Top 10 Natural Wonders in Italy

Top 10 Natural Wonders in Italy

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Category : Europe , Italy

Italy is all about pizza, pasta and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, right? It goes without saying that Italian ice-cream is the best in the world and the wine, well, say no more. Considering all of those, it’s easy enough to see why Italy is such a popular place to visit. You don’t even need to be a connoisseur of fine food to appreciate its gastronomic offerings. Yes, Italian food tastes amazing, there’s really no arguing with that, and the tower is one of the country’s most famous landmarks, but what sets Italy apart as a country to visit are its incredible natural wonders.

From where its rugged alpine border connects with neighboring Switzerland to the tip of its boot-shaped coastline, Italy is one hundred and sixteen thousand square miles of awesome things to marvel at. Stunning rock formations, which could have been carved by the hands of the mythical Roman gods of old, rub shoulders with pristine mountain lakes and fiery volcanoes. Italy really is a natural wonder in itself which you just can’t miss out on exploring. If you haven’t already got a ticket to go, what are you waiting for?

Check out these ten natural wonders in Italy and before you can learn to say ciao, you’ll have purchased your flight and be standing in the check-in queue at the airport.

10. Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee), South Tyrol, Italy

Nestled among the mountains of Italy’s South Tyrol is Lago di Braies. This is a lake which is much more than just picture-perfect. Though admittedly, post a photo of Lago di Braies to Instagram and not only will you be the envy of all your followers, it’ll probably get thousands of extra likes as well.

The alpine lake’s waters are crystal clear and match the color of the blue skies above it. There are superb but relatively easy-going, hiking trails through the pine forests around the lake or for the more adventurous walker, the Alta Via 1 can also be accessed from Lago di Braies. Don’t miss the tiny bays with secluded beaches along the lake’s shoreline which are just waiting for you to discover.

Why Go? Lago di Braies, or Pragser Wildsee as it is also known, is a corner of Italy where all those magical environmental elements have come together to create something uniquely special. Mountains, lake, pine forests and beaches combine in a natural perfection which is just incomparable. It’s such a beautiful place, once you’re there, you’ll probably want to stay for days. If that’s the case, then check out the Hotel Lago di Braies, it’s the only hotel there.

Map Location: Lago di Braies, Italy

Boathouse at Lago di Braies or Pragser Wildsee, South Tyrol, Italy

9. Scala dei Turchi (Staircase of the Turks), Sicily

Italy really does have more than its fair share of beautiful coastlines, but even they struggle to compete with the stunning Scala dei Turchi on the Italian island of Sicily. Reminiscent of icing on a cake, these cliffs rise above the sea in layer upon layer of sparkling white rock. Carved by the erosion of wind and sea, the marl rock formation is also referred to as the Staircase of the Turks.

Almost a natural amphitheater, it’s the ideal place to have a chilled out picnic while waiting to watch the sunset over the stunning blue of the Mediterranean Sea. That’s a sight which is so captivating; you’ll probably want to see it every evening for a week. You won’t have to carry your picnic basket too far if you stay at the Hotel Belvedere Scala dei Turchi. The rooms there are decorated in the same, restful on the eye, blue and white as the cliffs and the sea.

Why Go? The elements wait for no-one, and the abrasive action which formed the scala is a force to be reckoned with. It’ll keep wearing away those beautiful cliffs until there’s nothing left but dust as fine as talcum powder and it is a sight you just can’t afford to miss. If the Belvedere is fully booked, check out the La Scogliera Turca, they’ve terraces with impressive sea views.

Map Location: Scala dei Turchi, Sicily

The rocky white cliffs Scala dei Turchi, Sicily, Italy

8. Gran Paradiso National Park, Graian Alps, Italy

The Gran Paradiso National Park is the place to go to explore Italy’s natural beauty at its rugged best. The wild landscape of the park, which covers just under three hundred square miles, incorporates majestic mountains, lakes and some incredible fauna and flora endemic to the region. You’ll have seen their pictures on the internet, yes, those cute, four-legged creatures which can scale practically vertical cliffs. The long-horned Alpine ibex, a very agile mountain goat which was once almost extinct, is now thriving in the park environment and here, you can go and see them for yourself rather than on the screen of your laptop or phone.

The Gran Paradiso National Park is also a hill walkers paradise with over three hundred miles of trails crisscrossing the park’s valleys, or if you prefer some wintertime activity, there’s skiing or snowshoeing to take the place of hiking when there’s snow on the slopes.

Why Go? Apart from visiting to admire the area’s natural beauty or hike the trails, it’s impressive to see first hand how research and conservation can make an impact on the survival rate of a species. In the last seventy years, the ibex population has increased ten-fold. That’s something everyone should witness first hand and take note of.

Map Location: Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy

Aerial Drone view of Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy

7. Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto), Capri, Italy

The Grotta Azzurra on the island of Capri is a sea cave in which, due to the unusual refraction of sunlight entering it, the water appears an incredible blue. To see it, you’ll need to sail away from the coastline of Capri on a boat ride, then transfer to a small rowing boat. It’s the only way to get inside as the entrance arch is pretty low, so low, in fact, you’ll need to lay down to prevent banging your head.

Going into the Grotta Azzurra might just be what dying and going to heaven is like. Be prepared because one second you’re in pitch darkness and the next you’re in a world of celestial blue. The cave is about two hundred feet long, so while visits to this ethereal world are visually sensational, they are relatively short.

Why Go? It’s not often you get to step foot, metaphorically at least, where two of the world’s most renowned authors have been. If you’re into history or literature, then going into the Grotta Azzurra will have added significance because you’ll be going somewhere documented by Pliny The Elder twenty centuries previously and written about by Mark Twain in the nineteenth century. The experience will leave you lost for words.

Map Location: Grotta Azzurra, Capri, Italy

Blue Grotto or Grotta Azzurra, Capri, southern Italy

6. Lago di Garda, Northern Italy

Lago di Garda or Lake Garda, measuring thirty-two miles from shore to shore at its longest point and covering a surface area of one hundred and forty-three square miles, is the biggest freshwater lake in Italy. Its super clear waters are surrounded by stunning mountains, its hundred miles of shoreline decorated with picturesque towns, villages and pristine beaches, plus it’s dotted with islands whose fascinating histories can be traced back to pirate times. The impressive combination of lake scenery, historical monuments, and the areas superb microclimate have made Lake Garda one of Italy’s favorite places to take a chill out vacation.

Why Go? If you love being on, in or near the water, you can’t skip visiting Lake Garda when you’re in Italy. The lake’s prevailing winds make it the perfect place for practicing sailing, surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. If you like to pit your wits against some wily fish, bait your hook then cast it out, the lake is teeming with fish of all varieties. Before you know it, you’ll have hooked something, and you may even end up taking a trout home for your dinner.

Map LocationLago di Garda, Northern Italy

Panorama of Lake Garda or Lago di Garda in Italy

Panorama of Lake Garda or Lago di Garda in Italy

5. Cascate del Mulino, Saturnia, Italy

Vacations are meant to be therapeutic, and in Italy, that becomes literally true if you visit the Cascate del Mulino in the Italian town of Saturnia. There, an underground water source, which is heated geothermally, breaks through to the surface and the steaming, sulfur-impregnated water trickles gently down in graduating cascades to fill depressions in the rocks forming the pools of a natural spa. The waters, which maintain a steady 37ºC in the higher pools then cool as they run their course over the falls, are said to be beneficial to respiratory ailments as well as incredibly relaxing.

Why Go? Most spa treatments cost a fortune; the Cascate del Mulino is completely free. You can indulge to your heart’s content, though it’s recommended not to be immersed for longer than twenty minutes at a time. Don’t expect any on-site facilities such as changing rooms or restrooms, there aren’t any, and you need to go equipped with a towel and take some water shoes as the rocks can be slippery with algae. If that all sounds too rustic and you want to splurge on some luxury instead, the Hotel Terme di Saturnia has Roman baths, saunas, and a thermal spa.

Map Location: Cascate del Mulino, Saturnia

Aerial drone view of Cascate del Mulino, Saturnia, Italy

4. Mount Etna, Sicily

The island of Sicily is where Italy’s most active volcano, Mount Etna is. Believe it, this volcano doesn’t steam it smokes – constantly. Yes, it really is that hot even in winter, when the peak can be covered with snow, it carries on emitting a steady stream of dark and dramatic, venomous clouds. At almost eleven thousand feet high, it looms over the town of Catania and is the highest volcano anywhere in Europe. Its last major eruption was in 2017 and its been continuously grumbling ever since.

Why Go? Mount Etna is one of the most stunning volcanoes in the world, and even though it is active, you can ride up it in a cable car or explore it by jeep. Getting so close to a live volcano is a real adrenaline trip, and yes, there are some dangers involved, but it is an unforgettable experience. Go now before it completely blows its top and leaves Catania under a layer of lava and ash.

Map Location: Mount Etna, Sicily

The mount Etna with smoke, Sicily, Italy

3. Arcipelago di La Maddalena (Maddalena Archipelago), Sardinia

As far as island paradises go, the Archipelago di La Maddalena ticks all the right boxes to classify as perfect. This group of over fifty islands and islets, in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the north-east coast of Sardinia, are so idyllic they take the definition of the word to a whole new level. Surrounded by incredibly clear, crystalline waters, the shorelines of the islands boast some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in all of Italy.

Even though Isola Maddalena is the largest of the islands, if you could drag yourself off Spalmatore beach for long enough, you could probably walk the twelve miles of road which run around its coastline. If that sounds too strenuous, then ride the local bus to discover all the hidden bays and stunning beaches like Monte Rena. Caprera, the second largest island in the chain, not only has impeccable beaches like the ones at Due Mari, but is covered with pine forests which are great for hiking.

Why Go? If you’ve dreamt of navigating Utopia on a yacht and discovering a deserted beach, you’ll have found it in the Arcipelago di La Maddalena. Just don’t drop anchor by the Spiaggia Rosa, the famous pink beach on Isola Budelli, it’s now a highly protected from all environmental threats, including beach flipflops, so get out your telescopic lens, take a photo from the deck of the boat and sail on by.

Map LocationArcipelago di La Maddalena, Sardinia, Italy

Mortorio island, Maddalena Archipelago, Sardinia, Italy

Mortorio island, Maddalena Archipelago, Sardinia, Italy

2. Val d’Orcia, Tuscany, Italy

The Val d’Orcia, in the Tuscany region of Italy, is the rural heart of the country. To drive the Strada di Valoresi, a road lined either side with regimental cypress, from La Foce to Monticchiello is like driving through an agricultural time capsule. The road winds its way through the verdant, rolling hillsides of the valley. Covered with vineyards and olive groves, this scenic view has remained unchanged for centuries and will continue to be untouched by progress as it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why Go? A road trip through the Val d’Orcia in the autumn is like driving through a living kaleidoscope. With the onset of the season, the foliage turns to an array of colors ranging from bronze to russet to mauve. It is an incredible sight which attracts artists and photographers from all over the world. Or is that just a good excuse for trying the regions fantastic wine and olive oil? Both are reason enough for a visit on their own.

