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There are few tourists who would want to visit Italy in December; most of them prefer visiting during summers. It is obvious that some of the tourists come to Italy for Christmas and other tourists who visit Italy in December do not have a specific reason to visit, they just come for amusement, however during December you will find out people putting on their ceremonial dresses. The airfares for Italy are inexpensive due to the dull winter. See our Holidays in Italy Section
Norcia: discovering local history and food
Situated in the region of Umbria, Norcia, is an ideal destination for all those who' d love a holiday combining history, nature and traditional food. A typically medieval town, with a famous gastronomical heritage, Norcia is perfect if you're seeking the aromas of the antichi sapori, old, traditional flavors.
The most beautiful squares of Northern Italy
The Northern part of Italy presents a number of famous squares, built in different styles and having a rich history jealously kept in their architectural elements and monuments. Here is a list of the best known squares of the Italian northern regions:
Piazza Castello is one of the best loved squares by tourists. It is located in what is today considered the financial heart of the city. Attracted by the beautiful Castello Sforzesco, people never miss to visit the area: the castle is, today, a modern cultural center, but it used to be the seat of power of the high nobles of Milan.
The most beautiful squares of the centre of Italy
Central Italy is home to some of the artistically richer cities of the country and each of them, in turn, is somehow symbolized by a square. Florence and Rome are the main protagonists, and fight for the supremacy in terms of the most famous and ancient ones.
Background and inspiration to some of the best known movies of the golden age of Italian cinema, Rome boasts the presence of several squares, some of them dating back to the times of the Romans.
Piazza San Pietro
Mercatini dell'usato: second-hand markets in Italy
Going shopping is one of the nicest things to do during your free time. But if you think you need to spend a lot of money in Italy to get real good buys, you're wrong, as there're loads of places where to find beautiful objects and clothes for relatively cheap. One of the quirkiest places to go are the mercatini dell'usato, second-hand markets, which have also become very popular among fashionistas and collectors.
From books to clothes, from house bric a brac to objects for hobbies and toys, you can really get lucky and get a treasure in any of their charming little stalls. Mind, though: when antiques are concerned, there are usually ad hoc markets organized for collectors.
The most beautiful Italian squares in the South
From the top to the bottom of the boot, as Italy is often defined for its geographical shape, the country is full of amazing squares situated mostly in the town centres. Due to their architecture, famous legends or simply for being the fulcrum of ancient history, there are some which are particularly renowned all over the territory and you should visit them at least once in your life. Here you can find the most beautiful squares in the South of Italy, divided per region.
Piazza del plebiscito
Visiting Italy during the winter
O sole mio is a Neapolitan song that makes us all think of summer, when the sun shines all over the Italian territory. A lot of people think about Italy as a place to visit during the hot season, but the country is really more of a 'four-season destination' . Climate and weather change according to the geographical area you go to; however, either you go north, center or south, you will always find something interesting to do.
The weather in the winter
The most famous Christmas markets in Italy
Christmas is probably the best loved festivity in Italy. Lights, Christmas carols and trees decorate every corner of the country, from the smallest villages to the largest cities. During this time of the year, Italians love going for walks, shopping and breathing in the magic atmosphere of the season, especially if there is an authentic Christmas market to visit.
In a way Christmas street markets are the true protagonists of the Christmas shopping frenzy. From north to south, these traditional gatherings are known for selling handmade objects, gifts and decorations.
Some useful suggestions for tourists coming to Italy
Italy is one of the best liked tourist destination; Italians are famous for being warm and welcoming, however there are, in Italy as anywhere else in the world, some individuals ready to scam tourists and foreigners, and we have all to be aware of it.
Life on Italian beaches: some basics you should know
The seaside is probably the favorite destination for all those choosing Italy for a summer vacation. Sea towns are spread all over the territory and beaches become, during the summer, overcrowded, yet organized places to spend the whole day in relax. There are several types of beaches in Italy: sandy beaches, rocky beaches, gravel beaches and cliffs. Some are free, while others require the tourist to pay an entry fee, as they are managed by bathing establishments and a sum of money is due in order to take advantage of some services they offer.
