The insider's Italy travel guide for independent travelers
Category: Top destinations
In this section you wil find the top Italy destinations grouped by region or in general by geographycal areas.
This is a section full of good information and tips about what to see in the main destinations, how to organize day trips to visit the surrounding beauties. You will find a bunch of information on where to stay and to eat and about the main experiencesyou can enjoy in the area
The best beaches in Italy, organized by region and plotted on a best Italian beaches map.
Italy is worldwide known for its history, monuments and culture, but did you know that Italian beaches are among he best of the Mediterranean sea? Whichever destination you chose for your vacation, there will likely be an amazing beach nearby, where to recover between two days of visit.
So here is my selection of the best beaches in Italy. I got inspired by Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Lonely Planet, and, of course, my own experience and tastes.
I organized my selection of Italy best beaches by region, and I plotted them on an interactive Google Italy best beaches map, so to make it easier for you to plan your visits.
So enjoy your reading, and have your swimming costume ready to use!
An easy and enjoyable Naples in one day walking itinerary, including a detailed Naples map. Picturesque markets, amazing artworks and great street food.
Why visit Naples? It’s a no-brainer: because Naples is one of the most fascinating, peculiar and beautiful towns you may find in Italy, and, in my opinion, in Europe.
It’s an underrated gem you just can’t skip.
I’m not the only one to think it: the number of foreign tourists visiting Naples have been growing double digit for almost ten years.
The reason is simple: savvy travelers will find tons of art, history, culture, local diversity, beauty, sights, great food, warm people… and you’ll need to pass through Naples in any case, on your way to Pompei and the Amalfi coast.
So why not taking a day or so and spend some time to discover this amazing town?
In this post I will answer to some of the most frequent questions about Naples and share a one day walking itinerary in Naples city center, a Unesco Heritage site.
Castel Sant’Angelo is a not to be missed sight. His 20 centuries of history are intimately linked to Rome, views from the top are great and child love it!
A visit to Castel Sant’angelo is usually not in the bucket list of rushy Roman travellers. That’s surprising, because few monuments can give the same sense of the Roman history along the centuries.
Castel Sant’Angelo, formerly Adrian Emperor Mausoleum, is one of the most famous Roman landmarks. And it’s just in front of you when walking along the tiber to Piazza Navona or getting out from St Peter’s Cathedral.
it has a fascinating history and offers one of the finest views of Rome from its rooftop terrace.
That’s why it would be a pity not to cross the scenic Ponte degli Angeli to visit one of the oldest and most fascinating Roman Monument.
You can visit Castel Sant’Angelo in an hour, after you are done with St Peter’s basilica. In this post I will address the main questions and interest you may have concerning Castle Sant’Angelo, such as:
What are Castel sant’Angelo hystory and facts?
What about Castel Sant’Angelo bridge?
What is inside Castel Sant Angelo?
How long to visit Castel Sant’Angelo?
Is Castel Sant Angelo part of Vatican City
What are Castel Sant’Angelos hours?
What’s the price of Castel Sant’Angelo tickets? Can I use my Roma pass?
The 10 + 1 key things you need to know before visiting St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Tickets, opening hours, dressing code, when to visit and much more.
Visiting St Peter’s Basilica is a highlight of any trip to Rome. That said, St Peter is is a holy place, the center of Christianity, with massive security procedure, and it’s normal for first comers to have many questions about their visit.
I tried to collect the most frequent questions about visiting St Peter’s Basilica and to provide answers and guidance, so to make your visit smooth and enjoyable.
Here are the 10 + 1 questions you will find an answer to in this post:
What is St Peter’s Basilica dress code?
What’s the best time to visit St Peter’s Basilica?
Why are queues to enter St Peter’s Basilica so long?
What are St Peter’s Basilica opening hours?
Is St Peter’s Basilica always open?
How much are the tickets to enter St Peter’s Basilica?
Is it possible to climb on top of St Peter’s dome?
Can I take pictures in St Peter’s Basilica?
When are St Peter’s Basilica Mass times?
Can I visit St Peter’s tomb?
(bonus question: you need to get to the end of the post to know)
Easy guide to learn how to safely climb up the highest active Volcano in Europe. A perfect day trip from Taormina or Catania.
Why you shouldn’t miss Etna Volcano
You have surely seen mount Etna as the landscape of Taormina Greek theater. It’s an iconic view that can be seen in all postcards in Sicily and that makes Etna one of Sicily most popular destinations. That could already be a good reason to see the stuff with your own eyes!
That said, there are many other reasons that make Etna Volcano is an experience not to be missed when visiting Sicily.
