Travel Tips: 5 Great Places to Visit in Northern Italy
My 5 Favorite Italian Cities to Visit North of the Po River
Italy is full of beautiful places to visit, from North to South, including islands. Some are well-known tourist destinations, others not as famous, but just as stunning.
Here are 5 of the top places to visit when you travel to Northern Italy.
- Lake Garda
Keep reading for more details.
Visiting Trieste, Italy: What to See
Trieste is a beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea, and it lies at the feet of the hilly region of Carso. The city is full of history, with beautiful buildings and monuments reminding of a majestic past.
Geographically Trieste is very close to Slovenia and to the Carso plateau, with its natural beauty and spectacular natural phenomena.
Miramare Castle, once the residence of the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg, still preserves the original furnishings. It stands on the peak of a rocky promontory about 10 Kilometers from Trieste, overlooking the blue sea.
Piazza Unità D’Italia (Square of the Unification of Italy), the heart of Trieste, is considered by locals Trieste’s Living Room. This is the largest European square that opens to the Sea, and it is surrounded by beautiful and historical buildings. The square gets particularly stunning after dusk, when its special lighting comes on. Among the most important landmarks of the square is the famous Caffè degli Specchi.
Grotta Gigante (Giant Cave), an exceptionally large cave that you can tour with a guide. The cave is crossed by a geodetic pendulum for the study of earth tides, one of the few in the world. The floor and the ceiling are covered in stalactites and stalagmites of all sizes.
I visited this cave when my kids were younger and they absolutely loved it! Tip: it’s always cold, even in summer, bring a sweater or a coat.
Map of Northern Italy
Visiting Venice, Italy: Main Attractions
If you go to Italy, Venice is one of the cities you must see. Every corner, every bridge, every church in Venice provides an opportunity to admire beauty, architecture, and history.
Some of the main things to see in Venice:
- St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, the heart of Venice.
- The Rialto Bridge, with its stunning shop and astounding view of the Grand Canal.
- Rialto’s Market, with fresh veggies, daily caught fish, and all goodies.
- Peggy Guggenheim’s Museum, for the art lovers.
- La Fenice, the wonderful Opera theater.
The most pleasant periods of the year for a trip to Venice are from the end of March to end of May; and September-October.
To experience the high tide (Acqua Alta), when some areas of Venice can be flooded for few hours a day in winter, go in the months of November or December.
Venetian food is also a delightful thing to try, however, try to get out of the tourist routes and find the places where the locals eat. They are much cheaper and amazingly good.
In Venice, the "Vaporetto" serves the same purposes as a bus, only on water. Below is how a Venetian bus stop looks like.
What to See in Verona, Italy
Famous world round for the Arena and the everlasting love of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is a city with a historical flavor. The history of the city goes back to thousands of years ago. It lived through the Roman Empire, the Barbaric invasions, and domination of different rulers.
Things to see:
One of the most visited destinations in Verona is the Home of Juliet.
From the outside, you can admire the balcony, from which the girl whispered love words to her beloved Romeo and a bronze statue of Juliet. Inside the building, you can see Italian furnishing from the XVI-XVII century, frescos depicting Juliet and Romeo’s story, and antique ceramics.
In truth, it is not certain that the XIII century building was home to the Shakespearian heroine, but the fact that it belonged to a family with a similar last name, has started the belief that it was truly Juliet’s home.
We visited during the Christmas Holiday and really enjoyed entering the ancient Arena, a Roman amphitheater, home of a renowned yearly Opera season.
The structure, with the old stones and amazing architectural details, is pretty cool. Also, when we went, there was an exhibit of nativity scenes inside the Arena, in the rooms where the gladiators got ready before battles; pretty intriguing. Nowadays, most people go to the Arena to attend a concert od an opera, they put on some amazing shows every year.
Sightseeing buses are available to tour the city and the main locations:
- Corso Porta Nuova (Giardini Pradaval)
- Pozza Square - Basilica San Zeno
- Roman Theater
- Porta Leoni
- Bra Square
- Via Pallone – Tomb of Juliet
- Castle Saint Peter
Most visited place in Verona
Lago di Garda (Garda Lake)
The Garda Lake is a jewel situated in between the Alpes, with stunning views and a magic atmosphere.
Many are the things you can enjoy at the Garda lake, here are a few:
- Sirmione, a beautiful and cozy town on a peninsula on the southern coast of the lake, with ancient origins, full of history, it’s an archeological site, with appealing ancient buildings, like Rocca Scaligera, le Grotte di Catullo, le Terme.
The town center is full of shopping and dining opportunities.
- Gardone Riviera, on the western coast of the lake, is full of green and nature but offers also villas, luxury hotels, parks, and cute old districts. Cultural events are always on the agenda, especially in the open theater of the Vittoriale and in Villa Alba.
- Gardaland, an entertainment park full of fun activities for the whole family.
Two views of Verona, near the ArenaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Visiting Genova (Genoa), Beautiful City in Northern Italy
Genova, the capital of Liguria is a city with a glorious past as a powerful maritime Republic, and the sign of the ancient power can still be admired in the historical center of the city, one of the largest in Europe.
The narrow alleys wind throughout the city; filled with small shops, preserve an old time charm well worth a visit. The city, surrounded by ancient protecting walls, with monumental gates, is full of historical and charming buildings.
Not to be missed in Genova is the Aquarium, with 800 different marine species and a total of 10,000 different animals including aquatic mammals, reptiles, and of course fish.
Genova has a tasty and yummy typical cuisine, and the world famous Pesto alla Genovese sauce, with basil, olive oil, nuts, and cheese is originally from Genova.
GenoaClick thumbnail to view full-size
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Robie Benve