Incidentally, 5 is associated with love in numerology, and more famous are the 5 senses- Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell and Touch. Italy is the one country that guarantees you the satisfaction of indulging in the best of those 5 senses in a delightfully loving experience, even if your Italy tours last for only a few days.
At the risk of inviting a little ridicule, I dare to say that the Italians have shown the way for appreciation of such indulgences to the world at large. Where else can you expect to find such an impressive confluence of Art, Architecture and Gourmet Cuisine if not Italy?
The effortless blending of art and life is nowhere else as pronounced as in Italy; Dante and Da Vinci are as much revered as Prada and Armani are treasured. Fiercely proud of their heritage, the Italians’ devotion to their history expresses itself in the finely conserved iconic architecture like The Colosseum of Rome, Leaning Tower of Pisa, as well as the Renaissance sculpture, David by Michelangelo and the numerous other palaces and cathedrals that stand tall as a magnificent testimony to Italy’s glorious past.
Italy’s spectacular natural landscapes are not a secret anymore, courtesy millions of Instagram shares of some incomparable places in Italy like the coastal utopia Cinque Terre in the west, icy Alps in the north, and the mesmeric turquoise grottoes in the sizzling south. Italy tourist places illustrate a remarkable diversity in natural topographies considering Italy is not even the size of our very own Rajasthan!
Nonetheless, being there and creating their own memories is still among the Number 1 Dream of travellers on Italy vacations.
Spring (April to June) and Fall (September and October) are the best seasons to visit Italy for the simple reasons - Moderate temperatures, Pleasant weather, Fewer tourists and Lower prices- this translates to more shopping
An ideal arrangement between high and low seasons, Spring is the best to explore the lush green meadows of Italian Alps, whereas Fall offers you the luxury of witnessing grape and olive harvest and join in legendary food festivals on Italy tours.
In contrast, summers can be hot and chaotic with hordes of tourists and consequent steep prices while winters are often cold, grey and wet. You can though plan a visit to the country’s stunning small villages and lesser touristy places in summers. Avoiding the big cities also offers you the experiential opportunity of being a witness to authentic Italian lifestyle. Another experience worth a mention is the winter sojourn in the various mountain ski resorts in the majestically snow-covered Italian Alps.
|Spring | April - June|
|Fall | September - October|
Here’s a quick refresher of what you will need for a visa to Italy. Visa regulations keep changing, we would advise you to check the latest regulations with Holxo Holidays.
While most travel organizers like Holxo Holidays shall be glad to help you in your Italy vacations visa process, it would be prudent to confirm with them in advance to avoid last minute setbacks.
Italy is blessed with miles of coastal nirvana and Naples on the western coast of the country is a lively destination if you’re looking for panoramic landscapes with an exceptional treasure of art and cultural riches.
With a history going back to the Neolithic period, the 3rd largest city in Italy is a captivating tale of myth and fact knotted into each other to become an enthralling entity. The two royal palaces, three castles and delicately preserved Chapels and Cathedrals carry some of Christianity’s oldest and finest frescoes, mosaics and sculptures.
The resplendent Bay of Naples is distinctly defined by two major places- Sorrento Bay to the south and the large volcanic area of Phlegraean Fields to the north. Naples lies in the center of this arc with the stately Vesuvius directly behind it. Mount Vesuvius - the only volcano in mainland Europe that has erupted in the last 100 years - has created a natural masterpiece over the course of the millennia by the volcanic eruptions and lava flows that have crayoned a nonpareil landscape.
But dramatic landscapes are just one side of the story of Naples; the other part is made up of the heavenly blue sea. Although Capri is the most famous of all islands off the coast of Naples, other islands like Ischia and Procida possess similar vivid landscapes, rugged coastline and quaint Italian villages that fascinate every Italy tours visitor with its cobbled streets and unruffled lifestyle.
The magnificent Mount Vesuvius not only provides a breathtaking backdrop, its rich volcanic soil also acts as the perfect stimulus to the bountiful seafood to make Naples a gourmet delight. Widely recognized as the birthplace of the pizza and espresso, streets of Naples are bursting with appetizing Italian and Mediterranean dishes, making it impossible to stick to your diet goals, if at all you decided to carry them to the epicurean El Dorado called Italy!
