Italy’s top travel experiences
Love history? Take a look at the Roman Forum. Love food? Then you can't miss pizza in Naples. Prefer natural wonders? Then consider sailing in the Mediterranean, visiting the alps or biking through the fields of Tuscany.
Here are just some ideas for your trip to Italy.
Top 5 cities to visit
- Rome: The capital has a history dating back nearly 3,000 years and is filled with sites that tell the history of this ancient city.
- Milan: Milan is the lively home of high fashion in Italy, and features exclusive shopping boutiques and dining venues.
- Florence: Florence is home to the Renaissance, and is brimming with world-famous art and architecture.
- Venice: The floating city is a unique experience – a maze of canals and alleyways, where every wrong turn unveils a new café, boutique, or crumbling building.
- Naples: Attention all pizza lovers – Naples is the official birthplace of the world’s favourite food! Like Rome, is also one of Western civilisation’s most ancient cities, and offers easy access to the ruins of Pompeii.
The ruins of Pompeii
If you’re a history buff, be sure to schedule a trip to Pompeii on your holiday. A tour of the historic site will give you an overview of how the Romans lived 2,000 years ago, before Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.
When the volcano erupted, it covered the city of Pompeii in molten ash, effectively preserving it. Over the past 300 years, archaeologists have been excavating the site, uncovering bodies and buildings that remained intact.
Easily accessible from Rome or Naples, there are guided tours aplenty as well as audio guides.
Explore the Alps
The highest and most extensive mountain range in Europe, the Alps stretch about 1,200 kilometres across eight countries, one of which is Italy. If you love winter sports, this makes northern Italy the ideal destination for skiing, snowboarding and glacier walks, not to mention the option of choosing between a quaint chalet or five-star resort. If you prefer warmer weather, the Alps also provide plenty of rock climbing and hiking opportunities in the warmer months. And in all weather you can enjoy the medieval churches and castles dotting the peaks.
Sail through the Mediterranean
With its iconic shape, like a boot kicking into the Mediterranean, it can be easy to forget that Italy has a range of islands to explore. So why not charter a sailboat to see Elba and Sardinia, or Capri and Ischia, or Sicily and its surrounds?
For experienced sailors, basic rental boats are available, or you can hire a craft with a full crew. When you arrive at your destination, you can either stay on board or book into a luxurious beach resorts, all the while enjoying architecture that dates back to the 14th century.
Italy by bike
With its mild climate and bicycle trails, Italy is the perfect cycling destination. In Tuscany in particular, there are a range of bicycle trails leading through Florence and Pisa, where you will see fields of wildflowers and streets of terracotta houses, not to mention plenty of wineries and museums where you can stop for a culture break.
If you enjoy solitary rides, you can look up a range of self-guided trails online. Otherwise, there are plenty of day tours you can join if you feel like company.
The way to an Italian’s heart…
Italy is famous for its food, and in any city enticing aroma of lunch or dinner being prepared will pull you like a magnet. Just some of the foods that have made Italian cuisine famous include:
- Risotto: Arborio rice sautéed in butter and cooked to creamy perfection in broth and wine, often enhanced with mushrooms or seafood.
- Arancini: If you thought risotto sounded good, imagine taking a handful of the previous dish, moulding it into a ball or cone shape, rolling it in bread crumbs then deep-frying it into a crispy delicacy. Yum!
- Tiramisu: The ultimate dessert, featuring coffee, Marsala wine, cream or mascarpone and grated chocolate. What could be better?
- Gelato: The perfect refreshment for a hot day, this frozen dessert comes in traditional flavours like pistachio, lemon and hazelnut, with some vendors experimenting with combinations like ricotta and caramelised figs, liquorice and even rice!
Wine tastings and vineyards
Wine has an ancient history in Italy, with viticulture introduced to southern Italy by the Mycenaean Greeks, and becoming established after Greek colonisation around 800 BC. Since then, wine has remained an integral part of the culture, with several regions throughout the country that produce distinct varieties and tastes.
If wine is your thing, consider a tour through the wineries of Veneto, Tuscany or Piedmont (for red wine lovers), or the Fruili region (for white wine lovers).
Go to a local soccer game
Soccer is Italy’s most popular sport, with more than 4 million people playing it every year, and the Italian national football team is considered to be one of the best in the world, having won the FIFA World Cup four times. If you go to a match, you’ll see that the fans are often as lively as the players themselves, so it’s quite an experience!
Football season runs from August to May, and you can buy tickets online or at club outlets.