420 million people visited Italy in 2017, breaking previous tourism records for the country. And although Italy has always been a hot spot for tourists, in recent years, the tourism industry is booming.
If you’re wondering what to do in Italy, there are no shortages of activities. Whether you’re going by yourself, with a partner or your family, you’ll find something amazing to see just around the corner.
In this blog post, we’ll hit on some of the must-see tourist attractions in Italy, as well as discuss some things that are off the beaten path.
Read on for more information.
What to Do in Italy: Visit Rome
When most people think of Italy, they have visions of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Or, perhaps they think of Roman ruins and the pope. Either way, a lot of these images are based in the country’s capital: Rome.
If you visit Italy, no matter where your interests lie, you’ll need to at least take a jaunt to the Eternal City. Taking the Vatican and Colosseum tours are some of the best ways to soak up the history and culture of the ancient city.
You can take self-guided tours, but going with someone who is an expert on the site will make the visit so much more enlightening.
If you do go to Rome, expect two things: to eat a lot and to see a lot of crowds. Rome is the most popular destination in Italy, and the crowds can get pretty brutal toward the summer months. So, if you plan to go to Rome, either get to sites early or go during the offseason.
Scheduling tours can also help mitigate crowds and wait times, as you’ll have an appointed time to get into your chosen attraction.
Cinque Terre looks like a painting come to life, and with good reason. This collection of hillside towns faces the Mediterranean Sea, and the colorful facades do make it look like something you’ve conjured up in a dream.
The villages themselves are known for their fishing industry, so if you decide to go to Cinque Terre, you’ll want to be sure to come with a hefty appetite for seafood.
You’ll also find beautiful beaches lining the coast, so you can work on your tan while you marvel at the beauty of the coastal towns. If you’re an avid hiker, you’ll also find that the hillside villages themselves provide an adequate workout due to their layout.
There’s a reason why so many films and books pay homage to Tuscany: it’s simply gorgeous. Tuscany itself isn’t a city or town, but a region in Italy. It is known for not only its wine but its gorgeous rolling vineyards.
Book yourself in a spa in Tuscany to relax and enjoy the weather and some world-class food and wine. Within Tuscany, itself are several villages and towns, most notably Siena, known as the Medieval capital of Tuscany.
Siena itself has buildings dating back to the 13th century and looks almost unchanged since its medieval past.
Also in Tuscany is Florence, one of the major tourist attractions in Italy. Florence is home to world-famous artwork like the David sculpture by Michaelangelo as well as its spectacular Duomo. If you’re a fan of legendary artwork and gorgeous photos, Florence is a stop you should definitely make.
Pisa is also in Tuscany, and you’ll find the Duomo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa located there as well. For a fee, you can climb up the tower and look out onto all of the city.
Okay, it’s a bit cliche, but if you go to Italy, you can’t pass up Venice. The city itself is unique in that no cars are allowed onto the premises, instead, you have to park it outside and take a water taxi into the city center.
To get around, you’ll either have to navigate the footpaths or take a water taxi. There are also ferries that can take you to the gorgeous islands of Murano and Burano. Both known for their colorful fishermen houses, Murano and Burano also boast a very special craft: glass blowing.
Venice itself is known for a variety of things, from St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) and St. Mark’s Basilica. The city is also well known for its Carnival, which takes place every year in February. Even if you go to Venice when the carnival isn’t on, you’ll still get a taste of some of the culture with gorgeous dresses and outfits lining the windows, as well as masks for sale.
You can also take a ride on one of the world famous gondolas. As is tradition, the gondolier can sing to you and your party as you make your way through the medieval streets of the city.
What to do in Italy depends on what your taste is. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or a packed cultural city break, there is, no doubt, something for everyone.
Italy is also known for its incredible food, so before you pack your bags, make sure you’ve got clothes that can stretch just a little bit to accommodate your expanding stomach!
If you’re still not sure where you’d like to go on vacation this year, check out our travel section for some serious inspiration. If Italy isn’t your thing, we’re sure you’ll find something that definitely is.