La Bella Italy
Home About us Accommodation Booking Getting There Special Offers Frequently Asked Questions Contact us
Contact us

Mailing List

Keep up to date with the latest offers by signing up to our mailing list

Railsavers

Accommodation

Click Each section for more information


Trentino

Many visitors’ first encounter with  Trentino ‘Alto Adige’ is on their way south from Austria when driving to Italy. Starting from the dizzying heights of the Brenner Pas,s Trentino is the gateway to most parts of Italy,

Trentino is, perhaps, the least Italian of regions,. It borders in the North with Austria, it is a breathtaking land of saw-toothed ridges and snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows and glittering waterfalls, popular ski resorts and immaculate medieval towns. In winter, the skiing is absolutely unparalleled. Spring and Autumn offer enchanting hikes along an extensive network of well-marked trails, with stops in remote mountain hamlets where German is the most common language and dumplings are more prevalent than spaghetti. Italians have long known this to be one of their best vacation spots, combining glorious nature, warm hospitality, reliable accommodations and, with a few memorable exceptions, extremely affordable prices.

If you look for Trentino Alto Adige on a map, you'll find that many of the localities have two names, such as Bolzano/Bozen, Merano/Meran, Bressanone/Brixen, Cortaccia/Kurtatsch, Castelvecchio/Altenburg, Corno Nero/Schwarzhorn and of course, Corno Bianco/Weisshorn. Despite its calm, pastoral, orderly appearance, this is a deeply divided region, an area which has long struggled to find a homogenous identity for itself. Napoleon was a key player in this story, as it was he who conquered the region and placed it under the realm of the Austrian Hapsburgs, who ruled it until it was returned to Italy at the end of World War I. A large and very vocal segment of the local population never accepted that political arrangement, and in 1939, Mussolini gave them the chance to either accept Italian citizenship and remain or assume German citizenship and emigrate north. The overwhelming majority chose the latter option, leaving this largely rural territory even more underpopulated than before.
As recent as 1948, the Italian legislature made Trentino  an autonomous region. While this may sound like a reasonable solution, it has actually proved to be little more than another political expedient which has led, in a way, to further estrangement from Italy and to a sort of de facto internal division. Even the most casual visitor will have little trouble noticing that Trentino, the southern part of the region centered around the beautiful city of Trento, is far more Italian than Alto Adige, which is also known as Südtyrol. In addition, sprinkled throughout the mountain valleys of both areas are about 80,000 residents who, clinging to yet another ethnic tradition, speak an ancient language known as Ladin. This utterly incomprehensible tongue, a combination of Celtic dialects and Latin, resulted from the encounter of northern colonists and Roman legions in the first century BC. The town of Vigo di Fassa has an interesting museum illustrating the history and colorful customs of the Ladin people.

 

>>> Back to top


Lombardy

Italy's richest and most developed region, Lombardy, lies between the Alps and the River Po. Although Lombardy is known for its industrial development, many tourists have found themselves pleasantly surprised to find the region full of extraordinary cultural, artistic and natural heritage.

Lombardy stretches out from the Alps to the lakes of Garda, Maggiore, Iseo and Como and is home to historic towns such as Mantova, Bergamo, and Cremona; and Italy's financial and cultural capital, Milan.

About half an hour from Milan is the beautiful Lake Como. At Lake Como, one can take boat trip to several aristocratic villas and gardens, or to the picturesque villages of Bellagio, Verenna and Tremezzo. Como is the cradle of Romanesque art in Lombardy.

A few miles down the River Po lies the town of Cremona, known as the home of the Stradivarius violins. Another town of note is Bergamo, which houses Mantova's Ducal Palace which has frescoes made by Mantegna.

Brescia, an ancient Longobard dukedom with a cultural heritage that dates back to the Roman times, is also located within the Lombardy Region.Don't miss the amazing Santa Giulia museum and the Roman dwelling remains. Pavia is known for the Charterhouse, a monastery with a rococo façade of wildly extravagant decorations. Vigevano, owes its charm to the creativity and style of Bramante. 


Because of Lombardy's terrain and natural resources, its beautiful landscape of mountains and rivers are ideal for walking or cycling tours, whereas those who prefer to ski favor the slopes of Bormio, Madesimo, Aprica and Ponte di Legno. Lombardy also has 133 protected parks and reserves that include the Stelvio National Park and Adamello Park, which are homes to endangered animals such as the ibex and brown bear.

