All roads lead to… well, not just Rome, but to the entire Italy! If you haven’t visited this breathtaking country so far, make sure to put it on the top of your list and do it as soon as possible! Rich historical background, world-famous cuisine, friendly Italians shouting on the streets… Italy is also home to many of the world’s best works of art and architecture, so no matter which part of the country you decide to visit, you will understand why people fall in love with this place! Italy will inspire you and show you how the history successfully collides with the modern, so check out which cities are a must when your travelling to the cradle of European civilization!
We must start with the capital. There are only few cities in the world that can rival with Rome’s both historical and cultural heritage. After 3 milleniums of urban development, Rome has turned into one of the most visited cities in the world where ancient landmarks such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon remind both locals and visitors of the city’s time as the capital of the world. The Eternal City was built on layers, with ivy around ancient columns, ruins adapted to modern structures and cobblestoned streets that date back thousands of year. Rome is a city to be not just seen, but also felt, so make sure to try authentic stuff and to visit the world’s smallest state and the seat of the papacy since the 14th century, Vatican City. When it comes to cuisine, have a bite of the delicious fried artichoke or pizza al taglio, Rome’s favourite street food.
Loomed over the mighty Mount Vesuvius is the home of pizza, Naples. Although we’re stating the obvious, it is a sure thing that 50% of your time should be tasting the original pizzas, while the rest can be spent on sightseeing. However, let’s not just talk pizza. As one of the oldest European cities, Naples has a lot to discover. Start by visiting castles, from Castel Nuovo and its magnificent marble arch and Castel dell’Ovo claimed to have a magical egg in its foundations to the hilltop Castel Sant’Elmo and its famed views over the city. While in Naples, don’t forget to make a one day trip to Pompeii, an ancient Roman city destroyed and buried under volcanic ash and pumice after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Also, we must mention the Museo di Capodimonte, a former royal palace which today is one of the Italy’s largest art galleries with masterpieces of Caravaggio, Raphael, Michelangelo and many more.
Welcome to one of Europe’s most romantic cities! Canals, gondolas, charming bridges, bars and restaurants will win you over in a second. Once the wealthiest trading port in Europe, this city is now full of breathtaking examples of art and architecture. Take a ride in gondola down the Grand Canal and admire the old palaces paved with marble and mosaics. Apart from palaces and worldly-famous Piazza San Marco, the Venetian lifestyle is really unique. From the known-across-the-globe Carnival to the islands of Murano and Burano, which are only a drop in the sea of the city’s 117 islands separated by canals and linked by bridges, Venice is a labyrinth city and don’t think you won’t get lost, everyone does! However, while staying in this fantastic city, you should go on a wine tour like every real Venetian and climb the Campanile, the city’s tallest building, for a spectacular view of Venice.
The first thing that comes to your mind when someone says Pisa is probably the Leaning Tower. However, this spectacular tower located in the Piazza dei Miracoli is not the only thing worth seeing in Pisa (don’t be afraid of 300 stairs to the top because the view is breathtaking), we must mention one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy, situated on the same square, Duomo of Santa Maria dell’Assunta completely made of white marble and an excellent example of Roman-Pisan Gothic architecture. Also, did you know that Pisa is the birthplace of Galileo? Make sure to visit his house in Via Giuseppe Gusti 24, but keep in mind that there is no museum and that the house isn’t open to the public. On the opposite side of the Arno river there is Santa Maria della Spina, an amazing Gothic church definitely worth your while. One more thing, visit La Bottega del Gelato, you’ll thank us later.
Florence is one of the most visited cities in Italy, full of history, art and magnificent architecture, all set in an intimate small town surrounding. This city is home to one of the most famous art galleries in the world, the Uffizi Gallery, which houses masterpieces of the great names such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli and others. Artists have never left Florence, so you will see many small creative businesses, street performers and fashion designers across town. The city is the heart of the Tuscany region, famous for green hills that stretch as far as the eye can see, big vineyards and delicious cuisine, so don’t miss your chance to try some local delicacies. Florence is also a perfect departure point if you want to explore the region. And we almost forgot, you must visit the main cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, so big that you stand in awe at its beauty, made of natural green, red and white marble.