The small village of Amalfi on the Amalfi Coast can be covered end-to-end within 20 minutes on foot. Yet the pretty little village with best beaches in Italy is stuffed with history and culture. Apart from the white sand beaches, other attractions here include the byzantine influenced cathedral and the pint-sized paper museum.
Positano is the poster of Naples, with picturesque streets that will make you reach for your camera multiple times every ephemeral moment! The petite town is most recognized for its distinguished houses that seem to tumble down to the sea in a gush of gorgeous terracotta and beige.
Our Italy tours Guide to Amalfi Coast covers when to go, how to get there and top things to do.
The fascinating island of Capri is neatly divided into two parts- the quiet and laidback Anacapri and the animated Capri. While Capri is known for its fabulously beautiful cliffs that rise majestically from the azure sea and its bougainvillea laden villas, Anacapri is more famous for its architectural marvels and never-ending winding streets of cobbled pathways.
Even so, both the places are blessed with opulent and inviting beaches that make for unforgettable Italy vacations.
Explore Naples in a single day aboard the affordable and accessible open-top double decker bus, a la London. Among the wide-ranging things to do in Italy, the Naples bus tour is an ideal way to discover the history, beauty and landmarks of the vibrant city. A favourite among tourists, the tour gives you the freedom to unearth grandeurs like the Royal Palace of Naples, Sanità, Castel Nuovo, and the National Archaeological Museum, among others and spend as much time at a site as you like.
There are 3 interconnecting routes and you can hop on to any of the buses in the 24-hour period. All the buses are equipped with multilingual guides whose running commentary is the best possible way to learn about Naples and its fables. Buses are also equipped with Wi-Fi though you may not get enough time to browse your phone.
A chilled-out place worth a quick stopover during a day trip of Italy tours, Vico Equense and Seiano is a gorgeous beach whose charismatic grey sands invite you to spend a few hours and relish an authentic Italian pizza while appreciating the horizon.
The National Archaeological Museum of Naples was established by King Charles of Bourbon in the late 18th century, primarily to house treasures he looted from Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as antiques and artefacts he inherited. The museum is renowned among art admirers around the world for one of the premium collections of Graeco-Roman and Renaissance period artefacts.
Romantic Rome- That was the first expression after my first day on my Italy vacations here. The ancient city now comes with all the flourishes of an ultramodern cosmopolitan metropolis, yet remains an open air museum at heart. Absolutely natural for a place that is the center of urban development for more than 3000 years.
This prosperous past has given the breathtaking cityscape a piquant mix of ancient icons of a bygone era like the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon and imposing basilicas that stand tall even after a few centuries, with the distinguished St. Peter’s Basilica towering over the city in every frame.
The overwhelming charm of the city is further enhanced by its captivating streets where glitzy piazzas rub shoulders with dramatic fountains. The mind wanders to believe in the popular saying – one way or the other; Rome will romance you, amaze you and leave you yearning for more.
Rome has inspired top artists to create beyond their creative confines for long. And they have responded splendidly for centuries- their priceless treasures adorn the outstanding city museums and esthetic churches in the form of magnificent sculptures by Michelangelo, mosaics and frescoes by Raphael, and paintings by Caravaggio.
A Roman experience on Italy tours is not just about appreciating art and history; but also about living a life filled with pleasure and luxury. Famous as dolce-vita, it embodies idling around quaint cobbled streets, spending hours at a roadside café, and watching people and life as it moves at its own breezy pace in the pretty city. Rome is rightfully known to be the most eminent of Italy places to visit.
The icing on the Italian cake is the evening when everybody makes a dash to the swanky pubs and cafes for a social drink and snacks. The buzz in the air is intensely infectious; transforming even the most stubborn of introverts into cheerful party animals.
