Αρχική > πολιτισμός, γεωγραφία > 10 Best Places to Visit in Italy / 10 Top Tourist Attractions in Italy / 8 Great Day Trips from Rome / 5 Top Tourist Attractions in Florence

10 Best Places to Visit in Italy / 10 Top Tourist Attractions in Italy / 8 Great Day Trips from Rome / 5 Top Tourist Attractions in Florence

 Florence

Written by touropia on April 26, 2013 in Europe2 Comments

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:

10Genoa

Genoaflickr/Goldmund100

Sometimes overshadowed by the popularity of world famous cities like Rome and Venice, Genoa nevertheless is one of Italy’s true hidden gems. Genoa is a classic Italian city incorporated amid rolling hills with houses of pastel colors and terra cotta roofs all mixed in with stunning churches, hanging gardens, Baroque palaces and crumbling Roman ruins. The city’s shining crown is its historic center, which features narrow, winding streets that reveal surprising gems at every turn.

9Pisa

Pisaflickr/Rodrigo_Soldon

Located along the Arno River in the northwestern region of Tuscany, the city of Pisa still bears the striking remnants of its former golden days as a commercial empire during the Middle Ages. While Pisa is best known for its famous Leaning Tower, there a lot more attractions in this city worth a visit.

8Naples

Naplesflickr/Zingaro. I am a gipsy too.

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.

7Siena

Sienaflickr/kevinpoh

Established upon three hills in the heart of Tuscany, Siena offers tourists a step back into the Middle Ages with its well-preserved historic center and medieval horse racing tradition, known as Il Palio. The historic center of Siena is one of the most popular places to visit in Italy as it still retains many of its stunning works of art and architecture from that time period.

6Cinque Terre

Cinque Terreflickr/Nick Grosoli

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.

5Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coastflickr/The Consortium

Situated in Italy’s southwestern region of Campania, the Amalfi Coast is known for its extraordinary beauty that makes it one of Italy’s top tourist destinations. Stretching 30 miles along the southern side of the Sorrento Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is prized for its picturesque coastline that features shimmering bays, craggy cliffs, lemon tree gardens, multicolored villas and ritzy resorts.

4Milan

Milanflickr/UggBoy

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.

3Florence

Florenceflickr/archer10 (Dennis)

The capital of Tuscany, Florence is often described as a colossal outdoor museum because of its mass of art and architectural treasures. Florence’s hoard of art masterpieces are found all over the city, contained within the large numbers of museums, stunning churches, like the domed Santa Maria del Fiore, and internationally esteemed art galleries like the Ufizzi and Pitti Palace.

2Venice

Veniceflickr/jonl1973

One of the best places to visit in Italy, Venice is a unique city in that is built upon a lagoon surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. Located in northeastern Italy, Venice is an archipelago of 118 islands all connected by hundreds of beautiful bridges and scenic canals. Of the canals, the Grand Canal is most famous and divides the city into two sections. Picturesque waterways and historic architecture make Venice one of the most romantic cities in the world.

1Rome

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Italyflickr/archer10 (Dennis)

Formerly the capital of the Roman Empire, Rome today is the government seat and capital city of Italy. Located in the country’s central region of Lazio, Rome is a vast and complex city that is both historic and modern at the same time. Best known for housing ancient Roman structures and the Vatican City, Rome has endured for more than 2,500 years as an important center for culture, power and religion.

 
10 Top Tourist Attractions in Italy

Written by touropia on June 23, 2010 in Europe3 Comments

Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. High art and monuments are to be found everywhere around the country. Its great cities of art, like Rome, Venice and Florence are world famous and have been attracting visitors for centuries. Besides its art treasures Italy also features beautiful coasts, alpine lakes and mountains. No wonder it is often nicknamed the Bel Paese (beautiful country).

With so many amazing sights, putting together a top 10 list of tourist attractions in Italy is no easy task. The following list however should give a good indication of why over 40 million foreign tourists visit Italy ever year.

10Towers of San Gimignano

Towers of San Gimignanoflickr/lessi2306

Nicknamed the medieval Manhatten, San Gimignano is a village in Tuscany famous for its 14 stone towers. At the height of San Gimignano’s wealth and power, more than 70 towers were built to defend the town against enemy attacks. After the plague devastated the city in 1348, San Gimignano’s power faded, which kept enemies away and preserved many of the city’s medieval towers.

