Seductively beautiful and perfectly placed in the heart of the Mediterranean, Italy has been luring passersby since the time of legends. Whatever your personal predilections, Sicily varied landscape makes a dramatic first impression and its dozen-plus offshore islands offer enough activities to build an entire vacation around. Malta astounding prehistoric sites were constructed by sophisticated-seeming temple builders, who also left miniature figurines and mammoth sculptures of 'fat ladies', which have survived millennia and are housed in Malta's fascinating museums. Out in the open, gigantic temples and towers from many different eras stand proud, continuing their endless watch over the sea. Rising out of the cobalt-blue seas off Sicily's northeastern coast, the Unesco-protected Aeolian Islands (Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi) are a little piece of paradise, a seven-island archipelago offering a wealth of opportunities for relaxation and outdoor fun.