Rome’s most iconic landmark, the Colosseum, is a must-see for every visitors. It is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, a gladiatorial arena inaugurated in 80 AD. The building was used for spectacular shows and games such as animal and gladiator fights. Near to Colosseum, the Roman Forum was ancient Rome’s showpiece centre with temples, public spaces and basilicas.
Sicily hosts one of the most fascinating archaeological sites of Italy: the Valley of the Temples, located 3km south of Agrigento. The park conserves the ruined ancient city of Akragas and the well-preserved Tempio della Concordia, one of the best examples of Greek temples in existence, which has remained almost entirely intact since its construction in 430 BC.
You can’t say you have been to Italy without having visited its most famous museum, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. If it is on every list of things to see in Italy, there are good reasons for its place there. Nowhere else on Earth will you see such an amazing collection of Italian Renaissance masterpieces all contained in what were originally the offices of Medici family.
If you think you know what pizza is, you are wrong. You can’t say you ate a real pizza unless you did it in the place where it was born, and for that you need to go to Naples. In this amazing city, you’ll find plenty of great restaurants, but also street food trucks, ready to prepare you an authentic margherita pizza.
Once in Campania, hop in a car (or in a motorbike) and get lost in the Costiera Amalfitana. Though it is dangerous at a few points, the road that snakes along this stretch of Mediterranean coastline is well worth the trip. The views are simply terrific and the surrounding panorama will leave you speechless.
Founded by Pope Julius II in the 16th century and enlarged by successive pontiffs, the Vatican Museums boast one of the world’s greatest collections of art, including Egyptian mummies, Etruscan bronzes, ancient busts and modern paintings. The museums’ most famous works of art (and one of the greatest frescoes of all the times) is the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo.
For opera fans there is nothing quite like sitting in a Roman amphitheatre, just as people have done for thousands of years, watching a show. Verona, the romantic city of Romeo and Juliet, has its very own. Verona’s opera company is the most famous of Italy and every summer offers spectacular music shows to enjoy under the stars. This is one of the best things you can do while you are in Italy.
For those with a fear of heights it might be tricky, but for spectacular views of Florence’s city center there is only one option: to climb to the top of the terrific dome of Florence’s cathedral. This piece of art and engineering has been designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the most influential architects of the Renaissance. If you prefer to have the dome itself in your rooftop view, then climb the Giotto’s tower bell instead.
From the Dolomites in the northeast, to the Monte Bianco which is Europe’s largest mountain in the northwest, dozens of top slopes span the Italian Alps. This area is full of options, but if you are looking for a real adventure the best thing you can do is to go to Livigno, often overlooked by non-Europeans in favor of fancy spots like Cortina and Courmayeur. It is one of the most perfect places for snowboarding.
A unique city frozen in time, Pompeii is one of the most incredible archaeological sites in the world. This ancient Roman town was completely covered by lava in 79 AD after an eruption of the nearby Mount Vesuvius. Both Pompeii and the nearby Herculaneum are well worth a visit, but what archaeologists have discovered here is now located in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
The roads that connect the hilltop hamlets of Umbria are simply breathtaking. With its pastoral scenery, hilly settlements and wild mountains of Monti Sibillini, the west of Umbria is one of the most beautiful and underrated regions of Italy. For art, history and culture, there’s nothing better than to go there and admire the spectacular villages of Spoleto and Norcia where only a few tourists venture.
The beauty of these five pastel-colored fishing villages is that they are connected by terrific paths and sea rather than by roads. The most popular way to see them is to hike the coastal trail but it is also the most crowded path, so escape the crowds by travelling by water (you can rent your own boat and captain from one of the harbors). Remember to avoid the Cinque Terre in high season and book a trip here in Spring or in Autumn to avoid the peak summer months.
You can consider yourself an Italy expert only if you had spent a night in a trullo, a typical circular house of Puglia, with cone-shaped roofs. These charming buildings, now part of a UNESCO’s World Heritage site, are dated from the 16th century and were built to be easily dismantled. Today, the biggest concentration of these structures can be found in the city of Alberobello.
Venice is one of the most touristic cities in Italy and if you have visited it you’ll know why, with its unique architectural style, bridges and canals being famous worldwide. Visiting Venice means you have to fight with many tourists and crowds, but you can admire in person the Saint Mark’s Cathedral, with its domes, marbles from the Middle East and mosaics.
Travelling in Italy gives you the chance to visit one of the smallest countries in the world, the Republic of San Marino. This nation, the fifth-smallest in the world, has its own flag, football team, army, a UNESCO-listed capital and some impressive places to visit, such as Monte Titano, a torture museum, defense towers and fine palaces. Only Italy experts and locals knows how beautiful it is, so visit it before everyone else finds out how stunning it is.
Taking place on two days each year, July 2 and August 16, the Palio di Siena is a historic and extraordinarily competitive horse race around Siena’s Piazza del Campo, which is also one of the most spectacular squares you’ll see in Italy. Riding bareback, 10 riders represent their city district, flying through the thick dirt as thousands gather to watch.
Sardinia is one of the most spectacular islands in the world, full of natural beauty, cities of art and many memorable places to go and things to see. For those who want to visit the island, we strongly recommend avoiding the touristic Costa Smeralda and head into the south coast to discover untouched beaches, caves, gorges and have some fun in the city of Cagliari.