9Manarola (Cinque Terre)

Manarolaflickr/Robert Crum

Mestled in the Italian Riviera, Manarola is one of the oldest towns in Cinque Terre. The “Five Lands” comprises of five villages noted for their beauty. Part of Cinque Terre charm is the lack of visible modern development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach it from the outside. The towns sprout out of the mountainside to provide a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean sea.

8Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisaflickr/jrgcastro

The world famous Pisa Tower was built over a period of about 177 years. Soon after the construction started in 1173 the tower began to sink due to a poorly laid foundation and was left alone for almost a century. When the construction resumed the engineers built higher floors with one side taller than the other to compensate for the tilt and the tower was finally finished in the 2nd half of the 14th century. Since 2001, the famous tower in Pisa is again open to those wishing to climb it’s 296 steps.

7Lake Como (Italian Lake District)

Lake Comoflickr/scarriedo

Lake Como is part of the Italian Lake District an area popular with visitors for well over 100 years for its combination of fresh air, water, mountains and good weather. The lake is shaped much like an inverted ‘Y’, with two branches starting at Como in the south-west and Lecco in the south-east, which join together half way up and the lake continues up to Colico in the north. The lake is famous for the attractive villas which have been built here since Roman times. Many have admirable gardens which benefit from the mild climate and are able to include tropical as well as temperate plants.

6Positano (Amalfi Coast)

Positanoflickr/rmx

Positano is a small town located on the Amalfi Coast, a stretch of coastline renowned for its rugged terrain, scenic beauty, picturesque towns and diversity. The city seems to be scattered from top to bottom down a hillside leading to the coast. Though Positano grew and prospered in medieval times, by the mid 19th more than half of the population was gone. In the 20th century it went from being a poor fishing village to a very popular tourist attraction with the help of author John Steinbeck who wrote about its beauty.

5Pompeii

Pompeiiflickr/Mikael Miettinen

On August 24, 79 AD, the volcano Vesuvius erupted, covering the nearby town Pompeii with ash and soil, and subsequently preserving the city in its state from that fateful day. Everything from jars and tables to paintings and people were frozen in time. Its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of people living two thousand years ago. Today Pompeii is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy, with approximately 2,500,000 visitors every year.

4Piazza del Campo

Piazza del Campoflickr/PhillipC

One of Europe’s greatest medieval squares, the Piazza del Campo is the principal public space of the historic center of Siena, Tuscany. It is renowned worldwide for its beauty and architectural integrity. The Palazzo Pubblico and its famous tower, as well as various palazzi signorili belonging to the wealthiest of Siena families surround the shell-shaped piazza. The twice-per-year horse-race, Palio di Siena, involves circling the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds.

3Santa Maria del Fiore

Santa Maria del Fioreflickr/Sbaush

Begun in 1296 in the Gothic style and completed in 1436, The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is Florence’s beautiful cathedral and symbol of the city. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white. The basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches, and until the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.

2Colosseum

Colosseumflickr/Brunswickian

The Colosseum in Rome is the largest and most famous amphitheater in the Roman world. Its construction was started by emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty in 72 AD and was finished by his son Titus in 80 AD. TheColosseum was capable of holding some 50,000 spectators who could enter the building through no less than 80 entrances. Spectators were protected from the rain and heat of the sun by sails called the “velarium”, that was attached around the top of the attic.

Explore the Colosseum

1Canals of Venice

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Italyflickr/jonl1973

Referred to as “The City of Water”, Venice is the crown jewel of water cities. Romantic gondolas, and Italian architecture along the Grand Canal helped earn this status. Stitched together with over 150 canals that have become central to its character, Venice has decayed since its heyday and has more tourists than residents, but with its romantic charm it remains one of the top tourist attractions in Italy.

More Italy tourist attractions and travel information can be found in the Explore Italy page.

 

8 Great Day Trips from Rome

Written by touropia on January 9, 2013 in Europe, ToursNo comments

Planning a trip to Rome? Why not squeeze in some exciting day trips into your itinerary? Sure, Rome packs a treasure trove of attractions, but the beautiful regions around the bustling city offer some of the most spectacular scenery and interesting sites that you may not otherwise get the opportunity to experience. Check out the following day trips from Rome.

