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Few things capture the quintessential easy glamour of Italian culture more than the sight of Anita Ekberg taking a sultry swim in Rome’s Trevi Fountain, a pivotal scene in Federico Fellini’s 1960 Masterpiece La Dolce Vita. Indeed, Italians truly have discovered the sweet life, and in addition to inventing the Renaissance, the opera, Lavazzo espresso, pasta, and, arguably, contemporary haute fashion, Italy’s biggest global export might just be a luxe frame of mind.
Many of history’s greatest artists and art movements originated here, and today “Europe’s boot” continues to draw creatives in flocks as it is the home of both the Salone del Mobile and Venice Biennale, two of the world’s largest design fairs. With the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, it’s hard to find an area that isn’t rich with art, monuments, castles or even entire medieval villages in the wonderfully romantic Tuscany. Wander off the beaten tourist path and visit the north, which boasts the beautiful coastlines of the Italian Riviera, the colourful mountain architecture and turquoise waters of Portofino and the Cinque Terre. There you can bathe in crystal clear waters of Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore and ski down the mountain ranges of the Alps, over to South Tyrolean Dolomites and the Apennines. Foodies are naturally drawn to the slightly under-the-radar, Emilia-Romagna, in the hills of Matilde di Canossa between Parma and Reggio Emilia, is a region in northern Italy that runs from the Apennine Mountains down to the Adriatic coastline.
The best thing is that there’s never a “right” time to visit: the climate is highly diverse, with conditions on the coastal areas cold and snowy in winter - except in Merano in South Tyrol where the micro Mediterranean climate cuddles the city from the snowy peaks - while the south stretching down to Puglia stays relatively dry and sunny all year.