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#01 Centro storico, Rome

There’s so much to see in Rome that aimlessly wandering the city’s fantastic old centre can yield a surprise at every turn, whether it’s an ancient statue, a marvellous Baroque fountain or a bustling piazza.

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#02 Lecce

This exuberant city of Baroque architecture and opulent churches is one of the must-sees of the Italian south.

© Mi.Ti./Shutterstock

#03 Sicily’s Greek ruins

The ancient theatres at Siracusa and Taormina are magnificent summer stages for Greek drama, while the temple complex at nearby Agrigento is one of the finest such sites outside Greece itself.

© IgorZh/Shutterstock

#04 Wine bars

Italian wine is undergoing a resurgence, and there’s nothing like sampling local varieties in an enoteca or wine bar, accompanied by a plate of regional cheese and cold meats.

© Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

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#05 Urbino

This so-called “ideal city” and art capital, created by Federico da Montefeltro, the ultimate Renaissance man, is one of the most memorable of all Italian provincial cities.

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#06 Ravenna’s mosaics

Ravenna’s Byzantine mosaics – in the churches of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and San Vitale – are a stunning testimony to the city’s ranking as the capital of Europe fifteen hundred years ago.

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#07 Amalfi Coast

Everyone should see the stunning Amalfi Coast at least once in their life.

#08 Piazza San Marco, Venice

Crowded or not, this is one of Europe’s grandest urban spaces and home to Italy’s most exotic cathedral.

#09 Duomo, Orvieto

One of the country’s finest – and best-sited – cathedrals, with a marvellous fresco cycle by Luca Signorelli.

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#10 Duomo, Florence

Florence’s cathedral dome is instantly recognizable – and is one of the world’s most significant engineering feats.

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#11 Neapolitan pizza

You can eat pizza all over Italy, but nowhere is it quite as good as in its home town of Naples.

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#12 The Italian Lakes

If you can escape the hordes, this region is one of Italy’s most beguiling, with stunning scenery and plenty of activities.

Lake Orta © Restuccia Giancarlo/Shutterstock

#13 Elba

This mountainous Tuscan island offers great beaches and fantastic hiking.

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#14 Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo

Italy’s third-largest national park, and probably its wildest, with marvellous walking and wildlife.

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#15 The Uffizi, Florence

One of Italy’s most celebrated collections of art, and Florence’s most essential attraction.

© Claudia Norberg-Schulz/Shutterstock

#16 Agriturismi

Farmstays and rural retreats are one of Italy’s lesser-known specialities and can be among the country’s most spectacular and bucolic places to stay.

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#17 Pompeii and Herculaneum

Probably the two best-preserve sites in the country, destroyed and at the same time preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.

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#18 Sardinia’s beaches

There are plenty of places to sun-worship in Italy, but Sardinia’s coastline ranks among one of the most beautiful.

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#20 The Last Supper, Milan

Leonardo da Vinci’s mural for the refectory wall of Santa Maria delle Grazie is one of the world’s most resonant images.

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#21 Giotto’s frescoes, Padua

The artist’s frescoes in Padua’s Cappella degli Scrovegni constitute one of the great works of European art.

Scrovegni Chapel in Padua © vvoe/Shutterstock

#22 Hiking in the Dolomites

The spiky landscape of the Dolomites is perfect hiking country, covered in dramatic long-distance trails.

© Creative Travel Projects/Shutterstock

#23 Basilica di San Francesco, Assisi

The burial place of St Francis and one of Italy’s greatest church buildings, with frescoes by Giotto and Simone Martini.

#24 Vatican Museums, Rome

The largest and richest collection of art and culture in the world. You’d be mad to miss it.

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