Italy’s fortes stretch far beyond its architecture and history. The country ( shaped like a boot), boasts extreme natural gems. From the norths mountain ranges to the souths turquoise grottoes, this combined with its culinary delights makes Italy the perfect European destination!
For me personally, Italy is up there in my top 5 fav countries, it probably has something to do with the non-stop feeling of being serenaded exploring cobblestone streets, whilst overindulging in pasta, pizza and wine ( the favourite food groups :D)
If you are planning a trip to Italy, be prepared to fall in love with an extraordinary country and maybe gain a couple of kgs. The food, the wine, the history, the art, the food and architecture, the quaint, hillside towns in Tuscany, and the underrated Dolomites…there is something here for everyone. Here are the best places to visit in Italy!
Related: “10 reasons to visit Turkey”
Top 10 best places to visit in Italy
This sprawling capital is the epicentre of Italy, a cosmopolitan city with over 3,000 years of history, architecture and influential art. Home to ancients ruins such as the Forum, Pantheon and the infamous Colosseum and religions sights like the Roman Catholic Chruch, St. Peters Basicila Vatican Museums. Sit and people watch at street side cafes, make a wish at the trevi fountain and shop up a storm on Via Del Corso. Eating out is one of Rome’s great pleasures (and mine) and the combination of alfresco dining, trattorias, pizza bars, and gelato stores is sure to tick every occasion!
Cinque Terre Meaning “Five Lands,” is made up of 5 colourful towns, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso and Corniglia. Located in Italy’s northwestern coastal region of Liguria, the villages of Cinque Terre feature some of Europes most beautiful landscapes that include steep cliffs against a Mediterranean backdrop. My favourite part was hiking through the 5 towns, the entire trek takes around 6 hours. Although there are some tough moments you will be rewarded with the most stunning views! Take a break in Vernazza and refuel with some lunch, a dip and a big scoop of gelato!
Located in the south of Italy, this impressive coastline stretches 50-kilometres from Punta Campanella to Vietri sul Mare. An extremely popular vacation destination for both tourists and locals pick your time to visit wisely as during the summer it can become overcrowded and unpleasant. The quaint towns boast sheer cliffs, dotted with small beaches and pastel-coloured fishing villages. Weave through the narrow roads and countryside and admire the grand villas, vineyards, lemon terraces and olive grove, only to be rewarded with glittering bays, colourful houses and an esplanade full of quaint cafes and souvenir shops.
Known as Italy’s loveliest medieval city, Siena is situated in central-southern Tuscany region. Here you will find endless natural landscapes, infinite vineyards and insanely proud locals. The Tuscan experience is only complete with food tour, this gourmet destination is known for its fertile land and the farmers take enormous pride in the quality of produce! Embark on a 10-hour foodie tour of Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano where you will taste locals fine wines and fresh cheeses. Or get more hands and take part in a cooking class on a countryside estate!
Milan is the fifth-largest city in the Europe and is widely recognized as the design and fashion capital! This buzzing metropolis in Italy’s north is a financial hub known for its high-end restaurants and shops as well as the famous, Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper”. A lot of people either love or hate Milan, I would recommend just staying a few days in the city and then venturing to Lake Como and Bergamo for some stunning natural landscapes.
In around two and a half hours you can travel by train to Venice from Milano Centrale station. Immediately, walking from the station you are transported back in time, feeling like you are in a fairy tale. With over 100 islands interconnected in the Adriatic sea, with canals and Renaissance palaces, it’s easy to see why Venice is one of the Italy’s most unique cities! The best things to do here are just to wander and get lost! Immerse in the mazed narrow lanes until you reach the Central Square, where you will find Piazza San Marco, containing St. Mark’s Basilica. Have extra days? Take a day trip to Burano, famous for its colourful house!
Full of mesmerising history, art, culture and great food, this is one of the world’s most charming and endlessly fascinating cities. This endearing town is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. It is also home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture including Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and the bell tower by Giotto. This city is quite compact yet packed with extraordinary art, architecture and cafes. Don’t miss Gelateria La Carraia where I had the best Gelato of my life!
Sicily is the largest Mediterranean island, off Italy’s mainland, and can be reached by ferry. On Sicily’s eastern edge you famous Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes. To the north lies Palermo, the island’s capital and is rich in mouthwatering cuisines, crystal clear waters and cultural treasurers. The best way to explore this rich European gem is by car, cruise along the coastline, enjoying the stunning seaside scenery. Don’t forget to visit the Aeolian Islands, Norman Palace and the islands second largest city Catania which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Located in the Northern part of Italy, the Dolomites are amongst the most striking mountain ranges in Europe. Powerful rocky cliffs sit on top rivers that run through peaceful villages. Embark on a self guided trek from Collazo to Bolzano, where you will be rewarded with dramatic landscapes, rugged mountains and small delightful towns. Don’t miss the incredible Lake Garda, the ancient town of Bellun and Monte Cristallo!
Capri, an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples, is famed for its rugged landscape, upscale hotels and turquoise coastline. One of its best-known natural sites is the Blue Grotto, a dark cave where the sea shines electric blue. Capri’s dramatic coastline draws many yachts and tourists during the European Summer and can be reached by ferry from Naples or Sorrento.
Have we convinced you to add Italy to your next trip? What are you most looking forward to?!