What to see and do in Italy
Perhaps more than any other country in the world, Italy has an endless supply of history and culture for travellers to explore. As both, the location of the historic Roman empire and the birthplace of the European Renaissance, every city in Italy boasts monuments and artwork that can’t be found anywhere else. Roam the idyllic streets, or the equally idyllic countryside, discovering incredible sights, people, tastes and experiences along the way.
Why go to Italy with a local travel agent?
Italy’s main attraction is its incredible historical and cultural heritage. But, with so many museums and monuments in every city, planning a trip can be overwhelming. Our local travel agents in Italy help travellers to make the most of their trips. They can hand pick specific sites that you won’t want to miss—and even suggest fantastic things you may have never heard of.
In Rome for example, there are hundreds of historic archaeological sites just outside the ancient city walls that its millions of annual visitors miss, but our agents know just where to go. As one of the world’s most beloved destinations, there are plenty of services, restaurants, and tours that boast an authentic “Italian experience”. But, it’s only with insider knowledge that you can be sure you’re avoiding tourist traps and be tapping into the true Bella Vita!
What are the most popular things to do in Italy?
- First-time visitors to Italy usually want to start with the triangle formed by its three most-visited cities: Rome, Florence, and Venice. This trifecta has a lot to offer its visitors; The Colosseum, Michelangelo's David, or a gondola ride through the world-famous canals. In addition to these recognisable landmarks, however, each city offers access to the gorgeous regions which surround them, making day-long excursions easy.
- In the summer, travellers can expand this triangle to include spectacular seaside destinations like Sorrento, Capri, Pompeii, or the Amalfi coast.
- In winter, when the southern destinations slow down, why not see Milan, Lake Como or Verona?
- Some of Italy’s year-round hot-spots, like the stunning cliffside village of Cinque Terre, have become so popular that restrictions on visitors have been implemented.
There are many reasons why Italy is worth a visit and a local agent can walk you through the destinations which best fit your preferences and can tell you those that tend to get crowded during peak season.
When is the best time of the year to go to Italy?
Italy is a year-round destination, meaning whenever you go, you’ll find something that you will love. During the summer, you will get to experience perfect sunny weather and beautiful beaches along the coast. This is peak season however, so it can be crowded in major destinations. During the winter or autumn seasons, you will be able to beat the crowds and discover the open spaces of Italy that you may not get to see otherwise. Prices may also be cheaper during the off-peak seasons.
What is the most unique off the beaten track experience in Italy?
Even inside the larger, well-known cities like Venice, Rome, and Florence, our local agents have found some well-kept secrets. In Venice for example, our agents have a knack for steering travellers away from the less-than-spectacular tourist hubs and into the city’s traditional taverns for a special wine and food tastings that few other tourists get to experience.
There are also whole regions that many visitors might never think of, like Umbria and Perugia or Puglia, regions steeped in everything people love about Italy, but with far fewer tourists. Italians themselves that have been flocking this ‘heel of the boot’ to see cities like Lecca, considered the Florence of the South, for years. Other cities, like Turin, offer stunning architecture and fascinating museums such as Italy’s National Museum of Cinema or the Egizia, (boasting the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts outside of Cairo) even though they are rarely first on people’s list.
Why is Italy so famous for its food?
Our local agents, who grew up eating this world-famous cuisine, attribute its popularity to one thing: simplicity. Many of Italy’s best dishes are made with just a few fresh ingredients. It’s ancient traditions and special care that transforms these into sacred ritual, may be world famous, but you can’t find them anywhere else.
Italy also boasts incredible variety—although there is great pizza and pasta to be had, every region has its own specialities that can be both surprising and delightful. For example, every part of Italy has its own special type of cheese, its own prefered wine, and its own way of preparing fish or meat. In Naples, the speciality is Pizza. In Salerno, Mozzarella. You can try regional specialities every day and never eat the same thing twice while in Italy. The essential thing is that it's simple, fresh, and made with care.
What are the most beautiful beaches in Italy?
Without a doubt, Sardinia has the most beautiful beaches, but the great thing about Italy is once again, the variety that it has to offer. The different geological conditions, even just on this island of Sardinia, have created both rocky beaches and sandy beaches of all different colours that sparkle against clear, blue waters. Arutas beach is a must-see, where small grains of quartz make it look like a beach made entirely of grains of rice.
