Italy may not be a massive country, but there’s enough to see and do!
A motherland of artists and scientists that changed the shape of the world and home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites – Bella Italia! From the staggering antiquities of Rome and the alluring romance of Venice to the rolling hills of Tuscany and the cosmopolitan flair of Milan, the country is a bottomless well of attractions.
Here’s our top 10 pick from Italy:
1. Roman Forum
Entering the huge archeological site of the Roman Forum and strolling through the ruins, you can almost imagine the citizens of Ancient Rome walking the cobblestoned streets in togas and bringing sacrifices to the temples.
2. Cinque Terre
A Unesco World Heritage site since 1997, Rooted in antiquity, Cinque Terre’s five villages date from the early medieval period. Cinque Terre is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the 5 towns, colourful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces, harbours are filled with fishing boats and trattorias turn out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region’s famous sauce, pesto.
3. Valley of the Temples, Agrigento
The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento is an extensive archaeological site containing the well-preserved remains of various Doric temples dating from the 5th century B.C.
4. Vatican Museums
Vatican Museums in Rome house their fabulous masterpieces in palaces originally built for Renaissance popes such as Julius II, Innocent VIII and Sixtus IV. Most of the later addition were made in the 18th century, when priceless works of art accumulated by earlier popes were firsts put on show.
5. Drive in Tuscany
The roads that connect the famous hill towns of Tuscany might get short shrift with all the gushing people do about the towns themselves, but the views out of a car window when you’re cruising along windy country roads are enough to make anyone understand why someone might drop everything and buy a rundown Italian farmhouse.
6. Colosseum, Rome
The Colosseum is probably the most impressive building of the Roman Empire. Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, it was the largest building of the era.
7. Leaning Tower of Pisa
Humans make mistakes, after all, no human is perfect. One mistake made in the 11th century resulted in a 14,500 ton leaning tower. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most remarkable architectural structures from medieval Europe.
8. The Last Supper, Milan
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, the subject of both mystery and debate after The Da Vinci Code spurred theories on the role of Mary Magdalene and ‘The Holy Grail.’ A relentlessly studied work of Leonardo da Vinci’s , scrutinised, satirised and one the world’s most famous paintings – is still revealing secrets. You certainly can’t miss this.
9. Mount Vesuvius, Naples
Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe, and has produced some of the continent’s largest volcanic eruptions. Famous for the 79 AD eruption which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and it was one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in European history. Also, when you are in Naples its a sin to miss the best pizzerias.
10. The Trulli of Alberobello
The trulli , limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. Those are trulli, perhaps the finest examples of which are to be found in the commune of Alberobello. It is here that you can see the fruit of prehistoric construction techniques that have survived intact and still function in the contemporary world.