Things to do things to do tours and activities Italy

Things To Do In Italy That Will Enliven Your Spirit

Things To Do In Italy That Will Enliven Your Spirit
Catherine
Catherine
Updated

Check out any map of the world and Italy is sure to get your attention with its distinctive boot-shaped formation. Awash in romantic settings, fine historical treasures, breathtaking architecture, and mouthwatering, world-class cuisine–who wouldn’t fall hopelessly in love with this country that also boasts a lengthy and dramatic Mediterranean coastline? Italy has left an undeniable influence on Western culture so it’s understandable it is one of the most toured countries on the globe. If you can’t resist the urge to explore this European gem’s alluring sparkle then you have to scroll down to see this amazing list of things to do in Italy.

1. Visit the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam ceiling fresco (from USD 65)

The amazing Sistine Chapel holds a bounty of some of the world’s greatest treasures and one of them is Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam ceiling fresco. This tour allows participants the chance of a lifetime to admire this masterpiece and explore many other incredible artworks and the history behind them. Provided with expert audio headsets, this guided tour also leads visitors through such inspiring places as the arresting St. Peter’s Basilica and the vibrant Vatican Museums that boasts a collection of art compiled by popes throughout the centuries.

Faster Than Skip-the-Line: Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica Tour

Number of Reviews 24225

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2. See Campo Santa Maria Formosa, home of Marco Polo and Rialto Bridge (from USD 75)

No holiday in Italy is complete without a stop in seductive Venice. A few must-see venues are the enchanting Rialto Bridge, the exquisite Gothic structures of Campo Santa Maria Formosa, and the dwelling of famed explorer Marco Polo. An ideal Venice adventure, this fabulous tour is a combination of walking and boat excursion. Along the way, you’ll not only experience Venice’s top tourist highlights but also uncover the charm of the city’s beguiling backstreets and bewitching canals.

Best of Venice Tour with St Mark’s Basilica and Grand Canal Boat tour

Number of Reviews 3282

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3. Be awed by the magnificent Colosseum (from USD 49)

One of Rome’s most captivating structures, every visitor to the Emerald City must see the Colosseum. A true ancient Roman jewel, the Colosseum is on grand display for participants of this tour. A cut above as far as exemplary excursions go, this tour offers a professional guide who tells fantastic tales of the structure’s history. Guests also learn about the brave gladiators and all-powerful emperors who decided whether the combatants lived or died. As a bonus, this tour also takes you through the ruins of the Roman Forum.

Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour

Rating 5/5

Number of Reviews 12937

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4. Take a scenic coach tour to Tirano at the foothills of the Swiss Alps (from USD 150)

Climb aboard the landmark Bernina Express - Switzerland’s iconic red-hued mountain train - and relish a ride like no other through the most eye-popping railway routes on the globe. Your destination is the wonderful foothills of the marvelous Swiss Alps. This scenic coach tour from Milan to Tirano will take your breath away. It is sure to be a memorable adventure filled with dramatic views like gorgeous snow-capped mountains and shimmering glacial lakes that comprise the Bernina Pass. Passengers also visit the posh resort town of St Moritz and are allowed to disembark and explore this upscale vacation area.

Swiss Alps Bernina Express Rail Tour from Milan

Rating 4.5/5

Number of Reviews 1337

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5. Savor a hearty lunch with wine at an organic wine estate in Chianti (from USD 103)

A superb visit to Italy means sampling the world-class wines available. So instead of simply dining at a restaurant why not create an unforgettable event by taking a tour of the famous Tuscany region and relishing a tasty lunch paired with a choice of organic vino made from one of the region’s first-class vineyards. Departing from Florence, this day-long sightseeing tour includes exploration of Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, and the Chianti Hills where guests can enjoy a scrumptious feast and divine wine tasting.

Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour

Rating 5/5

Number of Reviews 6966

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6. Experience a gondola ride down the stupendous Grand Canal of Venice (from USD 51)

Get an intimate view of Venice by embarking on a walking tour throughout the city that also includes a gondola ride down the beautiful Grand Canal. While on this tour, participants will have the chance to view not only Venice’s established landmarks like the beautiful Teatro la Fenice opera house and Rialto Bridge but also discover places only locals know about that will add an extra layer of excitement to this dazzling floating city. Near the completion of the tour, slip into a classic gondola for a ride down the Grand Canal: an ideal end to a perfect tour.

Venice Walking Tour and Gondola Ride

Rating 4/5

Number of Reviews 2840

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7. Explore the illustrious Vatican City (from USD 130)

If you’ve always wanted to get the inside scoop on Vatican City and explore all the beauty it has to offer then this extraordinary tour is just the ticket. Showcasing the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, this Vatican City tour allows participants to skip long lines and hits all the tourist hot spots: the lovely Vatican Museums, the glorious Sistine Chapel, and the incomparable St. Peter’s Basilica. Also, this professional tour includes a trek to the wonderful Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. Memories of this tour will forever be etched in your mind.

Vatican and Colosseum Combo Tour: Don’t Wait in Line to See the Best of Rome

Number of Reviews 676

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8. Browse for lace in Burano and admire the colorful painted houses (from USD 23)

Explore Italy’s finer things with this tour that allows guests to explore Torcello, Murano, and Burano: three delightful islands in the pretty Venetian Lagoon. Each place holds a unique character and participants get the opportunity to experience them all. Foremost is the Burano area where lace lovers can hunt for delicate handcrafted lace as well as drink in the vibrant beauty of the brightly painted fisherman houses in the area. Also sure to excite you is glass blowing in Murano and lavish churches and palaces of Torcello.

Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tour

Rating 3.5/5

Number of Reviews 4672

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9. Drink in dramatic views over the Bay of Naples (from USD 126)

Boasting a 9-mile-wide (15 km) gulf situated along the brilliant south-western coast of Italy, the Bay of Naples is a lovely body of water worth a look. On this day-trip tour from Rome, participants can adore the beauty of the Bay of Naples and so much more. In the summertime, this tour offers a professionally led exploration of nearby Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii. In winter there’s the option to investigate the City of Naples and its fine architecture. No matter what time of year you go, you must do yourself a favor and sample the area’s delicious, world-classic Neapolitan pizza.

Ruins of Pompeii & Mt Vesuvius Day Trip from Rome

Rating 5/5

Number of Reviews 3795

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10. Travel to Capri by boat and then visit the splendid Blue Grotto (from USD 174)

Take a thrilling excursion on board a boat bound for the beautiful island of Capri. Participants on this tour will visit Blue Grotto, an inspiring sea cave where sunlight passes through an underwater cavity and as a result creates a dreamlike blue reflection that brilliantly brightens the cavern. Then enjoy a delectable lunch at a charming trattoria located in Anacapri, a picturesque hilltop village where you can drink in amazing views. Guests of this tour are also welcome to walk Capri’s main town section and discover its enduring charm.

Capri Day Trip from Rome

Number of Reviews 1150

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11. Wander the quaint hilltop village of San Gimignano (from USD 72)

Perched atop a hill and encompassed by 13th-century walls, the UNESCO World Heritage Site San Gimignano is a genuine treasure on the Tuscan landscape. A town replete with medieval abodes and churches boasting fabulous frescoes, San Gimignano will certainly charm you. A wonderful day trip from Florence with an enviable three-course savory lunch and first-rate wine-sampling included, this tour is a real treat for those looking for a bit of a Tuscan experience. This guided tour also visits the nice cities of Pisa and Siena.

Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano Day Trip from Florence Including Lunch

Number of Reviews 755

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12. Snap Instagram-worthy shots with the Leaning Tower of Pisa (from USD 86)

A must-see when in Italy is, of course, the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you take this day-long excursion you’re guaranteed snapshots you will want to proudly and eagerly post to your Instagram account. This elaborately constructed 14th-century tower - with its signature lean as a result of an unstable foundation - showcases this delightful tour but it’s not the only tourist site on the agenda. Participants also explore the nicely preserved medieval town of San Gimignano and the lovely town of Siena where the famous Palio di Siena horse race is run twice a year.

Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano with Lunch and Wine in Chianti

Number of Reviews 1053

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13. Be swept up by the grandeur of St. Peter's Basilica (from USD 66)

Your jaw will drop when you see the dazzling St. Peter’s Basilica. An exquisite Italian Renaissance church in the heart of Vatican City, this place of worship is nothing short of mesmerizing. Holding up to 60,000 churchgoers, St. Peter’s Basilica is, to say the least, huge and is recognized as one of the largest churches in the world. This tour gives you a personal glimpse at this late-Renaissance church that was designed by such luminaries as Michelangelo, Donato Bramante, and others.

Skip the Line Vatican Tour: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter Basilica

Number of Reviews 542

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14. Admire the renowned artwork at Borghese Gallery in Rome (from USD 42)

One of Rome’s most in-demand tourist attractions for art lovers is Borghese Gallery. Home to 15th- to 18th-century artworks, visitors admire stunning paintings by masters like Caravaggio and Raphael. Study the immense beauty of Bernini’s sculptures and so much more. Do yourself a favor and take the time during your visit to stroll the well-manicured and peaceful Villa Borghese gardens that also afford great views of Piazza del Popolo, an expansive urban square.

Skip the Line: Borghese Gallery Tickets

Number of Reviews 824

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15. Check out Hall of the Great Council at Doge's Palace (from USD 77)

Get a close-up view of Venice’s lavish apartments and the Hall of the Great Council at Doge’s Palace when you partake in this professionally guided tour. Learn about Venice’s history when you explore Doge’s Palace: a Venetian Gothic-style structure that was the political heart of the country for hundreds of years. A highlight of this tour is access to the first floor of St. Mark’s Basilica terrace where participants can drink in panoramic views of Venice that will make you unexpectedly sigh with satisfaction.

Legendary Venice St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace

Number of Reviews 945

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16. Step back in time on a guided tour of Pompeii (from USD 97)

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy is the compelling archaeological site of ancient Pompeii. It will make for an intriguing experience to investigate the city of Pompeii that was left in volcanic ash and pumice after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Pompeii is an incredible open-air museum showcasing a city that existed over 2,000 years ago and was buried in ashes until 1748! Uncover the incredible history of this place of wonder and ruins on this fascinating full-day tour.

Full-day Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, and Pompeii Shore Excursion from Naples

Number of Reviews 137

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17. Explore the enchanting ruins of the Roman Forum (from USD 39)

Many interesting remnants of the Roman Empire can be found throughout the city of Rome and one of the most astounding is the Roman Forum. A series of historic government buildings at the center of Rome’s ancient Roman Republic, this amazing structure is on full display with this appealing two-and-a-half-hour tour. This open-air site was the locale of various important political, religious, and social activities of Rome’s past and this tour affords visitors a complete history of Rome’s bygone era that also includes stops at the Colosseum and Palatine Hill.

Colosseum and Palatine Hill Skip-the-Line Tour

Number of Reviews 719

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18. Spend some leisure time at Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort (from USD 178)

If you want to escape the bustle of the city then enjoy a wonderful day-long excursion at a nifty ski resort offering breathtaking scenic views. This small-group tour from Venice features a trip to the majestic UNESCO-listed Dolomite Mountains. Participants can also marvel at the sights of one of two shimmering lakes depending on what time of season you go. Shopaholics will love the opportunity to browse or purchase merchandise at the stylish and trendy boutiques as well as grab a hot coffee and a sweet treat from a quaint bistro at Cortina d’Ampezzo resort.

Dolomite Mountains and Cortina Small-Group Day Trip from Venice

Rating 5/5

Number of Reviews 823

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19. Discover the UNESCO-listed Cinque Terre (from USD 62)

Enjoy the absolute tranquility of the Italian Riviera coastline when you embark on a day-long adventure to Cinque Terre. An outstanding collection of centuries-old seaside villages, Cinque Terre offers a classic Italian dreamlike setting. This tour is the perfect way to explore this UNESCO-listed attraction. This guided tour from Florence provides every form of travel to reach each destination: coach, train, and boat. Even on the agenda is a refreshing dip in the deep blue waters at one of the region’s finest beaches!

