Top 10 Things to Do in Italy
1. Rome – this will need its own top 10
We could write volumes of stuff about Rome. Others better than me already have. I recommend you buy the latest copy of Rick Steves’ Rome and follow it. You can easily spend a week in the city alone.
2. Trieste – we love this off the beaten path city in the north on the Adriatic Sea
Trieste normally does not find its way on the tourist path, thank God. It is largely unspoiled and retains its own charm and culture. Being on the warm waters of the Adriatic Sea make it ideal for just hanging out.
3. Venice – nothing like it anywhere else in the world
Venice is special. No other city looks and feels like it. Walking through the streets and alleys has a distinct romantic feel about it that is hard to describe.
In the summer it is hot, humid, and packed with tourists (Imagine waiting in line at Disney World in Florida in August, but without the ride.). I highly recommend avoiding it during peak season at all costs. For me, the heat and crowds would ruin the experience. We went in March and felt like we had the city largely to ourselves.
You must ride a gondola. They are not cheap ($80-$120 an hour). However, they complete the whole Venetian experience. Our guide was humorous and informative. It is a truly unique experience worth doing.
4. Florence – climb the dome!
Florence is a wonderful small city with a lot of charm and history. It was the birth place of the Renaissance. It is also the capital of Tuscanny and a favorite tourist destination. The Piazza della Signoria can be a buzz of activity with merchants selling a variety of products. Florence is particularly known for fine leather goods. My wife bought a beautiful hand-crafted wallet there.
The Ponte Vecchio, built in 1345, was Florence’s first bridge across the Arno River and is the only surviving bridge from the city’s medieval days. The bridge is still lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry. From it you can have a great view along the Arno River and beyond.
In the church of Santa Croce you will find tombs of Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini, Ghiberti, and Michelangelo. There’s also an honorary tomb for Dante, although he’s actually buried in Ravenna.
5. The Leaning Tower of Pisa – yes, it is still leaning
My wife got to climb the tower as a child before they stopped allowing it. Now, for safety concerns, no one can ascend the tower.
6. Lake Garda – our next trip to Italy
7. Lake Como – where I want my retirement home (one of them)
This picturesque vacation resort area is a favorite among celebrities like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Woody Allen, Richard Branson, Catherine Zeta Jones, and others.
8. The Vatican – even non-Catholics want to fall to their knees
The Lateran Treaty of 1929 created the independent nation state of Stato della Città del Vaticano. It is the smallest internationally recognized nation in the world by both area and population Inside is home to Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
9. Naples – Mt. Vesuvius
Supposedly this city is the legendary birth place of pizza! You can find pizza in every variety until your heart (or stomach) is content.
10. Isle of Capri – we did not make it, but you should