We spent exactly 3 weeks driving around Italy, we witnessed some views, tasted great foods, and had some ups and downs, so choosing our top 10 was a difficult one. It became even more difficult when we couldn’t agree, so we have had to do this blog on two different perspectives – mine and Simons.
Natasha’s top 10 places to visit in Italy
1. Florence (Full blog)
Florence was, for me, the best city to visit in Italy. It’s a beautiful city with so much to offer, every side street had something different to offer. I could have spent days just walking around and looking at all of the buildings. With it not being as tourism based as other cities, hit it at the right time and you will feel like your back in the renaissance period of Italy with da Vinci himself.
2. Venice (Full blog)
Venice is a city which is hyped up by everyone around the world, so I always have the fear that it will be underwhelming when I arrive. I was wrong, very wrong. Soon as you enter the city surrounded by water, you feel like you’ve gone back in time. There are no cars, just boats, and all side streets are small and thin with the feeling of history walking amoungst you. It is true when they say you can get lost in Venice, a street will suddenly end and you will just hit water (but don’t worry there’s only one way in and out of Venice by foot so enjoy!)
3. Verona (Full blog)
Verona makes it into my top three just for the beauty of the city. Soon as I walked in, I felt safe and fell a little bit in love with it. The small streets with bakery’s on every corner. The streets full of designer goods and the history surrounding it all just to names a few reasons to go. I would not go to Verona just to visit Juliette’s balcony (being a Brit we know that it is a fictional story and the balcony was built way after Shakespeare’s time – sorry to burst your bubble), though if your there you can always visit it for the novelty.
4. Cinque Terre (Full blog)
I’m counting the cinque terre as one place otherwise it would take up most of my top 10 list. It is five towns that make up one area along the coast of Italy. The views when looking out from the towns are some of the best you will see but when you delve deeper there is so much more. From fishing towns to momterosso’s giant, you could spend days hopping from town to town to see what they have to offer. Although more tourism based now it’s a definite visit for anyone who wants to see how small towns really live in Italy.
So Rome just makes it in my top 5! Only few would say this, but I just believe that even though there is a big hype around Rome, there are just better places that you can see around Italy (hence the number 5 spot). Don’t get me wrong, it has great history and if you love the Romans then this is the place to go. I would suggest to just stick to the main parts of the city, as that is where the attention is focused and go in the summer, yes it maybe busy but the thunderstorms didn’t help my experience of the city.
6. Siena (Full blog)
Siena is just out of my top five but still a lovely city to visit. It has the charm of an Italian city without the heavy tourism. If anything it made my top 10 for the cathedral. Up to date, this is the most beautiful cathedral I have ever seen (and yes at this point I had already been to Milan) and anyone in the area needs to see it in person to appreciate the attention to detail it took to build.
7. Orvieto (Full blog)
Orvieto is a small place in Italy just passed Siena. We never intended to go but so glad we stopped. This place had so much charm and after seeing the cathedral in Siena, I didn’t think anything could look as beautiful, but this came a close second. It looks very similar in style and architecture to sienna but a little smaller, but beautiful all the same. Driving around the area and this place is worth a stop off.
8. Turin (Full blog)
Turin was my first view of Italy so was always going to make it in my top 10. Like many places in Italy, it had history down every street so walking is a must to witness everything there is to see. Oh and it happens to specialise in a deep pan pizza, and when in Italy, it is a must to try all the different styles of pizza you can. This one was definatley one of my favourite pizzas.
9. Sorrento (Full blog)
If you are a lover of lemons then visit sorrento. With its vast lemons trees, you will never be low on finding anything with lemon in, especially liquor! We took a nice stroll around sorrento, and again it had lots of charm, with small side streets with smells on every corner. This is a port popular with cruises, so if you hit a cruise day, expect it to be very busy down the more tourist streets, but everyone seemed lovely and friendly so it should never feel too much.
Milan is number 10 on my list mainly due to our own bad experiences we had in the time of visiting Milan. That aside, it is a beautiful city, full of culture and fashion. It is a newer city but still has some exquisite building to view, along with one of the main sites of milans duomo, which alone is worth a trip.
Simon’s top 10 places to visit in Italy
1) Florence (Full blog)
Florence gets my number one spot because it was just pure beauty (Also early days of da Vinci was spent here). Everything you think about when you mention renaissance Italy is Florence. I loved walking around and seeing the sights from the moment I got out of the car, and continued to enjoy the views up until we drove out of the city (There is actually a Florence syndrome which makes you dizzy through all the beauty of the arts and architecture). Would highly recommend and will most certainly be returning to visit again.
The history! One of only three cities I have wanted to visit for as long as I remember (the other two being Athens and my birthplace, Berlin). It lived up to all my dreams and enjoyed every minute (including the thunderstorms). Another one that I would like to visit again, as I think I was too excited this time around to take it all in.
3) Venice (Full blog)
The most beautiful city in Italy, according to Italians, and I can see why. Loved the narrow streets and intersecting canals to go get lost down, and st marks square was breath taking. I think everyone needs to visit it at least once.
4) Verona (Full blog)
Completely underrated in my opinion! Beautiful city and lots of history, including the third biggest Amphitheatre in Italy. Where Romeo and Juliet is set, so a lot of tourist attraction around that, very nice to visit for a weekend break.
5) Cinque terre (Full blog)
Very beautiful coastline and five of the most gorgeous villages/towns I have seen! Wish we had been able to see all five up close but the two we did see were spectacular. Not huge for tourism but you can tell next couple of years will be heaving. Get there now.
6) Jointly Siena And Orvieto (Full blog)
These two places are completely unique in there own way, but the two cathedrals are so similar. Absolutely stunning to walk around and the two cathedrals are the most beautiful religious building I have yet to lay my eyes on!
8) Sorrento (Full blog)
Nice little place to walk round, great views and a lovely drive around the coast. Fantastic if you like alcohol and lemons!
Was always doomed to not be high on the list through no fault of its own. Beautiful cathedral and great historical centre. Will have to venture back to give it another chance.
10) Turin (Full blog)
It was the first Italian city we went to, Italian job is set and filmed here and the pizza is to die for. Great history around every corner and a great starting point for a tour around Italy.