Like every Italian city worth its dolce vita, Rome too prides itself on its feasting heritage. You can choose from a number of fine dine places with romantic alfresco settings or make a beeline for what the locals do every evening- head a to a lively pizzeria or a neighbourhood trattoria for crispy heavenly pizzas, unpretentious yet authentic pasta and a glass of fantastic Italian white wine from nearby Frascati.
When in Rome, everybody clicks the Colosseum- making it one of the most identifiable historical icons in the world. The thrilling amphitheater that was built at the site of Nero’s palace and inaugurated in AD 80 had a capacity of about 50,000 and was famous for gory gladiatorial fights- the dominant entertainment for common Romans of the past. It remains Italy’s topmost tourist attraction even after 2000 years.
Trevi Fountain is a baroque ensemble of mythical god of sea, Neptune and two tritons riding sea-horses. The most famous of Roman fountains, the restored Trevi fountain is a tourist favourite for many reasons, chiefly being throwing coins in its water. More than €3000 is thrown in every day as legend has it that a coin thrown in guarantees the visitor’s return to Rome soon! Try your luck if you must but don’t forget to revisit the Trevi fountain at night when the beautiful lights make it even more spectacular.
Home to the world’s most mesmerizing archeological site- the Pompeii ruins, the town appears like a plain satellite of Naples, but don’t let appearances dupe you. The haunting ruins of Pompeii, a celebrated Italy tourist spots and attractions, transport you to a bygone era and you can as well relive the day 2000 years ago when Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered the flourishing city into deadly volcanic lava and ash.
You can even climb the Vesuvius (still active but dormant) to view the crater of the volcano and for indescribable views of the Naples city. It’s only a 200 meters climb- neither too easy nor too demanding to give up without trying.
This memorable 2.5 hour evening tour takes you through the riches of the erstwhile caput mundi (capital of the world) - Rome. Behold the iconic roman magnetisms like the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill and Castel Sant'Angelo in a different light as each of them are elegantly illumed by aesthetic lights. Top off the enchanting circuit with a slice of the extravagantly authentic Italian pizza and the drooling Italian dessert, Gelato.
Although called a museum, The Vatican Museum is about 7 km of long corridors and halls with exhibits that range from Egyptian mummies to modern paintings. Don’t let the distance startle you though, as you can pick and choose the best of the lot from the museum maps. Once you’re in the finest areas of Italy to visit, don’t miss the remarkable collection of Museo Pio-Clementino- a suite of rooms frescoed by Raphael, and the splendid Sistine Chapel- entirely painted by Michelangelo.
The world’s largest church, Saint Peter's Basilica, is the center of Christianity. With an area of around 22,000 square meters, the basilica can accommodate about 20000 people to pray in it. Pilgrims are attracted to the basilica for obvious reasons, but as an Italy tours visitor, you should include the Saint Peter’s for three of the most illustrious chefs-d'oeuvre -
If inclined to awe-inspiring cityscapes, we suggest you to certainly choose to go up the dome. It costs a bit and the climb is uneasy, but Rome from that vantage is incredible! Plus, you can also get a close-up of the gigantic dome as well as a bird’s eye view of the interior of the basilica.
The financial powerhouse of Italy, present day Milan is a fast-paced cosmopolitan city with a rich heritage on both sides of the Renaissance and the 21st century. The thriving metropolis is a hub of the world’s fashion industry and that creativity shows everywhere around the city. Like the character of the city, tourism in Milan is frequently about enjoying opulent pleasures like shopping, opera, nightlife and of course, football.
The rapid growth of Milan as a crucial business center of Europe has ensued mushrooming of prosaic office and shiny retail spaces, which at first glance make you wonder if you made the right decision in exploring Milan as part of Italy tours. Maybe another few days in Naples or Rome would have been more worthy?
Don’t let the initial mirage dampen your spirits; like every classic Italian city, Milan also has its wealth of architectural wonders and arty masterpieces by some of the biggest names like Leonardo da Vinci. Prominent among Milan’s historical wonders and places to visit in Italy are:
Unlike other Italian cities, Milan is more edgy and professional due to its significance as the fashion capital of the world and ensuing manufacturing and trading clusters. Tourists on their Italy vacations maybe the only ones who appear relaxed in this metropolis. Nevertheless, with an established history in theatre, music, literature, sport, art and fashion, and the Italian flair to proudly preserve and exhibit them, you’ll never have a boring day in the city.
