Italy Vacation: 10 Favorite Things to See and Do in Italy

Things to experience in Italy

With its charming towns, historic cities, and world-class cuisine, Italy is an amazing country.  It's hard to choose from the hundreds of sights you can see, but sadly, there's just not time for everything.  Any vacation is sure to be just the tip of the iceberg, and leave you wanting more (for your next trip to Italy!)  With that said, you've got to start somewhere, so here's a list of 10 favorite things to experience in Italy.


1. Eat

Do not watch your waistline on a trip to Italy. Just enjoy some of the best food on the planet, all prepared with love and pride.  From mouth-watering pizza to refreshing gelati, world-class risotto, and of course, pasta made to perfection, it's worth savoring every meal.

 

Conchiglioni (large pasta shells stuffed with spinach & ricotta), spicy tomato sauce. Photo by topquark22 (flickr)
Conchiglioni (large pasta shells stuffed with spinach & ricotta), spicy tomato sauce. Photo by topquark22 (flickr)

2. Rome

Rome is the Eternal City, and you will want to visit the historic Coliseum and the beautiful Pantheon. Make sure you also take time to people watch on the Spanish Steps, throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, window shop along the Via Dei Condotti and go antiquing at the Porta Portese flea market.

 

Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy. Photo by malouette (flickr)
Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy. Photo by malouette (flickr)

3. The Vatican Museums

The Vatican has its own seat at the United Nations, so it deserves its own entry on the Top Ten list. Michelangelo painted more than 600 figures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and you can’t help but be moved by the sheer scope of his efforts.  Don’t wear shorts or short skirts, as you will not be allowed in.

 

Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy. Photo by Eustaquio Santimano (flickr)
Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy. Photo by Eustaquio Santimano (flickr)

4. Venice & the Venetian Islands

No visit to Italy would be complete without spending time in the iconic city of Venice.  Go for a gondola ride, have a Bellini at Harry’s Bar, visit the Pizza San Marco and the poetic Bridge of Sighs.  Don’t skip the Venetian islands, and the beautiful overgrown ruins on the island of Torcello.


Piazza del Campo, Siena. Photo by PhillipC (flickr)
Piazza del Campo, Siena. Photo by PhillipC (flickr)

5. Siena

While Florence is stunning, make time to stop by the nearby town of Siena, too. It’s one of Italy’s most charming medieval towns, and its historic Piazza del Campo has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Siena is also the perfect base for visiting other incredible places in Tuscany, including the famous winery in Montepulciano.


6. Capri

Capri, Italy. Photo by SJ Pinkney (flickr)
Capri, Italy. Photo by SJ Pinkney (flickr)

The most beautiful place to watch the sunrise in Italy is from the small island of Capri. It’s been a treasured resort since the days of Roman Emperors, and is well worth a visit. The turquoise glimmer of Capri’s world famous Blue Grotto cavern is otherworldly.


Pompeii, Italy. Photo by SJ Pinkney (flickr)
Pompeii, Italy. Photo by SJ Pinkney (flickr)

7. Pompeii

A visit to Pompeii is humbling. The ruined Roman town highlights what life was like in the moments before disaster struck. When nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the lava and ash buried Pompeii and its citizens, preserving forever their last moments. It’s an incredible insight into what life was like in the city nearly two thousands years ago.


Etna Volcano, Sicily, Italy. Photo by gnuckx (flickr)
Etna Volcano, Sicily, Italy. Photo by gnuckx (flickr)

8. Sicily

The locals say that if you discover Sicily, you discover the world.  The island has been visited, settled and conquered by just about every civilization that passed by.  It’s a truly unique place, with incredible beaches, beautiful mountains, and of course, the legendary Mount Etna.


Gargnano, Lake Garda - Italy. Photo by cooldudeandy01 (flikr)
Gargnano, Lake Garda - Italy. Photo by cooldudeandy01 (flikr)

9. The Italian Lakes

The natural beauty of Northern Italy’s Lake district is second to none.  Stars such as George Clooney have helped put the region on the map by buying a villa on the shores of Lake Como, but the area has attracted tourists for centuries with its perfect combination of breathtaking landscapes, exquisite luxury and relaxed pace.


Tuscany Agritourism Apartments, Le Sette Vene, Swimming Pool. Photo by Tuscany Umbria Villas (flickr)
Tuscany Agritourism Apartments, Le Sette Vene, Swimming Pool. Photo by Tuscany Umbria Villas (flickr)

10. Villa rental

As is true in most places, the best part of any visit to Italy is getting to know its people.  Warm, engaging, and ready to share their laughter and their table, you don’t really get to know Italy until you get to know Italians.  A great way to spend your time in this country is to live among the locals.  There are hundreds of beautiful villas for rent in every region, so why not skip the hotel, and live La Dolce Vita for a few weeks?


Favorite Places to See in Italy

show route and directions
A markerRome, Italy -
00120 Vatican City, Holy See
[get directions]

B markerVenice, Italy -
Venice, Italy
[get directions]

C markerSiena, Italy -
53100 Sienna, Italy
[get directions]

D markerCapri, Italy -
80073 Capri Naples, Italy
[get directions]

E markerPompeii, Italy -
80045 Pompei Naples, Italy
[get directions]

F markerSicily, Italy -
Sicily, Italy
[get directions]

G markerLake Como, Italy -
Lake Como, Italy
[get directions]

H markerTuscany, Italy -
Tuscany, Italy
[get directions]

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Comments? 6 comments

France Travel Inf profile image

France Travel Inf 6 years ago

Wonderfully informative hub! My favorite place is Sorento (or maybe any restaurant!). Italy has wonderful food!

http://www.france-travel-info.com


almurray profile image

almurray 6 years ago from Ipswich, United Kingdom

Italy is a beautiful country and you write beautiful hubs happyexplorer.

Rome is up there with the best holidays I have had. The Vatican is truly inspiring. Incredible.


happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 6 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere Author

Hi France Travel Inf-

Thanks for your comment. Like you, I also love Italian food. Very delicious! :-)


happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 6 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere Author

Hi almurray -

Thank you for those wonderful words. I really love Italy. Vatican is truly amazing!


Samantha 5 years ago

10 great places without a doubt! Venice is awesome and all these other places in Italy are gorgeous. I would plan a month touring these and with a lot of eating for sure!


happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 5 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere Author

Hi Samantha!

A month touring Italy would be wonderful! Have a great trip... and eat all you can! :)

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