7 Places to See in Italy

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Italy’s warm hospitality, passionate people, and timeless allure make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a blend of history, art, and natural splendor. 

Here's our experiences, what we would do differently, what you need to pack, and where we want to go next!

Here's Our 7 Places You Need to See in Italy

1. Milan 

Milan Duomo

We took the train from Zurich to Lake Lugano and on to Milan in order to connect to a previously scheduled trip to Ireland (listen to our Podcast Episode 18 where we share more about this trip) and so this part of the trip was scheduled only a week or so in advance.  In order to get to Ireland most affordably we needed to fly out of Milan but it was too much to make the train journey and fly out the same day so we decided while in Milan, to see the city.

Famous Arcade Galleria Vittoria Emanuele

So what’s is there to see in Milan that was already on my bucket list?  The Last Supper of course! I went looking for tickets to discover they were already sold out but thankfully we were able to find a tour on Viator that included a walking tour of the city ending with a viewing of The Last Summer.  This tour met outside the Milan Duomo so while we didn’t go in we got to see it from the outside and then it walked through the famous shopping Arcade Galleria Vittoria Emanuele. In Italy, tour guides have to be highly trained and certified so you won’t be disappointed with a tour and it ended up being a great tour with lots of great information. 

Book the Milan City Walking Tour with The Last Supper Entry

Our flight was actually out of the nearby Bergamo airport, near Milan so after our tour we had booked a hotel there to be close to the airport so we had dinner.  I would have liked to have walked to the Citta Alta and see more of the city so if you are in Milan I would highly recommend spending a day and night in Bergamo but we were able to grab dinner Al fresco and I don’t know why we ordered this but they had a Pizza Americano and I think we just wanted to see what it was.  It was awful - it had something hot dogs (not sausage) and fries on it.  We wouldn’t even eat that here we like Diavola pizza so that was a mistake but memorable of course.  

Be aware that when flying in or out of Milan that your flight might be to this airport even if your flight says Milan especially if you are flying within Europe or on a discount airline.  There is a train connecting Bergamo to the Central Train Station in Milan.

Our "Americano" Pizza 

The convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where the Last Supper is located

The Last Supper located in the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy

2. Cinque Terre

We need to visit here again but I got to visit Cinque Terre (means Five Lands) back in 2006 when I was on a sports camp mission trip to a smaller town Torre Pellice helping them with outreach etc On our day off they wanted to take us somewhere so we went to Cinque Terre.  I think a lot more people have heard of and seen Cinque Terre now because it is so beautiful and picturesque.  Cinque Terre are the 5 towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore situated along the Mediterranean actually a smaller sea called the Ligurian Sea.  We had driven from Torre Pellice and so we parked and took the smaller train to access the towns, walked between them, swam in the ocean, got lunch and snacks at various stands and then headed back at the end of the day.  This was my first experience with squatty toilets in the floor of the train station and seeing the Mediterranean.  

Cinque Terre can also be accessed as a day trip from the port city of Livorno.  I definitely want to go back - in lower season - and spend a few day and nights here. 

A classic view of the colorful buildings of Cinque Terre 

3. Tuscany 

Speaking of Livorno we ported here when we took our Mediterranean cruise and opted to spend the day in Tuscany.  I think this is a destination you dream about seeing for yourself and I love the movie Under the Tuscan Sun where Diane Lane visits on a tour trip and just doesn’t get back on the bus and stays here. 

Through Viator I found a day trip to Tuscany from Livorno that had a back to the ship guarantee.  This would allow up to do a wine tasting, see a few of the town, have lunch, have our transportation, and get some information from our driver/guide .  This was through a company called Driver in Rome.  We only ended up having 1 other couple with us (who we had actually met at dinner on the ship).

The village of Volterra in Tuscany 

So if you’ve never been to Tuscany and you are on a cruise, I highly recommend an overview experience like this.  We got to see a working winery and have a tasting, lunch, and stroll through San Gimignano and Volterra and get gelato etc.  We also went to the winery Tenuta Torciano. I've seen on Instagram that you can also do cooking classes here as well so I'd love to do that when we return to Tuscany.

Book the Tuscany Tour from the Port of Livorno

So what does this day trip make us want to do? Stay a week in Tuscany.  I’d love to get a villa and go to wineries, take a cooking class at Tenuta Torciano, swim and just relax.  You could combine this with a few days in Florence, see the Leaning tower of Pisa and even see Cinque Terre. 

Overlooking Volterra in Tuscany, Italy

4. Rome 

So of course Rome is on the list for Italy and we saw the Colloseum and Roman Forum and the Vatican and we highly recommend booking tours for both of these so you can get all the information - do the underground tour of the Coliseum and the early morning tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. Stroll to the Spanish steps and toss your coins into the Trevi fountain.

But when I look back at our time in Rome what stand out the most?