This group of caves is one of the most famous in the country. Located in the central region of Marche, the caves were reportedly discovered first in 1948, though most sources state that 1971 is when it began to be explored. They feature a series of linked chambers, one of which is a bizarre shape that feels like an endless tunnel when in fact it is one very long chamber. Today the caves are open to the public for daily visits, and they are estimated to be around 190 million years old.
Down south in Apulia, we find the cave of the "Clowns" near Rignano Garganico. This cave was discovered relatively recently - in the mid-20th century - and contained Paleolithic tools along with both animal and human bones - the skeletons of a woman and a boy, both wearing deer bone and antler ornamentation. These finds can be seen in the museum in Rignano Garganico.
Italians on holiday: 2012 trends and choices
Italians love travelling and having fun. Summer, when cities are too hot, is certainly the right moment to go on holiday.
Italy is often one of the favourite destinations for foreign tourists, who choose it as the ideal place to combine sun, sea and monuments with shopping, food and wine. But what do Italians go for when it's time to choose a holiday destination?
In a former railway station in Leipzig, Manfred Weis steps onto a stage to a round of applause. The IT consultant from Karlsruhe, Germany, is there to celebrate forty years of Interrail at an event organized by the Eurail Group. The applause is in recognition of his own contribution to the history of rail travel:
"I'm often asked how I managed to travel 36,030 kilometres by train in just thirty days," Manfred tells the audience.
At the age of 18, Manfred bought his first Interrail ticket. He travelled on his summer holidays along with a few friends. During his travels he heard about someone who had turned train travel into a competitive sport, travelling 29,000 kilometres in one month.
Italian beach establishments: stabilimenti balneari in Italia.
Italian beaches get very crowdy starting from the end of May, when the weather begin to be hotter and people seek relax and coolness. Italians love going to the beach, lying in the sun and sunbathing for the whole day. Beaches become then organized places, offering a lot of entertainment thanks to the stabilimenti balneari, bathing establishments, which offer to people all they need to spend a perfect day on the beach.
In Europe, each and every step you take is steeped in history and art, even something as mundane as train stations, sometimes are true pieces of art and high end architecture in their own right. Here is a list of some of the most artistic train stations you may come across on the Old Continent:
Click here for a gallery of European train station pictures
InterRail: Everyone's free to explore Europe
You don't have to be a gap-year graduate to jump on board and enjoy the InterRail experience today. Traveling around Europe by train can be appreciated by everyone - whatever your age.
For the past four decades, the image of the InterRail holiday has captured the sense of fun, freedom and adventure. Launched exactly 40 years ago, on 1st March 1972, the concept of exploring Europe on train was targeted towards the student armed with a backpack on a budget.
But nowadays there's no age limit and you're just as likely to meet a married couple or a pair of pensioner en route. Everyone can take advantage of the 30 countries to choose from and create a personalized itinerary to suit their style of holiday.
Tips for Saving Money in Italy (Photo from drpinna.com)
When traveling in Italy things are beautiful, but with the Euro/Dollar conversion things can get very expensive, so let's look at some great ways to save some money when travelling in Italy.
What is a sagra
The sagra is an Italian festival, organized in some towns, or regions, and is always linked to a local tradition or food celebrated in the course of the event.
The term sagra derives from Latin. It is the evolution of the adjective sacrum, meaning holy, which explains the original purpose that gave birth to this type of event: the religious factor. In fact, in the past the sagre were mainly moments of union between Man and spiritual and holy life.
The ancient sagre were, for their religious connotations, celebrated in front of temples or churches during the Christian Age. Moreover, animals were sacrificed and products offered in the course of the celebration.
When most people think of Italy they think of art and culture, history and great food, even beaches and gorgeous vistas, but many often forget that it is also a country of some of the world's most breathtaking mountains. If you want stunning panoramas and glamorous ski resorts then Italy is definitely for you. In this new series we'll be listing the Top 10 Italian Mountains, and a few of their characteristics, so you can get to know each a little better.
Monte Bianco (White Mountain): 4,810 meters.