Italy is one of those quintessentially European vacation destinations. But it’s also an incredibly diverse country.
Don’t try and ‘do’ all of Italy in one trip, choose a region and really immerse yourself in that.
Here’s a few suggested starting points to help shape up your itinerary.
Italy’s capital is the obvious starting point. A vibrant bustling city, what I love about Rome is that modern life happens in and around the monuments and history that have defined civilisation as we know it. From the Colosseum, to the Forum, to the Pantheon – they’re not tucked away and protected by security glass, they continue to be part of the living, breathing life of Rome.
Bologna is the lively, historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, in northern Italy. Its Piazza Maggiore is a sprawling plaza lined with arched colonnades, cafes and medieval and Renaissance structures such as City Hall, the Fountain of Neptune and the Basilica di San Petronio. Among the city’s many medieval towers are the Two Towers, leaning Asinelli and Garisenda.
Cagliari is the capital city of the Italian island of Sardinia. It’s known for the hilltop Castello, a medieval walled quarter situated high over the rest of the town. Architectural highlights include the 13th-century Cagliari Cathedral. Housed in a former arsenal, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Cagliari displays bronze objects, Roman ceramics and artefacts from the Nuragic age to the Byzantine era.
Turin is the capital city of Piedmont in northern Italy, known for its refined architecture and cuisine. The Alps rise to the northwest of the city. Stately baroque buildings and old cafes line Turin’s boulevards and grand squares such as Piazza Castello and Piazza San Carlo. Nearby is the soaring spire of the Mole Antonelliana, a 19th-century tower housing the interactive National Cinema Museum.
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. The Galleria dell’Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”
Pisa is a city in Italy’s Tuscany region, it’s best-known for its iconic Leaning Tower. Already tilting when it was completed in 1372, the 56m white-marble cylinder is the bell tower of the Romanesque, striped-marble cathedral that rises next to it in the Piazza dei Miracoli. Also in the piazza is the Baptistry, whose renowned acoustics are demonstrated by amateur singers daily, and the Caposanto Monumentale cemetery.