When I think of Italy, the first things that come to mind are incredible food, gorgeous landscapes, friendly people and “La Dolce Vita”. Most people that I talk to actually think of the same!
Here are three of the top spots in Italy to go to for a dreamy holiday:
With its rich history, Greek, Roman, Spanish and Arabic influences are engrained into the Sicilian culture and architecture, making it particularly unique. The island has sandy beaches, a cuisine different than anywhere else in Italy (or the world), UNESCO World Heritage Sites throughout, volcanoes, and so much more. Where you stay on the island can make a big difference. If you plan ahead and with the help of tools like Wishsicily, you can rent one of the many villas with pools typically found in Sicily in a spot that is conveniently located for your interests and even enjoy some extra privacy. Surprisingly, it is not expensive at all and can actually be a great way to save some money.
Tuscany is simply a must. When I think back on all the artwork I have seen, one setting stands out the most – the rolling green hills of Tuscany, with gorgeous trees lining a curved driveway that lead to a home perched just on top of a hill. I think we all have seen some version of this! Florence is the bigger town in Tuscany, but I would say the magic happens as you explore the countryside of the small towns, Siena and San Gimignano included. You can eat and drink your way through Tuscany and then want to do it all over again.
The famous canals of Venice are a famous part of Veneto, but the region offers so much more. Lake Garda (the largest lake in Italy), the city of Verona (Romeo & Juliet, anyone?), the hill towns and beautiful architecture throughout.
There is so much beauty in Italy, so for first-time visitors it is important to keep in mind a few things so your visit can go as smoothly as possible!
- Italy was only unified in the late 1800s so each region has its own characteristics and typical dishes.
- When you’re out at restaurants, there is a cover charge (you’ll see coperto) that is especially high in touristy areas.
- Bring a water bottle and fill up at local fountains, for free! You will have to pay for water in restaurants so it is worth filling up outside.
- Café = bar. At most bars (and gelaterias for that matter), you order your coffee (or gelato) from the cashier, take your ticket to the barista and get your order there. It costs more to sit down and enjoy a drink, so stand up at the bar to save some money.
- Italians only drink a cappuccino before 11 am. You may get a silly look if you order one afterwards.
- When it comes to pizza, it will probably be very different than what you get at home! If you like a fluffy crust, that is Naples-style. Thin crust is Roman-style.
- If you’re on the go, visit a local market for some items or a bakery (panificio) for a slice of pizza.
- The main cities in Italy are very well connected. Look for the fast train to make the best time.
There are so many spots to visit in Italy and the regions are so different that I can’t imagine one or even two trips to Italy could ever be enough.
Have you ever been to Italy? What was your favourite place?
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