Traditional Lombard cuisine uses a lot of rice, vegetables and cheese and is known for having long cooking times. Although Lombardy's most famous dish is the "Risotto alla Milanese", another famous meat dish is the Milanese Fillet. Lombardy's most symbolic dish, however, is the Casöla, a rich stew with cabbage and pork.

The Lombard region is also known for the high quality of cheese and wine. The famous Italian cheese, Gorgonzola, comes from this region, with some of the country's best-loved wines made in Lombardy's three main wine regions of Franciacorta, Oltrepò Pavese, and Valtellina.

 

>>> Back to top


Veneto

The region of Veneto is the most diverse region in Italy. It is a microcosm of all things Italian and if you wanted a cameo of the whole country then it is to Veneto you should go

Apart from Venice, the region of Veneto includes the soaring peaks of the Dolomite mountain range that are home to the world famous ski-resort of Cortina and are arguably the most beautiful range of mountains  in Europe.
Undulating beautiful hill country  precedes the dramatic rise of the Dolomites, is home to some of Italy's most famous wines and some of its more enchanting hill towns. There are also spa resorts hidden away in these hills, whose thermal springs were first used by the Romans.
 
The plains of the Veneto are host to the ancient cities of Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Treviso each of everyone a gem on it’s own.

 

>>> Back to top


Piedmont

Piedmont is said to be  Italy's culinary star, with fine cheeses, wines, and the celebrated white truffle!-Others we are sure would challenge that

The region is mostly mountains and hills, on the north-western border of Italy with France and Switzerland; surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Europe, such as the Gran Paradiso and Monte Rosa, it is occupied to the East by the Pianura Padana, crossed by the largest river in Italy, the Po, and its many tributaries.The region of Piemonte includes Turin, Asti, Alba, Alessandria, Novara, Vercelli, Verbania, Cuneo, Biella and Lake Maggiore.

Most of the population live in the plain, especially in the wide metropolitan area of Turin, Novara and Vercelli and of course this is Italy’s great car manufacturing home.

Agriculture is very important, the main products  surprisingly being rice, wine, maize, potatoes and as mentioned the precious white truffle

The most interesting feature of Piedmont is its cities. If Turin, the regional capital, boasts the attractions of a metropolitan city, Alessandria, Asti, Cuneo, Novara, and Vercelli represent the ideal fusion of ancient and modern characteristics of living. Many small towns claim the heritage of small capitals, proudly defending it and still remaining in step with modern times.
Piedmont's towns are fine places of urban living. They are a showcase not just for its inhabitants, but also for the thousands visitors who want to experience their artistic heritage, porticoes and monuments, green areas, typical shops and restaurants, craftsmanship, and cultural events.


>>> Back to top


Valle d'Aosta

Valle d'Aosta is the least Italian of all the regions. Its landscape and architecture are Swiss, the official language French, and in some valleys the locals, whose ancestors emigrated from Switzerland, still speak a dialect based on German. In fact, although Italian is more widely spoken than French, bilingualism is an essential part of Valle d'Aosta's identity, which is quite distinct from other parts of the north - a distinctiveness reflected in its greater administrative and financial autonomy.

Fringed by Europe's highest mountains, Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa, veined with valleys and studded with castles, Valle d'Aosta is undeniably picturesque. The central Aosta valley cuts right across the region, following the River Dora to the foot of Mont Blanc on the French border.

Along the river are most of the feudal castles for which Valle d'Aosta is famed - the majority built by the Challant family, who ruled the region for seven centuries. Although the castles are pretty from the outside, and easily accessible by bus or train, few are absorbing enough to warrant a special trip into the region. But as skiing and walking country, Valle d'Aosta is unsurpassed.

Aosta, the regional capital, is the only town of any size and, with its attractive cobbled streets and good shopping, it makes an excellent staging post on the way to the smaller mountain resorts.. If you're walking, you're best off heading for the valleys in the west, inside the protected zone of Italy's largest national park, the Gran Paradiso.

Here is an Area exciting in it’s diffentials. not ones archetypal perception of Italy but enchanting all the same-try it.

