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A selection of the most interesting ideas for your holidays and how to spend your free time 

New cultures, new foods, and unique destinations to discover: choose what to visit and the type of trip you’d like. Let yourself be guided by your curiosity and enjoy a myriad of experiences while in Italy. From nature to sport, with food, wine and art along the way. Get ready for some enjoyment and start planning your next trip to Italy. 

 

NOT TO BE MISSED

Most impressive places

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Nature

Isola di Budelli

Budelli pink beach, a wonder in Sardinia Unique in the world for the unlikely colour of its sand, located in the far North of Sardinia, near the Strait of Bonifacio. The pink beach of the Island of Budelli alongside Razzoli, Santa Maria and the nearby Spargi, are the most unspoiled, wild areas of the Archipelago della Maddalena National Park. A hidden gem Situated in Cala di Roto, which is on the south-eastern side of Budelli Island, the beach glows its special rosy hue. To protect it, the park authorities decided to prohibit tourists from docking their boats on the shore. All around there is an archipelago full of islets, coves, inlets and beaches - all accessible - and sea beds to be discovered. Populated by fish and colonies of soft corals gifting their typical red reflections to the crystalline waters. Heritage to be safeguarded The island was owned privately for the last century. The last individual a New Zealand billionaire who bought it at auction in 2013 for almost 3 million euros. The state however snatched it back and it became public property in 2016. It was assigned to the care of the Archipelago della Maddalena National Park who declared the beach Zone A. This high level of protection prohibits tourists from accessing, passing through, resting and bathing in the water of the island. Stepping on the pink beach is therefore, a now forbidden pleasure, navigation is possible up to the border of buoys, which close access to the bay from about 70 metres from the shore. Having recently evicted the very popular 80 something year old caretaker, who shared the wonders of Budelli with the whole world through social media, the Park council decided to install, in collaboration with the WWF, a surveillance camera system that allows constant monitoring of the beach. Alchemy en rose Sheltered from the wind thanks to a jagged rocky headland and a high juniper hedge, the beach owes its particular colour to a fragile yet powerful alchemy from mixing fragments of coral, granite, shells and molluscs in its fine sand. The rare pink hue is particularly influenced by a microorganism that lives inside the shells, decorating the seabed in the Posidonia meadows. When this microorganism dies, its shells get swept to shore pulverized by the currents and atmospheric qualities. In the last century, frequent anchoring and the irregular motion of the sea compromised the Posidonia seagrass beds and modified the sandy composition. Since the rules for safeguarding the beach were put in place, the beach has finally taken back its original coral colour. A myth immortalized by the cinema “There was a little girl who lived on an island”: is how Monica Vitti began her long monologue. Legendary protagonist of Deserto Rosso, the first colour film shot by Michelangelo Antonioni. Vitti’s unforgettable voice evokes a dreamlike enchantment, in the 1964’s film which the director from Ferrara decided to set on the pink beach of Budelli. A step from beauty Even if the authorities have prohibited access to the shoreline, in order to preserve its integrity. From a distance, you can still enjoy its unique panorama, thanks to the many boat services departing from Palau or Maddalena that offer the Archipelago tour. You can indeed limit yourself to admiring its beauty from the sea, at about 70 metres. However the Park Authority have also made wooden pathways surrounding the perimeter of the beach, to give tourists the opportunity of visiting this natural paradise, without trampling or altering it. Once your boat or raft is anchored, from the nearby beaches of Cavaliere and Cala di Roto, which also offer spectacular views, you can set off accompanied by park guides along the pathways that run alongside the area.
Nature

