Italian Liberation Day, celebrated throughout Italy, marks the end of German-Fascist control, which took place on 25 April 1945 when bands of partigiani and other anti-fascist coalitions rose up and overthrew the Mussolini regime.
As the capital of Italy, Rome is where celebrations are biggest and Italian Liberation Day involves a visit by the President to the Ardeatine Caves Mausoleum, where the Nazis massacred 335 Romans in 1944. There are also various locally organised minor and not-so-minor events throughout the city, including the occasional parade, open days at museums, speeches and ritual ceremonies.
Whether you are visiting Rome, Milan or Florence, the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Chianti and the backdrop to some of the world’s greatest love stories, Italy is renowned for its wealth of history, culture and romantic settings. Take in frescoes dating back to the late-15th century in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, explore the maze of streets and canals in Venice or Rome’s classical heritage – you will be overwhelmed by the amount of things to do and see here. The only problem is that with so much good food, wine and sun you may be inclined to take it just a little too easy. For now, content yourself with following our links and dreaming of the Mediterranean.
Nowhere combines classical ruins with the delights of the Baroque like Rome, which contains within it another state altogether: the Vatican. The city, founded by Romulus and the seat of the Roman Empire, was built on seven hills and is bisected by the river Tiber. Rome is the great artistic treasure trove of Europe, largely thanks to Catholicism, which has been a magnificent patron. As a centre of pilgrimage, the city’s churches had to amaze the masses and the greatest artists of the Renaissance were employed to do so. Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini are just four of the masters who have left behind masterpieces in churches all over the city (St Peter’s, Santa Maria del Popolo, San Luigi dei Francesi).
Aside from the Classical and Renaissance sights, the city is also a haven for good living. It boasts numerous first-rate restaurants, upmarket shopping around the Spanish Steps, luxury hotels and romantic piazzas (easiest to navigate on foot), which, combined with the historic resonance of the city, make for an unforgettable stay.