Milan is the birthplace of Italian cuisine, yet it has never really rested on those laurels. You’ll find a luxurious fusion of their native cuisine with Mediterranean herbs and spices, using French and other European cooking methods. Lately, dim sums and sushi have also found an appreciative audience in Milan’s gourmet circles. Milan is also home to the most number of Michelin star restaurants in Italy. Don’t miss out on some local specialties while in the city on your Italy tour packages.
The freestanding bell tower is recognized the world over for its slant. An impressive yet peculiar structure, tourists from world over are eager to visit the place and click a few memories in those iconic push-the-tower poses.
The tower tilts 1 mm every year since construction, and is currently about 4.50 meters leaned from where it should ideally be. A climb of 300 steps takes you to the top of the tower for more spectacular views around.
Whether you fancy opera or are indifferent to it, a tour to the charming La Scala makes for a beautiful experience in Milan. The world-famous opera theater has played host to illustrious singers over the course of its rich two centuries history. The tour takes you inside the beautiful 18th century auditorium where you can also view the stage and pit orchestra.
The La Scala museum is an ambitious collection of paintings, musical instruments of great Italian composers and portraits of maestros like Verdi and Toscanini. La Scala is extremely popular among Italy tours holidaymakers, so ask your guide to book well in advance.
The iconic red-brick castle was designed by the brilliant polymath Da Vinci during the Renaissance period. The Castello now houses 7 museums that regularly bring together captivating pieces of Milan’s culture and history, including Michelangelo’s last work, the Rondanini Pietà.
A visit to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the oldest shopping mall still standing in the world is incomplete for a shopaholic if you’ve not planned a visit to the Golden Rectangle- four streets of pure fashion where the best of haute couture like Armani, Prada, Versace and Roberto Cavalli welcome you with open arms. An indulgent experience beyond words, do plan a visit to the beautiful places to see in Italy to experience the lifestyle of the rich, celebrated and famous.
Duomo di Milano, Milan's magnificent Gothic cathedral occupies the most central location in the city. While construction began in 1385, final touches were applied as late as 1965- a good 6 centuries later! Do plan a visit to the imposing church for its beautifully sculpted statues and spires- it has more statues than any other building in the world- 3159. The interiors of the cathedral are also embellished with excellent art masterpieces like the Renaissance marble altar and the Trivulzio Candelabrum.
The incredible Florence! Pope Boniface VIII said in 1300 that Aristotle was wrong; the universe was made out of five elements, not four: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Florentines.
Florence is the place where Michelangelo began work on the iconic La Gioconda in 1503. The painting is now more commonly known as Mona Lisa, and is emphatically the most recognized work of art around the planet.
It was also Florence where Brunelleschi and Alberti invented both Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture- the style around which every major European city - London, Rome, Barcelona, Paris, etc. is built.
And these are just a few droplets in the mammoth contribution of Florence to modern world.
Contemporary Florence, the crown of Italy tourism, is an enchanting place where extraordinary art and architecture await you at every bend of the city. The city is a literal library of heritage structures like gorgeous frescoed churches, marble basilicas and world class art museums, all enveloped by welcoming cobbled streets that delight the senses. Not surprisingly, the entire Florence city center is an UNESCO world heritage site.
Italy’s fashion industry too has its roots here, and homegrown designers like Gucci and Ferragamo made it big after starting here. The tradition continues with specialist boutiques running parallel to family run workshops in the quaint medieval backstreets. Bargains are usually unheard of, but you can find alluring deals at many of the boutiques in shopping streets such as the Via Tornabuoni, and the Via Maggio.
Florence is filled with churches, art galleries and museums and these places are stuffed with some of the brilliant, revolutionary art creations in the world by legends like Michelangelo, Verrochio, Desiderio da Settignano, and Donatello.
