Tours, Activities, Day Trips, and Things To Do in Italy
Italy is a European country with a long Mediterranean coastline that has left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine. In fact, together with Greece, it is acknowledged as the birthplace of Western culture. Not surprisingly, it is also home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. High art and monuments are to be found everywhere around the country. It is also famous worldwide for its delicious cuisine, its trendy fashion industry, luxury sports cars and motorcycles, diverse regional cultures and dialects, as well as for its beautiful coast, alpine lakes and mountain ranges.
Italy boasts amazing landscape scenery. The country is one of Mother Nature's masterpieces, with extraordinary natural diversity matched by few. From the north's icy Alps and glacial lakes to the south's fiery craters and turquoise grottoes, this is a place for doing as well as seeing. One day you're tearing down Courmayeur's powdery slopes, the next you could be galloping across the marshes of the Maremma, or diving in coral-studded Campanian waters, the options are limitless.
Epicenter of the Roman Empire and birthplace of the Renaissance, this European virtuoso groans under the weight of its cultural status: it's here that you'll stand in the presence of Michelangelo's David and Sistine Chapel frescoes, Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Primavera and da Vinci's The Last Supper. In fact, Should you walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans in Pompeii, revel in Ravenna's glittering Byzantine treasures or get breathless over Giotto's revolutionary frescoes in Padua? It's a cultural conundrum as thrilling as it is overwhelming.
There is so much to see in Italy that it is difficult to know where to begin. Virtually every small village has an interesting location or two, plus a couple of other things to see. Medieval villages and towns are dotted across rural Italy, and make for pleasant day trips or scenic places for a more relaxed holiday. Two notable examples are San Gimignano, known for its profusion of thin towers, and Assisi, known for Saint Francis of Assisi and the Basilica di San Francesco dedicated to the saint and filled with breathtaking frescos.
Its capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. In Rome, every street in the center seems to have a few pieces of inscribed Roman stone built into more recent buildings. Don't miss the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Aqueducts, the Appian Way, and a dozen or so museums devoted to Roman ruins. Further north, the Roman amphitheater at Verona is definitely not to be missed. There are more than 900 churches in Rome alone, many of them worth a quick visit or photo opportunity.
Other things to see and do include a Gondola ride and visit to Venice, a city with more sights per land mass than any other location. Explore Pompeii and Herculaneum, covered in lava by Mt. Vesuvius and, as a result, amazingly well preserved. Visit Florence for some of the best examples of Renaissance art and architecture. Start with a visit to Piazza Michelangelo to admire the famous view. Then set about exploring the many museums, both inside and outside Florence, that house Renaissance masterpieces. See Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo's "David" and Brunelleschi's Duomo. Visit Milan, Italy's fashion capital, where beauty, style and flair furnish every aspect of daily life. What makes Milan interesting compared to other places is that the city is truly more about the lifestyle of enjoying worldly pleasures: a paradise for shopping, football, and nightlife. If you are interested in the famous Italian Operas, they are on play in various cities: Milan, Verona, Parma, Rome, Venice, Spoleto, Florence, and Palermo.
Italy's food scene is another enticing aspect of the country. From delicate tagliatelle al ragu to velvety cannoli, every bite can feel like a revelation. And while Italy's culinary soul might prefer simplicity, it's equally ingenious and sophisticated. Expect some of the world's top fine-dining destinations, from San Pellegrino 'World's Best 50' hotspots to Michelin-starred musts.
You could visit Italy's cities, never go in a church, museum or Roman ruin, and still have a great time. Just wander around, keeping your eyes open. Search for interesting food, shops, and places to get a good ice cream (gelato). Above all, just enjoy the atmosphere.