Italy is not short of cultural experiences. It’s the birthplace of civilization and is beautiful to boot. You’ll find it all here, from food, wine, and culture to history and natural beauty. But it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where we come in. Here is our list of the best travel experiences in Italy. We’ve covered everything from wine tasting and boat rides to hiking and cooking masterclasses. The only thing you need to do is choose which experience you’d like to try first!
Taste Wine in Tuscany
Tuscany is one of Italy’s major wine regions, as you can find out for yourself in our Brunello wine tasting and lunch tour. Brunello is probably Tuscany’s most premium wine region, known for its hearty, spicy reds with an incredible ability to age. In this experience, you’ll get to try some fantastic Brunello wines under the tutelage of a professional sommelier. Then it’ll be time for a lunch of local cold cuts cheeses, handmade pasta, and dessert, all in the ancient walls of a Tuscan castle. This is a fantastic introduction to the glorious wine and food of Tuscany. If just reading that makes you hungry for more, explore our 6-day tour package and other tours in the region. But you really want to go all out and delve into the subject, the 13-day Italy Food & Wine Journey is the ultimate experience.
Soak up Design in Milan
Milan is one of the most design-oriented cities in the world, and discovering why is up there at the top of our list of memorable Italian experiences. Guided tours with local guides are a great way to get a more intimate look at the city. Discover the Duomo, Michelangelo’s masterpieces at Sforza Castle, and other wonders with the Milan Duomo and Sforza Castle tour. Milan’s cuisine is also of note, with delectable local pasta dishes tempting the palate. Learn how to make the local recipes with a private cooking class with a local. Or discover how the local wines are made in the countryside with this tour. Complete the magical experience by staying in one of Milan’s incredibly designed hotels, artfully selected here.
Learn About Art in Florence
Although Italy is littered with amazing art, Florence is probably the beating heart of it all. Our Florence Accademia Gallery & Uffizi Gallery Tour will take you through these two world-famous galleries. You’ll get to see the famous David statue and other famous Renaissance works of art. This is a fantastic way to learn about Florence’s rich history that spans two millennia. You’ll also get to see the famous Ponte Vecchio and lunch is included, which makes this a wonderful excursion. One day, not enough? Then check out the Alternative Florence & Tuscany tour package, filled with 6 days of delights in and around the city. And of course, we’ve got you covered for amazing Florence hotels, too.
An Italian vacation wouldn’t be complete without visiting Pompeii. Probably the world’s most famous archeological sight in the world, Pompeii evokes emotion like little else. Come with us, and a small, intimate group, to Pompeii village, somewhere frozen in time by Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 CE. This is a fascinating place to visit, somewhere where a whole city life was stopped in one moment. You’ll see the thermal baths, well-preserved frescos, and the city’s open-air market. If you’d like to make a day of it, combine your Pompeii visit with an exploration of Vesuvian wineries, or a horseback riding excursion on the mountain that started it all.
Hike Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful spots in Italy. It’s made up of 5 villages perched high above the sea, and accessible on our Cinque Terre hiking tour from Florence. The tour covers all 5 villages with time available to spend in each. There’ll also be some short train rides and even a chance to dip in the sea. The final village, Riomaggiore, is only accessible by boat, so you’ll be setting sail too! The views at Cinque Terre are like nothing else and well worth the excursion. Not a hiker? There are so many other wonderful tours around this stunning area, such as a market tour and Ligurian fish cooking class, a wine tasting experience, mountain bike tour, and more.
Master Italian Cooking
Italian cooking is regarded to be one of the best cuisines in the world and not easy to master without an experienced chef to hand. Luckily, that’s exactly what you’ll get with our Sicilian cooking class. This is an exciting and informative lesson in Italian cooking. You’ll get to visit the market and learn how to choose the best ingredients, then onto a local restaurant where an experienced chef will teach you all you need to know about Sicilian cooking. And of course, once everything is ready, you’ll have the chance to sample your food, along with some local wines. Prefer to just have the food prepared for you? Taste your way through Taormina with this tour. But for a full immersion into Sicily’s regional flavors, the Taste of Sicily tour package can’t be beaten! Check out the rest of our Sicily tours.
