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City Breaks

Choosing a city to visit is always difficult, deciding on a city in Italy is almost an impossible task for each has so much to offer. Whether you are interested in the arts, the history and culture or just love the though of sightseeing, the cities of Venice, Florence and Rome have something for everyone and are not to be missed. We know that by visiting any of them you will be quite content with your decision. "See you there......"


Roma is said to have been founded in 753 BC, when Romulus, son of the god Mars, yoked a bullock and a heifer to a plowshare, marked out a boundary, and built a wall. Be that as it may, the city has at least 2,500 years of unparalleled cultural accomplishment. The Vatican, the Colosseo, (Colosseum) and the Spanish Steps are just the beginning of the treasures preserved here.


Bologna is the seat of the world's oldest university (the word "university" was coined here) and is recognized as the culinary capital of traditional Italian cooking. Don't miss walking the busy arcaded streets.


Firenze is the Athens of Italy. The metropolis is bursting with works of art bearing such signatures as Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Donatello, Ghiberti, Cellini, and Leonardo da Vinci. Unlike in Rome, you can easily walk to almost every major monument or attraction in this gracious center of culture.


Naturally, any first-time visitor must run to see its legendary Leaning Tower, venerable Duomo, baptistery, and exquisite Gothic church by Nicola Pisano. You can take in a lot very quickly here, because the main sights are highly concentrated in one central area.


Milano is second in size in Italy, with nearly two million people. It's a world-famous capital of Italian fashion and design. Not only are there marvelous shops, but you'll find some superb museums and galleries as well as a number of exceptional churches (the Duomo is one of Italy's most impressive).


With Vesuvius's eruption in AD 79, more than 5 meters (17 feet) of ash rained down on Pompeii, burying the city of 20,000 for centuries. It wasn't until 1748 that it was rediscovered, with excavations continuing to this day. A quick trip involves a full day in the ruins, but several days would give you time to pause at the forum, the open and covered theaters, as well as in the earliest research areas. The paths are endless and each mosaic, shop, or hearth is fascinating.


The singular beauty of Venice, the uniqueness of a canal city without cars, are enough to warrant a trip. Then add the splendor of San Marco, the Gothic richness of the Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), the Palladian churches, the museums and scuolas with their Bellinis, Carpaccios, Titians, Tintorettos, and Tiepolos, and you'll find there is never enough time to see it all.


Portofino has one of the dreamiest natural settings—a tiny, cliff-lined harbor of unsurpassed charm and intimacy, over which broods a castle and the Hotel Splendido. Spring and fall are the best times to go; in summer it's very busy. A must to visit, but pick your season.


Ravenna, halfway between Venice and Ancona, is one of the outstanding smaller sites of the Western world. No other city can compete with its wealth of Byzantine architecture or its unique mosaics, ecclesiastical treasures, Dante's tomb, Theodoric's tomb—this is heaven for scholars and art lovers.


Siena supplies a mesmerizing passageway to the Renaissance; it is probably the only city in Italy to retain so much ancient charm. Siena is also the scene of one of Italy's most unusual festivals, the ancient horserace called the Palio.


Taormina is the garden spot of Sicily, clinging to a head land almost 305 meters (1,000 feet) above the outer Straits of Messina. The view of the town and sea from inside the Greco-Roman theater is one of the most inspiring anywhere; the summer concerts draw musicians of stellar significance.

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