Florentines are fiercely proud of their culinary heritage. The city is surrounded by wine-rich hills; and drinking and eating well is a custom religiously followed by every Florentine. Traditional local foods that demand your attention include ribollita (bean, bread and veg soup), and a tripe panino, served in a trattoria that has not changed since 1915!
Although small in size, Florence remains among the best places in Italy in every lifestyle traveller’s list. A visit to Florence will definitely be a hedonistic delight if art, culture, and food gratify you. This place is so beautiful and infused with history that you can easily spend a day in the historic center of Florence and yet yearn for more. Perhaps Game of Thrones and Dan Brown have a part to play in our expectations!
One of the world’s greatest fine arts museums; the Uffizi Gallery is home to the greatest collection of Italian Renaissance art, most significantly by Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Boticelli. It’s one of the most visited places in Florence and a wait time of a few hours is not uncommon.
While there, a visit to other fabulous Florence attractions like the Ponte Vecchio and Piazza Signoria is a good option to spend a wonderful day in Florence.
A former residence of the Medici family, the palace is located on the serene south bank of river Arno and contains the royal family’s impressive art collection and other treasures in multiple galleries that are housed in the palace’s old rooms. Italy travel is incomplete without a visit to the Museo della Moda e del Costume, the crowning glory of the palace as it hosts vividly colourful temporary exhibitions with a focus on Italian fashion.
The best time to visit Palazzo Pitti is at sunset when the palace facade is swathed in vibrant pink.
The defining symbol of civil power in Florence in early 13th century, the fortress palace now seats the mayor and members of the municipal council. The imposing 94 meters high tower, Torre d'Arnolfo gives an unforgettable view of the city. Like many other Florence buildings, Vecchio too is a veritable collection of Renaissance sculptures and paintings in every corner of every room.
Don’t forget to view the ceiling of the Salone dei Cinquecento, commissioned by Cosimo to portray himself as God. Designed by Vasari in consultation with Michelangelo, the ceiling’s 34 gold-leafed panels will leave you riveted.
Located right next to the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, Campanile di Giotto is one of the most famous attractions of Florence. The tenacity to climb 414 steps is rewarded handsomely as the top of the tower reveals a marvelous 360 degree view of Florence and surrounding hills, along with the majestic square bell tower which is considered to be the most beautiful campanile in Italy.
Best known as Santa Maria del Fiore, the Florence Cathedral is one of the major reasons for Florence city center to be nominated as an UNSESCO world heritage site. The impressive dome, designed by Brunelleschi is considered a major engineering feat of the renaissance. One of Italy’s largest churches, the Florence Cathedral is also the biggest Tuscany attraction.
Variously described as the City of Love or the City of Canals, Venice is surreal!
The city with no roads is absolutely different from any place you have ever lived or been to. Don’t believe me; try this- where else in the world can you imagine the busiest thoroughfare named The Grand Canal, and aptly so!
The riveting city of Venice is actually a collection of about 118 islands, separated by a network of canals and united by a series of bridges. Imagine the architecture brilliance of Italian prodigies that they could dream of and build such a fantastical place.
The canals of Venice are lined with buildings and gothic palaces and even a cursory glance can reveal that these are standing tall since the beginning of time. Surprisingly, the city has virtually remained unchanged for the better part of 600 years. Of course, you can find glaring signs of decay, but that is hardly unexpected in the romantic city of 250,000, where 30 million Italy tours visitors make a beeline every year to ride the gondolas and admire the astonishing renaissance architecture.
The best way to experience Venice is by getting lost in it! Explore our Venice Travel Guide to get a peek into the places to see in Italy and other top experiences in Venice. There’s so much culture peppered around the city that you’ll be doing a criminal disfavour to you by only following this guide.
The narrow backstreets of Venice are cluttered with eye-popping art such as a small church built out of priceless marble, another one with a Veronese’s painting, and casual, crowded bistros that serve sumptuous spreads of traditional Italian Tapas- Cicheti.
If getting lost in an alien city scares you, let me comfort you with the wisdom that it’s effortlessly easy to find your way back to the Grand Canal or St. Mark’s Square- the two icons you will frequently hear and see during your stay.
