Top 20 places to visit in Italy

Georgina Willcox | 21 September 2020

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Italy has it all – incredible landscapes, evocative history, stunning architecture, amazing weather and fabulous food. If you’re planning a holiday to Italy, then check out our suggestions below of some of the top places you should see in this stunning country.

1. Venice

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Known as the “Floating City”, Venice is an archipelago of 118 islands connected by enchanting canals and bridges. See its famous landmarks such as St. Mark's Square & Basilica, the main public square in Venice and one of the most famous in the world, the stunning Gothic building of Ca’ d’Oro, and the imposing Palazzo Ducale. Make sure to take a stroll across the Rialto Bridge, one of the oldest in Venice, it connects the districts of San Polo and San Marco. We suggest experiencing a holiday in Lake Garda, as it’s an ideal base to take day trips to Venice and Verona, a wonderful historic city and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Cinque Terre

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Cinque Terre, a stunning coastal area comprising five charming villages, is a must-visit for those seeking beautiful seaside landscapes and quaint Italian charm. The colourful houses perched on cliffs, the azure waters, and the winding hiking trails offer an unforgettable experience.

3. Florence 

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The town of Montecatini Terme is the base for our holidays in Tuscany and from here you can easily discover the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Home to the masters Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, a walking tour of Florence is the best way to uncover its many gems. You can climb the 463 steps to the top of the famous Duomo (cathedral) for the best views of Florence, explore the historic Piazza della Signoria or see The Ponte Vecchio, which means "old bridge" and is an icon of the city. The city of Florence, with its magnificent art and architecture, is just one of the highlights of a trip to Tuscany.

4. Rome

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The Eternal City, Rome, is a treasure trove of historical and cultural landmarks. From the awe-inspiring Colosseum and the majestic Vatican City to the charming streets of Trastevere, Rome offers a unique blend of ancient history and modern life. On our holidays to Rome stroll through the Roman Forum, toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, and savour authentic Italian gelato as you soak in the city's enchanting atmosphere.

5. Lake Garda

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As Italy's largest lake, Lake Garda offers a diverse array of activities and landscapes. From the lively town of Sirmione with its thermal baths and ancient ruins to the scenic trails of Monte Baldo, Lake Garda is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy water sports, explore the charming villages, and sample local wines and olive oil in this picturesque region.

6. Milan

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Milan isn't just known for being the fashion capital of the world, it's home to the fourth largest Cathedral in the world - Duomo di Milano. On a visit to Milan, you'll also find the world's oldest shopping mall, Galleria Vittorio and Leonardo Da Vinci's iconic mural "The Last Supper." We suggest you stay in Lake Como and take an excursion to Milan, a day out there should be plenty of time to see the main attractions.

7. Pompeii 

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We highly recommend taking a guided tour of Pompeii. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Pompeii was almost completely destroyed and buried under ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. In 1748 a large-scale excavation discovered objects that had been perfectly preserved due to the lack of moisture and air. The artefacts that were discovered provide a fascinating insight into life in the city. If you’re looking for easy access to visit Pompeii and a place to unwind for your Italy holiday, we suggest you stay in Sorrento

8. Puglia

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If you’re looking to discover a different side of Italy, then visit the region of Puglia or Apulia - the “heel of Italy.” In the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello, you’ll find the traditional cone-shaped Trulli houses stretching 15 km along the Alberobello-Martina Franca road; they are just one of the wonderful and unique sights to see in Puglia. The region is also renowned for its unique cuisine, such as its superb olive oils, wines, the famous ‘orecchiette’ pasta and fresh burrata cheese. 

9. Amalfi Coast

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The Amalfi Coast is renowned for its dramatic cliffs, sparkling blue waters, and picturesque towns like Positano and Ravello. This UNESCO World Heritage site is perfect for a romantic getaway or a leisurely exploration of its beautiful beaches, luxury villas, and charming streets. Enjoy fresh limoncello, made from locally grown lemons, and take a boat tour to fully appreciate the coastline's stunning beauty.

