by our Italy expert Paul Baderman
Rome's Appian Way, down which the Roman legionaries marched, begins in the Imperial Forum. In the Forum is a massive temple door, green patina’d with age, that a visitor can touch, knowing that 2,000 years ago, priests and citizens pushed against this very surface. That sums up one aspect of the Eternal City – history you can see and touch. The glory of St Peter’s is another, the quirky alleys and courtyards of gourmet paradise Trastevere, yet another.
The length of Italy as a whole contains many such contrasting delights. Venice, with its “streets full of water” is touristy, historic, and reveals a painter’s eye view at every corner. Florence is for the art lover, Naples and Sorrento for the incurably romantic, Milan for the modernist. Vesuvius shows a civilisation ‘frozen’ in lava and Sicily’s Etna can still erupt today. While for tranquility and nature at its kindest and loveliest, the spectacular lakes, Como, Garda, Maggiore, Lugano, are unrivalled.