8Ostia Antica

Ostia Anticaflickr/italianjob17

Located at the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome’s seaport, but, due to silting and a drop in sea level, the site now lies 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the sea. From Rome it takes about 45 minutes by metro and train to get to Ostia.
The site is famous for the ancient apartment buildings (insula) that are very well preserved. You can explore these buildings to one story in height, with narrow stairways and corridors leading to small rooms. There are also the remains of more wealthy houses, such as the House of Cupid and Pysche, with very rich marble decorations.

Find Ostia trips

7Assisi

Assisiflickr/Roby Ferrari

A two-hour train ride from Rome to the lovely hill region of Umbria will bring you to the medieval town of Assisi where you can explore significant religious sites, Roman ruins and artistic beauty. The town’s main attraction is the Basilica of St. Francis, the eternal resting place of Italy’s patron saint. Most of the cobblestone streets in town lead to this beautiful cathedral where you can admire its exquisite architecture and interior ceilings and walls that are embellished with stunning frescoes. Surrounding the basilica, you will discover medieval houses and shops that are well worth a look. Other sites not to miss include Piazza del Comune, the town center, with its old clock tower, the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva with its Roman columns, and St. Claire’s Basilica, which offers scenic views of the valley below.

Find Assisi trips

6Orvieto

Orvietoflickr/Grzegorz Kochan

While in the Umbria region, you might also want to visit the charming town of Orvieto situated majestically on a big chunk of volcanic rock called tuff. Its impressive cathedral, the Duomo, which is considered one of Italy’s finest with its stunning mosaics and frescoes, influenced Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. It would certainly be well worth the time to explore the city’s labyrinth of underground tunnels. Carved 3,000 years ago from volcanic rock by the Etruscans to provide escape routes for the nobility, these elaborate tunnels contain grandiose rooms, stairs, cisterns and quarries. The city’s oldest church, San Giovenale, is also worth a visit as well as both the 14th century Albornoz Fortress and St. Patrick’s Well, which was uniquely designed to supply water for the city during war times.

Find Orvieto trips

5Hadrian’s Villa

Hadrian's Villaflickr/Rickydavid

All it takes is a one-hour trip from Rome to the small town of Tivoli to experience two of the most spectacular sites in the Lazio region, Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este. Many tourists like to combine both of these villas into one instead of two day trips from Rome. A history lover’s paradise, Hadrian’s Villa features an impressive, sprawling complex of 30 ancient Roman structures that were built during the second century by the Emperor Hadrian as a retreat from the busy capital of Rome. Here, visitors can enjoy a glimpse into the lavishness of ancient Rome when you walk among the 250 acres of marble pavements, palaces, theaters, libraries, baths, temples and private quarters that once housed royal guardsman, attendants and slaves.

Find Hadrian’s Villa trips

4Villa d’Este

Villa d'Esteflickr/M.Maselli

If you enjoy formal gardens, Villa d’Este is a must-do. Located on the opposite side of town from Hadrian’s Villa, this splendid estate features a lovely mansion, but it is the gardens that most visitors come to see. What makes these historic gardens so special is the Renaissance method of integrating unique water works and artistic features into the beautiful landscape. Stroll along winding and maze-like paths that offer a pleasant surprise at every turn like musical fountains, gorgeous statues, frescoed rooms and breathtaking waterfalls. If you can tear yourself away from the gardens, you will also find cozy little restaurants and boutiques along the narrow streets of this charming villa.

Find Villa d’Este trips

3Capri

Capriflickr/archer10 (Dennis)

A day trip from Rome to the beautiful island of Capri requires a full day, but it is well worth it. After a train ride from Rome to Naples, you then will enjoy a scenic boat ride across the Gulf of Naples to the main port of Capri, Marina Grande. At this lively port, you can browse a variety of shops, savor great food at a terraced cafe and watch people passing by as well as colorful boats coming in and out. Capri offers several fantastic attractions, but the one not to miss is the Blue Grotto, a cave that reveals a brilliant reflection of blue and emerald-colored water. The cave can be accessed by a short boat ride from Marina Grande. Other attractions include Mount Solaro, Capri’s highest point. A chair lift takes visitors to the top of the mountain which offers stunning views of the island and sea. The lovely Villa San Michele in the town of Anacapri is also worth a visit with its stunning gardens, Phoenician steps, cafe and museum.

