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Travel Guide: Italy
A country with more Unesco World Heritage sites than any other in the world, Italy's history, language and people exert something of a magical hold over those who visit its shores. From the beautiful countryside to the spell-binding coastline, the mouthwatering cuisine to the ancient architecture - travel in Italy is an experience not easily forgotten. Here are five things to do.
Head for the Amalfi Coast
So stunning is this dramatic coastline, the Amalfi is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cliffs plunge steeply into the sea, dotted with pretty houses built centuries ago to house the fishermen who fished the waters. A series of fjords, coves and pebble beaches combine to create a coastline of unrivalled beauty.
Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain
When in Rome throw a coin into Rome's famous Baroque fountain - legend has it that this action will ensure you return to the city some day. A more modern interpretation of the legend states that two coins means you are destined to fall in love with an Italian - a useful way to engineer a long-term stay. An estimated €3,000 is thrown into the fountain every day. The money is donated to the city's poor.
Savour a Milan derby at the San Siro
It might seem like a long way to travel (Italy is easy to get around by train) for a football match but the "Derby della Madonnina" is the place to watch Italian passions reach fever pitch. Whether you are an Inter or an AC Milan fan, this is one of the most dramatic - and loud - local derbies in the world, and a good excuse to pop to Milan for a spot of shopping.
Take a wine tour of Tuscany
Famous the world over for its wines - and olive oils - the Tuscan countryside is a slice of paradise. See and taste your way around the landscape that produces the sangiovese, cannaiolo, malvasia and trebbiano vines. Eat, drink and be merry. Italy and Wine (italyandwine.net) offer customised tours.
Visit Venice for Carnival
This ten day and night extravaganza of partying leads up to the religious festival Lent. Venice comes alive as the locals celebrate with events such as the Grand Canal flotilla, fancy-dress football in Piazza San Marco and the hotly fought competition for best mask, on the final weekend.
One of the highlights of European travel, Italy is a country that offers something for everyone. For the foodie some of the best ingredients and cuisine in the world. For the wine connoisseur it offers countless excellent vintages. Visit Rome, Venice and Florence for art, the Amalfi coast and Tuscany for stunning landscapes, and Milan for fashion and football. And that's just for starters.