Surfing the web gives people the chance to experience life in countries they may never get a chance to visit.
And there are few cultures more attractive than that of the Italians - with their ancient cities, verdant countryside and love of good food and drink.
But if you want to sample the real Italy from the comfort of your home, there is only one place to visit - www.italyabroad.com
Based in Gosforth, Newcastle, Italy Abroad was founded two years ago by a group of Italian friends who now live in the UK.
The team is led by Italy Abroad's managing director Andrea D'Ercole, 30, whose role includes travelling his native country for novel products to sell on the site.
He is supported by chef Anacleto, [OK] IT expert Cesare, [OK] customer-care manager Alessandro [OK] as well as team members Alessio, [OK] Simona, [OK] and Nicola.
The site has been designed with colourful visuals which conjure up images of the Mediterranean and is divided into four main sections - travel, property, shopping and food. With so much information about Italy, including authentic recipes, holiday offers to 300 destinations as well as homes and apartments for sale and a range of rare products, the site truly is a one-stop shop for everything Italian.
Andrea says: "If you are looking for the real and authentic Italy, then look no further. Italyabroad.com is the place to be when you need anything Italian.
"Everything we offer is made by Italians for Italians. This is what makes our products so special. You are not getting an imitation, but the original product.
"Italyabroad.com's aim is to help you discover the real Italy, but from an Italian perspective. This is the only way to truly appreciate this wonderful country."
As well as property, travel, shopping and food sections, www.Italyabroad.com also offers detailed guides for anyone planning to visit the country.
The site has gone from strength to strength since it was created two years ago and Italy Abroad was recently short-listed for the North-East final of the Shell Livewire Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2005.
Although Italy Abroad did not win, Andrea says he was thrilled to be nominated for an award in the company's first two years of business and does not think it will be the last such ceremony they will attend.
"We have worked very hard to continually improve the site over the last two years and we have lots of ideas to make Italy Abroad even better.
"Working on the site is something the entire team loves to do. It is almost not like work to us as we all love Italy and are very passionate about introducing people to our country.
"Our aim is to provide a one-stop shop for visitors where they can learn all about Italy, sample authentic recipes, arrange holidays to diverse destinations, buy Italian-made products and even buy a home abroad."
Italyabroad.com is a fun, easy-to-use and well-designed site, which has clearly been created by people passionate about promoting the many assets of their country.