Italy is a European country with a long Mediterranean coastline. Italy is well-known to the world for its cuisine, history, art, architecture, music, culture, incredible scenery, sacred sites, and charming villages. That’s why Italy has always been on the bucket lists of travelers. You can plan your trip to Italy with the help of our list of best places to see in Italy. Moreover, this travel guide will also let you know what to eat in Italy and where to stay in Italy.
Top 10 Best Places to See in Italy
Rome is a rich historical city of Italy. It’s also one of the vibrant cities of Europe. There’s so much history to explore and fun to have that Rome comes on the top of Italy’s most-visited attractions.
It wouldn’t be enough to devote only a single day to explore Rome. Its relics are the mark of its ancient elegances and glories. Visit the Colosseum, the most globally recognized icon in Rome. It’s up to you whether you take a guided tour of the Colosseum or explore it on your own. Guided tours provide more information though. The Colosseum is the largest structure that survived from ancient Rome. Earthquake, fire, and neglect damaged it. The pollution of modern traffic also surrounds it. But, despite all of these difficulties, it hasn’t lost its powerful impression of its original form.
There are other historical sites to visit in Rome apart from the Colosseum. Visit the Roman Forum where there are ruins of the ancient buildings that were once majestic and important as well. Visit the Pantheon, one of Rome’s ancient structures which is a splendid piece of architecture. Visit the Palatine Hill where the earliest known inhabitants of Rome ever lived. Visit the Vatican which is an independent state of Rome. It’s one of the top tourist attractions in Rome. This attraction alone offers so many things to do which can keep tourists busy for many days.
Besides having fun exploring the history of Rome, you can do some other fun things as well. You can eat gelato on the Spanish Steps or relax in the Borghese Gardens. Window-shopping on the Via Veneto or exploring the narrow streets of Trastevere is fun as well.
If you admire art and love exploring it, Florence is your best place to see in Italy. Florence is the showcase of the Italian Renaissance. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it seems like one giant art museum.
There’s the landmark of world architecture, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo), standing with its all-powerful elegance. The Duomo is the top attraction in Florence. Its massive dome, marble-inlaid bell tower, and its octagonal Baptistery with its perfect bronze doors, all make the Duomo one of the world’s finest collections of Renaissance.
There are many art museums to explore here. Brimming with paintings and sculptures, there are the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace. There are also some masterpieces of art decorating the churches in Florence.
Apart from exploring the art, you can stroll through the Boboli Gardens. You can also shop for leather in Santa Croce.
Your Italy tour is incomplete if you don’t explore Venice, one of the best places to see in Italy. It’s a magic city where streets are made of water and means of transportation are boats, not buses. For those who love peace and serenity in the environment, Venice is heaven for them. Here the songs of gondoliers linger in the air and the city is itself a major tourist attraction.
The St. Mark’s Square (or mostly called Piazza San Marco) is the main tourist spot here. It’s also one of the finest squares in the world. In its surroundings, there are other attractions as well such as the great Basilica of St. Mark and the Doge’s Palace.
St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) was once the chapel of the Doge. In 829, the remains of St. Mark came to Venice from Alexandria. These remains were entombed here and thus, St. Mark’s Basilica became more significant.
The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) was the residence of the Doge as well as the center of government during the Venetian Republic. Being one of Europe’s most beautiful and historical buildings, it’s one of the main attractions in Venice.
Besides exploring these attractions, tour the Grand Canal by boat. Vaporetto is the floating public transport system of Venice. It rides the entire length of the Grand Canal, i.e. from San Marco to Porta Roma. Though there’re several options of tours available here, you can choose the option of a long tour for more fun. The longer tour includes the beautiful neighborhood of Dorsoduro and an informative tour of the Grand Canal as well. It also includes a stop to visit the sights of Venice’s former Jewish Ghetto in Cannaregio.
4. Lake Como
Lake Como, with its steep shores and beautiful clustered towns, is Italy’s most beautiful lake. You can have the fun of exploring art and history as well as water sports at this single attraction. Hence, it’s one of the best places to see in Italy.
Bellagio is one of the lake’s clustered towns. It’s a favorite tourist spot here. That’s mainly because of how artfully it sets on a point where the three narrow arms of the lake meet.
There’s the town of Como on the lake’s southern shore. Here you can board a steamer to explore the lake as it’s a fun thing to do here. Moreover, there’s Lake Maggiore to the west of Lake Como. Lake Maggiore has its attractions and fun things to do. Not only this but there’s also Lake Garda where you can enjoy water sports, as it’s a summer playground.
5. Amalfi Coast and Capri
Owing to its stunning natural beauty, Amalfi Peninsula is also one of the best places to see in Italy. The towns here are awfully beautiful. The towns, which spill down its steep slopes, are one of the top tourist spots here. Most of the towns’ streets are stairways and the houses here seem fixed to the cliffs behind the streets. Below these charming towns are the beautiful beaches.
