Consente di viaggiare per l'Italia

Casa della pizza By: Alexandria Gemeinhardt

Cost to travel to Italy

If you are dreaming of an Italian vacation, the cost of airfare can give you a real wake-up call. In the summer, fares from major cities on the eastern seaboard skyrocket above $1,000. Even in the off-season, there are years when travelers are hard pressed to get the same route for less than $600. For travelers looking to splurge, a cruise is a grand -- but expensive -- way to travel to Italy. Budget travelers backpacking around the continent can take advantage of inexpensive train routes.
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Population

Italy population has surpassed 60 million as per the 2009 estimates. It is the forth largest populated country of Europe and ranks twenty third in the world chart. And in terms of population density, the country stands fifth all over Europe. There are 200 persons approx residing in every square kilometer of land area.


Italy, including the islands of Sardinia and Sicily covers an area of 301,338 square km. It is made up 20 administrative regions including Abruzzi, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Remagna, Liguria, Lombardia, Marche, Molise, Piemonte, Puglia, Sardegna, Toscana, Trentino-Alto Adige, Umbria, Giulia, Lazio,Valle d'Aosta, Veneto, Sicilia, Friuli-Venezia and Basilicata.
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lingua italiana

talian is a Romance language spoken by about 60 million people in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, the Vatican City, Malta and Eritrea. There are also Italian speakers in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, the USA and the UK. Italian first started to appear in written documents during the 10th century in the form of notes and short texts inserted into Latin documents such as lawsuits and poetry. For a long time there was no standard written or spoken language in Italy and writers tended to write in their own regional dialects. In northern Italy, which was often ruled by the French, French and Occitan were used as literary languages.
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Italy government

Italy is headed by a President who appoints a Prime Minister, the elected head of government. The seat of government is Rome, where the President resides in the Palazzo del Quirinale, the chamber of deputies sits in the Palazzo Montecitorio and the senate occupies the Palazzo Madama.
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Religion

The majority of the world’s religious and philosophical movements have churches or meeting places in the major cities and resort areas, including the Anglican and American churches.

Other religious groups in Italy include over 1m Muslims, 700,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians, 550,000 evangelical Protestants, 235,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses, 45,000 Jews, and the Waldensian Evangelical Church and other small groups such as Swiss-Protestant Baptists in Piedmont, plus a number of Eastern Orthodox Albanian communities in the Mezzogiorno. Although the right to freedom of worship is guaranteed under the Italian constitution, some extreme sects are prohibited.

Italy has a unique religious heritage and 2,000 years of Christianity has permeated every facet of Italian life. The Vatican City (covering 47ha/116 acres and with a population of around 900) was established in 1929 and is a self-contained sovereign state (the world’s smallest) within the city of Rome.

The Vatican

The Vatican is the home of the government of the Roman Catholic Church and of the Pope ( il Papa or Supreme Pontiff), the spiritual leader of the world’s Roman Catholics. As well as its own peacekeeping force, the Swiss Guard, the Vatican has its own post office, newspaper and radio and TV stations. It also mints coins (with the Pope’s face) and issues stamps.

The Catholic church enjoys considerable influence, partly by virtue of a historical tradition that has seen the Church of Rome as a constant in government and the organisation of public life. There have traditionally been close relations between the state and the Catholic Church, which remains at the centre of Italian society and political power.

However, a concordat signed in 1984 ended the church’s position as the state religion, abolished compulsory religious teaching in public schools and reduced state financial contributions to the church.

Every town or village has at least one Catholic church and, although only around a quarter of Italians regularly attend mass, over 95 per cent are baptised, saints’ days, first communions and religious festivals remain popular and the majority of Italians prefer to be married in church. Children usually take their first communion (when they become full members of the Catholic church) at the age of eight or nine, usually in April or May, which is an important date in their lives.

When visiting a house of worship in Italy, you should avoid wearing shorts, short skirts or skimpy tops, although you’re rarely refused entry or asked to leave (except at St. Peter’s in Rome, where women must cover their shoulders).

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Flag

The Italian flag, il Tricolore, has been in use in its current form since the formation of the Republic in 1946. It was formally adopted a little while later, in 1948. It is made up of three equal bands: green, white and red, with the green band on the hoist side. The first version of the flag was created in 1797 by the Cispadane Republic, following Napoleon's successful campaign in Italy, and inspired by the French flag, created in 1790.

