The 14 Best Places to visit in Italy
Embarking on a journey through the enchanting city of Venice is an experience that resonates with positive energy throughout the year. Beyond the famous Biennale and Carnival, this captivating destination boasts stunning beaches, exceptional art, and a culinary scene that is truly remarkable. Instead of opting for the typical touristy gondola rides, immerse yourself in the allure of Venice by getting lost in its charming backstreets. Take leisurely breaks for prosecco and cicchetti, and let the city's charm unfold before you.
Florence goes beyond its iconic attractions like the Duomo, Michaelangelo's David, the Uffizi, and the Ponte Vecchio. This city has so much more to offer beyond the usual tourist hotspots. Discover serene parks that are often uncrowded, quirky museums that evoke a sense of curiosity, and an abundance of vintage shops and second-hand stores. Indulge in the delectable gelato that will leave you murmuring "benissimo" throughout the day. Florence is not just a Renaissance-themed park; it is a vibrant city that caters to diverse interests and charms every visitor.
Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast
Italy's breathtaking Amalfi Coast, overlooking the Bay of Naples, is renowned for being the birthplace of Limoncello, a delightful lemon-based liqueur. Along this stunning 50km stretch of coastline, you'll encounter numerous beautiful towns, but Sorrento stands out as the highlight. With its sun-drenched piazzas, captivating hotels, and winding streets exuding old-world charm, Sorrento offers a manageable-sized town that transforms any visit into a dreamy experience filled with seafood delicacies and Aperol-soaked delights. Discover the sweet taste of the dolce vita in Sorrento.
Prepare to be awestruck when you first lay eyes on the mesmerizing Lake Como. With its turquoise waters and distinctive wishbone shape, nestled amidst the Alps and adorned with palatial villas and charming towns, Lake Como is a sight that must be witnessed to be believed. While some of the famous villas surrounding the lake have been transformed into luxury hotels, many remain open to the public, including the renowned Villa Balbianello, featured in films like "Casino Royale" and "Star Wars." Explore the popular towns of Bellagio and Varenna, but consider staying in Como for a wider range of affordable accommodation options. Don't forget to try the local specialty, missoltino.
Described as the "capital of nowhere" by writer Jan Morris, Trieste is a port city with a rich history. Over the centuries, it has been under the influence of various powers, including the Habsburgs, French, Italians, and Yugoslavs, and even enjoyed a period as an independent city-state. Although it is now part of Italy, Trieste maintains a unique character. Its architecture reminiscent of the "Grand Budapest Hotel" era, menus featuring a fusion of dishes like gnocchi al goulash, and its proximity to Slovenia, just seven miles away, create a distinctive atmosphere. Explore the traditional osmiza, offering fresh farm produce to walkers, and savor the experience of being in a city that remains undiscovered by mass tourism.
Rome, a city steeped in world-renowned art and rich history, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. However, this vibrant capital is not only a haven for ruins but also a paradise for food and drink enthusiasts, offering cutting-edge culinary experiences and mouthwatering pizza. Rome's verdant parks with panoramic terraces, combined with its moderate climate throughout the year, add to its allure and make it easy to fall in love with the Italian capital.
Naples, once considered a rough and dangerous city to be avoided, has undergone a remarkable transformation and is now experiencing a revival. The success of Elena Ferrante's "Neapolitan Novels" and Roberto Saviano's crime saga "Gomorrah," along with their international TV adaptations, has put Naples back on the map. Despite the influx of visitors, the city has managed to retain its character and old-world charm. Narrow back alleys adorned with laundry, bustling markets offering fragrant local produce, and a vibrant street life all contribute to Naples' allure. Not to mention its breathtaking backdrop, which adds to the city's undeniable appeal.
Sardinia is a destination that caters to various holiday preferences. Beach lovers will be captivated by the white sands and crystal-clear aquamarine waters of Costa Smeralda and the southern coast. Nature enthusiasts and hikers can explore the untouched interior, which has preserved its timeless beauty. Food enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to savor some of Italy's finest produce and indulge in an abundance of seafood. Whether you seek relaxation or adventure, Sardinia offers idyllic accommodation options to ensure a perfect stay.
Often overlooked as a city break destination, Bologna is a hidden gem renowned for its scorching summers, progressive political scene, picturesque terracotta buildings, and, of course, its incredible food. As the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna is the birthplace of iconic culinary delights such as mortadella, tortellini, and tagliatelle al ragù. Treat yourself to a gelato for dessert and make a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, located just beyond the ancient city walls.
Nestled in the Bay of Naples, Ischia is a volcanic island that offers the best of both worlds. It is large enough to warrant spending an entire vacation there, yet small enough to explore fully within a week. Discover hidden coves, picturesque grottos, inviting beaches, lush gardens, and rugged hills during the day. In the evenings, indulge in upscale dining experiences in vibrant areas like Forio and Ischia Porto, where marinas are filled with boats and holidaymakers. Unlike its neighboring counterpart, Capri, Ischia maintains a sense of tranquility, making it an ideal destination to visit now. For an authentic experience, consider renting a moped to explore the island.
Milan, Italy's business capital, has witnessed a surge in tourism in recent years, thanks to its expanding transportation network and impressive architectural designs by renowned architects. Beyond being a premier shopping destination, the city has undergone a renaissance, with the emergence of trendy bars, restaurants, and cultural centers. Milan's artistic and creative legacy, attributed to the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, is evident in its crisscrossing canals, the mesmerizing Castello Sforzesco, and the overall artistic atmosphere that permeates the city.
When visiting Tuscany, it's challenging to choose just one gorgeous hilltop town among the many options available. However, Siena stands out as an excellent choice. Despite its city status, Siena retains the charm of a small town and provides sweeping views of rolling hills that epitomize the Tuscan landscape. Explore the golden gothic cathedral, wander through labyrinthine backstreets adorned with boutiques and galleries, taste locally-produced pecorino cheese, and indulge your sweet tooth with a slice of panforte di Siena, a traditional chewy fruit cake from the region.
Located just off the "tip" of Italy's "boot," sun-soaked Sicily possesses a distinct character that sets it apart from the rest of southern Italy. Visitors can hike the slopes of Mount Etna, the island's iconic volcano, and savor the wines produced in its vicinity. Lose yourself in the labyrinthine Baroque towns of Noto, Modica, and Ragusa. Feast on fresh seafood on the charming island of Ortigia, bask on the countless beautiful beaches, or indulge in granita and cannoli in picturesque squares. Sicily is also home to majestic ruins and archaeological sites, many dating back to Ancient Greek times, adding a fascinating historical dimension to your visit.
If you consider yourself a hopeless romantic, there's no better place to vacation than Verona, the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Immerse yourself in the timeless tale by visiting Juliet's balcony, nestled on the side of a charming fourteenth-century home, overlooking a courtyard with a statue of the lovestruck heroine. After rubbing Juliet's chest for luck in love, marvel at the ancient amphitheater, Arena di Verona, cross the Ponte di Castelvecchio for scenic views of the Adige River, and savor local cuisine at the numerous trattorias surrounding Piazza Bra or Piazza delle Erbe. It's a truly enchanting experience.