Italy, I guess, is the most amazing city, in that it has the maximum number of UNESCO heritage sites, generations of artists and educators, natural and man-made wonders everywhere you look, mouthwatering local food and the ravishing gelato! Italy misses nothing out for a traveler.
Despite having a whole list of options to explore, it’s difficult for me to write ‘What to do in Italy’. Why? Well, here’s why.
Traveling is a very personal and subjective interest. What may fascinate me may not necessarily catch your attention. Likewise, my ‘Top Things to do in Italy’ cannot be the same as yours.
But for first-timers, it is always good to do your share of research and make a list of the common places of interest among the various blogs. Whether you like the place or not is an answer you can give only later.
So, I have tried to be as neutral as possible. Here’s my favorite ‘Italy Attractions’. Check them out!
Italy’s Points of Interests
Fall in love in Venice! Take a night stroll in the #1 Vaporetto
Thinking why didn’t I mention a Gondola? Well, it’s just a name; and a very expensive one. I think Gondolas are uselessly overpriced. Moreover, they are not the romantic experience you expect after watching one of those lovey-dovey movies. The Gondoliers singing is a good experience, but all in all, there’s a lot of traffic on your way.
Instead, hit the #1 Vaporetto after dusk. Hop on this slow-moving water taxi from where it starts till the end point. You will come across some amazing moonlit points in Venice.
Grab a gelato cup and cuddle in your lover’s arms! It’s the perfect pocket-friendly way to see the beauty of Venice.
Time for some stamina test! Hike the Cinque Terre Trail
Cinque Terre is a cluster of five villages, located in vicinity of the Ligurian Cliffs. Declared as the National Park of Italy along with a UNESCO world heritage site, Cinque Terre connects its picturesque villages by a trail.
The place offers a plethora of options to explore for tourists. Full of lovely beaches accompanied by crystal waters, it has a number of old churches and castles. There are stunning vineyards and sanctuaries as you hike. It takes a total of 5-6 hours to complete the trail in a day.
Besides the trek, the place has a unique rocky beach. You will find hordes of adrenaline junkies trying a hand on cliff jumping and diving. Then there are the wineries and vineyards of Manarola to try some delicious wine.
Cinque Terre is quite popular among the seafood gourmands. There are hundreds of restros in Vernazza and Monterosso to grab a nice meal. The most famous ones being Il Baretto, La Cambusa, Gianni Franzi, Gambero Rosso, and so on.
Drive a Rental Car along the Amalfi Coast with your Love!
This 40km stretch between the Bay of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno is a gorgeous drive for the car lovers. The Amalfi coast is often seen as a luxury vacation. Although, it now runs many reasonably priced hotels and getaways parallel to the luxury resorts.
The Amalfi Coast is home to 13 small towns, the most important ones being Amalfi, Positano, Praiano and Ravello. Apart from the exotic coastline, the coast houses many architectural marvels like the Duomo, the Correale Museum, the Paper Mill Museum, and so on.
Plan a day trip to the Santiero Degli Dei. It’s a 5 hour trek connecting a few small villages to a portion of Positano.
Not to mention the legendary Africana Nightclub. This unique club is structured out in the caves located near the sea. The incomparable lights and sounds here are fit for every occasion.
Gawk at the Roman Architecture
‘Rome was not built in a day.’
You will totally agree to this old adage once you visit the eternal city of Rome. Its baroque architecture, archaeological sites and a mystic ambience- all are truly worth visiting over and over.
Be it the Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the grandiose amphitheater of Colosseum or the Architectural marvel Pantheon- everything leaves you awe-struck. The Trevi Fountain charges only a penny or two to ensure your next sojourn to Rome.
The Hippie town of Trastevere is another rare sight. The cobblestone streets frilled with Bohemian architecture makes it a perfect habitat for artisans and craftsmen. The area is also known for a vibrant night life. This and the locality of Testacchio. Both the places are lined with bars and nightclubs, offering a perfect escape for party hunters and jags.
Go Shopping in Milan (Only for a Luxury Travel)!
Milan being the Finance and Fashion Capital of Italy surely has some extravagance to flaunt. Be it Quadrilatero d’Oro (The Golden Rectangle), Zucca, La Rinascente, Excelsior or Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, get ready for a leave-a-hole-in-your-pocket shopping spree. Milan exhibits the top fashion brands like Armani, Versace, Prada, Ferragamo, etc.
Besides these overtly priced brands, there are a few streets and localities in Milan, offering economical or second-hand items. Places like D Magazine, Il Salvagente and Corso Como 10 located in the city center are good options for budget shoppers. Other than that, the Brera district in Milan is home to some exotic yet fairly priced boutiques and shops.
However, I’d like to mention that by economical shopping, don’t expect ‘a dime a dozen’ things here. Milan continues to be Milan.
Get an Overdose of ‘The David’ in Florence
Florence is a lovely town. Its art and architecture is unparalleled, exhibiting marvelous churches and museums.
The David, sculpted by Michelangelo, is by far the most stirring human sculpture in the history of time. Although the original one is located in The Accademia Gallery in Florence, there’s one in Piazza Signoria, as good as the real one.