This original flag was based on the red and white of the flag of Milan, together with the green of the uniforms worn by the Milanese civic guards. Since then however, other interpretations of these colours have emerged. The green representing the countryside, the white representing the mountains, and the red representing the blood spilt during the unification of Italy. Another, more religious, interpretation claims that the green represents hope, the white represents faith and the red represents charity.
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Food

Although Italians are known throughout the world for pizza, pasta, and tomato sauce, the national diet of Italy has traditionally differed greatly by region. Prior to the blending of cooking practices among different regions, it was possible to distinguish Italian cooking simply by the type of cooking fat used: butter was used in the north, pork fat in the center of the country, and olive oil in the south. Staple dishes in the north were rice and polenta, and pasta was most popular throughout the south. During the last decades of the twentieth century (1980s and 1990s), however, pasta and pizza (another traditional southern food) became popular in the north of Italy. Pasta is more likely to be served with a white cheese sauce in the north and a tomato-based sauce in the south.

Italians are known for their use of herbs in cooking, especially oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and sage. Cheese also plays an important role in Italian cuisine. There are more than 400 types of cheese made in Italy, with Parmesan, mozzarella, and asiago among the best known worldwide. Prosciutto ham, the most popular ingredient of the Italian antipasto (first course) was first made in Parma, a city that also gave its name to Parmesan cheese.

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Top 10 Sights

1. Colosseum

For travelers making their way through Italy, the Colosseum is a must see. This huge Amphitheater is the largest of its kind ever built by the Roman Empire and has remained a model for sports facilities right up to modern times. Today the structure stands in stark contrast to the modern development that surrounds it, and is a prominent reminder of ancient times and the extensive history of Rome.


2. Venice Canals

A gondola ride through the canals of Venice is a tradition that travelers have been participating in for centuries. Venice is a city of islands and the canals have long been, in many ways, the city's streets. Lining the canals are the old buildings which have remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years, adding to the romantic charm. The Grand Canal is the most famous of these waterways and one of the most photographed sites in Venice


3. Pompeii

Below the rumbling volcano of Mt Vesuvius stand the ruins of Pompeii, an ancient Roman city preserved in time by the eruption in A.D. 79. Excavations have revealed the remains of houses, markets, baths, temples, theaters, streets scarred by the tracks of chariots, and human remains. Visitors can tour the site, walk along the old streets, and see the engineering used by Romans over 2000 years ago.


4. Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually just one of many attractions in the city of Pisa, but its fame, gained from its flaw, is world renown. Work began on the tower in the 1100s and the sinking, which led to the lean, began by the time the tower reached the third story. Prior to restoration work in the 1990s, it was predicted to topple over by the year 2000. Today, visitors can climb up the stairs of the tower for a fabulous view over the city. The Leaning Tower, also known as La Torre Pendete, stands on the Piazza del Duomo.


5. Lake Como

Lake Como is one of Italy's most scenic areas, surrounded by mountains and lined by small picturesque towns. Traditionally a haunt of the wealthy, the lake has many old opulent villas and palaces. Around the lake are resort communities and an 11th century abbey. The mild climate is also a draw for tourists, with characteristics similar to that of the Mediterranean.


6. Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a stunning stretch of coastline along the Sorrentine Peninsula. Hillside towns are built precariously along the steep mountains that cascade down to the sea. One of the main towns along here is Positano, but the entire area is popular with tourists.


7. Florence Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore

Regarded as one of the finest cathedrals in the world, the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, dominates the Florence skyline. The cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries, with the most famous piece being the extraordinary dome, completed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1434. The Belfry, standing 82 meters, can be climbed. A total of 414 steps lead up to a viewing platform with fantastic views of the city.


8. Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, which translates as "Five Villages", is a lovely coastal region with steep oceanside cliffs and hills. The picturesque villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore can be reached by several means, but are only joined to each other by a scenic narrow road through the hillside, or walking trails. Many travelers choose to hike between villages to truly enjoy the landscape. The small towns have maintained a feel of old world fishing villages and offer a sense of remoteness.


9. Vatican City

The Vatican is home to some of the world's most priceless art and art collections. Beyond the obvious sites of St Peter's Basilica and St Peter's square, the Vatican is home to countless attractions. The famous Sistine Chapel displays wall and ceiling paintings by Michelangelo and many of other of Italy's most famous artists.


10. Roman Forum
The Roman Forum may require a little imagination to understand exactly what this area once looked like. However, its historical significance as the heart of the Roman Empire cannot be overstated. Pillars, partial structures, and foundations of former temples, market halls, courts, and public buildings pay tribute to Ancient Rome, which stood here for a thousand years.
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