24 best things to do in Italy

updated 10/24/2021
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Find the best things to do in Italy. Where to see Renaissance art. What beaches to visit. Which mountain ranges are best for hiking. What cities to see. And when to go. Check out our video. Then see 24 of the best things to do in Italy. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Italy your essential guide for visiting Italy.

1 - Wander the centro storico in Rome

Rome has so much to see. Aimlessly wander the historic centre. It's full of surprises.

  • Visit the Colosseum.
  • Don't miss Forum Romanum.
  • Spot ancient statuary.
  • Catch Baroque fountains.
  • Take a breathe on busy piazza.

Like more of a plan? Take a Colosseum tour with local guides.

Wandering Rome is one of the best things to do in Italy © Belenos/Shutterstock

2 - See the 'white city' of Lecce in Puglia

Lecce is off the tourist track. But it's an exuberant city.

Visit for Baroque architecture. See its opulent churches. And go explore surrounding Puglia.

Puglia's one of Rough Guides' most beautiful places in Italy.

Explore the city of Lecce and make time for Puglia region too © Mi.Ti./Shutterstock

3 - Admire Ancient Greek ruins on Sicily

Sicily has Ancient Greek roots. And the ruins to prove it.

See Siracusa and Taormina theatres. Both still stage Greek drama.

Discover Agrigento. It's one of the best sites outside Greece.

Explore for longer. Stay at UNAHOTELS Capotaormina in Sicily.

Sicily has some of the finest Ancient Greek ruins outside of Greece © IgorZh/Shutterstock

4 - Drinking local wine is one of the best things to do in Italy

Drink local in Italy.

Seek out wine bars. They're called enoteca.

Try regional wines. Enjoy the antipasti.

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Italy or Italy Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Italy expert.

Drink local wine in local bars with plates of antipasti on the side © Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

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5 - Head to Urbino in Le Marche

Make time for Urbino.

Interested in the Renaissance? Take a private walking tour of Urbino.

The grand provincial city of Urbino in Le Marche © Stefano_Valeri/Shutterstock

6 - Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, Emilia Romagna

Ravenna was Europe's capital 1500 years ago.

Beguiled by Ravenna? Book Casa Masoli near San Vitale.

The remarkable Byzantine mosaics seen in Ravenna © Jaunting Jen/Shutterstock

7 - The Amalfi Coast, Campania

Go south west in Italy. See the Amalfi Coast. It's in Campania.

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Stay on the coast. Book Alcione Residence in Positano.

Positano on the Amalfi Coast in south west Italy © iacomino FRiMAGES/Shutterstock

8 - Walk across Piazza San Marco in Venice

Piazza San Marco's crowded. But it's iconic.

  • The most famous square in Venice.
  • One of Europe’s great urban spaces.
  • Home to St Mark's Basilica.
  • Mostly just called La Piazza.

Avoid tourists. Try lesser known places to see in Italy.

Strolling Piazza San Marco is one of the best things to do in Venice © Shutterstock

9 - Gaze on the frescoes at Duomo of Orvieto

Find Duomo of Orvieto in Umbria.

  • One of Italy's finest cathedrals.
  • Located between Florence and Rome.
  • Contains Luca Signorelli frescoes.

Interested in the Duomo? Take an in-depth cathedral tour in Orvieto.

The magnificent Duomo of Orvieto in Umbria © Yasochka/Shutterstock

10 - See the Duomo of Florence in Tuscany

It's Italy's iconic Duomo. Dominates Florence. Worth a climb for the view.

Skip the line. Take a guided tour of the Duomo in Florence.

See more unforgettable Tuscany experiences.

The instantly recognisable Duomo in the heart of Florence © artem evdokimov/Shutterstock

11 - Try the real Neapolitan pizza

Pizza's ubiquitous in Italy. But tastes best in Naples.

Stay in pizza's hometown. Book Le Corti del Re in Naples.

Eat real Neapolitan pizza in Naples © V. Matthiesen/Shutterstock

12 - Find a quiet spot on the Italian Lakes

Go north for Italy's famous lakes. It's a stunning region. If you avoid crowds.

The scenery's remarkable. And there's lots to do.

Dip into the lakes. Take a Lake Como cruise from Milan.

Lake Orta one of the lesser known of Italy's famous lakes © Restuccia Giancarlo/Shutterstock

13 - Hike the island of Elba in Tuscany

Find Elba in Tuscany. It's a mountainous island.

The beaches are great. And it's good for hiking.

Stay awhile. Book Cota Quinta in Rio nell'Elba.

View of Portoferraio on Elba Island, Italy © Shutterstock

14 - Escape to Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo

Discover the Abruzzo mountains. They're in Italy’s third-largest national park.

Go for wild landscapes. The walking's marvellous. Expect wildlife.

The Abruzzo Mountains in one of Italy's largest national parks © ValerioMei/Shutterstock

15 - Browse the Uffizi in Florence

The Uffizi is one of Italy's finest galleries. And it's a Florence must do.

Jump the queue. Book a small group tour of the Uffizi.

The incomparable Uffizi in Florence one of Italy's best art collections © Shutterstock

16 - Explore Agriturismi on a farm stay

Try a farm stay in Italy.

Support Agriturismi.

Enjoy spectacular locations. Discover the countryside.

Learn to make cheese. Book a two day farm stay in Sardinia.

Discover rural Italy on peaceful and productive farm stays © Dmytro Balkhovitin/Shutterstock

17 - Compare Pompeii and Herculaneum

Visit Pompeii. Then see Herculaneum.

  • Both destroyed by Vesuvius in 79AD.
  • Two of Italy's best preserved sites.
  • Both close to Naples.

See inside Pompeii. Book a small group tour with archaeologists.

The poignantly preserved remains of Pompeii from 79AD © BlackMac/Shutterstock

18 - Find Italy's best beaches in Sardinia

Italy has great beaches. But Sardinia has the best.

Check out other best beaches in Italy.

The stunning coast of Sardinia has some the best beaches in Italy © Luca Moi/Shutterstock

20 - See The Last Supper in Milan

Visiting Milan? Don't miss Santa Maria delle Grazie.

It's home to Da Vinci's The Last Supper.

Make reservations. Book The Last Supper guided tour.

The rooftop of the Duomo in Milan © Shutterstock

21 - Visit Giotto’s frescoes in Padua

Head to Padua. Visit Cappella degli Scrovegni.

It's a small chapel. But the frescoes are world famous.

Explore more Padua. Take a walking tour of the city.

See Giotto's famous frescoes at the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua © vvoe/Shutterstock

22 - Try hiking in the Dolomites

The Dolomites are hiking territory.

Short on time? Book a best of the Dolomites day tour.

Hiking in the Dolomites is a popular outdoor activity in Italy © Creative Travel Projects/Shutterstock

23 - Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi, Umbria

Visit the Basilica di San Francesco.

  • One of Italy’s greatest churches.
  • Burial place of St. Francis.
  • Frescoes by Giotto and Simone Martini.

Explore Assisi. Stay at Hotel Sorella Luna close to the Basilica.

Assisi, the most famous of all Italy's medieval hill towns © Shutterstock

24 - Do the Vatican Museums in Rome

The Vatican is small. An autonomous state in Rome. Yet it has the world's largest art collection.

It's always crowded. So skip the line. Book an official guided tour in advance.

Touring the Sistine Chapel is one of the best things to do in Rome © byggarn.se/Shutterstock

Ready to travel to Italy? Find out about the best time to go and the best places to see and things to do in Italy. For inspiration use the Italy itineraries from The Rough Guide to Italy and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.

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Travel advice for Italy

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updated 10/24/2021
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