Map Location: Val d’Orcia, Tuscany, Italy

Val d’Orcia, Tuscany, Italy

Val d’Orcia, Tuscany, Italy

1. The Dolomite Mountain Range, North-east Italy

Everyone and everything shows its age at some time. Italy’s age is no more apparent than it is in the Dolomite Mountain Range. Formed of rock dating back to the Triassic age, yes, this part of Italy really was around a few hundred million years ago, but considering that fact, it’s wearing well.

The entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and encompasses several stunning national parks including Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park and Dolomiti d’Ampezzo Natural Park. The highest mountain, of all the craggy peaks, is the Marmolada at the height of almost eleven thousand feet, but the most easily recognized are the three forbidding peaks of the Tre Cime de Lavaredo.

Why Go? The Dolomite Mountain Range is where you can get in touch with the real Italian great outdoors. Popular for hiking, there are some fantastic trails as well as incredible views from the observation points. And there’s no denying, the range is a fashionable ski-resort in winter. The mountains passes of Passo Giau and Passo Sella, both with elevations of over two thousand feet, are great for cycling. You’ll definitely get a distinct view of Italy as you pedal at altitude through the Dolomites.

Map Location: Dolomite Mountain Range, Italy

Passo Giau, Dolomites, Italy

Passo Giau, Dolomites, Italy

Thanks to: Pando Trip


Atrani – an Undiscovered Town on the Amalfi Coast, Italy

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Category : Europe , Italy

Atrani won’t be the first place which comes to mind when you think of Italian beach resorts. But it is the place you should visit if you want to find out what Italy is truly all about. Even though Atrani is just a short drive away from Amalfi, the famous and bustling holiday spot, it remains unspoiled by mass tourism and is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets.

Atrani is a coastal fishing village with a population of less than one thousand. It nestles in the divide of two steep cliffs on the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its tier upon tier of multi-colored houses rises above a beautiful stretch of pristine sand. It is one of the most idyllic and picturesque settings in Italy.

Unchanged by the passing of time, Atrani is a place just waiting to be explored. You can climb the steps up from the beach level and wander through the narrow, winding streets. There you’ll discover thirteenth-century baroque churches and piazzas with spurting fountains. Be able to listen to the tolling of the bell from the sixteenth-century tower as it chimes and breaks the quiet of the siesta hour. Ponder life over a drink on a cafe terrace in Piazza Umberto, the main square. If you have that uncanny feeling of deja vu while you’re there, don’t be surprised. Atrani’s scenic streets and stunning coast have been the chosen location for numerous films.

Why Go?

Atrani appears to be trapped in a time warp, but nothing stays the same forever. When you go, don’t expect modern and don’t expect glitz. Atrani is authentic Italian. The facades of the houses lining the square have their own unique beauty. Three or four stories high and with shutters flung open to catch the slight breeze coming in off the sea, they are like a Giovanni Colmo painting which has been infused with life. Full of character, they might not have weathered the years as well as Sophia Loren, but they are just as beautiful in their own way. Like a good wine, Atrani has aged to perfection.

Any photographs of Atrani you upload to Instagram will have real heart and soul. Here you can capture the peeling paintwork, a time-worn woman dressed in black sat on an old chair by her front door or a lazy cat asleep in the afternoon sun. Atrani is the place to experience Italy as it should be. Eat the same food as the locals, drink the same drinks and at the same price they would pay for it. Does anyone need a better reason to go?

Morning view of Atrani, Italy

 

The Best Time To Visit Atrani

Atrani enjoys the same wonderful Mediterranean climate as the rest of the Amalfi Coast. But just like everywhere else in the world, the weather in Atrani will never be one hundred percent predictable. To be able to explore in comfort and to avoid the peak temperatures of summer, the best time to visit Atrani is in May or September.

Springtime has favorable temperatures which on average range between 12°C and 25°C. The sea’s warm enough for swimming, and there’s never a crowd on the beach. There’s also the added bonus of the trees and flowers blossoming and scenting the air with their fragrance. In Autumn, even though the locals might be donning their sweaters, the temperatures remain in the high twenties. Late Autumn can also see unexpected heat-waves occurring, so if you’re planning on going then, make sure you still pack plenty of sunscreen.

How To Get To Atrani?

Getting to Atrani from where you’re staying on the Amalfi Coast is simplicity itself. If you’ve packed comfortable shoes, flip-flops are not recommended, then one of the best ways is to walk. From Amalfi, take the seafront route to Atrani. It takes around fifteen minutes. You’ll get some sea air and great views of the coast along the way.

From Ravelli, a three-kilometer trail leads inland through terraced vineyards and groves of lemon trees. It takes around half an hour – depending on how many times you stop to take photos. Get ready to give your leg muscles a workout at the end. There’s a steep flight of steps, about one thousand five hundred in all, to be negotiated before you reach the town. You can also take the bus. The number 5110 runs every half an hour, back and forth, between Atrani and Ravelli.

If you’re staying further afield in Positano, Minori or Salerno, try catching the local ferry to Amalfi then continuing on foot from there. From Positano, the sailing is around half an hour and costs just over $9. It’s a bargain and a beautiful way of seeing the Amalfi coast from a different angle.

How to get to Atrani on Amalfi coast, Italy

Piazza Umberto I

The heart of any Italian town or village is its square. The square or piazza is the place to see and be seen. The central focal point of Italian life. Atrani’s square or the Piazza Umberto I is no different. To find the piazza, you’ll need to turn your back on the sea and pass under the arches of the viaduct which carry the main Amalfi Coast Road. When you do, be prepared to feel as if you were stepping back in time. Even the fountain, which in historical terms is a recent addition to the piazza, is almost a century old.

Local and visitors alike gather at the tables on the terraces of the bars and cafes to drink coffee or sip an aperitif. Children play, skipping across the cobblestones which date back as far as medieval times. Take time to investigate the piazza, and you’ll find some interesting hidden treasures. The small supermarket with its deli section of traditional Italian sausages, cheeses, and olives. The barbershop where masculine banter is almost as important as a haircut. The tiny, claustrophobic tabacchi which sells everything from chewing gum to cigarettes and bus tickets. The darkened interior of a coffee shop with a delicious array of sweet pastries. While you’re there, forget checking your watch to see what time it is. Some things are just timeless and Atrani’s Piazza Umberto I is one of them. Make sure you take enough time to enjoy its vibrant antiquity.

Piazzetta Umberto, Atrani, Italy

Atrani Beach

Finding a more ideal place along the Amalfi Coast to spread your towel than on the beach at Atrani would be impossible. The beach curves around the small bay and is sheltered by the town and cliffs behind it. From wherever you are on the beach, no matter which way you look, you’ll be astounded by the coastal scenery of this part of Italy. Accentuated by the pure Mediterranean blue of sea and sky, even the word picturesque doesn’t do it justice.

At Atrani, the Tyrrhenian Sea is clean and clear. It’s perfect for swimming and even better for snorkeling. If you just want to laze the day away and catch some rays, a couple of sunbeds and a parasol costs under $25 to hire. If swimming and the sea air give you an appetite, it’s just a short stroll over the sand to the beach cafe or a step or two more to the piazza behind it.

Atrani Beach. One of the beast beaches in Amalfi coast, Italy

Santa Maria Maddalena Church, Atrani

Whether you approach Atrani by road or by sea, the first thing you’ll notice will be the Santa Maria Maddalena Church and the bell tower which stands next to it. The thirteenth century Rococo facade of the church is one of a kind along the Amalfi Coast. Externally it’s as ornate as an iced cake. The decorated white walls adorned with statutes are topped by red-tiled roofs and three intricately patterned cupolas. Internally the embellishment goes overboard with arches and religious artwork in true Baroque style.

You don’t need to be religious to enjoy the annual Festival of Santa Maria Maddalena. The mid-summer celebration is held in July, and it is when the whole population of Atrani hits the streets to honor St Mary Magdalene who, legend has it, saved the town from a pirate attack. A decorous procession takes place, and an image of the saint is carried from the church to the beach accompanied by a local band. As the bell tolls in the tower, a blaze of fireworks lights the sea to mark the beginning of a night of festivities. Everyone is welcome to join in with the feasting and fun. So if you’re in Atrani on the right dates for the festival, don’t be shy.

Santa Maria Maddalena Church in Atrani, Amalfi coast, Italy

Best Restaurants In Atrani

Italian food is often simple but incredibly tasty. The secret behind their culinary excellence is using quality, fresh produce. It would be unthinkable to be in Atrani without tasting some of the local food. Being so close to the sea, shellfish and the catch of the day have a strong influence on the cuisine. For first-class quality, with a friendly family atmosphere, try the Ristorante Savo. Sit out on the restaurant terrace to enjoy a tasty risotto or plate of squid ink pasta.

Le Arcateis right on the beach, so you can have your food with an unbeatable sea view. They serve amazing homemade pasta dishes. The shrimp and zucchini scialatielli is a tasty regional dish of the Amalfi Coast, and they prepare it to perfection. You won’t get a better or fresher pizza than the one they serve here either. The best part? Watching the chefs as they prepare your meal in the open plan kitchen.

If you just want to chill out over drinks and a snack, then the Bistrot il Birecto in the piazza is the place to be. Sit under one of their enormous parasols and nibble on a slice of Bruschetta – grilled bread with tomatoes and Parma ham – while sipping a glass of local wine. For a light lunch, snack on a parmegiana de berenjena – grilled aubergine with a parmesan topping – or just a dish of olives on the side next to a nice, refreshing beer.

Where to stay in Atrani

Once you’re in Atrani, you’ll find it will probably cast you under its spell, and you won’t want to leave. You may even want to plan another vacation and return to Atrani to stay. There’s not a never-ending choice of hotels in Atrani as it is a small place, but there’s a couple which are seriously worth checking out.

The Eva Rooms is a bed and breakfast which is right on Atrani beach. The rooms, which are a combination of modern soft furnishings and antique Italian furniture, have beautiful views from the balconies out over the bay.  The B&B’s hostess is friendly, plus there’s free wifi, and a good breakfast included.

