Hardly any other country offers so many varied sights as Italy. Dreamlike beautiful landscapes with mountains and sandy beaches, a fascinating cultural heritage, architectural masterpieces from the antique up to the present and living history in mediaeval cities draw millions of visitors to this beautiful country every year.
One of the most beautiful regions of Italy is Tuscany with its picturesque landscape and fascinating mediaeval town centers such as in its capital Florence, in Siena and San Gimignano. In the north it is bounded by the Appenines, several mountain ranges of which reach 2000 m. Most popular landscapes are the Maremma in the south, the Chianti region between Florence and Sienna and also the Etruscan Riviera. Pines, cypresses, olive trees and vineyards give the hilly landscape its very special charm.
Northern Italy is home to the gorgeous Lake Country. Among the lakes, Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore and Lake Como are the most popular to visit. Around Lake Garda, places to visit include Sirmione, a green and peaceful headland covered in olive trees and cypresses, and the occasional garden hotel. Punta Portese marks the beginning of the Riviera Bresciana, Garda's small-scale version of the Côte d'Azur which takes in the towns of Salò and Gardone Riviera. . Lake Maggiore's white ferries shuttle back and forth between the belle époque resort of Stresa and Isola dei Pescatori every half-hour in the summer, calling in at Isola Bella on the way. Lake Como is the most beautiful of the Italian lakes particularly in the center of the lake, where the eastern Lecco branch meets the main lake.
Italy has two active volcanoes: Mt. Vesuvius near Naples, famous for its eruption in AD 79 that covered the nearby town Pompeii with ash and soil, and subsequently preserved the city in its state from that fateful day. Everything from jars and tables to paintings and people were frozen in time. The other volcano is Mount Etna on Sicily, one of the most active volcanoes in Europe and Sicily's best-known natural attraction. It is also the highest mountain on the island currently measuring 3,350m (10,990ft); the height varies each time the volcano erupts.
For scenery alone, the Amalfi Coast is a breathtaking ride down Italy's west coast. Positano is a small town located on the Amalfi Coast, a stretch of coastline renowned for its rugged terrain, scenic beauty, picturesque towns and diversity. The city seems to be scattered from top to bottom down a hillside leading to the coast. Though Positano grew and prospered in medieval times, by the mid-19th more than half of the population was gone. In the 20th century it went from being a poor fishing village to a very popular tourist attraction.