Italy is one of the most beautiful destinations Europe has to offer. From the gorgeous peaks of the Alps in the north to the glistening lakes in the heat of the south, there’s an abundance to be experienced in between. Here are six of the best things to do when traveling in Italy.
See the iconic sights
As the capital city of Italy, Rome could be considered the most iconic and exciting destination in the country. With its wealth of historic landmarks and renowned attractions, you’ll find it’s impossible to get bored here.
Consider visiting the Pantheon, perhaps the most well-preserved landmark in the entirety of the city. Its marble floors have been walked on for nearly 2,000 years and the intricate detailing upon its front façade make for a stunning photo opportunity.
There’s also Vatican City, worth taking a day out for, where you can tour the museums and arrive at St. Peter’s Basilica, the Renaissance church where the Pope frequently addresses up to 80,000 people either in the building itself or in the adjacent square.
Sail the canals of Venice
Venice may be renowned for its appeal to those who are in love, but it’s a must-see regardless of who you’re traveling with. The cultural heritage of the city runs through every canal and side street, with the elegant architecture and unique markets offering something you won’t find elsewhere in Italy. Although the center of Venice is teeming with tourists and opportunistic vendors alike, it’s when you sail out towards the neighboring districts and the quieter regions that you begin to understand the city’s allure. Beyond San Marco, the heart of Venice, frequent travelers suggest the other neighborhoods – Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio, and Castello.
These areas are effortlessly picturesque and romantic, and you’ll find you become infatuated with every small canal and passage you cross. In the quieter areas is where you’ll find the better restaurants, too, and you’ll be able to savor what the popular delicacies are among locals.
That isn’t to say the busier parts of Venice are bad, though – here you’ll find a wealth of palaces and beautiful landmarks such as Piazza San Marco, its Campanile towering into the short skyline. And why not soak up the atmosphere by picnicking by the Grand Canal? The choice is yours, but rest assured if you’re not already taken, Venice will steal your heart.
Indulge in the best food Italy has to offer
Wherever you end up visiting in Italy, you’re sure to experience some of the finest food in the world. It goes without saying that pizza and pasta are two massively popular dishes (as they now are worldwide) but you’ll find the tastes are much more authentic in their native country.
Pizzas are thin, with fewer toppings than you’d get from your local takeaway. Although still full of around 1,000 calories, you’ll find that the tastes are richer and much more enjoyable. Italian pizzas are lighter and less greasy than elsewhere in the world.
Plus, the amount of walking you’ll likely be doing means that there isn’t much to be worried about. You’ll find the different regions of Italy offer unique dishes, too. You’ll indulge in plenty of seafood in Sicily but find an abundance of carbonara in the capital.
Escape to the Amalfi Coast
Everybody associates la dolce vita with Rome, but it’s the Amalfi Coast where you’re sure to find it. The Mediterranean Sea sparkles a deep blue in the beating sun, and you’ll find every building in the hills of the coast offers unparalleled views out towards the horizon. It’s also rich in history, with the second largest coliseum in the country existing here (we’ll give you one guess as to where the biggest is). Of course, the tranquillity of the Amalfi Coast urges you to unwind and relax for the duration of your stay, but there’s a lot to do here on the quiet coastline.
You can hike upon the ‘Path of the Gods’ through the mountains by the water, or even visit the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park where you’ll find secluded caves and hidden streams to explore. It’s one of Italy’s natural beauties that shouldn’t be missed.
Ride the waters of Lake Garda
It’s safe to say Italy’s largest lake lives up to its name. Lake Garda has quickly become a tourist hotspot, which is all down to its year-round sunshine and stunning landscapes. The mountains that surround the lake seclude you in your own personal paradise, and it’s up to you what you get up to – but if you’re looking for an active holiday, this could be your best bet.
If you’re wanting a more unique exercise than the norm, you can head out on the vast open water to try your hand at windsurfing, jet-skiing or simply swimming – the choice is yours, but Lake Garda truly does have something for everyone. As the Crowded Planet says, it’s no surprise this area has been famous among adventurers and adrenaline-lovers for decades.
Alternatively, you could choose to simply bask in the radiance of the quirky lakeside cafés and gelato parlors, with the option to bathe in the water’s stillness if you wish. Try some of the home-grown beverages and delicacies that are native to the location, with the locally sourced fruits and wines being some of the best in the country. And, if you’re wishing to learn the history of the fascinating town, the ancient Roman ruins that can be found on the land are your source of traditional culture.
Explore the vast region of Tuscany
It’s hard to narrow any areas of Tuscany down. Although the region is enormous and spans over nearly 9,000 square miles, you’ll be hard done by to find any location within its borders that isn’t desirable. There’s the two frequented cities of Pisa and Florence, the latter arguably more interesting with its Duomo – the Cattedrale di Santa Maria – standing big and bold in the city center.
Then there are the countless vineyards and smaller towns to be found in the Tuscan hills, where you’ll find gorgeous authentic villas and accommodation to escape from reality for a little while.Towns like San Gimignano and Montepulciano are just two of many secluded communities you might stumble upon, all offering the unique experiences in the way of food and culture. Tuscany is where Italy’s heritage comes alive in the form of medieval architecture and old-world settings, so find a spot and explore for a while.
Towns like San Gimignano and Montepulciano are just two of many secluded communities you might stumble upon, all offering the unique experiences in the way of food and culture. Tuscany is where Italy’s heritage comes alive in the form of medieval architecture and old-world settings, so find a spot and explore for a while.