Tours & Itineraries History & Culture Architectural Gems Nature & Parks Museums & Galleries eurotrip foodie Italy

Buona Giornata: 30 Things To Make Your Vacation In Italy Unforgettable

Buona Giornata: 30 Things To Make Your Vacation In Italy Unforgettable
Rica
Rica
Published

Italy, surrounded by the Mediterranean, is steeped in rich Western culture. It is one of the top European countries you should visit if you are interested in arts, architecture, history and, of course, gastronomy. Known around the world as the home of pizza and pasta, Italy has an interesting cuisine that most travellers find hard to resist.

Thinking of coming to Italy for a vacation? Here’s a list of the most interesting things you can do, see, and eat while you’re in the country!

1. Da Vinci’s masterpiece in Milan

Source: Pixabay

Depicting an important scene from the Bible’s Gospel of John, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci has been one of the most popular paintings in the world since the 15th century. Come and see this masterpiece in Milan, specifically located at the refectory of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The fresco painting was spared despite the war and the bombings in 1943. Efforts have been made to preserve the painting and, today, it remains a great Catholic symbol and a must-see for pilgrims. A maximum of 25 people can enter the refectory at once to keep the painting within room temperature.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Milan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Milan

2. Brick-oven pizza in Naples

Source: Pixabay

There’s no better way to jumpstart a getaway in Italy than by having a taste of the country’s culinary specialities. If you’re craving some delicious Italian food, make sure to put Naples on the top of your travel itinerary. Known as the “Birthplace of Pizza,” it is where authentic Italian pizza can be found — hot and fresh from the brick oven! Some of the most popular places in Naples serving brick-oven pizza are La Vera Pizza, Da Michele and Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Naples and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Naples

3. Rome’s architectural icons

Source: Pixabay

The Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre ever built, is an architectural gem one shouldn’t miss when visiting Italy. Featuring Ancient Roman architecture, it was constructed from 70 to 80 AD and was used for gladiatorial contests, as well as other public spectacles. Today, it has a partially ruined state, but it is still a worthy sight and an important part of the Roman Empire’s history. Although now unable to host large events, many shows and concerts are held just outside the Colosseum, where it serves as a stunning backdrop.

See our full list of recommended Hotels near Colosseum - Roman Forum and also compare the prices with airbnbs near Colosseum - Roman Forum

4. Chocolate products of Turin

Source: Pixabay

Indulge yourself in Turin’s most popular products: hand-made chocolates! Located in Northern Italy, the city is home to the country’s best chocolatiers, most of which are family-owned businesses that have passed their legacy from generation to generation. A 10-day festival called CioccolaTO (Turin Chocolate Festival) is held in Turin during November every year to celebrate the existence of these awesome Italian-made goodies. If you’re coming to visit during this month, expect eye-catching chocolate displays and a wide variety of chocolate samples! Some of the most popular local chocolate specialties in Turin include Gianduja, Cremino, Nocciolati, Tris di Nocciole and, of course, the ever popular Nutella made by Ferrero.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Turin and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Turin

5. Gondolas in Venice

Source: Pixabay

You know you are in Venice when you see the famous Grand Canal and its gondolas. Soak up the city’s romantic vibe by taking a ride! You may even opt for a gondola serenade tour where either the gondolier or another musician entertains the guests while passing along the canal. Gondolas can usually carry 6 passengers, so if you’re travelling in a small group, you can save some euros by sharing the gondola with other travellers. Other things to note before riding the gondola: there’s a standard fare for all the gondolas and there’s an extra charge if you want a gondola ride during the night.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Grand Canal and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Grand Canal

6. Wines and cheeses of Tuscany

Source: Pixabay

Head over to Tuscany for a classy weekend of wine and cheese tasting! As one of Italy’s major producers of wine, you will learn a lot about the industry by taking a tour to wine estates and cellars. Many of these tours include wine tasting and lessons on how to pair them with other popular products from Tuscany: artisan and organic cheeses! You may also go to a local farm and see how cheeses like fresh ricotta and pecorino are made from scratch. If you wish to bring home a bottle of Tuscan wine, grab the chance and opt for Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tuscany and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tuscany

7. Trani’s fishing villages

Source: Pixabay

Trani is a small yet lovely seashore town nestled along the Adriatic Sea. If you wish to get away from the huge crowds and bustling neighborhoods, a visit here is a must. Travellers visiting Bari are recommended to make time for a short day trip in Trani, where one can enjoy walking along the promenade while watching the boats come and go. The structures in this town are mostly medieval, including the quaint cathedral near the sea. Tip: in case you get hungry after hours of walking and sightseeing, there are plenty of restaurants and bars serving delicious seafood along the promenade!

