Marina Grande

Capri, Italy

Situated on the small island of Capri off the coast of Naples, Italy, Marina Grande is the main port for small fishing boats, tourist ferries and luxury yachts. After disembarking from your ferry, stop at a cafe for an espresso and bombolone (doughnut) to chat with locals before taking the tram up the mountain to the main shopping area, where you can indulge in handcrafted Italian designs and breathtaking views.


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Colosseum
Colosseum

Colosseum

Journey to Italy's capital city of Rome for the Roman Empire’s greatest achievement: the Colosseum. The elliptical amphitheater was the largest ever built by the empire, 2,000 years ago. 960 1280

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The Dolomites

The Dolomites

Northeastern Italy is home to beautiful mountain ranges. The Dolomites encompass 18 mountain peaks (nearly 11,000 feet at their highest), across 78,000 acres. The area is a popular draw for skiing in the winter, and mountain climbing, hiking and paragliding (among other activities) during warmer months. 960 1280

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Venice and Its Lagoons

Venice and Its Lagoons

A total of 118 islands comprise the city of Venice. Each island is separated by canals and connected by bridges. A lagoon-turned-outdoor-masterpiece, Venice is topped by a diverse architectural style: mainly, Gothic combined with Byzantine and Arab influences. 960 1280

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Piazza del Duomo, Pisa

Piazza del Duomo, Pisa

Look to the right -- that’s the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s one of four structures in Tuscany heralded as a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Explore each within Piazza del Duomo (“Cathedral Square”), a large, walled area at the center of the Tuscan city of Pisa. 960 1280

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Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre

Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre

The cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata were destroyed when Vesuvius erupted on Aug. 24, 79 A.D. The remains of these cities, which lay buried beneath a thick layer of volcanic ash, stone and mud for nearly 2,000 years, were excavated in mid-1700s -- providing a poignant snapshot of an August day frozen in time. Pictured here are the ruins of the Temple of Apollo in Pompeii. 960 1280

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Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi

Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi

The town of Assisi in central Italy cradles one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy: Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi. Built in the 1200s, the basilica is the mother church of the Franciscan Order. 960 1280

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Valcamonica Rock Drawings

Valcamonica Rock Drawings

Explore prehistoric art in Italy’s Lombardy region. Drawn over the course of 8,000 years in an era preceding the Iron Age, the prehistoric rock engravings chronicle more than 140,000 figures and symbols, illustrating themes from war to magic. 960 1280

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Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

Not only is the Amalfi Coast an exclusive VIP destination for celebrities like George Clooney, it’s also a natural treasure famed for its natural diversity: from terraced vineyards and orchards to upland pastures. 960 1280

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Su Nuraxi di Barumini

Su Nuraxi di Barumini

Roughly 2,000 years B.C., a people called the Nuragic civilization lived on the island of Sardinia. Here, they built nuraghi (tower-fortresses). Today, these defensive structures -- of which 7,000 still stand -- represent the most complete example of prehistoric architecture. 960 1280

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Sassi and Rupestrian Churches of Matera

Sassi and Rupestrian Churches of Matera

In southern Italy, the region of Matera has been inhabited by humans since the Palaeolithic age. The area’s most impressive feature is “sassi” -- houses carved out of the region’s soft volcanic rocky hills. The area is also famous for its large number of churches, also carved out of the stone. 960 1280

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Historic Center of Florence

Historic Center of Florence

The birth of the Renaissance occurred in Florence. Today, the city’s historic center retains this rich cultural heritage, with sites such as Uffizi Gallery (one of the oldest art museums in the Western world) and Pitti Palace (a lavish estate owned by a Florentine banker in the 1400s). 960 1280

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Aquileia Patriarchal Basilica

Aquileia Patriarchal Basilica

One of the wealthiest cities of the early Roman Empire was the Northern Italian city of Aquileia -- until it was destroyed by Attila the Hun in the 5th century. Much of this vanquished city still remains unexcavated -- making it one of the richest archaeological troves of its kind. Here’s a look at the Cathedral of Aquileia, a flat-roofed basilica built in 1031 and again, in 1379. 960 1280

