Italy’s Top 14 Most Attractive Places You Shouldn’t Miss

It’s no surprise that Italy is a top choice for vacationers around the World. But you don’t have to go to Florence or the Amalfi Coast on every trip to Italy. This article explores some of the most stunning, off-the-beaten-path destinations in Italy.

Vatican Museums Vati

Vatican Museums Vati, italy

The Vatican Museums, which opened in the early 1600s and are part of the Vatican City of Italy, show works that the Catholic church has collected over the years. About 70,000 pieces are in the museums, but only about 20,000 are on display. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic cut the number of visitors by 81% in 2020, it was still the fourth most visited art museum in the World.

The Vatican Museums are at the Vatican, which is near the River Tiber. Pope Julius II started the Vatican Museums in the early 1600s. They have one of the best art collections in the World. The Vatican Museums have works of art, archeology, and ethno-anthropology, like Egyptian mummies and Etruscan bronzes. They also have some essential rooms in art, like those painted by Raphael and the Sistine Chapel, which Michelangelo painted. The Vatican Museums are a must-see for everyone, whether they are interested in art, history, or God.

The Vatican Museums are a collection of art and Christian museums inside Vatican City.

More than 70,000 paintings and sculptures are in the Vatican Museums’ collections, which are shown in over 54 galleries.

Classical sculptures, tapestries, and paintings by Raphael, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Bernini, and da Vinci are on display.

They also have a collection of Modern Religious Art by artists like Carlo Carrà, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Salvador Dal, and Pablo Picasso.

Colosseum, Italy

Colosseum, Italy

The Flavian emperors built the Colosseum, also called the Flavian Amphitheatre. It is a huge amphitheater in Rome. The Colosseum was started to be built sometime between 70 and 72 CE when Vespasian was emperor. It is on the land that used to be Nero’s Golden House, just east of Palatine Hill. The artificial lake in the middle of that palace complex was drained so the Colosseum could be built there. This choice was both valuable and essential. Vespasian, whose path to the throne was not easy, decided to replace the cruel emperor’s private lake with a public amphitheatre that could hold tens of thousands of Romans.

The Colosseum is one of the few buildings from the Roman Empire that is mostly still standing. It is a reminder of how good Roman architects and engineers were. It also brings in a lot of money for the government of Italy from tourists. Together, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill made more than $63.3 million (€53.8 million) in 2018. This was the most money any tourist attraction in Italy made in 2018.

Pompeii

Pompeii, italy

Pompeii was once a busy Roman city in Italy, with more than 2,000 people living there. In 79 AD, when Vesuvius erupted and filled the sky with smoke, it was a terrible end for the city. The ashes covered the whole town. Today, we can go to the archaeological site, where you can learn that when the volcano erupted, time stopped in Pompeii. See places of worship, a beautiful amphitheater that can hold up to 20,000 people, and the most important thing: many plaster casts of people caught off guard by lava and huddled together for safety. Walking around and looking at everyday objects and well-preserved frescoes, you will learn about how the Romans lived in the first century AD.

Pompeii is known all over the World for its archaeological site. The Virgin of the Rosary Shrine, also in Pompeii, is an important place of worship. In the late 1800s, the cathedral was built, and it has many important relics and paintings. One of the most famous is the painting of Nostra Signora of Pompeii, which comes from the school of Luca Giordano in the 17th century.

Tips to get to Pompeii, Italy

The Circumvesuviana, a local train, is the best way to get to Pompeii from Naples or Sorrento. The Pompei Scavi – Villa Dei Misteri train station is the best place in Italy to get off to see the ruins. The train line from Naples to Sorrento stops at the Pompei Scavi – Villa Dei Misteri station.

Even though pickpocketing is known to happen on the train, there’s no reason to be afraid. As long as you keep your bag close and your mind on you, it’s safe and easy.

The Campania Express is a train that can be used instead of the Circumvesuviana. These trains follow the same route as the Circumvesuviana but only stop at popular tourist spots like Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Sorrento. It takes about 30 minutes less to get from Naples to Sorrento on these trains than on the Circumvesuviana. The Campania Express trains are air-conditioned, let you reserve a seat, and have room for your luggage. Each person pays €15 for a round-trip on the Campania Express from Sorrento to Pompei Scava – Villa Dei Misteri.

