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La Dolce Vita – Italy makes living the good life seem so simple

Picture yourself sipping a glass of red on a wine-tasting tour of Tuscany, catching the breeze on a sailing trip across Lake Garda, gazing at the pink-hued pinnacles of the Dolomites or marvelling at fabulous architecture in Florence. Stand on Juliet's balcony in Verona (Romeo not included), become Rome-antic or glide the Venetian canals - and have you seen the glorious view from the top of Mount Vesuvius? Italy just oozes style, culture and effortless beauty - you'll see it in the seductive beaches of the Amalfi Coast, the jaw-dropping detail of the Sistine Chapel and in the people themselves, who make the business of everyday living into a true art form.

Things to do

Who could resist all those world-famous Italian cities drenched in culture, the seductive language of love, or a slice of fresh mozzarella pizza? The charms of Italy are many. Discover your own piece of paradise on a quiet beach holiday in Sicily, cruise the Mediterranean stopping off to explore Florence, the Isle of Elba and Sardinia, or head to Northern Italy to soak up the culture in fair Verona. Travel slowly through the rolling hills of Sardinia on a walking holiday or explore ancient Italy on an archaeological tour of Pompeii. Whichever Italian holiday you choose, take our advice and make plenty of time for eating. From the gelato to the espresso and back again, the Italian flair for food is unparalleled.

Northern Italy

Northern Italy encompasses a large and varied area bordering Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The mountains of the Dolomites offer incredible walking and gastronomy (two things that go together rather well), and are also perfect for a snowy Christmas retreat. The Italian lakes of Garda and Como are found here too, amidst an Alpine landscape dotted with medieval villages. Walking and train tour holidays are both great ways to take in the sights. Perched on the Adriatic Coast, and with no need of an introduction, is Venice, while just down the road you'll find fair Verona.


Shady olive groves, sun-drenched vineyards and gently rolling hills; the bucolic charms of Tuscany are the stuff of dreams - or indeed of dream holidays. The region’s main city is Florence, a true powerhouse of art and history. It is here, amidst the churches and museums of the historic centre, that you'll find Michelangelo's David. The Leaning Tower of Pisa isn't far away and, sparkling just off of Tuscany's gorgeous coastline, is the pristine island of Elba


Prepare to be wooed - from the moment you set foot in Rome, you can't help but be swept up in the romance of it all. She'll wow you with sight after incredible sight - the Pantheon, the Coliseum, Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, the Spanish Steps... the list goes on. But it's not just history and grandeur that entice - you'll also be seduced by the contemporary street life of this glamorous diva of a city. Sip a glass of spumante on the terrace of some stylish restaurant, or pull up a chair at a pavement café. You'll be greeting passers by with a ‘ciao bella’ in no time.

The Amalfi Coast and around

This little corner of Italy really packs in the sights. The stunning Amalfi Coast stretches south from the Sorrento Peninsula in all its dramatic glory. Lush forested mountains plunge steeply into the ocean, fringed by pastel-hued villages and sandy coves - this truly is picture-postcard Italy. Within easy striking distance is Pompeii with the imposing cone of Mount Vesuvius looming on the horizon. Just off of the Mediterranean coast is the fabled island of Capri, while to the north you can enjoy the faded charm and gastronomic treats of Naples.


Sun-baked and full of character - if Sicily were a person, it would be a charming old rogue with a weather-beaten face and a heart of gold. History, archaeology and a distinct culinary tradition await you here. From the faded markets in the crumbling old town of Palermo, to the lovely coastal Cefalù and the majestic Mount Etna, this singular island at the tail end of Europe is sure to win your heart.

See All Holidays to Italy

Enjoy a great-vaue break at this delightful hilltop hotel overlooking the sea, from where you'll be able to explore some of Italy's most vibrant towns and cities, and mysterious ancient ruins.

Hotel Franceschi QQQ

Stay and Explore

Tucked away in the Tuscan mountain village of Gavinana, this small and friendly 3-star hotel is run by the Franceschi family who pride themselves on attention to detail. Highly regarded by previous Saga guests, you're assured great hospitality and will feel like part of the family.

Enjoy a stay on Lake Molveno at the Hotel Alle Dolomiti, among the beautiful pink-hued mountains of the Dolomites.

This elegant, Mediterranean-style hotel offers exceptional value, spectacular views across the sea to Sorrento and the chance to relax in its elegant spa. It's also the perfect base from which to visit some of Italy's most famous sites.

From this delightful hilltop hotel overlooking the sea, you'll be able to explore some of Italy's most vibrant towns and cities, and mysterious ancient ruins.