The Palazzo Ferraioli is a hotel and wellness center. The rooms are named after female film stars and each one is decorated in a unique and ultra-modern style. The hotel offers guest the use of their on-site spa with Finnish sauna and hot tub as well as a sun terrace with amazing views. Breakfast is served buffet style. To reach the hotel reception, you need to climb a few steps from the piazza.

Eva Rooms, Atrani
Thanks to: Pando Trip

Venice hotels: 11 Best for locations and value

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Category : Italy , Venice

Grand dame or boutique? Five star or three star? Forget the same old categories – for style and value, here’s the real-world luxury guide to Venice hotels

Choosing a hotel in Venice can be a labyrinthine process. An annual influx of 28 million tourists (compared to just 55,000 locals) means the calli are crammed with hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs and self-catering options. Some are mind-blowing, others distinctly mediocre. How to sort the wheat from the chaff?

Best for design: Casa Flora

Casa Flora is a design-led hotel-Airbnb hybrid which aims to encourage sustainable tourism (Valentina Sommariva)

Brought to you by the Romanelli family, locals who own art deco-themed Novecento and the Hotel Flora next door, Casa Flora is a bold attempt to grab the younger, design-centric market with a three-bedroom apartment that’s a hybrid between a fancy Airbnb and a hotel – and a guaranteed Instagram smash.

It’s also an attempt at turning Venice tourism sustainable – everything in the flat, from the marble countertops to the parquet floor, is locally sourced and custom-made. Not that responsible means boring, here – lush plants drape themselves around the doorways and squat in bathroom basins, those countertops are jade, and the colour palettes revolve around lagoon hues – eau de nil, grey-blue and dirty creams.

Guests can use the Hotel Flora’s facilities next door, and there’s also a partnership with restaurant Estro, who’ll even send someone to come make you breakfast should you be feeling extravagant. Otherwise, breakfast is served next door in the Flora’s pretty courtyard.

Apartment from €600 (sleeps six), B&B
casafloravenezia.com​

Best B&B: Cima Rosa

Cima Rosa revolves round a pretty 15th-century courtyard just off the Grand Canal (Cima Rosa)

Not your average Venice digs, Cima Rosa is in lesser known Santa Croce, and is also rather more stylish than other affordable options. A 15th-century palazzo that was renovated by its architect and interior design owners, it sits on the Grand Canal (three of the rooms have prime views) yet manages to stay at one remove from the madness.

Inside, it’s equally unique – the Venetian-American couple who own it have gone for a sober palette of lagoon colours (eau de nil, grey, a hint of blue) paired with antiques they’ve done up themselves (they have a furniture restoration business).

It’s an intimate space, with just five rooms spread over two “wings” and communal areas including a courtyard and canalside living room-slash-kitchen, where continental breakfast is served and guests can cook for themselves. Owners Daniele and Brittany are hands-on hosts, and the feeling is of a chic friend’s house, rather than a B&B.

Doubles from €180, B&B
cimarosavenezia.com​

Best surprise: Bauer Palladio

Its wild, meadow-style gardens make the Bauer Palladio unlike any other Venice hotel (Bauer Hotels)

Was there ever a Venice hotel like this? Technically, yes – its sibling and neighbour, the breathtakingly pricey, Angelina-slept-here, butler-staffed Villa F. But even for those on an A-lister budget, to be honest, the Palladio is nicer. A conversion of a church and house for “fallen women” by 16th-century starchitect Andrea Palladio on Giudecca, the 58 rooms and 21 suites are spread across the main building and two blocks in the gardens.

The décor in the main building is slightly dated, as you’d expect from 16th-century digs, but the garden buildings are airy, tiki-influenced affairs, with ground-floor rooms opening directly onto the huge gardens, and a wild, flower-filled meadow breaking up the space. And if that sounds boho enough, know that the restaurant is vegan. The only thing missing is a pool.

Open March-November. Doubles from €180, B&B
palladiohotelspa.com

Best for atmosphere: Avogaria

The homely rooms at Avogaria give you a completely different view of Venice (Avogaria)

You’ll forget you’re in tourist town at Avogaria, a tiny, five-room residence at the far (read: local) end of Dorsoduro. The atmosphere is cosy – there’s even a fake cat curled up in the window – and the rooms a modern take on flouncy Venetian design (think mosaic walls and gilded mirrors), while three junior suites sport private walled gardens.

The hotel is a spin-off of the owner’s restaurant, so if it all gets too comfy, you can order the menu from room service, too.

Doubles from €100, B&B
avogaria.com​

Best for nightlife: Hotel l’Orologio

The rooms at Hotel L’Orologio are a bold departure from Venice norms (they’re not all this bold, though) (Hotel L’Orologio)

Technically the Hotel l’Orologio (Clock Hotel), it calls itself the Hotel L’O, which tells you something about the clientele. Dispensing with traditional Venetian style, the lobby is a design-led affair themed around antique timepieces, rooms have glowing cog-themed artwork above the headboards, and bright colours and semi-floating beds give a modern feel.

But despite being in the real world, at the L’O you’re also situated plum on the Grand Canal (some rooms have spectacular views), right by the buzzy bar area that’s sprung up around Rialto Mercato, so you can nip out for cichetti and an ombra (glass of wine) at Naranzaria or Bancogiro.

For a more self-sufficient stay (and to take advantage of the Rialto market nearby), the hotel has opened two apartments, both overlooking the Grand Canal.

Doubles from €215, B&B
hotelorologiovenezia.com

Best value: Liassidi Palace

The Liassidi Palace combines Venetian grandeur with off-the-beaten-track intimacy (SLH)

In a gothic palazzo in Castello, just east of San Marco, the Liassidi Palace has canal views, yet less of a scrum around it than those in the very centre. You’re well located for sightseeing here – the hotel sits between the Carpaccio paintings at the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni and the Greek church with its tipsily leaning spire – as well as a quick walk to the less populated and more local part of Castello, around San Francesco della Vigna. Just 31 rooms take up the 15th-century palazzo, and the look is classic Venice, with heavy drapes, damask wall-coverings, flouncy headboards and chandeliers aplenty.

A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, it’s a good combination of affordability and intimacy, just steps from the action.

Doubles from €128, B&B
liassidipalacehotel.com​

Best grand dame: Centurion Palace

Centurion Palace’s brash colour schemes are a diversion from the Venice norm (Sina Hotels)

You may not want to like the Centurion Palace, if you’re in Venice for all things ancient. You may think the idea of gold-plated bathrooms – literally – is too much bling, that the modern, silver sculptures glittering in niches on the Grand Canal are “not authentic”. That the rooms – plain claret, rust-coloured, brown walls, even – are too modern for this most refined of cities. And then you’ll get there, and find your fears melt away.

It turns out that Centurion Palace is Italian-owned, modestly-roomed (there are just 50 in the vast property) and really rather lovely. The bar and restaurant both have seating cantilevered over the Grand Canal; there’s an inhouse cat, Centurione. Where other five-star hotels in Venice tend to be fairly stiff-atmosphered, the service here is notably friendly – staff are chatty, and conversations go two ways.

Walls are painted in plain, brash colours instead of swaddled in traditional damask and the corridors have modern photography rather than cod-renaissance portraits. And the Dorsoduro location is central but quiet – squished between the Salute church and Guggenheim collection, a 30-second traghetto ride from the sestiere of San Marco, but a couple of minutes to the Zattere, Venice’s most beautiful waterfront.

Doubles from €272, room only
sinahotels.com​

Best for bling: Palazzina

Palazzina is Philippe Starck at his most outré (Design Hotels)

The closest Venice gets to a W hotel are these Philippe Starck-designed digs in a 16th-century little palazzo (“palazzino”) next to art gallery Palazzo Grassi. Formerly known as Palazzina G, the 26 rooms are full of signature Starck touches: mirrored walls, ceilings and chairs, carnival masks and stools that look like silver-coated tree-stumps.

Two buildings spliced together make up the hotel: one set back from the water, whose rooms overlook the alleys below, the other an elegant, slim palazzo on the Grand Canal, squished between behemoths on either side. This one is where the suites are – and they’re actually some of the best-priced Grand Canal suites you’ll find, as former guest Johnny Depp can tell you.

There’s no check-in desk here – it’s way too cool for that – but there is a “Krug Lounge” (the second in the world) and a beautiful main room – low-lit and framed by Corinthian columns – which serves as a restaurant, bar and lobby area.

Doubles from €279, B&B. Grand Canal suites from €744, B&B
palazzinag.com

Best for couples: Palazzo Stern

Palazzo Stern is a townhouse conversion on the Grand Canal – complete with rooftop Jacuzzi (Palazzo Stern)

Everyone notices Palazzo Stern as the number 1 vaporetto glides up the Grand Canal and moors right beside it, at Ca’ Rezzonico. Not everyone, however, realises it’s a hotel, with its invisible signage and neat little garden, fringed by doric columns.

What used to be a house – built in the 15th century and ending up in the hands of a German art collector – has been converted into a 24-room property. The bedrooms themselves won’t win many design awards – they’re typical old-school Italian four-star – but the house itself is a gem, with a grand lobby, staircase, and rooftop hot tub.

Doubles from €175, B&B
palazzostern.it​

Best for solo travellers: Generator

Generator has ‘generated’ its own movida on Giudecca island (Jamie Smith)

If you’re looking for a scene, here’s where to find it, in an enormous warehouse on Giudecca converted into a “poshtel” by the stylish Generator group. On warm evenings, millennials spill out onto the waterfront outside, creating their own mini movida; inside are design-led dorms (think exposed brick walls and beamed ceilings) as well as five ensuite doubles, overlooking the water and San Marco in the distance.

Dorms from €14, doubles from €60, room only
generatorhostels.com​

Best for ease: Hotel Santa Chiara

Hotel Santa Chiara’s modern rooms are right by the bus terminal (Hotel Santa Chiara)

Staying by the bus depot isn’t generally the best plan. But in Venice – especially if you’re on a tight schedule, or have lots of luggage – things are a little different. The Santa Chiara sits at the mouth of the Grand Canal – not its most beautiful point, but a mere 20m from the airport bus stop. That means instead of sitting on the Alilaguna ferry to reach town (perhaps the most spectacular airport commute, but normally around 90 minutes) and then dragging your cases across bridges and around alleyways, you can get the bus from the airport to the Piazzale Roma terminus and go from Arrivals hall to your room in 25 minutes flat. Sans luggage, you can then walk to anywhere in Venice in about 15 minutes, rather than having to brave another long vaporetto ride. It is, it’s no exaggeration to say, revelatory.

