Italy's history, art, architecture, and culture have attracted travelers for several centuries. The country has harbored a refined civilization for two millenia, as demonstrated on a grand scale by the imposing ruins of Rome's imperial past, and on a more daily scale, by the excavations of private villas in Pompei. The great cities of art such as Rome, Venice, Florence, and Siena, are so laden with art, culture, and history, that they sometimes give the feeling of being museums themselves. Color and decoration is present anywhere, from the rainbow colors on the facades of the great Romanesque-Gothic churches, to the pastel multicolored palette of villagers houses. Besides being spread with many architectural treasures, the countryside also often displays a remarkable harmony between the natural environment and the human elements, one that can be reached only by millenia of patient cultivation. The rolling countryside of Tuscany, the coastal towns and villages of the Riviera of Levante cost, those of the Amalfi coast, have each a very distinct character, but they all share a remarkable degree of preservation and scenic beauty. Adding to the quality of the travel experience is one of the world's greatest cuisine, as well as warm, relaxed, and hospitable people.
In 2003, starting in France, I travelled in Italy by car for two weeks down to Naples, just sampling as an antipasti, the variety of Italy.