Italy has so much to offer. We enjoyed every moment of our Italy trip. We loved the sights, the art and the food. At all the cities as we were leaving, we wanted to spend a little bit more time. You simply can’t get enough of Italy in a single trip (or for that matter multiple trips).
Here are our favorite 11 experiences in Italy:
- Counting the numerous statues of David in Florence
There can be only one real Michelangelo’s David which is at Galleria dell’Accademia. So what! You would get numerous replicas of the famous David sprinkled across Florence city. Counting the replicas as you come across them while strolling around the city can your secret takeaway from the trip. It may turn out that you find one in the right size and location making the replica your favored choice.
- Watching sunset from Michelangelo’s piazza in Florence
It the most famous spot in Florence for watching the sunset. And all for good reasons. Yes, it becomes crowded at the sunset, but the views are worth it. The setting sun cast golden rays over the red roofs of the Florence city creating a beautiful spectacle. We have heard San Miniato al Monte further ahead might give more secluded view, but we couldn’t make it in time.
- Roaming in the winding streets of different ‘contrades’ in Siena.
The walled city of Siena is divided in different ‘contrades’ or mini-districts. Around 17 are the more famous ones. Each contrade has an exclusive symbol and is marked by flags along the streets. These cobbled streets are free of any sort of traffic and meandering through the city is an experience in itself. Who knows you might stumble upon a hidden local secret in these streets.
- Watching sunset from Castle St Angelo in Rome
I believe there aren’t many better sights than the sun setting behind the St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City). We stood on the top level of Castle St. Angelo as the Sun moved across sky and behind the cathedral. The beautiful hues of red and yellow strewn over the sky and historical Roman structures in evening light just added to the scene. Going by the crowd or lack of it, this is a less popular spot but makes for one of the best sunsets in the eternal city.
- Take the best shot of the Colosseum from Temple of Venus
We visited the colosseum and thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the galleries and the arena. In the end we needed that perfect photo to perfectly round off the trip, but we couldn’t get it around colosseum. So in our quest for that photo, we discovered that the temple of Venus (Roman Forum) is the best place to get photogenic pics of colosseum. We found no crowds and an awesome lateral view of the enormous iconic amphitheater.
- Admire the mosaic at Basilica San Marco (Venice) under illumination
The amazing mosaic work on the walls of Basilica San Marco in Venice is best admired under lights. The illumination greatly accents the beauty of the golden mosaic. However, the basilica is illuminated for only one hour during the day. And you have to time your visit meticulously to hit this small window. We managed to enter the basilica during this period braving the throngs of tourists and crossing the flooded piazza.
- Visit the Piazza San Marco (Venice) in the evening
The Piazza San Marco is completely contrasting during the day and in the evenings. The mornings are marked by throngs of tourists where most of them are day tourists from cruises etc. So we found it better to spend the day in the lanes of Venice and return in the evening to enjoy the beauty when the plaza was all ours (and of course the pigeons).
- Trekking on coastal trails in Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is one of the hub of trekking in Italy. Even with stormy weather we found trekkers on the trail. The five coastal villages are located in a picturesque setting and two kind of trails run between them. The coastal trails are easier, run along the coast and have entry fees. But many segments have been closed due to landslides a few years back. So, we took the other trails through the land which were more strenuous and went up and down hill. However, the lemon groves, wine yards and the stretch of forest made the trek enjoyable.
- Contrasting the colorful houses of Manarola during the day and during night
We found Manarola to be the most beautiful village among the five sister villages in Cinque Terre. The trails here are set perfectly and you can go across the village to have amazing panoramic views. Start the walk at city tower, through the wine yards and climax at the harbor. The colorful houses on the hill look wonderful during the day. If you are lucky and weather is clear, you would have a contrasting view in the night. The house lights are lit up creating gorgeous play of light and shadow on the colorful background.
- Discover your favorite flavor of Gelato in Italy
In the motherland of gelato you cannot help yourself but eat lots of it. Definitely the gelato is much tastier here. We would suggest that you try lots of different flavors both traditional and unique as even a vanilla in Italy would not taste the same as what you have at home. It is better! And the amount of walking you will be doing during the day would burn off the calories faster as well.
- Enjoy the local variations of pasta and pizza
Of course enjoying pasta and pizza in the native land of Italy is a given. But what we loved the most was the local variations of the pasta and pizza across the regions. The regional cuisine inspire the distinguished sauces and create wonderful local flavors.
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