With its natural treasures and its incredible historic and artistic heritage that has no equal in the world, Italy is definitely one of the greatest travel destinations in the world. From north to south, every city of this beautiful country is rich in monuments, ancient traditions, museums, picturesque landscapes, all harmoniously mixed together.
Choosing the best attractions in Italy is not an easy task as there is so much to round out. However, ItalyXP has tried to make a list of the 10 (+1) essential places you cannot miss if is your first time visiting the so-called “Bel Paese”.
Among the most visited monuments in the world and favorite subject for tourists’ selfies, the universally famous Leaning Tower of Pisa had to be first on our list.
In the intentions of its designers, the tower had to be the bell tower of the nearby Cathedral: but a ground subsidence, which occurred in the early stages of the project, has sealed the fate (and fame) of the tower for eternity. Over the centuries there have been numerous attempts to resettle the Tower of Pisa to its original position, but all have failed. And now, Pisa owns a monument unique and charming in its own special way… Make sure to climb the tower, thanks to a guided tour with skip-the-line tickets included!
The Leaning Tower is located in Piazza dei Miracoli (“Square of Miracles”), where also are the Pisa Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Monumental Cemetery.
We’re talking one “Seven wonders of the world”, the Colosseum is one of the greatest and most famous monuments ever made.
Dating back to the 80AD, the Colosseum was the biggest amphitheatre at that time, and was able to hold house over 50.000 spectators! Designed as a place to entertain Ancient Romans with brutal gladiators’ fights, the arena had an elevator system and the possibility to flood the stage for mock naval battles.. Through a guided tour you can visit its interior and the complex underground set of rooms and passageways: an essential eXPerience if you visit Rome for the first time!
Overlooking the vastPiazza del Duomo, the main square in all Milan, the Cathedral (better known as “Duomo”) is the icon of the city itself.
Built over five hundred years, the Duomo is the 4th biggest Cathedral of Europe and one of the finest example of Gothic and neo-classical architectural style. Its magnificent shiny façade will amaze your eyes with the spectacular complex of spires and sculptures.
Don’t miss a visit of its interior and the underground, where you can discover the ancient history of this building. With our guided tour, also, you will have access to the terraces of the Duomo, where you can walk among the spires as you admire panoramic views over the city of Milan.
Made by the Italian genius Leonardo da Vinci in late 15th-century, the Last Supper is probably the most famous mural painting in the world.
Located in the centre of Milan, inside the refectory of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, this painting depicts the biblical episode of the Last Supper and is universally considered a masterpiece of the Renaissance period.
It was restored several times over the centuries, and is one of the most visited attractions in Milan: itcan be visited only by appointment or through authorized guided tours: but hurry up, because tickets are likely to sell out!
What can be said about the Cinque Terre is not that is one of the most beautiful places in Italy? Located on the Ligurian Coast this beautiful destination consists in five villages declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO for their beauty and historic importance.
You can reach the Cinque Terre with our full day guided tours, departing from Tuscany or from Milan: you’ll explore the beautiful village of Porto Venere, you’ll embark on a boat to reach the town of Monterosso sul Mare, situated on quaint natural bay, overlooked by an imposing castle, in the valley of the river Buranco.
And you’ll visit other amazing villages, perched upon the cliffs overlooking the sea, rich in history, culinary traditions and breathtaking sceneries. An experience not to be missed!
The Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world, located within the very centre of Rome. It is considered a true world heritage site, known as the cradle of the Catholic religion, governed by the Pope since 1378.
For centuries it has been the destination of pilgrims, but beyond the spiritual side, the Vatican City is worth a visit for its extraordinary artistic and cultural treasures: the heart of this area is the Saint Peter's Square, dominated by the homonymous Basilica, the largest church in the world. Another place of interest is the Vatican Museums, the greatest museum complex in the world, containing some of the most famous masterpieces of all time, such as the Sistine Chapel.
A guided tour of the Vatican City is basically a prerequisite for anyone visiting Italy!
The Trevi Fountain is unanimously considered one of the greatest Baroque masterpieces in the world, because of its beauty.
Designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi in 1732, this world-famous fountain dominates the small picturesque square with its imposing façade made of shiny-white marble, which depicts a mythological composition of the God Oceanus flanked by two Tritons and two sea-horses.
The Trevi Fountain was immortalized because it was a location for the legendary scene in Fellini’s movie masterpiece La Dolce Vita, where Anita Ekberg glides through the fountain’s water in a long black dress. During your tour of the fountains of Rome, make sure to toss a coin on its sink, as the legend says that doing so it will assured you a return trip to the Eternal City.
The archaeological site of Pompeii is considered among the most important and famous in the whole world. At the moment, it is excavated for about four-fifths of its entire urban area, and it represents a treasure of a priceless historical value, as it’s the one and only excavation (along with that of Herculaneum) that can give back to the visitor an ancient Roman town in a condition of perfect preservation.
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius on that tragic morning of 79 AD buried Pompeii under 10 meters of ashes and volcanic materials, and because of that the city has remained intact over the centuries till the present days.
With a guided tour of Pompeii you will feel like traveling back in time, as you can breathe the atmosphere of public life in ancient times, between the ruins of private Roman residences, taverns, bakeries and markets.
The city of Venice is a magical travel destination, unique in the world, pervaded by a timeless romantic charm. No trip to Italy would be complete without a visit to this enchanting gem full of art and culture.
Founded in the 5th century, its urban structure is spread over 118 small islands separated by canals and connected by bridges and walkways. The whole city is a splendid aggregate of palaces, churches, squares and other architectural masterpieces, but the real protagonist of the city is the water: Venice has developed its life-style having water all around, moving from the narrow canals up to the renowned Grand Canal, which is the main waterway in the city.
Visiting Venice is a wonderful experience, and it gets even better with a guided tour by gondola.
Known as the “Cradle of Renaissance”, Florence is one of the art and cultural centers of the world. The city houses two of the most important museums, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most visited places in Italy, with over 1.5 million visitors each year, and among the oldest and most important art museums in Europe. Located on the top floor of a U-shaped building, the Gallery houses an artistic heritage of inestimable value, which includes thousands of paintings, from Medieval to contemporary times, including The “Birth of Venus by Botticelli”, as well as works of Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Piero della Francesca and so on.
The Galleria dell'Accademia is mainly famous for the universally-famous David, a magnificent giant statue, created by Michelangelo in 1504, but it also houses several interesting collections of masterpieces, such as the "Rape of the Sabine Women".
The best way to visit those museums skipping the long lines is with a guided tour that includes both museums in one day!
Alberobello, the hinterland town of Bari, is a magical place, mostly famous for its trulli: ancient conical buildings of dry stone of prehistoric origin. The old town is entirely built of these special buildings, which are still used as dwellings and are a brilliant and long-lived example of spontaneous architecture.
The trulli of Alberobello date back to the mid-fourteenth century, and every year attract thousands of tourists. Walking through the narrow streets of Alberobello is like exploring a place out of time, that exudes a magical atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. Definitely a destination to put on yur bucket list!