Italy is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world because of the exquisite food, friendly people, and breathtaking landscapes. With dozens of cities worth visiting, there’s no shortage of remarkable experiences to have all over this amazing country.
Here are 61 unforgettable things to do on your next Italian holiday.
1. Hike Through Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre refers to the five towns scattered on the coast of the Italian Riviera. Hike between the towns for spectacular views of colourful buildings clinging to scraggly cliffs.
2. Stand on Juliet’s Balcony
Stand on the balcony that inspired Shakespeare’s Romeo to declare eternal love to Juliet in Verona. Rumour has it that touching the nearby statue of Juliet will bring good luck.
3. Explore the Colosseum
As one of the seven manmade wonders of the world, the Colosseum in Rome is an impressive structure full of history. Go on a tour to explore inside the ancient stadium.
4. Walk Through Pompeii
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD the entire town of Pompeii was covered in lava. Walk through the ruins to witness an ancient town that was nearly perfectly preserved.
5. Shop for Linen in Positano
Shop Positano’s famous boutique linen clothing stores. Each posh shop has sweeping ocean views of the amazing Amalfi coast.
6. Climb Stromboli
Stromboli is an active volcano off the north coast of Sicily. Hike up the side for sweeping ocean views, or hire a guide to reach the top and witness billows of ash coming from the volcano.
7. Take a Boat to Blue Grotto
From Naples, take a boat to the Blue Grotto – a bright blue sea cave off the Amalfi Coast. After taking photos, jump into the warm water for a refreshing swim.
8. Ride a Boat Along the Grand Canal
Hire a traditional Venetian gondola and cruise along the Grand Canal in Venice for wonderful views of the city and a number of photo opportunities.
9. Climb Mount Vesuvius
With an eruption cycle of only 20 years, Mount Vesuvius is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Adventurous travellers can climb a short trail up to the top for wonderful views of Naples.
10. Eat Pizza in Naples
Eat pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples. Long before Julia Roberts had a slice in Eat, Pray, Love, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele has been a local favourite.
11. Take a Photo with the Leaning Tower of Pisa
In the small town of Pisa, take some time on the lawn in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to snap a few funny photographs. Observe other tourists for more creative photo ideas.
12. See the Last Supper
See Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Last Supper. The renowned painting is displayed at Santa Maria delle Grazie museum in Milan.
13. Make a Wish in Fontana di Trevi
Toss a coin over your shoulder into the Fontana di Trevi in Rome while closing your eyes and making a wish.
14. View Milan’s Duomo
The white marble Duomo in Milan is the most complex Gothic-style building in Italy. Marvel at its impressive architecture from one of the many nearby cafes.
15. Rent a Fiat
Tiny, classic Italian Fiat cars can be seen all over Italy. Rent one of your own to zip through narrow streets and truly feel like a local.
16. Eat Pasta in Bologna
Eat some delicious Bolognese pasta sauce from the town where it originated – Bologna! The meat sauce will be smothered over handmade pasta in a number of restaurants around town.
17. Drive the Amalfi Coast
Drive the 50-kilometre Amalfi Coast for spectacular views of the Mediterranean. The narrow road will wind past rugged cliffs, pastel buildings, and secluded beaches.
18. Marvel at the Sistine Chapel
Crane your neck up to marvel at Michelangelo’s ceiling frescos in the Sistine Chapel. Take a good look since photos are not allowed.
19. Run the River Tiber in Rome
In Rome, run the paved path along the River Tiber. As part of the well-known Maratona di Roma, it is a beautiful stretch of Italy’s capital city.
20. Go to the Opera
Buy tickets in advance to attend an opera at La Scala in Milan. The viewing boxes are covered in grand, ornate carvings and the performances are top notch.
21. Ski the Italian Alps
Hit the slopes in the Italian Alps north of Turin to ski at the location of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Take a shuttle between multiple resorts for a wide variety of challenging runs.
22. Drink Limoncello on Capri
Take a ferry from Naples to the island of Capri to sip on the famous lemon liquor while enjoying far-reaching views of the Mediterranean.
23. Watch the Palio in Siena
The Palio is a bareback horse race around Siena’s Piazza del Campo held in July and August each year. Join the crowds to cheer on the races in a celebration the whole town participates in.
24. Take a Sunset Walk in Syracuse
Join the locals in a passeggiata – a social evening stroll – through this old town in Sicily to witness a highlight of relaxed Italian culture.
25. Hike in the Dolomites
Hike in the northwest Italian mountain range, the Dolomites, for stunning views of cathedral-like peaks and fields of wildflowers. Stop in one of the mountainside cafés for lunchtime pasta breaks.
26. Peruse the Uffizi Gallery
Peruse art at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. This gallery is one of the most famous art galleries in the world.
27. Go on Pilgrimage to the Vatican
Go on a religious pilgrimage to the independent city-state, Vatican City, in the centre of Rome. If you’re lucky, the Pope may even be present!
28. Visit San Marcos Basilica
In the Piazza San Marco in Venice, visit San Marcos Basilica – home of the Archdiocese of northern Italy.
29. Explore the Historic Roman Forum
Located right next to the Coliseum, the Roman Forum is a collection of important ancient government buildings in the centre of Rome.
30. Climb to the Top of the Cathedral of Santa Maria
Climb to the top of the Cathedral of Santa Maria for spectacular views of Florence – the largest city in Tuscany.
