Things to do in Italy travel guide by bookonboard

Top 10 Things to do in Italy – Best time to visit Italy Guide

Needing no introduction, Italy is a spectacular country. There are lots of things to do in Italy for any sort of tourist. It’s full of historic cities with jaw-dropping architecture. The museums are packed to bursting with beautiful art and sculpture. Its valleys, mountains, and seas are among the most famous in Europe. All in all, you will need several lifetimes to cover all the things to do in Italy.

The capital of Italy itself is a grand attraction that you can’t finish in one life. Rome (and Vatican City) is overflowing with magnificent architecture, history, and art. For this reason, we are not including Rome in our things to do in Italy list – it requires an article of its own. Indeed we did cover Rome previously. Today, we will talk of other places in Italy.

Now, the thing is, the Italian cities and even little towns are full of tourist attractions. It’s very hard to pick one out of one place. Take Venice or Florence for example – you have nearly as much to do as in Rome. However, we did dig up a few of the best experiences in Italy. Let’s go cover them here today.

Photo by Pedro Szekely from Flickr

Top 10 things to do in Italy

  • Admiring the great Cathedral of Milan
  • Leaning onto the Leaning Tower in Pisa
  • Paddling into the Blue Grotto
  • Wandering through the haunting alleys of Pompeii
  • Reliving the scenes from Romeo & Juliet in Verona
  • Roaming through the Valley of Temples in Sicily
  • Trekking up the Mount Vesuvius
  • Admiring the masters’ arts in Uffizi Gallery in Florence
  • Having a picture postcard view in Lake Como
  • Enjoying a true Italian holiday at Cinque Terre

1. Admire the great Cathedral of Milan

Italy is full of churches, many of them quite huge. You’d think that the biggest church in Italy would be in Vatican City, Rome, or even in Venice. However, it’s not so. Surprisingly, the biggest cathedral in Italy is in Milan. 

Milan Cathedral Italy bookonboard guide to italy
Photo by Kevin Poh from Flickr

Known more commonly as the Duomo, it took six centuries to build this giant and magnificent architecture. It is dedicated to Saint Mary of the Nativity. Stunning decorations and artwork adorn the interior of the cathedral. A magnificent altar will draw your attention as well.

However, the real breathtaking work is on the roof. You can climb there via a staircase to the top. The roof area is beautifully constructed with painstaking details, which remain stark even after so much time. From the top, you also have an unobstructed panoramic view of Milan.

2. Lean onto the Leaning Tower in Pisa

This beautiful white tower is famous because of an error. Immediately after construction, the tower started to settle on one side and has remained so throughout time. It gave the tower its famous slanted stand. Also, this is the tower on which Galileo performed his famous experiment on gravity.

Leaning Tower of Pisa Italy bookonboard things to do
Photo by Pedro Mora from Pixabay

The tower has been closed and opened many times as engineers assessed and shored up its stability. Nowadays you can safely climb the tower without fear. The viewing platform on top gives an excellent view of Pisa. Also, the guide will tell you many interesting stories about the world-famous landmark in Italy. Climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the top things to do in Italy.

Leaning Tower of Pisa Italy 2 bookonboard
Photo by ghakins from Pixabay

3. Paddle into the Blue Grotto

Also known as the Grotta Azzurra, this sea cave is a wonder of nature. The sunlight comes through and on the water, and it creates an unforgettable natural light show on the roof and walls of the cave. The cave is 14 meters high and 60 meters long, making a natural theatre for this show. Also, the sound of the water inside the cave can be eerily mesmerizing.

Blue Grotto Italy Bookonboard guide to italy
Photo by vgm8383 from Flickr

In the deeper end of the cave, the sunlight falls through little cracks on the roof. The shafts hit and illuminate the water as if from below, making a thoroughly alien atmosphere. You can hire a boat to go here. But the best option is to take an inflatable kayak or canoe and paddle quietly and slowly into the cave while being awed by the natural light show.

Blue Grotto Italy bookonboard italy things to do
Photo by Brad Coy from Flickr

4. Wander through the haunting alleys of Pompeii

It was a medium-sized roman city with bustling life, laughter, music, and love. The life of this city was suddenly and abruptly shut down when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The town, right at the volcano’s foot, got buried in hot ash and lava. Countless people died without realizing what’s happening.

Pompeii Italy things to do bookonboard euro trip
Photo by Graham Hobster from Pixabay

Indeed a grave tragedy, however, this means that this little city was frozen in time, under the ash. Now, archeologists have dug out and restored most of the ancient city. It’s an open-air museum now, where you can see exactly how ancient roman life went on. Preserved houses, baths, forums, markets, wells, potteries, sculptures, wall arts, etc. will tell you the story of small-town roman life in quite vivid detail. It’s one of the top tourist attractions in Italy.

