Once we are all free to travel the world again, there will be so many destinations that we not only want to visit, but that need us to visit. One of those countries will definitely be Italy, as it’s been one of the hardest places hit in this pandemic. I highly encourage you to travel to Italy when this is all over. Even if you have been before, it is likely you visited ancient Rome, the stunning canals in Venice, or the museums of Florence.
When will it be possible for anyone to travel to Italy again? We don’t have all the answers now, but in the meantime, consider helping Italian tourism in the future and add these wonderful cities to your bucket list!
Verona is the perfect city for star-crossed lovers. Although most of the visitors come to Verona in search of their Romeo or Juliet, they stay for the history and charm. While planning a trip to Italy in the summer can mean more crowds and high temps, Parma would be a wonderful place to choose if you’re a fan of classical music. Here you can find an extremely well-preserved 1st century amphitheater, home to a summer opera festival. You can also find beautiful churches, bridges, regional wine and food, art and more, in one of northern Italy’s most attractive cities. You can even continue your journey to the stunning shores of nearby Lake Garda for more scenic views!
Tuscany is a place many of us dream of visiting without the plans to actually make it happen. As soon as you can travel again I say buy that plane ticket, and book that Tuscan villa because life is too short and uncertain to put things off! If you’ve ever seen Under The Tuscan Sun, you know a visit to this charming region would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Taste Chianti wine from the region where it is grown, sample just-pressed olive oils, and watch the sunset over rolling hills. Although Florence is the major city in the Tuscany region, I’d recommend getting inspiration from a smaller city – Lucca! It’s idyllic with well-preserved Renaissance walls, and historic center with charming cobbled streets.
Another wonderful city in Tuscany is Pisa! As a tourist making your way through Italy, it’s pretty likely that you are going to want one of those photos where it looks like you are holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa – we all do! But there is so much more to the quaint town of Pisa besides this novelty attraction, and I highly recommend seeing all it has to offer for yourself. Pisa has a fantastic array of beautiful historic buildings, including stunning churches. It also has some world class museums and lovely scenery along the banks of the River Arno. This historical city is worth much more than just a fleeting visit, and serves as a great base for those wishing to explore this region of Tuscany.
#4 Torino (Turin)
Back in the 1800s, Turin was not only the first capital city of Italy, but also home to the royal family. The fascinating culture here is so lovely to experience thanks to their art galleries, opera houses, museums, theaters, opera houses, and more. I particularly love the Renaissance baroque architecture found throughout Turin, along with Rococo and Neo-classical styles. The spot to visit is Mole Antonelliana, which is one of the tallest brick buildings in Europe at 550 feet high. You’ll discover gorgeous panoramic views on their terrace. Their museums are world class, with such a range from classical art to a National Museum of Cinema, as well as a automobile museum. I’d recommend spending at least a couple days in Turin!
Parma is another charming city in northern Italy that is so worth a visit. Like its name, this riverside city is famous for its Parmesan cheese so that’s enough reason to visit for me! Parma also offers impressive historical sites dating back to the Romans in 183 B.C. I’d also recommend strolling around their beautiful botanical gardens, castles, and churches. But above all, Parma is a city known for its gastronomy. Foodies can enjoy world famous ham, cheese, and balsamic vinegar that’s produced in the region, plus so much more.
#6 Sicily – Catania
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and is just off the “toe” of the boot of Italy. This area is so unique because you can find Greek temples, Norman churches and Baroque palazzos. But it also has numerous natural wonders, from the volcanic craters of Mount Etna, to the still undiscovered beaches of the southern coast. If you’re a city girl, like me, you’ll want to head straight to Catania. This ancient port city along the coast offers a beautiful square, whimsical buildings, fabulous seafood and more. Also, with parts of the island on the same latitude as the North African coast, Sicily has a mild climate that makes it an attractive destination year-round. Spring and fall temperatures are perfect, and during high summer the temperatures really rise.
Northern Italy has been most affected by this pandemic and it is often an overlooked part of the country. Perhaps you’ve heard of the majestic Dolomites in the Alps Mountain Range, but did you know they are located in the Northeastern region of Italy? Usually when we hear Alps, we think of Switzerland, but the city of Belluno in Italy is the gateway to these majestic mountains. It is a hidden gem of the country, perched on high bluffs above the Piave River and backed by the snow-capped Dolomites. The historic town of Belluno is the perfect base to explore the surrounding mountains and is an attraction on its own, mixing stunning views with Renaissance-era buildings.
While Milan is the second biggest city in Italy, it’s often overshadowed by Rome or Florence. This is Italy’s fashion and design capital, therefore it has an international cosmopolitan vibe. However, there is also a vibrant food and drink scene, tons of hotels to suit all budgets, and the best shops in the world. Historical buildings sit right next to modern skyscrapers, while many of the city’s spots have amazing interior courtyards that remain largely undiscovered from the public. The biggest draw for visitors is the city’s top-rated shopping – designer stores line the Quadrilatero D’Oro district, while outlets, high street shops and boutiques are found in all corners of the city. When you visit, don’t neglect the cultural attractions – notably the Duomo, the Scala Opera House, and the art galleries, complete with Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous mural of the Last Supper.
#9 Amalfi Coast
If you plan to visit the Amalfi Coast, make sure to visit the historic city of Amalfi first, the coast’s main town, with an ornate 9th century cathedral in its center. Next, be sure to visit the most popular city in the area, Positano, whose beauty speaks for itself. Nestled between Sorrento and Amalfi, this seaside village has colorful houses, stunning blue seas, and intricate tiled roofs. Here you can do as the locals do and peruse the boutiques or lounge on the beach with a glass of rosé. The town’s real magic lies in its surreally steep topography, with thousands of stairs and tiny vertical streets winding tightly through a cluster of homes, and eventually down to the shimmering sea.
If you’re staying in nearby Naples, be sure to take a day trip to the ancient city of Pompeii– just 30 minutes away on the other side of Mount Vesuvius. This settlement was highly advanced, but tragically destroyed at its peak during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Despite the devastation from lava that poured over the city, Pompeii stands today in fantastic condition. This is due to the huge layer of ash that was deposited over the partial ruins which acted as a preserver. Today, you can visit Pompeii and easily spend all day walking through the extensive ruins and exhibitions.