Aquarium of Genoa

Aquarium of Genoa, italy

One of the biggest aquariums in Europe is the Aquarium of Genoa. It opened in 1992 on the city’s waterfront and has been there ever since.

The aquarium building is in the old port of Genoa, which is called Porto Antico di Genova in Italian. In the early 1990s, this area became famous for leisure and culture. It has a covered performance space, bars, restaurants, shops, a large panoramic elevator, a library, an ice rink, and four museums.

The area was once a private port warehouse compound next to the city’s historic center. For the International Exhibition Genoa ’92, the famous architect Renzo Piano completely redesigned the area and reopened it to the public. The redesigned site is now one of the most popular places to visit in Genoa and the surrounding region of Liguria. Over a million people visit the aquarium annually, making it the most famous building in Italy.

The main things to see at the aquarium in Genoa

The Aquarium of Genoa has 70 tanks with different kinds of aquatic animals in them.

The permanent exhibition is divided into different themes, such as the Mediterranean Sea, Tropical seas, Brackish waters, Tropical freshwater, and Icy seas. It shows over 15,000 animals, such as fish, amphibians, marine mammals, and birds.

Activities and places for tourists to stay

The Aquarium of Genoa has educational programs for kids and families. The complex has a shop, a fast-food bar, a cafe, and a restaurant with Mediterranean food.

Leonardo Interactive Museum

The Leonardo Interactive Museum® is a hands-on museum about Leonardo da Vinci in Florence that is all about Leonardo da Vinci. Inside, it displays machines and mechanisms that work that the Universal Genius wrote about in his famous Codes.

It is a museum about Leonardo’s mechanical inventions. If you go there, you can try out the Tank, the Worm Screw, the Catapult, the Vertical Ornithopter, the Area Screw, the Hydraulic Saw, The Printing Machine, and many more of the Universal Genius’s ideas.

So, it is a museum that people can touch, learn from, and use. It is suitable for people who want to learn about the creative mind of the greatest genius of all time.

The trip takes about an hour and is best for kids 7 or 8 years old.

The museum opened more than 20 years ago on Via Dei Servi,66/r, in the heart of Florence’s historic center, near the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Duomo di Firenze.

The machines and mechanisms on display aren’t just static pieces of woodwork like you might see in other exhibitions. Instead, they are real mechanical machines that are made to work.

For each prototype shown, Leonardo da Vinci’s original drawing and a description in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese are shown next to it.

So, the visitor can directly learn from the exhibits by touching and trying them out for themselves.

Millions of people go to the Leonardo Interactive Museum® every year, which has won the highest awards for quality. It has an excellent reputation as an interactive museum around the World and has been very successful.

In addition to the museum exhibits, great interactive workshops are always open during museum hours and are included in the admission ticket price.

Inside, you can look at 20 beautiful geographical drawings by Leonardo da Vinci that the Vinciana Royal Commission put out at the start of the last century.

This will show you that Leonardo da Vinci was also a great cartographer, which was important for military strategy and for setting up water systems.

The great Master’s most well-known paintings are shown as high-resolution, backlit, life-size digital copies.

Lastly, there is a well-stocked bookshop at the entrance to the museum where you can buy books about Leonardo da Vinci and the city of Florence, as well as wooden models, interactive machines, mechanisms to put together souvenirs, and themed gadgets.

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon, italy

The Pantheon is a very well-known building in the center of Rome. Marcus Agrippa gave the order to build the Pantheon in Rome in 27 BCE. It is one of the few intact structures from the time of ancient Rome. After a big fire damaged Agrippa’s building in 80 CE and lightning in 110 CE, the current temple and its distinctive round dome were built in the 2nd century, when Hadrian was emperor. M.AGRIPPA.L.F.COS.TERTIUM.FECIT is written in bronze on the front of the building. It means, “This was built by Marcus Agrippa, the son of Lucius, who was consul for the third time.” This text was added during Hadrian’s reign, which is interesting.

People still need to learn why the Pantheon building was built in the first place. Pantheon is a Greek word that means “devoted to all gods.” Before 608, when Emperor Phocas gave the building to Pope Boniface IV, it was not used as a church. “Santa Maria ad Martyres” was the name of the church. Over time, more and more grave markers and altars were added, including the graves of several Italian kings and the famous painter Raphael. These tombs are in the seven niches that surround the main room.

