Top 10 Things to See and Do
1. The biggest and most famous amphitheatre in the Roman world and one of Italy’s major icons, no visit to Rome would be complete without a visit to the awe-inspiring Colosseum. Inaugurated in 80 AD and home to the original gladiatorial games, the cavernous Colosseum was built to seat 50,000 spectators; guided tours of the top tier and hypogeum of Rome’s most majestic landmark are available to the public, but be sure to book in advance.
2. The combination of fresh air, wide-open water, soaring mountains and sublime weather make Lake Como a beautiful destination for a sailing holiday. For those wishing to relax, learn the ropes and take their time, dinghy sailing is very popular, while more serious sailors will enjoy the frequent regattas and sailing championships.
3. The astonishingly beautiful Sistine Chapel is an absolute must-visit: world-renowned for two of Michelangelo’s most awe-inspiring creations (the Genesis frescoes on the ceiling and his depiction of the last judgement – Giudizio Universale – on the end wall), it is one of the worlds most celebrated public spaces, and nothing short of breathtaking.
4. Rising imposingly over the landscape of eastern Sicily, the majestic Mount Etna is Europe’s largest live volcano (and one of the worlds most active!) Visit the Parco dell’Etna, which encompasses the volcano and its slopes, and explore its captivatingly diverse natural environment, from the deserts of lava to the verdant alpine forests.
5. One of Florence’s proudest attractions, the Uffizi Gallery located in the Palazzo degli Uffizi houses collections that span the entirety of art history, with their excellent Renaissance collection being their crown jewel. To avoid long queues at the entrance, it is worth pre-booking Uffizi tickets online.
6. The leaning tower of Pisa vies with the Colosseum for the coveted title of Italy’s most iconic landmark, and is certainly one of the most intriguing architectural structures from medieval Europe. Construction of the tower began in 1173, was halted a decade later when the first three tiers began to tilt, and resumed in 1272 with little success in their attempts to bolster the foundations and rectify the lean. It is said to tilt by an extra 1mm each year, and access to the tower is limited to 40 people at a time.
7. From secluded sandy coves to buzzing beachfronts with all the bells and whistles, the stunning coast of Amalfi has a beach for every occasion. Whether you want water sports, secluded sunbathing, fishing opportunities or spectacular cliff top panoramas, the Amalfi region will provide.
8. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient ruins of Pompeii truly defy description. An extraordinarily well-preserved relic of ancient life, Pompeii’s colourful history comes to life as you wander through the excavation site and outdoor museum of an ancient Roman settlement, where everything from Roman-era paintings to tables and assorted ornaments have been frozen in time.
9. Sicily is home to some of the best preserved Greek ruins in the world – including many of those found in Greece itself! Agrigeto’s Valle dei Templi is a vast archaeological site that encompasses not only not only fascinating Greek remains (including the Temple of Concord, one of the best preserved Greek temples in the world) but a large section of the Roman quarter, dating back to 4th Century B.C.
10. Milan’s resplendent Duomo (cathedral) rises above the city in a series of ornate spires and curlicues, its dazzling white façade reflecting Milan’s elegance, creativity and style right back at it. The cavernous interior is no less arresting, with vast stained glass windows above the early Christian baptistery and crypt, where the remains of the saintly Carlo Borromeo are on display in a crystal case.
Culture in Italy
The rich vibrancy of Italian culture is in evidence everywhere you look in Italy, from its spectacular architecture, multitude of art galleries, libraries and museums, world-renowned fashion brands, delicious cuisine and friendly, gregarious people. The family is at the centre of the Italian social structure, with children commonly living in the family home until they marry, and the extended family often all living together in one residence in the south of Italy.
Top 10 Honeymoon Experiences
1. Take a gondola ride along the serene canals of Venice, a city where romance emanates from around each corner of the narrow waterways and every picturesque facades of the baroque buildings and palaces. Choose from any number of romance-focused gondola tour options, from being serenaded by your Gondolier to enjoying a romantic, gourmet meal for two as you glide through the city.
2. With its rolling hills scattered with picture-perfect villages, roman ruins and majestic castles, it is no surprise that Tuscany is consistently a favourite destination for honeymooners. Combine the blissful countryside with a wine tour, where you can explore the regions many gorgeous vineyards (and sample their prestigious produce!) while accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide.
3. Take a leisurely stroll around Lake Como for the chance to truly absorb the breadth of its beauty; wander through the quaint villages, or tackle one of the mountain hiking trails if you’re in the mood for a challenge.
4. Actually closer to Africa than Italy geographically, the island of Sardinia boasts pristine, white sandy beaches and translucent turquoise waters to rival those of the Caribbean islands. From buzzing resorts to remote islands, its beaches offer everything from laidback lounging in a sun bed to sipping cocktails in beach bars, or surfing on the windier north east coast.
5. It perhaps goes without saying, but enjoying Italy’s endless array of gastronomic delights will constitute a major part of your honeymoon! Pasta and pizza are merely the tip of the iceberg in a country where everything from chic-bistros and Michelin-starred restaurants to canteen-style cafes, bustling markets and lively street stalls abound, and all can be relied upon to serve up something delicious and novel.
6. Escape to Sicily for relaxing Spa’s and thermal baths that date back to the Roman era, developing around natural hot springs and offering a diverse range of therapeutic and beauty treatment
7. Rome’s own country within a city, the Vatican city is home to the resplendent Sistine Chapel, the Vatican palace and museums, and of course, the pope. Pay a visit to this tiny sovereign state of ornate architecture, devout religion and colourful history, and enjoy the Vatican museum, widely recognised as one of the best in Italy.
8. Everyone should explore the stunningly romantic Amalfi Coast at least once in their lives – and what better (or more memorable) time than on your honeymoon? Wander through the perfumed lemon groves that cling to the sides of cliffs, venture through the serene, whitewashed fishing towns and relax on the warm, golden sands, looking out towards a horizon where sapphire sea and sky merge to become indistinguishable.
9. Home to the world’s most famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, Verona is a city with enough romance and drama to satisfy any the most passionate of honeymooners. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, days can be spent exploring the pink-hued medieval building and sipping cool glasses of prosecco in shady squares. If you visit in summer, watch some of opera’s biggest names at the 2000-year-old arena.
10. Hire bicycles and take a romantic cycle ride through the cobbled streets of Florence, exploring the city that has long been dubbed an art lovers paradise. Stop by at the beautiful Piazzale Michelangelo, a square dedicated entirely to Michelangelo and his works, where you can also enjoy awe-inspiring panoramic views of Florence and the luxuriant landscape that surrounds it.