The Italians Italians are continentally European but live in a Mediterranean context. Italy, as noted, is generally sunny and bright. Hence, the clement atmosphere lends itself to creating a lively, awake and warm personality. The excellent food, fashion, music, art, and everything that makes Italy and the Italians interesting and unique, is a result of this happy coincidence. Although a generalization, Italians are generous and quick to share their life style and beautiful country with visitors. They have been enthusiastically welcoming visitors with a friendly smile and open arms for over two millennia. History and Heritage Italian history began to take hold over a period of three millennia. Long before Rome took center stage many non-Latin groups ruled the divine peninsular. Among others, the Etruscans, Umbrians, Sicels and Samites come to mind. They were masters of ceramics, metal-making and used advanced strategies in waging war. They spoke mysterious non-Latin languages, and followed rules, mores, customs and religions dissimilar from the creeds and culture that developed during the Roman period. After their final defeat (89BC) at the hands of the famous Roman General Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Rome ruled the land unabated. The Businesses: open 9:00am -1:00pm and 3:30pm – 7:00pm Monday – Friday The above is a generalization as hours may vary from north to south. The afternoon break (il riposo) is often observed. ﷯The Geography of Italy In order to appreciate and understand Italy, we must become familiar with its regions which comprise 116,300 square miles of land and features 5,130 miles of Mediterranean shoreline. The 20 regions are distinct from each other, each with its own variation of an Italian theme, personality, and geography. Although no bigger then the state of New Mexico, Italy’s geography varies from the pristine Alpine regions in the north to Sicily, the largest of the exotic Mediterranean islands in the extreme south. We now invite you to visit some of the more popular regions. The Regions of Italy Lazio Region Rome is the regional capital as well as Italy’s capital. At one time, Rome was also known as Caput Mundi (world capital) and center of the Roman Empire which ruled over one quarter of the world’s population. The region is incredibly rich in history and relics as well as art and culture. Must visits: The Roma Forum, the Coliseum, Saint Peter’s (Vatican), Trastevere, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Baths of Caracalla. Other cities of interest in Lazio: Viterbo, Rietri, Tivoli, and Frascati. Tuscany Region Florence is the regional capital and the birth place of the Renaissance, which was perhaps the richest development of human individuality known to man. The city is unrivaled as the center of art, culture and graciousness. Must visits: The Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, the Museum of the Opera del Duomo (the statue of the Pieta`), the Duomo, the Academy Gallery (the statue of David), Ponte Vecchio. Other cities of interest in Tuscany: Arezzo, Grosseto, Lucca, Pisa, and Siena. Veneto Region Venice is the regional capital which can be observed floating magically in its lagoon. A city of Renaissance palaces looming over its ancient canals, Venice is perhaps the most uniquely beautiful city in the entire world. Must visits: Saint Marks Square, the Doge Palace, The Bridge of Sighs, The Grand Canal, The Rialto Bridge, the islands of Murano (glass), Buranno (lace), and Lido beach. Other cities of interest in Veneto: Belluno, Padua, Treviso, Vicenza and Verona. Lombardy Region Milan is the regional capital which is often called the New York City of Italy as it is the financial and manufacturing center of the country and has a very quick and dynamic atmosphere. The fashion industry, with the world’s top names such as Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Versace call this northern Italian city home. Must Visit: The Sforza Castle and art museum, the Duomo, the Brera Gallery, La Scala Opera House, Santa Maria delle Grazie (The Last Super), and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (an array of high–style boutiques) Other cities of interest in Lombardy: Bergamo, Como, Cremona, Varese, and Pavia Mantua. Piedmont Region Turin is the regional capital which is often compared to Detroit as it is the home of FIAT, the largest manufacturer of cars and trucks in Italy and one of the largest manufacturers in the world. This largely industrial city was the first capital of the unified kingdom of Italy under Vittorio Emanuele II. Must visit: the Cathedral of San Giovanni (The Holy Shroud), The Royal Palace, Sabauda Gallery (The Royal Savoy art collection), and The Royal Armory Other cities of interest in Piedmont: Asti, Biella, Cuneo, Novara, and the World class ski centers of Bardenecchia (venue of the 2006 Winter Olympics), and Sestrieres. Liguria Region Genoa is the regional capital which is to be found on the sea dividing the Italian Riviera between east (Riviera di Levante) and west (Riviera di Ponente). It is a mountainous region replete with thundering seascapes with enormous cliffs cascading down into the sea. Must visit: Via Garibaldi, with Renaissance Palaces such as the Red Palace and the White Palace that contain extraordinary art collections, which attest to its historic, noble past. The municipal office, which features artifacts of Christopher Columbus and other famous people from the city's golden age, attract many visitors annually. The 40 tank Genoa aquarium where myriad forms of sea life are on display is the largest in Europe. The funicular ride up to Castelletto offers a magnificent view of the entire area. Other cities of interest in Liguria: Imperia, Savona, and Le Cinque Terra towns. Campania Region Naples is the regional capital which is framed by its beautiful gulf with the infamous volcano Vesuvius hovering close by. Its bay hosts the enchanting islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. Must visit: The Santa Lucia district for bayside views, the two thousand year old fortress, Castel dell’Ovo. The Posillipo and Magellina districts have lots of atmosphere with many restaurants to sample the local cuisine. Many fine Greek and Roman sculptures and artifacts can be admired at the Archaeological Museum. Other cities of interest in Campania: Benevento Caserta, Sorrento, Salerno, the towns along the spectacular coastal Amalfi Drive, Amalfi, Ravello, Priano, and Positano.


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