The Pantheon’s eye hole or Oculus

The hole in the dome is 8.7 meters wide and lets light in a unique way (as well as rain at times). Hadrian added this “oculus” to the temple’s design so that people could see the sky and feel like they were in direct contact with it. The diameter of the whole dome is 44.4 meters, and it is the largest concrete dome in the World that is not reinforced. It’s important to note that the diameter is the same as the distance from the floor to the Oculus. The dome is made of heavy types of rock over seven meters thick at the edges. Near the hole, the dome is only 1.2 meters thick and is mostly made of light pumice. The ceiling of the Pantheon used to be made of bronze. But that was melted down by Pope Urban VIII, and rumor is that Bernini used the metal to create the baldachin above Peter’s grave in St. Peter’s Basilica. This wasn’t true because Bernini needed to trust the metal.

Last Supper

Last Supper, italy

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of art ever made, both because of how it was made and how it has influenced artists of all ages. Artists who worked after Leonardo called this beautiful piece of art “the painting that speaks,” which had never happened before.

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is undoubtedly one of Milan’s most exciting sights. Tickets are in short supply, so making a reservation ahead of time is considered “mandatory.” Tickets to see this masterpiece can be bought online, but they must be purchased as part of a package. It’s best to buy them with a Milan Audioguide or tickets to the Brera Gallery or the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.

Of course, you can also book a guided tour that may take you to other churches or attractions in the center of Milan.

You can also ask for a private tour that includes the Last Supper’s entrance and a stop at the nearby Church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie.

Other things to see and do in the area

Milan is a big, surprising city. Duomo Square is in the historic center of the city. It is close to Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” This square is home to the famous gothic Milan Cathedral and the statue of Victor Emanuel II, which was built in 1896 to honor the king of Italy. The beautiful Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery is also here. It is a shopping center with cafes, restaurants, and shops. After you walk through this gallery, you’ll be at La Scala, Milan’s poshest theatre. A walk through a historical center is something you’ll always remember.

Venetian Lagoon, Italy

Venetian Lagoon, Italy

It’s too easy to get caught up in the magic of Venice’s most famous places, like St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace, and never take the time to explore the islands of the Venetian Lagoon. But you’ll be able to take advantage of these less obvious places.

Away from the tourist traps, Burano’s lace shops and Murano’s glassblowing workshops are great examples of traditional arts and culture in Venice. Mazzorbo is a quiet island that seems a world away from the busy streets of Venice. Torcello, a once-important island that was abandoned because of malaria in the Middle Ages, feels like a beautiful ghost town.

The islands in the Venetian Lagoon are like little worlds in a galaxy, but they are easy to get to from Venice and each other. If you want to hop from island to island in a short amount of time, buy a 24-hour Vaporetto ticket, which lets you ride the water taxis across the Lagoon as much as you want.

Burano

Burano, italy

The sunny island of Italy’s Burano is in the northern part of the Venetian Lagoon. The pastel-colored houses that line its narrow streets make it easy to notice. Even though the houses make the town look happy and carefree, they all follow a strict color scheme, and the local government must approve any new paint job.

Start your walk through Burano at the most famous house, Bepi’s House, which is just off the main square. This house is painted bright blue, red, green, and yellow and has geometric shapes and patterns all over it.

Aside from its houses, Burano is known for its lace, which used to be worn on the ruff collars of Europe’s most important people. At the lace museum, you can learn about the history of lace and how it is made. You can also buy some lace made in the area as a gift or souvenir.

Use the famous leaning bell tower towers over the island to find your way around. The tower is part of the beautiful Church of San Martino, which was built in the 1600s and is well worth a visit.

Mazzorbo and Torcello

Mazzorbo and Torcello, italy

Mazzorbo is a peaceful island in Italy with vineyards and orchards. It is linked to Burano by a narrow wooden footbridge. It’s a favorite spot for both professional and amateur artists. Even Winston Churchill liked to paint here when he had the chance. It’s also a great place to get a sense of what life has been like in the quieter parts of Venice for hundreds of years. You can see fishing nets along the coast, and in the middle, you can find artichoke fields and wineries. Stop for lunch at a traditional trattoria, then go wine tasting in the afternoon.

