The boot of Italy is one of Europe’s most desirable holiday destinations. The stunning vistas, cities steeped in history and glittering coastal regions make this a must-see for holidaymakers and travellers alike. With so many places worthy of exploration it can be challenging to choose where to begin your trip and, if you’re limited on time, what you can expect to include. Luckily there are several tours available that will allow you to make effective use of your time and will ensure you see as much as you like.
Atrractions in Italy
In Italy’s northeast you will find an archipelago of 118 islands on which sits Venice. This much-photographed city contains no roads and is travelled through either by boat or on foot. The Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) is the city’s most popular square and is an excellent base from which to explore the many landmarks that surround it. Admire the Pantheon of Venice and the tower of Campanile di San Marco before taking a tour of Saint Mark’s Basilica. Within this imposing cathedral you will find walls adorned with golden mosaics and artworks that extend into the five domes overhead.
A tour of Venice can continue to the elegant Doge’s Palace before heading to one of the many museums such as Museo Archeologico Nazionale or Museo Correr. Of course, no trip to the floating city would be complete without a gondola ride. View Venice from the water as you follow the paths of the canals and marvel at the submerged foundations of this impressive city.
Further south you will find Florence nestled in the beautiful region of Tuscany. Brimming with culture, Florence provides you with opportunities to see some of the world’s most iconic artworks including Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery and Botticelli’s Primavera at the Uffizi Gallery. The architecture is also stunning to behold with building such as Florence Duomo, Basilica of Santa Croce and the shop-lined bridge named Ponte Vecchio ready to be explored.
Outside of Florence other famous towns and cities are within easy reach, including the city of Pisa. Here you can see the Leaning Tower and join the millions of tourists who have taken pictures of themselves propping it up. Other landmarks include the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Camposanto and Baptistery, each of which lines the Square of Miracles and sit close to the Leaning Tower.
Must-See Sights in Italy
Containing many of Italy’s most famous Roman landmarks, Rome is a fantastic place to explore. One of the most iconic structures, the Colosseum, is almost 2000 years old and attracts over 6 million visitors a year. Tour the site yourself and get a sense of what events here would have looked like and imagine the barbaric performances that entertained Roman citizens for almost 1000 years. Other ancient buildings and monuments that must be visited are the Pantheon, Roman Forum and St Peter’s Basilica.
Surrounded by Rome is the smallest city in the world and home to the Pope, Vatican City. Here you will find one of the most expansive art collections in the world, curated by the Popes of the last five centuries. And if you would like to continue your artistic exploration in Rome then the galleries and chapels of the city will not disappoint. Wandering around the Raphael Rooms, Borghese Gallery and Sistine Chapel you can see with your own eyes the masterpieces created by Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian.
Continuing south from Rome, the Amalfi Coast is waiting to show you what it has to offer. Situated along a southern facing coastline, the hillsides are peppered with pastel-coloured towns and contain stunning buildings looking out towards a glittering blue sea. Take a boat to the island of Capri and explore the ruins of the Emperor Tiberius’s Palace, Villa Jovis, before heading into the underwater cave of the Blue Grotto. Then explore the coastal towns of Positano, Praiano, Amalfi, and Ravello, each of which is bursting with charm and character not to mention wonderful streets lined with cafes, shops, and historic monuments.
Easily reachable from the Amalfi coast is the city of Pompeii, brilliantly preserved by volcanic ash following the enormous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Explore the buildings and marvel at the artefacts which survived the disaster before hiking up the volcano itself and taking in the surrounding views.
Other Great Travel Destinations in Italy
Italy’s main points of interest are popular for a reason but those wishing to see a different side of the country and its tourist attractions can certainly do so.
Many who visit the Venetian Lagoon will exclusively explore Venice however the nearby islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello are gorgeous and excursions here will allow you to explore the archipelago in a way that most visitors to the area miss. Watch glass being blown in Murano, gaze at the multicoloured houses of Burano and explore the history of Torcello where the Republic of Venice is said to have been founded.
In Tuscany, the Cinque Terre (meaning ‘Five Lands’) are a group of five seaside villages dotted along the northwest coastline. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Monterosso, and Vernazza are all connected by train and make an excellent day trip.
Finally, if a visit to Pompeii didn’t satisfy your historical curiosity then you can continue to Herculaneum: a smaller, quieter, but a better-preserved area that was also destroyed by Vesuvius. At this location, it was not only the buildings that survived but also wooden furniture, clothing, and food. The unique combination of conditions here caused unprecedented levels of preservation that must be seen to be believed.
Travelling through this part of the world is a remarkable experience and if you dream of returning then cast a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the story goes that you will be sure to come back one day.