When I think of Italy, I think of gelato, architecture, ruins and Angelina Jolie speeding through the canals in a boat a la ‘The Tourist’. Planning a trip soon? Here are some spots not to miss.
Known as the ‘city of love’ but Venice really is for all – couples, families, friends and single travellers! You can spend days getting lost in the side streets, navigating the canals on footbridges and gondolas and browsing the many shops of Venetian masks and Murano glass. Be sure to consider a day trip to the smaller islands of Burano and Murano for a colourful visual feast.
#HHWT Tip: Gelato must be consumed in copious amounts. Check out Gelatoteca SuSu for quality melt-in-your-mouth gelato.
Credit: Alexandra E Rust on Flickr
Opening hours: 11am-8pm
Address: Calle della Bissa, 5453, 30124 San Marco, Venezia VE
Credit: Thomas Lok on Flickr
The trains are brilliant in Italy offering a convenient and efficient service. Located 45 minutes away from Venice is little Padua (or Paduva). A beautiful and charming town that can be navigated solely on foot. Spend the afternoon pacing through the stunning Prato Della Valle square- the largest square in Italy and just beautiful.
#HHTW tip: Most train stations in Italy require you to purchase a train ticket and get it stamped before you board. Make sure you enquire about this or else be faced with a hefty fine!
Fashionistas unite! Milan offers the best of the best when it comes to fashion and style. But those who would rather spend a morning marvelling at art then at shop price tags, can find solace in seeking Leonardo Di Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ at the Duomo or Michaeloanglo’s unfinished masterpiece. The world famous opera house ‘Teatro all Scala’ also hails here as well as a perfect renaissance castle- Castello Sforzesco.
Credit: Jason Lee on Flickr
Ah, the home of spaghetti bolognaise and the culinary capital of Italy. With a big student community, the city is trendy and bustling but with green parks and terracotta walls that pave the streets, quiet and idyllic afternoons can also be spent here.
Credit: Thomas Fabian on Flickr
For those who love the great outdoors, the smell of fresh air and greenery as far as the eye can see should venture over to the region of Tuscany. Picteresque Cortona is a sleepy town but with a bustling city centre and stunning views from the Duomo Cathedral, a visit will leave you rejuvenated and awakened.
Credit: Antonio Cinotti on Flickr
Florence is definitely for the art and architecture connoisseurs. The Academia gallery features Michaelangelo’s ‘David’, the buildings are a treat for the eyes and the large number of museums render a boring trip impossible. Day trips to Piza also mean the opportunity to capture that perfect ‘the tower is falling and I am holding it up’ leaning tower piza shot (you know the one!)
#HHWT Tip: Visiting many museums in Florence (and across Italy) can sometimes mean hours of waiting in queues. Consider buying a Firenze card while in Florence to save on queuing time and gain entrance to some of the major museums. Think about the time you will be there (summers are more busy), the duration of stay and what you actually want to see when deciding if the card is worth the spend.
Rome, the land of gladiators past and more. Experience one of the largest and richest collections of art and culture and visit key sites like the Coliseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon and the Trevi fountain. But most of all, wander aimlessly around the city centre and sit by the Piazzas and main squares eating pizza, pasta, panaches (or heck, all three!) while listening to buskers play music.
#HHWT tip: Never let an alluring shop in busy places attract you. Despite them being located in prime spots, the food is often not great and is overpriced. Instead, wander down side streets from the main square to get a real experience of food!
BONUS: Give it a go!
A treasure hunt awaits in the form of a hauntingly small and beautiful cave town. The treasure lies in getting lost as you try to navigate the spirally streets.
9. Cinque Terre
Who can say no to the Italian Riveria? A coastal region composed of 5 charming towns with steep terraced houses coloured by the rainbow and surrounded by glorious nature.
So, which part of Italy would you head to first? 🙂