One of the world’s great picturesque routes, the Amalfi Drive is here, along the southern coast. Moreover, here’s also the beautiful and famous Island of Capri. This island alone has a great many things to do for its tourists. There are luxurious villas, lush gardens, and also the amazing Blue Grotto sea cave on the island.
6. The Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre is a string of long-lived seaside villages on the uneven Italian Riviera coastline. These five colorful villages are some of the best places to see in Italy.
If you’re looking for having great hiking adventure, the hiking trail here along the cliffs will please you. The locals once used this trail to travel from town to town. The Via dell’Amore, between Manarola and Riomaggiore, is the shortest and the widest section of this trail.
7. Tuscan Hill Towns
Famous for its hills and spectacular hill towns, Tuscany is one of the best places to see in Italy. Tuscan Hill Towns make the landscape of Tuscany undulating. The foundations of these towns go back to the Etruscans. There are still castles and towers in many towns.
Each of the towns has its own story to tell, its art, architecture, and beauty. So, it’s not a surprise that you’ll find it difficult to prefer one town to the other. San Gimignano is a hill town here which will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into the Middle Ages. This town is enclosed in walls and has a great many towers. Head towards Volterra, another famous hill town, if you want to see the ruins of both civilizations, Etruscans, and Romans. There’s another hill town, Arezzo, in which many great artists, poets, and architects used to live. That’s why the tourist attractions of Arezzo are very popular.
Cortona is a hill town here, which was first an Etruscan and later became a Roman one (just like Volterra was). Like Volterra, it also has remains of both Etruscan and Roman civilizations. But it also has remains of its Florentine past. Since it’s one of Italy’s oldest towns, it’s worth exploring.
8. Pisa and Lucca
These two towns are each other’s neighbors. If you visit Tuscany, you must go to these nearby towns of Tuscany. Pisa is worth visiting for its extraordinary Leaning Tower as well as Campo Dei Miracoli. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lucca, on the other hand, is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy that one shouldn’t miss out on. The town’s top is a tree-lined park. Surrounded by walls, Lucca has many attractions for its tourists. There are tower houses and charming Romanesque and Tuscan Gothic churches. There’s also a Roman arena that has been petrified into an oval piazza.
Owing to its airport, Milan serves as the main entry point for its tourists. If you land here, you’ll find many best places to see in Italy here. There are many artistic and architectural attractions here. As it’s a great shopping center as well, it seems appealing to people who have a thing for fashion.
Il Duomo, which is the perfect example of the Flamboyant Gothic style, is Milan’s massive cathedral. It’s also one of the world’s most majestic churches. Here’s also La Scala, which is the most eminent and honored opera house in the world. Moreover, you’ll find Milan bristling with museums and palaces. Among these museums and palaces, you’ll find magnificent pieces of artwork of great artists. Leonardo da Vinci, Verdi, and Enrico Caruso are to name some.
Sitting on the Bay of Naples, it’s a popular city in southern Italy. It’s Italy’s third-largest city. Known for its centuries-old art and architecture, Naples is a cheerful and buoyant city of Italy. The narrow streets, which almost always remain filled with life, color, and noise, keep the city alive. Naples is one of the most travelers’ beloved cities of Italy.
Explore its treasure-filled churches. Go to the premier archaeological museum here that displays the finds from nearby Pompeii. Here you’ll find many palaces to explore. The splendid palaces here seem to be revealing the luxuries of European royalty. Moreover, you can do shopping in the glass-domed Galleria Umberto I.
Apart from all the above things to do in Naples, you can eat excellent Italian cuisine here. Pizzas are very popular here for their association with Neapolitan cuisine. The city’s restaurants play a vital role in its vibrant nightlife. Almost every restaurant in Naples will live up to your taste for Italian cuisine here. Still, Ciccio Fri, La Locanda Gesu Vecchio, Lombardi A Santa Chiara, and Pizza & Sfizi are few top restaurants to name.
Hopefully, the above list of best places to see in Italy will make most of your vacations. Now, let’s come to what you are going to eat in Italy. We recommend the following list of traditional Italian dishes, which you shouldn’t miss out on.
Top 6 Traditional Dishes to Eat in Italy
1. Pizza and Pasta
You’ll get terrible reactions if you tell tourists that you’ve been to Italy but you never tried a pizza or pasta there. Because Italy is the birthplace of pizza and pasta. So, they’re must-to-try traditional dishes there. You’ll find it difficult to choose from the various types of pizza and pasta there. So, we here recommend you the must-to-eat types of both pizza and pasta.
Among all the types of pizza, Margherita is the first one you should eat there. Topped with garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese, it’s a crispy, thin-crust pizza. As far as pasta is concerned, every city has its special pasta. If you visit Rome, one of the best places to see in Italy, be sure to order pasta alla carbonara. It’s prepared from guanciale which is a type of Italian cured meat made from pork cheeks. The other ingredients included in this pasta are eggs, black pepper, and Pecorino cheese.
2. Osso buco alla Milanese
The meat lovers should try this beloved Italian meat dish. These are Italian braised veal shanks that are extremely tender. They are braised slowly in white wine. It’s served with an array of vegetables.
