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Stonehenge - The Oldest In The World

  Duration: 10 days / 9 nights; Tour Type: Cultural, Historical; Best Period: May - October; Distance to be passed: 1300 km; Country: Armenia See more details

Holy Mount Ararat

Duration: 9 days / 8 nights; Tour Type: Cultural, Historical; Best Period: May - October; Distance: ~1080 km; Country: Armenia See more details

Guaranteed Departures

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights; Tour Type: Cultural, Leisure; Best Period: according to set dates; Distance: ~500 km; Country: Armenia See more details

Armenia – Top Destination of the year

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights; Tour type: Cultural, Historical, Wine; Best Period: March - November; Distance to be passed: ~1150 km; Coutnry: Armenia See more details

ARMENIA UNESCO

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights; Tour Type: Historical, Wine, Cognac, Hiking; Best Period: May - October; Distance to be passed: ~1550 km; Country: Armenia See more details

Following the Great Silk Road

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights; Tour Type: Silk Road, Cultural, Historical, Wine; Best Period: May - October; Distance to be passed: ~1050 km Countries: Georgia, Armenia See more details

Feel The Road from Armenia to Karabakh

  Duration: 14 days / 13 nights; Tour Type: Jeeping, Historical, Adventure, Wine Best Period: May - October; Distance: ~1900 km; Countries: Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh See more details

Pearls of Caucasus

Duration: 13 days / 12 nights Tour type: Cultural, Historical, Wine, Gourmand Best Period: March - December Distance: Countries: Armenia, Georgia See more details

Italy is located in Southern Europe and comprises the boot-shaped Italian Peninsula and a number of islands including the two largest, Sicily and Sardinia.

The country's total area is 301,230 km², of which 294,020 km² is land and 7,210 km² is water. Including the islands, Italy has a coastline and border of 7,600 km on the Adriatic, Ionian, Tyrrhenian seas (740 km), and borders shared with France (488 km), Austria (430 km), Slovenia (232 km) and Switzerland (740 km). San Marino (39 km) and Vatican City (3.2 km), both enclaves, account for the remainder.

Climate

Thanks to the great longitudinal extension of the peninsula and the mostly mountainous internal conformation, the climate of Italy is highly diverse. In most of the inland northern and central regions, the climate ranges from humid subtropical to humid continental and oceanic. In particular, the climate of the Po valley geographical region is mostly continental, with harsh winters and hot summers. The coastal areas of Liguria, Tuscany and most of the South generally fit the Mediterranean climate stereotype. Conditions on peninsular coastal areas can be very different from the interior's higher ground and valleys, particularly during the winter months when the higher altitudes tend to be cold, wet, and often snowy. The coastal regions have mild winters and warm and generally dry summers, although lowland valleys can be quite hot in summer. Average winter temperatures vary from 0 °C on the Alps to 12 °C in Sicily, like so the average summer temperatures range from 20 °C to over 30 °C .

Languages

Italy's official language is Italian. Ethnologue has estimated that there are about 55 million speakers of the language in Italy and a further 6.7 million outside of the country. However, between 120 and 150 million people use Italian as a second or cultural language, worldwide.

Italian, adopted by the state after the unification of Italy, is based on the Florentine variety of Tuscan and is somewhat intermediate between the Italo-Dalmatian languages and the Gallo-Romance languages. Its development was also influenced by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders.

Italy has numerous dialects spoken all over the country and some Italians cannot speak Italian at all. However, the establishment of a national education system has led to decrease in variation in the languages spoken across the country. Standardization was further expanded in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to economic growth and the rise of mass media and television (the state broadcaster RAI helped set a standard Italian).

Several linguistic groups are legally recognized, and a number of minority languages have co-official status alongside Italian in various parts of the country. French is co-official in the Valle d’Aosta—although in fact Franco-Provencal is more commonly spoken there. German has the same status in the province of South Tyrol as, in some parts of that province and in parts of the neighboring Trentino, does Ladin. Slovene is officially recognized in the provinces of Trieste, Gorizia and Udine in Friuli Venezia Giulia.

In these regions official documents are bilingual (trilingual in Ladin communities), or available upon request in either Italian or the co-official language. Traffic signs are also multilingual, except in the Valle d’Aosta where – with the exception of Aosta itself which has retained its Latin form in Italian (as in English) – French toponyms are generally used, attempts to Italianize them during the Fascist period having been abandoned. Education is possible in minority languages where such schools are operating.

Religion

Roman Catholicism is by far the largest religion in the country, although Catholicism is no longer officially the state religion. The proportion of Italians that identify themselves as Roman Catholic is 87.8%, although only about one-third of these described themselves as active members (36.8%). Most Italians believe in God, or a form of a spiritual life force. According to the most recent Euro barometer Poll 2005: 74% of Italian citizens responded that 'they believe there is a God', 16% answered that 'they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force' and 6% answered that 'they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force'.

Cuisine

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, one of the over 200 Italian traditional specialities protected under European law.

Modern Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Jewish. Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century. Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity, abundance of difference in taste, and is known to be one of the most popular in the world, with influences abroad.

Italian cuisine is characterized by its extreme simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Dishes and recipes are often the creation of grandmothers rather than of chefs, which makes many recipes ideally suited for home cooking.

This is one of the main reasons behind the ever increasing popularity of this cuisine, as cooking magazines in foreign countries popularize Italian recipes targeted at the home cook. Ingredients and dishes vary by region. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated with variations throughout the country.

Cheese, ham and wine are a major part of the cuisine, with many variations and Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) (regulated appellation) laws. Coffee, specifically espresso, has become important in Italian cuisine.

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