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Trani and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Trani

8. Street food in Palermo

When visiting Palermo, ditch the fancy restaurants and try the local street food instead. It is a unique gastronomic experience you should not miss because the city is labeled as the Street Food Capital of Europe and the 5th Best City in the World for Street Food! For starters, there is arancina, a deep-fried stuffed rice ball usually filled with meat and cheese. Then, go for cazilli or potato croquettes and panelle or thin chick pea fritters. If you are ready for more unusual fare, try the pani ca’ meusa, more commonly known as the “spleen burger.” It consists of soft bread stuffed with chopped veal spleen and lungs with some sesame.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Palermo and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Palermo

9. Museums of Genoa

Regarded as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, the port city of Genoa has a string of interesting museums attracting thousands of tourists yearly. There’s Palazzo Rosso for instance, a 17th century mansion-turned-museum, which houses art collections and furnishings. Meanwhile, at Palazzo Bianco, you will see exhibitions of 15th century to 18th century pictorial art. For decorative art pieces, go to Palazzo Tursi and marvel at the ancient tapestries and ceramics. Other must-visits are Castello D’ Albertis, Oriental Art Gallery, Maritime Museum, Sant'agostino Museum, San Lorenzo Cathedral Treasure Gallery and Diocesan Art Gallery, among many others.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Genoa and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Genoa

10. The 15-kilometer stretch of beaches in Rimini

Source: Pixabay

Located on Italy’s east coast, the town of Rimini has a 15-kilometer stretch of beaches offering a nice getaway for travellers coming from the big cities. It is an offbeat yet worthy destination, featuring family-friendly resorts with facilities such as beach huts and loungers, as well as areas for recreational sports. After basking on the beach, take the time to see the town’s old yet charming Roman landmarks like the Augustus Arch and Tiberius Bridge. Another must-see is a museum containing exhibits dedicated to the popular Italian director named Federico Fellini.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Rimini and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Rimini

11. Motorcycles and cars in Bologna

Learn about the history of Bologna’s booming car industry by paying a visit to one of the local automotive museums. First off is Ducati Museum, where you will see a collection of motorcycles, which were the first products of the company before it produced high-end cars. Next, there is Lamborghini Museum, a two-storey gallery that opened in 2001. It is attached to the factory and features iconic Lamborghini cars. Last but not the least is Ferrari Museum, the oldest among the three museums. Open since 1990, it contains a remarkable Formula One collection and a technological innovation exhibit, among other things.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Bologna and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Bologna

12. Theatres and cinemas of Modena

Aside from being the hometown of the Italian operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Modena is noted for its theatres and cinemas. Located mostly in the town centre, you can enjoy a ballet show, a drama or an opera in one of the following theatres: Luciano Pavarotti Municipal Theatre, Teatro Storchi, Teatro delle Passioni, and Cinema Teatro Michelangelo. Meanwhile, Modena has a total of 16 cinemas where you can catch the latest releases or attend a special film event.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Modena and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Modena

13. Juliet’s House in Verona

Source: Pixabay

Relive the love story of Romeo and Juliet, the young star-crossed lovers from Shakespeare’s play, when you come to the charming city of Verona. Juliet’s House is known locally as Casa di Giulietta, a Gothic structure featuring the famed balcony where Romeo promised his everlasting love for the young woman. It is a popular destination for lovers and unmarried people alike. There is a belief that touching Juliet’s statue is a sign of good luck for single people in finding the love of their life. Meanwhile, if you leave a love note addressed to your loved one in Juliet’s courtyard, it is said that you two will be together forever!

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Verona and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Verona

14. The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Source: Pixabay

You have probably seen it a lot on photos and postcards, but nothing beats marvelling at the Leaning Tower of Pisa when it is right before your very eyes. This Romanesque bell tower is famous worldwide for its unintended tilt. It was designed by architect Bonanno Pisano and it first opened in 1360. If you wish, you can also go inside the tower and climb up to the top, where amazing views are waiting for you. This activity requires a ticket, which you can either buy online or at the location on the day of your visit.