This dish will give you the taste of true Italian cuisine. It’s another classic Italian dish that you shouldn’t miss out on. First, the sheets of lasagne pasta are layered with vegetables, cheese, ground meat, and different varieties of sauces. Then, these sheets of lasagna pasta are baked. The varieties of sauces can be béchamel, ragù, or tomato sauce.
It may be surprising for you to know that this Italian traditional dish was considered poor man’s food (Cucina Povera). It’s a creation of servants who used to collect unfinished foods from their masters. They used to collect items like vegetables and bread before boiling them in water to make a meal.
Now, it’s a famous Tuscan bread soup. Its main ingredients include leftover bread, lacinato kale, cannellini beans, cabbage, carrot, onion, and potatoes. So, do try it when you visit Tuscan Hill Towns, which are the best places to see in Italy.
A smooth creamy traditional Gelato makes your visit to Italy complete. It’s a traditional Italian dessert that’s lower in fat as compared to other deserts. Its key ingredients include 3.25% milk, sugar, and some flavoring ingredients such as fruit or nut puree.
You know that Rome is one of the best places to see in Italy. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that it is one of the best places to eat in Italy as well. Apart from pasta, we recommend you to try Tiramisu there. It’s a well-known traditional Italian dessert. It’s light and creamy. Its key ingredients include ladyfingers, eggs, coffee, cocoa, sugar, and mascarpone cheese.
Hopefully, you’ll enjoy exploring Italy’s top attractions and have fun eating the above traditional Italian dishes. Let’s discuss now where you should stay in Italy.
Top 5 Luxurious Hotels to Stay in Italy
1. Belmond Hotel Caruso, Amalfi Coast
Belmond Hotel Caruso is the best option as a hotel for those who want to explore Amalfi Coast. It’s located at the highest and quietest point of Ravello. It’s also the best option for those who prefer to stay in serene and natural environments. Overlooking the rocks and cliffs of Italy’s Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean Sea, it seems suspended between sea and sky.
Since the hotel is a renovated medieval palace, you’ll have the luxury of living in an ancient piece of architecture. The 50 highly individual rooms and suites occupy every corner and shape of the palace. There are arched stone vaults and frescoed salons as well. A hotel is also a good option for a romantic getaway. The Belvedere Restaurant here is famous for its sunlit as well as candlelit dining. The hotel’s infinite pools are as splendid as the hotel is.
2. Il Sereno, Lake Como
Lake Como is one of the best places to see in Italy and you may want to spend many of your vacations here. In this case, Il Sereno, Lake Como will be your best option to stay in. The hotel features 30 oversized suites, all with the luxury of furnished terraces and lake views. The hotel’s signature restaurant is Ristorante Berton Al Lago. Inspired by diverse regions of Italy, the chefs here prepare a delicious menu. Also, the vertical botanical gardens here add to the hotel’s beauty.
3. Aman Venice
No trip to Italy is complete without exploring its magical city, Venice. This city keeps travelers busy for many days. So, people mostly look for the best hotels to stay in Venice, among which comes Aman. Located on the Grand Canal, within an extraordinary 16th-century Palazzo Papadopolion, it’s a true luxury as well as a museum itself.
The hotel showcases the gilded ceilings, Tiepolo frescoes, and centuries-old leather wall coverings. The salons with high ceilings, two private outdoor gardens, and a small rooftop are the luxuries of this hotel. Featuring the picturesque views of the Grand Canal, there are 24 luxurious rooms and suites.
4. Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Tuscany
As Tuscan Hill Towns are the best places to see in Italy, you’ll probably want to stay there for longer than a day. So, we recommend you the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. It’s housed in a Renaissance palazzo, which is a fine piece of art of its age. Inlaid pillars, arches, painted frescoes, friezes, and marble floors adorn the hotel’s interiors. Blending the Renaissance artistry with high-tech comfort and luxury, there are 116 guest rooms and suites. All of the rooms reflect the architectural beauty of the building’s honorable past.
5. Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Rome is undoubtedly one of the best places to see in Italy. It won’t be a surprise if one wants to spend most of one’s Italy vacations in Rome. In this case, Rome Cavalieri is the best option among many other available options in Rome.
This hotel is home to world-class luxuries. The rooms are vast and warm and have balconies and sitting areas. There are marble bathrooms with designer toiletries. There are airy suites with their sumptuous furniture and artwork. Some of them even feature rooftop balconies with whirlpool tubs and VIP elevators as well.
Other facilities include an indoor pool, three outdoor pools, four bars, two restaurants, a gym, and a posh spa. Moreover, the hotel offers stunning views of Rome, and major attractions of the city are easily accessible from here. It’s 7 km from the Roman Forum, 4.7 km from the Piazza Navona, and 3.9 km from St. Peter’s Basilica.
THE FINAL WORDS
With the lists of the best places to see in Italy, the traditional Italian dishes, and top hotels to stay in Italy, you can plan your trip well. All of these places on our list are top-notch which will make you fall in love with Italy.
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