The Ultimate Italy Bucket List: 50+ Amazing Things To Do In Italy
It’s hard not to fall in love with a place, where every day is a serenade of delicious pasta, rich history and natural scenic delights.
This boot-shaped country has an incredible of activities and cultural sites to explore, on every Italy bucket list should be the obvious things like visiting the Colosseum, seeing the beautiful wine country and eating their weight in pizza and pasta, but there are a lot of off the beaten path experience to have as well!
Italy is one of those places that is so incredibly diverse, you could spend months exploring all the little towns and tasting all the amazing cuisine.
Between the incredible architecture and history, quaint charming towns, the beautiful Amalfi Coast, and the fantastic food, Italy has a little bit of something for everyone. Here is our epic Italy bucket list with 30 + things to do in this amazing European country!
- 1 ROME
- 2 MILAN
- 3 VENICE
- 4 TUSCANY
- 5 LIGURIA
- 6 CAMPANIA
- 7 SICILY
- 8 BOLOGNA
- 9 PUGLIA
Visit the Colosseum
by Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
If you plan to visit Italy, there are high chances that your trip will start in Rome, it’s capital. If there is one place that you shouldn’t miss there, that’s the Colosseum. Iconic, and probably thought to be the most beautiful attraction in Rome, the Colosseum gets around 11000 visitors per day (yes, that many!).
Built between 72 and 80 AD, by Emperor Vespasian and Titus, and modified during the reign of Domitian, the Colosseum was used for shows such as those of gladiators and other celebrations of the power of Rome. It could hold an audience of a whopping 80000 people and around 65000 spectators would regularly attend shows there.
Nowadays, it remains the most impressive archeological site in Rome. Visiting can be a bit of a hassle, as there always are lines to get tickets – which are often sold out. If visiting the Colosseum is high on your bucket list for Italy, you really should plan your visit in advance and buy tickets online, reserving an exact date and time. I recommend a guided tour to make the most of what there is to see. Keep in mind that tickets to the Colosseum also include admission to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
Where: It is located in the city centre- the nearest Metro station is Colosseo (Line B)
How Much: from 12 Euro
Hot Tip: Even though its free on Sundays the crowds are crazy! Spend the 12+ Euro for a ticket and get there as early as possible. Or grab a skip the line ticket instead.
Suggested Tours: Skip-the-Line Colosseum and Arena Floor Guided Tour
The Roman Forum
by Rhonda from travelyesplease.com
A visit to the Roman Forum is a must when in Italy because it gives a glimpse into what society was like during the Roman Empire. With numerous political, religious, and commercial buildings, the Roman Forum was central to public life in ancient Rome. Centuries later, the Forum is still a hub of activity, attracting thousands of tourist who come to see the impressive Roman ruins.
During a visit to the Roman Forum, you can marvel at the remains of important temples, monuments, basilicas, and one of the most significant triumphal arches in Italy. You can even see the spot where Julius Caesar was cremated.
The Roman Forum is located near the Colosseum and Palatine Hill and you can buy a combination ticket to visit all three archaeological sites. To get there, take the metro to Colosseo station.
Make a wish at Trevi Fountain
by Tim from tunnocksworldtour.com
The Trevi Fountain in Rome is constantly over-run with tourists. You can either bemoan the fact that popular places are becoming ever more accessible or join the throng and thrive on the energy around this spectacular water feature.
Admittedly, you’ll have to keep your wits about you to avoid getting trampled toes or a selfie-stick in the eye but the pure enthusiasm of the human masses taking part in this water fuelled pilgrimage is worth the effort. Bring your camera and jockey for position amongst the Instagrammers, throw a coin over your shoulder into the basin for good luck and then leave before the congestion becomes too much.
You’ll have some great photos of an iconic spot and you’ll have also contributed to Rome’s less fortunate as more than 3,000 Euros are collected from the fountain each night and donated to a grocery card scheme. When visiting Italy don’t miss the Trevi Fountain, it’s the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world.”
Editors Tip: Visit Rome at night, where the eternal city comes alive and the crowds for the top tourist spots have subsided a little.
Visit Vatican City
by Lesley from Freedom56travel.com
On every Italy bucket list is a visiting to the Vatican City! To make it a memorable and enjoyable experience, follow these tips from the insiders.
Take public transit or walk to Vatican City. Driving in Rome is not for the faint of heart, and taking public transit is easy and inexpensive. Use Google Maps to easily find your way.