Isola del Garda

Experience a fairy tale in the garden of Isola del Garda In antiquity, a terrible cataclysm detached part of the dry earth, letting it float on the waters. Thus Isola del Garda was born, an enchanted place on the Brescia side of Lake Garda, open to tourists for guided tours and interesting experiences. St Francis of Assisi, St Anthony of Padua and Dante Alighieri passed through here. The owners are now three sisters and four brothers of the Cavazza family, who look after the residence and the park with love and dedication. Passionate people, who have decided to open their treasure chest, the green gem of the lake, to the public. Unspoilt nature The disembarkation takes place in the intense scent of citrons and lemons. The air is clear and the special microclimate provides mild days for several months of the year. As soon as one lands on the scenic green cliff that is Isola del Garda, it is the centuries-old cypresses that strike one. Majestic, they provide a dignified setting for the splendid villa in Venetian neo-Gothic stylebuilt in the early 20th century to a design by architect Luigi Rovelli. At its feet, terraces and gardens slope down to the placid, crystal-clear waters of the lake. The large park is an absolute marvel in every corner, a result of the endless care and centuries-old research. When Duke De Ferrari of Genoa bought the island in the late 19th century and had the mansion built, his daughter Anna Maria wanted to plant flowers and exotic essences. Later, his daughter Livia, consort of Count Alessandro Cavazza, who was motivated by the same love of gardening, took care of it. The show we can see today is the result of the action of many skilful hands and a great passion. From a design point of view, the entire park was conceived to be admired from the water, as you approach on board the boats. On the central terrace the garden is in classical Italian style while in what used to be the orchard garden, organised on the lower terrace, is an English-style garden. Here thrive persimmons, lemons, pears, pomegranates, oranges, grapefruits, prickly pears, jujubes and capers. In another area, palm trees from the Canary Islands stand out. Roses and bougainvillea make the colours explode. Oaks, poplars and pines are great. Myths and magic It is not only the extraordinary natural setting that captivates, because the Isola del Garda park has other surprises in store. The hedges are modelled to represent various figures, in plays of geometry, including the reproduction of the coat of arms of the De Ferrari family, who first gave life to the garden. While strolling, one also encounters mysterious presences, somewhere between the human and the mythological. They are called “the guardians of the garden” and are wooden sculptures created by artist Gianluigi Zambelli. There is a young boy sitting on a bench, pensively observing a chrysalis: it is about to hatch and inside can be glimpsed the beautiful face of a young girl. There's a dragonfly emerging from a pond, and a horse emerging from the green. Then fauns, nymphs and sprites, populating a fairy tale that is pure reality. Her Majesty the Olive Due to its favourable climate and geographical position, Lake Garda constitutes the ideal habitat for the cultivation of olives. This island is no exception and boasts 50 varieties of cultivars, some of which date back to ancient Roman times. Among the varieties are Leccino, Frantoio, Pendolino, Casaliva and Gargnà. The owners, with their farm Azienda Agricola Borghese Cavazza, produce various types of Garda PDO olive oil of excellent quality. Light and with fruity notes, it is an essential ingredient in the local cuisine. In this regard, it is worth mentioning a small, indispensable ritual, poetry for the palate in its simplicity: to savour all the aromas it releases, oil should be enjoyed on bruschetta. Other products, equally “children” of the park, can also be purchased: lemon liqueurs and cosmetics made from extra virgin olive oil. One trip, many possibilities The guided tour of Isola del Garda, which includes the park and the Villa, is already a remarkable experience in itself. On certain dates of the year, however, it is possible to combine a tasting of the local wines, which are as renowned as the oil. Or you can opt for an extraordinary observation of the celestial vault, when the stars fall, on the days from 10 August, the night of St Lawrence, to the 14th of the same month. If, on the other hand, it is the water that attracts you, seize the following opportunity: a cruise on a sailing ship.
Nature
Vulcano - Isole Eolie, Sicilia

Vulcano

Vulcano: the Aeolian island with a relaxing open-air spa If you want to make peace with nature, de-stress and detox from sedentary habits, Vulcano, with its full-of-life, primordial and, above all, healthy elements, is the island for you: its irrepressible volcanic temperament and spectacular, untamed landscape will help you relax and regain your inner balance. Welcoming and friendly Vulcano, a UNESCO World Heritage site less than a kilometre from Lipari, is the closest to the coast among the seven islands of the Aeolian archipelago. On this strip of Sicilian land, under the benevolent gaze of the ancient dormant “Vulcano” volcano, you can delight in the benefits of the thermal and sulphurous waters and an unspoilt seascape, for a holiday far from the masses. The island is very compact, so the best way to travel is by scooter or bicycle. A healthy volcanic vigour According to Greek mythology, Vulcano once housed the forges of Hephaestus, the god of fire and blacksmiths, who was served by none other than the Cyclops. Even though the last eruption on the island, composed of four original craters, was recorded around 1890, the ancient volcano continues to make its presence known through fumaroles, the jets of steam on the crest and on the seabed, and the sulphurous muds renowned for their therapeutic properties. Despite the overwhelming smell of sulphur, if you’re passing by Vulcano, you cannot miss out on the exciting experience of diving into the thermal mud baths, natural volcanic pools with curative properties. It was first made accessible to the public in the 1960s, when the superficial crust covering the pool was removed, without altering the natural habitat. This open-air spa offers remarkable benefits: it can sooth inflammation and pain, heal the skin and is a real pick-me-up for the respiratory system. A hike to the summit with breathtaking views Why not follow your mud bath with a dip in the island's crystal-clear waters? Or this might be your final stop for a well-deserved refreshment after a challenging hike to Vulcano’s Great Fossa Crater, at 391 metres above sea level. It is a somewhat strenuous seven-kilometre route, but is suitable for everyone. We recommend hiking during the cooler hours of the day: it is a three-hour round trip, but it is well worth it for the breathtaking 360-degree views of the archipelago at the summit. Jurassic park in lava stone Starting from Porto Levante, in the northern part of the island, you can head along a paved road to the Vulcanello peninsula: one of the three original eruptive craters of Vulcano, whose activity has shaped a surreal landscape known by the locals as the 'Valley of the Monsters'. Here, on a carpet of fine black sand, nature has fashioned a bizarre kind of Jurassic Park out of lava rock. When you let your imagination run wild, in these sculptures eroded by water and wind you will begin to see fantastical prehistoric monsters, crouching beasts and menacing creatures: in reality, nothing but bubbling lava formations solidified by a sudden cooling of the air. Black beaches with reflective natural pools After tackling monster valleys and volcanic treks, you deserve to treat yourself to some seaside relaxation. The shores of Vulcano are famous for their dark beaches and seabeds, where the lava stone plays with the sunlight’s reflections as it filters through the water, creating striking effects, especially at sunset. You can get a great picture of this at the Sabbie nere (Black Sands) beach, in the bay of Ponente, perhaps the most famous beach on Vulcano. From here, you can hire a boat and visit the enchanting Cavallo cave. Then there is the nearby Pool of Venus, which can only be reached by sea but is well worth the effort: also known as Bagno delle Vergini, it is an immense natural pool of tuff and basalt with inviting turquoise waters. Relaxation and nightlife: all in one beach If, on the other hand, you want to pamper yourself with a dip in bubbling water heated by sulphur vapours, you should stop by Fumarole beach, protected by a wall of rocks and Mediterranean scrubland, nestled in the bay of Ponente. Easily accessible by taxi boat or by taking a downhill path from the main road, Asino beach, private and secluded during the day, becomes a popular destination at night: this well-furnished cove hosts a fantastic bar where you can spend unforgettable evenings amid music and cocktails, the sea and starlit skies.
Nature
Stromboli - Isole Eolie, Sicilia