>>> Back to top


Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is an autonomous region of north-eastern Italy, bordering Austria and Slovenia, a crossroads of the Latin, German and Slavic cultures. In the North there are the Alps, while the territory along the coasts is mostly plain. Between Trieste and the Alps there is a wide, Karst plateau, the Carso, an important battlefield in WWI, where innumerable Italian and Austrian soldiers lost their lives.

The economy is largely based on agriculture, the main crops being maize, sugar-beet, wheat, soy beans, and on the production of renowned wines.
The ancient Romans left many remarkable traces, mainly at Aquileia, which is a rich and famous archaeological centre. In Grado and Cividale, are rich in Byzantine architecture

The compact region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, continues to set the pace with modern Italian white wine. Drawing from good native varieties and the introduction of international varieties, Friulians have applied modern vineyard techniques to the production of highly distinctive whites, as well as some eminently attractive reds.The Area produces 2% of Italy’s wine production

Tucked away in this secluded region where the Alps run down to the Adriatic,the style of cuisine is a mixture of ‘refined Ventian’ and countryside fare with the influence od Austrian and Slavic cooking traditions-interested I’m sure you will agree!

In summary an interesting Area some way of the beaten track but worthy of a visit-at least for part of your holiday


>>> Back to top


Emilia Romagna

Bordered by Lombardy and Veneto to the north, and Tuscany to the south, the central Italian region of Emilia-Romagna stretches from the Adriatic coast in the east almost to the Mediterranean in the west.

Principle towns include the capital of Bologna, Modena, Ravenna, Piacenza and Parma. Smaller gems include Rocca Viscontea and Brisighella. A varied landscape encompasses the foothills of the Apennine mountains to the south, the lush farmlands of the Pianura Padana in the north, little medieval villages and towns, castles and bustling beach resorts such as Rimini and Riccione.

The little principality of San Marino nestles on its south-eastern border. Unmissable highlights of Emilia-Romagna include the food (the richest in Italy and heavy on creams and sauces, with local specialities including Parma Ham and Parmesan Cheese (parmiggiano). Don't miss: the cathedral (Duomo) in Modena,(home of Pavarotti before his death), one of Italy's best Romanesque buildings; the Rocca Viscontea (14th century castle); Bologna food market; the truffle, olive and polenta festival in Brisighella; the mosaics in Ravenna.You can spend days exploring all these towns

Within it’s boundaries are many well known places  and it is probably one of the most visited areas in Italy. Don’t be put off-there is plenty of room!
The coastline and it’s now famous beaches of the Italian Riviera give you the opportunities of days at the seaside. 

 

>>> Back to top


Tuscany

Tuscany is probably the best known area to visitors to Italy. On visiting you will find will  two distinct facets of appeal - the first is a remarkable collection of cities, including the capital of the region, Florence, and  secondly the entire region is made up of the small villages and farming areas  scattered throughout  the entire region.

Tuscany has earned quite a reputation for itself, due in part to several books, cookery books and films dedicated to this lovely region. When travellers think of Italy in general many of their concepts or ideas originate in the Tuscany region. The famous Tower of Pisa, the many wonders contained in the ancient city of Florence, rows of grapevines, terracotta roofed villas set in lush green valleys.

Any trip to the region should include a stop in Florence, but  also pencil in a visit to the small town, equally delightful, Arezzo, which is considered a Renaissance masterpiece and houses works of Giotto as well as dell Robbia in some of its many 15th century buildings. The nearby town of Cortona was made famous in a series of books and is also a perfect and well-maintained example of medieval city architecture and design.
Tuscany is full of small towns which offer the contrasts of medieval architecture with stylist Italian shops,bistro street cafes and an air of romance everywhere

Like other areas of Italy, Tuscany includes several islands in its territories, and the most famous being  Elba. Here Napoleon endured his first exile. His home still stands and is open to the public. The little port town of Marina di Campo offers visitors charming cafes and shopping as well as some great opportunities for enjoying some of the region’s world famous cuisine.

Another fascinating  town is Lucca with its famous city walls and circular or elliptical Piazza Anfiteatro.You will love it!