Stay right in the heart of Sorrento and enjoy one of the best views of the Bay of Naples

Explore Tuscany's riviera from this elegant hotel which is set in the seaside town of Viareggio.

These varied and iconic walks offer a contrast of panoramas across the Gulf of Naples, to the slopes of Vesuvius. Explore the ruined city of Pompeii and discover the terraced valleys near Sorrento.

Enjoy the most popular and largest of the Italian lakes, Lake Garda, with a stay at the locally-rated 4-star Park Hotel Gritti situated in pleasant grounds, close to Bardolino, famous for its red wine.

Choose a special upgraded package for the ultimate stay at this elegant, Mediterranean-style hotel which boasts spectacular views across the sea to Sorrento and the chance to relax in its elegant spa. It's also the perfect base from which to visit some of Italy's most famous sites.

Choose a special upgraded package for the ultimate stay at this delightful hilltop hotel overlooking the sea.

Explore the mountain scenery, limestone gorges, tranquil lakes and flower meadows of northern Italy.

Get away from it all at this hotel on the Puglia coast, with chances to visit some of the region's most famous sights.

Hotel Bogliaco

Small and Friendly

Look forward to a seven-night stay in an enchanting, family-run hotel and explore Lombardy's historic cities and the many attractions surrounding beautiful Lake Garda.

From this delightful hilltop hotel overlooking the sea, you'll be able to explore some of Italy's most renowned sites, including Pompeii and Paestum.

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Celebrate Italian-style!

See two magnificent operas at the stunning open-air theatre on the banks of Lake Massaiuccoli.

Lake Garda by Rail

Escorted Rail Tour Pace 2

Travel by train through Europe to Lake Garda. Stay in an enchanting, new-to-Saga, family-run hotel and discover local attractions and Lombardy's historic cities.

Discover the beauty of Italy's Lake Garda with a three night hotel stay before embarking on your cruise of the Venetian Lagoon.

Experience the essence of the Mediterranean on this rewarding cruise around its eastern shores…

From sublime Lake Garda and Como, to hidden alpine tarns, this tour of Italy's northern lake district is a feast for the senses.

Italian Splendours

Escorted Tour Pace 2

Traverse the rolling hills of Tuscany, immerse yourself in the magic of Florence, explore ancient Rome and discover the Bay of Naples on this fantastic introductory tour of Italy.

This fabulous discovery tour of the Veneto region in north-east Italy will take you into the heart of an area with a character and charm all its own.

Seriously Sicily

Escorted Tour Pace 2

Get a feel for the real Sicily on this comprehensive tour which combines the island’s best-loved destinations with some real hidden gems.

Greece and Italy

Cruise World

Sail to Turkey, Greece and Italy, to visit fascinating cities and ancient sites.

Corsica and Sardinia

Escorted Tour Pace 2

Explore the unique identities of two of Europe's most beautiful islands

Cruise the Mediterranean to see some of Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Italy's cultural highlights.

Great Italian Cities by Rail

Escorted Rail Tour Pace 2

Travel on high-speed trains and stay in the heart of Milan, Florence and Rome, with time to admire the must-see sights, but also to explore, eat and drink as the locals do, away from the tourist trail…

The secrets of unspoilt Italy are unveiled on this enchanting tour through Puglia, Calabria and on to Sicily.

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks with a visit to Athens, discover the mark of Roman rule in Italy and set foot on the glorious Côte d’Azur as you visit some of Europe's greatest cities.

Enjoy a three-night hotel stay in Lake Garda before cruising the Adriatic and Mediterranean. See historic Dubrovnik, the Acropolis in Athens and the cubist houses of Santorini.

Join your expert host on a 12-night tour through Sicily, where history awaits around every corner…

Discover some of the Mediterranean's most sophisticated destinations, including Nice and Venice.

Discover the vibrant culture of some of Spain's liveliest ports, as well as calling at glamourous Monte Carlo. Visit Portoferraio on the island of Elba and Sète, the ‘Little Venice of Languedoc’ – ports that are only accessible to smaller ships like Braemar.

Discover what remains of ancient civilisations as you cruise from East to West, with the chance to see Athens and the ruins of Pergamon.

See the best of the western Mediterranean and Adriatic, with calls in Spain and Sicily, as you round the Italian peninsula towards Venice.

Make a circuit of the Balearics, visiting the capitals of Ibiza, Minorca and Majorca, explore the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, and pay a visit to Sicily before cruising home via the historic cities of Cartagena and Lisbon.

Experience the glorious Italian destinations of Rome and Sorrento, as well as the stunning Amalfi Coast. Visit the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and call at ancient Cartagena and Portimão.

Discover ancient buildings, striking art, glorious autumnal landscapes and iconic sites – all combine to create a fabulous picture of the western Mediterranean.

