Italy is world-famous for its huge contributions to the worlds of art, architecture, fashion, food, opera, literature, design and film. The European country was home to the Roman Empire, one of the most powerful empires in the world, as well as the Vatican. There is no shortage of destinations to explore in Italy. Spectacular cities, ancient ruins, wonderful museums, breathtaking mountains, stunning beaches, and natural beauty: Italy has it all. As long as you are open-minded to new cultures, there is plenty to discover in Italy. You may also find Roman Catholic roots that are entrenched in everyday culture and customs.
Rome, or Roma in Italian, is the capital city with a population of 2.8 million people. Legend has it that Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus in 753 BCE. Rome was called the “Eternal City” by the ancient Romans because they believed that no matter what happened in the rest of the world, the city of Rome would always remain standing.
A trip to Rome would not be complete without visiting the Colosseum. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum was constructed between 70-80 AD. The Roman Emperors regularly visited the theatre to witness games, gladiator tournaments, and other entertainment. Aside from the Colosseum, the mighty Pantheon, a well-preserved ancient Roman building, is another of Rome’s famous attractions. Other exciting places to explore in Rome include the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Piazza Navona, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and Trevi Fountain.
Florence is a city in Central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany region. This dynamic city plays an important role in Italian fashion and is ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world.
Dubbed the birthplace of the Renaissance, it’s home to cultural giants like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli, Galileo, and its most-renowned rulers, generations of the Medici family. Every corner you turn has an interesting fun fact or masterpiece of art that you cannot miss. There are many incredible things to do in Florence: take a stroll at Ponte Vecchio, explore Piazza della Signoria, climb Giotto's Campanile, watch the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo, check out the Duomo di Firenze and admire Michelangelo's Statue of David.
In 1987 Venice and its lagoon were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known as the ‘City of Canals’, Venice is famous for many things, including its beautiful bridges, gondola rides, atmospheric streets, and carnival celebrations. Visitors arriving in Venice are transported into another world with unparalleled atmosphere and beauty.
Popularly known as ‘The Floating City’, Venice consists of 118 islands. Canals separate the islands, and over 400 bridges link them. The oldest and most famous bridge across the Grand Canal is the Rialto Bridge. Another iconic bridge in Venice is the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). It crosses the Rio di Palazzo canal and links Doge’s Palace with a former prison.
In Venice, you can simply explore the canals, sit and relax in the small squares dotting the city, go cafe-hopping or wine tasting, and just enjoy the city without checking off your to-do list. And lastly, a trip to Venice is, of course, incomplete without hopping onto a gondola ride.
Naples is a spectacular city and one of the most unique places in Italy, although it’s admittedly not for everyone. The city is packed with incredible monuments reflecting its deep history, rugged beauty and authentic charm.
Naples is an unfiltered and uncensored city; expect colourful alleyways, unexpected street scenes and delicious food. The Bay of Naples and the looming figure of Mount Vesuvius make Naples a city rich with natural landscapes in addition to the historical sites. Every corner, you'll find impressive castles, churches and palaces with legendary stories. From seeing the ancient ruins of Pompeii to experiencing the modern cuisine of Naples — the birthplace of Napolitano pizza — there’s plenty to do in this ancient city.
Sicily is the biggest city in Italy, boasting many amazing archaeological sites, popular beaches, several archipelagos, and islets. More than 85% of the island is made of hills and mountains. You’ll find incredible volcanoes, ancient ruins, a vibrant culture and a quaint town.
Spend some time exploring the historical city of Palermo, the capital of Sicily that is over 2,700 years old. Famous for its history and street food, it’s a stunning city to take a stroll in. Aside from that, explore the picturesque town of Cefalu, just a short drive from Palermo. The small town is famed for its imposing Norman cathedral with beautiful mosaics. Other popular sites not to be missed in Sicily include Agrigento’s Valley of Temples, La Martorana Church, Mount Etna, Pietro Griffo Museum, and Capo Market.
Milan has a reputation for being Italy's business centre and art city. Also deemed one of Italy's most fashionable cities, a city with an influential past and a rich cultural heritage. It’s home to some of the country’s major fashion brands. One of the main attractions in Milan is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. It’s a beautiful place where locals meet for coffee in its elegant cafes and shop for luxury goods. This wonderful glass-ceilinged arcade is so integral in the locals' life that they refer to it as ‘il salotto’, the salon. You can marvel at other age-old gems, including the Milan Cathedral, Castello Sforzesco, Milan Archaeology Museum, Sant Ambrogio and Piazza dei Mercanti.
Leonardo Da Vinci spent his longest stay in Milan, spanning 17 years. You can find some of his greatest masterpieces in Milan. Check out the famous Da Vinci’s The Last Supper fresco on the walls of the dining hall at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Arguably Italy’s most beautiful lake, Como has been the favourite summer retreat of the rich and famous since ancient Romans fled Milan’s summer heat to cool off in villas along its steep shores. Visit elegant mansions and lakeside gardens, sample delicious Italian cuisine, and try some water sports — these are the best things to do in Lake Como. Parts of the 2006 Bond movie Casino Royale were filmed in Lake Como.
For the sunset chaser, you’re in for a treat as the sunsets around Lake Como are absolutely magical. For a panorama that’ll be forever etched on your memory, hop on the funicular railway at Brunate and enjoy sunset views across the lake. There are also plenty of water sports activities to keep you entertained — sailing, water skiing, windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, kite-surfing and wakeboarding! For a more relaxing time, you can also opt to take an e-bike tour around Lake Como, a great way to enjoy the scenery.