By Jessica Russo
Okay, everybody wants to go to Italy - but where? Many people forget that Italy is a large country filled with different cultures, cuisines, climate and landscapes. From the bright blue waters of the Amalfi Coast to the rolling green hills of Tuscany, discover which part of Italy you'll fall in love with first.
The Eternal City! Filled with historical gems and ruins, Rome is a bustling hub of culture, tradition, and architecture. Visit famous landmarks like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon, then grab lunch at a traditional trattoria. Step into magical Vatican City and stand in awe of St. Peter’s Basilica and the dazzling Vatican Museums! Indulge in some gelato near Piazza Navona, then watch the sunset from the top of the Spanish Steps. This fascinating city boasts the perfect balance of posh urbanism and rustic old wonders.
Cruise down the alluring Amalfi Coast, a postcard-like paradise of colorful cascading hotels and villas, sparkling blue seas, sandy coves, and flowering trees. Nestled along the Amalfi Coast, you’ll find the charming towns of Positano, Sorrento, Ravello, and of course, Amalfi! From peaceful beaches and cliffside hikes, to mouthwatering seafood restaurants and shopping and nightlife, the Amalfi Coast is every type of travelers’ dream destination.
Yes, the rolling green hills, terracotta villas, and winding cypress-lined roads that you see in the movies are all real – Tuscany really does look like that! When in Tuscany, be sure to indulge in local olive oils, smooth wines, tasty cheeses, and delicious cured meats. This foodie capital is as rich in flavor as it is in natural beauty, history, and architecture. Visit the beloved medieval towns of Lucca, Siena, and San Gimignano. Visit the Leaning Tower in Pisa, then relax on the vineyards of Chianti and Montepulciano! Clink glasses and say "cheers" to this dreamlike destination.
Ah, Venice – an enchanting wonderland of winding canals, waterside wine bars, and amazing architecture. You’ll feel like you’re in a movie as you glide down the Grand Canal in a gondola, with the soothing sound of traditional Italian music playing in the background. Stroll through the famous Piazza San Marco, gawk at the Gothic Doge’s Palace, visit the eye-widening Saint Mark’s Basilica, and watch an unforgettable sunset from the Rialto Bridge. Take a short boat ride to the candy-colored islands of Burano and Murano, famous for glass blowing and lace making!
Wander through cobblestone storybook streets and become immersed in romance, Renaissance art, and foodie culture. Enjoy picture-perfect views of the terracotta roofed city from Piazzale Michelangelo, climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s Duomo, and stroll along the historic shop-lined Ponte Vecchio.
See famous masterpieces at the Uffizi Gallery, visit the Statue of David at the Galleria dell’Accademia, then finally treat yourself to a dinner of Bistecca alla Fiorentina! Get lost in meandering alleyways of art galleries, wooden medieval shutters, and zipping Vespas. Florence’s charm fills the air, and its old-world feel will set you right back in medieval times – if medieval times had an Apple store, of course.
Gaze out at the deep blue lake and find the horizon line where the twinkling water meets the soaring snow-capped mountains – this painting-like landscape will make you feel like you’re in a dream. Surrounded by lush vegetation, take a deep breath in and smell the freshness of chestnut, coniferous, fig, pomegranate, and oleander trees. Explore the adorable lakeside towns of Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio, and Como.
Naples & Pompeii
Nestled in southern Italy, the city of Naples boasts beautiful bay views, incredible architecture, and captivating history. Nearby, you’ll find the still-active Mount Vesuvius, as well as the once-bustling Roman town of Pompeii. Explore UNESCO-recognized archaeological ruins and then hike up a monstrous volcano! Back in the city of Naples, visit ornate cathedrals, browse around interesting museums, stroll through the narrow shop-lined alleys of Santa Lucia, and – of course – eat lots of pizza!
Climb up Mount Etna, unwind on dazzling beaches, discover old Greek temples, and indulge in creamy cannoli – Sicily is waiting! The largest Mediterranean island, located just south of the “toe” of Italy’s “boot,” is known as a cultural land filled with natural wonders. Hike through caves until you reach the bright turquoise water of the sea! For dinner, treat yourself to some decadent seafood risotto or pasta alla norma, a scrumptious traditional medley of tomatoes, eggplant, ricotta cheese, and basil. Visit the famous cities of Palermo, Taormina, Catania, Siracusa, Agrigento, and tons of other villages along the way.
On the coast of the Italian Riviera, find five old fishing villages, made up of eye-poppingly colorful cascading homes! Take in the green mountains, olive and lemon farms, and teal waters as you hike along the heavenly oceanfront paths between towns, or take the easy route and hop on the local train. Want an even cooler view? Take the ferry between towns and see this magical gem from an outside perspective. The towns go: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Riomaggiore, and Manarola - each has its own unique feel! Stroll through winding stone streets of old shops, quaint cafes, and scrumptious seafood restaurants and feel like you're in an old Italian movie.
The fashion capital of Italy, Milan boasts world class brand name boutiques for shopping plenty of affordable boutiques with Europe's up and coming designers. Grab yourself a bargain, enjoy wonderful restaurants and of course, Leonardo da Vinci’s "The Last Supper" mural, is a must see at the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Read our travel editor's recommended travel guide to Milan for more tips and ideas.