Aperitivo in Bologna is taken very seriously. Here is a selection of Aperitivo bars popular with locals: enjoy appetizing drink, snack and perfect time out
After a whole day around the city it’s time to relax a little … and to taste one of the specialties Bologna is known for: the Aperitivo.
Aperitivo time starts around 6:00 PM, when the Bolognese finish their work and study activities, and can go on pretty late, often substituting the dinner: you may hardly still be hungry after a large cured meats and cheese “tagliere” and delicious “bruschette”.
Aperitivo in Bologna is an old and very popular tradition, just like in Milan and in Venice. On top of that, Bologna is a beautiful and lively town, so people just like to stay out, enjoy a drink and spend time with their friends.
You can literally find hundreds of great places to sip a glass of wine (or a cocktail, or a beer), chatting with friends and enjoying life.
Mentioning them all in this post is unfortunately not possible, so I’m just sharing my favorite places, the ones where I go when I’m in Bologna. Feel free to add your own in the comments!
Discover the Bellano ravine, one of the most mysterious and fascinating places that lake of Como can offer, just a foot step away from Varenna and Bellagio
The Bellano ravine (orrido di Bellano) is a breathtaking natural wonder, just a footstep away from Varenna. Surprisingly, very few travelers visit it, which is another good reason to visit it. Starting from Varenna Station, you won’t need more than a couple of hours to complete your visit.
A fascinating Puglia in one week itinerary, to discover the best of Salento and of the Trulli district in just seven days, including top beaches.
Puglia is the heel of Italy’s boot, and Salento the southernmost part of it. It’s a magical region, still partially off the beaten path. Spending one week in Puglia is an experience you shouldn’t miss.
Seven day in Puglia will give you the opportunity to enjoy:
25 centuries of history, starting from the Greeks. Actually local dialects still reflects Greek roots, and the Salento central area is called “Grecìa Salentina”
Amazing architectures: the Trulli country houses and their unique cones, secluded fortified country houses, the “masserie”, fascinating Barocco churches
Breathtaking landscapes, featuring endless century old olive trees plantations under the Mediterranean cobalto blue sky
Arguably some of the best beaches and cliffs of the Mediterranean.
Is that enough to motivate you? If yes, then hurry up.
So far mainstream tourist flows have mysteriously ignored Puglia. However, things are changing and this fantastic region is rapidly becoming a top Italian and European destination.
Your Puglia itinerary can be a self standing one week fly and drive vacation or the continuation of a “classical” Italian trip. Either way, you will be delighted!
What to see in one week in Puglia?
This tour combines the three main highlights of the region:
How to visit Portofino from Milan, Genova or the Cinque Terre. Discover Liguria poshest destination and amazing San Fruttuoso abbey and beach.
Portofino is not as renowned as Cinque Terre outside Italy, but it’s a lovely and beautiful place you shouldn’t really miss when visiting the region.
Actually, Portofino is one of the most upscale destination you may find in Italy, and its name is a synonym of Jet Set, Luxury and high life. It is a place for the rich and the famous, and for ordinary people that enjoy contemplating upscale way of life.
Portofino delightful colored tiny harbor hides fashion boutiques, starred restaurants and luxurious hotels. It’s completely different from Cinque Terre, and will give you a different flavor of Italian taste for beautiful locations.
In this post I will tell you how to visit Portofino in one day, either from Cinque Terre or from Milan. I will also disclose a hidden jewell you may miss otherwise: secluded San Fruttuoso abbey and its amazing cove.
Perfect guide to the best things to see and do in Matera Italy, in one day or more. How to get to Matera, best cave hotels, top restaurants, sunset viewpoint.
Matera Italy, is a unique and unmissable destination, and you should do your best to squeeze it into your Italian itinerary.
Matera is getting more and more importance as one of Italy Must Sees, and for excellent reasons. Unesco site, 2019’s European Capital of Culture, movie set for Mel Gibson The passion of Christ, 7000 years of history. What else would you ask for?
A Garda lake 1 week itinerary to discover one of the most charming Italy destinations. Disclose Garda lake must sees such as Sirmione, Garda SPAs, Gardaland
Spending 1 week at Garda lake will give you enough time to visit this beautiful areas and the surrounding region, and to enjoy a number of local experiences.
Garda lake is the largest Italian lake and, in my view, the most beautiful and interesting one to spend one week. First, the sights: you are in the Dolomite region, and the light grey-pink cliffs plunging in the lake are just breathtaking. Second, the history: Garda lake was part of the Serenissima, and you can see everywhere in the ancient hamlets the influence of the Venetian beautiful architecture. Third, you are close to a number of great day trip destinations, such as Verona, Mantova and Trento. Fourth, food and wine are great, from Amarone to Prosecco, and wine tasting at a local estate is an unmissable experience. Fifth, the theme park, such as world known Gardaland. Sixth… well, you’ll need to read the post to know more…
Bergamo is a perfect one day trip from MIlan. Spending one day in Bergamo will allow you to discover its lovely city center and lots of art and culture, on top of its delicious food specialties. Here is a one day trip itinerary from Milan to Bergamo, including a Bergamo Alta walking map.