The island of Torcello is just north of Mazzorbo. Like Mazzorbo, it feels like the end of the World and a bit forgotten. It has a lot of atmospheres, which is probably why artists and writers have been drawn to it for so long. Part of Across the River was written by Ernest Hemingway and Into the Trees here.

People first moved to the island in the 5th century, which is famous for being the “parent island,” from which they moved to start living in Venice. Then, during the Middle Ages, mosquitoes that spread malaria began living in the swamp around the island. This drove people away.

Malaria is no longer a problem, but very few people live here, and most people who come here do so to see the old churches. The Santa Maria Assunta Church is the oldest in Venice. It was built in the seventh century. Even though the church is very old, the mosaics inside are in good shape. They show both heavenly scenes and warnings of fire, brimstone, and hell.

Murano, Italy

Murano, italy

Murano, which sounds like Burano but is actually a group of seven islands just a mile north of Venice, is separate from Burano. Murano is also known for its crafts. This time, it’s glassblowing that makes it famous. At the Museo del Vetro, you can learn about the area’s long history of making glass, which goes back to the 13th century. The museum shop is also a great place to buy high-quality souvenirs.

Visit one of the many working factories on the islands to get a feel for how glassblowing is done on a daily basis in Murano. Mazzega is among the most prestigious, and you can book a tour to see its skilled craftspeople making the colored glass that Murano is famous for. Metals are added to give it color when the glass is still molten. By adding gold, you can make the valuable ruby glass, and manganese makes the rich amethyst color.

A walking tour of Murano’s old churches is another must-do thing to do while there. The Santa Maria e San Donato Church was built in the 7th century, but its beautiful mosaics from the 12th century make it famous. The striking bell tower of the Santa Maria Degli Angeli makes it easy to find.

There are many ways to spend time on the islands of the Venetian lagoon during your stay in Venice. In any case, don’t take our word for it. Hop on a Vaporetto and find out for yourself.

Underground Naples

Underground Naples, italy

Under Naples, a maze of tunnels, tanks, and holes make up an actual city in Italy that is the opposite of the city on the surface. The underground city goes all the way under the old town. Myths and legends about it are still alive in the minds of all Neapolitans. We’re open all the time. There are three parts to the visit: 1) The Greek-Roman aqueduct By going down 136 low, comfortable steps, we’ll go 40 meters (120 feet) underground to see some of the Tufo caves that the ancient Greeks dug out (in the fifth-century b.c. ), which have been used as water storage for our city for more than 2300 years.

All the caves we’re going to see are big and well-lit, except for one narrow part that’s optional but turns out to be the most exciting part of the tour because it’s only lit by candlelight, and the floor is perfectly even. The visit takes 1h30. Of the Roman theater on top of it 2) Roman theater: visit a part of the Roman theater in Naples, which was covered by modern buildings in the 15th century and is now in via anticaglia, Vico cinquesanti, and via san paolo. You’re going to go into a traditional house in Naples called “basso” (low) because it’s right on the street. This house is already part of the roman theater. By moving a bed and opening a trapdoor, you can see where the emperor Nero had his own private backstage whenever he came to Naples to perform. The 20-minute visit lasts. 3) summa cavea (upper part of the roman theatre) A new find has recently made the tour more prominent and complete.

So, in an old carpentry shop in Naples, a new part of the theater was built, and a permanent exhibition of nativity cribs was set up right there. It has more than thirty ancient “scarabattoli,” which are wooden shrines used to show nativity scenes and scenes from everyday life. The walls of the theater were built with opus reticulatum and latericium. In the most recent part of the Roman theater that was brought back to life, another discovery was made: small aqueduct channels were used to let water flow through the floor, even though they had been blocked for a long time by sawdust from the carpentry shop. During the Bourbon period, these channels were used as sewers. They were covered with blue tiles and are now covered with grates so that tourists can see them.

Boboli Gardens, Italy

Boboli Gardens, Italy

Everyone who goes to Florence must see the historic Boboli Gardens. This beautiful garden is about 45,000 square meters (11 acres) big and is in the back of the famous Pitti Palace. It has a lot of greenery, statues, fountains, and other buildings that have been there for hundreds of years.

