Italy is a beautiful country where each city is different from the next. There is so much to do and see and eat that you can easily feel overwhelmed when trying to plan your trip. Here is 40 ways that you can really experience Italy from my own travels – and be prepared to eat a lot!
1. Gondola ride through Venice
The only way to see the city!
2. Cross the most beautiful bridge in Italy (Florence)
Ponte Vecchio is considered so beautiful, in fact, that it was the only bridge that Hitler did not bomb in WWII
3. Make a wish in the Trevi Fountain (Rome)
Go on, just do it!
4. Eat ridiculous amounts of pizza (Florence)
I love the simplicity of pizza toppings in Italy! They are definitely not like the ‘meatlovers’ ones you get back home.
5. Declare your love at Casa Di Giulietta (Verona)
Juliet’s balcony (from Romeo & Juliet) is a place where you are free to scrawl you and your loved ones names on the walls, or seal it forever in love locks
6. Visit a beautiful Cathedral on top of a volcanic plug (Orvieto)
You may be sick of churches and cathedrals when exploring Europe, but the one in small town Orvieto is one of the most beautiful and detailed cathedrals I have seen!
7. Visit the Pantheon dedicated to Roman Gods (Rome)
Built in 126 AD this building is old, battered, and bruised but thriving with history
8. Eat copious amounts of ice-cream (Rome)
You can find pretty much every flavour imaginable, and there is nothing wrong with eating ice-cream every day to ensure that you try each and every one – when in Rome!
9. See the Pope (Vatican City)
Not always possible, and even if you aren’t religious, it’s still pretty cool to say you’ve seen the Pope!
10. Rub the snout of Porcellino (Florence)
If you rub the snout of the bronze boar Porcellino it is said that you will one day return to Florence – and why wouldn’t you, it is a beautiful city!
11. Check out the beautiful street art (Florence)
All over Italy you will find street artists, and wow are they incredible!
12. Take a typical tourist photo with the Leaning Tower (Pisa)
It has to be done! And is pretty much the only thing to see in the town of Pisa besides the cathedral located next door.
13. Find the Bridge of Sighs (Venice)
It’s name was founded as it was used to carry criminals between the interrogation rooms and prison.
14. Keep an eye out for pickpockets (Rome)
A common occurrence in Italy, and other European countries, keep on your guard and know where your belongings are at all times.
15. See where the world’s greatest love story began (Verona)
Casa Di Giulietta is said to be Juliet’s balcony in Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy… Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?
16. Get fooled by fake art (Florence)
You may think this is the Statue of David, but it is in fact one of five that is exhibited around the city of Florence. There are plenty of copies all around Italy, you will find originals in most of the art exhibitions and museums.
17. Climb to the top of the Spanish steps (Rome)
135 steps used to link the Spanish Embassy and Trinità dei Monti church, this place holds hundreds of years of history.
18. Eat a calzone! (Rome)
Who doesn’t love baked pizza? You can find the best in the world in Rome!
19. Explore one of the 7 new wonders of the world (Rome)
The Colosseum is definitely one to tick off the bucket list and is just as beautiful at night as it is during the day. If you want to go inside I strongly recommend pre-booking tickets or a tour as the lines can be insane.
20. Check out the street performers (Rome)
Everywhere you turn you will see street performers, whether it is shows, impersonating statues, or anything really!
21. Load up on pasta (Venice)
I have never eaten as much pasta as I did in my 10 days in Italy and I have no regrets.
22. Rub Giulietta’s breast for luck in love (Verona)
A tradition when visiting Casa Di Giulietta, rubbing the right breast supposedly gives you strong luck in finding true love.
23. Visit the gothic styled Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence)
Not many cathedrals in Italy are influenced by Gothic architecture so the main cathedral in Florence is definitely a treat to see! You can also go to the top of the bell tower for a beautiful view over the city.
24. Visit the true heart of Venice
The Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) remained the only way to cross the grand canal for hundreds of years, and is the most beautiful bridge in the entire city.
25. Experience the most impressive art you will ever see (Florence)
The Florence Baptistery is awe-inspiring, I have never walked in to a place before and been so mesmerised by art. The entire ceiling is cover in a holy mosaic dating back to the 13th century and I couldn’t stop looking up at it!
26. Find Pinocchio (Florence)
This icon was in fact born in Florence by Carlo Lorenzini and you can find many places dedicated to this wooden boy.
27. See the Swiss Guards (Vatican City)
Surprisingly enough, the Pope is protected by Swiss guards, not Italian, as they have a renowned reputation for discipline and loyalty. Who would have known?
28. Drink the water of the Trevi Fountain (Rome)
Not actually out of the fountain itself, but on the right side you can drink the water and it supposedly means that one day you will return to Rome!
29. Try a different kind of meat (Orvieto)
You can try wild boar, a popular meat in Italy due to their thriving population, and it is delicious!
30. Sing Karaoke in Florence
The Red Garter is a karaoke pub in Florence super popular with tourists and locals, and is a great deal of fun!
31. Visit the Piazza dei Miracoli (Pisa)
It’s cool to see the Leaning Tower, but right next door is one on the most important centres of Medieval Art in Europe. Step inside and marvel at its complexity and beauty!
32. Drink the greatest hot chocolate in all of Europe (Florence)
When I travel in winter I always test out the hot chocolates, and Caffe Rivoire is the best in the business.
33. See the ancient Roman ruins (Rome)
Scattered throughout the city you can see the history of what Rome used to be.
34. See the Gates of Paradise (Florence)
Or the fake one out the front of the Florence Baptistery. Either one they are both stunning pieces of detailed art which even impressed Michelangelo himself!
35. Go to a Toga party (Rome)
A definite way to experience Italy, Italians know how to throw an awesome party!
36. See the changing of the guard (Rome)
The Altare della Patria holds the tomb of the unknown soldier where you can witness the changing of the guard. You can also go inside the building for panoramic views of Rome.
37. Experience a 16th Century art (Venice)
Traditional Bobbin Italian Lace is a dying trade in Venice. The craftsmanship is incredible and you can find some beautiful souvenirs.
38. Explore Piazza San Marco (Venice)
The famous icon of Venice, besides the canals, ‘St Mark’s Square’ is a beautiful place to wander through. Just make sure you don’t feed the pigeons or you could cop a whopping €500 fine as they feed their pigeons contraception in an attempt to decrease their numbers!
39. Eat all the sweets (Verona)
Italians love to indulge and experience food, so what better excuse to eat your way through all their delectable treats!
40. Just get lost! (Orvieto)
The best way to experience any country is to wander the streets and, literally, get lost! You will be surprised what you might come across or the people that you might meet. Have fun with it! Getting lost is never a bad thing.
What do you love about Italy?