Of all the countries that I have been lucky enough to visit during my time on the road, it is Italy which holds the biggest place in my heart. I have been to this wonderful country on countless occasions, and have toured through almost all 4 corners of this magnificent destination.
For me Italy is a country which has something for everyone, whether you are looking for a romantic break, a family holiday, an adventure vacation, there is something here for everyone. Art and history lovers will enjoy Italy, foodies can indulge themselves here and culture vultures will be swept away by a great many destinations within Italy. Based on the experience that I have traveling throughout Italy, here are my top 5 destinations and why.
Whist it was a tough decision, I think that Tuscany is my favorite location in Italy, and whether you decide to look at villas in Tuscany with a pool and a view, or plan on touring through this region you will have a truly memorable destination. Tuscany has the perfect blend of natural beauty and handmade charm and if you are to go here I would recommend that you travel throughout the region, to capture all of its glory. Here you will find hundreds of miles of rolling green pastures, vineyards and olive groves, all squared off with tidy lines of cypress trees, here is where you will find the rural delight of the region with farmhouse rentals and quaint villages, it is here is where you’ll find the ‘real’ Italy. The cities within Tuscany also offer plenty such as the capital Florence which could easily be described as an open-air museum thanks to the stunning architecture and artwork that fills the streets. Elba and Pisa with its famous leaning tower also make for great places to lay your head, each offering their own take on Italian culture and heritage.
Pompeii was actually the first place that I visited in Italy, and now that I have learned more it is amazing how contrasting this city is in relation to the rest of the country. Of course this city found unwanted fame after it was covered in thick volcanic ash for more than 1500 years following the eruption of Vesuvius, prior to its excavation in the 18th Century. Pompeii is a truly fascinating place to visit, eery at times and mind-boggling at others, it is a great place for you to explore during your vacation. The nearby city of Naples makes for the perfect place to stay, and a good jumping off point to discover the remains of this once-vibrant Roman City.
In the southwest of the country, in the region of Campania, you will find the spectacular Amalfi Coast, a holiday destination which is sure to fit anyone’s travel requirements. Throughout this 30 miles stretch of glistening coastline, nature lovers will adore the rugged cliffs, hidden coves and gardens filled with lemon trees. Those looking for a little more entertainment can find it here in the plush resorts, the stylish nightclubs and the award winning restaurants which line the shore. There really is something here for every type of tourist, romantics can find seclusion, families can find adventure and relaxation, and solo wanderers can also find themselves at home here amongst the pebble beaches, pastel houses and open plazas where there is always something going on.
For a relaxing holiday in one of Italy’s most breathtaking locations I cannot recommend Cinque Terre enough. This is a collection of 5 villages which are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Monterosso, Vernazza and Corniglia. What is most striking when you first arrive in the clifftop location is the colorful houses which sit perched on top of the large rocks that rise from the coastline. The beauty doesn’t stop here however and as you hike around the surrounding area you will find incredible views across the bay and the sea, hidden wine terraces which have been carved into the cliff, vistas of the rolling hills behind the villages and infrastructure such as bridges, pathways and mazy streets which have been there for hundreds of years. This is a great place to enjoy nature and history in one glorious little corner of the world.
It would be remiss of me not to include Rome in a list such as this, tourists have varying opinions on the capital of Italy but for me, it is the perfect place to get acquainted with this amazing country. Let’s start with the iconography of the city that was once the capital of the Roman Empire, here the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain are of course must visit places. Whilst these two landmarks may grab a lot of the headlines, there is much more to Rome when it comes to art and history. Throughout the city you will find numerous Renaissance art installations, not to mention the 30 fine art museums which you can visit throughout the city. The Vatican should certainly be on your list of places to visit, where you will witness the world-famous Sistine Chapel, complete with Michelangelo’s masterpiece ceiling, the map room is also a must0-visit place within the Vatican, charting cartography of Italy from over 2,000 years ago. Beyond the art and the history, Rome is one of the best places to indulge in fine Italian cuisine, after all this city offers the best pizza and ice cream that I have tried anywhere in the country. For me Rome is just a wonderful city to visit, easy to get around, new things around every corner, great food and a city that is very well priced.
Have you traveled to Italy before? Which were your favorite destinations? Let us know all about your trip in the comments section below, we’d love to hear from you.