Visiting Italy is on many people’s bucket lists. From the jaw-dropping architecture to the rolling countryside, to the romantic feels, to the delicious food, Italy delivers on every aspect of a great vacation. This article features four of Italy’s top cities and their top destinations.
Italy’s capital is a delicious mixture of cultural beauty, art, street life, food, and romance. There are so many must-see attractions while in Rome, but here are the five you can’t miss.
The Vatican Museums, which were founded by Pope Julius II, is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of art. From Egyptian mummies to ancient busts, old masters and modern paintings, the halls of this destination have it all. A highlight from the Vatican Museums includes the Sistine Chapel.
St. Peter’s Basilica:
Originally commissioned around 349 AD, and successfully repaired in the 15th century by Pope Julius II, St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the top churches in Rome. The church’s interior is lavish and contains many famous, breathtaking works of art, including three of Italy’s most celebrated masterpieces: Michelangelo’s Pietà, his soaring dome, and Bernini’s 29m-high baldachin over the papal altar. If you visit here, note that there will likely be long lines, and you won’t be allowed in if you’re wearing shorts or have bare shoulders.
Inaugurated in 80 AD, the 50,000-seat Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is known as Rome’s most stunning ancient ruin. The Colosseum itself is built over the hypogeum (an underground complex), where the animals that gladiators would fight lived.
Developed first in the 7th century BC, the Roman Forum was the ancient city’s center. Over time, it became the hub of the Roman Empire until its collapse. Here, social, political and commercial activities were undertaken. The landmark sites here include the Curia and the Casa delle Vestali.
The Pantheon is the best preserved of all of Rome’s ancient monuments. It also has the world’s largest unreinforced concrete domes ever built. The 2000-year-old temple, which is now a church, has stood since 27 BC.
With its scenic countryside, farmer’s kitchens and wine, Tuscany is a relaxing and delicious experience for those who travel here. There are still ancient sites to visit and experience in awe.
Siena’s Duomo (cathedral) highlights medieval and Renaissance architects’ and artists” talents. From Giovanni and Nicola Pisano to Pinturicchio, to Michelangelo, Donatello, and Gian Lorenzo Berini, many talented individuals produced work for this masterpiece.
The vineyards of this area in Tuscany are not only picture-perfect but also where the world-famous Chianti wine is made from. Here, you’ll see olive groves, farmhouses, rural churches and beautiful villas. You’ll also come across stone castles made by the Sienese warlords in the Middle Ages.
If you want to taste the region, this is the place to go. Note that you’ll need to arrive by noon to make sure you get a spot here and make sure you bring cash. No credit cards are accepted here.
We’ve all heard the tales of Mount Vesuvius erupting and burying the town of Pompeii. When the volcano erupted, nearly 2,000 people died. And the town was actually buried under burning fragments of pumice stone. This ended up preserving the ancient city. Visitors can walk down the preserved streets and look at how life was lived back then. The ruins have a ghost-like and eerie feeling.
In 1594, architect Domenico Fontana happened to stumble across the ruins while digging a canal. It wasn’t until 1748, though, that a legitimate excavation of the lost city began. Forty-four of the 66 hectares has been excavated. It’s recommended that you purchase an audio guide and a guidebook to get the most out of your visit to the Unesco-listed site.
Among the top cities to visit, Venice is no exception. From gliding along the river in a gondola to touring ancient sites and treasures, you’ll never run out of things to experience here.
Basilica di San Marco:
With mosaics that cover over 8,000 square meters and an abundance of domes, this cathedral is jaw-dropping. It was founded in the 9th century to house St. Mark’s corpse. Unfortunately, the original structure burnt down in 932 AD, the city rebuilt the basilica. The rebuilt cathedral features a variety of different cultural styles.
Palazzo Ducale / Doge’s Palace
This exquisitely Venetian destination features white Istrian stone and pink Veronese marble. Within the walls, you’ll also find political and administrative rooms. Like the Doge’s apartments and council chambers.
Venice opened La Fenice in 1792, and it quickly became the envy of Europe. Many of the greats wrote music for or performed here. Opera season runs from January to July and September to October. If you happen to miss the opera season, you can explore this great site with an audio guide.
There’s a reason Italy is adored by many. It’s rich in history and culture and has so much to offer. If you visit this city, there’s a chance it won’t be your only visit. Italy will have your heart and desire to keep coming back for more.