There are certain monuments that instantly come to mind when you think of a certain country. For the United States, it’s the Statue of Liberty. For France, it’s the Eiffel Tower. And for Italy, it’s the Colosseum.
That’s why, whenever someone travels to Italy, people will instantly assume you’re going to Rome. After Rome, it’s either Venice or Florence, maybe even Naples.
Rome a center of world history; a city filled with areas and artifacts over 2000 years old. Florence was the birthplace of The Renaissance, and Venice, well, Venice is a city quite unlike any other, with its curving canals and gondolas around every corner.
If you’re only going to be in Italy for a week or so, you should definitely head to those cities. Not just because they’re wonderful and unique, but because there have always been rumors of the sites falling into disarray or being purchased by third party companies.
But, if you’re lucky enough to have a bit more time on your hands in Italy, be sure to check out these cities that aren’t usually at the top of tourist destination lists. You might be surprised that they’re just as unique!
The way to most travelers’ hearts is through their stomachs, and when it comes to Italy, this is one of the world’s most delicious food meccas! But not all Italian food is created equally.
From a mouth watering Florentine steak paired with a fine Chianti wine, to the heavenly bliss that is gelato, Florence offers a wide range of delicious flavors to tempt your taste buds, while providing the ideal base for exploring the greater food bowl that is Tuscany. And if you’re a serious foodie, trust me when I say that you want to spend time in Tuscany!
While Florence is the beating heart of the region, basing yourself here also makes it easy to arrange trips from Florence to Pisa or Florence to Siena to explore the culinary scenes offered by these Tuscan cities.
Hungry? Read on to discover some of the top foods and wines you NEED to try in Florence and greater Tuscany.
We’ve all heard the saying. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But what exactly do the Romans do?
Most people interpret the phrase to mean seeking out the local experience, but our interpretation is that it means not to leave without having experienced the heart and soul of the city. And while a case can be made for ‘living as a local’, if we’re being really honest, there’s no escaping that Rome is a touristy city.
So, in embracing the saying ‘when in Rome’, we have listed some of the biggest attractions in the city; five icons that you can’t return home having missed. These attractions are so central to Rome’s identity that they are often solely attributed as being the beating heart of the city.
We often talk of the most powerful countries in the world in terms of their military, political or economic might, but some countries are powerful due to their influence over our daily lives.
Whether it’s an influence on food, fashion or entertainment, the following countries have a considerable hold on pop culture; they might not influence the world with their tankers or drones, but they do send cultural waves across the globe.
For a city that receives around 10 million tourists annually, you would think that Florence no longer holds any secrets. But this isn’t actually true.
While it’s no doubt difficult for travelers to find hidden gems that are off the main tourist trail, there are a few places and attractions where you can find a bit of respite from the crowds.
Overcrowding of Florence’s main attractions is not something you can avoid these days, especially during peak season (April to October). Tourist numbers at this time of year can easily outnumber the local resident population.
While the key highlights of Florence are not to be missed, you may wish to explore beyond the guidebooks in order to really dive beneath the surface of what this exceptionally beautiful city has to offer.
So, after an obligatory visit to Galleria dell’Accademia to view Michelangelo’s David, and the fine art of the Uffizi, take some time to blaze your own trail by checking out these often overlooked sights, these secrets of Florence.
Few figures from history are as celebrated as Leonardo da Vinci, and with this year marking the 500th anniversary of his death, the world has been looking back at some of his greatest-ever achievements.
It’s hard to think of an individual who has had such a huge impact and influence on the world in so many ways. Hundreds of years on, he continues to be a reference point in popular culture, known for work such as the famous Mona Lisa, and drawings of early examples of flying machines, cars and artillery.
But, while he remains a key historical figure, where are the best places to visit in order to discover more about the man? Here we offer up a few suggestions for you to consider if you want to sample some da Vinci-themed tourism.
It’s safe to say that every visitor to Florence will, at some point, stop by the Duomo. The city’s famous cathedral is one of the most iconic buildings in Italy; a 13th century masterpiece that towers over the city, with a Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.
This vast Gothic cathedral is the centerpiece of the city, and its pink, white and green marble facade has become synonymous with Florence; as the Colosseum is to Rome, the Duomo is deeply symbolic of the city, and a major part of Florence’s identity.
It’s actually the 4th largest cathedral in the world, and but that may not be the only thing you didn’t know. Despite being one of the most visited sites in the country, the Florence Duomo still manages to keep a few secrets.
In fact, you may be surprised by the things you didn’t know!
Sicily is the largest Italian island separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina. The stunning island is completely surrounded by the Ionian, Tyrrhenian, and the Mediterranean Seas.
