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Why Italy is the ideal place for your group holiday

Europe is famed around the world for its plethora of beautiful, historic and culturally rich nations, all of which are well worth a visit and offer their own diverse charm – but even so, few have the power to steal your heart in quite the same way as Italy.

With its numerous history-laden cities and towns, from the ancient capital of Rome to the uniquely breath-taking Venice, Italy is one of the most visited countries in the entire world – but there’s far more to it than iconic monuments and everyone’s favourite pasta and pizza.

Blessed with miles of picturesque coastline, spanning the five towns of Cinque Terre, along to Sorrento, Amalfi and Positano, Italy is as much of a destination for a sunshine getaway as it is a weekend city break. Not only that, but it offers a range of rural destinations promising all the peace and tranquillity you could ask for.

In a country where family and friends are of the utmost importance to Italians, whether cooking, relaxing together or enjoying new activities – and with such a vast range of destinations and activities available to suit all tastes, it’s also the perfect place for your next group holiday. With a bit of careful planning, you really can please everyone – taking in city, countryside and coast for a truly unforgettable trip.

And, wherever you choose to visit, one thing is for sure – you can always find a way to do it in style. With countless five-star holiday resorts and hotels to choose from in some of the country’s most coveted destinations, you’re sure to find somewhere where there’s room for everyone. If you want the benefits of a self-catering villa, but don’t want to do your own cooking and cleaning, then you can hire domestic staff to take care of those jobs, so you can spend your time relaxing.

So, get your close ones together and pack those suitcases for an autumn getaway in beautiful Italy – because we’ve rounded up some of our top must-include Italian destinations to help you plan your group itinerary. Obvious cities not included!

Puglia

The heel of Italy’s ‘boot’, Puglia is often dubbed the ‘Florence of the South’, and famed for its amazing architecture, it’s easy enough to see why. Northern Italians have been flocking to this southern area of the country to enjoy sun-drenched holidays for many years – and if the locals love it, then we can bet that you will, too.

One of Italy’s national treasures, Puglia combines rich history with a fine culinary tradition to make for an unmissable group getaway destination. Luxuriate over lengthy Italian dinners, sample the local wines and olive oils, and stroll through the pretty, white-washed houses of Alberobello to the walled city of Otranto.

When you’re not losing yourself amongst the region’s vineyards and olive groves, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to visit – largely thanks to the area’s dual coastline. Try Savelletri di Fasano for fine sand and crystal-clear water – but for truly Instagram-worthy bays, venture south to the Salento Peninsula.

Keen to explore a little further afield and get that cultural hit? Head for historical Ostuni or elegant Lecce, discover Alberobello’s iconic trulli houses, or explore the vast caves near the town of Castellana, which date back an incredible two million years.

Liguria

When it comes to seaside scenery it doesn’t get much better than Liguria – one of the smallest regions in the country, but also one of the prettiest. Often referred to as the Italian Riviera, it’s speckled with picturesque, colourful fishing villages set against a backdrop of lush green forest – the most famous of which being the five villages of the beautiful Cinque Terre. There’s plenty to do here on your Italian group getaway, from hiking and cycling in the hills, visiting one of the pretty pebbled beaches, taking a scenic boat trip along the coast, or indulging in a spot of paddle boarding.

Culture vultures will be well catered for here, too, and Genoa is packed with intriguing museums and art galleries. And, once you’re done with the sightseeing, why not rest up in the stunning town of Portofino – one of the most picture-perfect places in the whole of Italy? Lined with pretty, pastel-hued houses and blessed with spectacularly clear waters, there are few better places to enjoy a coastal vacation in Italy.

Better still, Liguria is also a destination of choice for self-confessed foodies, and is the place from which some of the nation’s most mouth-watering classic Italian ingredients originate; think lemons, focaccia bread and, most famously, pesto. It doesn’t get much tastier than that.

The Lakes

As if incredible cities and picture-postcard coastlines weren’t enough charm for one country, Italy is also home to some incredible lakes. Lakes Como, Garda and Maggiore sprawl across a rural section of northern Italy, offering stunning vistas and dramatic landscapes that are truly second to none.

Despite their countryside setting, the lakes offer far more than just the incredible hiking and biking opportunities you’d expect in a place such as this, with pretty spa towns such as Bellagio and Como well worth a visit, whether you’re looking for some classic Italian fare or high-end dining. Explore the elegant palaces of Lake Maggiore, wander the quaint streets of traditional fishing villages or get your group adrenalin fix with a visit to one of the area’s theme parks.