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Italy Travel Guides

Explore a destination in Italy to see the top hotels and top things to do, as well as photos and tips from U.S. News Travel.




Capri

The rugged cliffs and crystal clear waters of the small island of Capri seem to be created straight from dreams and mythology. It's rumored to be where the seductive sirens sang to Odysseus and his sailors in Homer's "The Odyssey," and we can see why their offer was so tantalizing. From bright green trees and gardens to colorful marinas and squares, Capri is a paradisiacal destination every bit as beautiful as artistic renderings make it out to be. The small getaway in the Bay of Naples has been a hot spot for royalty and celebrities since the Roman times. Thus, it is flush with world-class restaurants, breathtaking hikes, five-star hotels and chic shops. Whether you're visiting for a daytrip or for a month-long vacation, you'll be smitten with the laid-back charm of Capri and yearn to return as soon as possible.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre (pronounced CHINK-weh TAY-reh) – translated as five lands and also known as 5 Terre is a collection of five towns along Northwest Italy's Ligurian Coast. Formerly remote fishing villages, Monterosso, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia and Riomaggiore are now connected by train, and the rest of the world has taken notice of their laid-back vibe, their delicious olives and wine, and their transcendent trails that weave through the towns and hug the coastline. In fact, the entire region has become so popular that it's a designated national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although you'll only need a few days to explore Cinque Terre, it's definitely a destination worth adding to your Italian vacation itinerary. In fact, many visitors take a few days in Cinque Terre to stretch their legs and clear their heads after intense days touring buzzy Rome or art-filled Florence.

Florence

This little city, tucked amid the Tuscan hills, casts a long shadow through history. The wellspring of the Renaissance, Firenze (or Florence) sheltered the powerful Medici family and inspired artists like Michelangelo (David) and Brunelleschi (the Duomo). If it weren't for the fashionable Italians and chic shops lining Via Tornabuoni, you might think you had traveled back in time to the 14th century. But Renaissance art is not the only reason to come: You also visit Florence for its gorgeous sunsets, its Italian cooking and its romantic charm.

Milan

If easygoing Italy is what you're looking for, book a vacation in Tuscany or Sicily. Milan, like New York City or London, is go-go-go. Home to Italy's stock exchange and Fashion Week, plus a hot nightlife, Milan is very much like many other major international cities. Still, there are subtle differences: For one, calcio (soccer) – the city goes crazy for it, especially at San Siro stadium. Milan also contains some awe-inspiring examples of Italian art and architecture – from "The Last Supper" mural to the magnificent Duomo. And it has creative genius, from its inventive furniture makers to its fashion design. So, if you want to shop and party 'til you drop, enjoy some cultural masterworks and nosh on Italian treats from cappuccino and biscotti to sparkling wines and risottos, Milano is the place for you. 

Naples, Italy

The third-largest city in Italy is chock full of history, art, architecture and delicious food, yet it gets a bad rap for its crime and grime. While these blemishes are certainly a reality for residents, they're far from ubiquitous, especially where tourism is concerned. Choose to literally find higher ground at places like Certosa e Museo di San Martino and you'll be rewarded with truly spectacular views. Stroll the Via Caracciolo e Lungomare di Napoli or chat with the friendly locals and you'll start to experience some of the magic that this port city holds. And, of course, you can't forget the transcendence that comes from that first bite of Neapolitan pizza (in the city credited with inventing the pizza pie), nor that perfect sip of espresso. 


Rome

Rome, the city of seven hills, enjoyed a mythic beginning. Romulus and Remus – twin brothers who were nursed by a she-wolf and fathered by a war god – reportedly founded the Eternal City. And although historians are a little skeptical about this epic entry into the world, most travelers are absolutely certain that there is something magical about Rome. Whether it's the mystery of nearby Vatican City or the ghosts of the Colosseum, an afternoon caffè on Piazza Navona or a piled-high plate of pasta at a trattoria, Roma is sure to enchant.

Sardinia

Sardinia, a 9,301-square-mile island situated in the Mediterranean Sea, just west of the Italian mainland, lures travelers with its unique blend of ancient culture and arresting coastal views. In his travel book "Sea and Sardinia," D.H. Lawrence wrote that "Sardinia is different." And it's true. Not only can you lounge on a white beach or wade out into clear, turquoise waters, but you can enjoy a leisurely pranzo (lunch) complete with Sardinia's own take on pasta and wine. Yes, you can snorkel among colorful fish in nearby coves, but you can also explore inland Sardinia's traditional villages and see shepherds tending to their flocks. The drive along the island's northern Emerald Coast would convince you that Sardinia is characterized solely by glamorous hotels and ristorantes, and utterly perfect beaches, but you'd be wrong. It's also home to humble farms, forested mountains, and friendly but reserved locals… it's as Lawrence penned, different.  

Sicily

Picture a tropical island -- gentle waves spilling onto sandy shores, sunshine gleaming off a sparkling sea and volcanoes spurting steam in the distance. Add to that image: lush, rolling hills, topped by ruins from antiquity. And then you need to imagine the rich tastes of fresh seafood, decadent pastas, sweet wines and desserts. When night falls, the calm atmosphere transforms into a sizzling party in places like Mondello Lido and Palermo's market area. This is Sicily -- a balmy, laid-back refuge with an Italian mentality, especially seen in its cuisine and zeal for life. You'll find this large, triangular island at the toe of Italy's boot, surrounded by the Tyrrhenian, Mediterranean and Ionian seas.

Tuscany, Italy

When the film adaptation of Frances Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun" came out in 2003, the idea that Tuscany was indeed a place of romance, chianti wine, olives, aromatic cooking and, of course, sunshine was deeply embedded in our brains. Today, many travelers visit this glorious region in northwest Italy to escape the hustle and bustle of Rome or Milan and instead take in the Italian countryside. The combination of castles-turned-wineries-turned-hotels, elegant cypress trees, cascading hills and sprawling vineyards is simply heavenly.


Venice

Venice is enchanting. Yes, that may be cliché to say, but once you see the city on the water for yourself, you'll surely agree. Step off the Santa Lucia train station and the breathtaking Grand Canal will soon greet you. You'll see water taxis coast along, passing underneath the Ponte degli Scalzi (Bridge of the Barefoot) and might hear the faintest hint of a serenading violin, or is that your imagination? It might not be all in your head. Romantic gondolas carrying smitten couples glide through the web of the city's many waterways, and gondola drivers are known to sing when the moment feels right. On land, narrow passageways twist past Old World storefronts and residences, and over bridges. You should note that maps aren't all that helpful here and getting lost is the norm – embrace the disorientation. 


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