Line-ups to enter Vatican City are always long and standing in the heat outside is no fun. Book one of the early-entry tours and get in before the crowds do. Some tours are permitted in as early as 90 minutes before the public so you’re able to enjoy the beautiful ceiling of Sistine Chapel without being jostled by crowds. If you can’t book an early-entry tour, visit from Tuesday to Friday or during the off-season to avoid the worst crowds.
The Vatican Museum is ENORMOUS and has some of the most spectacular art and antiquities in the world. It pays to pace yourself and not try to see everything. Don’t miss the Sistine Chapel of course! Make sure you pay attention to the posted rules and stay quiet in the chapel – the attendants will shush you if you’re too loud!
Ensure you dress modestly when you go to the Vatican. Be respectful of the holy nature of the area and cover your shoulders, things, neckline and midriff. You’ll have to check your bag before entering the Vatican.
See Da Vinci’s Lost Supper
By Tracy from Tracy Travels in Time
One absolute must-do if you are visiting Milan is a trip to the Convent of Santa Maria Della Grazie to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece the Lost Supper. Painted onto one wall of the refractory attached to the church the painting was completed by Da Vinci between 1495 and 1498.
Despite being badly damaged during World War 2 during bombing raids the site has been completely restored and renovated though conserving the painting remains a priority due to the way it was actually painted by Da Vinci. This has led to control measures being implemented to limit access to the work by large numbers of visitors.
Due to these measures is absolutely essential to book ahead if you wish to see the painting as the entrance to the refractory is strictly controlled.
Only 25 people are allowed into the room at a time and it is necessary to pass through a humidity-controlled chamber before entering. Once you are in the room you have 15 minutes to stand back and enjoy the painting.
The Convent and painting are a UNESCO World Heritage Site having achieved this status in 1980.
Day trip to Burano
By Kate from ourescapeclause.com
Visiting the colorful island of Burano from Venice is an excellent day trip that will leave you enchanted with an utterly unique corner of the Venetian Lagoon. This colourful destination should be on everyones Italy bucket list!
Primarily a fishing village, the buildings of Burano are all painted in vividly bright colors–legend says it was to help fishermen find their homes in the fog of the lagoon!
Today, the colors are synonymous with the island and extremely well-maintained: everywhere you turn on Burano, from main avenues divided by canals to small side streets, you are greeted with an absolute explosion in color.
Though technically an archipelago of 4 islands, you can easily walk around all of Burano using footbridges–with a population of under 3,000 people, Burano is not a very large place!
In addition to its fishing industry, Burano is also known for its remarkable lace–and though today finding purely handmade lace on the island is nearly impossible (not to mention prohibitively expensive to buy), artisans are still crafting beautiful pieces with a combination of hand detailing and a sewing machine, and the results are quite lovely.
Burano is located about 45 minutes away from Venice by ferry and makes a fabulous escape from the more congested and formal main city.
Where: Burano is an island 11 Km northeast from Murano and Venice, to which it is connected by the Canale Bisatto – Canale Carbonera – Scomenzera San Giacomo’s trail. It can be reached in 45 minutes by boat from Venice.
How Much: 20 Euro
Suggested Tours: Boat Trip: Glimpse of Murano, Torcello & Burano Islands
Take a Gondola ride
By Lori from Travlinmad.com
Ah, Venice! If ever there was a must-see for Italy. It’s one of the most visited cities in the world. But despite the many tourists who visit daily, it is well worth a visit. There are ways to see the city from a different point of view away from the hordes of visitrs. It’s hard to have an Italy bucket list without a mention of the iconic and romantic Gondola ride in Venice.
First, take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal. The main waterway through Venice is roughly 3800 meters (2.4 miles) long and cuts the city in two. Being the main route serving both sides of the city, the canal is always bustling with boat traffic — Vaporetti or water buses, smaller tour boats, private boats and other craft supplying the many businesses and restaurants. The Vaporetti run on a schedule and will get you just about anywhere you want to go in the city, but they are the main public transportation and not meant for sight-seeing.
Renting a small private tour boat or a Venetian gondola, affords you some of the best views and access to many of Venice’s famous sites like St. Mark’s Square and Bell Tower, and the Doge’s Palace. The daytime fare for a standard :30 minute gondola ride is €80. At night, the fare goes up to €120. It is a bucket list adventure, and after all, you’re in Venice.
