Italy is one of the most magical countries in the world that is steeped in history which allows your imagination to run wild. Everyone knows about the Romans due to their empire building and the fact that many European and North African countries are still littered with their magnificent ruins. But more than just the history, Italy is also famed for its geographical diversity as in the north you will find the Alps where you can practice skiing and alpine sports; the centre of the country is dominated by Tuscany and its wonderful cuisine, and the south is full of beautiful islands and beaches. With so much to do, it can be difficult to know where to start so here we are going to take a look at the things you must do when you are travelling to Italy.
Pompeii is rightly world-famous for its stunning ruins caused by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. When the volcano suddenly erupted and the people living in the town of Pompeii were caught without any notice and the ash clouds that rained down upon the town left its inhabitants rooted to the spot, cast in stone forever. Many tried to escape but were unable and as a result, you can still find houses and street scenes just as they were 2,000 years ago.
Today, it is an unbelievable tourist destination because not only can you view a time capsule into the lives of the Romans, but you can also see the art, graffiti and some rather rude paintings that the natives of Pompeii lived with which give an indication into their personalities and customs.
Head to Venice
Venice is the jewel in the crown of the Adriatic Sea and has been visited open-mouthed by travellers for over 1,000 years. The city itself is built on a lagoon and the surrounding islands and as such there are over 400 bridges and the chief mode of transport is the gondola that traverses the many canals. The centre of Venice is St Mark’s square, and according to the travel gurus from expertvagabond.com/venice-italy-things-to-do/, it is a great place to people-watch outside a bar with an Aperol Spritz and to get an inside view of the daily lives of the local Venetians. However, if you’re having lunch, be careful of pigeons – they can and will steal your food as soon as they get the chance
Tuscany is the heart of the wine region of Italy and many famous wines come from this area such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. During the hot summer months you can hire a car and drive from winery to winery sampling their wares. Many also offer inclusive deals whereby you can spend the morning learning about the history of the vines and how the wines are made before you settle down to a hearty Tuscan meal accompanied by a few glasses.
Once you have spent the day in the countryside you can head to one of the region’s magnificent cities such as Siena or Florence, to sample an unrivalled nightlife and more wonderful food and wine. You really will be spoiled in Tuscany so make sure it is a stop on your Italian adventure.
Head to the lakes
Everybody loves a landscape of beautiful shimmering lakes as blue as azure that have formed in the valleys of vast mountains, and if this sounds like heaven to you then you need to head to Italy’s lake district in the north of the country.
The most famous is Lake Como where many celebrities have summer homes but there are many other smaller lakes such as Lake Lugano and Lake Iseo that are just as beautiful and often more tranquil than their tourist-heavy neighbours. You can spend your days travelling the lakes by boat and then can stop off in one of the tiny villages for a traditional evening meal, or you can head up into the mountains and enjoy a meal with a stunning view.
As we have discovered there are many diverse locations in Italy that should not be missed if you are thinking of heading to the country. Whether you are looking for ancient history or want to try the famed gastronomy of the regions you will not be disappointed. The north offers stunning lake scenes where you can relax and while away the days, Tuscany offers the most incredible food and wines imaginable, and if you want to be transported to a romantic world that doesn’t seem possible, then you must head to Venice, to see the sites of this unique city.