ITALY Top Ten Things to do in Italy
An Insider Guide
A MESSAGE FROM CARRIER Italy. Unique and intensely seductive, this country of breathtaking art, spinetingling history, awe-inspiring architecture and astonishingly good food and wine is on the top of most people’s wish lists. It’s easy to see why – Italy’s heartwarming culture is unrivalled. Exploring Italy goes beyond ticking off the major tourist sites, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the sparkling emerald canals of Venice – it's about experiencing the Italian way of life, la dolce vita. Here are the top ten things to do while visiting this incomparable country…
1. Stroll through Siena
he city of Siena is often overlooked in favour of Florence, but there are myriad things to see and do here, and it’s just as beautiful as its neighbouring rival. The Piazza del Campo is one of the finest medieval squares in Europe and leads to a beautiful historic district, covered with Gothic architecture dating back to the 12th Century. Siena’s cathedral is central Italy’s most spectacular, and the art in the many galleries, museums and churches could keep you occupied for weeks.
Siena’s honey-stoned streets are lined with restaurants serving an array of seasonal specialities, such as porcini, plump grapes from Puglia and carafes of Tuscany’s most exquisite wine.
2. Tour Rome in a classic car
xperience the iconic craziness of Italian roads in a vintage Fiat 500 or convertible Alfa Romeo. Book a 90-minute tour and your guide will show you the secret spots of the city, from the romantic Orange Garden on the Aventine Hill (one of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built) to an unforgettable view of St Peter’s Basilica.
Once you’ve got to grips with the car’s retro gearbox, you'll be whizzing around Rome's cobbled streets in no time. Be sure to make a few pit stops and experience the city’s neighbourhood trattorias, quirky shops and buzzing aperitivo scene.
3. Experience magical music in Milan
he Teatro alla Scala is impressively grandiose, from the ornate carvings on the boxes to the dazzling chandeliers. You’ll need to book tickets to see the finest operas, ballets and concerts in advance as they usually sell out ( tickets are available from two months before the opening night of a performance). There’s also a museum – soak up the atmosphere of this magnificent space during a behind-thescenes tour, where you’ll see the stage, Royal Box and backstage area.
4. Discover vintage Gucci in Florence Time to immerse yourself in luxe fashion? The fascinating Gucci Garden Galleria showcases Gucci’s new vision whilst celebrating iconic pieces, vintage campaigns, images and retro objects.
Inside the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia, home to the Gucci Museo, the exhibit takes you through nearly 100 years of heritage, with exhibits from bicycle bags and zebra-print suitcases to surfboards, watches and a Cadillac emblazoned with the famous entwined ‘G’s. The fabulous couture dresses on show have been worn by some of the world’s most beautiful women, from Sophia Loren to Hilary Swank. You’ll also find the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura – a restaurant by the internationally renowned three-Michelin-starred chef.
5. Discover outdoor opera at the Arena di Verona
his impressive Roman amphitheatre presents the drama and emotion of opera on an unprecedented scale. Its spectacular limestone walls, dating back to 30AD, have seen gladiators duel, knights joust and heretics burn. Itâ€™s the largest open-air stage in the world, so youâ€™re sure to have the most unforgettable experience when you pay a visit to the Arena di Verona. Before the start of each performance, join the audience in lighting a candle, an atmospheric, age-old Veronese tradition that will make you feel part of the heritage of this historical, starlight theatre.
6. Go shopping in Capri
fusion of glittering coves and grottos, Roman ruins and chic piazzas, Capri has charmed everyone from Roman rulers to Russian revolutionaries and Hollywood legends. Discover an array of designer boutiques before lunch in the sun at a stylish cafe, admiring grand villas and banks of brilliantly vibrant bougainvillea.
Capri is also home to fragrance house Carthusia, established in 1948 by a monastery on the island â€“ discover its series of extraordinary scents created from local Mediterranean flowers and herbs, from lily of the valley to wild mint â€“ a perfect keepsake.
7. Drink limoncello on the Amalfi Coast Italy’s most jaw-dropping coastline, which encompasses the seaside fishing villages and cliff-set towns of Sorrento, Positano and Ravello, is famous for its Sfusato lemon trees, harvested between February and October. Do as the Italians do and try an icy shot of the liqueur made from Sfusato lemon zest – limoncello – at any restaurant or bar with a view of the sparkling sea.
8. Eat pizza in Naples There’s nothing quite like eating something as ubiquitous as pizza in the very place it was born, and for that you must head to Naples. There are plenty of tremendous restaurants where you can feast on the finest slices – one of the most popular is L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, which continues to be hailed by many as home of ‘the world’s best pizza’. Buon appetito!
9. Visit the Greek ruins in Sicily Along with a vast expanse of glittering sea and shore, beguiling Sicily is home to some magnificent historical sites, yet there's more to this island's past than its Roman history. From Greek temples to marvellous mosaics, there are plenty of aweinspiring archaeological sites and ruins to be discovered across the island. Wander through the ancient Greek city on Sicily's south-western coast to visit the Temples of Selinunte, a oncethriving city left abandoned for over 2,000 years. And donâ€™t miss the ancient theatre of Taormina, set high above the sweeping coastline below and boasting beautiful panoramic views. Be sure to grab your fix of history and culture during a trip to this ethereal island.
10. Discover hidden Puglia
ucked away in the heel of Italy, this little-visited province may not have the cultural clout of Rome, Florence of Venice, but it more than completes when it comes to beauty, thanks to a bewildering range of monuments, an incredible coastline, vast swathes of empty countryside and food the equal of any in Italy.
The region bursts with life and energy in July and August, as celebrations and food festivals every night provide a stream of Epicurean enjoyment. Enjoy the regionâ€™s tastiest pickings from land and sea â€“ deliciously ripe purple and green figs, long stems of velvet-red tomatoes, bunches of herbs still dusted with salt from the air and artichokes that thrive in sandy coastal fields.