31. Tour the Crypts of Capuchin
The crypts of Capuchin in Rome contain the bones of over 4,000 friars laid out in hauntingly beautiful patterns. Since pictures are not allowed, buy a postcard at the end of the tour to savour the memory.
32. Look Through the Aventine Keyhole
Look through the small keyhole in the green door at the top of Aventine Hill for a secret view of Saint Peter’s Dome through the gardens. No one knows if this view was created on purpose, or if it was just a happy accident.
33. Tour the Pantheon
Tour the Pantheon in Rome. Though a small structure compared to many other historical sites in Rome, the Pantheon is full of fun facts – just rent an audio guide to hear them!
34. Relax on Lake Como
Hire a boat for the day or lounge on any of the beautiful towns around Lake Como for a relaxing few days. This Y-shaped lake is home to luxurious villas and many celebrities.
35. Shop High Fashion in Milan
Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Shop the dozens of designer stores located in the city centre, or plan your visit around Milan Fashion Week for a runway show.
36. Shop Street Art in Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona in Rome is a 1st century AD square that is now home to many street artists and bars. At night, the Roman youth fill the square to smoke cigarettes and socialise.
37. Watch Glassblowers in Murano
The island of Murano outside Venice is famous for its glasswork. Tour one of the galleries and watch an expert blow and shape fresh glass.
38. View the Bridge of Sighs
In Venice, the Bridge of Sighs is aptly named because it transported criminals between the Palazzo Ducale and the prison. You can see the bridge from a nearby square, or take a gondola ride underneath.
39. Lounge on the Spanish Steps
Pick up a pastry and lounge on the uniquely shaped Spanish Steps in Rome, just like a local.
40. Walk Along Ponte Vecchio
Walk along the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. The medieval arched bridge is lined with jewellery and gelato shops with magnificent views of Florence.
41. Explore Castel Sant’Angelo at Night
Enter in the evening for a haunting walk through the 2nd century castle, glimpsing a marvellous view of Rome at night from the top
42. Explore the Cafes of Trastevere
Trastevere is a 13th century neighbourhood in Rome. Wander through narrow streets surrounded by ivy-covered buildings in search of a perfect café – you’re bound to find a few.
43. Tour Napoleon’s House on Isola d’Elba
Napoleon was exiled to Elba in 1814 and lived there less than a year before he escaped to France. Explore his house on Isola d’Elba and hit one of the many nearby beaches afterward.
44. Bike Around Lucca
Rent a bike and cruise along the circular town of Lucca. The old fortress town is even surrounded by walls to create a perfect bike loop.
45. See Michelangelo’s David
Michelangelo’s Renaissance-era marble sculpture of David is in Florence. Don’t be confused by the smaller statue outside the museum – the real David is inside!
46. Sunbathe on the Lido
The Lido is a sandbar in Venice that stretches over 11 kilometres and hosts celebrities and luxurious resorts. Grab a chair to enjoy the sun and a cold drink.
47. Visit the Egyptian Museum in Turin
Outside of Egypt, the world’s best Egyptian museum is located in Italy’s former capital city, Turin. Lay your eyes on Egyptian mummies and tombs for just a few euros.
48. Check Out the Oldest Pharmacy in the World
The Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy in Florence is the oldest pharmacy in the world and still houses 800-year-old recipes.
49. Eat Cheese in Bra
Load up on some dairy at the biannual Cheese Festival in Bra. The festival has workshops, tasting, and meals centred on everyone’s favourite dairy produce – cheese!
50. Visit the Prosciutto Museum
In Parma, the Prosciutto di Parma Museum teaches you everything you would ever need to know about Italy’s famous cured meat.
51. Visit the Valley of Temples
Explore ancient Roman history from the 5th century BC at the Valley of Temples in Sicily.
52. Go to a Football Match
There is no shortage of chanting, singing, jumping, and inventive cursing at any one of Italy’s teams’ football matches.
53. Swim Among the Aeolian Islands
Northeast of Sicily, the Aeolian Islands make a perfect swimming location. The volcanic landscape creates perfect cliffs to jump into crystal-clear water.
54. Eat Gelato
In any city or region of Italy, eat gelato. In northern Italy, the hazelnut flavour, nocciola, is the specialty whereas southern Italy prefers fruity flavours.
55. Walk Through the Farms of Puglia
The unpretentious coastline of Puglia features small farms and local restaurants serving homegrown delicacies. It’s the perfect place to escape and relax without fellow tourists.
56. Enjoy Sicilian Pastries
In Sicily, there are enough delicious pastries to fulfil even the biggest sweet tooth. Eat cannolis and cassatas to your heart’s desire.
57. Drink Coffee in Trieste
Trieste is the coffee capital of Italy. Sip an espresso from Caffe San Marco, which was once frequented by famous writers and poets.
58. Go Wine Tasting in Tuscany
With hundreds of wineries, there are plenty of options for every wine lover in Tuscany. Sit outside to gaze upon endless rows of grape vines across the horizon.
59. Taste Truffles in Alba
The renowned Truffle Festival is held in Alba each year. Eat dishes complemented with truffle oil, or go for a real splurge and buy one of the giant fresh truffles.
60. Taste Montestigliano Olive Oil
Montestigliano is famous for its olive oil. Grab a few pieces of fresh bread and test your taste buds to compare a range of delectable fresh olive oils.
61. Shop for Leather in Florence
Shop for leather purses, wallets, shoes, and more at the leather markets in Florence. Remember, it’s okay to barter the prices at this outdoor market.
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