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    Destination of the Month: Italy

    ItalyWith its stunning landscapes and dramatic history, Italy has been inspiring great poets and painters for centuries. It is a country of startling extremes, from snow-capped mountains to long, hot Mediterranean beaches, from bustling cities packed with art to unspoilt medieval villages and vineyards full of superb local produce.Italy is a perfect short break destination, with three of the world's most beautiful cities: Rome, Florence and Venice, just three hours flight from the UK. Those in search of Culture or a taste of glamour might prefer the super-fashionable Milan or the chaotic colour of Naples.If rest and relaxation is what you have in mind for your next holiday, there is no shortage of choices in Italy. Generally speaking it is not renowned for low-cost tourism, but there are affordable options in most areas. Here's my recommendation for three of the best Italian destinations to try:
    • Sorrento: this resort is well connected to all the attractions of the Amalfi Coast and the archaeological sites of Campania. Take a ferry to the island of Capri, browse the little boutiques and ceramic shops or just sit back and enjoy amazing views over the ocean. The peak of the season can be busy, so the best time to visit is May or September.
    • Umbria: ideal for a low-key, pleasant and restful holiday, Umbria is one of the few Italian regions to have no coastline. Instead it offers lush green countryside and great food (local delicacies include wild boar and truffles). Potter around medieval towns and get a genuine taste of the culture, without the commercialism you find in similar areas like Tuscany.
    • Liguria: One of Italy's smallest regions, Liguria stretches west in a narrow ribbon along the coast from France. Like so much of Italy, Liguria is a land of contrasts, home to seaside resort towns in the style of Cannes and Monaco; rocky coves and pebbly beaches and the country's largest commercial port and largest naval port. Hire a car and enjoy the spectacular journey along the Ligurian coast through tunnel after tunnel like James Bond. However, anyone who doesn't happen to be an international super-spy with a licence to kill would be strongly advised to adopt a slower speed and enjoy the scenery.

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