Even though the Boboli Gardens are beautiful and interesting, they are less well-known than other places in Florence. However, they are within 2 km of well-known places like the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell’Accademia. The Gardens are only a 10-minute walk from the Florence Duomo, a famous cathedral in the middle of the city.

Suitable timings for Boboli Gardens 

The Boboli Gardens are open every day of the week except for January 1, December 25, and the first and last Mondays of each month.

The Boboli Gardens open at 8:15 a.m., but depending on the season, they close at different times:

  • In November, December, January, and February, 4:30 p.m. is the time
  • In March and October, 5.30 p.m. (without Daylight Saving Time)
  • In April, May, September, March, and October, it’s 6.30 p.m. (with Daylight Saving Time)
  • In June, July, and August, 7.30 p.m.

Keep in mind that the Gardens may be closed for a while if there is an emergency, so check before you go!

Tips to reach Boboli Gardens:

Car: People who come to Florence by car can park in one of the city’s many lots, which are often close to popular tourist spots. The same is true for the Boboli Gardens, but there are few free parking spots, so be ready to pay. Taxis are also available for hire, but they can be pretty pricey.

Bus: Some buses leave from different stops in Florence and go straight to the Boboli Gardens. There are direct buses from the Oltrande neighborhood, the Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence, and the Piazzale Michelangelo. Bus travel is easy and affordable.

Train: The Santa Maria Novella Station is a 15-minute walk from the Boboli Gardens and is the closest train station. Most major train lines stop at the station, so people can take trains from Rome or other parts of Italy to get there.

Walk: Getting around on foot in Florence is an adventure in and of itself. Most of the city’s beautiful sights are close enough to each other that visitors can walk between them.

Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace, italy

Cosimo I de Medici and his wife, Eleanor of Toledo, bought the Palace in 1550. They chose it as the new Grand Ducal residence, and it quickly became a sign of the Medici’s power over Tuscany. It was also home to the courts of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, which took over from the Medici in 1737, and the Kings of Italy from the House of Savoy, which moved in in 1865. Even so, the Palace in Italy is still called after its first owner, a banker in Florence named Luca Pitti, who started construction in the middle 1400s at the base of the Boboli hill, just across the Arno from Florence.

Today, the Palace is split into five museums: the Imperial and Royal Apartments and the Palatine Gallery on the first floor, the Treasury of the Grand Dukes & On the ground floor the Museum of Russian Icons, which has the Palatine Chapel. And the Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Costume and Fashion on the second floor.

Gardaland

Gardaland, italy

Gardaland is the biggest & most famous amusement park in Italy. It has almost 40 rides for kids and adults, five theaters and show areas, restaurants, a hotel, and even an aquarium (Gardaland Sea Life). Gardaland is easy to get from Lazise, Bardolino, and Peschiera del Garda, among other nearby towns.

The park is divided into different themed areas, such as Camelot, Kung Fu Panda Academy, Peppa Pig Land, Rio Bravo (in a Mexican style), the Fantasy Kingdom, and many others.

Gardaland is in Castelnuovo del Garda, which is close to the highway exit and train station of Peschiera del Garda. A free shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes from the station to the park. Prezzemolo, the park’s mascot, will greet you with open arms!

Tips to Reach Gardaland:

Because of where it is, Gardaland is easy to get to no matter how you choose.

If you arrive by car:

Take the “Peschiera del Garda” exit off the A4 highway (which goes from Milan to Venice).

From the A22 (Modena–Brenner) highway, take the “Affi” exit and keep going toward Peschiera del Garda.

Take the “Gardesana Orientale” state road from Upper Garda and get off at the “Castelnuovo – Gardaland” exit.

If you arrive by train:

Peschiera del Garda Train Station (Milan – Venice line). You can get to the park on a bus shuttle that runs every 30 minutes.

If you arrive by plane:

The Valerio Catullo Airport in Verona is only 20 minutes away from Gardaland.

Do you like adventure parks a lot? You could also go to one of the other nearby amusement parks. If you want Hollywood movies, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s a theme park called Movieland with actors, stunt performers, and all the Hollywood magic.

Caneva Aquapark has water slides and pools where you can cool off if you are at the lake in the summer. There’s always fun to be had!

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