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Destination Details
Italy

Southern Italy may conjure up images of beautiful hillside towns enjoying rustic panoramic views of pine trees and rich greenery, small villages with cobbled street winding up to a rocky church, or perhaps the locals working out in the nearby fields in the heat of the afternoon. While this may be true for the most part, there’s more to southern Italy than the citadel towns and countryside, and the turquoise seas and silky sands are never too far away. The true experience of visiting, though, lies in absorbing the culture: the flavours; the local dialect and the distinctiveness of the southern lifestyle itself.

Italy is on the southernmost part of the European mainland, jutting out into the central Mediterranean in the unique shape of a boot, seemingly forever kicking Sicily.  The population is just under 57 million who apart from minorities also speaking German, French and Slovene, all use the Italian language which is so melodic and expressive - ideally matched to the country and moreover its inhabitants.   No wonder Italy remains the prime destination for operatic and other music concerts.
 
Italy's frontiers touch France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia and just as in these neighbouring countries, there are the Alpine mountain ranges which create lakes like Maggiore and Como and feed a 400 mile long Po river that discharges into the Adriatic Sea.  The Apennine mountain ridge is the spine that runs all the way down to the Calabria region.  Italy is quite hilly with many wooded areas and nature parks, for although the population density is relatively high, many live in the cities towards the north, leaving large swathes of unspoilt countryside.

Then there are the islands, from small rocky outposts such as Pantelleria which is actually closer to North Africa than to the Italian mainland, the Aeolian Islands, Sardinia and Sicily - the Mediterranean's largest island.  Some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving can be found around the smaller islands.

Italy is administratively divided into 20 regions which incorporate provinces.  There are regional parliaments and councils but the central government is in Rome.  Politics and democracy in Italy is a perennial discussion and one of the main topics of conversation - even if not understood by many. 

Italy was also the centre of one of the greatest empires which brought it into contact with various cultures thereby enriching Rome and the surrounding provinces with rich works of art.  This love of the arts was revived in the Renaissance and Baroque periods which can still be seen in museums, theatres and more so in the design, style and fashion of today. 

Italians love the good life - from the simple cuisine taking a few fresh ingredients and turning them into an internationally-known dish such as pizza, pasta or polenta, to more refined and complex creations that each region is famed for.

Resorts in Italy
The town of Tropea is on the Calabrian coast in southern Italy, sitting atop a rocky promontory that extends into the glittering azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. White sandy beaches lay huddled under shielding cliffs and the maze of ancient streets in the town.
 
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