The hotel is split across two buildings – a 19th-century convent and a concrete-ish modern building (adventurous or excrescence, depending on your sensibilities), which are joined in the middle so you don’t feel the split. Deluxe rooms are the ones to go for (classic rooms are in a separate annexe) – they’re modern and well equipped, with stylish feature wallpaper, comfy beds and faux walnut furniture. Breakfast is taken in a sunny room plum on the Grand Canal, while rooms can either have a canal view or one of the bus terminus behind (the latter are extremely well soundproofed, so there are no worries on that score).

The hotel is also wheelchair-accessible – as is Piazzale Roma – so if you have mobility issues, it’s an excellent base.

Doubles from €150, B&B
hotelsantachiara.it

We may earn some commission if you click on a link in this article and buy a product or service, but we never allow this to influence our coverage.

This article was first published in July 2017
Thanks to: Julia Buckley


10 Most Underrated Destinations in Italy

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Category : Europe , Italy

Italy is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. However, many visitors spend most or all of their time visiting the major attractions within the country. The historical landmarks in Rome and Florence are undeniably remarkable, but Italy has a lot more to offer. Veering just a little off the beaten track can deliver spectacular rewards. Try local prosciutto in Parma, see the baroque buildings in Lecce and relax on the beach in Cefalu. All of these experiences are possible when you explore some of the underrated destinations in Italy. Pack your itinerary with as many of these highlights as your schedule will allow.

10. Trieste

Trieste

 

The city of Trieste was once considered to be a hub of politics and culture. Today, it is overshadowed by larger cities, but it is still an underrated and fascinating destination in Italy. Located on the border with Slovenia, and situated right on the water, Trieste has a culture that is all its own. Be prepared for quadrilingual residents and a very sophisticated, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Trieste is home to a mostly pedestrian old town called the Città Vecchia, which features winding cobblestone streets and plenty of medieval homes. You’ll also want to explore the Austrian Quarter and the 2,000-year-old Roman Theater.
WHERE TO STAY IN TRIESTE?

 

9. Turin 

Turin

 

A large city of about one million inhabitants, Turin was the first capital of modern Italy. It is less than an hour’s drive from the Mediterranean Sea, an hour’s drive from the French border, and it is even home to the former royal family. Sprawling tree-lined boulevards set the scene, and you could spend several days admiring the vast collection of baroque churches and castles. Piazza Castello is largely considered the heart of the city, and it is just a short stroll from the plaza to the Porta Palazzo Market. The market is a bustling spot where you can buy everything from antiques to food.
WHERE TO STAY IN TURIN?

 

8. Ragusa

Ragusa

 

Ragusa is an incredible destination on the island of Sicily. It can be divided into two major sections: Ragusa Superior and Ragusa Ibla. Ragusa Superior is the newer part of the city, while Ragusa Ibla is where most visitors head in order to admire the historic architecture. Although the city has struck by an earthquake in the 17th century, many buildings were restored or rebuilt using the original materials. Be sure to check out the beautiful Duomo and the baroque Palazzo Bernini. Then, stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, built in 1825, to cross between the two sections of Ragusa in style.
WHERE TO STAY IN RAGUSA?

 

7. Parma 

Parma

 

The region known as Emilia-Romagna is home to Parma, a small city that is easy to traverse on foot. While Parma has plenty to offer for anyone, it is a must-visit spot for foodies. You’re probably already familiar with Parma’s most famous exports, but they will certainly taste best right from the source. You can spot cows grazing right out of the city, and then see Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese being made from their milk. Dig into the salty cured ham known as Prosciutto di Parma, and pair with a glass of the sparkling local red wine called Lambrusco.
WHERE TO STAY IN PARMA?

 

6. Perugia

Perugia

 

Head to the center of Italy, and you’ll arrive at Perugia. Home to a large university, this Umbrian city boasts a diverse, educated and youthful population. It’s known for its medieval art and its chocolate production, which makes it an obvious place to explore! While the architecture in Perugia is impressive, even more spectacular is what’s underneath. Walk through the remains of a fortress called Rocca Paolina, and you can actually walk right underneath the heart of the city. Above ground, make your way to the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, which stands right next to the 13th century Gothic-style Palazzo dei Priori, or Town Hall.
WHERE TO STAY IN PERUGIA?

 

5. Cefalu

Cefalu

 

The coastal resort of Cefalu, located on the northern shores of Sicily, was once little more than a small fishing village. While fisherman still haul in their catches each day, Cefalu is now a bustling resort with plenty to offer visitors. If you make it to Sicily, Cefalu is the perfect place to get active outdoors and soak up the sun. Climb The Rock, or La Rocca, for a brief hike that promises spectacular views over Cefalu. Take a dip in the sea at the beach, and then catch sunset at the harbor before an oceanfront Italian dinner.
WHERE TO STAY IN CEFALU?

 

4. Urbino

Urbino

 

There are many destinations in Italy packed with Renaissance culture and architecture, but Urbino still stands out as one of the most significant. It is home to one of the largest medieval palaces in Italy, called Ducal Palace. This so-called Duke’s Palace is open for public tours, and it is also home to the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, an art museum filled with Renaissance works. Continue your art adventures by visiting Raphael’s House, where the famed Renaissance painter Raphael was born and raised. In addition to the magnificent art in the city, Urbino is home to fantastic nightlife.
WHERE TO STAY IN URBINO?

 

3. Sardinia

Sardinia

 

Anchored between the Italian peninsula and North Africa’s coastline, Sardinia has been home to a succession of civilizations, many of which have left their mark on the second largest island in Italy. From prehistoric stone structures to medieval castles and churches, visitors interested in history, architecture and culture won’t be disappointed. The capital of Cagliari is home to an impressive archaeology museum as well as the Bastione di Saint Remy, which boasts amazing views. In the medieval town of Alghero, don’t miss the historic Palazzo d’Albis. With its quintessential Mediterranean beauty, the island is also loved for swimming, boating, windsurfing, hiking and camping in the wilderness.
WHERE TO STAY IN SARDINIA?

 

2. Lecce

Lecce

 

Lecce may be one of the most underrated destinations in Italy. Known as the Florence of the South, Lecce is full of baroque buildings and cultural attractions. Start your sightseeing in the Piazza S. Oronzo, a medieval plaza that is the hub for city residents. Then, walk over to the baroque cathedral, which you can enter and explore on your own. Walk through the city’s famed 16th century arch called Porta Napoli, and then find one of the many bakeries in the Lecce. If you only eat one thing in Lecce, make sure it is the pasticciotto cake. This cake is sweet and rich, but it is still easy to eat as you walk through the streets.
WHERE TO STAY IN LECCE?

 

1. Genoa

#1 of Underrated Destinations In Italy

 

The birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Genoa has always played a big role in Italian maritime trade and is still one of the largest ports in Italy. Though Genoa is often overlooked as a tourist destination, it is a wonderful Italian city, and definitely worth visiting. The aquarium in Genoa is the largest in Europe, and it is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in the city. If you gravitate more towards art and architecture, then the art galleries found at the Prince’s Palace and in the Raccolte Frugone are well worth a visit. Foodies love Genoa, and it is easy to see why. Pesto originated from Genoa, and the affordable flat-bread called focaccia is also delicious and readily available throughout the city.
WHERE TO STAY IN GENOA?


14 Gorgeous Small Towns in Italy

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Category : Europe , Italy

Small isn’t necessarily bad. When it comes to the small villages of Italy, small is grrrrreat! While small towns may lack the amenities and sheer number of historical sites the big cities have, they more than make up for this with the spectacular water views you’ll find in Castelmola, the fields ablaze in colorful flowers of Neive and villages clinging to eroded pinnacles like Civita di Bagnoregio. If picture-postcard medieval villages appeal to you, it’s time to head to one of the many small towns in Italy.

14. Dozza

Dozza

 

Not too far from Bologna, you’ll find Dozza, a small village that is famous for turning itself into an artist’s canvas. This medieval village is like an open-air art museum, with colorful paintings adorning the houses, walls, streets and squares. Anytime is a good time to visit this charmer, but the third week of September is especially good since the Biennial Exhibition of the Painted Wall, drawing artists from all over, takes place then. The village also is known for its summer wine festival and its old fortress, which served as a private home until 1960.
Where to Stay in Dozza?

13. Castelmola

Castelmola

 

Castelmola is a small village on Sicily. Although it overlooks Taormina, a popular tourist destination, it gets few visitors outside of Sicilians. This may or may not be a good thing. The good thing is this means that Castelmola is relatively unspoiled. The bad thing is that people who don’t make the trek up to Castelmola are missing out on views that are more spectacular than Taormina’s. The climb is steep, so reward yourself with locally made almond wine at the top.
Where to Stay in Castelmola?

12. Cortina d’Ampezzo 

Cortina d'Ampezzo

 

If you’re into winter sports, then Cortina d’Ampezzo is the place to visit. Located in the Dolomite Alps, Cortina is a winter resort known for its skiing – it hosted the 1966 Winter Olympics – as well as après-skiing activities. It’s popular with the jet set because of this. The alpine village has been a tourist destination since the late 19th century. A major attraction is the 18th century Basilica Minore dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo built on the site of two earlier churches.
Where to Stay in Cortina d'Ampezzo?

11. San Leo

San Leo

 

If you’ve read Dante’s Divine Comedy, San Leo in Marche may be familiar to you. That’s because the renowned poet based purgatory on this small mountain village, particularly the fortress, parts of which were built by the Romans. . The village is famous for this castle that sits on a steep cliff above it. Listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, you won’t want to miss the 7th century Parish Church on Piazza Dante nor the 12th century Romanesque San Leo Cathedral.
Where to Stay in San Leo?

 

10. Neive

Neive

 

Neive, located in Piedmont, is considered one of the loveliest villages in Italy. It has it all: narrow cobblestone streets, medieval architecture and colorful flowers climbing the stone walls of quaint cottages. Most people don’t visit Neive to experience this charm, though; they come to drink its famous wines. Comfortable walking shoes are a must if you plan to explore beyond the wine bars. There’s an old watchtower; the Baroque Chisel di San Petro is considered one of the most important churches in the city.
Where to Stay in Neive?

 

9. Bosa

Bosa

 

Bosa, on the island of Sardinia, is one of the more colorful towns you’ll come across in Italy. That’s because the houses are painted in a rainbow of pastel colors. The settlement was established by the Phoenicians and later raided by Arab pirates. Bosa’s charm is enhanced by fishing boats, though once tanneries were its main economic base. Strolling through the town is a pleasant way to while away the hours, then walk up to the town’s impressive ruined castle for panoramic views of where you’ve just been.
Where to Stay in Bosa?

 

8. Alberobello

Alberobello

 

Southern Italy’s Alberobello is bigger and younger than most small towns in Italy, many of which date back to Roman times. This town, founded by 40 families in the 16th century, has more than 10,000 people. It’s a trulli picturesque town, with buildings having conical roofs often tipped with white. The white-washed houses also are unique because they were built with stone without the use of mortar – a ruse to get out of paying taxes on them.
Where to Stay in Alberobello?