Visiting the Catacombs

Seeing Keyhole of the Knights of Malta

Scott looking at the Vatican in the Distance from the Keyhole of the Knights of Malta

Stolling the Appian Way

Stopping for coffee, gelato, in a piazza for Aperol Spritz

Throwing our coins in the Trevi Fountain and getting scammed out of 10 Euros for a polaroid picture of us (don't let them take a picture of you for 1 Euro because then he wanted 10 for it).

Learning to take the train from our hotel

So just be sure not to miss the small moments in between when traveling.  They will provide you the greatest memories. 

Here's How to Book a Collosseum & Roman Forum Tour including tickets & The Early Morning Vatican Tour with Early Entry into the Sistine Chapel.

5. Pompeii

This was truly an amazing sight so if you are in Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast you can see at least part of this in an afternoon.  We took the commuter train from Naples and just downloaded the Rick Steves walking tour which gave a great overview of one of each type of house, business, brothel, baths, artifacts etc.  

We had taken the train down from Rome, checked into the hotel, got a recommendation for lunch and then headed down here so by the time we got here the crowds were clearing out, it wasn’t as hot, and the light was spectacular.

Scott walking the streets at Pompeii

We stayed in Napes for 2 nights and did this one day and the Amalfi coast, which we are going to talk about next.  If we had one more day, I would have liked to do a boat trip to Capri for the day. 

If we had to do this again I would have taken the train from Rome all the way down to Sorrento and then gone to Pompeii from there which would have put us closer to the.  We stayed in Naples because we had then Starwood points and we stayed at the Renaissance for free which on this trip really helped with the budget. Book a tour of Pompeii.

Pompeii in the late afternoon golden hour sun

So that brings us to...

6. Amalfi Coast 

Overlooking the Amalfi Coast towns from the road above

But we wanted to see Positano, Amalfi and drive along this coast.  We only had the day and ended up deciding that the bus was going to be too cumbersome so the hotel was able to book us a driver for the day from Naples so he could drive the coast and we could both look out, stop at viewpoints, stop in the towns, swim and have lunch without having to worry about parking so it really worked out great.

Again, just like almost any destination, we would love to stay here.  A boat trip off the coast would be fantastic.  

The beach in the town of Amalfi, Italy on the Amalfi Coast

We would recommend staying in Sorrento if you can only do a day trip or one of the smaller town if you have time. You can also book a day trip from Sorrento if you don't have a car and don't want to take the bus. 

With more time, can also take the bus or rent a car and drive.  We wouldn’t recommend a moped and just be prepared for traffic

A Roadside Stand on the Road near Positano

7. Torre Pellice and Turino 

Finally I’m going to talk about visiting Torre Pellice which is outside Turin or Turino where the winter olympics were held.  This is in Northern Italy with views of the Alps.  It was my first time in Italy and it is just gorgeous.  This was our home base for the mission trip and where the couple we were helping had their church.  We really got an insider look because the women from the church would feed us at the church an we stayed in some housing the church had and it was really a neat experience.  So here’s the tip from this one. If you ever have the opportunity to visit a smaller town, do it.  This could look like staying at an airbnb in someones home who will tell you the inside scoop of where to go and what to do and bonus points if you can find one where they prepare some of the meals and you can talk to them and get to know them.  I think that’s a really special way to get a different look at a new destination.  They showed us you can drink the water coming from nasoni drinking fountains, and took us to their favorite gelato shop and we played with their girls who were learning English, Italian, Spanish, and German all at the same time and so their sentences were a mish mash of languages which was so precious. 

What’s on our Italy destination list that we haven’t been to?

The Dolomites 

Venice

Florence

Sicily and southern italy 

The Lakes (Lake Garda and Lake Como)

Capri

Sardina 

A week in Tuscany

A Few Days and Nights in Cinque Terre 

Polignano a Mare 

 

Amalfi, Italy

What you Will Want to Pack for Italy

  • Be sure to pack your camera, even if it is just your phone and make sure you have plenty of memory because you will want to take a lot of pictures.
  • Good walking shoes for the cobblestone streets
  • Bring along clothes that cover knees and shoulders for going in churches 
  • A swimsuit if you will be near the Mediterrean 
  • We recommend not using a rollerboard bag since it will be difficult to navigate the trains and the cobblestone streets.  This is our favorite bag.

There are so many distinct areas to visit in Italy it is almost impossible to do it justice in just one visit.  We have collectively visited these places in 4 different trips to Italy.  I imagine that Italy is going to be staying on our countries to visit list for quite a while as we have so much more to explore.

We hope you enjoyed this post about the places you need to see in Italy and will found some inspiration to help you with your travel journeys.  If you want to hear our stories from these places in Italy, be sure to tune into our podcast episode, 7 places you Need to Visit in Italy.  

You might be interested in..

The Rome, Naples & Amalfi Coast was part of a longer 6 Week Summer Trip to Europe.

To hear about our adventures in Italy, listen to this podcast episode.

Check out all the tours we recommend.


 

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About Us...

 

Hi! We're Scott and Melissa

The Sunshine Travelers

 

We are a couple of travel obsessed explorers sharing our travel experiences and stories to inspire you to travel more and better. We are so happy to have you here.

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