Italy is undoubtedly one of the most desirable European countries, so before you go make sure to plan on adding some of these Italy bucket list activities to your itinerary.
It is adored for its beautiful landscapes, historic architecture, and mouthwatering food and wine. Every region has its unique character, so traveling around Italy offers much diversity, from ancient ruins to breathtaking mountains to pristine beaches.
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Although you could easily spend a month enjoying the beauty of this Mediterranean city, chances are that your time there is limited. So to help you make the most out of your trip, here are 10 Italy bucket list experiences you should not miss.
See The Colosseum In Rome
The Colosseum is undoubtedly the most famous landmark in Italy, holding a place on every person’s Italy bucket list. The historic oval amphitheater is located in the center of Rome and was built under the Flavian emperors between 70 and 80 AD, making it over 1,900 years old.
Historically, The Colosseum was used for Gladiatorial shows, where blood was shed in unimaginable amounts. Therefore, although this Roman landmark has incredible beauty, it carries a long history of gore and horror.
The Colosseum is the world’s largest amphitheater, standing 157 feet (48 meters) high with four levels. During its time of operation, it could fit over 50,000 spectators.
When you visit the Colosseum, you don’t just get to see it from the outside; you also can explore the interior, including a section that was once underground.
After checking out The Colosseum, be sure to visit The Roman Forum close by, which in the 7th century BC was the political, social, and commercial hub of the Roman Empire. Walking through the ruins here is a thought-provoking experience.
If you take a guided tour, you will learn about life there during that historical era.
Go On A Gondola Cruise In Venice
Venice is famous worldwide for its expansive canal system, beautiful architecture, and romantic ambiance. It is nicknamed the “City of Canals” and is often voted as one of the most picturesque towns in the country.
Of course, the most iconic activity in Venice is cruising the winding canals via a gondola. The memorable trip will take you through the floating city, going under the famous Rialto Bridge and passing many famous landmarks like St. Mark’s Square and the Bridge of Sighs.
Many gondola tours offer commentary, revealing the history of this one-of-a-kind city. As a hugely popular tourist activity, gondola rides are not cheap.
Still, it is an experience you won’t find anywhere else, so it is totally worth it. If you want to make it even more special or romantic, book a ride around sunset.
Go Shopping In Milan
The northern Italian city of Milan is one of the most fashionable cities in the world and home to some of Europe’s top fashion brands like Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. Therefore, a shopping trip to Milan is the ultimate bucket list experience for fashion enthusiasts.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, or Galleria for short, in central Milan, is Italy’s oldest active shopping gallery and a significant landmark not to be missed. The building is famous for its iron and glass dome roof and floor tiles with images of bulls.
These floor images carry a unique ritual where it is said to be good luck to step on the bull and turn three times.
Inside the Galleria, you’ll find all the top fashion labels, such as Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Borsalino, and Massimo Dutti. You’ll also find tons of dining and drinking options to keep you fueled during your shopping spree.
Be sure to grab an “Aperitivo” at Camparino in Galleria, the Milanese tradition of a late afternoon alcoholic drink.
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Eat Pizza In Naples
You can find top-quality pizza all over Italy, but the style and flavor can vary from region to region. Still, no foodie should miss out on the pizza experience in Naples, which is the birthplace of this tasty Italian dish.
Pizza was invented in Naples during the 18th-century, designed to be an affordable meal for working-class Neapolitans on the go. Despite its worldwide popularity, Naples continues to sell pizza for a very low-cost price, continuing the belief that this delicious dish should be accessible to everyone.
You will find incredible pizzerias on every corner in Naples; however, a few stand out. First, Sorbillo is one of the most popular restaurants in town, with endless queues spanning out the door.
Second, L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele is famous as it was featured in Julia Roberts’s movie, Eat, Pray, Love. Finally, Starita is a local favorite because of its generous toppings and perfect fluffy dough.
See The Leaning Tower Of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a familiar landmark to many, famous for its permanent tilted position. The iconic tower was constructed in the 12th-century, and it began leaning because it was built in sandy soil.
However, as its center of gravity has been carefully kept within its base, the tower will luckily not topple over.
By 1990, the tower was leaning at about a 10-degree angle. However, it has started to straighten up since then, which could be due to the restoration work.
The tower is a magnificent sight from the outside, but it is also possible to go inside and climb up it. Aside from being a unique experience, the climb to the top gives fantastic views of the city of Pisa.
Visit Lake Como
Lake Como is a beautiful resort area in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region, 53 miles (85 kilometers) from Milan. It is loved for its vast lake shaped like an upside-down Y and its dramatic scenic mountain backdrop as it is set against the foothills of the Alps.
A visit to Lake Como is a fantastic way to see some of Italy’s gorgeous landscapes, making for a nice change from city sightseeing. Here you can sail across the lake, relax on one of the beautiful shores, or visit the upscale lakeside villas.
Sail Along The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is a 31-mile (50-kilometer) stretch of coastline running along the Sorrentine Peninsula, south of Naples. What’s unique about this part of the country is the picturesque small towns that are perched between mountains & the sea, which made it a UNESCO-listed landscape.
The best way to explore this stunning coastline is via boat. By sailing the waters, you can admire the scenery and stop off at the Instagrammable towns of Positano, Amalfi, and Sorrento.
This region also has many attractions and activities, like visiting Grotta Dello Smeraldo (The Emerald Cave) and hiking the Path of the Gods.
Go Wine Tasting In Tuscany
Italy boasts 20 wine regions, with the most famous and scenic being the beautiful Tuscany, halfway between Milan and Rome. The region is best known for its Sangiovese-based dry red wines, such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
You can visit the wineries of Tuscany and sample the delights on a wine-tasting tour. Day trips usually run from Florence, Siena, Pisa, and Rome.
Many wine-tasting day trips include lunch with perfectly paired wines, and others include sightseeing in some Tuscany towns.
Go Beach Hopping In Sardinia
Sardinia is a large island off the east coast of Italy, about 117 mi (188 km) from the mainland. It is famous for its 1,243 mi (2,000 km) of coastline, numerous beautiful sandy beaches, and marvelous resorts, making it a popular beach vacation destination.
Then, inland you’ll find a stunning mountainous landscape with some lovely hiking trails and viewpoints. The Gulf of Orosei, in central-eastern Sardinia, is one of the most beautiful spots on the island.
In addition, Chia in the south has some of the most picturesque beaches thanks to the shallow, transparent waters and fine sand. You can fly there from Rome with a flight duration of around one hour, or take a ferry across from Olbia, which takes between 5 and 6 hours.
Visit The Ruins Of Pompeii
If you adore the historic ruins in Rome, a visit to Pompeii in the southern region of Campania is a must for your Italy bucket list. Pompeii was once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city until a tragic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD destroyed it.
Thousands of the residents lost their lives, and the town was buried under meters of ash and pumice. The ruins at Pompeii were first discovered late in the 16th century and were later turned into a preserved site.
Today, visitors can freely explore the excavated ruins of streets and houses on a Pompeii day trip from Naples or Rome. Many group tours also go to Mount Vesuvius, where you can hike to the crater to experience panoramic views of the Bay of Naples.
Final Thoughts On Italy Bucket List Experiences
This Italy bucket list is not an expansive selection by any means. There is so much beauty and wonder to discover throughout the Mediterranean country.
Still, these experiences are a must-do for anyone visiting for the first time. Italy is at its best anytime from spring to autumn, so start planning your trip today!
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