 

7. Castelmezzano

Castelmezzano

 

Castelmezzano, in southern Italy, is another charming place that’s designated one of the most beautiful small towns in Italy. Because it’s surrounded by mountains with good hiding places, it became a refuge for bandits in the 19th century. It has a year-round population of about 1,000 people, a number that swells to many thousands in the summer when visitors come here to zip-line through the mountains At night, when everything is lit up, the village has been described as a living nativity scene.
Where to Stay in Castelmezzano?

 

6. Malcesine

Malcesine

 

It’s hard to believe that Malcesine, on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, has never been anything but picture-postcard beautiful. It’s past hasn’t been all that peaceful, however. . It was fought over by everyone from the Romans to the Ostrogoths and Franks to Napoleon. Perhaps that’s why it’s most important landmark is the Castello Scaligero, a 13th century fortress that replaced one built in the 5th century. It’s marked by a medieval tower made of white stone; an Etruscan tomb was found inside its walls.
Where to Stay in Malcesine?

 

5. Castelluccio

Castelluccio

 

Castelluccio is a tiny village (less than 200 people) that is the highest village in the Apennines of Umbria. Located adjacent to Monti Sibillini National Park, the village is known for growing fabulous lentils in the cultivated fields surrounding it. Mother Nature is at her finest here from May through July when the fields bloom with brightly colored flowers, including poppies and violets; this time is known as “Florita” or “the flowering.” Florita feast days are the third and last Sundays in June.
Where to Stay in Castelluccio?

 

4. Positano 

Positano

 

Be prepared for stunning scenic beauty when you visit Positano, a small village in the hills above the Amalfi Coast. Positano transformed itself from a poor fishing village to a tourist hotspot after John Steinbeck wrote about it in Harper’s Bazaar in 1953. A key sight is the church of Santa Maria Asunta, home to a black Madonna and a spectacular dome made of majolica tiles. Positano has been featured in several films, and hosts an international cartoon festival.
Where to Stay in Positano?

 

3. Pitigliano

Pitigliano

 

Pitigliano is a small town in Tuscany that is known as “little Jerusalem” because of its strong Jewish community over the centuries, though few Jews live there now. A 16th century synagogue in the town is a top sight. For a region with less than 4,000 people, there are a number of Catholic church, including the Church of Saints Peter and Paul a 16th century Catholic church also known as Pitigliano cathedral. Another must see is the Medici Aqueduct with its Fountain of Seven Taps.
Where to Stay in Pitigliano?

 

2. Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio

 

Founded by Etruscans 2,500 years ago, Civita di Bagnoregio sits on a pinnacle buffeted by winds and erosion. Nonetheless, it offers some pretty amazing views from on high. Erosion caused parts of the town to tumble over the cliff, and worn away land access, but you can access this gem by footbridge. This charming town oozes a Middle Ages atmosphere, from the cobblestone streets to centuries’ old ivy-covered arches. The village hosts donkey races in the main square in July and September.

 

1. Manarola

#1 of Small Towns In Italy

 

Located in northern Italy, Manarola is a small Cinque Terre town. This, however, doesn’t make it any less worthy of a visit. It’s a picturesque coastal town with a name that translates as “large wheel” in reference to its mill wheel. The village has been famous for its wines since Roman times; be sure to try its signature Sciacchetrà. Houses are colorful hiking trails abound, either to Riomaggiore or around the vineyards and hills.
Where to Stay in Manarola?


5 Beautiful Villages of Cinque Terre

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Category : Europe , Italy

Cinque Terre is undeniably one of the most beautiful areas of Italy; a visit to just one of its towns will confirm this. Cinque Terre was just made to grace picture postcards. Located in northwest Italy, its five towns are built on steep hills and atop high cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean. It doesn’t get much more scenic than this. Most towns are reachable only by train. Comfortable walking shoes are a must since cars aren’t allowed in the older sections of these towns. Visiting the Cinque Terre villages is not only exercise for the body, but exercise for the soul.

5. Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare

 

Monterosso al Mare is a small village on the northwest coast with the best beaches on Cinque Terre. Monterosso has the best beaches of the Cinque Terre villages and the most wine shops, artisan shops, hotels and restaurants. It is divided into Old and New Town that are connected by a tunnel used mainly by pedestrians. The best way to get there is via train unless drivers have nerves of steel enough to navigate a narrow, steep and winding road. A top sight is the Church of San Francisco, a monastery that boasts a Van Dyck painting. The village is well-known for its lemons, olives and white wines, so travelers will want to be sure to sample some.
Where to Stay in Monterosso al Mare?

4. Corniglia 

Corniglia

 

Corniglia feels smaller and quieter, but is just as charming as the other towns. Sitting on top of a cliff that falls off abruptly into the ocean and surrounded by vineyards, Corniglia nonetheless provides stunning views of the Mediterranean. It’s best reached by climbing 382 steps, though sometimes buses are available on the road. Corniglia is characterized by the same narrow streets and quaint buildings as the other Cinque Terre towns. The main historical artifact, aside from the colorful homes, is some Genoese fortifications built in the 16th century.
Where to Stay in Corniglia?

3. Riomaggiore 

Riomaggiore

 

Riomaggiore, the southernmost town in Cinque Terre, has lots of wow! factor as the sight of houses clinging to step hills will immediately invoke this exclamation. The town is known for its historic buildings and, of course, its locally produced wines. Riomaggiore has a small beach as well as lots of shops and restaurants. Hiking the Via dell’Amore to Manarola is considered a top tourist activity, but visitors won’t want to miss seeing the Church of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist), a medieval church that oozes serenity on the hillside on which it is built.
Where to Stay in Riomaggiore?

2. Manarola

Manarola

 

Like the other Cinque Terre towns, Manarola sits atop a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. It is the second smallest town in the group, and also is considered to be the oldest. Manarola is filled with the same narrow stone streets and charming colorful buildings. Manarola is a fishing village that is also long-famous for its wines; the village’s wines were even mentioned by the Romans. Manarola is a great place for hikers, who can take to the hills and vineyards, as well as walk to Riomaggiore, which is perhaps the most famous walk in Cinque Terre.
Where to Stay in Manarola?

1. Vernazza 

#1 of Villages Of Cinque Terre

 

After devastating flooding and mudslides in 2011, Vernazza has reclaimed its reputation as the most picturesque town in Cinque Terre. This small fishing village is loaded with charm. Not only that, but it has the best harbor in the Cinque Terre. The picture-postcard village sits atop a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a great place to explore by foot – indeed, foot is the only way as cars aren’t permitted on the narrow streets that are marked with frequent steps. Walking between Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare is a special treat for visitors; the hike takes about 90 minutes.
Where to Stay in Vernazza?


10 Best Places to Visit in Tuscany

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Category : Italy , Tuscony

Visitors to Tuscany come for many reasons. Many come in search of fine art and medieval history, others to explore the extraordinary countryside and its rolling hills. Food lovers visit Tuscany to enjoy the wonderful cuisine and famous wines. Summer vacationers the beautiful beaches and islands. Students come to learn the Italian language and culture. Whatever the reason, the best places to visit in Tuscany offer something for everyone.

10. Arezzo

Arezzo

 

Once an important Etruscan trading post, Arezzo sits atop a hill at the crossroads of four valleys. Even though the medieval center was destroyed during the World War II, Arezzo has plenty of monuments, churches and museums remaining that offer visitors a chance to step back into history. Arezzo is also home to an annual medieval festival called the Joust of the Saracens. During the festival virtually all the town’s people dress-up in medieval costume and enthusiastically cheer on the competitors.
Where to Stay in Arezzo?

9. Montepulciano

Montepulciano

Situated on a 600 meter (2,00 feet) high limestone ridge, Montepulciano is a medieval town in southern Tuscany. The city, full of elegant Renaissance palaces, ancient churches, charming squares and hidden corners, boasts vast panoramas all over the wonderful Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana valleys that surround it. The city is also famous for its wine. Connoisseurs consider its Vino Nobile among Italy’s best.
Where to Stay in Montepulciano?

8. Val d’Orcia

Val d'Orcia

 

Val d’Orcia is a picturesque region that includes several amazing villages, castles, hamlets, and farmhouses. The entire area is protected as a natural park. The medieval castles are not to be missed, nor is the village of Pienza, called the “Ideal City”. Other famous villages include Radicofani and Montalcino, which has a 14th-century fortress offering stunning views of the valley and some of the region’s finest wine.
Where to Stay in Val d'Orcia?

7. Elba

Elba

 

Part of the Tuscan Archipelago off Italy’s western coast, Elba is best known as a place of exile for Napoleon, and most people include a visit to his summer and winter homes while visiting the island. Italy’s third largest island boasts more than 150 beaches too, from wide stretches of sand to sheltered coves. The most popular beach destinations include the resort of Marina di Campo, the ultra-fine sand of Procchio and the dreamy blue waters of Fetovia.
Where to Stay in Elba?

6. San Gimignano

San Gimignano

 

San Gimignano delle Belle Torri is a small medieval town dating back to the eighth century. It is perhaps the most famous of Tuscany’s small towns. San Gimignano boasts 14 medieval towers of the 72 that once existed and overlooks picturesque olive groves and vineyards. Travelers who want to know what Tuscany was like in medieval times must visit San Gimignano and stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets.
Where to Stay in San Gimignano?

5. Lucca

Lucca

 

One of the best places to visit in Tuscany, Lucca is probably best known for its imposing Renaissance walls and the medieval center that its encloses. Inside the city are many beautiful churches and gardens. The Duomo San Martino houses many historical treasures, such as Tintoretto’s Last Supper and the Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto. The Pallazzo Pfanner has beautiful baroque gardens and the San Michele church has a cute museum.
Where to Stay in Lucca?

4. Chianti Wine Region

Chianti Wine Region

 

Arguably the most stunning area of Tuscany. The Chianti region includes Florence and Siena and all the area between, but it also includes the area to the west through Val d’Elsa and to the east through Valdarno. Within Chianti, travelers can drive past vineyards, charming parishes and country homes, olive groves, and rolling green hills. In addition to the adorable villages and breathtaking countryside, Chianti also offers wine tasting to die for.

3. Pisa

Pisa

 

Located along the Arno River in the northwestern region of Tuscany, the city of Pisa still bears the striking remnants of its former golden days as a commercial empire during the Middle Ages. While Pisa is best known for its famous Leaning Tower, there a lot more attractions in this city worth a visit.
Where to Stay in Pisa?

