I love Italy. So much. I've been three times and I can not get enough. I want to go back even more now thanks to Ryan.
As one of the most beautiful and culturally diverse countries in the world, Italy is a go-to destination for travellers across the globe. Thanks to its vast and varied scenery, delicious cuisine and friendly and relaxed atmosphere, more tourists than ever are choosing the country for their next adventure, but what should you do when you arrive? We’ve put together ten of the most popular activities for you to consider when you make your next Italian getaway.
Visit the Colosseum
A visit to Italy is not completed without stopping by the Roman Colosseum. Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum was commissioned in AD 72 by Emperor Vespasian and designed up accommodate over 55,000 spectators. At its inaugural games in AD 80, over 9,000 wild animals were killed for entertainment. Today, the Colosseum is one of Italy’s most famous attractions and runs daily tours for those wanting to step back in time.
Take in the sights of St. Peter's Basilica
In a city filled with churches, none come as highly regarded as St. Peter’s Basilica. Originally built in 320 AD, the structure fell into disrepair but was finally completed in 1626 after 120 years of construction. Featuring some of the country’s most celebrated artworks, the Basilica is one of Italy’s most visited attractions, so expect queues, and note that there is a strict dress code for anybody wanting to step foot in the building. Shorts, mini-skirts and bare shoulders are not permitted.
Enjoy a trip down the Canal Grande
The Canal Grande is one of Venice’s most iconic attractions, with thousands of tourists choosing to take a gondola ride through the City every year. In a large S shape, the canal travels from the Saint Mark Basin to the Santa Lucia rail station and measures 2 miles long. The canal is lined with around 170 buildings in total, which date back to the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries.
Rent a bike in Rome
Sometimes, getting on your bike is one of the very best ways to explore everything an ancient city such as Rome has to offer. Whether you choose to rent from the local store, or you opt for a tandem, biking is one of the easiest ways to get around Rome. Bicycles are, in fact, allowed to enter pedestrian areas and ride through limited traffic areas and allow you to take advantage of the many alternative roads and alleyways which are representative of Rome’s historical atmosphere.
Check out Siena Cathedral
The Opera Duomo Siena is home to some of the most important monuments of the European panorama. Welcoming more than a million visitors every year, the Cathedral is a must-visit, with elements including the Crypt, the Baptistery and the Museo dell'Opera. Perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of the Cathedral is its stunning mosaic floor, which was crafted by forty artists between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Take a trip down the Rhine
The Rhine offers an authentic river cruising experience in Italy. Travelling through six countries and running for over 750 miles, the River Rhine is one of the most important rivers in Europe and allows travellers to see the sights of the very best European landscapes.
By taking part in a Rhine cruising holiday, tourists can explore Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, and the stunning scenery means it delivers breathtaking experiences all year round.
Sample the local cuisine
Far more than just pizza and spaghetti, Italy is home to some of the world’s most delicious cuisine. Whether you are holidaying in Tuscany or you are in the heart of Venice, Italian food can be found on every street corner in top tourist destinations, so sample some authentic antipasti, pasta and fine wine. There’s no better way to round off an evening!
See the Renaissance art at the Uffizi Gallery
Featuring 45 museum halls, the Uffizi Gallery is home to some of the world’s most famous and appreciated works of art. The Birth of Venus by Botticelli and The Annunciation By Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi are just two of the works available to view, with new art displays being regularly added, the latest focusing on clocks at Palazzo Pitti from the 18th to the 20th Century.
Treat yourself to gelato
The Italian word for ice cream is gelato, but there are definitely more differences to the two desserts than just the name. Churned at a lower speed, gelato has less air and uses more milk than cream for a lower-fat alternative. Whether you’re browsing the streets of Florence or you’re looking to cool down in Milan, gelato is a go-to dessert that you need to taste to appreciate.
Drive through Tuscany
Although the winding roads which connect the hilly towns of Tuscany may get busy, the views out of your car window will certainly make up for it. Hire cars are readily available throughout the region, and allow you to jump off of the beaten track and get a real understanding of what life is like in the country. From its beautiful country lanes to its stunning farmhouse architecture, it’s clear why so many locals choose to spend their latter years rearing cattle and sipping wine!
However you choose to spend your holiday in Italy, you’ll be sure to enjoy the authentic culture, stunning scenery and beautiful artistry and architecture that the country has to offer. From pizza to wine, some Italian stereotypes certainly live true, but the country offers much more if you are prepared to explore.
No trip to Italy is complete without a visit to some of its most famous art galleries and tourist attractions, and of course sampling some of its most famous dishes, but the standout highlight is almost certainly exploring Italy’s beautiful landscapes, which can be reached by car or by cruise.
Ryan recently visited Italy and fell for it's history, romance and amazing food. He preaches wherever possible about his love for this ancient empire.