Italy is synonymous with so many wonderful things… A rich, world-relevant history, incredible olden day architecture, stunning cities, coastal towns and peaceful villages – and perhaps above all – the mouth-watering food and drinks, like authentic caffee (coffee, to us less interesting folks), pasta-heavy dishes and oh-so-delicious gelato to name just a few of the local highlights and delicacies one can enjoy on a visit to this vibrant country.
But more than that, Italy is a place where travel culture comes to life – and truly thrives… Whether you visit a sleepy village somewhere in the rural Italy (where time feels like it has stood still for a hundred years plus…); head to Milan only to rub shoulders with the rich and famous – or opt for a life-changing coastal drive along the Amalfi Coast, Italy is a country that is as beautifully diverse as its people, foods and cities.
Wondering how to get around? Rent a car and explore at your own pace!
Italy is the perfect country to explore by car… This will give you easy access to the cities, as well as the beautiful countryside too.
What’s more, it’s an affordable and fun way to see all the attractions you have set your heart on, without being tied to a guided tour group or running up the miles (and expenses) with a taxi.
So if you’re wondering how to travel around once you’ve arrived, look no further than hiring a lovely rental car for your adventures.
Soak up the history in Rome (Region: Lazio)
You can’t start an Italy-centric travel list without introducing the country’s capital city, Rome.
Here, history, interesting sights and yes, Vatican City all come together in one exciting and ancient place, where old meets new in the best possible way!
When in Rome, be sure to make a beeline straight for the Colosseum (Colosseo). This incredible amphitheatre is a consistent crowd-pleaser, not just for its jaw-dropping design and vastness – but for its brutal history too.
The voices of blood-thirsty crowds, which once roared and cheered, as gladiators fought to the death, may be silent now – but the memory of impossible slaughter, victory and bravery lives on even today.[Important: you might also might want to cruise from Rome to Barcelona]
From there, head onto the Centrale Montemartini. Formerly a 20th-century power station, this unique museum is now a wonderful addition to Rome’s cultural and historical scene. It is an eye-opening space, which houses both Roman and Greek art pieces, as well as many other fascinating statues and treasured finds. What’s more, the marble statues are nicely set off by the diesel engines and machines left behind.
One of the world’s most beautiful cities: fairest Florence (Region: Tuscany)
It might be hailed as the birthplace of the Renaissance – but fairest Florence is not just a city where historians and studious learners flock. Rather, it is one of Italy’s – and the world’s – most gorgeous cities and is home to all kinds of incredible indoor and outdoor attractions.
During your visit to Florence, you simply must pay a visit to The Uffizi. This incredible, world-famous gallery – which, among other treasures, is home to Sandro Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ – is packed to the rafters with iconic works… And if that isn’t enough of a drawcard, it’s also an astonishingly impressive venue, which is both visually and architecturally stunning.
Some other unmissable Florence attractions are: Piazzale Michelangelo (it’s great for soaking up Florence’s atmosphere), Il Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral) – and last but certainly not least, Mercato Centrale, a foodie Mecca.
Fashion, The Last Supper and bike rides by the canals: Welcome to Milan (Region: Lombardy)
Milan might be famous for its trend-setting fashion shows and Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’… but there is so much more to this city than those factors.
Come nightfall, head to the Navigli District, a fun, buzzing area where bars, restaurants and coffee bars become a hive of activity. What’s more, because it is edged by peaceful canals, you can enjoy the unique setting as you dine – or even embark your own boat tour.
For the design fiends: You’re going to want to explore Nina Yashar’s incredible warehouse, which showcases an immense collection of her best vintage and contemporary design pieces.
And finally, hire a bike and enjoy some fresh air and exercise as you ride alongside Milan’s canals.
Marvel at old-world grandeur, architecture and a final resting place in Palermo (Region: Sicily)
Palermo, Sicily’s capital, is one of the most incredible cities in Italy to explore. It offers beautiful old churches, old-world grandeur and even macabre catacombs and is packaged as one of the most fascinating Italian cities.
Marvel at the stunning Chiesa del Gesù – a prime example of Sicilian baroque and a lovely church to boot – before making your way to the Teatro Massimo for an evening theatre performance of your choosing.
Finally, if you’re brave enough, take a journey to the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, where some 8000 mummified bodies now lie. It might seem morbid but the Catacombs provide a wonderful and insightful look into the different classes, cultures and societies, who dwelt in Palermo from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century.
These are just some of the awesome highlights you can see, experience and enjoy in Italy – which are you keen to visit first?