The epicentre of the Roman Empire and birthplace of the Renaissance, this European virtuoso groans under the weight of its cultural cachet: it’s here that you’ll stand in the presence of Michelangelo’s David and Sistine Chapel frescoes, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera and da Vinci’s The Last Supper. In fact, Italy has more Unesco World Heritage cultural sites than any other country on Earth. Should you walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans in Pompeii, revel in Ravenna’s glittering Byzantine treasures or get breathless over Giotto’s revolutionary frescoes in Padua? It’s a cultural conundrum as thrilling as it is overwhelming. It might look like a boot, but food-obsessed Italy feels more like a decadently stuffed Christmas stocking.
From delicate tagliatelle al ragù to velvety cannoli, every bite can feel like a revelation. The secret: superlative ingredients and finely tuned know-how. And while Italy’s culinary soul might prefer simplicity, it’s equally ingenious and sophisticated. Expect some of the world’s top fine-dining destinations, from San Pellegrino ‘World’s Best 50’ hotspots to Michelin-starred musts. So whether you’re on a degustation odyssey in Modena, truffle hunting in Piedmont or swilling powerhouse reds in the Valpolicella wine region, prepare to loosen that belt.
There are many places to just lie on a beach, from the resorts filled with regimented rows of sunbeds and umbrellas favoured by the Italians themselves, to secluded and less developed spots. And if you’re looking for an active holiday, there’s no better place: mountains run the country’s length – from the Alps and Dolomites in the north right along the Apennines, which form the spine of the peninsula; skiing and other winter sports are practised avidly, and wildlife of all sorts thrives in the country’s national parks.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Italy
1. Rome – They say that all road leads to Rome and we are not surprised that you head on one of them with the desire to visit and admire one of the most beautiful, historical, and cultured cities in the world. Once a capital of the Roman Empire, you can expect Rome to be the epitome of an open-air museum city with thousands and thousands of historical sites sprinkled around the city… and you won’t be wrong! But Rome has much more to offer than history, just make sure to check out the atmospheric cafes, extra delicious food, great shops, and the chick hotels.
2. Tuscany – If Rome is the epitome of history, then the region of Tuscany, which is also the most popular one of Italy, is definitely the epitome of lush and fertile land that is a piece of heaven. The rolling hills, olive groves, fertile vineyards, and dense bunches of cypress trees works as a perfect backdrop of hundreds of small and atmospheric villages sprinkled around, the wine tasting in Chianti, the relaxation in San Gimignano, the Renaissance in Tuscany, the Leaning Tower in Pisa, the beaches along the Elba River’s bank, and more, and so much more.
3. Venice – Venice is definitely one of those world-renowned cities that does not need any introduction. A unique place built upon a lagoon hence the number of canals and bridges separating and connecting the city, Venice is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea and located in northeastern Italy. Out of all canals connecting the archipelago of 118 islands, the Grand Canal is the most popular one. The intricate and detailed architecture adds so much more to the charm of Venice and besides being often crowded, the city remains one of the most romantic in the world.
4. Pompeii – Pompeii is one of the most visited tourist destination and Italy and an ancient Roman city which was buried under several feet of the Vesuvius volcanic ash for nearly 1700 years. Despite the fact that excavation of Pompeii began in 1748 the city is still not fully unearthed to this date. Located near the city of Naples, Pompeii offers a fascinating insight into the everyday life of the ancient Roman people.
5. Amalfi Coast – This lush, vibrant, and colourful piece of land the Amalfi Coast is can be certainly considered as a piece of the Gardens of Eden. Amalfi coast is situated in Italy’s southwestern region of Campania and is world-renowned for its breath-taking beauty. Stretching kilometres along the southern side of the Sorrento Peninsula, Amalfi Coast is a very popular tourist destination and admired for its picturesque coastline housing shimmering bays, rugged cliffs, lemon tree gardens, glamorous resorts, and charming and colourful villas and houses. One of the most romantic and beautiful little towns along the Amalfi Coast is the infamous Positano.
6. Milan – Since the severe bombing during the WWII Milan was nearly destroyed but it quickly managed to emerge from the ruins and is nowadays the Fashion Capital of the World and a modern city with many charms you can enjoy. Besides being one of the wealthiest cities in Europe, Milan attracts with a number of historic and cultural treasures like Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper, the La Scala Opera House, one of the world’s largest Gothic cathedrals, and more.
7. Cinque Terre – Known as the main rival of the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre complex of a railway road leading you through 5 charming and breath-taking beautiful little villages with some of the best views in Italy may remind you of Positano and the surrounding cities and towns, but it is a much more laidback, relaxed, and atmospheric place. The five villages Cinque Terre comprises from are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso, and Corniglia and despite the fact that all of them are bringing the authentic and old-world charm of Italy, each little place has its own individuality.
8. Sicily – Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and an autonomous region of Italy that is a magnet for travellers and tourists from all around the world. It is separated by the mainland by the 5 km Straits of Messina and a home to every great Mediterranean civilization back in the past. Sicily is rich in art, culture, history, and jaw-dropping landscapes and views.
9. Italian Lake District – The Italian Lake District is a fertile and lush piece of land stretching across Northern Italy. The landscape surrounding the infamous lakes here is least to say diverse and surprising. While the southern ends of the lakes are mostly flat, their northern ends are reached deep into the Alps and have the majestic mountain peaks and cliffs as a jaw-dropping backdrop. The Italian lakes combine amazing weather, attractive scenery, authentic charm, great food, atmospheric accommodations. The three most popular and most visited lakes in the region are Garda, the largest one, Como, and the least known Maggiore.
10. Naples – “Back in old Napoli that’s amore…” is what Dean Martin sings and perhaps this is the best way to describe Naples as you will quickly fall in love with this city. Naples is not only one of the busiest and most dynamic metropolitan cities in Italy, located in the Campania region in Southern Italy, but also a city that is a treasure trove for art, culture, history, architecture, as well as a vibrant atmosphere of shops, cafes, restaurants, and hotels. Some of the most favored Italian foods originate from the region, remember that every time you are enjoying your pizza, spaghetti, and parmigiana.
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