Things not to miss

updated 1/25/2021
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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 big sights like the Forum Romanum or the Colosseum, or small things like an ancient statue, a marvellous Baroque fountain or a bustling piazza.

© Belenos/Shutterstock

02 Lecce, Puglia

Rather less on the tourist radar, Lecce is an exuberant city full of Baroque architecture and opulent churches is one of the must-sees of the Puglia region in the Italian south.

© Mi.Ti./Shutterstock

03 Greek ruins on Sicily

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.

© IgorZh/Shutterstock

04 Enjoy Italian Wine in the local wine bars (enotecas)

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, Le Marche

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.

© Stefano_Valeri/Shutterstock

06 Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, Emilia Romagna

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.

© Jaunting Jen/Shutterstock

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07 Amalfi Coast, Campania

Everyone should see the stunning Amalfi Coast in Campania region in the southwest of Italy at least once in their life.

08 Piazza San Marco, Venice, Veneto

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

09 Duomo of Orvieto, Umbria

The Duomo of Orvieto is one of the country’s finest and best-sited cathedrals, with a marvellous fresco cycle by Luca Signorelli.

© Yasochka/Shutterstock

10 Duomo of Florence, Tuscany

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

© artem evdokimov/Shutterstock

11 Neapolitan pizza

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

© V. Matthiesen/Shutterstock

12 The Italian Lakes

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.

Lake Orta © Restuccia Giancarlo/Shutterstock

13 Elba, Tuscany

This mountainous Tuscan island offers great beaches and fantastic hiking.

© Kess16/Shutterstock

14 Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo

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

© ValerioMei/Shutterstock

15 The Uffizi, Florence, Tuscany

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

© Claudia Norberg-Schulz/Shutterstock

16 Agriturismi - Staying on a farm

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.

© Dmytro Balkhovitin/Shutterstock

17 Pompeii and Herculaneum

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.

© BlackMac/Shutterstock

18 Beaches in Sardinia

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

© Luca Moi/Shutterstock

20 The Last Supper, Milan, Lombardy

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.

© Fabio Bernardi/Shutterstock

21 Giotto’s frescoes, Padua, Veneto

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

Scrovegni Chapel in Padua © vvoe/Shutterstock

22 Hiking in the Dolomites, Trentino

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.

© Creative Travel Projects/Shutterstock

23 Basilica di San Francesco, Assisi, Umbria

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

24 Vatican Museums, Rome

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.

Travel advice for Italy

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created 11/19/2012
updated 1/25/2021
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