Every traveler needs to visit Italy at least once in their lifetime. There are so many different experiences to be had in one country, from the raw brutality of the Colosseum to the romance of Venice. Traveling around Italy is easy and affordable thanks to Trenitalia, the Italian railway system. Summertime in Italy can be scorchingly hot, but it is also the perfect time to appreciate the beauty and the gelato of the Amalfi Coast. Head to Florence for that under the Tuscan sun experience and enjoy afternoons spent in olive groves, drinking Chianti in the shade. Italy’s central location makes travel in and out a breeze and the language isn’t a problem as many Italians speak English too. Just don’t forget to say Grazi.
#8. Visit Mount Vesuvius
The ruins of Pompeii is one of the best ways to explore what life would have been like in ancient Italy. When Mount Vesuvius erupted it buried the town of Pompeii in volcanic ash, preserving it. That means that you can experience old-world Italy today. Walk through old fashioned streets and see the houses, shops, and temples of the people of Pompeii. Learn how they use to live, there is even an antiquated brothel to visit.
#7. Throw a coin in Trevi Fountain
Legend has it that if you throw a coin over your shoulder into Trevi Fountain that you will return to Rome again someday. That’s not the only reason you should visit this fountain though. It is more of an artwork than a fountain, carved from travertine stone and decorated with gods and goddesses. It is also the biggest fountain in Italy. From the fountain, you can walk to another of Rome’s famous spots, the Spanish Steps. Climb the 138 steps to the top of the Piazza di Spagna, for a great view of old Rome.
#6. Cruise the Canals
Visiting Venice is a must if you are going to Italy. There is no other city quite like it. Roads are replaced by canals and cars by boats and gondolas. The air is full of the gondoliers singing and calling out to one another as the punt their tourists along the waterways. Head to the Grand Canal at sunset for the most picturesque views from the Rialto bridge. Wander around Piazza San Marco and check out the leather work and carnival masks. The island of Murano is great for a day trip. Catch a vaporetto, or water taxi over to watch the free glass blowing demonstrations. It is famous for its glass art and if you walk around the town you can see some great examples of chandeliers and impressive pieces.
#5. Pose in Pisa
No visit to Italy is complete without the mandatory photos holding up the leaning tower of Pisa. The best way to see it is to stop off for the afternoon on your way to or from Florence. The town of Pisa doesn’t have much else to offer and the tower is a short walk from the train station. It is free to visit if you want to look from the outside or you can pay for a tour and climb to the top. There is a great flea market with some bargain prices if you are after some souvenirs, at the entrance to Cathedral Square.
#4. See Michelangelo’s David
Florence is well known for its renaissance art. One of the most famous pieces is Michelangelo’s statue of David. Visit him in his home in Accademia Gallery, or pose with one of the replicas in Palazzo Vecchio or Piazzale Michelangelo. The latter spot has a great panoramic visit of Florence, and you can bus up and then walk back down to town via the famous Ponte Vecchio. The Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s oldest bridge and is well known for the goldsmiths and jewelers shops the hang from both sides of it.
#3. Eat and Drink all Italy has to offer
Italy is famous for its culinary delights so don’t forget to enjoy some of them while in Italy. While in Florence take a day trip into the Tuscan countryside and sample the Chianti and olives. In Amalfi enjoy the Limoncello produced locally. In Venice try a Spritz made with the sparkling Prosecco. If you are there during Carnivale taste the sweet Fritole, a popular donut like a snack. Don’t forget the gelato! Head to La Carraia in Florence and sample their world-famous fare, the perfect antidote to the fierce Tuscan sun.
#2. Relax on the Amalfi Coast
The whole coastline along this strip of Salerno Gulf is a UNESCO heritage sight and in summer the area is buzzing. Although the beaches are small the turquoise water and rugged landscape makes this a popular spot when the sun is shining. Wander around the old towns of Amalfi, Ravello and Positano or head to Capri. You can take a ferry over to the island of Capri easily during the summer months. Spend a day exploring or stay a few nights and enjoy all this little Mediterranean island has to offer. Try the chairlift ride to Mount Solaro or a visit to the Blue Grotto.
#1. Walk the Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre translates to five lands and that is what this area is. Five tiny villages perched on cliff tops along the Italian Coast. The villages are linked by walking tracks through the hills or via train.The best way to experience the stunning views is to start at one end of Cinque Terre and walk to a village a day, staying overnight in a local guesthouse. Each village has its own vibe but you should definitely check out Corniglia. The stone houses, carless alleyways and tiny trail down the cliff to the beach are totally old world. The sunset from the clifftop at the end of the day is breathtaking and the live music in the town square in the evenings is a fun way to get to know a few locals.