If slow travel is more your speed, explore the quiet and peaceful lagoon island of Sant’erasmo. This is the largest island in the Venetian Lagoon and was once the Garden of the Doge (Duke). Today, there are bucolic farms and vineyards and it’s easily accessed by taking the Number 13 ferry from the Fondamente Nove Vaporetto stop.
Take a walking tour or rent a bicycle at the B&B, Il Lato Azzurro, or try some local Venetian dishes made with fresh locally sourced ingredients at Tedeschi along the way. It’s the Venice not many tourists get to see!
Experience Vivaldi in Venice
By Oli from notbritsabroad.com
La Chiesa della Pietàis more commonly known as Vivaldi’s Church and can be found on the waterfront between the San Zaccaria and Arsenale water bus stops when visiting Venice. It’s so named since Vivaldi composed a number of his works in and around the area while working at the nearby orphanage. The church itself was even designed with musical acoustics in mind.
If you have a taste for classical music, this is easily one of the highlights of Venice. Regular evening concerts are put on in the church showcasing the best of Vivaldi’s works. Naturally, The Four Seasons is often on the bill as well as pieces from other composers including Mozart and Bach. The setting is definitely unique and something you won’t regret experiencing once the sound of strings fills the church.
Tickets for the concerts cost €28 per person and take place at least three times a week on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays. However, the schedule varies depending on the time of year and other days are often available. Although it’s not the cheapest activity, nothing really compares to listening to 300-year-old music in the place where it was written.
Head of the beatan path and visit the astonishing town of Verona! With cute little streets, the buzzing cafes, good food, photogenic historic buildings and Shakespeare associations this town should be on everyones Italy bucket list.
I would recommend spending around 3-4 days here. Start your visit with a visit to Castelvecchio a sprawling, riverside castle, built from brick and formerly used as part of Verona’s defences. There is a museum inside The museum inside with a collection of archaeology and art.
Other highlights include the Torre dei Lamberti the tallest tower in the city, the Casa di Giulietta – the traditional house of the Cappello (Capulet) family and Piazza Delle Erbe.
By Erika from ErikasTravels.com
Murano is a beautiful Italian town located 2km from Venice. The small city consists of seven islands that are connected to each other by a series of bridges. Like nearby Venice, Murano’s charm lies in its car-free streets, its picturesque alleyways and its Gothic architecture. There are no cars on Murano and the only way to get anywhere is either on foot or by boat.
Due to its location within the Venice Lagoon, Murano is a popular day trip from Venice. From Fondamente Nove, vaporetto line 42 travels directly to Murano and takes just ten minutes.
Murano is the center of Italy’s glass-blowing industry. The city gained a reputation for glassmaking in 1291, when Venice transitioned its glass production to Murano. In the centuries that followed, Murano glass became world renowned for its unparalleled quality.
Today, artisans continue to ply their trade at shops around the island. In some shops, it is even possible to watch the artists at work—transforming sand into vases, jewelry and small figurines.
Murano is about more than just the glass that made it famous, however. Noteworthy things to see in Murano include the Palazzo da Mula and the Church of San Pietro Martire.
Murano is a popular day trip from Venice for good reason. With quality shopping, pretty architecture and a handful of attractions, Murano offers a similar experience to Venice with only a fraction of the crowds.
Hot springs in Tuscany
If you’re interested in wellness, then visiting a hot springs in Tuscany should be on your Italy bucket list! Tuscany is a region rich in thermal water, and hot springs have been used to treat ailments and prevent illness here for centuries. From luxury spa resorts to natural rocky pools, Tuscany has a wealth of different places to experience the steaming mineral-rich springs that contain healing elements such as sulphur, calcium and magnesium.
One of the most popular hot springs destinations is Saturnia, located in the Maremma region in Southern Tuscany. Here you can either spa at the 5-star Terme di Saturnia or join the locals at the natural waterfalls nearby. Other popular hot springs for bathing are to be found at San Filippo, Bagno Vignoni and Petriolo, while the spa town of Montecatini is known for its ‘drinking’ cure.
Italy has a strong spa tradition and dipping into some of its famous springs is a relaxing – not to mention fun – way of experiencing local history and culture.
