The best things to do and places to see during a trip to Italy

The best things to do and places to see during a trip to Italy


Italy is probably one of the most romantic destinations in the world, after all, Venice was where Casanova charmed the ladies of the court and Juliette called out to Romeo in Verona. Whether wandering about cobbled streets while window-shopping in Milan, sailing the canals on gently rocking gondolas in Venice, people-watching while enjoying a scoop of gelato in Florence, or standing still to imagine life in ancient Rome, Italy offers so much to charm you. To ensure you make the most of your Italian holiday, relax and read this itinerary, which recommends some of the sights and sounds you simply cannot afford to miss.

Venice

Things to do:

  • Be serenaded in a gondola and admire medieval architecture
  • Visit Vittoria Constanini for glass memorabilia and lamps, or head to Martinuzzi to buy delicate hand-made lace.
  • Indulge in a scoop of refreshing gelato.
  • Follow the footsteps of James Bond at the Palazzo Pisani where Casino Royale was filmed.

Places to see:

  • Travel from Venice to Verona and stand beneath the balcony where Juliette cried out for Romeo in Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliette.
  • Palazzo Ducale, which can be found at Piazzetta San Marco, is the scene where the infamous chauvinist Giacomo Casanova escaped out a window while being held there under arrest.
  • Casino Venier exuberates 18th century aristocratic opulence. Here, the wealthy from near and far gathered for nights of indulgence, dancing, gambling and tom-foolery. Find Casino Venier in Ponte dei Bareteri.
  • Browse the magnificent colour library of Orsoni, which is one of the few remaining working glass furnaces. Here, glass mosaics are expertly crafted and have been used to decorate some of the most inspiring buildings in Europe, among others the St Paul’s Cathedral, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, the Sacre Coeur in Paris and the Basilica of San Marco. Find Orsoni in Cannaregio.

things to do in Venice, Italy

Rome

Things to do:

  • Sample olive oil and balsamic vinegar at the Campo de Fiori.
  • Live the life of a Roman gladiator for one day and learn about the life and traditions during the Roman Empire at the Gladiator School.
  • Visit the cat sanctuary at Largo Argentina if you’re a cat fanatic.
  • Explore the food quarter and open air market of the Testaccio neighbourhood. At Volpetti you’ll discover delicious Italian-cured meats, cheeses, truffles, wines and olive oils or if you prefer something sweet, head to Bar Giolotti for maritozzi, a cream-filled raisin and pine nut bread. Yum!

Places to see:

  • The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, has a fascinating history and every traveller ought to take the time while in Rome to appreciate it. It is considered the greatest architectural work left standing from ancient Rome. It was here that the fiercest (and cruellest) battles and public spectacles took place.
  • The Trevi Fountain is a shining example of Baroque style art and is famous throughout the world for its tradition of tossing a coin into the fountain using your right hand over your left shoulder – then making a wish that hopefully will come true!
  • Muster your energy and climb the beautiful Spanish Steps – all 135 of them! At the base of the steps at your right you’ll see the old house where the English poet John Keats lived and passed away in 1821. Thankfully it’s been preserved and is now a museum dedicated to his memory and work.
  • No holiday in Italy would be complete without a visit to the Vatican to experience St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums.

things to see and do in Rome

Sorrento

Things to do:

  • Head to Via San Cesareo for Italian crafts and local specialities. After you’ve shopped till you dropped, stand still for a few minutes to admire the magnificent architecture of the Church of Madonna Addolorata, still standing strong since the 1100s.
  • Browse the Piazza Tasso for beautifully embroidered goods, artfully crafted woodwork, fresh vegetables and herbs.
  • Visit Piazza Angelina Lauro, which is the other main square in Sorrento located a few metres from the train station.
  • Indulge in a choice of over 50 pizzas at Aurora Pizzeria in Piazza Tasso.

