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Top 5 Places to Go in Italy (Part 2)

Italy is such a great place that there is no way to fit it into one post.The first post covered just Rome, but the following will attempt to cover as much of the rest of Italy as possible!

1. Venice

The city of Venice is so popular that it even has its own hotel in Las Vegas.There is few less iconic things in Europe than sitting in a gondola with your significant other and floating through the city of Canals.In the previous posts we said that both Bruges and Amsterdam are often called the Venice of the North, and that is with good reason: Venice has over 100 canals and over 400 bridges.

Venice was an important trade center for many years in pre-modern times, but now the city thrives off of its visiting tourists.It is consistently one of the top 30 most visited cities in the world for tourism.One of the most visited sites in the city of Venice is the Piazza San Marco, which features the Church of Saint Mark.

2. Florence

Florence is a city steeped in culture and history (sounds like every city in Europe).Part of what helps set Florence apart from other cities is that, along with Milan, these two cities dominate the fashion world and are a must see for any fashion enthusiast.As with almost every major city, there is an extremely famous cathedral with brilliant architecture called the Cathedral of Santa Maria, or sometimes the Florence Cathedral (visible in photo above).This Cathedral dates back to the mid 1400s and has been a staple in the city of Florence ever since.

Another one of Florence’s largest draws is the Uffizi Gallery.This is one of the oldest and most famous/visited art museums in the world.Some of the most famous artists featured in the museum are Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Rembrandt, to name a few.

3. Naples

Naples is known for many things, but probably the most famous is their Pizza and their Ice Cream (Neapolitan).A great date night for a couple would involve getting some Neapolitan Pizza for dinner, having a night out seeing an opera at the Teatro di San Carlo, Italy’s oldest and largest opera house, with some Neapolitan ice cream for desert.

Naples is the largest city located closely to remnants of Mt. Vesuvius.When it erupted in AD 79, it destroyed both the cities of Pompeii and Herculeum.There are terrific ruins at both sites, however Pompeii is the more tourist heavy location.Herculeum, though, has arguably the better ruins as many of the bodies have been kept in their uncovered state.When Vesuvius erupted, Herculeum was instantly covered in a large layer of ash and preserved people exactly in the position they were when the volcano erupted.Because of this, archeologists and anthropologists alike hold the ruins at these locations as some of the most important windows into life in the first century.

4. Pisa

Hardly needing an introduction, Pisa is famous almost exclusively due to its leaning tower.The Leaning Tower of Pisa was constructed as a bell tower to the nearby cathedral, and became famous for being built on soft ground and literally leaning towards one side.It slowly moved year after year to its current position.There are many leaning towers around the world, but nearly all of them were intentional.Pisa is now a national monument/icon for the whole country of Italy.

5. Milan

Milan, as mentioned before, is well known in the modern world for being one of the biggest contributors to the fashion world.Milan is one of the largest cities in northern Italy and, as with all of Italy, you will easily be lost in all of the architecture and culture throughout the city.But the one thing you would be amiss to miss in a visit to Milan is da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper.This mural is housed in the monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan and probably the main attraction for the casual traveler.

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Comments
33 Responses to “Top 5 Places to Go in Italy (Part 2)”
  1. Sigh. Our to-do list of places to go is getting longer by the day 😉

  2. vivagood says:

    Florence is definitely my favorite, however I would say that a visit to Italy wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a small town. Perugia and Assisi were two of my favorites, along with the gorgeous Cinque Terra.

