• 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: the Colosseum of Ancient Rome, the medieval Leaning Tower of Pisa, Michelangelo's David and Botticelli's Venus, the playful Baroque exuberance of the Trevi Fountain…and the elegant decay that surrounds the canals of 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 Romantic 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 grand Il Campo square and striking striped cathedral.

▲▲▲ Rome Italy's capital, the Eternal City, studded with Roman remnants (Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon), romantic floodlit-fountain squares, and the Vatican — home to one of Italy's top museums and the 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 hillside, with a divinely Giotto-decorated basilica.

▲▲ Orvieto and Civita More hill-town adventures, featuring Orvieto's classic views and ornate cathedral plus the adorable pocket-sized village of Civita di Bagnoregio.

▲▲ Naples Gritty, in-love-with-life port city featuring vibrant street life and a top archaeological museum.

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

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

▲ 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.

▲ Pisa and Lucca Two classic towns: Pisa, with its famous Leaning Tower and surrounding Field of Miracles, and Lucca, with a charming walled old center.

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

▲ Pompeii and Nearby Famous ruins of the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, stopped in their tracks by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

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

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

Riviera Towns near the Cinque Terre More Italian Riviera fun, including the beach towns of Levanto, Sestri Levante, the larger Santa Margherita Ligure, and trendier Portofino nearby, and to the south, resorty Portovenere and workaday La Spezia (transportation hub).

Plan

Photos

  • Capuchin Crypt Bones, Rome, Italy
  • Cicchetti, Venice, Italy
  • Wine Seller
  • Padua, Italy
  • St. Francis Basilica Interior, Assisi, Italy
  • Palio Horses, Siena, Tuscany, Italy
  • Ponte della Costituzione, Venice, Italy
  • Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy
  • Public Drinking Water, Assisi, Italy
  • Taxi Drivers, Amalfi Coast, Italy
  • Theater of Taormina, Sicily, Italy
  • Grand Canal View, Venice, Italy
  • Duomo Pulpit, Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa, Italy
  • View from Tower, Pisa, Italy
  • Fig Leaf on Statue, Italy
  • Colorful Houses, Burano, Venice, Italy
  • Dome of Duomo, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
  • Jewelry Display, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
  • Handwritten Menu, Rome, Italy
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Interior, Milan, Italy
  • Leonardo's Horse Sculpture, Milan, Italy
  • Presepi Nativity Kings, Naples, Italy
  • Ceiling Mosaic, San Vitale Church, Ravenna, Italy
  • Colosseum Exterior Night, Rome, Italy
  • Meal with Wine, Milan, Italy
  • Mosaic of Theodora, San Vitale Church, Ravenna, Italy
  • Cruise Ship at Venice, Italy
  • Evening at Campo de' Fiori, Rome, Italy
  • TV Crew with Leonardo's Last Supper, Milan, Italy
  • Wine Bar with Bras on Ceiling, Volterra, Tuscany, Italy
  • Train Ticket Machines, Italy
  • View of San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
  • Gravestones in Monumental Cemetery, Milan, Italy
  • Street in Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio, Italy
  • Limoncello Bottles, Amalfi Coast, Italy
  • Colosseum Tunnels, Rome, Italy
  • Outdoor Cafe in Evening, Rome, Italy
  • Entry Arch, Volterra, Tuscany, Italy
  • Naples Harbor and Mt. Vesuvius, Italy
  • Pharmacy Sign, Italy
  • Cast of Disaster Victim, Pompeii, Italy
  • Crowd in Courtyard of Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy
  • Appian Way, Rome, Italy
  • Domaine Quo Vadis Church, Appian Way, Rome, Italy
  • Agriturismo, Pienza, Tuscany, Italy
  • Gondola in Venice, Italy
  • Couple atop Torre Guinigi, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
  • Woman Eating Italian Breakfast
  • Pilgrims at Scala Santa, Rome, Italy
  • Former Ice Man Display, Bolzano, Italy
  • Two Guys Communicating, Milan, Italy
  • People Outside Tourist Information Office, Tuscany, Italy
  • Gondolas on Small Canal, Venice, Italy
  • Harbor view, La Spezia, Liguria, Italy
  • La Befana Dolls, Italy
  • Roman Theater, Ostia Antica, Italy
  • Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
  • Victor Emmanuel Monument, Rome, Italy
  • Woman Restaurant Chef, Italy
  • Vernazza Harbor, Cinque Terre, Italy
  • St. Peter's Dome Interior, Vatican, Rome, Italy
  • Dining in Montepulciano, Italy
  • Acqua Alta, St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy
  • Amalfi Church
  • Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy
  • Pantheon Exterior, Rome, Italy
  • Pre-Disaster Harbor, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
  • Tourist Info Booth for Cruisers, Livorno, Italy
  • Cooking Student, Tuscany, Italy
  • City Bus, Florence, Italy
  • St. Peter's Exterior at Night, Rome, Italy
  • Traveler in Room, Montone, Italy
  • Street at Night, Oltrarno, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
  • Chalkboard Restaurant Menu, Venice, Italy
  • Hotel Reception Staff, Venice, Italy
  • Hiking Family, Alpe di Siusi, Dolomites, Italy
  • Italian toll booths
  • Orvieto Cathedral
  • Church view from Sassi, Matera, Basilicata, Italy
  • Traffico limitato road sign
  • Volterra, Tuscany, Italy
  • Spiral Staircase, Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy
  • Basilica of St. Anthony, Padua, Italy
  • Duomo Spires, Milan, Italy
  • Beggar and Tourist in Venice, Italy
  • Tourists at House of Juliet, Verona, Italy
  • Bus Riders Vulnerable to Pickpockets, Rome, Italy
  • Gondolas in Narrow Canal, Venice, Italy
  • Roman Arena, Verona, Italy
  • David Copy, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy
  • Siena Campo
  • Montone restaurant
  • sicily-mt-etna
  • rome-trastevere-neighborhood
  • sicily-agrigento-temple-of-concordia
  • sicily-cefalu
  • sicily-puppets
  • sicily-syracuse-market
  • sicily-erice-fortresses
  • sicily-marsala-windmill
  • sicily-syracuse-cathedral
  • sicily-ragusa
  • italy-gelato-break
  • rome-trastevere-piazza-santa-maria
  • italy-cinque-terre
  • venice-gondola-ride
  • Florence, the Arno, and the Ponte Vecchio
  • Manarola with moon light at night
  • The Cinque Terre
  • Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna
  • On the train in the Cinque Terre
  • Old Town Beach, Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy
  • Cupola exterior, Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy
  • Rooftops of Volterra in Tuscany, Italy
  • A couple sits outside St. Peters in Vatican City
  • Harbor Beach, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
  • Vernazza
  • Doges Palace and Square, Venice, Italy

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