Italy Vacations, Tours, Travel Packages & Experiences
If there is one country that offers a multitude of reasons to travel to Europe, it is Italy. The list is long and varied. On an Italy vacation, one can start with the natural geographical beauty of this destination. There are remarkable mountains such as the Apennines which run through the heart of the country, the Dolomites which offer amazing skiing and several active volcanoes such as Vesuvius, Stromboli and Etna. There is the beautiful and dramatic coastal scenery in places such as the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre Coast.
One can add to these, the many coastal resorts such as those found on the Mediterranean and Adriatic coasts. The unique Italian Lakes have their own brand of beauty in the north of Italy. Want to visit an island on a trip to Italy? Consider Capri, Ischia or even Sardinia on a trip to Italy.
The many charming Italian cities that have outstanding architecture and a long history are to be found everywhere. It is hard to find any town or city that does not have an attractive old centre and probably an incredible church or cathedral. Culture abounds musically in the form of opera, ballet and musical concerts, both classical and traditional. Italy’s museums and art galleries are outstanding and world-famous. There are colourful festivals taking place annually all over the country.
Then there are some of the world’s best-known wines to be enjoyed on Italy vacations which are produced in several Italian provinces. Italian wine is exported all over the world, and names like Barolo, Brunello and Chianti are well-known. On a trip to Italy, the wine goes with good food and there is absolutely no doubt, Italy excels in this regard with not just its mouthwatering pasta and pizza but also its many regional dishes. Italian cuisine is truly one of the most diverse in the world, and in any region, or even city and village you visit, there are different specialities. And what can beat having a meal at an alfresco restaurant, available most times of the year, as Italy has, for the most part, a temperate climate. Oh, and don’t forget to try the delicious Italian ice cream (or as it is known gelato).
On an Italy vacation, you can indulge in some of the best shopping in the world. Italian merchandise is renowned for its style and quality especially its leather goods. In Italy, fine craftsmanship is available everywhere. Consider also items such as perfume and ceramics. And to conclude the list, there are the Italians themselves with their zest for life which is reflected in their friendly and sunny smiles.
One fact about a trip to Italy is that is not difficult to get around the country from one place to the next. There is an excellent rail network and the Autostradas make driving easy. So the big problem is how much time do you have available to spend here and what destinations to choose. To a degree, it depends on your interests and inclinations.
What are the top cities to visit in Italy?
Rome - The Eternal City
Most Italy vacations start with Rome, the eternal city. The numerous Roman sites are a must to visit such as the Colosseum and the Forum filled with a vast collection of Roman ruins consisting of temples, triumphal arches and many other remains.
In the centre of Rome, the Vatican is the home of St Peter’s Basilica, the site where Peter, the disciple was martyred. The interior is vast and contains a large number of priceless works of art. The grottos house various tombs of kings, queens and popes including Peter’s Tomb built in his memory. Also in the Vatican City is the renowned Sistine Chapel with its wonderful frescoes on the walls and the ceiling including works by Michelangelo. The Vatican Museum is one of the most important Museum complexes in the world, to be enjoyed on an Italy vacation. The Colosseum, although not in its original completion state, has stood the test of time and is something to behold. This was the arena where gladiator games took place and which held space for 50,000 spectators. Close by is the ancient Roman Forum which was used for celebrations, funerals and other events. It was only excavated in the early 1900s. Climb to the top of nearby Palatine Hill for panoramic views of the city.
The Roman Pantheon is the best-preserved building of ancient Rome. It was a temple which was dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome and built between 118 and 125 AD. It is a circular temple made of concrete with a Greek-style facade and a lovely dome rising above its walls. After the Renaissance period, (1300-1700 AD), the Pantheon became a designated tomb for some of the city's artists and elite including the painter Raphael and former kings of Italy. The Piazza Navona is one of the many beautiful and charming squares in Rome containing 3 fountains of which the most remarkable is one by Bernini. Pleasant cafes and restaurants are dotted around the square. The Trevi Fountain is a Baroque architectural masterpiece that shows the god Neptune riding in a shell-shaped chariot led by seahorses. It is a tradition to throw 3 coins into the fountain to either find love or to return to Rome. The Spanish Steps is an elaborate, delightful staircase with 135 steps where both the locals and tourists congregate. There is a beautiful fountain in the Palazzo di Spagna and, at the top, there is the centuries-old Trinita del Monti Church.
