• Lucca

Italy

Bell'Italia! Italy has Europe's richest, craziest culture. After all, this nation is the cradle of European civilization — established by the Roman Empire and carried on by the Roman Catholic Church. As you explore Italy, you'll stand face-to-face with some of the world's most iconic images from this 2,000-year history: Rome's ancient Colosseum and playful Trevi Fountain, Pisa's Leaning Tower, Florence's Renaissance masterpieces (Michelangelo's David and Botticelli's Venus), and the island city of elegant decay — Venice. Beyond these famous sights, though, Italy offers Europe's richest culture. Traditions still live within a country that is vibrant and fully modern. Go with an eye open to both the Italy of the past and of the present.

Places

At a Glance

▲▲▲ Venice Dreamy island city, powerful in medieval times; famous for St. Mark's Basilica, the Grand Canal, and singing gondoliers.

▲▲▲ Cinque Terre Five idyllic Riviera hamlets along a rugged coastline (and part of a national park), connected by scenic hiking trails and dotted with beaches.

▲▲▲ Florence The cradle of the Renaissance, with the world-class Uffizi Gallery, Brunelleschi's dome-topped Duomo, Michelangelo's David, and Italy's best gelato.

▲▲▲ Siena Florence's smaller and (some say) more appealing rival, with its magnificent Il Campo square, striking striped cathedral, and medieval pageantry.

▲▲▲ Rome Italy's capital, the sprawling Eternal City, studded with Roman ruins (Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon), romantic floodlit-fountain squares, and home to Vatican City and the astonishing Sistine Chapel.

▲▲ Milan Powerhouse city of commerce and fashion, with the prestigious La Scala opera house, Leonardo's The Last Supper, and three airports.

▲▲ Heart of Tuscany Picturesque, wine-soaked villages of Italy's heartland, including mellow Montepulciano, Renaissance Pienza, and Brunello-fueled Montalcino.

▲▲ Assisi St. Francis' hometown, perched on a hilltop, with a divinely Giotto-decorated basilica.

▲▲ Orvieto and Civita More hill-town adventures, featuring Orvieto's classic views, Classico wine, and ornate cathedral plus pint-sized, hilltop village of Civita di Bagnoregio.

▲▲ Naples Gritty, in-love-with-life port city featuring vibrant street life and a top archaeological museum starring the treasures from ancient Pompeii.

▲▲ Amalfi Coast and Paestum String of seafront villages — including hilly Positano and workaday Amalfi — tied together by a scenic mountainous coastal road. Farther south is Paestum, with its well-preserved ancient Greek temples.

▲▲ Pompeii and Nearby Famous ruins of the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, with their nemesis, Mount Vesuvius, looming on the horizon.

▲ The Lakes Two relaxing lakes, each with low-key resort towns and a mountainous backdrop: Lake Como, with quaint Varenna and upscale Bellagio; and Lake Maggiore, with straightforward Stresa, manicured islands, and elegant villas.

▲ Near Venice Several interesting towns: Padua (with Giotto's gloriously frescoed Scrovegni Chapel),  Vicenza (Palladian architecture), and Verona (Roman amphitheater plus Romeo and Juliet sights).

▲ The Dolomites Italy's might alps, featuring Bolzano (home of Ötzi the Iceman), the charming village of Castelrotto, and Alpe di Siusi (alpine meadows laced with lifts and hiking trails).

Riviera Towns More Italian Riviera fun, including the coastal towns of Levanto, double-beached Sestri Levante, the larger Santa Margherita Ligure, gem-like Portofino, and to the south, resorty Porto Venere.

▲ Pisa and Lucca Two classic towns: Pisa, with its iconic Leaning Tower and surrounding Field of Miracles, and Lucca, with an inviting old center, encircled by a wide medieval wall you can stroll or bike.

▲ Volterra and San Gimignano Two hill towns in northern Tuscany: vibrant, refreshing Volterra and multi-towered, touristy San Gimignano.

▲ Sorrento and Capri The seaside resort port of Sorrento, and just a short cruise away, the jet-set island getaway of Capri, with its eerie Blue Grotto.

Plan

Photos

Watch

Read

Listen

Italy Audio Tours