See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Most people come here just to see the leaning Tower but you should also see the Square of Miracles or Piazza dei Miracoli, the Pisa Cathedral or Duomo di Pisa, and the Pisa Baptistery.
Climbing to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa is a unique experience and it offers a very beautiful view of the town. The base ticket price is 18 € if bought on site.
Reservations are strongly advised if you want to guarantee your place in line to climb to the top of the Tower especially during summer!
Do a cooking class
How about learning to make pasta from scratch? Or learning a little more about wines through a one day class? We strongly encourage you to try your hand at making some of the good Tuscan cuisine you’ll find throughout the region, either by taking an afternoon lesson or a week-long course. In addition to enjoying the meal you’ve just learned to prepare, once you’re back home you will be able to recreate a small piece of your holiday.
Visit the Florance Museums
By Tiffany from agirlandherpassport.com
Florence is on so many people’s Italy bucket list. For many, it is because of the outstanding Florence museums found in the city. The most famous and most visited is the Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi was commissioned by Cosmo I de’ Medici to become the official offices of Florence and construction started in 1560. Much of the original collection is from the Medici family collection. After the last Medici died, the collection was donated to Florence and it was opened to the public in 1765 then became a museum in 1865.
The Uffizi Gallery is home to many famous pieces of art including the Birth of Venus and Spring by Botticelli, The Annunciation by Da Vinci, and the Adoration of the Magi by Durer. Be sure to look up at the ceilings as they have been heavily decorated. You can book a skip the line ticket, which I highly recommend.
The other famous museum is more famous for one piece than the whole museum. It is the Accademia Gallery that houses The David. Most people come to look at The David but there are some other amazing sculptures and paintings in the gallery. This is another place that you will want to book a skip the line ticket.
There are so many museums in Florence that aren’t art museums as well. There is a small but amazing Ferragamo museum dedicated to the shoe designer that is below the store. You can also visit the Museo Gucci and see how the brand has evolved over the years.
There are over 72 museums in Florence so you can definitely find a museum that has something to interest you. You can buy a Firenze pass, which gives you free entrance to 72 museums in 72 hours.
Hike Portofino to San Fruttuoso
James from Travel Collecting
A bucket list activity in Italy a day trip from Rapallo on the Italian Riviera. It’s the perfect combination of a boat trip, pretty towns, hiking, history, seafood, the beach and a sparkling sea.
Start by taking the boat from the center of Rapallo to Portofino. Spend a little time exploring this tiny town that is crammed with colorful houses, churches and boats of the rich and famous (and gelato). Then head up the stairs near the jetty past tiny terraced farms into the hills above the town.
Walk past fields of flowers and olive trees above the Mediterranean Sea. There is a clear path that follows the coastline with spectacular views of the sea glistening far below. After a couple of hours, hike down a steep switchback in a cool forest to a tiny secluded beach that is accessible only on foot or by boat. This is San Fruttuoso. The cove is dominated by a gorgeous 10th Century abbey, now a small museum.
You will have worked up an appetite from your hike, so enjoy a guiltfree seafood lunch with spectacular views in one of the restaurants. Then head down the to the beach, rent a deck chair and umbrella and cool of from your hike in the emerald green waters.
This is the perfect place to spend your afternoon before catching the last boat back to Rapallo, where your perfect day comes to an end.
by Coni from Experiencing the Globe
On the top of my Italy bucket list and one of my favourite places in the world is beautiful Cinque Terre. Who would have thought that some cliff-hanging fishermen villages could become one of Italy’s main attractions? From completely unknown to a world renowned Unesco Heritage Site, Cinque Terre deserves a place in everyone’s bucket list.
Try to visit during shoulder season to avoid the crowds, though. These little picturesque villages suddenly caught the attention of the world, and in summer they’re too full to be enjoyed.
Cinque Terre means five lands, which is exactly what you’ll find, five charming villages in the Italian Liguria region: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. They can be reached from Florence or Genoa, and even though people recommend a visit as a day trip, I’d strongly advice to stay over to get the vibe of the place.
The towns are connected by a local train, but hiking from one to the next is the best way to explore the amazing nature around them. The whole hike is about 25 km of hilly paths and stunning views. The scenic Via dell’Amore, the seaside road connecting Riomaggiore and Manarola, has been closed for years due to a landslide, but there’s an option to go uphill to connect the two towns.
On the way back I’d recommend taking a boat. There’s one that stops in every village, giving you the perfect photo opportunity to catch a snap of the cliffs and hanging houses.
