Located in Southern Europe, this boot-shaped country is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations for a number of reasons that include art treasures, trendy fashion, stunning landscapes, passionate people and top-class cuisine. Italy offers so much to see and do that it would take a lifetime to explore. An overview of the best places to visit in Italy:
One of the busiest metropolitan cities in the country, Naples is the capital of the Campania region in Southern Italy. The city of Naples offers a treasure trove of art works and historic sites as well as a vibrant atmosphere of shops, restaurants and nightlife venues. Many favorite Italian foods originated from here such as pizza, spaghetti and parmigiana. These dishes are taken seriously in Naples and usually feature fresh, locally grown ingredients. As it is nearby famous sites like the Bay of Naples and Pompeii, Naples presents an ideal base to stay while exploring the area.
2. Italian Lake District
The Italian Lake District stretches across Northern Italy. The southern ends of most of the lakes are relatively flat but the northern ends are mountainous as the lakes reach deep into the Alps. Popular with tourists for over 100 years, the Italian Lakes combine good weather with attractive scenery. Garda is the largest lake, and offers stunning scenery, especially in its mountainous northern stretches. Como is equally stunning, with forested slopes rising directly from the water’s edge. Further west, Maggiore is less popular yet just as beautiful, with several popular family resorts.
The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is an autonomous region of Italy that also includes several smaller isles. It is separated from the mainland region of Calabria by the 5 km (2 miles) Straits of Messina. Home to every great Mediterranean civilization, Sicily is rich in art and history; from Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples to Palermo’s Baroque churches. The island’s most striking geological feature is Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest active volcano.
4. Cinque Terre
Meaning “Five Lands,” Cinque Terre comprises the five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso and Corniglia. Located in Italy’s northwestern coastal region of Liguria, the villages of Cinque Terre feature some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes that include steep cliff sides and wine terraces dating back to hundreds of years. Among its many gems, Cinque Terre boasts a centuries-old complex of hiking paths that offer some of Italy’s most stunning coastal views. The Blue Trail is a paved trail connecting all five of the villages and is suitable for all ages.
Nearly destroyed from heavy bombing during WWII, Milan has since reconstructed and now shines as one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. Widely regarded as a mega fashion center teeming in designer shops, Milan also attracts many to its surviving world famous treasures like Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper, the La Scala Opera House, the Castello Sforzesco and one of the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. Nonetheless, Milan sometimes appears less Italian compared to the country’s predominantly historic cities and more of a glamorous city with modern architecture.
One of Italy’s most visited tourist destinations, Pompeii is a famous Roman city which was buried under several feet of volcanic ash for nearly 1,700 years after the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Excavation of Pompeii began in 1748, and the site is yet to be totally unearthed. The site is located near the modern city of Naples. A tour of Pompeii offers a fascinating insight into the everyday life of the ancient Roman world. Visitors can walk along the ancient streets to see the remains of bakeries, brothels and baths.