Pompeii Italy bookonboard italy guide europe
Photo by Michael Swanson from Pixabay

5. Relive the scenes from Romeo & Juliet in Verona

Arguably the most romantic spots in Italy is where Romeo and Juliet, the characters from Shakespeare’s immortal love story, lived and loved and died. Well, at least they were supposed to, in Verona. Actually, they didn’t exist in reality. However, there is a house in Verona where Juliet was supposed to have lived. You can go and stand on the balcony of this house, which was the setting of the most famous romantic scene ever.

Verona Italy things to do bookonboard guide
Photo by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

In 1905, the city authorities of Verona purchased this house. Now the house is open to public visits, where couples flock every day to declare their undying love. Some performances and shooting also take place which you can catch if you’re lucky. Even if you aren’t going to Verona for a romantic holiday, it’s still a pretty spot to visit in the city. The authentic rustic vibes will surely take you back in time.

Verona Italy bookonboard tour guide
Photo by Elliott Brown from Flickr

6. Roam through the Valley of Temples in Sicily

Sicily is a charming place. It holds many tourist attractions. However, everybody must visit the Valley of Temples here at least once. It is a huge complex of temples and structures that are quite well-preserved way back from the fifth century. The archeological grounds have many structures, mainly Doric temples, quite intact yet.

The Valley of the Temples Italy bookonboard guide
Photo by Enzo Abramo from Pixabay

Located in Agrigento, the temple ground holds a lot of attractions to history and archeology buffs. Writers and artists flock here for inspiration as well. The Valley of Temples is actually on top of a hill. This means that you can also get a beautiful view of the entire Agrigento town below. As you wander the temple complex, you will surely feel the weight of history on your shoulders.

7. Have a trek to Mount Vesuvius

One of the most famous mountains in the world, the Mount Vesuvius area has a lot of hiking and biking trails. It is considered quite safe now, and you can climb the mountain. The views from up here are breathtaking. It’s one of the top nature tourism destinations in Italy. There are also many adventure sports options here.

Mount Vesuvius Trail Italy bookonboard things to do
Photo by Justin Ennis from flickr

When you make the medium-difficulty climb up to the crater, you will be greeted with a strange landscape inside. The crater looks nothing like any place on Earth should be. Instead, it looks more like the surface of the Moon. This is the mouth from where death came out to snuff unsuspecting Pompeii below.

8. Admire the masters’ arts in Uffizi Gallery in Florence

What’s Italy without stunning masterpieces of art? The Palazzo degli Uffizi hosts arguably one of the world’s most famous art galleries. You can see masterworks from many great Italian artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Michaelangelo and many more in this place. It is one of the top things to do in Florence.

While the art gallery inside is the biggest attraction, the palace itself is a piece of art and stunning architecture itself. It is called the prettiest building in Florence, and rightly so, rivaled closely by the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The mighty Arno river flows calmly beside the palace, making it a great location for evening strolls. This beautiful area is featured in many movies.

9. Have a picture postcard view in Lake Como

Do you know where those beautiful pictures of the Italian countryside come from? The Lake Como region. It is home to many celebrities, which will tell you the scenic value of the area without going there. Covered in Alpine forests, the area is dotted with picturesque little towns and isolated quaint villas, coming right out of some romantic or thriller novel.

Lake Como Italy bookonboard things to do in italy
Photo by travelspot by Pixabay

Framed by warm blue mountains, the Lake itself stretches over 146 square kilometers. The beautiful turquoise waters are great for swimming, kayaking, boating, and snorkeling. Walking on the winding roads, you will pass the houses of some of the richest celebrities from around the world, which range from old to ultramodern. 

You can also try some true Italian hospitality, rustic life, great homemade food, and local cultural programs in the villages and small towns around the lake. All of the above makes visiting the Lake Como region one of the must in things to do in Italy.

10. Enjoy a true Italian holiday at Cinque Terre

Literally translating into “Five Lands”, this area is a combination of five villages that sit on the craggy cliffs, overlooking the famous Italian Riviera. Indeed, this is where the word was born. The area is a UNESCO world heritage site, as well as a national park

The five villages that make up the Cinque Terre are Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, and Vernazza. Each colorful village has its own sights and landmarks to see. You can enjoy the charming Italian hospitality in cafes and homestays in any of them.