Basically, you will find a David pop up in every popular neighborhood in Florence. Other than that, there is The Uffizi Gallery, the Duomo and famous bridge of Ponte Vecchio. Florence is home to the great artist Michelangelo, which makes it the first choice for art lovers.
Get a Sneak Peak into the active Volcano of Mt. Vesuvius
Located in the beautiful backdrop of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius is the largest active volcano in mainland Europe. Earlier glorified with gorgeous vineyards and landscapes, the place turned into havoc after March 1944, when the eruption submerged all the surrounding beauty into tonnes of lava.
You need to be adequately fit to plan a visit to Mt. Vesuvius. The climb to the main crater point is pretty steep and rocky.
A piece of advice, do not fall for the Tribolite souvenir sellers stationed outside the entrance. What they sell is fake.
Go back in time at the Ancient Pompeii
Spare a day to explore the most perfectly town of Ancient Rome- Pompeii. After 79 AD, when Mount Vesuvius’ disastrous eruption buried the town under layers of ash and pumice, Pompeii was excavated in 1748.
Today, people flock in millions to this city frozen in time.
Got extra cash? Spend it on renting a guide at the Vatican Museum
The Vatican Museums were established in the city of Vatican, in 6th century AD.
They hold some of the most significant relics known to the world. The Sistine Chapel, the Spiral Staircase and the Raphael Rooms are a few most important ones. Vatican is bound to be crowded all the year round. So make your suitable arrangements well in advance.
Visit the gorgeous Blue Grotto in Capri
Grotta Azura situated in Capri is an unequaled experience, even if you compare it at international level. The small opening of this grotto brings in the sunlight in a manner that leaves the water illuminating in a neon blue shade. A silver lining emerges from everything that is immersed in the waters here.
This 60 meter long cave has a height of water rising from 7 to 14 meters. The view is truly spectacular.
Check out the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ before it sinks it completely
The leaning of this tower is not an optical illusion. While construction, when the tower reached its third storey, the building began to sink from one side, thanks to its poorly laid construction. The work was put to a hault.
And it was only after 90 years that the construction was finally resumed. Even today the spire continues to sink by 1mm every year. Better visit the place now, before it buries itself off completely.
Marvel at ‘The Last Supper’ before it peels and fades away completely
One of the most popular attractions of Italy, it took Leonardo da vinci almost four years to complete this magnum opus. The Last Supper is stationed in a refectory near the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie.
The Last Supper being a wall fresco is largely affected by light and humidity. So after much toil, the masterpiece has been restored to its well-nigh originality.
Entry to this place can be quite painful. Only 25 people are allowed to enter in one go, and you will be allowed to stare at the expressions of the consternation for mere 15 minutes. So it’s better to book your advance tickets online.
Spend some time at the Little Town in Umbria
The UNESCO heritage site of Assisi attracts millions of tourists every year. The 13th century Basilica of San Fransesco, the pious relics of Francis, historic churches, Roman excavations and sacred shrines, not to mention the medieval streets here make the air of this town aptly mystical and intriguing.
Get closer to Nature at the Aosta Valley
Aosta Valley is the smallest and the least populated area of Italy. And rightly so, its untouched beauty is what makes it fairytale-like. The Alpine rivers clambered with flowery meadows make it a heaven on earth.
For outdoorsy tourists, this place is heaven. Skiing and hiking help you experience its beauty more closely, as do other adventure sports.
Visit the countryside Italy on the Chianti Wine Route
Situated between Florence and Siena, Chianti is a must-see for art, history and food lovers. The vineyards create landscapes that are downright perfect, as are the wines made here.
The Chianti Wine Route houses strolls through bucolic villages, gigantic mountains, medieval castles and flowery towns. With Italian hospitality at its best, this getaway only gets better!
Check out the Bizzare trulli of Alberobello
The commune of Alberobello resides in it bizarre prehistoric construction techniques in the form of limestone dwellings. These houses are topped with gray cone-shaped roofs and constructed without the use of mortar. Plus, they are white-washed every year to maintain their charm.
If you are a fan of Santorini, Greece, you will be thrilled to see these adorable little buildings lined with narrow streets. Hence, a visit is inevitable!
Go Skiing in Cortina
Italy is not just summer and sun. The exotic northern mountains of Italy are full of thrilling options for Skiing and winter sports. Cortina D’Ampezzo has been a former home to Olympics and a movie set for Hollywood all these years.
Italy and Food
Italian cuisine is one of the most sought after cuisines across the globe. But this huge umbrella of ITALIAN FOOD has many divisions and sub-heads underneath.
Make sure you stick to the local food wherever you go in Italy. For instance, the legendary Pizza can be cited in every street you stroll. But try it in its homeland- Naples. Likewise, Pesto in Genoa, Bolognese in Bologna, Risotto and Ossobucco alla Milanese in Milan, Spaghetti and Lamb in Rome- make a list of these.
Gelato is as essential as water. So have a cup after every meal. Try the local flavors as every town has something unique to offer.
As for Coffee, there are rules here! Surf out what to sip in and when. Caffeine lovers have an overflowing list of options to choose from.
Italy is all about churches and cathedrals. Not one of your beach vacations where you can strip down to a spaghetti and shorts. Make sure you cover yourself well before touring the holy places here.
All in all, the place demands a prolonged vacations, for it offers a LOT of things to do.