    • I’m glad you said that! I’ve been thinking that a small town would be an amazing place to go in Italy, but I was hesitant to just plan on going off into the countryside hoping to find a cool city. Thanks for the suggestions! I will look at each of those cities

  3. I liked Trieste (2 hour train trip from Venice Mestre) with it being ignored by everyone else its like Rome in the 50s that everyone fell in love with. Nobody has a lot, but a good atmosphere when I was there – quite chaotic in some respects, very Italian. Met some old folks there who had English with an American accent – up to you to find out why. It’s a bit run down but has faded grandeur as it was the only port of the Austro-Hungarian empire and they went all out on it at one stage. If a person welcomes you there in a hotel or a tratoria, its because they like people, they don’t depend on tourists. Unilke Venice where they are only smiling at you as long as you are holding the money.
    Don’t get me wrong, Venice is a wonder, but for me its about people as well as places when I travel. Don’t visit Venice, stay there for a night – the vaporetto service are like refugee boats during the day. I say I like Trieste, but I love the nuttiness that surrounds the Palio in Siena and much else there as well. As for trips to the country, (specially from Siena into Tuscany) most hotels organise bus trips – which I found worked very well. Nicest place I stayed there was Borgo Grondaie – great for train and bus as well as everything they have, do, and are close to.

  4. Anita Mac says:

    That photo is awesome! A view of Italy I have not often seen – I love it! Looks like I will need a fair bit of time – Italy is totally on my bucket list – but I can see there should be a bucket list of Italy alone as there is so much to see, do and experience!

  5. How about that! I’ve been to everyone of these cities! Big Yeah! Florence is my favorite. Didn’t want to leave. Italy was my favorite country in Europe. The people are so friendly and warm even though I didn’t speak the language. I love Italy! Would love to see more of it someday. 🙂

  6. You are making me want to go back to Italy…Venice look divine.

  7. Amy says:

    These cities are amazingly beautiful, small towns in Italy are charming. Great photo!

  8. Wow. I would love to be there .. Beautiful cities..

  9. leamuse says:

    Thanks for following one of my blogs! I hope you continue to enjoy your travels.
    Léa

  10. Just don’t go to the bank. Nothing to see there.

  11. Luke Heikkila says:

    half-way between Venice and Milan…VERONA. IMO no Italy trip is complete sans a trip to Verona.

    • Two households, both alike in dignity,
      In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
      From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
      Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

      HOW COULD I MISS VERONA?!?!? I feel like i have failed. lol maybe Verona deserves its own post sometime in the near future!

  12. I guess I’m slightly biased, but I would say that for beauty and atmosphere, Siena ranks #1 on the scale. It’s a Medieval city with a rich history and a populous that keeps the traditions alive. Certainly not to be missed!

  13. Debra Kolkka says:

    You should visit my little village…Bagni di Lucca to see a different side of Italy. Nobody tells you how beautiful the tower in Pisa. It is just famous for leaning, but the whole piazza is gorgeous.

  14. I love that most of the comments chipped in with their own personal suggestions. It’s hard to limit oneself to 5 places. May I add my hometown of Bologna, that not many people know but it’s a beautiful Medieval example of architercture (with great food to boot)? Although Venice has become my adoptive city and it’s amazing how much is there and how empty it is once you step away from St. Marks. Off to read your Paris posts

  15. I love Venice too! The weather was exceptionally good when I was there! The skies were blue, which was gr8 for photo taking! 🙂 http://ladybrooklynn.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/europe-honeymoon-italyvenice/

    Everyone shld make a trip there if poss b4 they really sink one day. 🙂

  16. kymlucas says:

    I dream of going to Florence, have done every since reading “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” Someday I’ll get there. Thanks for sharing your experiences and recommendations, and for stopping by my blog.

  17. Bron says:

    I’ve visited each of those with the exception of Naples – I’ve only changed trains there. I haven’t heard particularly good things about it from friends that have been there, just that it’s rather dirty and somewhat dodgy. The people I know that have been there recommended stopping off for one of the famous pizzas then moving on. (When I visited that area I stayed in Sant’Agnello, near Sorrento.) If I do ever end up in Naples the only other thing I’d do there would be to visit the museum that contains all the artefacts that were discovered at Pompeii (the ones at the actual site are copies).

    The rest of those places are great but can be incredibly touristy! I would recommend visiting them outside of peak season (ie don’t go in summer) to avoid the heat and the crowds.

    • Yeah i have heard similar about naples… it may be somewhere that i visit only in passing for the same reasons. I saw an episode of Anthony Bourdain on the Travel channel where he was in naples and I remember him specifically talking about how sketchy and dirty it was lol

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