Italy, the land of pizza, pasta, art, and culture, is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world. In this 2023 guide, we have rounded up some of the best things to do in Italy, from exploring historical landmarks to indulging in the beauty of nature.
Top Cities to Visit in Italy
Italy is a country of rich history, culture, and cuisine. From the ancient ruins of Rome to the romantic canals of Venice, Italy has something to offer every traveler. Here are five of the top cities to visit in Italy:
Rome: The Eternal City
Let’s start with the capital city, Rome, the Eternal City. This city is a place where ancient history intersects with modern life. Marvel at the Colosseum, the iconic symbol of Rome’s culture and heritage. Wander through the winding streets of the Trastevere neighborhood, where you’ll find vibrant street life, rustic restaurants, and bars. Be sure to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure your return to Rome.
But Rome is not just about ancient history. It is also a city of art, music, and food. Visit the Vatican Museums to see some of the greatest art collections in the world, including the Sistine Chapel. Attend an opera or a concert at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. And, of course, indulge in some of the best Italian cuisine in the world, from pizza al taglio to spaghetti alla carbonara.
Florence: The Cradle of the Renaissance
If you have an appreciation for art, don’t miss Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance. Visit the Uffizi Gallery, which houses one of the most extensive art collections in the world. Marvel at Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery. To round off an unforgettable trip to Florence, indulge in gelato.
But Florence is not just about art. It is also a city of architecture, fashion, and wine. Visit the Duomo, the iconic cathedral that dominates the city’s skyline. Walk across the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence, and admire the jewelry shops that line the bridge. And don’t forget to sample some of the famous Chianti wine from the nearby Tuscan hills.
Venice: The City of Canals
Next, make your way to the romantic city of Venice, the City of Canals. Take a gondola ride through the Grand Canal under the breathtaking Rialto Bridge. Visit St. Mark’s Square, the city’s main public square, and the interior of the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica. To step away from the crowds, explore the quieter neighborhoods of Cannaregio and Dorsoduro.
But Venice is not just about canals. It is also a city of glass, masks, and seafood. Visit the island of Murano to see the famous Murano glass being made by skilled artisans. Attend the Venice Carnival to see the elaborate masks and costumes worn by revelers. And, of course, indulge in some of the freshest seafood you will ever taste, from fried calamari to grilled sardines.
Milan: The Fashion Capital
If you’re a fashion enthusiast, add Milan to your list. Visit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. Next, head to the famous Duomo di Milano, one of the largest cathedrals in Italy. Take a stroll through the trendy Brera neighborhood, known for its vibrant arts scene.
But Milan is not just about fashion. It is also a city of design, football, and nightlife. Visit the Triennale di Milano to see some of the best contemporary design from around the world. Attend a football match at the iconic San Siro stadium, home to both AC Milan and Inter Milan. And experience the vibrant nightlife of Navigli, the canal district that comes alive after dark.
Naples: The Birthplace of Pizza
Last but not least, visit Naples, the birthplace of pizza. Watch the art of pizza-making at Antica Pizzeria da Michele, the birthplace of the famous Neapolitan pizza. Explore the narrow lanes of the historic Spaccanapoli district, home to colorful markets and stunning architecture.
But Naples is not just about pizza. It is also a city of history, music, and volcanoes. Visit the National Archaeological Museum to see some of the best-preserved Roman artifacts in the world. Attend a performance at the Teatro di San Carlo, one of the oldest and most prestigious opera houses in Europe. And take a trip to Mount Vesuvius, the still-active volcano that famously destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii.
Italy is a country that will capture your heart and leave you wanting more. These five cities are just the beginning of your Italian adventure.
