Posted by on 01 Nov 2019 , in Europe
There’s not a lot that can compare to the beauty of Italy. From the iconic architecture to its delectable cuisine, and enchanting coastlines, it offers you a memorable experience from every corner.
With so many places to see and things to do, it can seem overwhelming to plan the perfect trip. For an insider’s guide to the Bel Paese (Beautiful Country) of Europe, here are all the must-see places to go to in Italy:
Rome – Where All Roads Lead To
Located at the central region of Italy is the capital – Rome. With its archaic walls and ancient pavements, it’s easy to be entranced by this city. So much is to be discovered at the renowned centre of Italy’s culture, power, and religion.
Start by visiting the world-famous Roman Colosseum at the heart of Rome. It’s the largest amphitheatre ever to be built in the world, historically seating up to 50,000 guests during sporting events and games. Afterwards, throw a coin and make a wish at the iconic Trevi Fountain. They say tossing the first coin over your left shoulder ensures your return to Rome, the second a wish for love, and the third is for marriage. Continue your tour to other distinguished monuments such as The Pantheon, The Roman Forum, and Piazza Navona, where you can imagine the life of Ancient Rome. Traveling to UNESCO World Heritage Site Vatican City, you’ll find St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the largest and most popular church, commanding the skyline of Rome. While you’re in the area, marvel at the beauty of the Sistine Chapel or go back in time as you walk the halls of Vatican Museum.
Umbria – Italy’s Green Heart
Situated at the very heart of the country, Umbria is an underrated region often overlooked for its better-known neighbours. But make no mistake – it’s every bit as beautiful as Italy’s other regions. Nicknamed “Italy’s green heart,” Umbria is rich in hill tops and rolling fields making up for a picturesque view in every direction.
For an immersive experience in the region’s history and culture, Perugia offers you the National Gallery of Umbria, home to an extensive collection of Renaissance paintings, and the National Archaeological Museum of Umbria, housing artifacts from ancient civilizations like the Roman and Etruscan. If you’re seeking an even more peaceful retreat, visit the birthplace of St. Francis in Assisi, the medieval structures in Spello, or the breathtaking countryside of Montefalco. Continue your journey to Spoleto, a land encompassed by olive groves and green hill tops, and then, to Gubbio, the oldest village in Umbria with surviving structures from the Middle Ages. Before you go, don’t miss the spectacular man-made waterfall in Terni - Cascata delle Marmore.
Florence & Tuscany – Nation Within a Nation
Explore the “Cradle of Renaissance” and capital of Tuscany in Florence. Visited for its historical contribution to arts and culture, the city of Florence is one of the most popular destinations in the whole of Italy. Commanding its skyline and standing at its heart is the glorious Florence Cathedral, while Giotto’s Campanile, in all its magnificent Gothic architecture, sits beside the Duomo. Many other impressive structures like Palazzo Strozzi, Palazzo Vecchio, Bargello Museum, Baptistery of St. John, and Piazzale Michelangelo give testament to the city’s striking history.
Beyond Florence, Tuscany has plenty other enchanting cities to explore. Sitting on top of a hill, Arezzo has an old town with archaic monuments that will transport you back in time. Venturing down south, you’ll find the medieval town of Montepulciano filled with Renaissance palaces and beautiful churches across a cinematic vista. While the city of San Gimignano offers you a skyline of historic towers atop a countryside, Val d’Orcia gives you a stunning panorama of fields, vineyards, and lush landscape. Other than its iconic Leaning Tower, the legendary city of Pisa is also home to marvelous structures like the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Baptistery, and Campo Santo. Brimming with stories of the past and fantastic views, every day is like a scene straight from a movie in Tuscany.
Italian Riviera – A Piece of Heaven
Set on the amazing coastline of Ligurian Sea, the Italian Riviera is a famed holiday spot for its enchanting seaside villages, phenomenal views, and mouth-watering cuisine. Whether you’re looking to relax by the beach, indulge in premium accommodations, or hike through nature’s treasures, there’s something for everyone in this little paradise.
