Perhaps you’ve travelled to Italy before, or you’ve been meaning to go for years. Either way, there are so many places to visit, each with their own unique attractions. You could visit Italy on any number of occasions, and still not see all it has to offer.
So whether you’re hoping to come across ancient ruins, imposing mountains, beautiful cities, or unmissable artwork, there’s something for everyone in Italy. We could easily list hundreds of great Italian travel destinations, but have limited ourselves to just five, to help you get started on your travel plans!
We couldn’t really have a list of places to visit in Italy, and not include Rome – there’s nowhere else quite like it in the world. It’s a strange mix of historical ruin and modern metropolis, but the two halves fit seamlessly together.
Perhaps the most famous destination in Rome is the Colosseum , which is the largest amphitheatre ever built, completed in 80 AD. Used for public spectacles, such as gladiatorial contests and reenactments of famous battles, the Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. Walking through the Colosseum is like walking back in time – it’s easy to envision the likes of Nero and Julius Caesar taking those same steps.
A lot of people who have visited Italy will cite Florence as their favourite destination. It’s not a huge, sprawling city, so it can be walked in a day or two, and it’s considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance. This means that in Florence, you’ll find heaps of stunning architecture, as well as breathtaking art. Some of the finest museums in the world are in Florence too, such as the Galleria dell’ Accademia and the Uffizi.
The most iconic building in Florence, though, is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore , also referred to as the Duomo. This is a vast, Gothic structure, built at the end of the 13th century, though it would be a further two centuries until the cathedral was deemed complete.
Like Rome, there is something incomparable about Venice, though its unique features are not always described in the best light! Venice has been referred to as a smelly, sinking city that occasionally floods. And to some extent this is true, but Venice remains one of the most sought after destinations on the planet for a reason. Because while Venice may be slowly sinking, there is just something magical about the city.
Venice is full of life, as well as colour, and is simply a wonderfully fun place to visit. Highlights include the Basilica di San Marco, which has architecture dating back 800 years, as well as 8,500 square metres of mosaics.
Another popular destination is the Palazzo Ducale, which features staircases lined with 24-carat gold, as well as famous artworks like Tiepolo’s Venice Receiving Gifts of the Sea from Neptune, and Veronese’s Juno Bestowing Her Gifts on Venice. You can also visit the Piombi prison upstairs, where Casanova was confined until his escape in 1756.
4. Val d’Orcia
Anyone that has visited Tuscany will encourage you to follow in their footsteps, but Tuscany encompasses a large part of central Italy. So where should you start? We’d recommend the gorgeous rolling hills and medieval hilltop towns of Val d’Orcia . If you’re looking to see more than just a single city on your trip to Italy, this part of the country is a great place to travel.
The Val d’Orcia region stretches between the provinces of Siena in the north, and Grosseto in the south. A few places you must see include the walled medieval city of Montalcino, the Abbey of Sant’ Antimo, and the ancient village of Monticchiello.
5. Reggio Calabria
We may be a little biased, as all the food and wine we sell here at Winederful comes from the Calabrian region of Southern Italy, but it’s nonetheless a wonderful place to visit. Reggio Calabria overlooks the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, and is just two miles from the Strait of Messina, which separates Calabria from Sicily.
The province is most famous for the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, which boasts the Bronzi di Riace. These are two majestic Greek bronze warriors, dating from around the 5th century BCE. Each stands approximately 6.6ft tall, and are in amazing condition.
Other places to visit include the Basilica of San Giovanni Teresi in Bivongi, as well as the Gerace Cathedral, the largest church in Calabria. This church was built at the turn of the Byzantine period, entering into the Norman period.