During its time as the centre of the Roman Empire, Rome attracted people from the corners of the empire which stretched through modern-day Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Later, religious pilgrims made the journey to visit the home of the Catholic Church.
Located in Southern Europe, the country with a long Mediterranean coastline is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations for a number of reasons that include art treasures, trendy fashion, stunning landscapes, passionate people and top-class cuisine. Italy left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine. It offers so much to see and do that it would take a lifetime to explore. An overview of the best places to visit in Italy:
Rome, Italy’s capital, is a sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. Its ruins, awe-inspiring art and vibrant street life, Italy’s capital is one of the world’s most romantic and inspiring cities.
Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. Garden islands and lagoon aquaculture yield speciality produce and seafood you won’t find elsewhere – all highlighted in inventive Venetian cuisine, with tantalising traces of ancient spice routes.
Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. Romantic, enchanting and utterly irresistible, Florence (Firenze) is a place to feast on world-class art and gourmet Tuscan cuisine.
Milan, a global fashion and design capital is located in the northern Lombardy region. Home to the national stock exchange, it’s a financial hub also known for its high-end restaurants and shops. Ruled by the Caesars, Napoléon, the Austro-Hungarians and Mussolini, Milan has an ancient and fascinating cultural history. Today the city leads the way with the largest post-war re-development in Italy, impressive, sustainable architecture and a futuristic skyline modelled by Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and César Pelli.
Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island, is just off the “toe” of Italy’s “boot.” Its rich history is reflected in sites , It’s varied landscape makes a dramatic first impression. Seductively beautiful and perfectly placed in the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily has been luring passersby since the time of legends.
Tuscany is a region in central Italy. Its diverse natural landscape encompasses the rugged Apennine Mountains, the island of Elba’s beaches on the Tyrrhenian Sea and Chianti’s olive groves and vineyards. Florence’s historic churches and monuments were a key stop for British aristocrats on the Grand Tour in the 19th century – and remain so. Tuscany has a timeless familiarity with its iconic Florentine cathedral dome, gently rolling hills dipped in soft morning mist and sculptural cypress alleys.
Lazio is a central Italian region bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was at the heart of the ancient Roman Empire. Its iconic ruins include the Coliseum, an amphitheater that seated thousands. On the coast, the ancient port of Ostia still retains detailed mosaics and a theatre. But beyond the city, Lazio more than holds its own. Cerveteri and Tarquinia’s Etruscan tombs, Hadrian’s vast Tivoli estate, the remarkable ruins of Ostia Antica – these are sights to rival anything in the country.
8. Umbria & Le Marche
It’s a secret corner, the borderlands”, a neutral region neighbouring more important places. It’s more like Italy in the raw. Take the hilltop village of Mogliano: gorgeous views for miles and miles, the slopes around covered in sunflowers. Umbria has a less glamorous reputation than Tuscany, but it’s highly appreciated both for its great artistic treasures and the dreamy rolling green landscapes that inspired them.
Sardinia is a large Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. It has nearly 2,000km of coastline, sandy beaches and a mountainous interior crossed with hiking trails. Whether you go slow or fast, choose coast or country, Sardinia is one of Europe’s last great island adventures. Hike through the lush, silent interior to the twilight of Tiscali’s nuraghic ruins.
10. Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria
Venture off the traffic-filled highways and explore the countryside of Italy’s boot, made up of the three separate regions—Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria—each one with its own character. Beyond the cities, seaside resorts, and the few major sights, there’s a sparsely populated, sunbaked countryside where road signs are rare and expanses of silvery olive trees, vineyards of Primitivo and Aglianico, and giant prickly pear cacti fight their way through the rocky soil in defiance of the relentless summer heat.