Italy is one of those places that is so incredibly diverse, you could spend months (if not a year) exploring most of its sights and sounds. Traveling around Italy was a dream come true of mine. Between the incredible architecture, quaint little villages, beautiful coastal views, and the fantastic food, Italy has a little bit of something for everyone.
If you’re planning a trip to Italy, here’s a complete bucket list of epic things to do and see to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.
- 1 Hike Along Cinque Terre
- 2 Get Lost in the Streets of Venice
- 3 Bask in the Artistic Culture in Florence
- 4 Eat Everything all the Pizza, Pasta, and Gelato as You Can
- 5 Take a Cooking Class
- 6 Marvel at the Sites and Sounds of Rome
- 7 Drive through the Amalfi Coast
- 8 Hike the Dolomites
- 9 Explore the Ruins of Pompeii
- 10 Visit the Naples, the Birth Place of Pizza
- 11 Ski the Italian Alps
- 12 Snap a Shot in Pisa
- 13 Whisk Around Tuscany in a Vespa
- 14 Explore the Beaches of Sardinia
Hike Along Cinque Terre
I have been to this place twice now and each time, it never gets old. The hiking path between the five villages takes you through majestic coastal views, boasting of incredible sunsets, weaving paths, and small villages. Admittedly, my last trip to Cinque Terre I spent more time drinking Limoncello and eating Cannoli rather than hiking, but whose to say it wasn’t a trip well spent?
Get Lost in the Streets of Venice
You can’t miss out Venice when planning your Italy itinerary!
I always tell people that the best plan in Venice is to have no plan at all. Your agenda should consist merely of walking around and getting lost in the intricate labyrinth of canals and streets. While in the area, make sure you go to St Mark’s Basilica, people watch in Piazza San Marco, Lido di Venezia, and visit the colorful city of Burano.
Bask in the Artistic Culture in Florence
If you love art, visiting Florence will be a dream come true. Between its impressive churches and museums, this historical little center is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. While in the capital of the Tuscan region, you can opt to visit the Duomo, see Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture, or see the works of Botticelli or Da Vinci. If you need more inspiration, check out this fab article on things to do in Florence.
Eat Everything all the Pizza, Pasta, and Gelato as You Can
The food in Italy is to die for. Seriously. During my first around the world trip, I remember completely blowing off my meager backpacker budget as soon as I got to Italy as I couldn’t resist all the delicious meals. The best tip I can give is to stay as far away from places with tourist menus. Instead, search for local trattorias with no English menu.
A good sign is if a place is full of locals then you know you’ve hit the gold mine. If you want to take it to the next level, platforms like Bookmundi have food tours taking you across Rome, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, and the Veneto, allowing you to experience all the gastronomical highlights of each region. If you want a detailed guide to Emilia Romagna, check out this post.
As in most places though, the more you venture into smaller obscure places, the better (and more authentic) the food experience becomes. Whether you’re dining in a restaurant in Rome or eating and looking for things to do in Umbria, Italy is always a good idea for food lovers.
Take a Cooking Class
Along with sampling everything that you can, another must do in your Italian bucket list is to take cooking classes. I love doing this in every country I go to as it is like taking home the ultimate souvenir. That way, whenever you miss Italy, you can just whip out your apron and transport back to your time there. You can learn how to make pizza in Naples or pasta in Bologna. Heck, you can do it in every city you want to and it would be worth it!
I recommend checking out Cookly which features various cooking classes all over Italy. Browsing through their content seriously makes me want to book a flight and hop over to Italy to attend every single class they have.
Marvel at the Sites and Sounds of Rome
Rome is one of those places that although is quite touristy, there isn’t any other place like it. Sights like the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, to the Trevi Fountain are a must visit while in the capital city. While you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the Vatican to catch a glimpse of the impressive Sistine Chapel. Who knows, you might even chance upon the Pope while you’re there!
Drive through the Amalfi Coast
If you want to experience Italy in style, there is no better way to do it than by driving through the Amalfi Coast as you gaze at the beautiful colors of the Mediterranean Sea. I lucked out during my trip here as a guy I met in my hostel had rented a top-down and gladly gave a few of us a lift.
Hike the Dolomites
For all you adventure seekers out there, hiking through the Dolomites is a must do while in Italy. Made up of an infinite number of trails which can be done self-guided or by joining tour operators, the beautiful scenery combined with challenging trails makes it one of the best Italian outdoor adventures which you can’t forget.
Explore the Ruins of Pompeii
For history buffs, while you’re driving through the Amalfi, stop over at Pompeii to see the aftermath of when Mount Vesuvius erupted. The historical preservation and destruction of this natural disaster is an archaeological phenomenon and is worth seeing.
Visit the Naples, the Birth Place of Pizza
By now, you would have figured out that I am a HUGE foodie which is probably why my love affair with Italy has never ended. Although the town of Naples is pretty dodgy, a trip here is a must if only to experience pizza at its finest. In L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, you will find the finest pizza Margherita in its best form. Simple, gooey, cheap, and delicious.
Ski the Italian Alps
Keeping in theme with adventurous things to do in Italy, skiing the Italian Alps is naturally one of them. With tons of affordable resorts around the Alps and Dolomites, skiing here during winter is a great way to see the impressive slopes that Italy has to offer.
Snap a Shot in Pisa
No explanations needed. We all need that one touristy shot while in Pisa. No one will judge you (at least that’s what I told myself)
Whisk Around Tuscany in a Vespa
You know the saying do as the Romans do? Well, you can use that as the perfect excuse to drive around the hills of Tuscany on a Vespa. Who says you can’t explore medieval castles, vineyards, and olive groves in style?
Explore the Beaches of Sardinia
Home to a few of Europe’s best beaches, Sardinia has nearly 2000km of coastlines full od turquoise blue waters, rugged hiking trails, and low key beaches. Must not miss are Aruttas, Spiaggia di Piscinas, and Spiaggia Rena Bianca. No itinerary to Italy would be complete without visiting the famous beaches of Sardinia!
Bask in the beautiful coastline and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.