2. Siena

Siena

 

Established upon three hills in the heart of Tuscany, Siena offers tourists a step back into the Middle Ages with its well-preserved historic center and medieval horse racing tradition, known as Il Palio. The historic center of Siena is one of the most popular places to visit in Tuscany as it still retains many of its stunning works of art and architecture from that time period.
Where to Stay in Siena?

1. Florence

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Tuscany

The capital of Tuscany, Florence is often described as a colossal outdoor museum because of its mass of art and architectural treasures. Florence’s hoard of art masterpieces are found all over the city, contained within the large numbers of museums, stunning churches, like the domed Santa Maria del Fiore, and internationally esteemed art galleries like the Ufizzi and Pitti Palace.
Where to Stay in Florence?


25 Top Tourist Attractions in Rome

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Category : Italy , Rome

Ah, Rome. The city where hope springs eternal. It is a city that is proud of its ancient glorious heritage, a city that once expanded its empire throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Rome is a city drenched in history and Christianity. First-time visitors may be easily overwhelmed by all this magnificent city has to offer. After all, one can find history and art on almost every street corner. That’s why visitors may want to do their homework to narrow down what they want to see and do before they get on a plane or train bound for the Italian capital.

Rome is divided into several districts with its center, the Colosseo district, containing the most ancient attractions like the Colosseum, Capitoline Hill and the Roman Forum. On the outskirts of the center is Old Rome, featuring the Pantheon, stunning cathedrals, plazas and Renaissance architecture.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to see all the top tourist attractions in Rome in a few days or even a few months. Wise travelers won’t even attempt to see everything in one trip. To ensure they’ll return to Rome, they’ll toss a coin into the Fountain of Trevi. Legend has it that those who do will return to Rome again.

25. Baths of Caracalla

Baths of Caracalla

 

The Baths of Caracalla, the second largest public baths in Rome, were built by Emperor Caracalla in the third century for political propaganda purposes: The emperor simply wanted people to like him. The baths were functional for over three hundred years. Negligence, looting and an earthquake turned the complex into ruins but their sheer size and ingenuity continues to impress visitors.

24. Villa Farnesina

Villa Farnesina

 

Visitors who want a peek at how the wealthy lived during the Renaissance may want to visit Villa Farnesina, a villa located in the Trastevere district. The Villa Farnesina is well known for the frescoes depicting the myths of Cupid and Psyche that were painted by Raphael. Works by various other artists were commissioned by a banker who was also a papal treasurer, and who had the villa built in 1506.

 

23. Appian Way

Appian Way

 

The Appian Way is the most famous ancient road in Rome, connecting the city with Brindisi in southeastern Italy. Named after Appius Claudius Caecus, a Roman censor, it was originally a military road. Many historical monuments can be found along the first 8 km (5 miles) of the 560 km (350-mile) stone road today. This old highway has heavy vehicle traffic at the beginning, but is safe for pedestrians after a couple of miles.

 

22. National Roman Museum

National Roman Museum

 

If you want to soak in as much of Rome’s history, heritage and culture as possible, then don’t miss the National Roman Museum, or the Museo Nazionale Romano. This Roman museum does not house its entire collection in one spot. Instead, exhibits are located in multiple destinations throughout the city. Find amber, Roman artifacts and jewelry within the incredible Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, admire breathtaking use of marble and stunning sculptures within the Palazzo Altemps and get an up-close look at Roman baths at the restored historic site of the Baths of Diocletian.

21. Victor Emmanuel II Monument

Victor Emmanuel II Monument

 

Built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, this bombastic monument may appear to be solid white marble but actually contains many rooms inside. It was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885 and completed in 1925. There are two permanent museums, one on Italian Reunification and one on emigration from Italy, as well as other spaces that host rotating exhibitions. The Victor Emmanuel Monument is not exactly known as one of Rome’s most beautiful structures but it is nevertheless well worth the visit, even if only for the great views from the top.

 

20. Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo

 

The Piazza del Popolo is a large oval square in northern Rome that has been around since the days of the Roman Empire. At one time, it was the start of the most important road north. Three churches border the square but the eye-catcher is an obelisk from ancient Egypt. On the north side the square is dominated by the Porta del Popolo, which leads to the Via Flaminia, a road connecting Rome with the Adriatic coast.

19. Santa Maria in Trastevere

Santa Maria in Trastevere

 

Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches in Rome, with most historians believing it was first built in the 4th century. The church has impressive mosaics from the 12th and 13th centuries; it has been enlarged and restored over the years. Located in the popular Trastevere neighborhood, its atmospheric piazza is enhanced by the mosaics on the façade, especially at night when the church and its tower are illuminated.

18. Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica

 

Ostia Antica is an important archeological site that once was the seaport for Rome. It is located less than 20 miles from Rome at the mouth of the River Tiber. The site has well-preserved ancient buildings, some of which date back to the fourth century BC. Ostia Antica is known for the outstanding frescoes and mosaics on these old buildings, as well as ancient public toilets that turned bathrooms into a social setting.

17. Basilica of San Clemente

Basilica of San Clemente

 

Located just a few blocks from the Coliseum, the 12th century Basilica of San Clemente is built on top of a 4th century Church and older Roman temple. The present church is noted for its fabulous frescoes and mosaics. For an admission fee, it is possible to explore the excavations of the lower two levels, which is a fascinating journey into the history of Rome.

16. Capitoline Museums

Capitoline Museums

 

It may have taken the Romans 400 years to build the Capitoline Museums, after they were designed in 1536 by Michelangelo, but the wait was worth it. This outstanding collection of art and archeological museums, which started with a papal donation in the 15th century, can be found at Piazza del Campidoglio atop Capitoline Hill. The collections include medieval and Renaissance art, old Roman statues and jewels.

15. Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill

 

Palatine Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome, has links to Roman mythology, as it was here a wolf allegedly found the twin boys Romulus and Remus, and cared for them until a shepherd rescued them. Even if this legend is not true, Palatine Hill is still the place where Rome was founded. Today only ruins remain but during the Imperial era, the hill was completely built up with large palaces.

14. San Giovanni in Laterano

San Giovanni in Laterano

 

San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John Lateran) is one of four major basilicas in Rome. Dedicated to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, it is the home cathedral for both the archbishop of Rome and the pope. It is believed to be the first Catholic church built in Rome. Its exterior doesn’t seem as ornate as other churches, but inside it’s beautiful decorated, with wall ornaments, columns, mosaics and paintings.

13. Galleria Borghese

Galleria Borghese

 

The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery that was built as a party house by Cardinal Sciopione Borghese in the 17th century. A nephew of Pope Paul V, the cardinal also was a patron of the arts. The galleria today houses many pieces of paintings, sculptures and other antiquities from his collection. Paintings by Titian, sculptures by Bernini, and the National Museum of Musical Instruments can be seen here.

12. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

 

Founded in the 4th century, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) is considered one of the most important Catholic churches in Rome. Its 18th-century exterior conceals one of the best-preserved Byzantine interiors in the city. Travelers who are in Rome on August 5 may want to attend the Miracle of the Snows celebration when thousands of white petals are dropped from the ceiling.

11. Saint Peter’s Square

Saint Peter's Square

 

Located in Vatican City, St. Peter’s Square is the most famous square in Rome. Hundreds of thousands of people gather here to hear messages from the pope. Created in the 17th century by Bernini, the square has an elliptic shape, surrounded on two sides by colonnades before St. Peter’s Basilica. Statues sit atop the colonnades. At the center of the ellipse stands an Egyptian obelisk that was transported from Egypt to Rome during the reign of Emperor Augustus.

10. Campo de’ Fiori

Campo de' Fiori

 

Campo de’ Fiori is a rectangular square south of Piazza Navona used as a marketplace during the day, and party central for college students and tourists at night. The name means “field of flowers” and was first given during the Middle Ages when the area was actually a meadow. Today the market is a lively place, especially when the daily vegetable market is held here (every morning except Sundays). Visitors can buy fresh produce at the market, as well as fish, meat, flowers and spices. The square is surrounded by cafes and restaurants, making it a good place to eat after shopping or just wile away the afternoon.

9. Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

 

One of the most famous of Rome’s many squares, Piazza Navona was established towards the end of the 15th century, and preserves the shape of the Stadium of Domitian that once stood here. Built by Emperor Domitian in 86 AD, the stadium, which had a larger arena than the Colosseum was mainly used for festivals and sporting events. The buildings surrounding the square stand where the spectators once sat. Today, the square features no less than three magnificent fountains and is an immensely popular place to sip a cappuccino, shop, and watch street performers.

8. Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo

 

Castel Sant’Angelo was built to be a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family. Built in 123 BC, it later was turned into a fortress and castle by the popes. It was once Rome’s tallest building. The ashes of other emperors were buried there, but scattered when the Visigoths invaded in 410. It also served as a prison, but today the castle is a museum. Among the most well known sights in Rome, film buffs will recognize it as a setting from “Angels and Demons”.

7. Roman Forum

Roman Forum

 

Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, The Roman Forum (or Forum Romanum in Latin) was for centuries the teeming heart of ancient Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections, venue for public speeches, and nucleus of commercial affairs. The Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and includes the Arches of Septimius Severus and Titus, the Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina and the Temple of Saturn.

6. Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

 

A truly monumental stairway of 135 steps, the Spanish Steps were built with French funds between 1721‑1725 in order to link the Bourbon Spanish embassy to the Holy See with the French church, Trinità dei Monti. The steps are usually very crowded attracting tourists as well as locals who use it as a gathering place. Each year in May the steps are decorated with pink azaleas. At the foot of the Spanish Steps is the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish square) and the Fontana della Barcaccia, a sober fountain designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

5. Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

 

Completed in 1762 to a design by Nicola Salvi, this world famous Baroque fountain features a mythological sculptural composition of Neptune, god of the sea, flanked by two Tritons. The location of the Trevi fountain marks the terminus of the ancient Aqua Virgo aqueduct and is so named on account of its position at the junction of three roads (tre vie). The fountain was the setting for an iconic scene in Fellini’s film Dolce Vita starring Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni. Since than, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome. The legend says that one who throws a coin in the fountain shall one day return to Rome.

4. Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums

 

The Vatican Museums began in the 16th century with a collection of sculptures by Pope Julius II. Today, they encompass several museums inside the Vatican City and include some of the world’s most important relics. Attractions of the museums include the spiral staircase, the Raphael Rooms and the exquisitely decorated Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512. Today the ceiling, and especially The Last Judgment, are widely believed to be Michelangelo’s crowning achievements in painting. To keep the massive crowds under control, the museums have 4 itineraries that range from one and a half hours to more than 5 hours. All itineraries end in the Sistine Chapel.