Find Capri trips

2Positano

Positanoflickr/rmx

If a brief retreat is in order to relax and rest up after all your sightseeing in Rome, Positano just may be the place. Located off the Amalfi Coast, Positano is a picturesque village of multi-colored houses and quiet, pebbled beaches. To reach this beautiful oasis, you can take a train from Rome to Salerno, followed by a ferry ride to Positano. Feel free to bask in the Mediterranean sun while lounging on the beautiful beaches of Fornillo or Spiaggia Grande, or explore the nearby mountains to see beautiful waterfalls and rare species of plants and animals. Don’t miss out on a visit to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, which features lovely architecture and a Black Madonna icon that is steeped in local legend.

Find Positano trips

1Pompeii

#1 of Day Trips From Romeflickr/Mikael Miettinen

No visit to Rome would be complete without a day trip to Pompeii. The fastest way to get to Italy’s most popular attraction is to take the train from Rome to Naples and then the Circumvesuviana train route to the ancient site. Both train rides together may take two hours, but you would never forgive yourself if you didn’t visit it after being so nearby it. With either a guided tour or an audio tour, you can walk among the streets of this ruined metropolis to learn about its history and see what remains of 2,000 year old shops, restaurants, residential homes, baths and brothels as well as political, religious and commercial centers. There are also plastered body casts of actual people who died in the catastrophic volcanic eruption of 79 AD. The National Archeological Museum of Pompeii contains a fascinating collection of artifacts and art works that were excavated from the Pompeii site.

Find Pompeii trips

 

5 Top Tourist Attractions in Florence

Written by touropia on February 13, 2013 in EuropeNo comments

The capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence is internationally esteemed for its high concentration of Renaissance art and architecture. Because it served as a wealthy and important center for medieval trade and commerce, the city gave birth to the Italian Renaissance movement. Simulating one enormous outdoor art museum, the city of Florence attracts millions of tourists every year. An overview of the top tourist attractions in Florence.

5Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchioflickr/aleph78

One of Florence’s most significant buildings is the Palazzo Vecchio, a grand palace overlooking the Piazza della Signoria. Built in the 12th century, the Palazzo Vecchio housed the powerful Medici family as well as Florence’s supreme governing body for six centuries. Since 1872, it has served in part as a museum and as the city town hall. This impressive palace packs a wealth of artifacts and art works that include beautiful frescoes, sculptures, painted ceilings, intricate carvings and tapestries that all depict historic and Biblical events.

4Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria

Serving over the centuries as an important center for politics and the site of several historic episodes, the Piazza della Signoria is a beautiful square centered among some of the top attractions in Florence. It is here that tourists can visit remarkable places like the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Museum, the Palazzo Uguccioni, the Loggia de Lanzi and the nearby Ponte Vecchio bridge. This town square is also a treasure trove of notable sculptures such as Michelangelo’s Statue of David, the Fountain of Neptune, Hercules and Cacus as well as Perseus with the Head of Medusa.

3Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Galleryflickr/cfwee

Regarded today as one of the world’s greatest art museums, the Uffizi Gallery is located off the Piazza della Signoria. This former palace was first built in 1560 to house the offices of the city magistrates. After the ruling dynasty of the Medici family relinquished its power, the palace evolved into an art gallery to showcase its stunning collection of Renaissance art treasures. Opened to the public since 1765, the museum offers thousands of art works by masters like Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Titian.

2Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchioflickr/maha-online

Spanning the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio is one of Florence’s oldest and most photographed bridges. Noted for its three segmented arches, the bridge was first built by the Etruscans and later rebuilt in the 14th century. The bridge’s most striking feature is the line of high-end jewelry shops flanking along each of its edges. Many visitors come here to shop and take photographs. Night time presents stunning views when the lighting from the bridge is reflected upon the water.

1Santa Maria del Fiore

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Florenceflickr/Sbaush

Dominating the panoramic view of Florence is the Santa Maria del Fiore, the domed cathedral that is often called the Duomo. Known today as the world’s largest masonry dome, this majestic cathedral features 600 years worth of stunning architecture and art works. From its beautiful Gothic facade of red, green and white marble to its elaborate interior of stained-glass windows, mosaics, frescoes and bronze statues, the Duomo complex also includes the impressive structures of the Baptistery and Giotto’s bell tower. A climb to the top will reward tourists with incredible views of Florence and outlying valley.

Find out more about these recommended activities in Florence.

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