Italy's best sights are scattered around the country, dotted along the sunny southern coastline and nestled in the rustic heart of the northern countryside. Seeing it all is one thing - having the time and freedom to enjoy it is another. Italy tours like those offered by Tauck ensure that you get to see the best sights and savor the best experiences. The stress - and added expense - that comes with doing it all yourself is eliminated, enabling you to revel in all Italy's gastronomic, artistic and historic riches.
The list of places to visit in Italy could stretch on almost indefinitely, but expert-planned Italy tours highlight not just cities and towns, but also key experiences that immerse travelers in the local lifestyle. These are just five of the very best that you should look for on Italy tours:
* The Amalfi Coast - Located along Italy's southwest coast, the beauty of this region moved Goethe to write poems detailing all that he saw. The towns of Amalfi, Positano and Ravello boast ancient roots and residences dating to the 10th century. The spectacular views out to the Mediterranean are sure to inspire you, as will the relaxing mood of the 'Costiera Amalfitana' - it's been known as a soul-soothing getaway for centuries.
* Rome - 'The Eternal City' is truly that. Here, ancient ruins stand side-by-side with buildings that are filled with vibrant modern life. That mix makes it both fascinating and thrilling - there are few other places on earth where history and modernity mix and mingle so easily. While in Rome, a visit to the Vatican is essential; Tauck's Italy tours offer exclusive, after-hours guided access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel so you can see the world's greatest art treasures - without the crowds.
* The countryside of Tuscany and Umbria - The neighboring regions of Tuscany and Umbria will speak directly to the heart of foodies and those who yearn for a genteel-yet-rustic way of life. The rolling landscape is punctuated with hilltop towns and farmhouses dating back centuries, as well as vineyards that have been producing some of the world's finest wines for generations. It's also an ideal region for learning more about the secrets behind Italy's famed cuisine from local experts.
* Cinque Terre - On the northwest coast, this chain of five romantic cliff-clinging fishing villages is certain to be a highlight of any visit to Italy. Journey between the villages by train (and some Italy tours include cruising between them), stopping to enjoy the unique character and atmosphere of each. Walk the cobblestone streets, photograph the brightly painted houses and, by all means, dine on some of the finest seafood dishes in the country.
* Venice - It may be one of the most legendary - and most visited - cities in Europe, but Venice's fame is only equal to its magic. Glide along the canals on a gondola, stand spellbound inside the glittering Byzantine Basilica of St. Mark, revel in the splendor of the Doge's Palace - it's all part of the essential Venice experience. Nearby islands in the Venetian Lagoon, such as Murano, Burano and Torcello, are famous for handicrafts like lace and glass, and make wonderful day trips.
Italy's allure to travelers is multifaceted - from its food to its art to its laid-back atmosphere, it's simply one of the best destinations in the world. For more information about Italy tours, visit Tauck.com.