A final recommendation is for a trip to the little visited area known as Maremma, where the town of Sovana contains wonderfully preserved Etruscan era tombs, and within the same forest visitors will encounter one of the great mysteries of Italy. Enormous stones placed in the oak groves by an undocumented and unknown civilization thousands of years ago have stumped many archeologists. The area is also home to the Saturnian waterfalls, many private and quiet coves and beaches, shady forests and even a national wildlife refuge.

>>> Back to top


Umbria

Here is one of Italy's smallest regions- Umbria somewhat overshadowed by neighbouring Tuscany. Here is a wonderful verdant land with hills, mountains and lust valleys nurturing chestnut groves and elmwood forests. This landlocked region's is  overwhelmingly medieval character.

Umbria is the very  green heart of Italy, picturesque and mystical. A land of  rolling hills covered in vineyards and olive groves, which has attracted painters, poets and writers for centuries. Visits to the remote medieval hill towns scattered throughout the region will take you off the beaten track. Visitors will find numerous opportunities for biking, trekking and horse-riding. One must not forget to mention Lake Trasimeno, the largest lake in the heart of Italy, offering lively lakeside resorts with restaurants, cafes and bathing lidos. If you are in pursuit of art and culture, you will be spoilt for choice: Assisi, with Giotto's frescos in the Shrine of St Francis-don’t miss it; Gubbio, a small medieval town, known as the City of Silence because of its peacefulness; Perugia, one of the largest and best preserved medieval towns.

There is an imposed and enduring modesty about Umbria.Many prefer it to Tuscany sometimes swamped by it’s popularity. The Tiber valley central to Umbria, is sprinkled with wonderful small medieval towns and villages.As said don’t miss Assisi but equally made visits to Spoleto and the famous wine area of Orvieto.

>>> Back to top


The Marche

Probarbly the fastest growing Area for tourism this Region has a wonderful mix of medieval hilltop villages with narrow cobbled streets leading to a splendid piazza.Magical  mountains and undulating rolling  countrysidecontrast  turquoise waters and sandy beaches on the coast.

The region also boasts over 190km of coastline with some of the best beaches on mainland Italy. Elegant towns and busy seaside resorts line its shores. During the summer, a colourful, lively atmosphere reigns on the seafront where rows of sun loungers are lined up under brightly striped parasols.
Situated at opposite ends of the region are Urbino and Ascoli Piceno, the jewels of Le Marche. Urbino, in the North, is a lively, cultured hilltop town. As one of Europe's leading cultural centres during the Renaissance, painters, poets and scholars flocked here and the town remains a perfect homage to this time.
Among green hills to the south sits the baroque beauty Ascoli Piceno. Built of creamy white travertine marble, it is a delicious mix of houses, palaces, fountains and piazzas. The streets lead to a number of impressive squares, including the Piazza del Popolo, one of the most beautiful in Italy.
Macerata is a town already known to enthusiasts for its annual world famous opera Festival, which takes place in the 'Sferisterio', an ancient, semi elliptical arena with perfect acoustics. Macerata also boasts one of Italy's oldest universities and, with its web of narrow streets surrounded by 16th Century walls, is a fascinating place to visit.
Due west is Tolentino, sitting on the banks of the River Chienti. A typical Marchigiano town, it is the gateway to the Monti Sibillini. This glorious mountain range, often snow capped, is a stunning backdrop to the undulating landscape. Country roads guide you past hilltop villages and the clear waters of Lake Fiastra, to this natural paradise where outdoor activities, such as rambling, hiking, mountain biking and bird watching abound.

Le Marche is lovely in the Spring and Autumn. The days are mainly sunny and dry, and the temperatures pleasant. The summer months are hot but tempered by sea and mountain breezes.

>>> Back to top


Liguria

One of Italy's smallest regions, Liguria stretches west in a narrow ribbon along the coast from France. Mountains separate it from Piedmont to the north, Emilia Romagna to the east and Tuscany to the south.

Like so much of Italy, Liguria is a land of contrasts, home to belle époque seaside resort towns in the style of Cannes and Monaco; dozens and dozens of sandy strands, rocky coves and pebbly beaches.
Different types of holiday can be enjoyed in Liguria. As a city destination, Genoa has a lot to offer: historic palazzi and fascinating museums. On the Riviera, closest to France, Sanremo and Bordighera can be combined well with trips into France and Monaco; there are excellent train and bus connections linking the French Riviera with the Italian Riviera.(highly recommebded as is hugs the coastline) And all along the Ligurian coast, trips inland will take you to hillside villages, wooded mountains and even  skiing destinations in Winter. Touring by car is a good option for those wanting to see the entire region. 
South of busy Genoa, the coast winds through some of Italy's prettiest scenery. Portofino,haunt of Michael Winner, a tiny exquisite harbour town famed for its elegance, sits at the tip of a large promontory.

