From its delicious cuisine, its breathtaking ancient history and its modern metropolises, we’ve put together an Italy Bucket List with the ten best things to do in the country.
We have Italy to thank for many things – it’s idyllic coastlines, ancient cityscapes and cherished comfort foods, to name just a few.
With so many awe-inspiring sights and experiences, planning an itinerary to the beautiful country can seem a bit overwhelming at first. But fear not, because we’ve put together the perfect Italy bucket list so that you don’t have to.
Here are the then best things to do in Italy before you die.
WBL’s top tips for visiting Italy
- Italy is renowned for its delicious food. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in traditional Italian dishes, such as pasta, pizza, gelato, and regional specialties.
- Like in any popular tourist destination, be mindful of your belongings and take precautions against pickpockets. Keep your valuables secure and avoid displaying expensive items.
- If you’re travelling by train in Italy, it’s essential to validate your ticket before boarding. Look for the yellow or green machines near the platforms and insert your ticket for validation.
- Italy is rich in history and heritage, with numerous historical and cultural sites. When visiting monuments, museums, or archaeological sites, be respectful of the rules and guidelines.
- Italy is known for its relaxed and joyful lifestyle. Take the time to savour the simple pleasures and embrace the Italian concept of “la dolce vita” (the sweet life).
10. Climb to Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence – breathtaking panoramic views
The square was originally constructed in 1868 by famed architect Giuseppe Poggi and is one of Florence’s most popular attractions among tourists and locals alike. Be sure to add this stop to your Florence itinerary.
Address: Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
9. Venture through the Roman Forum, Rome – where you can step back into antiquity
Wandering through the Roman Forum can truly feel like you’ve gone back in time, or even stepped into another world entirely.
Many of the ancient structures seen in the area are over 2,000 years old and each relic comes with a fascinating story that will keep you entertained for hours.
Address: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
8. Get lost in the winding streets of Venice – to experience one of the world’s only waterborne cities
The cosy, cobbled streets and stunning architecture of Venice will often demand your attention, but it’s equally difficult not to be captivated by the floating gondolas and shimmering canals that cannot be found elsewhere in Italy.
Add St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice’s greatest architectural masterpiece, to your Italy bucket list, and take the boat out to Burana, which promises the most colourful island of fishermen’s houses you’re likely to ever see.
A trip to Venice needn’t break the bank either! There are a wealth of great campsites in Venice for budget travellers!
7. Discover the utopia that is Italy’s Amalfi Coast – for unmatched views across the Mediterranean
This 50-kilometre stretch of serene coastline offers unparalleled views of the sapphire-blue Mediterranean and lines of multi-coloured pastel houses that reach as far as the eye can see.
If not for its dazzling grottos, sparkling beaches and secret cliffside retreats, make visiting Amalfi Coast one of your things to do Italy for its world-class seafood cuisine and stunning selection of bars.
6. Become enchanted by Verona, Italy’s city of love – where you can pay homage to William Shakespeare
Verona is the setting of two Shakespearean plays – Romeo and Juliet and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Most tourists adventure to the city of love to gaze upon Juliet’s balcony, the former home of the Cappello family and the inspiration for the Capulets.
Don’t forget to visit the city’s ancient ruins – the colosseum here may not be as big as Rome’s, but it possesses a unique history and was once one of the world’s greatest entertainment venues.
5. Take in the surroundings of Lake Como – one of the best things on the Italy Bucket List
Arguably the world’s most beautiful lake, Lake Como does not disappoint in its offering of gorgeous natural surroundings.
This y-shaped expanse of water is one of the deepest in Europe, and delivers spectacular views of the Alps in the distance, making it an essential part of any traveller’s Italy bucket list.
Address: Lake Como, Lago di Como, Italy
4. Lose yourself in the majesty of Rome’s Colosseum – for opulent architecture
The world’s most remarkable example of Roman architecture, the Colosseum (also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre) is the city of Rome’s main attraction. Plus, it is one of the most famous landmarks in Europe!
Construction of this majestic building began in 70AD, making it almost 2,000 years old. It was originally built to hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators and was the largest amphitheatre of its heyday.
Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
RELATED READING: Top 10 most famous landmarks in Europe
3. See the Cinque Terre – for a bite of Italian culture
Adding to the list of Italian UNESCO World Heritage sites is the Cinque Terre. This set of five islands are nested in the region of Liguria and sit atop rugged cliffs that overlook the emerald-green Italian Riviera.
The area of Cinque Terra sprawls between La Spezia and Levanto where you will find romantic olive groves, traditional eateries, and beautiful coastal views along the way. The towns of Cinque Terre are beautiful and the perfect place to stay in Italy!
For more bucket list options, check out our China Bucket List and top ten things to do in the country.
2. Enjoy the mystical heritage of Pompeii – and cast yourself into the past
The ruins were destroyed in 79AD by the looming Mount Veseuvius, which engulfed the region in lava and ash. Today, we can marvel at the remainders of the city which tell a tale of a once mighty civilisation.
1. Journey across the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Aeolian Islands – to wind down in an Italian paradise
Whether it’s for the volcanic cliffs, pristine sandy beaches, steamy thermal springs or even hot mud baths, the Aeolian Islands offer something for anyone looking to wind down in scenic Palermo, Sicily and are essential to any Italy bucket list.
These islands sit at the very tip of Italy and their beauty attracts over 200,00 visitors every year. For its wealth of world-renowned heritage, novel architecture and unique landscapes that simply can’t be found elsewhere, Italy is one of the world’s greatest travel destinations.
Without a doubt, Italy is one country to add your world bucket list.
Your questions answered about visiting Italy
If you want to know more ahead of your trip to Italy, we have you covered! We’ve answered some of our reader’s most frequently asked questions in the section below, so read on for more information.
How do I decide where to go in Italy?
If you want to enjoy a ski holiday, a fashionable city break or a lake retreat, Northern Italy will be your kind of Place. If you’re looking for more sunshine and adventure, the South of Italy and its many Islands will be your ideal destination.
What is the best time of year to visit Italy?
Italy can be visited year-round, but the best time depends on your preferences and the regions you plan to explore. However, springtime, from April to June, and Autumn, from September to October, generally offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices.
Do I need a visa to visit Italy?
Citizens from many countries, including Australia, the United States, Canada and most European countries, can enter Italy as tourists without a visa for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.