Venice is also famous for its bizarre but influential fashion sense that is now quickly lapped up by Europe. In fact, platform shoes were invented and popularized here before they took over the world like a storm. This eccentric creative streak of Venetian artisans manifests vibrantly in many forms- custom made red-carpet shoes, experimental mirrors and eye glasses that you can never ever imagine could exist and imitation jewelry with glass stones that shine brighter than precious stones.
Try to find time to explore Venice’s small artisans and buy mementoes of your Italy vacations for your family, as this small gesture will go a long way in preserving the traditional craftsmanship of Venice.
The former administrative seat of Venice seems like an unlikely candidate for the monotonous work. But remember this is Venice! The pretty gothic building of pale pink marble and exquisite colonnades was a residence of royalty as well as a large complex of chambers, courts and jails.
If inclined to explore more, opt for the separately ticketed tour named The Secret Itinerary to discover the inner parts where the administration worked, Casanova's jail and the impressive 500 year old roof structure with 24 carat gilt stucco work.
For most of the people on Italy tours, a Gondola is the first association with Venice. A ride in the gondola, especially in the evening is an indulgent treat- lounging on the satin and velvet cushion and watching the captivating sunset in crackling hues of purple is as romantic as romance can be. Gondolas come at about €80 for 25-30 minutes, so choose an experienced gondolier who can show you the major attractions while you laze around in the gondola.
The half-day sightseeing tour to the three major Venice islands gives you another reason to get onto the boat that meanders into the canals. Murano, the most famous of Venice islands, is known for its ancient tradition of glassmaking and is a fascinating stop for the glass museum here. Burano is a picturesque island of mesmerizing colorful painted houses and stunning canal banks. Torcello, a scenic place full of art and history is considered the island from where people who founded Venice came.
The most famous and renowned landmarks in the history of Italian theatre, and in the history of Opera as well, La Fenice is witness to premieres of some of the most celebrated composers- Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi. We recommend you take the guided tour of the theater to travel back in time and experience the golden age of Italian opera.
The tallest structure in Venice at a towering 98.6 meters, the Campanile is easily the most recognizable building in the city. You can admire it from Piazza de San Marco but a visit to the top is worth your time waiting in the queue and a paltry amount of €8 for an unmatched panoramic view of the city of Venice and the lagoon.
With such an assortment of culinary delights in their daily life, no wonder Italy and Italians are obsessed with food! From the omnipresent pastas- about 140 types of pastas are consumed by Italians at an average of 70 pounds per person per year- to the more fine options like the tantalizing truffle-lacedragù to delicate tagliatelle al ragù, every bite can be an astounding revelation of the difference between authentic and also-rans! Add to it the fact that Italy is the number 2 producer of wine and wine’s largest exporter, and you’ll fall in love with vita all'italiana (life, Italian style.)
If fine dine is your poison, the options here will leave you baffled. From Michelin starred hot spots to degustation wanderings to wine tasting tours, prepare to live all your gastronomical dreams in Italy. Milan not only has highest number of Michelin starred restaurants in the country, but is also a great place to explore local food. For first-timers, don’t miss out on these local foods.
Don’t miss the daily dose of espressos at street cafes- the Italians invented it and know how to make it taste the best you cannot even imagine! Naples is a food lovers paradise, widely recognized as the birthplace of the pizza and espresso.
Holxo Holidays recommends opting for a culinary tour if food is normally the centre of your holiday!
7 Nights / 8 Days
Popular family-special tour covering the major cities of Italy.
7 Nights / 8 Days
Romantic tour covering the spectacular coastlines of Amalfi Coast.
7 Nights / 8 Days
Extensive Italy tour across top 5 cities.
I recommend booking your accommodation in advance, especially if you looking to travel during the peak season.
You will be spoilt for choice - Italy has everything from city hotels, hostels, B&Bs, villas and apartments. Think about your travel companions, budget and the experience you are looking for, while deciding on accommodation type.
In Rome, whether you are a first-timer family, a group of friends looking for nightlife and shopping or a solo traveller, choose to stay at an area in Rome best suited for you.
A few pointers while choosing a suitable place to stay in Italy: