Italy, a European country with a long Mediterranean coastline, has left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine. Its capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s “David” and Brunelleschi’s Duomo; Venice, the city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital.
There is so much history, so much art, and so many amazing sites to visit that Rome cannot be missed.
Top Experiences: The Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, and the Borghese Museum.
How Long: You can hit the main sites in a rushed, one day tour of the city. Three to five days is ideal to see most of what Rome has to offer, as wells as exploring its nooks and crannies.
See more of Rome: 2 Days in Rome: The Perfect Itinerary for Your First Visit
Florence is the art capital of the world. It is also a gorgeous city best seen by climbing its numerous towers.
Top Experiences: See Michelangelo’s David, climb the Duomo, tour the Uffizi Gallery, stroll across Ponte Vecchio, eat lots of gelato, and watch the sunset over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo.
How Long: You can race through the best of Florence in one day, however, two to three days allows you to slow down and visit some worthwhile off-the-beaten-path spots.
Oh, Tuscany, how we fell in love with you. With scenic, picturesque hillside towns rising up amidst vineyards and rolling hills, Tuscany is gorgeous and a joy to explore. You could easily spend one week in Tuscany, settling down in a Tuscan villa, with day trips out to the surrounding towns.
The view over San Gimignano
Best Experiences: Tour the hill towns, like San Gimignano, Montalcino, Montepulciano, and Pienza.
How Long: Give yourself at least two to three days, longer if you can.
Read more: Touring the Hill Towns of Tuscany
Technically, Siena is a hill town in Tuscany. But it is such a great place to visit that it deserves its own mention. Siena is similar to Florence, but quieter and smaller. We actually liked Siena more than Florence. There’s just something about this town that we fell in love with. You may fall in love with it too.
Best Experiences: Wander the cobblestoned streets, overlook Siena from Torre del Mangia, visit the Siena Cathedral, and spend time in Il Campo.
How Long: It’s easy to visit Siena as a day trip from Florence or Tuscany. If you have more time, spend at least one night here to really experience Siena.