By Helen from Helen on her Holidays
In a country that’s packed with must-sees, there’s one Roman site that has to be on your Italy bucket list – Pompeii. After Rome, Pompeii is perhaps the world’s most famous Roman city; destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79, it lay buried, frozen in time for nearly 1,700 years.
During the excavation, archaeologists discovered spaces in the volcanic debris where bodies of the victims had been covered. They were able to pour plaster into these spaces, creating Pompeii’s famous casts. You can see some of these haunting figures at the site.
Visiting Pompeii is a lot like visiting a present-day Italian town; there are areas with grand municipal buildings, there are beautiful villas, there are shops, restaurants and theatres, and there’s even a bit of grit in the form of Pompeii’s famous brothels. The scale of the site is similar to visiting a modern town as well – plan to spend a full day at the ruins. A day trip to Pompeii from Rome is doable but if you have time to spare try and stay in the area for a night or two.
By Diana from theelusivefamily.com
Along with several other cities near Mount Vesuvius, Herculaneum remains one of the most preserved cities after the historic eruption in 79 AD. While lesser known than its sister city Pompeii, Herculaneum continues to be one of the most frequented cites south of Naples, with a rich history that showcases southern Italy’s ancient civilization. When the eruption took place, it covered the city with over 25 meters of ash, which preserved the ancient town from natural elements including weather over the centuries.
Walking through Herculaneum, one can see the incredible preservation while discovering public monuments such as the palaestra and the swimming pool. A shop in the buried city shows the detailed artisan work of tilework. The city itself is a maze of stone, and can be walked independently, or with a tour if one prefers. It is easily reachable by public transportation. Though much of the city is yet to be excavated due to the delicacy of excavation, Herculaneum is a not to be missed city.
Hike up Mount Vesuvius
By Michael from timetravelturtle.com
Mount Vesuvius looms over Naples and, although it’s imposing, thankfully it’s no longer dangerous. You don’t need to fear that there’ll be a repeat of 79 AD when its eruption destroyed the city of Pompeii.
These days, you can even look right down into the crater of the volcano if you hike up Mount Vesuvius. There’s a road that goes almost to the top, which you can drive yourself, take a bus from Ercolono Scavi station, or join a tour.
From the end of the road, it’s a steep but safe walk up to the summit and it will take at least 30 minutes. At the top, you’ll not just be rewarded with the view down into the crater, but with stunning vistas across the Bay of Naples, including the city, Pompeii, and even the Amalfi Coast.
There are lots of things to do around Naples but this is one of my favourites. I like that there’s a bit of a physical challenge to the experience – but there’s also something special about feeling so insignificant up close to the power of nature!
Amalfi Coast Drive
By Priya from Outside Suburbia
Amalfi coastline traces the southern shore of Salerno Gulf in Campania, southern Italy can be reached from Naples. The Amalfi drive (known as Costiera Amalfitana in Italian) runs from Sorrento to Amalfi.
It is a narrow road along the Tyrrhenian Sea with Dramatic mountain cliffs, emerald blue waters, pastel-colored villages, scented lemon groves.
The road is twisty and narrow but should be on your Italy bucket list for the epic views. We took a train into from Naples to Sorrento and based ourselves there. This beautiful Mediterranean town overlooks the Bay of Naples with many viewpoints of Vesuvius and Isle of Capri.
You should plan for 4 to 5 days to really enjoy this region during you italy bucket list adventure. If you are short one time you can see the highlights in a one day. We did the drive from Sorrento to Positano and then to Amalfi, in a day, stopping at some breathtaking viewpoints along the way.
We stopped for lunch midway – at a place which is still the Top 5 Best Restaurants we have been to so far. The food was delicious but the views were beyond what I can put into words.
Stay in Positano
By Jackie from Get Lost With Jackie
Visiting Positano, and the Amalfi Coast in general, is a must-do for any Italy bucket list, especially considering the entire Amalfi Coast was inscribed onto the UNESCO heritage list in 1997. You can think of Positano as the poster child for the Amalfi Coast and with good reason.
Positano has everything that keeps the Italian upper-crust, celebrities and tourists alike flocking to the coast every summer. From the colorful houses, hotels and restaurants stacked on top of each other and built right into the mountainous landscape to the turquoise blue waters and bright bold umbrellas on the beach to lemon slushes served in lemons the size of your head, Positano essentially created the Italian summer vibe.
