Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy is home to years and years of history combined with culture dating back generations. With some of the world’s most iconic cities and outstanding countryside views, this culture-rich destination is the ideal choice for any solo traveller, couple, group or family seeking an unforgettable experience. If you’re considering taking your brand new EHIC card abroad to Italy, we’ve put together a travel guide to help you navigate the best that Italy has to offer on your trip.
Where Should You Go?
If you are looking for rolling hills and outstanding views, then Tuscany is definitely for you. With plenty of restaurants, vineyards and bars emitting a relaxing atmosphere and encouraging you to soak up the Italian culture, you’ll be able to enjoy the authentic countryside experience while sipping on some of the region’s finest wines.
If you’re more of a city dweller, why not marvel at the wonder of the streets of ancient Rome? You will not be disappointed here, with streets filled with an array of amazing landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Parthenon and the Spanish Steps primed and ready for you to explore all year round.
History fans can take a trip to the country’s most famous archaeological site, Pompeii. Once a thriving Roman city, it was frozen in time as a result of the catastrophic eruption of the Mount Vesvius Volcano in 79 A.D. Visit here and you’ll be able to learn all about the natural disaster as you explore the excavated remains of the city.
If you want to take a break from the abundance of historical culture Italy has to offer, you can even enjoy some luxurious retail therapy. With a variety of designer stores open for you to peruse in the Italian capital, we’re sure you’ll become acquainted with Versace, Prada and, of course, Armani.
Points Of Interest
We could truly talk about points of interest in Italy forever, but for those looking for a few to start their trip, we recommend the following:
Situated just east of the Roman Forum in Italy’s capital, the Colosseum is just one of the many iconic landmarks that help to bring the city to life.
Originally taking six years to build during Emperor Vespasian’s reign, the giant amphitheatre was built to host entertainment events for the Roman Empire. It served as a distraction from the poverty epidemic the Roman people were facing in that period, making it one of the most prominent landmarks in not only the country’s past but all of history.
The Trevi Fountain, also in Rome, truly has to be seen to be believed. Nestled within the Trevi district, this fabulous fountain is one of the oldest water sources in the city. Originally designed by Nicola Salvi in 1762, the fountain stands at 26.3 metres high!
The fountain was restored in 2013 for the first time since its unveiling, to repair damage from smog. This was part of efforts to ensure that the fountain remains in mesmerising condition for years to come.
Leaning Tower Of Pisa
Although the original architect of this landmark is disputed by many, it has become an infamous tourist spot nonetheless, not least due to the countless photos featuring the same supportive pose!
The cause of the tower’s celebrated tilt dates all the way back to the construction of the landmark almost 200 years ago. When construction began, architects and workers forgot to check the building’s foundations in the soil and as the second floor was built, the tower began to slant. Worries have surrounded the safety of the tower ever since, at least until 2008, when engineers announced that the tower had been stabilised and had stopped moving for the first time in its history.
Grand Canal, Venice
The city of Venice is one filled with romance and wonder, with many unforgettable historical treasures for you to explore. One such location is the Grand Canal – the large expanse of water is the ideal route for those looking to travel on a gondola through the heart of the city.
Float under stunning bridges designed by some of the world’s most famous architects and marvel a truly unique view of the city’s grand buildings.
Places That You Can Visit
Following on from the Grand Canal, if you are looking to spend some time with your loved one, then Venice should definitely rank highly on your list.
This city is so much more than just it’s waters! In fact, it is the ideal place to wander the streets and discover some unique landmarks such as Saint Marks Basilica and Piazza San Marco. Not only will you be met with an array of colourful buildings and traditional Italian side streets when visiting here, but you’ll also truly experience years’ worth of traditional Italian culture no matter the duration of your stay.
One of the best times to visit this truly unique city is between the months of October and November. During this time, tourists are few and far between and the weather is still pleasant enough for you to explore in comfort!
The historic centre of Pompeii is open to tourists year in and year out, who have all flocked to see the ancient ruins. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius perfectly preserved the Roman city which has since been turned into a protected site. With a number of famous artworks and ancient ruins contained within the walls of both Pompeii and Herculaneum, you can truly get a glimpse at what life was like in early A.D.
The city of Verona is home to Shakespeare’s famed romantic tragedy,’ Romeo and Juliet’ and the English playwright’s influence can be seen across the city. With just 257,000 inhabitants, tourists flock to the city every year to visit Juliet’s home of ‘Dal Cappelllo’ to see the iconic location that inspired one of the most famous plays to ever have been written.
You can visit the balcony where Romeo promised Juliet their love would last for eternity and can even leave your own love letter within the walls of the house’s courtyards requesting Juliet’s guidance.
The city of fashion plays host to many of the major designers in the world, including Armani, Versace, Valentino and Prada. Not limited to just the creative pursuit of fashion, Milan also embraces music. In fact, the city is home to the world-famous La Scala opera house that hosts incredible composers and musicians throughout the year.
If sport is more your thing, Milan has one of the largest football stadiums in Europe, the San Siro. Named after a saint who also had a dedicated church nearby, it has a seating capacity of 80,918.
While you have the option of renting a car to travel around Italy, this can be very time consuming, confusing and expensive as many of the locations on our guide have limited parking and incredibly congested roads.
However, the good news is that Italy has a fantastic public transport system. With metro and standard train stations across the entire country, you can also buy cost-effective passes to help make your journey even more streamlined.
A single ticket costs between 1-2 Euros and a can last the whole of the day. Prices and timeframes for tickets will vary depending on which city you are travelling to.
Places To Eat And Drink
Although Pizza is mostly considered a street food in Italy, there are still plenty of pizzerias up and down the country that cater to both tourists and locals. Pizzarium in Rome is one of the most famous pizzerias offering a wide range of different flavours, all following the traditional Italian recipe with a unique twist.
This world-renowned seafood bar located near the Parthenon is home to one of Italy’s most famous chefs, Massimo Riccioli. The restaurant has earned its reputation as one of Italy’s best due to its fresh delicacies, welcoming ambience and cooked-to-perfection dishes.
Il Palagio in Florence
Not only is this the very height of Italian decadence, but it is also a menu that is to die for. With multiple authentic Italian meals for you to choose from, as well as new and exotic foods to sink your teeth into, there is plenty for you to try. However, this menu does come with a price tag of €150, which could be expensive for those on stricter budgets.
Places To Stay
When travelling to Italy, especially with a group or your family, you may need to be conscious of expenses, therefore it is important to look at your options for accommodation beside your typical hotel.
There are plenty of amazing family friendly campsites scattered across Italy that not only provide hours of fun for your family but give you a base in order to explore. We recommend Park Albaros and Orlando in Chianti.
If you would prefer a hotel, there are plenty of affordable options that provide a friendly atmosphere without a high price tag. Prices will vary from city to city, but as long as you prepare before you leave for your trip you shouldn’t encounter any surprise price hikes!
Visiting Italy truly is an incredible experience for all who take the trip and with plenty to do and see regardless of which area of Italy that you visit, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do. The only question that remains is this; where will your trip take you first?