Perhaps the most visited in the Riviera is the city of Portofino, and it’s not any wonder. Drenched in sun light and kissed by the blue sea, there are beauties to be discovered whether you’re catching a tan by the shore, sightseeing, or hiking the Regional Park trail. Perched on dramatic cliffs, Cinque Terre is the destination for those seeking to relax and unwind. Time slows down on these fishing hamlets while you’re watching the sunset with a drink in hand. Other remarkable places worth travelling to are Genoa, Santa Margherita, Camogli, and Rapallo – each just as bewitching in sights as the other, riddled with charming architecture and an incredible coastline that’s hard to forget.
Venice – The Floating City
With its classic elegance and romantic atmosphere, Venice charms you like no other city in Italy. Standing on a group of more than 100 small islands, Venice is connected by quaint bridges and separated by a series of canals.
Unique in its beauty, the Grand Canal meanders through the city with charismatic palaces and castles standing on both sides. The gondola ride at night is a quintessential Venice experience and a favourite for all the romantics. While you’re at the canal, visit the famous bridge Ponte di Rialto – a beloved spot to cool down while admiring the scenic view. Speaking of views, the one from Campanile di San Marco offers a bird’s eye view to the wondrous city. Venice is also home to other famous structures such as the Doges Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, and Santa Maria della Salute – all displaying sensational architectural designs.
Milan – Fashion Capital of the World
Besides its worldwide reputation for being the birthing place of dominating high-end fashion brands, Milan is also an essential city to Italy’s history and culture. Offering to satisfy more than your shopping needs, Milan shows you a harmonious coexistence between the sublime architecture of the past and the innovative skyscrapers of the present.
Standing as the most impressive structure in the city, Milan Cathedral’s intricate design took more than five centuries to construct. The interior is just as awe-inspiring as the outside, decorated with thousands of statues. Outside, you can walk to Piazza del Duomo to marvel at the Madonnina faithfully guarding the city. For more unforgettable architecture, visit Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan’s oldest shopping mall, and Pinacoteca di Brera, the city’s public gallery of historical paintings. Admire the simplistic design of one of the oldest churches in Milan, Sant Ambrogio, get a photo op with the iconic Arco della Pace, or wonder at the sophisticated interior of La Scala Opera. There’s beauty wherever you turn in Milan.
Naples – A Slice of History
Naples is a city of many things with its history and culture displayed proudly. But most of all, it’s a city of stories – narratives of its past and legends are etched within its walls, pillars, and street corners, all waiting to be told.
Before anything else, you must find yourself a local restaurant to taste the Neapolitan pizza. Claimed to be the city where the first pizza was invented, Naples is a proud home to some of the best-tasting pizzeria in the world. Afterwards, walk the streets of Santa Lucia to get a sense of the local life as you make your way to Naples Cathedral, one of the most revered churches in Italy. Stroll the open space of Piazza del Plebiscito, take time to appreciate the beautiful interior of San Domenica Maggiore, and explore the Catacombs of San Gennaro. For a trip back in history, venture towards the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum – both destroyed by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. To close your Naples excursion, stop over at classic landmarks such as Castel Nuovo, the picturesque castle rich in stories of the past, and Castel dell’Ovo, the enchanting castle by the sea that tells of legends of sorcerers.
Sicily – The Stone of the Mediterranean
Rooted in different cultures, including Rome, Greek, French, Spanish, and Arab, Sicily boasts of a rich and diverse history. From surreal beaches, preserved ancient ruins, to elegant vineyards, this island at the “boot” of Italy is brimming with experiences unique only to Sicily.
Start with the phenomenal capital city, Palerma, and explore its botanical gardens and catacombs. Stand in awe of majestic architectures like the Palermo Cathedral, Palazzo dei Normanni, and The Massimo Theatre. The second largest city, Catania, also nicknamed “The Black City,” is an ideal starting point for an excursion to Mt. Etna – the tallest active volcano in Italy. For a picture-perfect adventure, Syracuse impresses with an array of historical sites from both Greek and Roman periods and a gorgeous coastline that will take your breath away. Other notable regions to visit for ancient ruins are Sergesta and Agrigento – where temples and columns remain standing after all this time. For a quieter stay, Cefalù and Taormina will reward you with a relaxing time whether you’re taking a nap by the beach or strolling along its enchanting alleys.