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Villa d'Este

Villa d'Este

Renaissance architecture flourished from the 15th to the early 17th centuries -- and Villa d’Este, in the town of Tivoli, near Rome, is a prime example of it. The villa is surrounded on three sides by a courtyard, and its gardens are enlivened by fountains, pools and water troughs. 960 1280

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Villa Romana del Casale

Villa Romana del Casale

To view the richest, most extraordinary collection of mosaics from the ancient Roman world, head to southern Italy. Built in the 4th century, Villa Romana del Casale showcases a vibrant collection of images: among them, young women playing sports and hunters with dogs. 960 1280

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Aeolian Islands

Aeolian Islands

It took 260,000 years of volcanic activity for the Aeolian Islands to meld into their present shape. That rich natural history explains why geologists have studied this volcanic archipelago for the past two centuries. Located north of Sicily, the islands are also a popular tourist attraction during the summer. 960 1280

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Santa Maria delle Grazie

Santa Maria delle Grazie

Inside the church and Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, visitors can see one of the greatest artistic masterpieces of all time: Leonardo da Vinci’s "The Last Supper." The mural was painted between 1495 and 1497, and is located in the refectory of the convent, in Milan. 960 1280

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Botanical Garden, Padua

Botanical Garden, Padua

The world’s oldest botanical garden is located in the northern Italian city of Padua. Created in 1545, Orto Botanico still retains its original layout (a circular central plot), and showcases 6,000 types of plants, from aquatic to alpine varieties. 960 1280

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Biscotti

Whether you're drinking a cappuccino, an espresso, a latte or a macchiato -- biscotti are the perfect complement. 960 1280

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Start your Italian feast off right with a plate of bruschetta -- crostini topped with fresh tomatoes and basil, then drizzled with olive oil. 960 1280

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Gnocchi, soft (but dense) Italian dumplings, are often made with potato -- and are sure to fill you up. 960 1280

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If you’re craving dessert -- or even just a snack -- you can’t go wrong with a cannoli. The Sicilian pastry is often made with ricotta cheese, and is best washed down with a “digestivo” such as sambuca or grappa. 960 1280

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No Italian meal is complete without a bottle of red wine. 960 1280

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It may be simple, but few things are more delicious than a traditional Neapolitan margherita pizza, named after Queen Margherita when she was served a pizza made with the Italian flag’s colors on a visit to Naples in 1889. 960 1280

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Tiramisu, which appropriately translates as “pick me up,” is made of layers of ladyfingers soaked in espresso, mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder and liqueur. 960 1280

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Salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, capicola, soppressata … oh my! Italians love their cured meats, and they make for a great antipasto. 960 1280

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Nothing beats homemade, fresh pasta.  960 1280

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The Italians love their olives, whether they are served as an antipasto or used to make olive oil. 960 1280

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A northern Italian specialty, pesto is made from garlic, plenty of fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil and parmigiano-reggiano. 960 1280

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A popular “aperitivo” in Italy, a negroni is made of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. Many restaurants and bars in Italy serve a buffet of free food to snack on while you enjoy a predinner cocktail. 960 1280

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A bowl of silky-creamy risotto. Typically served as a “primo,” or first course, risotto preparation is an art: al dente, but cooked enough that the starch from the rice creates a smooth and creamy consistency. 960 1280

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A caprese salad in the U.S. can hardly compare with the same simple dish in Italy: the red, juicy and ripe Roma tomatoes layered with thick slices of bufala mozzarella will put all other caprese salads you’ve had to shame. 960 1280

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Who could forget spaghetti? The iconic, long, round noodles are just one variety of over 300 different types of Italian pasta. 960 1280

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A classic Sicilian pasta dish, pasta alla norma is made with eggplant in a tomato sauce and ricotta salata. Southern Italian cuisine relies heavily on tomatoes, peppers, olives, artichokes, eggplants, fish and capers, while northern Italian cuisine uses less tomato sauce and more herbs and white sauce. 960 1280

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Polenta, made from maize meal, is a typical northern Italian dish. Once cooked into a creamy, thick paste, it can be served with vegetables, fish or meat, or shaped into patties and then fried, baked or grilled. 960 1280

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Taste of Italy  17 Photos

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