If you are looking to spice up your vacation and take a break from the usual sight-seeing, here are some unique and exciting ways to see a different side of Italy:
Descending a 15th century castle
About an hour north of Rome, Bracciano Castle, the beautiful ancient building where Tom Cruise got married. The castle overlooks one of Lazio’s loveliest lakes, where locals spend their weekends swimming, canoeing and sunbathing. But there are no end of places to do that. Instead, take a short course in abseiling, and descend the walls of the castle from the battlements for some truly incredible views. €65 per person + entrance ticket to the castle – contact Roberto at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parachuting south of Rome
Looking to reach greater heights? South of Rome, near the town of Nettuno, try parachuting in tandem with a qualified instructor at the Crazy Fly Center. After a quick lesson on how to jump and land (which they fully expect you to forget!), you’ll be taken up to 4,000 meters, securely strapped to the instructor and will in no time be falling back to earth, with wonderful views out across the countryside on one side and the sea on the other. At the end, they’ll send you home with a DVD of the experience. Costs €200 per person for the flight, insurance and video.
SCUBA diving near Naples
Pompeii isn’t the only ruined city near Naples. Somehow the ancient pleasure city of Baia has become forgotten over time and over-looked by visitors, thanks to its more famous neighbour. Above ground, there are some wonderful ruins, including the fascinating echo chamber, that are rarely visited, but if you are looking for an usual way to enjoy history, then contact the Centro Sub Campi Flegrei to find out about visiting the part of the city that has sunk below the water level due to local seismic activity. Experienced divers get a choice of sites, and can easily dive several in a day, while they also offer trial divers with instructors for those who have never tried diving before – though, unless you are very keen on having a go at SCUBA diving, the ruins aren’t more than 4-5m below the surface, so are perfect for snorkelling. €35 per dive for PADI qualified divers, €50 for trial dives. Entrance to the archaeological site + amphitheatre at Pozzuoli is €4 per person.
Paragliding over Lake Garda
If you are visiting the lakes in northern Italy, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for paragliding. On Lake Garda, there are regular tandem flights from Monte Baldo, a short cabal car ride from the shore. In the safe hands of an experienced instructor, all you have to do is enjoy the view and the amazing feeling floating gently back towards earth! There are several companies to choose from which offer flights in English, for example: Tandem Paragliding and Flights Tandem. The cost is around €150 per person + €15 for the cabal car.