One of the many known facts about Italy, apart from its boot shape, is that it has an impressive number of renowned pieces of art. Apart from this, Italy’s warm and friendly atmosphere is definitely one that embraces any visitor into its fold.
With an abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites, you can choose to go on a group tour with an expert guide or walk through the many impressive sights in Rome yourself. From the Vatican museums and gondola tour to the Path of the Gods and masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, there is so much to see and take in. So, what are the top things to do in Italy that will give you the best experience? Here are our top picks of places you should visit in this remarkable city:
Built in 80 AD for the Roman emperors, a visit to Italy is not complete without checking out its world-famous Colosseum.
This is where the gladiators fought to the death, hunting and killing wild animals in full view of the adoring general public. During those times, people were seated according to their wealth and social rank, even though entry was completely free. However, these violent gladiatorial games were finally banned in 438 AD.
Today, this Colosseum is still a fantastic complex with its detailed building technique and advanced architecture. Most of the structures are intact, including the underground rooms and corridors. Visitors can check out this mighty edifice as it is also a model for modern-day stadiums.
Roman Forum/Foro Romano
Another not-to-be-missed sight in Itay is the Forum. The Forum was once the center of the Roman Empire in Ancient Rome. Government buildings, markets, courts, and temples thrived in the Forum while Roman soldiers went out to conquer the world in the name of their Emperors. However, this stopped in the 4th century AD. It is now a collection of ruins located between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, two famous hills in Rome.
It was used as a cow paddock and quarry for marble for some centuries, making it quite difficult to make sense of the arches and columns that remain. However, the ancient site still has some bustle that gives a great view. You can get the best views from the overlooking hills in the not-so-distant Farnese Gardens. With this, you can look at the structure over the Forum and admire the architectural dexterity of the Romans.
There are more than a hundred islands in the lagoon of Venice, and Murano is one of them. Its glass factories are the site of the unique colored glasses of Venice.
This industry has been up and running since 1291, but had to be moved to Murano from the main city of Venice due to the many fires they caused. However, in another decade, they were able to master the art of creating exceptional Venetian glass.
Due to how specialized the art was several centuries ago, past glass-makers couldn’t leave Venice, and those that were suspected of trying to betray the secrets of the industry were killed. Nowadays, the industry is dying out, while the handmade glass is incredibly expensive. Murano is home to Italy’s first botanical gardens. You can take a nice walk along the lush gardens on the island.
A really special place in Italy to explore.
The three main islands in the Venetian lagoon are Torcello, Murano, and Burano. Don’t be deceived by their small sizes. Each island has its own name and fame independent of Venice.
Burano and its people are famous internationally for their lace industry.
Torcello, one of the Venice Islands that became populated, is home to some of the finest cathedrals and oldest buildings in the area.
Finally, we have the inhabitants of Murano who have earned a reputation as artisans and producers of glassware. A tour of this island will give you tons of things to do, from the sights to the local food.
St. Mark’s Square/Piazza San Marco
The symbolic heart of Venice is St. Mark’s Square. On one end of this history-filled location is the grand St Mark’s Church.
Also known as the drawing room of Europe, you won’t help stopping by to admire the elegant arcade of famous cafes and the Campanile bell tower that rises in the middle. It’s a fantastic place to stop and stare, the pigeons will agree. You can then sit around for a cup of coffee while you watch a tuxedoed band play.
You may also feel like time has stopped as you take in all the beauty. Then, head into the narrow streets which are filled with shops with a thing or two you will admire. The high fashion designer stores are due west, including Harry’s Bar. Then round it all up with a stroll on the waterfront of the Riva.
Ponte di Rialto/Rialto Bridge
The first bridge in the city of Italy that crosses over the Grand Canal is the Ponte di Rialto or Rialto Bridge. It connects the top points on the settlement in the lagoon islands. So, what’s so special about this bridge? First, the views are spectacular. It has an elegant arch with water traffic flowing underneath. Every day, hundreds of Venetians and tourists walk across it, whether it’s to take in the serene environment or head to a different location. The area around the bridge is always very busy. Not too far from the Rialto Bridge are the city’s markets where you can buy fish at the fish market or head over to the fresh produce market for some groceries. It was this area that traders responsible for Venice’s wealth sold their goods. Even new laws were declared on this spot. If you’re looking to go shopping basked in beautiful views, then check this out.
