Top 10 destinations in Italy
The romantic city of Venice attracts people from all over the world, all year round. Built on the Adriatic Sea, beautiful Venice has no roads, just canals. It’s built on over 100 islands in a lagoon and is something everything traveler must see to believe. Walk around its beautiful streets or lay back on a gondola as it travels through the waterways. Head to Saint Mark’s Basilica, known for its Italo-Byzantine architecture, and walk around St Mark's Square and down to the Grand Canal. The magic of Venice is discovered simply roaming the streets, gazing at the canals and appreciating just how unique this Italian city is.
Located in rocky northern Italy, Lake Como is known for its jaw-dropping scenery. One of the most desirable places to live in the whole of Europe, George Clooney, Madonna and Richard Branson are just some of the celebrities who have settled in the area. The beautiful lake is illuminated against the backdrop of the Italian Alps. It's possible to take a taxi boat to see various different locations around the lake. Pay a visit to Basilica of Sant’ Abbondio, that dates back to the 5th century. Stroll through the botanic gardens located in the Hotel Villa Cipressi. Adventure seekers can always take one of the many hikes scattered around Como. That, or simply enjoy a glass of wine gazing out onto the lake itself.
Located on the rugged and breathtaking Italian Rivera, a string of charming seaside villages make up what’s known as Cinque Terre. The villages are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. Although it’s quite a challenge, you can explore the towns by foot with several beautiful and rewarding hikes to do in the area. You can also, thankfully, take the train between them. Cinque Terre is known for its iconic colorful houses that decorate the cliff faces, and coastal scenery that looks too spectacular to be real. The villages date back to the early medieval period and have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997.
As the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, the Renaissance city of Florence is brimming with culture and history with an endless list of things to do. The best way to get to know the city is to take to the streets. Make sure to visit the Piazzale Michelangelo - it’s one of the best lookouts in Florence and you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of the city. No trip is complete without seeing the Duomo in Florence (the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) and strolling around the cathedral square. The main square, the Piazza della Signoria, is also well worth a visit and often described as the political heart of the city. There’s also the famous Michelangelo’s David. The original is located in Galleria dell’Accademia in the city and a replica in its original location of the main square. There’s also a bronzed replica in Piazzale Michelangelo.
No trip to Italy is complete without a visit to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower literally leans sideways and is one of the most Instagrammed monuments in the world. Away from the tower, Pisa itself has plenty to offer visitors. The beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli is home to Pisa Cathedral, Baptistery and the Camposanto cemetery - all architectural wonders themselves. There is just the right number of sights to see and explore by foot in Pisa. It's also a great place to eat, drink and stroll along the River Arno like a true Italian.
One of Italy’s most romantic and breathtaking destinations, the Amalfi Coast is a dream come true. Think vertical cliff faces, steep mountains and crystal clear water. Be sure not to miss Positano, a favorite holiday spot for the rich and famous. This small town is packed full of charm with steep streets and terracotta-colored houses laced up the hills. The resort town of Sorrento is a great place to base yourself in if you’re looking to make some day trips around the peninsula. The island of Capri off the coast is also worth a visit.
Nestled in Italy’s Tuscany region, Siena is an architectural pleasure with a UNESCO-listed historic center. It’s another Italian city that effectively works as an open-air museum. The medieval city has a number of must-see sights, including the Siena Cathedral, the Piazza del Campo and the grand Piccolomini Library inside the cathedral. At the Piazza you can admire the beautiful Fonte Gaia, the largest fountain in the city. Another interesting thing to do is to climb to the top of the Torre del Mangia, an 87-meter tall tower that affords amazing views of the city.
Dubbed one of the world’s fashion capitals, Milan is a thriving metropolis that exudes glamour, sophistication and is an extremely global city. It’s a truly modernized version of Italy with no shortage of things to do. Expect to see elegance as people head for after-work drinks in the city’s downtown. The Milan Cathedral is beautiful - head to its rooftop and take in the view of the entire city from the cathedral’s terraces. It’s the best way to see Milan. Head to the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, and hidden away on an adjoining wall of the refectory is Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
An ancient city with a modern edge, Rome is a city to fall in love with. Generally considered to be one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe, there is a lot to be said for simply heading out for a stroll with nothing particular in mind. You're sure to stumble across some of the most famous and fascinating monuments the world has to offer. If you love history, there is no better place to visit. Gaze at the Colosseum and the Pantheon, throw a penny in the Trevi Fountain and enjoy some leisure time eating gelato on the Spanish steps. Wander the city’s cobbled lanes, watching live entertainment in the piazzas and thinking back on the history this city has seen.
An archaeological site located in southern Italy, the city of Pompeii is a fascinating place. Once a thriving example of Roman civilization, Pompeii was destroyed and buried under volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius exploded back in AD 79. The ruins of Pompeii are UNESCO Heritage listed and have been visited as a tourist destination for over 250 years. The city is preserved under ash, allowing people to look at the moment life stood still all those years ago and get a glimpse into life in ancient Rome. It’s a haunting site as people’s bodies are still preserved in the same position they were in when the ash engulfed the town.
Check out our handy Travel Guide resources to help plan your trip to Italy:
Best Time to Visit - climate and seasons of Italy
Tourist Visas - what you need to know about visas for Italy
Top Travel Tips - useful info on money, health, food and more