3. Pantheon

Pantheon

 

One of the best preserved Roman buildings, The Pantheon was built in 126 AD as a temple for all the Roman gods. The temple has served as a Roman Catholic Church since the 7th century. Eight graceful granite Corinthian columns extend across the front of this circular building, with lesser columns in back. Though it is 2,000 years old, the Pantheon’s famous dome remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It is believed Marcus Agrippa built the Pantheon to be his private temple. The current building was reconstructed by Emperor Hadrian in the second century.

2. St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

 

The center of the Catholic world and a major tourist attraction, the Basilica of St. Peter is a huge church: with an interior height of 120 meter (400 feet), the space shuttle, together with its booster rockets, could fit inside, as could the Statue of Liberty. The basilica stands on the traditional site where Peter, the apostle who is considered the first pope, was crucified and buried. Construction on the current building began in 1506 and was completed in 1615. Many famous artists worked on the complex and its surroundings: Michelangelo designed the dome while Bernini designed the great St. Peter’s Square.

1. Colosseum 

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Rome

 

The Colosseum is another of Rome’s major tourist attractions. Its construction was started by emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty in 72 AD and was finished by his son Titus in 80 AD. The elliptical amphitheater could hold up to 50,000 people who turned out to watch gladiators do battle, people be publicly executed and enjoy other forms of entertainment. This stone and concrete structure, built in the first century, was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the Romans’ greatest architectural and engineering feats.

Cheap Flights to Rome

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Barcelona

23.01.2020

27.01.2020

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Nuremberg

11.11.2019

13.11.2019

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Paris

03.12.2019

09.12.2019

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Athens

19.01.2020

22.01.2020

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Berlin

04.12.2019

11.12.2019

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Bratislava

28.11.2019

03.12.2019

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Budapest

22.01.2020

24.01.2020

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Luqa

10.01.2020

12.01.2020

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Frankfurt

04.12.2019

08.12.2019

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Karlsruhe

19.11.2019

10.12.2019

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Brussels

12.12.2019

15.12.2019

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Palermo

23.01.2020

25.01.2020

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Bari

12.11.2019

23.11.2019

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Brindisi

13.12.2019

06.01.2020

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Prague

14.12.2019

17.12.2019

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Bucharest

16.02.2020

19.02.2020

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Cologne

23.01.2020

26.01.2020

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Madrid

17.01.2020

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Palma de Mallorca

25.11.2019

02.12.2019

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London

15.01.2020

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Cagliari

12.11.2019

20.11.2019

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Warsaw

19.12.2019

11.01.2020

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Dublin

11.01.2020

14.01.2020

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Thessaloniki

03.12.2019

06.12.2019

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Krakow

30.01.2020

04.02.2020

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Catania

19.11.2019

19.11.2019

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Lisbon

04.12.2019

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Malaga

07.02.2020

09.02.2020

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Copenhagen

06.02.2020

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Timisoara

07.12.2019

10.12.2019

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Valencia

23.01.2020

27.01.2020

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Tel Aviv-Yafo

05.02.2020

11.02.2020

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Vienna

07.02.2020

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Vilnius

06.02.2020

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Geneva

24.11.2019

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Nice

02.12.2019

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24.01.2020

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07.12.2019

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Marseille

15.11.2019

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Porto

17.01.2020

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Eindhoven

09.12.2019

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Lyon

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Odessa

01.02.2020

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Milan

26.11.2019

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Kiev

05.12.2019

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Hamburg

14.12.2019

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Munich

22.01.2020

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Oslo

18.01.2020

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Riga

18.01.2020

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Saint Petersburg

28.11.2019

03.12.2019

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Stuttgart

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Sofia

26.10.2019

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Bologna

10.12.2019

15.01.2020

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Kutaisi

08.12.2019

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Gdansk

30.11.2019

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Trieste

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Naples

12.11.2019

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Amsterdam

15.12.2019

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Skopje

21.11.2019

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Tirana

17.01.2020

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Birmingham

31.01.2020

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Florence

30.12.2019

09.01.2020

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Wroclaw

07.02.2020

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Nis

06.03.2020

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Lamezia Terme

14.11.2019

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Lviv

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Suceava

20.02.2020

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Seville

10.04.2020

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Zurich

26.11.2019

29.11.2019

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Turin

17.04.2020

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Bristol

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Verona

28.12.2019

10.01.2020

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Alicante

18.11.2019

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Podgorica

12.01.2020

16.01.2020

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Kaunas

09.01.2020

09.01.2020

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Moscow

15.01.2020

24.01.2020

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Iasi

14.01.2020

21.01.2020

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Toulouse

06.12.2019

09.12.2019

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Kharkiv

25.01.2020

29.01.2020

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Tunis

02.12.2019

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Marrakech

06.12.2019

08.12.2019

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Hanover

28.01.2020

04.02.2020

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Luxembourg

09.01.2020

12.01.2020

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Heraklion

09.01.2020

15.01.2020

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Tallinn

08.02.2020

15.02.2020

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Paphos

05.06.2020

08.06.2020

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Istanbul

14.01.2020

27.01.2020

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Venice

09.11.2019

09.11.2019

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Minsk

31.01.2020

02.02.2020

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Alghero

22.11.2019

25.11.2019

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Rabat

07.12.2019

11.12.2019

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Chisinau

30.01.2020

02.02.2020

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Bilbao

06.12.2019

09.12.2019

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Nottingham

12.11.2019

15.11.2019

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Helsinki

26.04.2020

09.05.2020

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Larnaca

22.03.2020

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Liverpool

15.11.2019

18.11.2019

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Sarajevo

12.11.2019

19.11.2019

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The Fifteen Keys Hotel

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Hotel De' Ricci - Small Luxury Hotels of the World

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1 023912

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10 Top Tourist Attractions in Florence

Tags :

Category : Florence , Italy

The capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence is internationally esteemed for its high concentration of Renaissance art and architecture. Because it served as a wealthy and important center for medieval trade and commerce, the city gave birth to the Italian Renaissance movement. Florence is also credited with propagating many artists, inventors, writers, scientists and explorers as well as inventing opera and the florin currency, which lifted Europe from the Dark Ages.

Simulating one enormous outdoor art museum, the city of Florence attracts millions of tourists every year. Walking is the best way to see the major sites in the city center. Some of the best places to walk include the Ponte Vecchio, a beautiful bridge spanning the Arno River and featuring a number of high-end jewelry shops. An overview of the top tourist attractions in Florence.

10. Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti

 

The Palazzo Pitti is a large 15th century palace situated on the quieter south bank of the Arno river The palace was long the residence of Florence’s rulers until 1919, when it was handed over to the Italian state, which transformed the palace into a museum complex. In spite of its metamorphosis from royal residence to a state-owned public building, the palazzo, sitting on its elevated site overlooking Florence, still retains the air and atmosphere of a private collection in a grand house.

9. Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo

 

The Piazzale Michelangelo is a large, partly pedestrianized square located across the Arno River from the center of Florence. From the square visitors have a magnificent view over the city. The spacious square was laid out in 1860 by Giuseppe Poggi, a local architect who is also known for his creation of boulevards around the center of Florence.

8. Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

 

Located behind the Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens were created by the Medici family in the 16th century. The beautiful and varied Italianesque garden is home to a large number of statues and fountains. The gardens have passed through several stages of enlargement and restructuring work. They were enlarged in the 17th century to their present extent and have come to form an outdoor museum of garden sculpture that includes Roman antiquities as well as later works.

7. Basilica di San Lorenzo

Basilica di San Lorenzo

 

Situated at the center of the city’s main market district, the Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of the oldest churches of Florence and was the burial place of all the principal members of the Medici family. The church, originally designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th century, is an early example of ecclesiastical Renaissance architecture. The façade of this church was never completed, giving it a striking, rustic appearance. Inside the church is pure Renaissance neoclassical splendor.

6. Galleria dell’Accademia

Galleria dell'Accademia

 

The Galleria dell’Accademia or “Gallery of the Academy” is certainly the most famous for its sculptures by the great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo. His Prisoners (or Slaves), his St. Matthew and, above all, the outstanding statue of David are what draw most of the hundreds of thousands of visitors the museum welcomes every year. Other works on display are Florentine paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries, including works by Sandro Botticelli and from the High Renaissance such as Giambologna’s original plaster for the Rape of the Sabine Women.

5. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio

 

One of Florence’s most significant buildings is the Palazzo Vecchio, a grand palace overlooking the Piazza della Signoria. Built in the 12th century, the Palazzo Vecchio housed the powerful Medici family as well as Florence’s supreme governing body for six centuries. Since 1872, it has served in part as a museum and as the city town hall. This impressive palace packs a wealth of artifacts and art works that include beautiful frescoes, sculptures, painted ceilings, intricate carvings and tapestries that all depict historic and Biblical events.

4. Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria

 

Serving over the centuries as an important center for politics and the site of several historic episodes, the Piazza della Signoria is a beautiful square centered among some of the top attractions in Florence. It is here that tourists can visit remarkable places like the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Museum, the Palazzo Uguccioni, the Loggia de Lanzi and the nearby Ponte Vecchio bridge. This town square is also a treasure trove of notable sculptures such as a replica of Michelangelo’s Statue of David, the Fountain of Neptune, Hercules and Cacus as well as Perseus with the Head of Medusa.

Uffizi Gallery
Regarded today as one of the world’s greatest art museums, the Uffizi Gallery is located off the Piazza della Signoria. This former palace was first built in 1560 to house the offices of the city magistrates. After the ruling dynasty of the Medici family relinquished its power, the palace evolved into an art gallery to showcase its stunning collection of Renaissance art treasures. Opened to the public since 1765, the museum offers thousands of art works by masters like Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Titian.

2. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

 

Spanning the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio is one of Florence’s oldest and most photographed bridges. Noted for its three segmented arches, the bridge was first built by the Etruscans and later rebuilt in the 14th century. The bridge’s most striking feature is the line of high-end jewelry shops flanking along each of its edges. Many visitors come here to shop and take photographs. Night time presents stunning views when the lighting from the bridge is reflected upon the water.

1. Santa Maria del Fiore 

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Florence

Dominating the panoramic view of Florence is the Santa Maria del Fiore, the domed cathedral that is often called the Duomo. Known today as the world’s largest masonry dome, this majestic cathedral features 600 years worth of stunning architecture and art works. From its beautiful Gothic facade of red, green and white marble to its elaborate interior of stained-glass windows, mosaics, frescoes and bronze statues, the Duomo complex also includes the impressive structures of the Baptistery and Giotto’s bell tower. A climb to the top will reward tourists with incredible views of Florence and outlying valley.

