Food, art, architecture, wine, coffee, fashion, Italy does it all extremely well. And it's blessed with natural beauty to boot. Visiting Italy is all about emerging yourself in the Italian spirit of living well. Don't rush around ticking boxes. Ponder, touch, taste and enjoy!
The best places to stay in Italy are invested with this spirit of living well too, so be prepared to be looked after in lovely surrounds.
The 'Eternal City', Rome has been a place of pilgrimage since the middle ages, both for those journeying to the headquarters of Catholicism, and travellers in search of beauty in art and architecture. Rome is home to a number of the world's great museums and art collections, but Rome's collections don't just fill the museums, they also decorate the piazzas and the public spaces. Some of the most incredible relics of Rome are the ruins of ancient Rome, the Colosseum, the Forum and the Pantheon.
Naples with its incredible bay, views of Vesuvius and being the birthplace of pizza, and fashionable, beautiful, un-touristy Milan, are two of Italy's other great city break destinations. Naples is vibrant and frenetic rather than elegant, but it still has an impressive collection of Roman ruins, and of course it's close to Pompeii and Herculaneum. While Milan has the world class sights, but is also a financial capital.
Then of course there's Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, and for many, the gateway to Tuscany. One of the world's most beautiful cities, Florence is packed with wonderful art and architecture on a grand scale. Michelangelo, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci have helped adorn the piazzas and palaces of Florence. And beyond the beauty of the city is the sunny, terracotta beauty of the Tuscan hills and Siena, Pisa, Montepulciano and San Gimignano.
And that's before you consider the natural beauty of the Lakes Region, the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, the Cinque Terre or Capri. And the magic of Venice… It appears that the real challenge of planning your trip to Italy is choosing from too many incredibly promising destinations.
Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
A romantic hotel within a medieval village. Unique rooms feature wooden beams, views over the square and terracotta floors. A thermal spa in the village, walking tours, and wine tasting in the surrounds. An enchanting weekend for couples in typical Tuscan style.
San Gimignano (Tuscany)
15th Century restored townhouse with original terracotta floors, beamed ceilings and delicate frescoes throughout. Romantic bedrooms feature pastel colour schemes, four posters and billowing drapes. Breakfast in bed or in the courtyard - a charming spot for romantics and local exploring.
A charming bed and breakfast in the hills above Lake Garda. Three simple, stylish, homely bedrooms (one with shared bathroom). Great for families or groups of friends. Lots of outdoor activities nearby and just a short drive to the Lake. A great value hideaway off the beaten track.
Colombare di Sirmione
Slightly set back from the Lake Garda waterfront, Il Mosaico offers good value accommodation ideal for those looking to explore the area by car. Comfortable, air conditioned bedrooms are striking in moody palettes with all the mod cons. Includes free Wifi and plenty of private parking.
Charming hospitality welcomes guests to this stylish, owner-run B&B in a prime location near the Duomo. Four poster beds, antiques and decorative detailing is a delight to wake up to. Gawp at Florence from the rooftop over your breakfast or nightcap. Perfect for families - a home away from home.
18th Century family run B&B, nestled between its own vines and olive groves, on the outskirts of Florence. The warm decor with family antiques and pictures, give a true Italian homely feel. Simple comforts, full of character and a wonderful countryside spot from which to explore the region.
Nestled in lemon and orange groves, minutes from the Sorrento city centre, Villa Oriana Relais offers panoramic views of the gulf and countryside surrounding Sant'Agnello. Rooms are bright, traditionally decorated, with private patios. Total relaxation in a gorgeous family-run hotel.
A cosy hotel and charming family home. Traditional high-ceilinged rooms with antiques, large bookcases, cabinets of figurines, tiled floors and white washed walls. Very well priced. A homely choice for a beach holiday.
Charming, characterful, colourful boutique B&B in the heart of historical Palmero. Rooms with quirky art and furnishings, air conditioning and direct access to lovely outdoor courtyard. Traditional Sicilian breakfast available. Child friendly and great value.
Traditional villa renovated with contemporary minimalism between the sea and Modica. Rooms with attractive pastel washed walls, light wood furniture and private terraces. Lovely pool and sun deck, restaurants nearby. A great spot for a family holiday with access to beaches and sights around.
Luxury hotel outside Rome oozing simple elegance and history. Original frescos and Ciampelli paintings on walls. With a bar, restaurant and outdoor swimming pool, as well as access to spa and golf club. Value chic and perfect for a romantic getaway.
Secluded penthouse B&B off the beaten track with spacious rooms, whitewashed walls, simple décor and the piece de resistance, a flower-filled private balcony on which to relax and enjoy an aperitivo as the sun goes down. A great budget choice and for those wanting to sample out-of-the-way Rome.
An adorable, typically Venetian B&B. Rooms exude understated charm and homeliness. Excellent views from the bedrooms and lovely breakfasts. A great value spot for central Venice.
Venice (Castello, 3608)
An elegant historic residence close to San Marco Square. Gothic-Byzantine architecture remains the hallmark of its restored interiors - period furnishings and 18th century paintings throughout the rooms. A great value choice for families, friends or couples.
Agliano Terme, Italy
A delightful Italian country house with a spa and wellness centre. Steeped in rustic charm, guests can relax on the quiet terrace by the pool or in one of the peaceful drawing rooms. Watch the sun set over the picturesque hills whilst enjoying local, seasonal dishes at the hotel restaurant.
Da Gelsomina is known for its fantastic restaurant - locally sourced ingredients, traditional cuisine and wonderful views from the veranda. There are a number of simple bedrooms decorated in calm pastel tones, each with private balconies. A quiet and less traveled spot on Capri.