Constantly famed as one of the Mediterranean’s and world’s best destinations, Italy has been on many travellers’ bucket-lists for centuries. From its capital Rome to more intimate towns and villages, Italy offers a completely different experience every time you visit. No matter what kind of holiday you are looking for, Italy can fulfil it. From the snowy peaks of the dolomites in the north to the beautiful Amalfi Coast in the south, no matter where you travel, you will be accompanied by influential dishes that have been passed down through generations.
Here are a few of the most famous destinations in Italy and what you can expect if you are planning to visit them.
As not only the capital of Italy but also dubbed Caput Mundi (Capital of the World), Rome has arguably the most extensive history in all of Italy. Situated at the centre of the Roman Empire during its 1,000-year reign, the city has gained its fair share of history including its most famous monument, the Colosseum. Being an iconic centre for Renaissance artwork, the city boasts opulent architectural monuments around every corner, with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel being at the forefront of conversation.
Even if you don’t plan to travel for history, Rome is still a culinary dream, with cobbled streets lined with restaurants that have been passed down from generation to generation. Even though Rome is a very popular city, during off-peak times (not during the summer months), the city can be quite quiet and easy to explore.
Known as the floating city, Venice has been a prominent destination in Italy’s history since it was inhabited in the 10th century BC. Spanning 118 different small islands, Venice is one of the only major cities in the world that doesn’t have any cars within it. This is largely thanks to 177 canals that flow through the city, and almost 400 bridges that link the city’s walkways together.
Venice is mostly known for its romance, with gondola journeys and opera houses being at the top of any couples’ check-list. Much like the other cities in Italy, Venice draws travellers in with its cuisine, offering speciality seafood dishes such as Sarde in Saor which is a combination of sweet and sour sardines. Make sure you take a gondola ride to the stunning centre of St. Mark’s Square to capture that perfect holiday photo with the stunning basilica.
Tuscany is known for its landscapes, notable contributions to the birth of renaissance artwork, and being home to Leonardo da Vinci and many other influential artists. When cruising, there are two cities that you are likely to visit, Florence and Pisa. Florence is the most important city in Tuscany, with masterpieces including Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral), the Duomo, Michelangelo’s ‘David’ sculpture and the Uffizi Gallery. Plus, get an amazing view of the cityscape as you climb the 463 steps to the top of Florence’s Cathedral and the iconic Brunelleschi’s Dome to get a better look at Vasari's fresco (the artwork on the interior of the dome).
Pisa, on the other hand, offers a different experience. With the main attractions being the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, a lot of travellers might miss the other sights that the city has to offer, such as the botanical gardens and jaw-dropping riverside settings. Finally, make sure to get your hands on some of the world’s best gelato at Gelateria De Coltelli.
Naples is perfect for getting a true feeling of Italy and, even though Rome and Florence are more visually stunning, you are likely to find more tourist-based attractions in those areas. But what the city lacks in beautiful sights, it more than makes up for in authentic Italian wonders like the nearby ancient ruins of Pompeii that famously collapsed after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Pompeii is not the only city which was effected on that day, with nearby Herculaneum also being turned to rubble.
Apart from the ruins, the main attraction for the city of Naples has to be pizza. As the birthplace of this international masterpiece, Naples is the best place in the world to try the astonishing taste of Italy’s most famous dish. Each pizza has to meet specific standards of Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, making sure the centre of the dough is stretched no more than 0.4 centimetres and that pizza makers are only using specific tomatoes and certified mozzarella.
Italy has gained a reputation for offering multi-centre holidays, with the warm temperatures of the Mediterranean in the south combining with the chilling breeze of the Dolomites in the north. Amongst the southern regions, there is an abundance of coastlines that guests plan to visit every year, but amongst these, there is one stand-out region that takes the centre stage.
The Amalfi Coast has charmed cruisers for generations thanks to its rugged cliff tops and azure waters. Holiday-seekers come here every year to experience the best of Italy’s natural wonders.