COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on Italy, and as a travel editor that has personally spent a good amount of time touring the country, like my colleagues, I'm heartbroken. But I keep coming back to my happy memories of Italy: walking through historic sights like the Roman Colosseum, eating Cacio e Pepe while overlooking the Amalfi Coast, and taking a boat tour around Capri. And so, while we wait for the country and the rest of the world to heal, we at Oyster want to share why we can't wait to get back to Italy.
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Italy’s Views are Breathtaking.
Lake Garda in Northern Italy is stunning and a favorite (particularly for summer travel) destination, thanks to its mountain backdrop, restaurants serving top-notch seafood, and historic landmarks.
For one of the most striking panoramic views of Florence, including its medieval Ponte Vecchio (“Old Bridge”), head to Piazzale Michelangelo.
One of the hippest, most design-conscious hotels in Capri, J.K. Place Capri, offers a stunning view of the island from its outdoor lounge.
The Historic Architecture in Italy is Phenomenal.
Travelers visiting Rome should be sure to include a trip to St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. The square sits next to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, known for housing Michelangelo’s 16th-century painted ceiling.
The Duomo, or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is one of the most impressive sights in Florence. The 13th-century structure allows for visitors to climb 463 steps to see the frescoes up close.
Finished in 1762, Rome’s Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and a must-stop for most tourists. Visitors typically make a wish and throw a coin using their right hand over their left shoulder into the fountain.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Because the ash and pumice were so thick, the city was largely preserved underneath it.
The Mediterranean Sea, Beaches, Canals, and Lakes Provide Ample Water-Based Activities.
There are tons of beach destinations throughout Italy, but the one Italians themselves favor is Puglia, located in the southeastern, sun-soaked heel of Italy’s boot.
No trip to Venice, Italy is complete without a ride on their famous gondolas — which are used more for joyrides than actual transportation.
Arguably the best way to see the sophisticated island of Capri, off the Sorrento Peninsula, is by boat. Book a boat tour and don’t miss sailing under the famous Faraglioni — three towering rock formations that jut out from the sea.
Due west of Naples, the island of Sardinia is home to some stellar sandy beaches, thanks to its 1,150 miles of coastline. The small, sandy cove by the Grand Hotel Corallaro is an attractive option on the island’s northern coast.
Tuscany Provides a Bucolic, Quiet Retreat.
Although the Tuscany region includes the metropolis of Florence, it also consists of several countryside towns. Rolling hillsides with quaint towns and vineyards are the norm here.
Located near the town of Siena, Castello delle Quattro Torra is a charming family-run bed and breakfast. It occupies a medieval castle and has only three rooms, including an apartment and a two-story tower room.
The region is well-known and well-loved for its vineyards producing delicious wine varietals such as Chianti. Travelers can stay at one of the many agriturismos for a farmhouse stay, many of which have their own vineyards, such as Agriturismo Fattoria Lavacchio.
Tuscany is also a popular for its thermal hot springs, located in public spaces and at high-end spa resorts. One of the most iconic luxury spa resorts is Fonteverde Tuscan Resort & Spa.
The Art in Italy is Some of the Most Significant.
Any Art History major can tell you that Italy is home to some of the most important and revered artwork in the world. One of the most famous is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which includes “The Creation of Adam,” painted by Michelangelo in the 16th century.
Close to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City is St. Peter’s Basilica, which is home to another work by Michelangelo, “La Pieta” statue portraying Mary holding Jesus.
The best art museum in Florence, Italy is the Uffizi Gallery, which is located next to the Arno River. It’s home to many prominent works, including Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and “Annunciation” by Leonardo da Vinci.
Fans of Michelangelo and Renaissance artwork should head to the Gallery of the Academy of Florence to see the masterpiece sculpture of “David” in person.
Italian Food — From Fresh Pasta to Pastries to Seafood — is Mouth-Watering.
Italy’s cuisine is celebrated all over the world, and travelers have plenty of impressive restaurants to choose from, no matter where they go. But certainly high on many foodies’ lists is Neapolitan-style pizza in Naples.
We’d argue a trip to the local pastry shop, cafe, or even train station market stall for cannolis, strudel, and pignoli cookies is a requirement for Italy tourists.
Restaurants display their tasty dishes outside to entice passersby; this Rome eatery is showcasing pizza, pasta, fresh bread, antipasto, and an Aperol spritz. Don’t skip the seafood pasta in the Amalfi Coast, gelato in Rome, and Italian wine wherever you are.
A highlight of most Italy hotels and bed-and-breakfasts are the (typically free) breakfast buffets served each morning. Expect lots of tasty pastries and sweets such as chocolate croissants and apple tarts, plus other continental items and strong espresso.
Whether packing a picnic for the park or stocking your apartment-style hotel room with food, head to the country’s ubiquitous markets for fresh veggies and fruit like tomatoes, artichokes, and lemons.
And Last But Not Least: The People in Italy.
Italians are really what cinched the country as one of our favorite travel destinations. Our hearts are with the people of Italy, from the hotel staff like at Hotel Delle Mimose in Liguria….
to the gondola drivers — or gondoliers — in Venice…
and the bakers at shops such as Pugi in Florence…
and those selling cute souvenirs to tourists…
and of course, the chefs serving up heavenly pasta. We can’t wait to see you all again.
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- 10 Important Things You Need to Know Before You Visit Italy
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