Whether you are planning on spending a year in Italy, or only a week or two, there are some things that you should experience when you are there, no matter how long your stay. I’ve compiled a list of three locations around all of Italia, as well as the individual attractions that you should try and get around to visiting.
This guide is not meant to provide you with the entire Italian experience. In order to get the full Italian experience, a stay of at least a few months is required, but few have the time or money for such an excursion. This list of stops is meant for those who maybe only have a week or two in Italy, and want to get the most out of their experience without going to too many places and breaking their bankroll.
Traveling in Italy can be difficult at times, but a train, taxi, and sometimes a small boat can get you to almost anywhere you want, so don’t worry about that. As far as the language barrier goes, there is not much to worry about. Most people in Italy speak at least a little English, especially those in the big cities. A pocket translation dictionary should work sufficiently.
Note: If you are looking to go to Italy and get the full experience, travel in the spring or winter, and not the summer. If you go in the summer you will feel like you are in another American city. If you are of the younger crowd wondering about nightlife and fun, then fear not. There are more clubs and bars in Rome than you can count, but the fun part is experiencing them for yourself, so I will not list them here.
Below is the list of destinations (with a little description) that I feel everyone should visit during their stay in Italia. These are all places that I personally have visited, during my university studies overseas in Rome:
- Roma (Rome)
Taking the title of the number one Italy stop is one of the greatest cities in the entire world, Rome. If you’re going to Italy, you have to visit Rome. It is the only stop that is absolutely necessary. Some people might disagree, but I am of the opinion that a trip to Italy is not complete without a stay in Rome. Put simply, Rome is old. That is what separates it from any other city. Rome has the feel of a large modern city, without the suffocation that comes along with it. It somehow manages to be a bustling metropolis without losing the pure beauty that comes with age. To look at a building that is older than Christ himself is something that not very many people ever get the chance to experience. On top of that, the entire city is scattered abundantly with gloriously decorated churches containing unbelievable frescoes and domes. Inside these churches, some of the most acclaimed paintings and sculptures in the world can be found, but churches are not the sole location of art. The outside areas of the city are filled with the creations of Michelangelo and Bernini, hidden along the windy cobblestone maze of streets that is Rome. Anywhere you travel in Rome, there will be something waiting for you, ready to impress.
What to do and see in Rome:
– St. Peter’s Basilica: Even if you aren’t religious, the inside of St. Peter’s is unequaled.
– Colosseum: Make sure you see it at night as well.
– Pantheon: Don’t forget to look up through the oculus.
– Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo at his finest.
– Trevi Fountain: Grab some gelato and relax on the steps.
– As many other churches as you can get around to seeing. They are all beautiful.
Perugia is home to some of the most breathtaking landscape in all of Italy. While you are there, do your best to stop at a winery or go to a wine tasting. Perugia is home to some amazing original wines, as well as some of the best food you will ever taste, in particular, chocolate. Perugina chocolate, especially Baci kisses, is widely loved throughout all of Italy, as well as the rest of the world. If you have the time, visit a chocolate factory and take a tour to see how it’s all done. Overall, Perugia gives the best general impression of Italian culture, because it has changed little over the years. The land is virtually untouched except for the occasional winery or giant grape field. After a stay in Rome, it is also a very relaxing break from city life.
What to do and see in Perugia:
– Go to a winery and taste some exquisite wines, while viewing the beautiful landscape
– Take a tour through the Perugina Chocolate Factory and buy some of the finest sweets in the world
– Find a small restaurant that will cook some local dishes, they are unrivaled
- Venezia (Venice)
You know you’ve heard of it, the city of water. Well, that’s basically what it is. Venice is as beautiful and romantic as the movies portray it. The shops there are wonderful, the food (like all of Italy) is fantastic, and the people are very nice. A break from noisy cars is something that is hard to find no matter where you go, but is greatly appreciated once you do. The view of the water right beside all of the housing is unbelievable; it is simply too marvelous to explain with words, and must be viewed in person.
What to do and see in Venice:
– Take a goldola ride through the canals and city passageways
– Go into some of the many shops that fill the stone streets (masks are very popular)
– Stop for a second on either the Rialto Bridge or the Bridge of Sighs (which has an interesting story behind it) and view Venice in its beauty
Once again, this is not meant to be an official guide of Italy, but merely the places that I have traveled and enjoyed the most. I hope it can lead you in the right direction.