Must-See Historical Sites
There is something truly special about visiting historical sites and landmarks. It’s a chance to step back in time and witness the incredible achievements of our ancestors. Here are some must-see historical sites that you simply cannot miss:
The Colosseum is one of the most popular attractions in Rome, with over seven million visitors every year. Originally built as an amphitheater, this world-famous landmark was once used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. The Colosseum is a true testament to the architectural genius of the ancient Romans. The sheer size and complexity of the structure is awe-inspiring, and it’s not hard to imagine the roar of the crowds and the clash of swords that once echoed through the arena.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is arguably one of the world’s most iconic buildings. This 56-meter tall tower started to lean during its construction and has been a fascinating and impressive sight to see ever since. Take a trip to Pisa and admire this architectural wonder for yourself. The tower is made of white marble and is adorned with beautiful carvings and intricate details. Climb to the top for a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside.
Pompeii and Herculaneum
Take a day trip from Naples and visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, two ancient Roman towns that were destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. These towns were preserved under layers of ash and pumice for centuries, until they were rediscovered in the 18th century. Today, visitors can walk through the streets of Pompeii and witness the incredible preservation of mosaics, frescoes, and artifacts, which tell the story of Roman life. Herculaneum is a smaller site, but it is just as impressive, with well-preserved villas and public buildings.
The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a sprawling complex of ruins located in the center of Rome. This ancient site was once the social, political, and economic hub of ancient Rome. Today, visitors can stroll through the remains of temples, basilicas, and other public buildings while envisioning the city’s past. The Forum was the site of many important events in Roman history, including the assassination of Julius Caesar and the speeches of Cicero.
The Vatican City
The Vatican City is the smallest independent state and the religious center for millions of Catholics worldwide. Visit the impressive St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel, adorned with the unmistakable ceiling painted by Michelangelo. The Vatican is a must-see for art lovers and history buffs alike. Note that the Vatican City is a religious site, so dress modestly and be respectful of the customs and traditions of the Catholic Church.
These historical sites are just a few examples of the incredible landmarks and monuments that await you around the world. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply curious about the past, these sites are sure to leave you in awe of the achievements of our ancestors.
Breathtaking Natural Wonders
Italy is a country that is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking natural beauty. From the snow-capped peaks of the Alps in the north to the sun-drenched beaches of the south, Italy is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. In this article, we will explore some of Italy’s most breathtaking natural wonders.
The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast in southern Italy is one of the most picturesque and romantic destinations in the world. The stunning coastline is dotted with charming towns and villages that cling precariously to the cliffs above the azure blue sea. Travel along the hairpin coastal roads and marvel at the stunning views below. Alternatively, settle into a seaside resort and soak up the Mediterranean sun. Make sure to sample the delicious seafood and limoncello, a local lemon liqueur that is the perfect way to end a day of sightseeing.
If you’re up for a hike, the Cinque Terre is a set of five beautiful seaside villages that can be reached via trails that wind through terraced vineyards and steep hills. The villages are known for their colorful houses and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Take a dip in the clear waters of Monterosso al Mare and enjoy a plate of the region’s famous pesto, made with locally grown basil.
The Dolomites are a mountain range located in northeastern Italy, with an unparalleled beauty that attracts travelers throughout the year. In summer, the green meadows are dotted with wildflowers, and the air is filled with the sound of cowbells. In winter, the snow-covered peaks are a skier’s paradise. Whether you’re hiking, skiing, or just enjoying the stunning scenery, the Dolomites are a must-visit destination.
Lake Como, known for its picturesque scenery, charming towns, and celebrity visitors, sits in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. The lake is surrounded by steep hills and mountains, and the crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming, boating, or just relaxing on the shore. Take a boat ride on the lake to see the stunning villas and gardens that line the shore, or hike the surrounding hills for a panoramic view of the lake.
Finally, Mount Etna, located in Sicily, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The volcano has been erupting for over 500,000 years, and its fiery eruptions have shaped the landscape of Sicily. Take a guided tour to the top of the summit and marvel at the stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Alternatively, explore the base of the volcano by foot and discover the unique flora and fauna that thrive in this volcanic environment.
In conclusion, Italy is a country that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty that will undoubtedly captivate travelers from all over the world. Whether you’re exploring the stunning coastline of the Amalfi Coast, hiking through the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre, or skiing in the majestic Dolomites, Italy is a must-visit destination for any nature lover. Plan your trip with our 2023 guide and explore all that Italy has to offer.