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Italy is arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world and one of the most popular, ranking among the top ten tourist destinations.

Italy’s fame is well deserved for there are few places that can compare in the number of ancient monuments, famous works of art, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine. And Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage sights than any other country.

Walks of ItalyVIP Night tour of the Colosseum @PennySadler 2013

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Even if you know next to nothing about Italy there’s a good chance you’ve eaten Italian food and drank Italian wine. I bet you’ve seen these typical Italian foods on menus around the globe: Chianti, parmesan cheese, piazza, pasta and gelato. And yes, wine is considered food in Italy, but that’s another story.

why eat gelato every day?Italy  @PennySadler 2014

Neighborhood gelateria

You’re probably more familiar with Italian fashion than you realize, even if you can’t afford to wear it. Armani for example, has been collaborating with Hollywood since the 1980s, designing wardrobe for movies like Batman The Dark Knight, Ocean’s 11 and American Gigilo.

Italian cars are world famous and there are few men who don’t covet a Ferrari, Lamberghini, or Maserati. More recently, Fiat has become a popular and affordable car in America. The point is, Italian culture has become so ingrained into our daily lives we don’t even realize it!

Travelers to Italy run the gamut from those who want to see everything in a few days or a week, to those who desire to travel more slowly, see fewer sights, but revel in the art, architecture and people of this magnificent country.

The top three cities on most itineraries are: Rome, Florence, and Venice. How does one chose?

Should you visit the ancient monuments of Rome and the Vatican Museums? What about Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance? Don’t forget the romantic canals and Byzantine architecture of Venice.

My advice is see them all but don’t rush it. I’ve planned entire trips around visiting just one of these cities. In fact, I’ve been to Rome, and only Rome, three times. And I’ve included it as part of three other trips to Italy – I still don’t feel I’ve “done Rome.”

When Travel is not what you expecit @PennySadler 2014

St. Peter’s Cathedral, Rome, Italy

Italy Travel @PennySadler 2013

Canal in Venice, Italy

But there’s more to Italy than Rome, Florence, or Venice. From the fashion capital of Milan in the north, to the citrus groves of the south and sun washed beaches of Sicily, Italy is a treasure trove of stunning cities, charming villages, incredible regional food and wine, passionate people, and postcard perfect scenery.

Italy Travel in Emilia Romagna @PennySadler 2014

Vineyard in Emilia Romagna, Italy

You could spend a lifetime in Italy and not see it all, so don’t worry about it! Italy is a place that’s meant to be savored, not rushed through. Do as the Romans do, enjoy la dolce vita. Study fashion in Milan, glass blowing in Venice, or the art of tooling leather in Florence. Wander in the smaller towns and villages of the Italian countryside. Explore the vineyards of Tuscany and Piedmont.

Italy will surprise and delight you, and leave you wanting more.

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