Probably the most popular student town in Italy, Bologna’s long tradition started with the foundation of the first university in Europe in 1088. As the place that invented bolognese, Bologna is a foodie hub with many markets in the centre with fresh fruit and pastries and excellent restaurants at everybody’s budget, so don’t think twice to stop for aperitivo and a delicious bite, you can’t go wrong whichever place you choose. While in Bologna, make sure to take a few pictures with the city’s symbols, the two towers Garisenda and Asinelli, and to climb the shorter of them, Asinelli, for just 3€ to enjoy the spectacular view of Bologna. Apart from the towers, this medieval city is full of porticoes, beautiful arches that line Bologna’s streets and protect from rain or blinding sun. And that’s not all, make sure to spend a few minutes in one of Bologna’s impressive churches, such as the Chiesa della Santa with remains of Saint Catherine of Bologna and the San Domenico Basilica with a Michelangelo statue.
Don’t believe everything you hear about Milan! It’s not a polluted, overcrowded city with unfriendly people, but Italy’s fashion and financial capital which successfully balances old world with modern culture instead. The city has an abundance of beautiful buildings designed by some of the world’s finest architects, which is why Milan has exemplary architecture from all periods, from the UNESCO World Heritage Site Chiesa Santa Maria Della Grazie (Milanese Renaissance) to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (European iron architecture). Another iconic landmark of Milan are charming yellow houses known as case di ringhiera, spread across the city, particularly in Navigli, which are characterised by iron railings that date from the 20th century. Don’t miss out on the Porta Venezia district as well, known for its geometric stained glass windows and plasterwork with floral motifs.
Palermo is another Italy’s capital, this time it is the city number one when it comes to culture in 2018. The city’s most important aspect is its ‘culture of welcome’, which refers the most to assisting the thousands of migrants that arrived to the city’s port over the past few years. But the Sicilian capital is more than that. The mixture of different nations and cultures have left a mark on the city, so Palermo delivers a mix of Byzantine mosaics, frescoed cupolas and Arabesque domes. The home to Italy’s biggest opera house Teatro Massimo and to Quattro Canti, an intersection that divides Palermo in 4 parts. is also a perfect place to try out a variety of high quality fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as some traditional Sicilian delicacies like arancini (fried rice balls with ragù), peas and mozzarella) and cannoli (pastry desserts with various fillings).
Like most of Italian cities, Cagliari reminds you of its turbulent and rich past on every corner through ancient Roman ruins, centuries-old churches, splendid palaces and excellent museums. As a city located on the south coast of Sardinia, Cagliari has an important port location due to which it has a fantastic Marina area full of shops, restaurants and promenades. But not everything is about the marine and ports. Bastione San Remy in his entire immense and ornate structure lies in the centre of Cagliari’s old town and is one of the city most famous landmarks. Once a defensive structure, today the Bastion stands as a fantastic viewing platform of the Mediterranean sea and port areas of the city. Only a short walk away, you’ll find the celebrated Elephant Tower, constructed in 1307 to serve as a guard tower, which is another great spot for amazing views of Cagliari.
Everyone knows it as the city of Romeo and Juliet, but there are more in Verona than taking a picture in front of the famous balcony. It’s an ancient city with history going back to Roman times, but also a gorgeous place full of winding streets, lively bars and restaurants and crowded piazzas. Those of you who enjoy Renaissance art will find plenty to admire in the city’s museums and churches, while history enthusiasts will gaze at the Roman ruins hidden all across the town. Apart from all that, Verona has a long tradition of good cuisine, so you have the opportunity to taste fantastic dishes in local trattorie and bacari. You shouldn’t leave the city without tasting the risotto, gnocchi and pasta called bigoli. Make sure to have at least one coffee in the center of city life, the Piazza delle Erbe (we recommend Caffe Filippini operating since 1901).