Just to the south, Santa Margherita Ligure is a larger, stately resort where palms wave along the esplanade. The coastal route south touches other popular resorts - Rapallo, Sestri Levante - before reaching the famed mountainous coastline of the Cinque Terre. These are five picturesque fishing villages set along the beautiful steep coastline, with plenty of good walks which attract crowds of energetic tourists.

Just a little further south, Portovenere on its rocky headland marks the beginning of the huge coastal indent, the Golfo dei Poeti, haunt of Byron and the Shelleys. The area's largest town, La Spezia, sits across the inside of the bay, on the southern side prettier towns include Lerici (where the Shelleys lived) and San Terenzio.

This is the playground of the Rich but recommended as a destination.Remember we also offer Motorail trains to Avignon making an excellent entry start to Liguria after passing thru the Cote d’Azur and into Italy.

>>> Back to top


Abruzzo

Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and southwest, Molise to the southeast and the Adriatic Sea to the east.
Abruzzo is one of the most sparsely populated regions on the Italian peninsula. Always a wild and empty region, Abruzzo offers  still a taste of the unspoiled Italy.
This region, where the north of Italy meets the south, is also one of the most beautiful in the country. Bordered by the Apennines to the west and fringed by the Adriatic on the east, it has some of Italy's most unspoiled scenery. In the Gran Sasso it has the highest mountain of the Apennine range. Stand atop the Gran Sasso and you have views of both the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian (Mediterranean) Seas, across the entire width of Italy. You could journey through the Abruzzo's valleys for days, never encountering another person, and when you travel up to the broad mountain plains of the Abruzzi, you'll meet the eerie sight of entire abandoned hill towns. Plan your holiday in Abruzzo with plenty of time to walk, drive and explore.
There is fine coastline and beaches, with good sandy shores to the north, and rockier coastline to the south. The Sette Sorelle (seven sisters) are seven resorts in Teramo province, including Martinsicuro, Silvi and the beaches at Pescara and Francavilla al Mare. With good stretches of sand, a bubbling resort towns.T
This part of the coast contrasts dramatically with the more untamed southern stretches around Ortona, Vasto and Termoli. Here, the Mediterranean vegetation reaches down to the sea, and little fishing villages still follow their old trade. Between San Vito and Fossacesia you'll see the travocchi, little fishing huts raised on piles, and still used today by the fishermen.

 


>>> Back to top


Molise

The region of Molise is located in south-central Italy; south-east of Lazio and Abruzzo, north of Campania, and north-west of Puglia. Like Abruzzi, Molise was caught in a time warp for many years because of it's mountainous area. It is known for it's beauty and age old life style.
The Molise is sometimes referred to as "between the mountains and the sea" as the small region contains both a little seacoast and a mountainous center. The Molise is noted for its cheeses, its regional cuisine and its rural atmosphere.

 This  narrow strip of hilly terrain covering less than 550 square miles ,the second smallest Region in Italy. It’s  heavily forested slopes are dotted with castles, many well preserved. It is a land of friendly medieval hamlets, glorious ancient ruins and some of the most natural habitant in  Europe, to such an extent, that UNESCO has designated Molise for one of its World heritage sites.
The food of Molise has many similarities with its northern neighbour Abruzzi. However, Molise also shares some culinary traditions of Campania and Apulia - blending both northern and southern Italian cooking traditions with its own local rustic ingredients. In the mountainous interior lamb, kid, mutton and ewe are all favorite meats and are the basis for Molisian specialties like Cacio e Uova, cooked in an earthenware pot and served with egg and sharp cheese. Pork is also popular in Molise for local Prosciutto (including a smoked variety) and various types of Salami. Molise also shares a love for Porchetta (roast suckling pig) with the other central Italian regions and often shows up during summer festivals.