10. Bologna

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Known as the culinary capital of Italy, Bologna is a haven for food lovers. With its medieval towers, extensive porticoes, and the oldest university in the Western world, Bologna combines rich history with modern vibrancy. Indulge in traditional dishes like tagliatelle al ragù and tortellini, and explore the city's bustling markets and lively piazzas.

11. Lake Maggiore

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From beautiful scenery to impressive architecture and botanical gardens, there’s no shortage of things to do in Lake Maggiore. It's a haven of alpine landscapes embellished with lush gardens and sheltered villages, overlooking the shimmering blue waters of the lake. We suggest visiting the Borromean Islands, especially Isola Bella which is famous for its Baroque Palace, Italian style terraced gardens and white peacocks.

12. The Dolomites

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One of the best natural attractions in Italy are the Dolomites, a mountain range located in the northeast of the country, and it’s a wonderful place to hike. For those who want to take a more laid-back approach, we recommend going to Bolzano, which is known as the gateway to the Dolomite mountain range.  

13. Sicily

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Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, has so much to offer. From its historical sites, delicious cuisine and Mediterranean climate, to its stunning landscapes and the mighty volcano of Mount Etna, Europe's largest volcano and one of the world’s most active. At over 3,300 metres high, Etna and its slopes are part of the national park, Parco Naturale dell'Etna. In fact the fertile volcanic slopes provide the perfect conditions for vineyards and you can sample a variety of Mount Etna wines. On our Sicily holidays, you can experience  the best views of Mount Etna, take a guided tour of Taormina and visit its Ancient Greek Theatre, where you’ll also get stunning views of the ionian sea. For films buffs, the towns of Savoca and Forza D'Agrò in Sicily are also worth seeing as they were used as filming locations in the classic film of Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘’The Godfather.’’

14. Naples

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Naples, the birthplace of pizza, is a city bursting with energy and history. Explore the historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and visit the impressive Naples Cathedral. Take a day trip to the nearby ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum to delve into ancient Roman history. Naples' vibrant street life, delicious cuisine, and rich cultural heritage make it a captivating destination.

15. Sardinia

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Sardinia boasts some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches, rugged landscapes, and ancient archaeological sites. The island’s unique culture and natural beauty are sure to captivate you. Visit the Costa Smeralda and the ancient Nuraghe structures.

16. Lake Como

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Lake Como, with its serene waters and lush mountains, has long been a favourite destination for travellers seeking tranquillity and natural beauty. The charming lakeside towns, luxurious villas, and exquisite gardens make it a perfect spot for relaxation. Take a boat tour, visit the elegant Villa del Balbianello, and enjoy the local cuisine in this idyllic setting.

17. Urbino 

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Urbino is a Renaissance gem with stunning architecture, including the Palazzo Ducale. Its cultural and historical significance makes it a must-visit. Explore the birthplace of Raphael and stroll through the historic streets of this charming town.

18. Pisa 

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Home to the iconic Leaning Tower, Pisa offers more than just its famous landmark. Explore the beautiful cathedral and enjoy the vibrant university city atmosphere. Visit the Piazza dei Miracoli and the nearby botanical gardens.

19. Trieste 

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Trieste, with its unique blend of Italian, Austro-Hungarian, and Slovenian influences, offers a rich cultural experience. Visit its historic sites and enjoy its vibrant coffee culture. Explore the beautiful Piazza Unità d'Italia and the historic Miramare Castle.

20. San Marino 

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Strictly speaking San Marino is a landlocked country within Italy and it's believed to be the oldest republic in the world. It’s one of the best day trips to do in Italy and you can visit San Marino as part of our Italy's Adriatic Riviera holiday. It has many gems, including its historic three towers located on the peaks of Monte Titano. Take a cable car to the top of Mount Titano and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the countryside. 

Do you want to experience ‘La Dolce Vita?’ Find your dream Italian getaway, check out our wonderful range of guided holidays to Italy. Return flights, accommodation, transfers and excursions are all included on our Italy holidays. Our expert local guides will be available throughout the tour and can provide recommendations for the best sights to see in Italy during your leisure time.

 

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