Cinque Terre Italy bookonboard
Photo by user32212 from Pixabay

Sprawling between La Spezia and Levanto, the Cinque Terre area holds many small roads and trails through olive gardens, wineries, romantic groves, and an unexpected sculpture or column round the bend here and there. Spending a laid-back romantic or family holiday doesn’t get any better than this.

For those who love the water, the clear azure of the Mediterranean has a lot of attraction here. You can swim, dive and snorkel in the safe waters here. Also go for a boat trip or a cruise along the shore, or to one of the islands for very secluded and private camping.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Italy

1. What are some low-cost flights to Italy?

  • London
    • Vueling – from $61
    • EasyJet – from $69
    • Ryanair – from $78
    • British Airways – from $ 80
    • Alitalia – from $90
  • Bangkok
    • Etihad – from $354
    • Emirates – from $361
    • Qatar Airways – from $402
    • Aeroflot – from $425
    • Kuwait Airways – from $431
  • Dubai
    • Pegasus – from $247
    • Turkish – from $349
    • Aeroflot – from $353
    • Kuwait Airways – from $376
    • Ukraine Intl – from $389
  • New York
    • Tap Air – from $328
    • Air Europa – from $405
    • Norwegian – from $1002
    • United – from $1487
    • Alitalia – from $1488
  • Sydney
    • China Southern – from $442
    • Virgin Australia – from $480
    • China Airlines – from $522
    • Qatar Airways – from $750
    • Emirates – from $1001

Please note that the above fares are calculated for one person traveling one-way in the economy class, on the 1st of July. The numbers can go up and down as per market value.

2. Where are the cheapest places to stay in Italy?

Some of the most affordable hotels in Italy are:

  • Camping Camaldoli – from $22
  • Luxury Hotel – from $24
  • Hotel Pyramid – from $25
  • Farm Holiday Terrauzza sul Mare – from $26
  • Casa Esterina – from $27
  • Campus Hotel – from $28
  • B&B Santa Lucia – from $29
  • Naples Experience Backpackers Hostel – $30

The prices indicated here are for two adults staying one night (July 1-2) in a standard room. Prices are subjected to change.

3. Which are the most popular places to eat in Italy?

First of all, try out local food at local restaurants and street food carts. The romantic spill-out cafés in most Italian towns are as charming as delicious in their offerings. Afterward, some of the most well-known upscale dining spots in Italy are:

  • Club Del Doge – Venice
  • Combal.Zero – Rivoli
  • Da Vittorio – Brusaporto
  • Dal Pescatore – Runate
  • Enoteca Pinchiorri – Florence
  • Il Desco – Verona
  • Il Pellicano – Porto Ercole
  • L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele – Naples
  • Locanda dell’Isola Comacina – Lake Como
  • Piazza Duomo – Alba
  • Ratana – Milan

4. What are some Italy holiday packages?

  • Budget tour glimpses of Italy – 7 days
  • Cost saver best of Italy – 8 days
  • Hostel tours Milan to Munich – 8 days
  • Italian escape – 6 days
  • Enchanting Tuscany – 6 days
  • Flavors of Italy – 8 days

5. How should you dress in Italy?

Italy is a generally warm area, so dress light. Comfortable clothes with clean lines should make most of your wardrobe in Italy. Gents should go for button-down simplistic shirts, while ladies may choose capris or so. If you don’t want to stand out as a tourist, research Italian scarves.

If you plan on wandering through local life much, don’t wear flip-flops or similar stuff – Italians don’t like them. Wear traditional footwear, preferring boots or flats over colorful sneaks or kicks. Remember that Italians love to live in the past, and dressing accordingly will make them friendlier. 

Also, if you are visiting a church or other holy place, remember to show respect and dress conservatively. You can wear jeans in a church, but not one of those rock-concert types. Girls should cover as much skin as possible. Even if not on holy ground, shorts or cleavages clash horribly with historic places.

BookOnBoard’s Guide to Italy

True, it’s folly to list out every tourist attraction in one article. However, today we have tried to describe some of the experiences you must have in Italy. Truly, your Italy bucket list cannot be complete without visiting these places.

We have composed much useful information in this article. Such as Best Places to visit in Italy, Cheapest places to stay in Italy, the most popular places to eat in Italy, Fun things to do in Italy, Affordable hotels in Italy, Low-cost flights to Italy, Italy Holiday Packages, etc.

We hope you have enjoyed our guide! We are always looking for the reader’s thoughts and suggestions. Please use the comments form below to tell us what’s in your mind. Till then, ci rivediamo presto!

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