Stromboli

Stromboli: a trip to the foot of the volcano for complete relaxation The island of Stromboli is the most northerly island of the Aeolian archipelago and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between Panarea and the Calabrian coast. If you’re planning a holiday to this enchanting destination, you will not miss the imposing volcano Mount Stromboli, one of the most active and perhaps unique volcanoes in the world with its three perpetually erupting craters. Walking on the giant's “skin” The locals have nicknamed the volcano Iddu, Sicilian for “he”, because of its small explosive flashes, repeated at intervals of about 15-20 minutes, and because of its perpetual grumbling and the periodic minor eruptions. Mount Stromboli is a volcano that commands a respectful awe from all who visit: with two-thirds submerged under the surface of the sea, over time humans have built settlements and communities on its back, for millennia we have continued to tread on its sensitive skin, almost teasing it a little. Disconnecting by reconnecting with nature The island is divided into towns, almost all clustered on the north-eastern side, where you will also find the main beaches: Scari, Piscità, San Vincenzo, Ficogrande and the town of Stromboli. On the opposite side, isolated and reachable only by sea, is Ginostra, a picturesque amphitheatre of huts perched on the rock: once a humble fishing village, it is now a unique and rather spartan tourist destination. Before planning a holiday in Stromboli, the first thing to remember is that only residents can drive motorised vehicles and there is no public transport. However, not to worry – it only takes twenty minutes to walk from one end of the town to the other! What’s more, there are several electric taxis that, at modest prices, will take you to your destination along the only kilometre of paved road. Rather than being an inconvenience, the scarcity of vehicles on the road will give you the pleasant feeling of truly being away from it all on holiday. A pitch black night, to count the stars The other thing to note is that there is no public lighting on the island, so we recommend always carrying a torch when you go out at night. The almost total darkness of the night gives an extraordinary brilliance to the canopy of stars twinkling above Stromboli, sure to delight stargazers everywhere and certainly the most romantic visitors. The island also lacks its own source of drinking water, which is transported there by tanker once a week in winter and three times a week in summer. The evening is the best part of the day! At sunset, while visitors in all the seaside resorts enjoy an aperitif, it is the ideal time to experience some of the main excursions. If you are properly equipped, in good health and accompanied by an authorised guide, you can trek up the back of the volcano to the summit, at an altitude of 900 metres, and admire the explosive activity of the craters – from a safe distance! Remember that things can change very quickly at Stromboli: sometimes, due to the conditions of the volcano, groups cannot depart or are forced to stop halfway. Also at dusk, you can head by boat from Scari to Sciara del Fuoco, the steep slope formed by lava, incandescent volcanic slag and lapilli that descends from the crater of Stromboli down into the sea. From the water, you can enjoy spectacular views of this river of fire flowing down the mountain. The black beaches of the Stromboli coastline Summer days should undoubtedly be devoted to enjoying the sea. Much of Stromboli's coastline is marked by high cliffs. The main beaches, almost all with shimmering black sand, are located along the stretch of coast from Ficogrande to La Petrazza. We recommend avoiding light-coloured swimwear. Pleased to meet you, Strombolicchio! A ten-minute walk from the hydrofoil landing takes you to Ficogrande beach, a cove bathed in sand and volcanic rock. Forgia Vecchia, however, wins the award for the most beautiful beach on the island. This rather wild expanse of black pebbles, smoothed by the water and wind, can be reached by land via a path from the nearby beach of Scari, below San Vincenzo, a town overlooking the iconic Strombolicchio. Legend has it that this volcanic sea stack, Iddu's younger brother, is the top of a volcano that was thrown into the sea during an eruption. A few years ago, it was designated a protected nature park: the lighthouse that towers above it, once gas-powered, is now 100% self-sufficient thanks to renewable energy.