Cinque Terre Day Trip with Transport from Florence

Number of Reviews 991

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20. Learn to make cheesy pizza and yummy gelato (from USD 78)

Learn to make classic Italian fare with this fun-filled escapade that teaches participants how to create the gooiest pizza and most tantalizing gelato. Expect to be whisked away to a beautiful Tuscan estate near Florence where an expert Italian chef offers a joyous first-hand cooking lesson of two of Italy’s mainstay foods. The results are a delicious three-course banquet comprised of appealing appetizers, scrumptious pizza, and cool gelato. Added to the meal is a choice of robust wine or frothy beer.

Pizza and Gelato Cooking Class in Tuscan Farmhouse from Florence

Number of Reviews 1505

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21. Marvel at the Pantheon, a former Roman Temple (from USD 6)

The best-preserved ancient Roman building in Rome, the Pantheon is definitely a go-to tourist attraction. A domed structure with a large impressive rectangular facade comprised of 16 sturdy granite columns, this site is an architectural delight. The renowned Renaissance painter Raphael is buried inside as well as many Italian kings and there are numerous displays of beautiful artwork. For a nice surprise, see the Pantheon on a rainy day so you can watch raindrops fall from the oculus - which is the opening of the dome and the primary source of natural light for the structure.

35-Minute Rome Pantheon Audio Guide Tour

Duration Wheelchair accessible

Number of Reviews 821

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22. Walk around lustrous Piazza Navona in Rome


Whether it’s rainy or sunny, strolling Piazza Navona in Rome is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. One of the biggest and most handsome piazza squares in this city, Piazza Navona displays three notable fountains including the prominent Fiumi Fountain which boasts a large obelisk at its center. This square is packed with charming outdoor cafes where you can sip a cappuccino and people-watch or admire the numerous street artists, painters, and musicians that add a nice energetic vibe to the area.

Piazza Navona

Address: Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Website: Piazza Navona

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

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23. Ride the fabulous funicular from La Piazzetta to Marina Grande (from USD 167)

If you want to enjoy a unique mode of transportation, take a pleasant ride aboard the funicular from La Piazzetta to Marina Grande on the island of Capri. Constructed in 1907, the funicular is an aerial tramway connecting the port of Marina Grande to the Piazzetta. The ride may last only a few moments but passengers are treated to heart-stopping views of gorgeous Capri. If you take this small-group tour you can also experience the striking Faraglioni rock formations, the adorable shops of Anacapri, the pleasant Augustus Gardens, and more.

Capri and Blue Grotto Day Tour from Naples or Sorrento

Number of Reviews 381

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24. Be enthralled by the paintings at Uffizi Gallery (from USD 49)

For diehard art fans, a trip to Uffizi Gallery in Florence is a slice of nirvana. A monumental art museum on Florence’s cultural scene, every masterpiece of classic art imaginable is more than likely housed in this lovely 16th-century building: Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Caravaggio’s Medusa, and Titian’s Venus. The collection of Primitive and Renaissance paintings is expansive. Visitors can admire works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli, just to name a few. This informative tour is led by a knowledgeable guide and the group is kept to a maximum of 14 persons.

Semi Private Uffizi Gallery Guided Tour with Skip-the-Line

Number of Reviews 522

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25. Visit Domitilla Catacombs underneath Appian Way (from USD 81)

Domitilla Catacombs is one of the most enthralling attractions in Rome. Situated below Appian Way, a significant roadway of the ancient Roman Republic, Domitilla Catacombs showcase the city’s fascinating ancient catacombs and solemn crypts. This tour is truly unique offering participants glimpses of age-old burial customs and covert Christian worship sites. A guide will tell you about Capuchin monks who used human bones to erect and adorn their crypt. There’s even a chapel made completely of human bones!