You can arrive to Positano by private car transfer, ferry or public bus but there are no direct trains to the towns on the Coast. If traveling in the summer it might be best to book a hotel close to the beach, or one with a pool, because afternoons on the Amalfi Coast can warrant a necessary dip in the water to cool off. Take your time wandering the windy, narrow pathways and stairwells of Positano and pop into local ceramic or linen shops for a souvenir.
When dining be sure to try the seafood as it’s almost guaranteed to be a fresh catch of the day and don’t forget to have your fill of pizza!
Positano is just outside of Naples, where pizza was invented. Finishing any meal off with a limoncello (a sweet dessert liquor made front the rinds of the local lemons) is a must!
Any list of the best places to visit in Italy must include the island of Sicily. There is so much to do in Sicily that it can fill an entire vacation itself, but small bits can be added to your Italy itinerary.
We recommend starting in Palermo, and visiting La Cattedrale di Palermo, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and climbing to the top of the tower for an amazing view over the city. Move on to Cefalu to spend an afternoon on the beach and watching the gorgeous Sicilian sunset.
Or, start in Taormina and explore the Teatro Antico di Taormina, a theatre built by the Geeks in the third century BC, and later renovated by the Romans. Then take the cable car ride down to the seaside village Isola Bella, where you can explore the rock beach, swim in the Mediterranean or snorkel.
Yet another option is to start in Siracusa, where you can visit both the Greek and Roman theatres, stroll through the stunning Baroque Ortygia’s Piazza, and take a boat tour through the mystical water caves. Then head to Ragusa where you can explore the ancient alleyways, relax among the palm trees and flowers of Ibleo Gardens, and hike up to the Panoramica di Tagusa for a panoramic view of the city.
If these options are not enough, the must-do thing in Sicily is a visit to Mount Etna, the highest volcano in Europe, and one of the most active in the world. Ride the cable car up to the highest legal limit for an awesome view of the entire region, and to see the smoke billowing from the crater. Then stop at Gambino Winery alongside the volcano, for a tasting, of delightful wines paired with delicious foods.
Bologna is one of Italy’s most medieval cities with original and fascinating architecture. As home to the oldest University in Europe which dates to the 12th century — the University of Bologna — that’s not surprising. What is however, is the amount of it still intact for you to see.
It’s also one of the only cities in Italy to still retain its almost 40 km (25 miles) of historic covered porticos that protect the sidewalks in Bologna’s historic city center. Seeing the different styles and adornments is one of the most interesting things to do in Bologna, especially on your first visit. Originally built starting in the 13th century to accommodate the growth of the University and a fast growing urban population, the porticos were basically the upper stories of buildings that protruded over the sidewalks.
Most of these enlarged overhangs were supported by wooden beams and a few can still be seen on Via Marsala. The Gothic and Renaissance periods which came later saw the porticos integrated into the structure of the buildings themselves. Although some cities in Italy banned porticoes, Bologna instituted rules making them mandatory as public spaces. The rules stipulated that they be at least seven feet high to accommodate a man riding a horse.
Some of the most interesting porticoes in the city are in the Piazza de San Stefano with some from both the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and the Piazza Maggiore with porticos on three sides. There are many more, and whether the sun is blazing hot or it’s raining, you’re almost always guaranteed to stay dry as you explore the city of Bologna.
Tour a Parmigiano Reggiano Producer
Sandwiched between Bologna and Parma in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy sits Modena. Home to the number one restaurant in the world, Osteria Francescana, Modena is world renowned as a culinary destination.
Producers of the best traditional balsamic vinegar in the world, Modena is a food travellers paradise.
While in Modena, one of the best experiences is visiting a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese producer. Often referred to as the “King of Cheese,” the production of Parmigiano Reggiano is a culinary art form dating back centuries. Throughout Modena and the surrounding area, several producers offer tours to witness the Parmigiano Reggiano making the process.
From raw milk cooking to the salt brine and finally the massive ageing rooms, visitors get to see firsthand how the King of Cheese comes to life.
Of course, no food tour is complete with a tasting. Tours offer samples of differently aged Parmigiano Reggiano as well as the option to purchase.
Travellers can book a visit to a producer from Modena or as a day trip from Bologna. All producers are located outside of the city centre requiring a car to visit. Or there are a number of tour providers who can arrange a visit and transportation.
