Holiday Destinations in Italy from European Travel AdviceEuropean Travel Advice presents the best holiday destinations in Italy. From Rome to Milan, find out the most popular tourist sites and places of interest
European Travel Advice, Holiday Destinations in Italy
Italy is the third most visited country in Europe following France and Spain. It has mountainous regions that will satisfy anyone seeking a winter sports holiday, it is rich in culture and of course has the history of the Roman Empire with architecture to match with more Unesco World Heritage sites than any other country.
Italy is also famous for its cuisine with almost every small town or village having its own take on local fayre and simple pasta dishes, not to mention the famous Italian ice cream. Add to that a warm sunny climate in the summer and you can see why Italy closely follows France and Spain as a destination of choice.
The Capital of Italy
The capital of Italy is Rome and it has a population of around 2.8 million inhabitants. The population of Italy in total is around 60 million spread across 20 regions including the 2 large islands of ‘Sardegna’ and ‘Sicilia’ to give them their Italian names. Rome is the most visited destination in Italy and receives an average of 7 to 10 million visitors per year. The location that Rome sits on is believed to have been occupied by humans for at least 14,000 years. So definitely a bit of history to explore particularly when you consider the existence of Ancient Rome, the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire all of which you can read about on Wikipedia if you wish.
Top Ten Destinations in Italy
Rome is top of the list for most people and in particular the Roman Colsosseum which in its heyday could hold around 50 thousand spectators who were entertained by the Roman gladiators doing battle with both one another and the odd lion or two. Other major attractions include the Pantheon church built by Hadrian in the 2nd Century, the Piazza Campdoglio which is the centre of government in Rome and was designed by no other than Michelangelo, the Roman Forum made up of temples, arches and basilicas. For shopping you could try out Trajan’s Market, considered to be the oldest shopping market in existence. There are plenty of other sights to see, but these should get you off to a good start.
The Vatican City
The Vatican, strictly speaking it is located within Rome but is a State in it’s own right and forms a walled enclave within Italy’s capital city. It was actually established as late as 1929 under the ‘Lateran Treaty’ which brought the city into existence and since then the ruling Pope has resided there as the official Bishop of Rome. From a tourism viewpoint there are places to visit within the Vatican the most significant is probably St Peter’s Basilica built in the 4th century and which can accommodate up to 65,000 people. The other sites of note are the Vatican gardens, the Vatican library and the Vatican museums.
Milan Italy, attractions are plentiful in this northern based city in Italy, famous for its fashion and launching place for anyone visiting the Italian Alps for ski holidays. The Golden Quad area is where you will find the streets full of the leading fashion houses and the city centre is where you will find most of the tourist sites. These include the Milan Duomo, the third largest cathedral in the world, the Castello Sforzeco fortress and the world famous Teatro all Scala Opera House for a cultural fix. If you want to see the ‘Last Supper’ painting by Leonardo da Vinci you will find it in the Santa Maria Delle Grazie church. There is much to see in Milan and you will also be able to take in the beauty of Lake Como if you head north to this lovely part of Italy. Plus you will be breaking the trend of heading to Southern Italy as most of Italy’s visitors do.
Venice tourist information is relatively easy to come by for this popular Italian destination so instead of just telling you the places to go here are a few things to do in Venice. First of all you need to get on the water, there are 2 ways of doing this, either in a boat or by Gondola. The Gondola is going to be relatively expensive compared to a standard boat ride, but hey if you think it’s worth it then just do it. Go out to dinner in a real Italian restaurant, the food in Italy is always amazing and has a universal appeal so why not try the real thing and see how good Italian food is in Italy. Now for the must see sights in Venice, the Piazza San Marco, Venice’s main square, Doge’s Palace the former political centre of Venice, St Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge which crosses the Grand Canal and the Galleria del Accademia art museum. One thing you shouldn’t do in Venice however is to feed the pigeons, it’s against the law!
Pompeii the Buried Roman City
Pompeii the Buried Roman City, is located near to Naples and was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in the 1st Century. What remains is a partially buried city with some parts relatively intact so that you can get a feel for what the city was like before the eruption. The best example for that is the Herculaneum Ruins. There are also many museums, churches and some great examples of Italian architecture.
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and has had its historic centre declared as a World Heritage Site by Unesco back in 1982. Like many of Italy’s cities, Florence portrays some of the most amazing architecture you will find anywhere in Europe, good examples are the Santa Maria del Fiore, The Campanille and the Baptistery. The tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Dante can all be found at the Santa Corce Basilica which highlights another aspect for which the city of Florence is renowned, art.
The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast stretches out along the southern edge of the of the Sorrentine Peninsula in Salermo. Amalfi was the trading point for Arabs and Egyptians in the Mediterranean. There are a number of towns and cities along the coastline including of course Amalfi but also Ravello, Furore, Positano and Praiano. Its not too far either from Sorrento and Pompeii or the ISland of Capri. The scenery along this coastline is pretty spectacular it has to be said and the pace of life is typical of the Mediterranean region.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is just north of two other great places to visit in Italy, San Gimignano and Siena, Pisa as I am sure most people will know is famous for its leaning tower. So here are a few Leaning Tower of Pisa facts, the Italian name is ‘Le Torre Pisa, it is the 3rd monument in the Piazza del Duoma, it is considered to be a work of art and was never intended to lean. It was actually supposed to be vertical. There are loads more fun facts about the Leaning Tower of Pisa which you can explore if you wish.
The Italian Lakes
The Italian Lakes are the Italian equivalent to the Lake District in the UK and one of the lakes which was briefly discussed earlier was Lake Como. The other 3 lakes, that form what is considered to be the Italian Lakes, are Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano and Lake Garda.. The lakes are located in the less popular northern region of Italy and lay in the foothills of the Alps against the border to Switzerland. The most beautiful town in Italy is purported to be Bellagio, not really surprising given the promenades planted with Oleanders and Lime Trees and a spectacular mid lake position facing west, just where the sun sets, plus cobbled streets and alleys. So you lovers of the South just think what you are missing out on.
Sicily heralds at least 2 gorgeous locations Syracuse and Agrigento. Syracuse is home to the most important archaeoligical ruins in Sicily and Agrigento is known for its Valley of the Temples and the remains of numerous ancient buildings. You also have the option of exploring the volcanic Mount Etna to walk around the old crater or you could you visit Taormina and go to a concert at the Greek theatre where you can rub shoulders with the rich and famous especially when the Taormina film festival is on.