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    Italy is a country that’s as varied as the palettes of its great Renaissance artists, awash with color and culture. Lose yourself in the green rolling hills of Tuscany, bathed in the orange glow of the setting sun, and sip a succulent limoncello while taking in the sapphire surf of the sea. Marvel at the fantastical cream-colored figures of the Trevi Fountain, and relax at a neighborhood trattoria with a ruby-red glass of the country’s best Chianti. This isn’t a place where you go to vacation – this is a place where you go to live.

    For centuries, Italy has been one of the most popular destinations for discerning travelers: a fact that’s undoubtedly linked to its rich history and cultural attractions. This is a country that saw the birth of the Renaissance and the spread of the Roman Empire; that has produced profound poets and legendary leaders; that boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery on Earth. It’s home to some of the world’s greatest cities – Florence, Venice, Rome – as well charming and bucolic towns and villages. Throw in a beloved cuisine and some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet, and it’s no wonder that Italy continues to draw people in – as it has for centuries.

    A relatively small country (it’s less than half the size of Texas!), Italy is so filled with cultural and natural treasures that UNESCO conferred it with 49 World Heritage Sites – more than any other country in the world.

    First-time visitors can sometimes be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of choices that Italy has to offer, flustered by the vast range of attractions in every corner of this captivating country. Wherever you choose to go, your tour of Italy will surely leave lasting memories. Nonetheless, there are some places that you simply cannot afford to miss, such as these cities:

  • Italy’s famed and cosmopolitan capital, Rome remains one of the great European cities more than two thousand years after its founding. The Roman Forum is a stirring sight, as are the fabulous marble fountains and elegant piazzas that symbolize the more modern sections of this stylish city.

  • Vatican City is the world’s smallest sovereign state and home to some of the greatest art and architecture in the Western world. The residence of the Pope and the center of Roman Catholicism, its legendary attractions are sure to leave you breathless – from St. Peter’s Basilica to the incredible Sistine Chapel.

  • There is truly nowhere on Earth quite like Venice, the fabled ‘Floating City’ that has enchanted visitors of all stripes for centuries. Here, you can shop for fine glass and handmade lace on the Rialto Bridge, sip a refreshing Bellini at Harry’s Bar, and enjoy the sunset over the Adriatic from a cafe on the banks of the Grand Canal.democracy

  • The capital of Tuscany and the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence offers a stunning array of museums, churches, art galleries and restaurants that are sure to delight. The art scene here is justifiably famous – the Uffizi Gallery is one of the best in Europe, and the Accademia houses Michelangelo’s magnificent David – but history buffs, gourmands and shopaholics will also relish this spectacular city on the banks of the River Arno.

  • Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the home of some of the most celebrated fashion designers and haute-couture houses in the world. It’s a vibrant city of fine living and high culture, from the glittering boutiques of Via Montenapoleone to the hallowed halls of La Scala – one of the world’s most renowned opera houses.