The cheeses of Molise include Pecorino, Caciocavallo and Scamorza. Pasta is a mainstay in Molise and is often served with a rich tomato Ragu of lamb or pork and a generous amount of Molise's fiery diavolino red peppers. The olive oil of Molise is some of the best and has been talked about since Roman times, but is not generally made in large amounts for export. The coast of Molise is yet another area famous for its Broddetto, which uses the local favorite red mullet. Other popular seafood includes fresh anchovies, swordfish, mussels and clams. Molisian desserts include various cakes such as Panettoncino di Mais - a sweet chocolate cake made with corn flour. Calciuni del Molise are sweet Ravioli stuffed with a chestnut filling and served at Christmas.

In summary a world renowned area of beauty with both coast and hinderland, steeped in history and maintaining rich culinary traditions.

>>> Back to top


Lazio

Lazio is in the  heart of Italy and along the Thyrrhenian Sea. It is the centre of the Italian political life thanks to the presence of the government and Parliament in Rome and of course it is also the Catholic world centre since there is the Vatican. For many it is  a favorite destination of tourism with Rome rich in  monuments of the Roman civilization.

Apart from the area of Rome, the rest of the territory is mostly plainlands and hills, with mountains in the area of Rieti such as Monte Terminillo (2213 m).In  the north is an area of lower mountains of volcanic origins, in whose craters have formed many beautiful lakes.

More than half of the population of the whole region live in or around Rome but taking a holiday in the surrounding areas allows you the mix of countryside yet the chance to travel into Rome for sightseeing.


>>> Back to top


Sardinia

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and includes the towns of Cagliari, Nuoro, Sassari, Oristano, the Costa Smeraldo, Oristano, Alghero and Santa Teresa di Gallura.
Low cost flights, independent travel and Agritourism have opened up the island and extending the tourist season in Sardinia to almost all year. Today, Alghero and Cagliari are fine bases to discover this ancient land. 
The inhabitants formerly remained  in the hinterland, rearing sheep and livestock. This explains the origin of Sardinia's fine cheese making tradition and skills, still exported to other parts of Italy,indeed the World- even today.
The wild zone of the Gennergentu is one of Europe's great untouched green zones  and the continent's largest remaining oak forest is here.
Neverthelesss, today the attraction of the coast and Sardinia's 166 fine beaches is too strong. Legendary clear, warm waters makes scuba diving a noted industry but those same beaches are there for family outings or lazy sunbathing-take a book down to the beach and enjoy this wonderful climate!

>>> Back to top


Campania

With one of the most magnificent coastlines in Europe, Campania offers tourists breathtaking views making it a popular destination among travellers. For years travellers including the rich and famous have spent their time basking on the enchanted islands of Capri and Ischia or enjoying the magnificent views that cascades along the Amalfi Coast.

Campania is a region celebrated for its climate, the fertility of the land and the astonishingly beauty of it’s landscapes. The territory is mostly gentle hills, apart from the Matese mountains bordering Molise and the rugged Irpinia area. The Vesuvius on the Gulf of Naples is one of the very few still active volcanoes in Europe.

The two beautiful gulfs of Naples and Salerno with the Amalfi coast, separated by the Sorrento peninsula, are world famous for the high cliffs, sandy bays, grottoes and islands (Ischia, Procida, Capri), each view an enchanting postcard picture, and such a great experience for the senses, the feel of the air, the odours of the pine trees, lemons and oranges, that the ancients rightly called this region "felix ager", a happy land.

The Region’s capital is Naples which has shrugged off it’s previous reputation for shoddiness and now oversees one of Italy’s largest  Provinces. Worth a visit.The population of Campania is concentrated around Naples and Salerno, while the mountainous hinterland is very low populated.

Agriculture is mostly intensive, cattle raising with some wine growing industries.Craftindustries based on coral and ceramics are still quite important especially as it’s  greatest resource nowadays is tourism with Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Pompei, Paestum, Positano, Amalfi, Caserta and its Royal Palace - just to mention a very few -are world-famous destinations.

Like all Italian region,s cuisine skills abound and that lingering lunch or dinner makes for a wonderful moment in the day.