You can also stroll along the sophisticated Via Veneto with its sophisticated cafes and restaurants eventually reaching the wonderful leafy green park, the Villa Borghese. You can shop until you drop on the Via del Corso or the Via Condotti. You can dine in the special atmospheric neighbourhood of Trastevere with its plethora of excellent restaurants and you can easily stumble across one of the many beautiful and charming piazzas where you can soak up the ambience and take in the architectural magnificence while sitting at an outdoor café drinking your espresso.
Learn more about Rome Vacations here
Florence is known as the Cradle of Civilization due to its riches to be found in its art galleries and museums, such as the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace and the Galleria dell’Accademia. The Duomo or cathedral is an outstanding structure which dominates the centre of the city. The Arno River runs through the middle of the city and its most famous bridge is the Ponte Vecchio, home to a number of gold and silver shops.
Legendary Venice is well-known for its canals and gondolas, certainly but there is much more to enjoy here on an Italy vacation package. St. Mark’s Square is the site of St. Mark’s Cathedral with its bell tower. Explore the backstreets of Venice to unlock its many charms and perhaps take a trip to a neighbouring island such as Venice, Lido or Merano and Burano, famous for their glassware.
Milan is a vibrant city and is known for its magnificent cathedral, its opera house, La Scala and its shopping arcade, the Galleria. But also, there are pleasant neighbourhoods, excellent shopping areas and outstanding art galleries and museums. It is also, the gateway to some of Italy’s major lakes.
Tuscany is very well-known for its wine productivity certainly but it is also a region to get to know medieval hill towns such as San Gimignano, Volterra and Montepulciano. Take time to explore the impressive medieval cities of Siena with its annual pageant, Il Palio, Lucca, an old walled city and Pisa, with its famous leaning tower. For exotic and dramatic coastal scenery, head to the Cinque Terre while on an Italy vacation.
Nearby in Umbria are the equally attractive hill towns of Assisi and Perugia. In Emilia-Romagna, Bologna is known as the gastronomic heart of Italy and Ravenna has its world-renowned amazing frescoes. Further north is the wonderful city of Verona, the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with its open-air arena offering world-class opera performances in the summer.
Siena – Tuscany’s Jewel
Siena is perhaps Italy’s loveliest medieval city to visit on an Italy vacation. You can wander through the old narrow streets and feel you have truly stepped back in time. The centre of Siena is the Piazza del Campo, once a Roman forum, somewhat circular in shape, with a ring of medieval-style buildings on its outer rim. Your visit to Siena may coincide with Il Palio, a very special and colourful event which takes place only twice a year. The pageant starts with a horse race around the Piazza del Campo and is a contest between 10 of the 17 Contrades (central districts/neighbourhoods) of Siena.
What are the top places to visit in Italy?
The Italian Lakes are stiff competition for Switzerland’s lakes on Italy vacations. Lake Como is a beautiful and enchanting lake with a number of attractive lakeside towns such as Menaggio, Bellagio and Tremezzo. Lake Garda is Italy’s largest and possibly most beautiful lake and sits at the foot of the mountains to the north. Lake Maggiore has its picturesque villages and attractive town, Stresa. For skiers, the Dolomites are Italy’s answer for world-class skiing with International class ski resorts such as Cortina d’Ampezzo and Madonna di Campiglio.
Pompeii and Vesuvius
Pompeii was the scene of the major volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Excavations were undertaken much later in time and unearthed a typical Roman city which includes a Roman Forum, an Amphitheatre built in 79 AD, one of the oldest in the world and the Temple of Jupiter. Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe. It is best known for its eruption in 79 AD that destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It has erupted about 36 times since then and the most recent eruption was in 1944 AD.
The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is known for its stunning Amalfi Drive along a stretch of road that runs between Sorrento and the town of Amalfi. The road is carved out of the side of the coastal cliffs and offers spectacular and breathtaking views down to the sea and on the other side, views of the towering cliffs above. There is a series of picturesque towns all of which allow for a charming stopover. Positano is the Amalfi Coast's most photogenic town where houses seem to tumble down to the sea. There are steep streets lined with hotels, restaurants and small boutique shops.
The Island of Capri
Capri is divided into two parts - Capri Town and Anacapri, the latter perched on top of a hill offering fantastic views. Capri still retains an unspoilt charm with its grand villas and abundance of brilliantly-coloured bougainvillaea. The Blue Grotto is its most famous site. This is a sea cave illuminated by a natural vivid blue light. You need to take a boat excursion to view it although it is possible to swim into it.
The Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre on the Mediterranean coast of Tuscany is not dissimilar to the Amalfi Coast. It is a gorgeous 9.5 kilometre/6 mile stretch of coastline along which are 5 small, traffic-free towns. The 5 towns are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The most popular town is Vernazza which has a castle, remnants of an old city wall, a waterfront square, a harbour and a small beach. The whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This southern part of the Alps is as much Austrian in flavour as Italian. The city of Bolzano is the gateway to the Dolomites. In winter, it is a wonderland for skiers with many excellent ski resorts. In summer, after the snow melts, there is an abundance of natural beauty consisting of green forests, waterfalls, orchards and pastureland. Cable cars and chairlifts provide easy access to high altitudes. For hikers and walkers, there are well-marked trails and maintained hiking paths.
The Italian Lakes
There are four major lakes in the Italian lakes district, Garda, Maggiore, Como and Lugano. Each one has its own individual character. What they do have in common is their geographical location – the northern part of Italy. While on an Italy vacation, they offer a pleasant contrast to the cultural destinations for which Italy is known. Lake Garda is the largest of the Italian lakes and possibly the most beautiful while on a trip to Italy. The northern part of the lake is surrounded by mountains. The lake has numerous small islands and five main ones of which the largest is Isola del Garda. Lake Maggiore is the second-largest and the longest of the Italian lakes stretching into Switzerland. Regular boat services link both the towns and the islands in the lake. The principal resort town on the lake is Stresa which tends to attract an upscale clientele on Italy vacations due to its chic shops, restaurants and hotels. Lake Como is a rival to Lake Garda as the most beautiful of all the lakes on an Italy vacation. There are some delightful resort towns gracing its shores. Bellagio is a charming, small town located on a promontory with a waterfront promenade. Como is a lively and historic town situated at the southern end of the lake and has an impressive cathedral. Menaggio is a popular resort offering some enjoyable walking excursions. Lake Lugano lies between Maggiore and Como and the Italian section is one-third of the whole lake, the remainder being in Switzerland. Although the smallest of the four lakes mentioned here, it has much beauty, character and charm to enjoy on an Italy vacation. There are many picturesque Venetian-style villages which hug the shoreline.
Learn more about vacations to the Italian Lakes District here
When is the Best Time to Visit Italy?
It depends on the region you wish to visit plus when are the busy and quieter times. If you are considering a beach resort, avoid July and August when the weather is too hot and very busy with local tourists taking vacations. As far as the cities of Rome, Florence and Venice, the best times are April to late June and September and October to avoid the very long lines at historic sites, museums and galleries. Prices are usually cheaper at this time. Generally, summers are hot throughout Italy and can be exceptionally hot in the south including Sicily. Winters can be damp and chilly, although, from Rome south, the temperatures are mild. The best weather in Italy is in spring and fall with pleasant daytime temperatures and comfortable evenings. The rainiest months all over are usually October and November.
What Type of Tours are Available in Italy
You can enjoy an Italy vacation on one of our independent pre planned Classic Tours which are designed to offer the best of the region selected. We can customize any itinerary required using self-drive or train travel prearranged itineraries. You can select one of our escorted tours. Take a look at our city stopovers which can be combined. What about the cruise beginning and ending in Rome? For the more energetic traveller, we offer easy walking or more strenuous hiking, biking and kayaking itineraries. And we also offer our special “Stays of Distinction” stopovers in Rome, Florence, Venice and Sorrento. The choice is yours.
What Else Should I Know about an Italy Vacation?
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Italy vacation packages.
Spoilt for choice no doubt on an Italy vacation but what a choice. Italy totally delights the eyes, the senses and the soul.
Italy Vacation Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to an Italy vacation.
Learn about the history and culture of Italy, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Italy's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Italy for yourself. Start exploring...book your Italy vacation today!
"Globetrotting with Goway" blog articles
For some additional reading, the following articles are from our blog “Globetrotting with Goway”….. a great source of information for those people who are, or who want to be, world travellers!
Extend your Stay
Consider an additional stopover to your Italy vacation at one of Goway's other European destinations. You can choose from a Paris vacation, a London vacation or an Amsterdam vacation. This can be done stopping over en route to or from Italy.
DELUXE | PRIVATE-GUIDED: Take an intimate journey into Rome to discover the heart of the city and its fascinating history. Visit beloved landmarks on a private walking tour, admire the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums before the crowds arrive, and explore the restricted underground dungeons of the Colosseum.More Details
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