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 big sights like the Forum Romanum or the Colosseum, or small things like an ancient statue, a marvellous Baroque fountain or a bustling piazza.
Testament to the ancient greek roots of Sicily and its culture, 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.
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.
This so-called “ideal city” and art capital, Urbino in the Le Marche region, was created by the ultimate Renaissance man Federico da Montefeltro. It is one of the most memorable of all Italian provincial cities.
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.
Crowded or not, this famous square in Venice is one of Europe’s grandest urban spaces and home to Italy’s most exotic cathedral.
The Duomo of Orvieto is one of the country’s finest and best-sited cathedrals, with a marvellous fresco cycle by Luca Signorelli.
Florence’s cathedral dome is instantly recognizable – and is one of the world’s most significant engineering feats.
You can eat pizza all over Italy, but nowhere is it quite as good as in its home town of Naples.
If you can escape the hordes, the region in the north of Italy with most of the famous lakes is one of the most beguiling, with stunning scenery and plenty of activities.
This mountainous Tuscan island offers great beaches and fantastic hiking.
The Abruzzo mountains form Italy’s third-largest national park, and probably its wildest, with marvellous walking and wildlife.
One of Italy’s most celebrated collections of art, and Florence’s most essential attraction.
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.
Probably the two best-preserve sites in the country, Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed and at the same time preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.
There are plenty of places to sun-worship in Italy, but Sardinia’s coastline ranks among one of the most beautiful.
While Milan is famous for it's cathedral, art lovers should check out Leonardo da Vinci’s mural for the refectory wall of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is one of the world’s most resonant images.
The artist’s frescoes in the Cappella degli Scrovegni in Padua constitute one of the great works of European art.
The spiky landscape of the Dolomites is perfect hiking country, covered in dramatic short walks with breathtaking views and long-distance trails. Thanks to its easily accessible places of natural beauty like the Alpe di Siusi it is fast becoming one of the most instagrammed regions in Italy.
The burial place of St Francis in Assisi is one of Italy’s greatest church buildings, with incredible frescoes by Giotto and Simone Martini.
The Vatican, a small state inside the city of Rome, houses the largest and richest collection of art and culture in the world. You’d be mad to miss it. Make sure to get a "skip the line" ticket online before you go.