>>> Back to top



Basilicata

The region of Basilicata in Italy forms the instep of the Italian "boot." It is border by Campania, Calabria, and the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is not a large region; it is only 9,987 sq km. The capital of Basilicata is Potenza and Basilicata is divided into two provinces; Potenza and Matera. The population is also rather small at about 611,000 people. Basilicata, or Lucania as it is sometimes called, has little in the way of economic clout. Agriculture plays a major role in the Lucanian economy despite the fact that dry weather and scare underground water supplies make farming difficult. Olives, plums, and cereals are grown, and sheep and goats are raised.

The region is rich in archaeological relics, dating back to the most remote times. Remains of the Greek era can be found in Metaponto (the Palatine Tables), while ruins of the Roman Age can be seen in Venosa. Tourists can admire noteworthy examples of medieval art in Venosa and Cerenza (Romanesque style). The architecture presents Arab-Byzantine and French influences in Matera, Melfi and Lagopesole. In this region, the Baroque style shows an evident Neapolitan influence.

Matera has gained international fame for its "Sassi". The Sassi originate from a prehistoric (troglodyte) settlement, and are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy. The Sassi are houses dug into the tufi rock itself, which is characteristic of Basilicata and Puglia. Many of these "houses" are really only caverns, and the streets in some parts of the Sassi often are located on the rooftops of other houses. The ancient town grew in height on one slope of the ravine created by a river that is now a small stream. The ravine is known locally as "la Gravina".

The charm of Basilicata lies inherently in the numerous small ancient villages decorating the region. There is little in the way of highways and railways in Basilicata because of the mountainous nature of the region. Ceramic and textile handworks are popular in Basilicata and can be found in small family owned shops. Wood carvings are particularly important in the area and many beautiful hand made works can be purchased by tourists.
Just because Basilicata is small does not mean that you will not be fascinated by the stunning architecture and historical art of the regions numerous small churches and medieval castles. The regions greatest resources, its people, are friendly and helpful to visitors. Around every corner is beautiful villa or local that would be a fitting setting for a romance novel.

The coastline is covered in some of Italy's finest archeological ruins. In a couple hours you can tour the ruins of an entire ancient civilization as it was at the height of its popularity. The outdoor markets of Basilicata offer tourists a great array of unique hand made items that they normally would not find other regions. Small family owned restaurants offer some of the finest in southern Italian cuisine perfect for those who have a desire for spicy foods rich in complex flavors. Spicy sausages and fresh caught game animals are among some of the regions specialties. Basilicata is the perfect place to immerse oneself into the true Italian experience free from all the trappings of high tourist areas.
Be brave,be an explorer-travel that extra distance and find a holiday so different from other areas.


>>> Back to top


Sicily

Sicily (Sicilia) is rather more than an Italian region: it's famous for its unique character - and for being a law unto itself. Sicily lies to the south of the Italy and also just a short distance from the African coast. A long history of invasion and conquest has resulted in a lavish mixed heritage: Greek, Arab, Roman, Norman. This wide range of influences can be detected in the island's architecture, landscape and culture, and has blended to make Sicily a thoroughly unique destination.
Equally important has been the land's predisposition to natural disasters. Mount Etna, in the eastern part of the island, is Europe's highest and most active volcano (its last serious eruption was in 2002
To wet your tastebuds,Sicily's pastries and desserts (dolci) are famous for their richness, and stuffed with ingredients like marzipan and ricotta. Among the treats are cannoli (thin tubes stuffed with ricotta, chocolate or candied fruit).
For those extremely hot days, are the area's fine ice cream and the refreshing drink granita di limone (ice and lemon slush). Marsala is Sicily's most well-known wine.

Sicily is a good destination for an Agritouristic holiday - allow at least a week, and preferably longer, for getting a flavour of the main tourist destinations. One of Sicily's leading holiday destinations is Taormina, a fashionable resort with beaches nearby, a fine Greek theatre and a stylish film festival (in June).
One of the classical world's most important legacies can be seen at Agrigento's Valley of the Temples. The hilltop town of Enna is inland, set at the heart of Sicily, and offers a different perspective on the island. Palermo, the regional capital, is one of Italy's largest cities; chaotic but with many sights of interest.

