Italy is a country with so much to offer! There are loads of lovely cities to visit with so much history to take in. With Rome being the countries capital, it’s a good city to start your adventure. Rome alone is home to many historical landmarks such as the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Rome also surrounds Vatican City. The Vatican museum has a constant flood of tourists waiting to see sculptures, paintings and of course Michelangelo’s ceiling which is held in the Sistine Chapel. Some may even hope to catch a glimpse of the pope. When it comes to going inside the Vatican Museum, there are certain rules you need to abide by. As a sign of respect, shoulders must be covered. If it’s summer time, you can buy a light scarf which will do. Remember, this is a religious place as well as a tourist attraction. You’re more than welcome to take photos throughout the museum however, cameras in the Sistine Chapel are not allowed. It’s also a room of silence. I have been inside a couple of times and do see people pull out their phones to take photos while having a casual conversation with their friend. It is frustrating when you’re trying to take in all of the culture and other people aren’t showing the same respect. Always be considerate and abide by the rules. It’s about 10 minutes of quiet time and you can always chat away once you’ve left the room. Depending on how long you want to spend in the museum, you can get a guided tour. I have done both and don’t think it’s a necessity for everyone. If you’re happy enough to walk around at your own pace, go for it!
Back to the Roman Forum and Colosseum. So if you remember learning about Roman History in school and thinking it was really boring, this is totally different! Actually seeing the buildings where things we can’t even imagine happened, is a whole new experience. The Colosseum and Roman Forum have a shocking and somewhat evil past. Again, guided tours are available but not always necessary for everyone. There is information around at the Colosseum if that’s how you’d prefer to learn. I do think the guided tours of the Roman Forum are great. You find things out that you might not just doing it by yourself and it’s interesting. If you do this during the summer, make sure you take a huge bottle of water around with you and wear lots of sunscreen. Rome is extremely hot at this time of year and I’ve witnessed people faint or feel really sick due to dehydration.
If you like legends and cultural tradition, stop by the Trevi Fountain while in Rome. Whether you chose to believe it or not, throwing coins into the fountain has been going on for years and supposedly has some sort of life changing effect depending on how many coins you throw in and how. You’ll see tourists doing it every day and even if you’re not superstitious, it’s a little bit of fun. Each day the fountain will earn on average 3000 Euros. The fountain is cleared and all money given to local charities. If you’re curious about the Trevi Fountain and it’s history, check out the link.
Florence is another beautiful city in Rome. It is full of art and architecture. Florence Cathedral is absolutely mesmerising. It is the main church of Florence and you can walk through the inside or even climb to the top to get an incredible view of the city. You have to walk up 463 steps and there is no elevator but it is well worth it. Just make sure you check the dates you are going because the Cathedral does shut for religious holidays. There’s also a place called Leonardo’s leather works in Florence. They give you a bit of information on different types of leather and there is a shop at the end with lots of items and jewellery too. A great place to buy gifts! I got my puzzle ring from there 3 years ago and have never taken it off. Florence is generally just a lovely city to walk around. It’s very pretty and calm.
Venice must be one of the most bizarre cities I have visited. It is so unusual due to the way it’s been built. There are no roads or cars in Venice, but canals and boats. It is fascinating! Of course, riding on a gondola is a must if you come here! You’ll be taken through narrow alleys and your Gondolier might even sing during your 30 minute ride. You can also buy bottles of wine too! It’s such a lovely experience and something you can’t do anywhere else so remember that when you’re worrying about whether or not you can afford it. In my opinion, it’s worth the money. If you’re venturing around Venice on a rainy day and need to step inside for a little while, check out Vecchia Murano. This is where you’ll witness how Venetian glass is made. It might sound boring but it’s actually so cool to watch! And again, there is a shop at the end with lots of interesting items if you’re keen to buy anything.
If you have time on your trip, stop by Pisa to check out the leaning tower. It’s really cool to see up close and if you manage to get a decent funny photo with it, you’ve accomplished something! It’s also quite funny to see other people’s attempts at a good photo.
Food, glorious food
One of the best things about Italy is the food!! Eat as much pizza and pasta as you possible can and drink loads of Italian wine! Don’t just visit the main restaurants in the cities. Walk down a lane and go into a petite Italian restaurant. A lot of the time, the food is incredible and there is a great atmosphere where you’ll get a proper Italian experience. As fun as it is meeting other tourists, it’s also nice to meet the locals. Get some gelato too. The flavours they have are amazing. Nutella was one of my favourites!
I’m going to list Italy’s main tourist attractions and I’ll put the cities they are in. I’ll also give the links to various websites for information.
- The Roman Forum
- The Colosseum
- Trevi Fountain
- The Pantheon
- St. Peters Basilica (Vatican Museum)
- Sistine Chapel (Vatican Museum)
- Spanish steps
- Vatican museums
- Florence Cathedral
- Basilica di Santa Croce (Florence Cathedral)
- Leonardo’s leather works
If you need some more ideas, TimeOut is always a great website to use.
- Ride a gondola
- Saint Mark’s Basilica
- Vecchia Murano
I really hope this was helpful to those of you about to begin your Italian adventure!