The Friendly Planet Blog

The Bel Paese of Italy

Ciao, and welcome to the Bel Paese (beautiful country) of Italy! It’s no wonder that Italy is among the world’s most popular destinations. It’s the alluring home to quaint villages, rolling green vineyards, vibrant cities, stunning architecture, exquisite art, wine and, of course, cuisine. From wandering through St. Peter’s in Vatican City and gazing at the awe-inspiring works by Michelangelo and other masters, to sipping a glass of fragrant red wine while nibbling a piece of young Pecorino cheese in Tuscany and learning, hands-on, the traditional art of silk screening, these treasures and experiences make Italy a bucket list travel destination. Read on and fall in love with this romantic country, full of fascinating culture, friendly locals, magnificent history, and divine experiences.

Venice, Italy

Venice
From the beautifully restored buildings that look like pictures straight from a fairy tale to romantic gondolas meandering through the labyrinthian canals, Venice has captivated the hearts of travelers from around the world for centuries. There are endless reasons to visit this charming and historic city, but no matter how much time you have, a visit to one of the cities many campaniles, or bell towers, is a must! Not only are they a symbol of Venice’s resilience through tumultuous times, they are among the best places to admire the sweeping views. A particular favorite is the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, where you can observe breathtaking sites of the city and the Adriatic Sea.

Silk screen printing

Silk Screening
Travel to Fallani Venezia – Center for the Arts, in Venice. This decades-old atelier, or authentic studio, was established by Fiorenzo Fallani, a passionate designer and artisan who immersed himself in print reproduction and had a tremendous impact on the rapid progress within the silk screening industry. Recognized by artists for his innovations in technique, Fallani’s art studio attracted famous artists from all around the world who perfected their own craft within its walls. While in Venice, stop by this atelier and tap into your personal creativity with a lesson on silk screening. A local artist will describe how the art of silk screening has evolved over the past decades and will familiarize you with the working tools before assisting you with your own special creation.

FICO Eataly World Bologna, Italy

FICO Eataly World
Every self-proclaimed foodie has to make a pilgrimage to FICO, the largest food park in the world. This agri-food park isn’t just a place to sample fresh, mouthwatering Italian food (although we highly recommend doing so), but it even includes rides and animal demonstrations. FICO, which opened in Bologna in 2017, is a combination of the words “fig” and “cool.” The goal of its founders was to show how world-beloved Italian foods are made using sustainable processes. No matter how much or little time you have to spend at FICO, there are some encounters that just can’t be missed. From tasting the fine wines of Italy to creating your own delectable gelato flavors, visiting FICO is a one-of-a-kind experience for food lovers and travelers alike.

Pitti Palace with Boboli Gardens

The Oltrarno Neighborhood
Everyone visits the Duomo, the Accademia, and other significant landmarks when in Florence, but that magnificent city offers visitors plenty of charming neighborhoods that can and should be part of your tour. Oltrarno, located just across the River Arno, is home to visit-worthy monuments as well as quaint, street-side cafes. In the maze of workshops occupied by skilled craftspeople, restorers, potters, jewelry makers, and crystal millers, Oltrarno is an open-air living museum of the extraordinary legacy of unique Tuscan traditions. Visit an Artisan Workshop (Officina Creativa), where everything is still patiently and meticulously made by hand, and participate in a creative workshop.

Tuscany, Italy

Wine and Wineries
No trip to Italy would be complete without a tour of the lush, green vineyards and rolling hills of an Italian winery! A first-hand experience of the wine-making process complete with an inviting tasting proves why Italy produces some of the best wines in the world. For a truly authentic Italian experience, a stop in the Chianti wine region is a must. Located in Tuscany, Chianti is arguably Italy’s most famous wine region, and the wines produced here are appreciated and savored throughout the globe.

Vatican dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica

Vatican
Established in 1929, the Vatican encompasses slightly more than 100 acres and is the smallest nation in the world. But what Vatican City lacks in size, it makes up for in history, culture, and priceless relics. Many decorated chapels, tombs of religious figures, and stunning works of art are located in Vatican City, including one of the most well-known and most appreciated works of art by Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel. After undergoing a massive restoration, Pope John Paul inaugurated the magnificently detailed painted ceiling, giving visitors an opportunity to gaze upon the hand of God giving life to Adam as it must have looked when first painted. There is no end to the number of artistic treasures you’ll uncover during your visit to the Vatican, not least of which is another of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, La Pieta, which was carved from a single slab of marble and was the only work he ever signed.

You’ll discover all of this and more when you join us on one of our new, expertly-crafted small group tours to Italy, a country of exquisite art, magnificent architecture, fine wines, delectable cuisine, tradition, history, and so much more.

1 Comment

  1. first name DIXON SR

    love it

    Link

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