The South Italian Island is a lively intersection of nature’s bounty, rich culture and traditions, and an interesting past. A trip that contains a lavish stay in the villas in Sicily is nothing less than a dream!
West Sicily is dotted with an assortment of towns and beaches, which will leave you fascinated by the sheer beauty. If you are planning a trip in and around West Sicily, make sure to include the following places on your itinerary.
Italy, for tourists, is really three primary “locations” and much variability within each location.
Northern Italy includes Venice, Lake Garda, and the Dolomite Mountains plus the Italian Alps. Central Italy covers Florence and Rome plus the Apennine Mountains. Southern Italy includes Naples and Sicily.
We are presenting a three-part series on Northern Italy. The first installment is about Venice.
Thinking of a beautiful Mediterranean island for your next holiday? Perhaps one that sits off the toe of Italy? Seductively beautiful and perfectly placed in the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily should be at the top of your list.
Sicily is the largest of the Italian islands, and has long seduced travelers with its natural wonders and cultural treasures. It boasts wonderful weather, and a diverse range of culinary influences. Natural wonders abound here, and the juxtaposition of sea, volcano and mountain scenery makes a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities. The island is full of history, bursting at the seams with ancient artistic and architectural gems. When it comes to ancient Greek architecture, Sicily actually rivals Greece.
There are many incredible reasons to visit Sicily. The following are to name just a few.
So you’ve finally decided to cross Italy off your bucket list, now comes the difficulty of actually deciding what kind of experience you want to have!
When it comes to a country like Italy, it’s important to first resign yourself to the fact you won’t be able to see everything in a single trip. You could easily spend two weeks in just about any Italian city alone.
But if you’re looking to take in the highlights, the following is a perfect 2-week itinerary for experiencing the best of Italy. Included are the “Big 3”, being Rome, Florence, and Venice. These cities cater to just about any type of traveller whether you’re a foodie, architecture/art lover, history fanatic, or are simply searching for a little romance.
So without further ado, enjoy this helpful itinerary and “Fai un buon viaggi”!
After all the wedding stress is over and done with, most couples want some time to relax and celebrate the start of their marriage, hopefully over a romantic honeymoon.
Taking the time for a honeymoon is one of the best ways to let your hair down and spend some much need quality time with your new partner. But before you jet off into the sunset to make unforgettable memories with your soul mate, you have to decide on the best destination.
Perhaps you’ve always known where you want to go on your honeymoon, but if you’re someone who has no idea at all, we’ve chatted to Jessica from JJ’s House, for her picks on romantic honeymoon destinations you’re sure to love, no matter what season or time of year.
These are some of the most beautiful and picturesque places in the world. If you’re already married, why not plan an anniversary trip, or even a second honeymoon!
World famous as the birthplace of the original pizza pie, and known for having the best pizza, pasta, and coffee in Italy, travelers to Naples are often lead by their appetite.
Though unlike the Italian dream destinations of Venice, Florence, and Rome, Naples doesn’t often rank as a tourist favorite. And perhaps it’s because the area doesn’t market itself well, or because there’s a certain gruffness to this urban sprawl.
Many people’s first impressions of Naples is one of grunge and grime, but for travelers willing to look past a rough exterior, the city is an unlikely masterpiece of breathtaking frescoes, strong tradition, and invaluable artistic, cultural and historic heritage. And, sitting within view of the mighty Vesuvius, the seaside offers one hell of a panoramic view.
Discovering Italy is a unique experience, and whether you plan on visiting iconic cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence, or smaller towns by the lakes and the mountains, the list of attractions and things to see is truly endless.
But beyond its most famous sights, Italy is a patchwork of charming small towns. And this is an incredible opportunity to witness a more traditional side to an otherwise modern country, and experience some of its richest culture.
Situated 66km northwest of Vercelli in northern Piedmont, Varallo is a small mountain town set in a wild, remote region known for adventure sports; black skiing, rafting, canyoning, and fishing.
Famous for its pilgrimage site, the Sacro Monte, and the Sesia river which heads spectacularly north to the foot of the Monte Rosa (the second highest mountain in the Alps), there are plenty of incredible opportunities for sightseeing in this charming town on the Italian Alps.
Palermo has a rich history as being the most conquered city in the world; the regional capital of Sicily has seen close to 15 ruling bodies throughout its history, including: Phoenicians, Arabs, Aragons, Romans and Spaniards (just to name a few).
This diverse cultural experience is what draws so many tourists to this part of Sicily year after year. In Old Town alone, you will find hundreds of historical relics, structures and traditions, all part of a cultural diversity that the city retains.
