Italy sights Rome, Florence and Venice

ALL over Italy there are sights for tour eyes...

From the snow-capped Alpine border with France to the tip of the Italian toe, there are 750 miles of mountains, lakes, sun-soaked beaches and scenic splendours.

But some of the most impressive attractions are the man-made wonders in the glorious cities of Rome, Florence and Venice.

They're treasure houses of monuments, museums, palaces, cathedrals and churches.

And there's no place like ROME.

The Eternal City, built on seven hills by the winding banks of the River Tiber, is a "must see" if only for its colossal Colosseum.

It took 12 years to build - but is still dwarfed by the magnificence of the Vatican and the dome of St Peter's.

Some of the world's finest art collections are in the 12 Vatican museums and then there's the Sistine Chapel, home of Michelangelo's breathtaking brilliance.

Smart shops, peaceful parks, squares, statues and the magical Trevi Fountain make Rome an unforgettable city.

And you've got all that amazing food, too! Pastas, ice cream and lashings of good wine make it a gourmet's paradise.

Then, of course, there's FLORENCE.

The elegant Tuscany city on the River Amo is a testament to the talents of the great Italian artists.

With its stunning architecture, it remains a mecca for lovers of the bold and the beautiful.

It reflects an age of refinement and culture that is captured in a host of galleries and museums. And even if you're not an art lover, Florence is a great place to just sit and take in the atmosphere and wonderful views.

But if it's romance you're after then it's got to be VENICE.

After all, it was good enough for Casanova.

Built on more than 100 islets and linked by 400 bridges there are no cars. Just boats - including the famous gondolas that weave through the maze of waterways.

Surprisingly small, most of Venice's delightful sights can be reached on foot. But the relaxing way is to take the water bus that glides along the Grand Canal.

The real beauty is that you can see all these wonderful cities at bargain prices. Coach tour operator Leger Holidays (tel: 01709 839839) feature a two-centre holiday to Rome and Florence, leaving on October 23.

It's pounds 289 per person, based on two sharing, and includes return coach travel from more than 300 places in England and Wales and seven nights B&B, plus excursions.

Leger also offers a seven-day trip to Rome, departing October 24, at pounds 129 per person return, including trips to the centre of Rome.

Canvas Holidays (tel: 01383 644000) has week-long mobile home breaks, arriving October 23, in the heart of Tuscany's Chianti region, 30 minutes from Florence.

Price for a party of six is pounds 278, including crossing.

In Venice, Italian Life (tel: 0113 281 8811) offers an elegant apartment sleeping four close to one of the city's most beautiful areas. A week in late October is pounds 781 per party, including crossing for one car and passengers.

In Rome, a week in late October staying in a cosy apartment sleeping four costs pounds 850 per party. Two nights in Rome between November 1 and 15 is on offer at pounds 251 per person, based on two sharing, with Premier Holidays (tel: 01223516414). They also have short breaks in Florence and Venice from pounds 237.

Eight-day tours to Venice, Florence and Rome with direct-booking Archers (tel: 0870 751 2000) are available next March from pounds 349.

And Cresta Holidays (tel:0161 927 7000) have two-night breaks in Rome at pounds 313, from October 22, and around pounds 360 for similar deals in Florence and Venice.





1. FLORENCE: Bistecca Fiorentina - charcoal-grilled T-bone.

2. ROME: Abbacchio - deliciously tender roast lamb.

3. VENICE: Risie Bisi - rice with tiny, sweet baby peas.


1. THE Colosseum, where Roman gladiators fought to the death.

2. PIAZZA San Marco - the bustling heart of Venice.

3. PONTE Vecchio in Florence, one of the world's most ancient bridges.


1. EXTRA virgin olive oil and tangy Pecorino cheese.

2. DESIGNER label clothes at half the price of London shops.

3. BEAUTIFUL Murano glass vases and ornaments.

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