Maybe it was Eat, Pray, Love or just my affinity for pasta, red wine and gelato but I have fallen for Italy hard. During my semester studying abroad in London, two friends and I flew to Venice for our week-long Spring break. From Venice, we hit Florence and Rome before boarding our flight back to the UK.
That being said, there are so many other cities and towns in Italy that I didn’t have the chance to visit. I have this dream of living in Italy at one point in my life…but then again, I bet we all do. Regardless of whether you seek adventure, picturesque views or vibrant vineyards, Italy will satisfy your wanderlust.
Visit Venice for a little bit of everything
Venice was my first stop on my Italy tour and also my favorite. The city is comprised of thousands of canals and small, cobblestones streets that make it hard to maintain any sense of direction. Getting lost in Venice is easy to do and in my opinion, a must. With fashion boutiques, cozy cafes, grand piazzas and countless opportunities to take the quintessential Gondola ride, there is something for everyone here. If you have ample time, hop on a ferry boat to the colorful island of Burano or learn the art of Venetian glass-making on the island of Murano.
Sail through Sorrento for picturesque views
A short ferry ride away from both Naples and Pompeii, Sorrento is a small town in Southern Italy that also looks like it could jump out from a page of a romance novel. The historic city overlooks the Bay of Naples isle and you can also see Vesuvius and the islands of Capri, Procida and Ischia. If you only have a few days in Italy and your goal is to tour the Amalfi coast, spending your holidays in Sorrento makes it super convenient. During my trip to Italy I stuck solely to major cities but if I could visit again, I’d definitely opt for more scenic itinerary.
Escape to Tuscany for vineyards and bike trails
My sister and her husband chose Tuscany for their honeymoon and I can see why. After watching Under the Tuscan Sun one too many times, I can’t blame anyone for visiting this region, no matter how many tourists do the same. While everyone is different, my personal wishlist would include biking through Lucca, visting Saturnia’s thermal baths and wine tasting in Chianti. Tuscany is actually a pretty large region so it’s good to have an idea of what areas and activities you’d like to do on your trip and starting in Florence is a perfect gateway into wine country.
Explore Rome for ancient ruins, history & culture
I’ll be honest. When I did actually visit Rome, I didn’t have the best experience. That had way more to do with the people I was traveling with rather than the city itself. Looking back on that trip now, I fully realize just how special this city is, especially for an avant-garde traveler looking for inspiration and creative outlets. Definitely visit the main attractions: The Roman Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps and Vatican City but spend the rest of your time wandering through Esquilino and Testaccio, two neighborhoods known for both their food and their thriving art scenes.
Slip into a book in Verona
I’ll give you three guesses why Verona made my list but you’ll only need one. Romeo & Juliet. Despite ending in tragedy, Shakespeare’s tale of intense love and saddening loss has always intrigued me and therefore, Verona has been part of my image of Italy for years. For first-time travelers (like myself), I’d recommend starting in Piazza delle Erbe because it’s the heart of the historic part of town and surrounded by old, medieval buildings. If you are a Shakespeare fan like me, I’d suggest visiting Juliet’s supposed 13th century house, her statue and the famous balcony.