Our recommendations for the perfect two weeks in Italy

Immerse yourself in ‘La Dolce Vita’ of Italy; a country steeped in awe-inspiring architecture, sun-drenched coastlines, sumptuous cuisine and evocative historic landmarks. A two-week trip allows you to experience the unparalleled diversity of Italy, whether you’re after a romantic escape or a family adventure.

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We’ve put together our top recommendations for a truly unforgettable holiday, from the best places to stay to the finest restaurants, all linked with the must-visit destinations across the region.

The Amalfi Coast

Boasting some of the most rugged yet beautiful scenery, the Amalfi Coast stretches from Punta Campanella to Salerno. Nestled among the jagged cliffs you’ll find some of the most luxurious hotels Italy has to offer, including the converted 17th Century monastery, Monastero Santa Rosa, with breathtaking views across the tranquil blue seas. Be sure to sip the region’s favourite refreshment, Limoncello, as you recline by the infinity pool.

The picturesque hilltop towns of Positano, Amalfi and Sorrento offer pastel-coloured boutiques and bars, impressive ancient ruins and postcard-perfect trattorias. Brave the winding coastal road for vistas like no other, discovering treasure-trove villages and deserted coves as you go.

Puglia

Down in the heel of Italy and rich in culture, Puglia is soon becoming the place to be. Picturesque landscapes, old towns waiting to tell their stories and immaculate cathedrals, showing off their architectural detail. Spend laid-back afternoons in the fishing villages of Gargano and explore the secluded, secret caves. Alternatively, mooch around the city of Ostuni which sits on the top of the hills, overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

Indulge in exciting opportunities tailored to you -  Borgo Egnazia offers bikes for two-wheeled exploration and also runs a cooking school where you will learn the art of Italian cuisine from the amazing Massaia Mimina.

Rome

No trip to Italy is complete without a visit back in time to the decadent capital city of Rome. Vivid nightlife converges with iconic ancient landmarks, creating a rich, vibrant culture. Take in the Colosseum in all its Renaissance glory, or the monumental Pantheon, before embarking on a private tour of the prestigious Vatican and the extraordinary Sistine Chapel.

Continue the immersion of historic influences with a stay in the beautiful Grand Hotel Via Veneto, set within a masterfully restored 19th Century building with works by Picasso, Dali and Miró lining the walls. Eat at La Pergola, revered by tourists and locals alike with three Michelin stars and an innovative Mediterranean menu coupled with a magnificent wine cellar. Dine alfresco on the terrace with a panorama of the city for the perfect Roman experience.

Tuscany

Venture further North to the pastoral, idyllic landscapes of Tuscany, scattered with sun-dappled vineyards, rural churches, quaint stone farmhouses and gothic Middle Age castles. Stay at Castel Monastero and mooch around the beautiful, medieval, eleventh Century village where you can watch the little piazza come alive. Be sure to try the world-renowned wine first-hand in the Chianti region, with tasting tours held in fairytale castles alongside in-depth teachings about the history and passion behind each glass.

Take in the delights of Florence, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the banks of the Arno river, brimming with marble basilicas, candle-lit chapels and exquisite palaces. The Four Season Hotel Firenze is the perfect location for those wanting a luxurious, secluded stay, yet is within walking distance from the historical sites. Architecture and art take centre stage, with the Duomo cathedral dominating the medieval cityscape. Hike to the Piazalle Michelangelo to witness a sunset like no other.

Milan

Milan is a cosmopolitan haven, thriving on creativity and opulence to form a city of two halves. As ever the cultural history is evident in the unique architecture, whilst modern, fast-paced businesses have made it a worldwide destination for fashion and design. Visit the high-class shopping district of Quadrilatero della moda, lined with prestigious boutiques from Gucci to Prada.

Just an hour away from the bustle of Milan, rest your head at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo tucked beside Lake Como. Evoking art nouveau charm with familial warmth, the five star hotel overlooks the Bellagio and Grigne mountains. Take an excursion across the lake on board one of the hotel’s two mahogany-hulled Venetian motor boats for tranquil recuperation.

Venice

Venice is a sight to behold: blue-lagoon canals that meander amongst marble palaces, it’s a city essentially built on water. If it’s your first time visiting, a gondola ride is an essential way to see the sights. Stay in the world-famous Danieli Luxury Collection Hotel, comprising three interlinked palazzos with opulent interior design throughout and boasting a roof-top terrace that offers unbeatable views across the Venetian skyline.

You’ll be perfectly placed for an early morning excursion to St Mark’s Square just a short walk away, where you can take in the grandeur of the basilica at your own pace and get ahead of the crowds. For a really authentic Italian experience, take part in a hands-on cooking class at Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, what better way to learn the art of pasta-making?

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Author: Carrier