A good example of this is the bustling street markets that first emerged during Arab rule, thousands of years ago. While these street markets are often in the dilapidated and neglected areas of town, there are four that are very important for anyone traveling to Palermo to see in person.
The following are reasons to explore the historic street markets of Palermo. These are Vucciria, Capo, Borgo Vecchio and Ballaro.
A city often overlooked by many tourists heading to Italy, Bologna is somewhat of a hidden gem. It may not have the iconic landmarks we all head to Italy to experience, but it has beautiful canals like Venice, leaning towers similar to Pisa, equally as stunning architecture as Florence, unbelievable food like Naples, and a large masterpiece of a fountain like Rome’s Trevi.
With 2,000 years of history, about the only thing the city doesn’t have is an amphitheatre that rivals the Colosseum. But something which does give it an edge over Rome is a distinct lack of mass tourism.
Bologna is a wonderful city to experience authentic Italy away from all the hype and commotion that often comes with Italy’s major cities. So if you’re looking to experience authentic Italy, here are 5 reasons to make Bologna your next Italian destination.
Why should you always choose a traditional scenario for your vacation? A romantic getaway is a perfect excuse to explore a new corner of the world, though Paris, London and the Maldives have all been done before.
If you’re looking for romance, but want something different this summer, consider these 5 destinations – perhaps an unexpected choice, but we guarantee you’ll cherish the memories for a lifetime.
Getting to see a volcano up close is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Whether they’re dormant or active, standing on the crater fills you with wonder (and sometimes dread) as you gaze into the maw of these colossi.
For the purposes of this article, we’ve chosen five different countries with live volcanoes. Though some of these have more than one volcano currently active, so keep an eye out for that, too.
Flights are one of the most obvious ways to travel throughout Europe, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the most affordable, comfortable, or even the most memorable. In fact, one of the best ways to explore Europe is to drive.
There’s a huge diversity of natural scenery throughout Europe, much of which you miss when you’re flying at 35,000 feet. And with roads which wind directly through some of the world’s most incredible landscapes, if you’re visiting the following European hot spots you should trade in your plane ticket for a set of car keys and drive.
While Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands’ infinity pool is the epitome of some of the most epic infinity pools in the world, can you imagine a pool which overlooks a safari, wildlife or the Swiss Alps?
Here we bring your 5 of the most jaw-dropping, epic infinity pools around the world.
“Stop!” he yelled at me from across the courtyard. “Yes, you!”
“Show me your student card! How did you get in here? The school is closed today. You’re not supposed to be here!”
The ironic thing was he actually looked like Vernon Dursley and was about to have a palpation that I had snuck past the guards.
The many colleges of Oxford University were closed for orientation day, and tourists were being turned away as students passed through the gates. Though I hadn’t traveled from Australia to see my Harry Potter trail go cold, and as an 20 year old employing the idea that if I didn’t look suspicious, they wouldn’t have reason to stop me, I walked myself straight through the gates.
If you’re planning on hitting the slopes this winter, Europe is home to some of the World’s most iconic ski resorts. And while skiing might have originated in Norway and Sweden, it’s the southern ski destinations that have cemented their names as a classic.
“From Ernest Hemingway in the 1920’s and James Bond in the 1980’s to the snowboarders of today, the mighty Alps provide both framework and backdrop for skiing in France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.” You’ll find reliable snow, vast skiing terrains, legendary night life and family friendly facilities. There are Michelin-starred restaurants, five-star hotels and destination spas with ultra-luxury chalets.
Europe has literally hundreds of ski resorts to choose from, though only a couple of classics. Here are our favorite top 10.
There are many, many reasons you should purchase health insurance when traveling abroad, the most obvious being to protect yourself in the case of an emergency, though some countries are beginning to require health coverage as a mandatory condition of entry, meaning travelers no longer have the choice to travel without a plan.
Expat hubs around the world are beginning to require mandatory health insurance before issuing a visa, and more and more countries are deciding to refuse entry without it. Many travelers don’t realize that without the correct insurance, they could be turned away from the destination they are visiting before they make it past airport arrivals.
The following countries are among those jumping on the trend of making health insurance mandatory for those wishing to travel or live overseas.
Move over Rome and Venice, Umbria – the green heart of Italy- is offering tourists an authentic Italian experience without the bustling crowds!
Cascading green hills, speckled meadows and luscious warm sun await you on your Umbria villa holidays, and with a colourful and equally fascinating history and culture, you’ll be left captivated and head over heels in love with this glorious region. The only region in Italy that does not border either coastline or another country, the green heart offers an authentic Italian experience that has not been diluted by globalisation.
For travelers who have visited Italy in the past and already ticked off the more renowned destinations from their bucketlist, you may want to consider visiting the beautiful region of Umbria for your next trip.