated with rich stucco decoration which are from the 18th century time period.

Of course this is not the only sightseeing in Rimini. There are many more interesting and fascinating places of interest to be looked at. To see these sights and all of the others which are waiting for you, you should think about heading over to Rimini as soon as possible. With such delights as these a holiday in Rimini is one vacation to look forward to.

To find a hotel in Rimini just click here.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Italy Sightseeing - Guided Tours

If you would like to go sightseeing in Italy without any worries or hassles you may want to consider a guided tour rather than travelling independently.

There are many ways to take guided tours of Italy but many of them start near the top of the country and go southward.

The tour can begin in the romantic canals of Venice or in the fashion capital of Milan.

In Venice, visitors can take a romantic gondola ride and eat in one of the many top restaurants in the city. The lovely city stretches across numerous small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon that opens into the Adriatic Sea in the northeast part of the country. The city conveniently lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers.

In Milan, a tourist on one of the guided sightseeing tours of Italy can take a few hours to shop the expensive shops in downtown Milan. Your guides might have purchased tickets for the group at the famous La Scala Theater. The Duomo in Milan is the second largest cathedral in the country.

Many guided tours of Italy then head south, through the Tuscan hills and into the ancient and beautiful city of Florence, known as “Firenze” in Italy. The River Arno runs through the city, which is also full of many fantastic museums and galleries.

Many go to Florence to see the Ponte Vecchio, a unique old bridge crossing the river that contains many quaint shops and eateries. The Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore is the magnificent domed cathedral within the city. On some guided tours of Florence, you’ll be given time to see its many lovely churches or to see the Uffizi Galleries or the Pitti Palace. Outdoors, one can see a copy of the famed statue of David by Michelangelo or the original one, in the Uffizi Gallery.

When you think you’ve seen enough churches, many guided tours of Italy take you to Rome and the Vatican—both places where the churches and cathedrals are extremely wealthy and amazing to see. You’ll also see the Coliseum, the Roman Forum and the Pantheon—all parts of ancient Roman times that have been somewhat preserved. You may also be able to see some catacombs, which were places where early Christians worshipped and buried their dead.

No good visit to Rome is complete without a visit to the Vatican, including the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. These are wondrous sites that make you wish it were possible to take pictures. You can take as many pictures as you wish of St. Peter’s Square and St. Paul’s Basilica.

Hopefully, you’ll be on one of the guided tours of Italy that includes Southern Italy and a visit to the very ancient village of Pompeii. Destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, it is currently a life-sized museum of what life was like in the average city a millennium ago. It may prove, in fact, to be the highlight of your guided Italy tour.