Every beach throughout Italy’s 7600 KM of coastline is unique. Up north, the region of Tuscany is well known for its beaches, and in the South, the region around Rome also has incredible beaches that many people skip because they only want to stay in the city. In Italy, just a short drive to the coast will always reveal a beautiful beach.
Which world heritage sites in Italy are must-sees?
With a total number of 53 world heritage sites recognised by UNESCO, Italy has much more to offer than you could ever hope to see in just one holiday; hence why people return again and again. The Colosseum, the Cathedral of Florence and the Leaning Tower of Pisa makeup just a few of the attractions that have had an impact on architecture and design throughout the world.
While our agents would recommend them, they also know that if you stick to just the most famous sites, you will miss out on the hidden gems which Italy has to offer. Just behind the Colosseum, for example, is an area rarely seen by visitors that offers the Roman Forum and the Caracalla Baths, an attraction just as impressive as the famous Colosseum. For every famous heritage site, you want to see, our agents can find a hidden treasure you shouldn’t miss.
What are the most popular wine regions of Italy?
When it comes to choosing the best region for wine in Italy, there is a lot of competition, since every single region of Italy produces wine and they are all wonderful.
The most popular Italian wine region, according to our experts, would have to be Tuscany—but even there, you find competition between regional specialities like Chianti, or the equally delicious Brunello di Montalcino. Our agents are partial to the wines grown in volcanic regions found in the South, like those found in Sicily or the Nero d’Avola in the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius.
Whether you are a connoisseur or if you are still unsure if you prefer red or white, our agents can make their personal recommendations to help you find your own personal favourites to accompany your holiday.
What makes Italy a great destination for a couple?
In Italy, beauty is everywhere. Since it’s a peninsula, you’re never far from a gorgeous beach no matter where you are—and on the way, you’ll find lakes, mountains, and the gorgeous Tuscan countryside.
The variety of beautiful scenery means anywhere in Italy can offer you a beautiful backdrop for a relaxing and romantic holiday. Of course, even when you step out of all the nature that Italy has to offer, the cities are filled with the most enchanting monuments in the entire world. From the ornate architecture adorning the piazzas of Rome, to the canals of Venice; Italy’s cities offer the perfect backdrop for enjoying the country’s rich, world-famous cuisine and wine. Great dinners, beautiful scenery, and romantic cobblestone cities to explore— no surprise then that Italy always offers a truly romantic holiday.
Which tour and activities should you choose to travel Italy in 2 weeks?
For your first visit to Italy and with a time limit of two weeks, our agents recommend focusing on the big three: Rome, Florence, and Venice. Start with two days in Rome then head to nearby Naples and the ancient city of Pompeii for a quick, but worthwhile view of the South. From there, make your way to Florence, spending at least a full day in its historic city centre (it’s small but incredibly dense). From here, travel into the stunning hills of Tuscany, exploring its vast wine country over the course of a few days.
Once you’ve had your fill of Tuscan wine, spend a day or two wandering the canals of Venice before heading to the lake region around Milan to take in some sweeping northern scenery. Then fly out of Milan’s well-connected airport (after stopping by its breathtaking cathedral and Galleria, that is it).
Why should newlyweds spend their honeymoon in Italy?
Italy is undoubtedly one of the most romantic countries in the world, with beautiful destinations all year round, and a wide range of spectacular scenery (from the seaside town on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast which are best visited in summer, to the charming rolling hills of Tuscany, to the imposing mountains of the Dolomites in the North). The major cities like Florence, Rome or Venice offer not only postcard views that will take your breath away, but also enriching experiences that will make any trip unforgettable, such as discovering the world-famous Italian cuisine or exploring the historic centres peppered with monuments.
What are the activities Italy offers for a family with children or teenagers?
While a children love Italy for its amazing food, it’s true that many of Italy’s greatest features like sipping coffee, visiting the best museums in the world, and learning about ancient history can be hard with children and teenagers.
The key to getting kids to fall in love with Italy, according to our local agents, is to always find the perfect guide. Sites like the Roman Forum and the Colosseum could just seem like a pile of rocks to a teenager who would prefer to be texting, but in the hands of a talented guide, suddenly gladiators and ancient back stabbings come to life! Our agents specialise in creating custom tours that are family-friendly, picking out the best places and the best people to show you Italy.