Italy Guide - Brought to You by TUI

Posted on 01 Feb 2018 Posted in  Travel
TUI Italy Blog

Discover Your Smile!

As part of the buzz around the new name, TopCashback and TUI have teamed up to provide you with an exclusive series of travel guides written by travel blogger Matthew Hirtes for some of TUI’s most popular destinations – so whether you’re looking for a seaside excursion or a city break, our guides will point you in the right direction.

Our latest guide covers Italy, one of Europe’s most enduring popular countries. And don’t forget, you can earn earn exclusive cashback  when you book your holiday in Italy with TUI.

Attractions: People have been visiting Rome’s Colosseum since way back at the start of the last millennium as it opened as an arena for gladiatorial combat 80 years after the Birth of Christ during the days of Empire. Crowds flock also to Pisa and its 14th-century Leaning Tower which tilts owning to a design flaw but has yet to topple. Nearly 150 years in the making, Florence Cathedral, more commonly known as Il Duomo di Firenze, is a grand Gothic masterpiece.

Beaches: You could easily picture Robinson Crusoe being washed ashore at the beautifully unspoilt Chia Beach in Sardinia with sand delicate of both colour and texture. Another island beach you surely wouldn’t mind being cast away on is Spiaggia di Sansone where verdant cliffs on Tuscany’s Elba Island lead down to the snorkel-friendly Tyrrhenian Sea. The landscape’s equally green and serene over on the mainland at Massa Lubrense’s Marina del Cantone, a getting-away-from-it-all escape on the popular Amalfi Coast whose rocky beach is best negotiated wearing water shoes.

Drinks: One of the native Italian’s nocturnal rituals is the aperitivo, a pre-dinner drink which tends to include bubbles by way of prosecco in Venice. If you prefer your aperitifs mixed, the Aperol Spritz combines said prosecco with Aperol, a less bitter Campari-like beverage. After evening meal, limoncello, a fluorescent lemon liqueur is the tipple of choice in the south of Italy.

Eats: Gnocchi doesn’t melt in the mouth more than that produced in Liguria’s Finale Ligure, the north-west region which gave pesto to the world. 13 is the magic number of ingredients (chosen in reference to the number of guests at The Last Supper) for the east cost Italy’s brodetto with the Marche seafood stew comprising the likes of crab, cuttlefish, octopus, skate, and squid. For Italy’s best pizza, head to Naples and Da Michele who offer a seriously limited selection: as in a vegan tomato-only marinera and a lacto-tolerant margherita which adds mozzarella to the mix.

Events: We have Italy to thank for carnivals here, there, and everywhere with this pre-Lent celebration still enthusiastically enjoyed by locals, particularly in Venice whose January/February masked fun and games draws three million visitors to the city each year. A nation of gourmets, Italy even has its very own Artichoke Festival, Festa del Carciofo, held during late April/early May in the Tuscan hill village of Chiusure. Campania’s Ravello Festival which runs from July to August each year takes the concept of the dawn chorus and expands it to include a sunrise orchestra amongst a full programme of classical-music performances.

Hikes: Discover the Italian Riviera on foot by walking the Sentiero Azzuro trial which links the five cliff-hugging/pastel-coloured maritime villages which make up the Cinque Terre. For hikes the whole family can do, head to the Dolomites in the north east of the country where trails are both easy to find and follow. For a less crowded pilgrimage than the Camino de Santiago, the Via Francigena takes in both the Alps and Italian Lake District.

Souvenir: Foodies will love a bottle of balsamic vinegar from Modena, particularly the more aged varieties. Whilst those with a sweet tooth will appreciate a bottle of something different altogether, Tuscany’s Vin Santo dessert wine. Hit Lake Como’s Bellagio to dress as stylishly as your average Italian with the purchase of some locally-produced silk scarves.

Sport: Although you’ll find the biggest names in football plying their trade in the English, French, German, and Spanish leagues; taking in a Serie A game is still an unforgettable experience especially watching the Milan derby at the world-famous San Siro. They also take their rugby seriously in the north of Italy and the country have competed in the international union tournament, the Six Nations, since 2000. Another popular ball game is bocce, a type of bowls which dates back to imperial times.

Hotels: Focusing on the beautiful surroundings of Naples, we have picked out three stunning hotels to consider booking your stay in. If you’re looking for a great view, a big swimming pool and a great restaurant, Hotel La Solara is an ideal choice. If exploring is your thing, it’s worth considering Hotel Parco del Sole. Within reach of shops and restaurants, it’s location in the heart of San Agnello, it’s a perfect spot to plan trips from. And finally, the Nastro Azzurro, set high above Sorrento, is a TripAdvisor award winning choice for great views, a romantic rooftop bar and a smart pool scene.

Your Say:

Audrey Spratt

– “My favourite holiday was Venice, Italy in February 2014. This photo shows the everyday life on the Grand Canal. My top tip is to buy a good travel guide and pair of walking shoes. Venice isn't an overly big place and so much more can be seen by walking the tiny streets and using the Vaparetto, which is the equivalent of their bus service. We bought a 24-hour pass and were able to get around most of the city and also visit the nearby islands of Murano and Lido. Keep walking to see the most of the city- it's difficult to get lost!.”

Nick Copeland

– “Visit Positano near Sorrento on the sightseeing bus for great views and food.”

Simon Leaver-Cole

– “Sardinia has many beautiful beaches.”
Matthew Hirtes has been based in the Canary Islands since 2004. He uses it at a base to cover Spain and beyond for the likes of Condé Nast Traveller, Telegraph Travel, and The Huffington Post. Matthew's favourite cities worldwide are his metropolis of birth, London, San Francisco (keg parties on Ocean Beach), and Seville (love those free oranges).
chelsea201307 Feb 18 - 22:00Italy historic and beautiful