Cheap Flights to Florence

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

London

23.11.2019

26.11.2019

Tickets from 68

Munich

11.11.2019

14.11.2019

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Vienna

15.11.2019

17.11.2019

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Rome

03.12.2019

07.12.2019

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Bucharest

05.02.2020

09.02.2020

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Barcelona

29.11.2019

05.12.2019

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Paris

14.12.2019

11.01.2020

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Palermo

15.11.2019

17.11.2019

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Prague

15.11.2019

18.11.2019

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Tirana

20.01.2020

25.01.2020

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Madrid

10.11.2019

24.11.2019

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Warsaw

21.04.2020

28.04.2020

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Lisbon

27.02.2020

02.03.2020

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Catania

22.11.2019

24.11.2019

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Saint Petersburg

20.11.2019

23.11.2019

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Kiev

29.11.2019

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Copenhagen

03.02.2020

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Palma de Mallorca

05.12.2019

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07.11.2019

10.11.2019

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28.11.2019

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Gdansk

29.11.2019

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20.10.2019

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13.11.2019

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Amsterdam

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Gothenburg

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Moscow

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Liverpool

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Manchester

06.02.2020

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Tallinn

01.10.2020

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Belgrade

14.12.2019

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Riga

16.04.2020

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Hamburg

01.03.2020

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Stockholm

30.05.2020

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Athens

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Vilnius

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Cluj-Napoca

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Amman

27.10.2019

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Valencia

18.03.2020

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Dublin

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Berlin

18.11.2019

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Tel Aviv-Yafo

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Budapest

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Kutaisi

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Rennes

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Milan

30.12.2019

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Lamezia Terme

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Podgorica

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Sofia

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Tbilisi

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Chisinau

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Antalya

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Reggio Calabria

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Dnepropetrovsk

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Saratov

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Nuremberg

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Cologne

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Nizhniy Novgorod

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Rostov

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Dakar

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New York

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Charlotte

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Eastleigh near Southampton

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Edinburgh

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Dammam

15.02.2020

23.02.2020

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Almaty

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Samara

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Astana

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Tampa

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Houston

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Krasnojarsk

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27.10.2019

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Hotels in Florence: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

★★★★★

-14%

1 037892

View Hotel

Portrait Firenze - Lungarno Collection

★★★★★

-21%

939737

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Hotel Lungarno - Lungarno Collection

★★★★★

-27%

788572

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Villa Cora

★★★★★

-24%

573434

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Baglioni Relais Santa Croce, Florence

★★★★★

-9%

614558

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J.K. Place Firenze

★★★★★

-30%

851597

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Leone Blu Suites | UNA Esperienze

★★★★★

-7%

292272

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Al Palazzo del Marchese di Camugliano Residenza d'Epoca

★★★★★

-7%

366340

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Golden Tower Hotel & Spa

★★★★★

-6%

415391

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Hotel Bernini Palace

★★★★★

-9%

432392

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Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy

★★★★★

-19%

735596

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The St. Regis Florence

★★★★★

-11%

797710

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Il Salviatino

★★★★★

-52%

803387

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The Westin Excelsior

★★★★★

-39%

748452

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NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa

★★★★★

-16%

391328

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Hotel Helvetia & Bristol

★★★★★

-22%

534415

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Ville Sull'Arno

★★★★★

-34%

358237

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Palazzo Magnani Feroni, All Suite - Residenza D'Epoca

★★★★★

-30%

327230

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Villa La Vedetta

★★★★★

-42%

461266

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Villa Tolomei Hotel&Resort

★★★★★

-52%

441210

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10 Top Tourist Attractions in Venice

Tags :

Category : Italy , Venice

A city built on 118 islands off the coast of northeastern Italy, Venice is unlike any other city in Europe or, for that matter, the world. Virtually unchanged in appearance for more than 600 years, the City of Canals looks more like something out of a picture book than a modern metropolis. It’s a place where the entire city is viewed as an attraction in itself.

A city packed with great art and architecture, millions of visitors come each year to enjoy the experience that is Venice. Even at the height of tourist season, however, Venice is a travel destination that manages to exceed all expectations. Here are the top tourist attractions in Venice that make a visit to this Italian city so special.

10. Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

 

Built in 1600, the Bridge of Sights connects the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the New Prison across the Rio di Palazzo. It was designed by Antonio Contino whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge. According to one theory the name of the bridge comes from the suggestion that prisoners would “sigh” at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window on their way to the executioner. In reality, the days of summary executions were over by the time the bridge was built and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals.

9. San Giorgio Maggiore

San Giorgio Maggiore

 

Best known as the home of the 16th-century church of the same name, San Giorgio Maggiore is a small island located across the lagoon from St. Mark’s Square. Designed by the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, the church features a façade clad in gleaming white marble and an open and airy interior that’s refreshingly bare of over-ornamentation. The main alter is graced by two of Tintoretto’s best paintings, the “Last Supper” and “The Fall of Manna.” Visitors can ride an elevator to the top of the church’s Neoclassic bell tower to enjoy a spectacular view of Venice.

8. Ca’ d’Oro

Ca' d'Oro

 

Originally known as the Palazzo Santa Sofia but now commonly known as the Ca’ d’Oro,the 15th century palazzo was designed by architect Giovanni Bon and his son Bartolomeo. Although the façade of this splendid structure no longer features the ornamentation that earned the place its “house of gold” nickname, the now pink-and-white building is a treasure trove of art. Located on the Grand Canal, the Ca’ d’Oro is home to the Museo Franchetti, named after the man who donated the palazzo and its entire contents of Renaissance paintings, antiques, sculpture and ceramics to the city.

7. Santa Maria della Salute

Santa Maria della Salute

 

Commonly called La Salute, this 17th-century church stands at the point where the Grand Canal meets the Venetian Lagoon. The white stone edifice with its massive dome was constructed as a shrine to the Virgin Mary for saving the city from a plague that killed one third of its population. In addition to the altar sculpture that depicts the “Madonna of Health” driving the demon Plague from Venice, there’s an extensive collection of works by Titian on display, including ceiling paintings of scenes from the Old Testament.

6. Ca’ Rezzonico

Ca' Rezzonico

 

Of all the stately palazzos that line the Grand Canal, no building better illustrates what life was like in 18th-century Venice than the Ca’ Rezzonico. Used as a setting for the 2005 film “Casanova” starring Heath Ledger, the palace’s Grand Ballroom has played host to over-the-top parties for more than 200 years. English poet Robert Browning was one of the last to make the palazzo his home. Today, the entire building is open to the public as the Museo del Settecento. While many of the paintings on display are reproductions, the fabulous ceiling frescoes by the Tiepolo family are authentic and have been restored to their original glory.

5. Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco

 

As the only public square in Venice, the Piazza San Marco has been the city’s main gathering place for centuries. Surrounded by open-air cafés and landmark attractions, including San Marco Basilica and the Palazzo Ducale, it’s the natural epicenter for any visit to the City of Canals. The square is actually laid out in a trapezoid shape that widens as it approaches the basilica. Despite the crowds that throng it in summer and the rains that flood it in winter, St. Mark’s Square offers a memorable Venetian experience in every season.

4. Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge

 

The Rialto Bridge is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal. For nearly three hundred years, it was the only way to cross the Grand Canal on foot. The stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte, was completed in 1591 and was used to replace a wooden bridge that collapsed in 1524. The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that some architects predicted a future collapse. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.

3. Doge’s Palace

Doge's Palace

 

During the prosperous centuries of the Venetian Republic, the city’s magistrates, or doges, ruled the city like royalty. The Palazzo Ducale was not only the residence of the doge but the city’s center of power and its administrative hub as well. The building was constructed in two phases. The eastern wing, which faces the Rio di Palazzo, was built between 1301 and 1340. The western wing, facing the Piazetta San Marco, took an additional 110 years to build and was completed in 1450. Visitors who take the Secret Itineraries tour can also walk through hidden passageways to view the private council rooms, torture chambers and the prison cell from which Giacomo Casanova made his escape in 1756.

2. Grand Canal

Grand Canal

 

There’s no better way to begin an exploration of Venice than with a gondola ride down the Grand Canal. In a city where cars are banned, gondolas, water taxis and public vaporetti (water buses) are the primary sources of transportation. The city’s aquatic thoroughfare snakes through the center of the city from Saint Mark’s Basilica to the Church of Santa Chiara. Lined on either side by Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance structures, the Grand Canal is crossed by four bridges, the most famous of which is the 16th-century Rialto Bridge. The best time of the day for a gondola ride is in the early morning when the canal shimmers with golden light.

1. St. Mark’s Basilica & Campanile

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Venice

 

Situated in St. Mark’s Square, the soaring 30-story Campanile and the massive basilica behind it are two of the most popular tourist attractions in Venice. Both date to the 9th century but have been rebuilt and embellished extensively over the centuries. San Marco Basilica serves as a showcase for the wealth that Venice accumulated as a military power. Its design mixes Byzantine and Gothic architecture styles in a unique way. Elaborate medieval mosaics cover much of the cathedral’s walls and vaulting. Behind the tomb believed to hold the remains of Saint Mark stands the altarpiece Pala d’Oro, a jewel-adorned screen of gold that is considered one of the finest works of Byzantine craftsmanship in the world.

The Campanile is the bell tower of the St. Mark’s Basilica and one of Venice’s most recognizable landmarks. The current tower is an early twentieth century reconstruction of the original tower, which collapsed in 1902. An elevator brings visitors straight to the top of the campanile, where they have a great view over Venice and the lagoon.

Cheap Flights to Venice

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

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Hotels in Venice: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Belmond Hotel Cipriani

★★★★★

-44%

2 9141 642

View Hotel

Palazzo Venart Luxury Hotel

★★★★★

-14%

764654

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The Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel

★★★★★

-17%

1 4381 195

View Hotel

Hotel Londra Palace

★★★★★

-17%

759631

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San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice

★★★★★

-58%

955404

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Baglioni Hotel Luna - The Leading Hotels of the World

★★★★★

-50%

691348

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Ca' Sagredo Hotel

★★★★★

-7%

621581

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JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa

★★★★★

-20%

285227

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Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel

★★★★★

-12%

732646

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Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa

★★★★★

-44%

596335

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PalazzinaG

★★★★★

-14%

769664

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★★★★★

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602273

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The St. Regis Venice

★★★★★

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982709

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Hotel Metropole

★★★★★

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629405

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Grand Hotel Dei Dogi, The Dedica Anthology, Autograph Collection

★★★★★

-19%

391317

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Ausonia Hungaria Wellness & Lifestyle

★★★★★

-44%

444249

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Sina Centurion Palace

★★★★★

-15%

356304

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Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

★★★★★

-43%

436250

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