Faraglioni is a natural landmark with a trio of rocky spurs off the southeast coast of Capri Island. Its natural beauty has made this island one of the famous postcard images. With distinctive rocks formed due to years of coastal erosion that tower more than a hundred meters above the Mediterranean waters, Faraglioni is nothing short of dramatic. The famous rocks even have their own names. The closest to the shore is known as Stella. The furthest from the shore is Scopolo or Faraglione di Fuori while the smallest rock is Faraglione di Mezzo. If you like to get the best views of Faraglioni, then take a boat tour of the coast. Another way to get a great view is from the shores of da Luigi beach or La Fontelina beach. A boat cruise will take you beneath the natural arch of the smallest rock, Faraglione di Mezzo.
Another famous sight in Italy is the Grand Canal. A trip to Italy has to include walking across this main street of Venice. Here, you can climb aboard a gondola surrounded by beautiful palazzo. Once upon a time, these boats were the only means of transportation. Many wealthy families have taken over the impressive palazzo, decorating the exteriors with mosaics and colorful paintings. Even though some have faded with age, they still retain their ornate facades influenced by the commercial trading that made Venice a wealthy city. The only bridges that cross the Grand Canal are the bridge near the station at Ferrovia, the Rialto Bridge, and the Academia Bridge. You can stand on any of these bridges to watch as boats filled with building materials, soft drinks, fruits, and vegetables pass by. It’s one of the many unique things about Venice.
Uffizi Galleries/Gallerie degli Uffizi
Where can you find one of the most important collections of Florentine art in the world? The answer is the Uffizi Gallery. This is the home of impressive and breathtaking art. However, you need to be ready to stand in the queue. In the Uffizi Gallery, you will have a chance to see collections that date back to the 11th century, the flowering of Renaissance art, and reflect the rich history of Florentine art. The private Medici collection is at the heart of this gallery and has been in this city since the 18th century.
Known as one of the many scenic spots in Italy, Cinque Terre is the point where five gorgeous towns sit on the hills leading to the Mediterranean Sea. You can explore Italy from this magnificent spot, either by train or by hiking through it on foot. The five towns to explore are Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, and Riomaggiore. It’s best to explore on foot, and you can travel through these towns in one day. There will be lots of gelatos to eat on the way, then end your journey in Monterosso with a cooling dip in the Mediterranean. It’s a great idea to hike from one town to the next with older kids. Then, spend some time at Monterosso al Mare, a beach where you can decide to spend some lazy hours relaxing. Both kids and adults can have fun with a paddleboat on a slide, including enjoying the beautiful views along the coastline. If you’re heading to Cinque Terre from Florence, this trip can be made in a day.
Doge’s Palace/Palazzo Ducale
Palazzo Ducale is an essential piece in Roman history. It was the point from where the Doges ruled the Venetian Empire until 1797. Also, those arriving in Venice would see this structure first as their ships sailed through the lagoon to Saint Mark’s Square. The Doge’s Palace was the home of the Doges, including the Golden Book that contained the list of important families in Venice, the spot where justice was served, and the location of government offices. Only those that had their family names listed in the Golden Book were made Doge. This history gives an idea of the sheer opulence that permeates the air of the Doge’s Palace. It is decorated with beautiful paintings by Veronese, Tintoretto, and Titian. It also had the Bridge of Sighs, prison cells, government chambers, the Doge’s apartments, and majestic staircases. The columns outside the building just along the pizzetta are all different. When you’re done checking out this impressive sight, you can take a wine tour of the Frascati region to check out the dessert and red wines. There are also tours where you can drift on Lake Como in a conducive boat or attend a Venetian concert.
It’s a joy to explore Tuscany, a gorgeous city with picturesque hillside towns and scenic rolling hills among vineyards. Spend just a week at a Tuscan villa in Tuscany, and you’ll have a lot of memories stored up from your fantastic time there. There will be a lot of time to explore the surrounding towns. One of the larger towns to explore in this city is Siena. It is as wonderful as Florence, and you can check out other top hill towns like Volterra, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza, and San Gimignano. Since it’s smaller than most cities, visiting Tuscany is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of larger city life. You can take a cycling tour of the wineries as there are great places to rent bikes at an affordable fee. It’s only a day trip from Florence. Spending about five days in Tuscany gives you more than enough time to soak in the scenery.
These are only a few top things to do in Italy that will give you the best experience. One thing is sure about visiting Italy, and that is the fact that it will excite all your senses. You can even watch the sunset at the Duomo in Florence, a small city in Tuscany. This is where you can check out the world’s largest dome, the Duomo cathedral of Florence, which is indeed an incredible masterpiece. Accommodation is no problem in Italy as you have a range of choices that fit with your budget. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will help you get started on the right foot.
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