Experience the glamour of the Italian and French rivieras. Enjoy the charms of pastel-coloured Portofino, savour a taste of high-society in Monte Carlo, sip pastis in Marseille and watch a spot of water jousting in Sète.

From Croatia's elegant capital, Dubrovnik, to the charming islands of Santorini, Malta and Minorca, this relaxing cruise takes you to some equally relaxing destinations.

Combine the archaeological treasures of Turkey and traditional whitewashed villages of Greece with the lavender fields of Hvar and splendid beaches of Opatija on this cruise across the Adriatic Sea.

See the colours of the western Mediterranean on this cruise that ends the summer in style.

Experience the Adriatic's enthralling heritage and enchanting Venice on this epic voyage aboard Boudicca.

Seek out the Western Mediterranean's multi-faceted sights ahead of the crowds on this early summer voyage…

A Spanish Sojourn

Saga Cruises

Join Saga Pearl II on a Spanish adventure with visits to captivating Barcelona, Valencia and Seville.

Discover the charms of Gibraltar and Malta before heading to the furthest reaches of Eastern Europe, exploring Varna, Constanta and Odessa, and ending up on Russian shores. Enjoy an overnight stay in Turkey's capital, with a grand finale in Iberia.

Visit ancient capitals such as Rome and Lisbon, avant-garde Barcelona and sophisticated San Remo on a glorious summer cruise of the Mediterranean.

Cruise along the stunning shores of Croatia, soaking up the history and culture of some of its most fascinating cities. Enjoy two days in the timeless city of Venice and explore vibrant ports in Spain, Sardinia, Portugal and more.

Discover la dolce vita on this cruise that traces Italy's stunning west coast to Sicily, and also calls at Corsica and Malta.

Combine a three-night hotel stay in Viarreggio, with included visits to Florence and the Cinque Terre, with a cruise around the Italian Peninsula, visiting such sites as Sorrento, Sicily, Malta, Kotor and Dubrovnik.

Cruise along the stunning shores of Croatia, soaking up the history and culture of some of its most fascinating cities. Enjoy an overnight stay in the timeless city of Venice and explore vibrant ports in Spain, Sardinia, Slovenia and more.

Combine a classic Mediterranean cruise with the festive magic of Christmas aboard Saga Sapphire…

Cruise to a region where ancient civilisations have left an indelible impression, such as the Greek and Minoan ruins in Greece, Roman villas of Malta and Etruscan relics in Italy.

Join this early summer cruise to the continent and celebrate 20 years of Saga Cruising with us.

Celebrate Christmas and the New Year in style on this wonderful cruise around the Iberian Peninsula and Italy.

Enjoy overnight stays in Valletta and Venice as well as visit the tiny island of Gozo on this Mediterranean voyage.

Join this springtime cruise to the Adriatic and discover a host of historic cities and idyllic islands…

This voyage aboard Saga Sapphire takes in the best of the Med – from the eye-catching architecture of Valencia, to the ancient ruins of Carthage.

Join Black Watch on this epic voyage circumnavigating the globe and discover some of the world's most breathtaking destinations.


Italian -

Italian is of course the main language, although almost half of the population speak different local dialects which adds colour to the regions. In most large towns and cities you will find that English, German or French are understood.


You are not expected to tip in Italy and leaving something for hotel staff is at your own discretion. Restaurants will automatically add the service charge to your bill.

Population and size

Almost 61 million people live in Italy, two million less than the UK.

Italy is one and a quarter times the size of the UK.


Euro -

Gone are the days of six million lira being worth 20p, Italy now uses the euro.


Italy is a predominantly Roman Catholic country where the family is paramount.

Appearances are very important and you will be judged on your clothes, shoes, accessories and how you carry yourself.

A handshake with eye contact is the correct greeting. Football is by far the most popular sport.

An architectural delight, Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and, according to one estimate, the country guards half of the world’s great art treasures.


Yes – Si

No – No

Good morning – Buon giorno

Good evening – Buona sera

Good night – Buona notte

Thank you – Grazie

Please – Per favore

How much? – Quanto costa?


Italy is one hour ahead of GMT.


Mains voltage is 220 volts AC. All sockets take small, round two-pin plugs.


Hot and dry in the summer, cool and wet in the winter.


Your health is only at risk in Italy if you seriously upset the Mafia!

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre – see, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad at

Passports and visas

By law, you’ll need to carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.


Smoking is banned in all public places.

Flight time

It obviously depends where you fly to, but as an example flight time from London to Rome is 2 hours 15 minutes.


Five foods to try in Italy

Five foods to try in Italy

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