Why a day trip to Bergamo, Italy? Well, you have spent some days in Milan, enjoyed the bustling life, the glamorous atmosphere, fashion, design, and all the Milanese typical excitement. If you are now looking for something completely different, closer to the “Italian” cliché of history, art, nature and traditional food, then spending one day in Bergamo, Italy is the best option for you.
Bergamo is a delightful small town, perched on a steep hill side and surrounded by impressive walls. Actually, there are two Bergamo: Bergamo alta (“upper Bergamo”), the historical center, and Bergamo bassa (“lower Bergamo”), built in more recent times. In this Bergamo in one day post I will focus on Bergamo alta, but if you have time Bergamo bassa is worth a visit as well. If you plan to spend one full day in Bergamo you will have enough time to visit both.
How to go from Milan to Como lake main destinations: Como and Bellagio. A complete set of options and travel tips from MIlan to Bellagio and a travel map.
Como lake (actually we should call it Lario lake) is one of North Italy top destinations, and lovely Bellagio is its pearl. Despite being relatively close to Milan, getting there as independent travelers could be tricky. So here is a quick guideto go from Milan to Bellagio, for a day trip or for a longer period.
A insider’s guide about the 20 best things to do in Umbria, one of Italy most fascinating regions of Italy, still off the mainstream touristic itineraries
It’s hard to select just 20 best things to do in Umbria, Italy. In my view, Umbria is one of Italy best kept secrets. It displays fascinating towns and villages, tons of culture, beautiful sceneries, fantastic food, cultural events and much more. And, despite that, it’s still ignored by mainstream tourism. Therefore, you won’t find the tourists crowds that will give you a hard time in Florence or San Gimignano. On the contrary, you will enjoy an atmosphere of bygone times, among the medieval paths, the palaces, the castles and the fortresses of charming villages.
This post is aimed at disclosing the best things to see and do in Umbria. I’m sure that after reading it you will want to squeeze Umbria into your Italy trip plan!
So here we go with the top 20 things to see and do in Umbria, Italy.
One day in Burano: self guided day trip from Venice to discover Burano amazing colored houses,lovely Venice lagoon islands, secluded wineyards and delicious fish restaurants.
Tired of crowded Venice? Hungry to discover a completely different environment, where the scenery seems frozen in time? Then what you need is to spend one day in Burano and to enjoy the calm and beauty of Venice lagoon.
Actually most travellers visit 3 island at the same time, either self guided or with an organized tours. Murano, Burano, Torcello, in this order. My suggestion would be to go directly to Burano, so to skip the masses and to enjoy the island all for yourself.
You can then proceed to Torcello, before or after lunch, as you wish. If your pockets are deep enough, a lunch at the worldwide known Locanda Cipriani is a great experience, but an aperitivo could be good enough.
A short video to share what to do and see in a day trip to Cinque Terre. Explore the Monterosso – Vernazza trail, the scenic Sentiero Azzurro.
The easy walk from Monterosso to Vernazza is arguably the most scenic and famous path in the Cinque Terre. You will walk among the renowned Cinque Terre vineyards (ever heard of Vermentino and Sciacchetrà?) and enjoy breathtaking views of the steep cliffs, blue sea and beautiful Monterosso and Vernazza sights.
Here is a quick video to anticipate what you will see when you get there.
Centuries old Italian Christmas traditions, delightful Italian Christmas markets, delicious Italian Christmas cakes: here is the list of the five (plus one!) best things to do in Italy at Christmas time.
Discover Italian Nativity scenes
Preparing a Nativity scene (“Presepe” in Italian) is a widespread Italian Christmas tradition, especially in Southern Italy. Every church will display a nativity scene, and some are real masterpieces, with moving elements and detailed scenes displaying Italian rural life in the XVIII and XIX centuries. Unsurprisingly, baby Jesus is only displayed after December 25th, while you will have to wait until the Epiphany to see the three wise men!
The largest and most famous nativity scenes can be found in St Peters square and on the Spanish steps, but exploring Rome or Naples churches to find the Nativity scenes you like the most can be a really funny way to spend an afternoon, especially on Christmas day when museums and other attractions are closed. If you travel with your children, they will surely enjoy! Continue reading “What to do in Italy at Christmas time”