Italy

There's a reason why the Italians coined such phrases as la dolce vita (the 'sweet' or good life) and il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing) as philosophical approaches to life: in a land this blessed with climate, cuisine and culture it's very easy to sit back and allow Italy to work its magic.

From the Cinque Terre in Liguria to the volcanic shores of Sicily and marine sanctuaries of the Tuscan Archipelago, each of the peninsular's regions embody a unique character reflected in its dialect, regional cuisine and landscape. Quaint villages cling to the terraced hillsides of the Cinque Terre, as famous for its precious, nectar-like sciacchetrà wine as for its crystal-clear waters and UNESCO-listed landscape, while drifting between the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago reveals a nature-lover's wonderland both on land and under the sea.

The Amalfi Coast has beguiled locals and visitors alike for aeons for its dramatic beauty, where jewel-like waters meet towering cliffs, and classic glamour oozes from Positano, Sorrento and the Island of Capri. Nearby the ancient port of Naples offers staggering cultural and gastronomic riches, raising the daily catch to a true art form.

Shrouded in history and mystery against a backdrop of ancient sites and volcanic landscapes, Sicily's spectacular coast and surrounding islands open up fascinating new worlds of thermal mud baths, pristine nature, limpid waters, historic cities and traditional fishing villages. A cultural crossroads in ancient times, this legacy endures in Sicily's justifiably famous, mouth-watering cuisine.