Destination Spotlight: Italy
Situated along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, Italy has long been a popular tourist destination. Not only has the country been highly influential in food, wine, fashion, and popular culture, but it’s also home to some of the most beautiful locales, historic places, and finest art in the world.
While some travelers choose to visit only one city or location in Italy, it is actually very easy to plan a trip to multiple Italian cities. This can be accomplished via train or by driving. Among the most popular itineraries is a three-city tour of Rome, Florence, and Venice. This tour will enable you to see “the best of Italy.” Along the way, it’s easy to see the gorgeous Tuscany region and the remarkable Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Truly a city for the ages, Rome is one of the most famous places in the world. In this Eternal City, you will find ancient wonders. Start by visiting the famous Roman Colosseum, which is amazing both architecturally and historically. While at the Colosseum, you can visit the nearby Roman Forum, which was the center of Roman life, and Palentine Hill for panoramic views of the city below. (Tip: Avoid lines by purchasing tickets online that include admission to all three sites.)
The Pantheon was originally constructed in 27 B.C. If you can wrap your head around that fact, you’ll be even more amazed to see this Roman temple to the gods. Another must-do is a visit to Vatican City. Though it’s been its own country since 1929, it is surrounded by the city of Rome. Visit St. Peter’s Square and the breathtaking St. Peter’s Basilica. (Tip: Proper attire is required to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. This means covered shoulders and legs.) While in Vatican City, you can also visit the Sistine Chapel and view the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. The Sistine Chapel is located within the Apostolic Palace. This is the official residence of the Pope.
No trip to Rome would be complete without visiting its lovely outdoors squares or “piazzas.” The most famous is Piazza Navona where you can see its glorious fountains. And speaking of fountains, another must-see is the famous Trevi Fountain. Throw some coins and make some wishes! Finally, be sure to visit the Spanish Steps for another beautiful fountain and some great people watching.
From Rome, head to Florence, which is the city of the Renaissance. This is a very walkable city, so plan on bringing a good pair of walking shoes so you can take in everything. Start by visiting the Piazza del Duomo. This square is in the center of Florence, and it is home to the Florence Cathedral (the Duomo), the Florence Baptistery (or the Baptistery of St. John), and Giotto’s Campanile (or bell tower). The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the most visited places in Europe.
Even if you are not an art lover, head to the Uffizi Gallery to view some of the most beautiful works of art in the world, including art by Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Rembrandt. Afterward, stroll the streets for shopping and take a break at an outdoor café.
From Florence, rural Tuscany is an easy side trip. Here you can see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, learn about Italian wine making, and explore Italy’s gorgeous historic towns like Siena. There are few places in the world lovelier than the Tuscan hills.
From Florence, travel to Venice, which is a fairytale “city of water” that is built on 117 tiny islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. Venice has no roads, only its famous canals. The most famous of the famous canals is the Grand Canal, the city’s main thoroughfare.
Start by visiting Venice’s main square, the Piazza San Marco (aka St. Mark’s Square). Not only is this a great place for people watching, it is home to one of the most famous places of worship in the world, St. Mark’s Basilica. Climb to the top of the bell tower for amazing views of the city.
Other must-see spots in Venice include Doge’s Palace, which is the seat of the Venetian government, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection museum. Finally, no trip to Venice would be complete without a gondola ride. For the quintessential Venetian experience, be sure to spring for a ride on a gondola where you will be serenaded. Single travelers often find that romance can bloom in breathtaking Venice.
At Singles Travel Service, Italy is one of our favorite countries to visit. Join us this June on our three-city singles group tour of Rome, Florence, and Venice.