Skip the Line: Crypts and Roman Catacombs Small-Group Walking Tour

Duration 3 hours 30 minutes

Rating 5/5

Number of Reviews 2215

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26. Learn ace gladiator-fighting moves at Roman Gladiator School (from USD 64)

Experience the thrill of a lifetime by enrolling at Roman Gladiator School. A tour like no other, a participant receives a hands-on lesson in fierce Roman gladiator training from a top-notch member of the Historic Group of Rome who specializes in recreations of ancient Roman gladiator battles. Participants are equipped with genuine weapons of the era and are also given traditional gladiator gear: a tunic and belt to help you get into a full gladiator frame of mind. Members of this tour also have complimentary access to the very interesting Gladiator School of Rome Museum.

Roman Gladiator School: Learn How to Become a Gladiator

Duration 2 hours

Rating 5/5

Number of Reviews 771

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27. Set out along hillside roads through Tuscany (from USD 92)

Enjoy a small-group tour that takes you through bountiful vineyards, picturesque olive groves, and towering cypress trees of the Tuscan countryside. On this snazzy tour of the Chianti region, you get the opportunity to delve into fun wine-tasting activities at two distinct Chianti wineries where delicious fine wine and even olive oil are available for sampling. A guide takes participants into dark cellars where you’ll learn the ins-and-outs of how wine is produced using time-worn Italian methods.

Small-Group Wine Tasting Experience in the Tuscan Countryside

Rating 5/5

Number of Reviews 226

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28. Delight in the Italo-Byzantine architecture of Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice (from USD 77)

Dig into Venice’s amazing past in the best way by exploring the awesome beauty of the Italo-Byzantine architecture of Saint Mark’s Basilica. An archetypal structure on Venice’s landscape, Saint Mark’s Basilica is astonishing inside and outside. Once you’ve reveled in the greatness of the exterior, this tour takes you through the basilica’s cavernous and ornate interior replete with numerous colorful mosaics and many beautiful Byzantine prized possessions. There’s even an inviting on-site museum you can browse.

Legendary Venice St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace

Number of Reviews 945

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29. Discover Florence in one day (from USD 97)

Any highlight of a holiday in Italy is seeing Michelangelo’s David and the pretty red dome of the Florence Cathedral. This tour features many tourist hot spots. Participants can stroll Florence’s bustling historic center, tour the Uffizi Gallery, relish sights of the Ponte Vecchio bridge, visit the L-shaped square of Piazza Signoria, and more. But the true standouts of this tour is the exploration of the Accademia Gallery where you can drink in views of the famous Michelangelo’s David and appreciate the Gothic-style beauty of the Florence Cathedral adorned with its distinctive red-tiled dome, pretty marble-hued facade, and the grand Giotto tower.

Florence in One Day: Walking Tour with Skip-the-Line to David and Uffizi Gallery

Number of Reviews 1656

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30. Sample local produce at Campo de' Fiori’s market (from USD 88)

A famous open-air market in Rome, the lively Campo de’ Fiori’s market is a must-visit for any foodie. If you take this top-tier culinary walking tour you can taste a lot of Italy’s awesome flavors in one afternoon. Stroll with this small-group tour and you’ll sample everything from fresh local produce at Campo de’ Fiori’s market to lusciously flavorsome gelato in the dynamic Trastevere neighborhood. Your mouth will water just thinking about the array of tasty Italian delights that await you!

Small-Group Rome Food Walking Tour: Trastevere, Campo de' Fiori, Jewish Ghetto

Number of Reviews 621

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Italy's supreme attractions

Pantheon

Wander enticing cobblestone streets in Rome, explore beguiling canals in Venice, view jaw-dropping artwork in Florence, and sample full-bodied wines in the sweeping Tuscan countryside. Italy is a fun-filled playground of sensory pleasures that are difficult to resist–so don’t even try. Whether you pick a few or many items from this list you’re certain to experience an extraordinary adventure in a country that is magical and unforgettable.

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As a child, Catherine's family took a trip to the World's Fair New Orleans and her mom asked what she wanted to see. She exclaimed, "Everything!" She's been working on that endeavor ever since.

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