Places to see:

  • Museo Correale is considered to be Sorrento’s most beautiful museum. Inside you can admire precious works of art from Neapolitan painters during the 17th and 18th century and a collection of valuable ceramics, glassware and jewellery.
  • Catch a glimpse of the now dormant volcano, Mount Vesvius, from the waterfront. It’s famously known for its eruption, which engulfed the entire city of Pompeii and turned its citizens into stone pillars.
  • Chiesa di San Francesco is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor, more commonly known as the Franciscan Order. It is considered one of the holiest churches in Italy and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Basilica di Sant’Antonino was named after the patron saint who rescued a child from the belly of a whale. Inside the basilica, you can view the bones of the whale along with other oddities as well as medieval paintings and artefacts.

things to see and do in Sorrento

Siena

Things to do:

  • Sit down to tasty traditional Italian cuisine at La Taverna di San Giuseppe. Here you’ll experience authentic recipes that have been passed down through generations.
  • Climb all the way up the Torre del Mangia for spectacular views of Siena.
  • If you have a sweet tooth you’ll be delighted to know that Siena is famous for its sweet and pastry shops. Taste top quality biscuits, cakes, tarts, pastries and sweets. Indulge in some Panforte or Ricciarelli over a cappuccino.
  • Take a break from the bustling streets and stroll through the Botanical Garden and Herbarium where you can learn about various plants indigenous to the area or simply surround yourself with beauty and peace.

Places to see:

  • Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Accademia dei Fisiocritici – a museum dedicated to scientific, biological and geological curiosities – an interesting learning experience.
  • If you’re in Siena on 2 July or 16 August, don’t miss the opportunity to witness one of the most exciting spectacles of the year. The Palio di Siena is a horse race in which ten representatives from different city wards take part – winning is the proudest accomplishment.
  • Admire ancient paintings and sculptures at the Siena Cathedral, a medieval church completed in approximately 1263.
  • Walk Siena’s most captivating garden Villa Cetinale and admire the architectural brilliance of the Roman Baroque style.

Florence

Things to do:

  • Buy exquisitely crafted Italian shoes and bags at Ferragamo Store and Museum at Piazza Santa Trinita.
  • Climb Giotto’s Campanile 414 steps for breath-taking views over the city – the climb may be daunting but what awaits you at the top is well worth it.
  • Buy traditional Florentine food at the Mercato Centrale.
  • Treat yourself to gourmet Italian chocolate at Venchi nearby Piazza della Signoria.

Places to see:

  • Baptistery of John the Baptist, one of the oldest buildings in Florence.
  • Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in Italy where notable Florentines such as Michelangelo and Dante were laid to rest.
  • Officina Profuma Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, the ancient herbalist shop/perfumery.
  • Gates of Paradise and the Gates of Hell at Piazza del Duomo.

Milan

Things to do:

 

  • Shop up a storm at Galleria Vittoria Emanuele, one of the oldest shopping malls in the world and where the first Prada store opened in 1913.
  • Windowshop at the most exquisite shopping quarter in Milan, Quadrilatero della Moda (the Rectangle of Gold).
  • Escape the bustling tourist crowds and stroll through the beautiful Parco Sempione.
  • Enjoy lunch at the Tram Ristorante.

Places to see:

  • Visit Castello Sforzesco where you can admire Michelangelo’s unfinished sculpture the Pietá Rondanini.
  • Brush up on your art knowledge at Pinacoteca di Brera where you can admire 13th Century paintings.
  • Grace the steps of the Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano), the fifth largest cathedral in the world.
  • Take your children to the Civico Museo di Storia Naturale, one of the oldest museums in Italy housing artefacts and natural history information. The Hall of Dinosaurs is an exciting experience to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

things to see and do in Milan

If this itinerary has made you yearn to visit and tour Italy or if you have been to Italy and yearn to return because it holds a special place in your heart, do not hesitate to consult a company specialising in European tours – and leave all your travel arrangements in their capable hands.

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