Traveling halfway across the globe takes a bit of effort and time – so you might as well make the most of it! Though we try to include as many key places on our itineraries for the regions we are exploring, you can’t always fit everything into the allotted timeframe. If you’re heading out on our Tuscany Food & Wine Tour, it is certainly worth extending your vacation in Italy.
Where to go and what to do in Italy:
Florence is a large city with a full slate of artistic and historic sites. It was essentially the center of the Renaissance, thanks to being the home of the Medici family and sculptor Michelangelo. Though we do start our Tuscany tour in Florence, we highly recommend spending an extra day or two here to take in the architectural and cultural sights.
Rome is a fantastic city. It is filled with cultural, historical, and architectural sights including the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and more. While the city is huge and can be daunting, the central district is quite manageable on foot and with a good map. It is a truly unique experience to wander down a fairly modern European street and turn a corner to gaze upon stunning ancient ruins.
Cinque Terre is a chain of quaint seaside villages on the breathtaking Italian Riviera. Each village has its own personality and hidden treasures. You can get from village to village via train or ferry. To get to the best views, however, you can hike the Sentiero Azzurro, a cliffside hiking trail that links the villages together. Though there are countless number of ancient stairs, it is certainly worth the effort.
Milan is Italy’s fashion capital and is one of the richest cities in Europe with scads of shopping opportunities and a thriving and cosmopolitan cultural scene. However, it also holds several historic and artistic attractions, including the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Last Supper painting, and the famous La Scala Opera House. Although the city was heavily bombed during World War II, much of it was rebuilt. You don’t want to drive into Milan and do want to reserve your hotel in advance.
Lake Como and the Italian Lakes District
Lake Como is widely regarded as the most beautiful lake in Italy (search for “Lake Como” images on Google and you’ll see for yourself). The lake is surrounded by mountains and hills and dotted with beautiful villas and resort villages. There are good hiking paths, boat trips, water activities and great photography opportunities.
Another one of Italy’s most iconic destinations, you might consider spending one or two extra days in Venice. The center of Venice is remarkably small and extremely walkable – you can cross from one side to another in about an hour. Highlights of the city include Rialto Bridge (the Kissing Bridge), St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, and a gondola ride along the canals. Some would argue that Venice itself is its greatest sight, so take time to wander, explore, shop, and simply “be.” There are hundreds of hotels in Venice and nearby Mestre.
And the list goes on! One of the best parts of adding onto your vacation in Italy is that most of the destinations we’ve listed above are easily accessible by Italy’s train system. With a little pre-planning, you can hit up several stops in just a few days.