See our full list of recommended Hotels near Leaning Tower and also compare the prices with airbnbs near Leaning Tower

15. Fashion shops in Pescara

Source: Pixabay

The city of Pescara is where you will find some of the most popular Italian fashion brands. Visit its main shopping district and get ready to shop until you drop! There is Imperial with edgy and stylish clothes for teenagers and United Colors of Benetton with casual clothing for both men and women. Meanwhile, if you forgot to bring a swimsuit for one of your beach trips in Italy, you can easily find one in Calzedonia. Other brands you should not miss are Intimissimi, and Tezenis.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Pescara and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Pescara

16. Classical music events in Vicenza

Vicenza, a city in North Eastern Italy, has been included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1994 because of its remarkable architectural structures. With a variety of music events and theatre performances taking place in stunning locations, it is an ideal place to get a glimpse of the Italians’ love for the performing arts. One of the best places to watch such performances is Teatro Olimpico, an enclosed theatre, which is the oldest of its kind in the world. Here, most performances take place during the city’s Jazz Festival in July and the Classical Theatre cycle in October.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Vicenza and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Vicenza

17. Watersports in Cagliari

Source: Pixabay

Craving an adrenaline rush? Cagliari in Sardinia has its fair share of wonderful beaches where you can try different watersports! Included in the list of the town’s famed destinations for watersport enthusiasts is Poetto Beach, located just a couple of miles away from the city centre. It is eight kilometres long and is dotted with beach clubs and facilities offering activities such as windsurfing and flyboarding. Other options are Chia Beach and Tuerredda Beach. Meanwhile, for those who prefer a relaxed holiday, you can opt for a sailing trip in Cagliari or simply go sunbathing on one of the sandy beaches.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Cagliari and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Cagliari

18. Cafes in Trieste

Source: Pixabay

Any coffee-lover would love Italy in general because of its gorgeous cafes and great-tasting coffee. However, if you would like to indulge a little more and learn about the local coffee culture, you should come to Trieste — Italy’s coffee capital! One of Trieste’s oldest cafes is Caffe San Marco, where many renowned Italian writers like Claudio Magris go to get a dose of caffeine while working on their pieces. Another thing to note: Trieste’s cafes have a very different menu lexicon, so make sure to do some research before going. For example, if you want black coffee, order a “nero.” Meanwhile, if you want your espresso with milk, get a “macchiato.”

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Trieste (province) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Trieste (province)

19. Perugia’s Minimetro

Perugia, a hill town, has its major attractions located at the hilltops. Access to cars are difficult in this area and walking is not suitable unless you are in the city centre and you are extremely fit. In 2008, a local conglomerate opened a convenient transportation option called Minimetro. Today, many travellers can enjoy and explore the town easily aboard the cable-propelled driverless train, which has a maximum capacity of 8,000 passengers per hour.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Perugia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Perugia

20. Cooking classes in Lecce

Source: Pixabay

In the recent years, cooking classes have become an attraction for travellers coming to countries with a rich gastronomic culture, like Italy. Should you be interested to try one during your trip, there are lots of interesting cooking classes you can join in Lecce, a city in Southern Italy. A good example is the Awaiting Table Cookery School, which has been operating for ten years now. There’s also the Lezioni di Cucina Salentina, including a trip to the local market and a sample of the most common local ingredients. Other options are Stile Mediterraneo Cooking Wine and Language School, Il Gusto Del Tacco and Piccola Casa Cooking Class.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Lecce and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Lecce

21. Bicycles in Reggio Emilia

Source: Pixabay

Filled with quaint and quiet streets, Reggio Emilia is an ideal place to go biking. Whether for sightseeing or for everyday use, locals prefer using bikes. It might not be popular to most tourists, but this city has the longest bike trails in Italy and it is something you shouldn’t miss. You don’t even need to be a cycling expert, just soak up the views and enjoy meeting locals sporting their own stylish bikes! Bike rentals are affordable and widely available in Reggio Emilia, but if you are a keen cycling enthusiast and you are staying here for a long time, you might want to consider buying your own.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Reggio nell'Emilia (province) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Reggio nell'Emilia (province)

22. Parma’s dry-cured ham

Source: Pixabay

Another culinary treat awaits travellers in Parma, a city famed for the production of the sweet-tasting Prosciutto. It is an Italian version of dry-cured ham, usually made from a pig’s or a wild boar’s hind leg and thigh. It can be eaten uncooked and is usually served as an antipasto, where it is wrapped around a breadstick or grissini. For lovers of Italian food, you can also put it in your Tuscan pasta sauce and even use it as a topping for pizza!

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Parma and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Parma

23. The Planetarium in Ravenna

Ravenna is commonly regarded as an old town and is an ideal place for those who like to go sightseeing by foot. Some of its gems are unknown to many travellers from foreign countries, including the Planetarium. If you are interested in the study of celestial bodies, you should visit this 56-seater facility covered by a dome of 8 metres (26 feet). Settle down in one of the seats and be amazed as the lights are turned off and an image of the sky is revealed! Other things you will find here are a sundial and a device used to calculate the moment of equinoxes.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ravenna and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ravenna

24. Trekking trails on the Amalfi Coast

Source: Pixabay

Whether you are a hardcore trekker or you simply want to enjoy Italy’s natural beauty, the Path of the Gods located on the Amalfi Coast deserves a spot on your travel itinerary. Running from Positano to Agerola, the trails are easy to follow for most people, but make sure to get a map and wear a comfortable pair of hiking shoes. Catch glimpses of gorges, cliffs, stunning views of the sea, and the hamlets, as well as caves and terraces. Tip: if you wish to see flowers in full bloom, come here during the summer season (June to August). Meanwhile, if you prefer trekking during cooler weather, visit during autumn (September to November).

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Amalfi and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Amalfi

25. Animal skeletons in Ferrara

Brush up your knowledge of the natural sciences when you visit the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale in Ferrara. Founded in 1838, this museum hosts permanent exhibits that include large mineral collections, models about the natural history of man, and fossils of prehistoric organisms. Some of its most noteworthy displays are dinosaur skeletons, particularly those of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Plateosaurus, an Allosaurus, a Dromaeosaurus and a Stegosaurus. Other things in the museum that might fascinate kids and kids at heart are displays of a giant clam, two Japanese spider crabs, and a 12-metre (39-foot) long sperm whale.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Ferrara and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Ferrara

26. Rock formations in Castelsardo

When driving around Castelsardo in Sardinia, you surely won’t miss an elephant-shaped rock formation called Elephant Rock, or Roccia dell'Elefante. More than just a popular photo stop for many tourists, this four-metre-tall (13-foot-tall) landmark has an archaeological importance since it contains two sepulchral structures from the pre-Nuragic period. You can take a peek of what it is like inside, but of the two tombs, only one remains well-preserved. The upper tomb has already been affected by erosion and other natural phenomenon.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Castelsardo and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Castelsardo

27. Outdoor market in Syracuse

Some travellers believe that the best way to be introduced to the local culture is by visiting one of its markets. This could be true in Ortigia, a small island teeming with interesting cultural gems, where you will find an outdoor farmers’ market boasting an assortment of local products. There are rows of fresh produce available for purchase, with vegetables including asparagus and tomatoes and fruits like lemons and grapefruits. Since it is located near a fishing port, the market also has some of the freshest seafood varieties. Other market finds in Ortigia include ricotta cheese, pastries, and pastas. If you don’t have the time to buy the ingredients and cook them by yourself, you can easily find a local restaurant in Ortigia serving delicious Sicilian dishes.

See our full list of recommended Hotels near Ortygia and also compare the prices with airbnbs near Ortygia

28. Blooming flowers in Monza

You can literally “stop and smell the flowers” when you visit the Niso Fumagalli Rose Garden in Monza, located 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) north-northeast of Milan. It is a privately-owned garden, managed by the Associazione Italiana della Rosa, but entrance is free all year round. It is filled with modern and ancient rose varieties as well as shrubs, climbers and pillars. During the blossoming season, when tourists flock to this side of the city, the opening times are also extended to Saturdays and Sundays. For particular schedules, check Associazione Italiana della Rosa’s website.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Monza and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Monza

29. Water parks in Latina

Beat the summer heat by visiting Latina’s family-friendly water parks! Suitable for day trips, these water parks feature facilities such as adult pools, kiddie pools, slides and sunbeds. There is Miami Beach Acquapark Village, for instance, which spans 100 square metres (1,076 square feet) and also offers other recreational activities such as beach volleyball, basketball, table tennis and a trampoline. You may also take advantage of their wide picnic space or opt to dine at one of the restaurants at the covered dining area. Meanwhile, Acquaparco Scivosplash is recommended mostly for children’s enjoyment, as they offer camps for kids. Adults can also relax under the shades of the trees or cabanas.

See our full list of recommended Hotels near Latina and also compare the prices with airbnbs near Latina

30. Vintage cabrio tour in Bergamo

Source: Pixabay

Looking for an alternative way to go sightseeing in Italy? Come to Bergamo and enjoy a drive around the town aboard a vintage convertible! You can visit Maggiore Lake, the longest lake in Italy with gorgeous views of green mountains, and Lake Como, a posh resort area. You may even go further to the wineries and vineyards of Franciacorta, and learn about wine production in the region. Other stops you might want to consider during your vintage cabrio tour are Iseo Lake and Garda Lake, both offering a peaceful getaway.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Bergamo and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Bergamo

Ciao, Italy!

Italians are known for being friendly and welcoming people. Like the country’s beautiful sights, sounds and tastes, this is a quality that makes Italy such an ideal place to visit.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Canal grande 337987 1280
Still Need Travel Insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101

*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.

Rica is a young freelance worker from the Philippines. She writes for a living, but more importantly, she lives to write. Travel is one of her favorite writing topics, alongside love and...Read more

Top 3 activities to book in Italy

Have a question? Ask fellow travellers and travel experts here.
Explore Italy
Good things are meant to be shared!