Over to the south-east, the Baroque city of Catania, birthplace of the composer Bellini (remembered in the Museo Civico Belliniano), is worth a visit, and makes a good base for the lion-hearted who wish to visit Etna. Siracusa, perhaps better known as Syracuse, was an important Greek town, home to Archimedes. Its Greek theatre still stands, and classic dramas are performed here each year.
For UK low cost travellers, Ryanair fly to Palermo from London Stansted. Catania, on the island's eastern coast, also has an airport. From mainland Italy you can take a ferry or the train.


>>> Back to top


Calabria

Calabria is the southern most region of Italy, the ankle and toe of the Italian "boot" – a rugged peninsula where grapevines, fig and olive trees cling to arid mountainsides, and where the immemorial sea crashes against the cliffs and beaches of its long, and intricate coastline, which faces east, south and west all at once.
It is a fascinating fusion of hundreds of miles of wonderful coastline with hinterland mountains, as the imposing Pollino chain in the North, the Sila forested plateau in the center and the Serre and Aspromonte chains in the South. Being the mountains so near to the sea, the rivers are all very short: called "fiumare", they stay dry for long part of the year. Calabria was always a land of emigration, due to the scarcity of good arable lands, and the population is concentrated in the plains and along the coast. Industry development is low and agriculture is not very productive, because of the rugged terrain, but tourism has been steadily on the rise in the last few decades.

Of the 10 million or so English-speaking travellers who visit Italy every year, not many make it this far south. But, Calabria is in the process of being ‘discovered’. Low cost jets allow visitors to economically reach Calabria without the long drive and visitor numbers increase yearly.Now...Calabria is reclaiming its past glory and pride, tired of being the forgotten and neglected part of Italy for the last 500 years or so and ready to transform itself into a premier destination.  It's got everything going for it.
When you come to the "new" Calabria, this place which has been inhabited for over 3,000 years, you will be dumbfounded by its scenery - whether you stay up in the mountains, or find your way along the winding coastal highways, to Calabria's seaside towns and beaches.  And once you've arrived, and settled in, you will have the opportunity to savour the hearty, tasty, Calabrese cuisine, all made from local produce, meats, fish and fruit.
It's true that the Calabrese are not quite ready for masses of English-speaking tourists.  Indeed, you won't find too many people who converse confidently in English.  Nor will you  find many signs printed in English, or be able to buy English books, newspapers or magazines.  But, so what?
Visit Calabria now - before the crowds arrive.  You will get by with very few problems if you are patient and respectful, and all your needs will be met and you will have the holiday of your life!


>>> Back to top


Apulia

Also known as "Le Puglie" in the plural form, this region contains, in fact, many souls. The “heel of Italy's boot," Apulia is a charming region that can be visited all year round and is suspended among nature, history, tradition, tastes and spirituality.

 

Apulia, the spur of the Italian Boot, is an enchanting region that spreads lengthwise along the sea - marvelous beaches that will delight every traveler, from the sandy Torre dell'Orso and Porto Cesario, to the rocky, boulder-encrusted Riviera of Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca. At Santa Maria di Leuca the calm and crystalline waters of the Ionian Sea mix with those of the intense and azure Adriatic. Sea lovers have multiple options in Apulia, from Gallipoli, the “Gem of Salento,” to Gargano, “Italy's Buttress,” which protrudes out into the clear sea, where one finds the the beautiful Tremiti Islands.

 

Nature is the protagonist again in the Murgia National Park, and in Gargano's wild Umbra forest, its salt pans and lakes. Visit the marine reserve of Torre Guaceto and the deep ravines of Laterza and wide dolines (depressions in the terrain) of Altamura characterize the hinterland of the region with their charming landscapes. For those who want to travel through history, Apulia offers a wide range of places that testify to the ancient origins of this land: from prehistory to Magna Graecia, from the Imperial Age to the Renaissance and the Baroque splendor of Lecce and of Salento. The trulli, for example those of Valle d'Itria, offer an evocative testimony to the rural past of the region. Meanwhile, numerous castles dot the coasts of the southern coast, hinting at an era when both perils and commerce landed on these shores.

 


>>> Back to top

Accommodation
Contact us
 
 

 

Regional Map

 

Click the names below for more information on each region.

 

TrentinoLombardyVenetoPiemonteValle d'AostaFriuli-Venezia-Giulia
Emilia RomagnaTuscanyUmbriaThe MarcheLiguriaAbruzzoMoliseLazio
SardiniaCampaniaBasilicataSicilyCalabria