Visit a Gelato Museum
What could be more quintessentially Italian than eating gelato? How about learning how to make it yourself! This is exactly what we got to do at the Carpigiani Gelato University just outside of Bologna and it was one of the highlights of our Italian adventure.
You’ll begin your visit exploring the museum, full of Carpigiani branded old fashioned gelato makers, vintage packaging and original gelato selling bicycles. This is where you’ll learn about the work the Gelato University does teaching students from all around the world to make artisanal gelato and the difference between gelato and ice-cream. (Gelato contains less air, is churned slower and actually contains less fat. Bonus!)
The second part of the visit is where you get to don a hat and apron and mix up your own creation. You’ll be taught the perfect ratios of fruit to sugar to water and even get to try your handiwork. The lesson is held in Carpigiani’s onsite gelato café so if your own design doesn’t turn out quite as tasty as you’d hope then you can try all the other delicious flavours on offer.
The Carpigiani Gelato University is located in the Italian countryside, just 20 minutes outside of Bologna. It’s easy enough to drive to or you can take the number 87 bus from Bologna Central Station. The Gelato Masterclass lasts for two and a half hours and costs €50 per person. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays, make sure you book online to avoid disappointment.
By Karolina Klesta
Bari should be a part of every Italy bucket list with the beautiful architecture left over by its interesting and colorful history. Visit the Basilica of San Nicola, an impressive structure with an opulent interior that is made up of golden ceilings and intricately painted walls, making it an important pilgrimage site among European Roman Catholics.
Next in line is the tall spire of the Church of San Sabino and the imposing structure of the Bari Castle which has retained its original walls over the years. Take a walk along the Lungomare Nazario Sauro and watch the sunset.
To get here, fly to Bari Airport which is around five miles west of the city. From the airport, the cheapest way to get into the city is by taking Bus 16 which runs from the airport to Piazza Aldo Moro. A more expensive but faster option is the Tempesta Shuttle Bus. For late night arrivals, taxis are also available.
Road trip round the Northern Italian Lakes
By Laura from whatshotblog.com
A one week road trip round the lakes of Northern Italy should be on your summer bucket list as its one of the most scenic routes in the world. Fly into Milan, pick up a rental car and off you go! In just under an hour and a half you could be sunning yourself near Lake Como.
There are so many different lakes you could visit in this region but the three you absolutely need to add to your list are Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore. These three are all easy to access by car and it’s easy to travel between the three of them too.
Start at Lake Garda you can stroll around small, peaceful towns and admire the blue waters as you go. Lake Como is a popular holiday destination for the rich and famous and the likes of George Clooney own holiday homes there.
As you drive around you can’t help but be blown away by the amazing homes looking out over the water. A couple of villas are now open to tourists and its well worth poking your head in but parking can be a pain!
Then at Lake Maggiore, you can take short boat rides to the little islands in the middle of the lake and learn all about the history of the wealthy families that lived there and explore their resplendent homes.
Explore the caves of Matera
By Clare from Suitcases and Sandcastles
The cave city of Matera in Basilicata, Southern Italy, is one of the most extraordinary places we’ve ever visited. It’s a city of caves perched on the edge of a ravine and it’s one of the oldest living cities in the world.
A visit here is one you’ll never forget. There are over 3,500 caves in the Sassi, the oldest part of the city, and some of them are 9,000 years old. Virtually all the buildings here are in caves carved out of the limestone – there are underground cave churches and cave hotels. The narrow streets are far too small for cars so you walk around a city that looks much as it would have in Biblical times. It’s no surprise to find out that Matera was used as Jerusalem in Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ.
For some of the best views, drive across the ravine to the Murgia National Park on the other side. Rocky paths lead around the hill and into primitive caves used in prehistoric times and rock churches with Byzantine frescos painted on the walls.
In the evening, join the locals at one of the osterias in the many squares. Matera may be a world heritage site but it’s got the sleepy feel of a small Italian town. It feels worlds away from the tourist crowds and high prices of places like Venice, Florence and Rome.
Go now before everybody finds out about it.
The closest airport to Matera is at Bari, an hour’s drive away. There are trains from Bari to Matera which take about 90 minutes.
That is our Italy Bucket List- I hope myself and fellow travel blogger gave you some great ideas on things you can do on your next visit to Australia!
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