Walk the Streets of Rome
The best way to soak in the splendor of Rome is with a guided tour, such as on our walking tour of Rome. You, a small group and an experienced guide will walk the streets of Rome together, learning about all the major sights in the city center. From the Trevi Fountain to the Spanish Steps, to the impressive Pantheon, you; have the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about the ruins that make up this glorious city. The tour finishes in Piazza Venezia, right in the heart of the city where bars and restaurants are plentiful, so you can continue your evening in style. Check out our Rome food and wine guide for some recommendations on where to eat. And at night, tuck in at one of these gorgeous hotels.
Ride a Gondola in Venice
Is there anything more Venetian than a Gondola ride? Possibly not, after all, this is how the ancient Venetians traveled their complex waterways. You’ll get to experience it for ourself if you join us on our Gondola ride and Venice walking tour. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience where for a full day you’ll be in the hands of an expert guide to Venice. You’ll get to walk through the meandering streets, learning the secrets of Venice’s most famous monuments and buildings. And of course, there is the all-important Gondola ride, a slower-paced way to see the streets of Venice. This tour is also featured in our 2 days in Venice itinerary, perfect if you’re only in the city for a short amount of time. The Venetian Garden Cooking Class is another memorable way to spend an afternoon – learn to make local specialties in a picturesque hidden garden.
See the Palio in Siena
Siena is home to the famous Palio bareback horse race and if you’re visiting the town in either July or August, you might be lucky enough to see it or at least soak up the buzzing atmosphere of the town. It’s an event that brings this normally sleepy city alive. The main square is the location for this exciting race, which features our insider tour of Siena. The Insider Siena City tour incorporates the best of what Siena has to offer, from the main Piazza del Campo to the famous Francigena Route, an ancient pilgrimage road. A perfect way to soak up the unique atmosphere of Siena.
Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa
The leaning tower of Pisa is world-famous, and with good reason – you never quite appreciate the extent of the lean until you visit. With our Pisa and leaning tower tour, you’ll get to skip the lines and head straight to the top of the tower, climbing a healthy 294 steps to get there! The tour also includes a tour of the city where you’ll get to learn all about its influential trading position. There’s also a tour of Scuola Normale Superiore included, one of Europe’s premier higher education destinations which is famous for its impressive décor. Round out the experience with a luxurious stay at Bagni di Pisa, an iconic spa hotel that’s a former summer palace of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Eat Pizza in Naples
No best travel experiences of Italy list would be complete without mentioning pizza. And there is nowhere better in the world to eat it than in Naples. This is the birthplace of Italy’s most famous food export and ‘Pizza Vera’ restaurants have strict rules to adhere to, to ensure the quality of every pizza they make. Learn the secrets of the Neapolitan art of pizza with a pizza making workshop. Pizza is just an appetizer in Italy, so why stop feasting there? Naples is also known for incredible pasta and street food. Learn to craft the finest handmade pasta or go on a delicious street food tasting tour to get a full sampling of Napoli’s legendary flavors.
Marvel at the Vatican
The Vatican is as impressive as you think and well worth visiting on a Rome vacation. The Ancient Rome and Vatican Treasure tour highlight the must-see structure, with a knowledgeable guide to escort you through the iconic grounds. Our St. Peter’s Dome Climb, Basilica and Catacombs tour dives deep into the history and religion of this tiny state. You’ll get to climb the 551 steps to the dome of the basilica as well as delving deep underground to the impressive catacombs which house past Popes and allegedly St. Peter himself. But if you want more, you can experience this tour and beyond on a 5 day package to Rome, Pompeii and Sorrento.
Italy leaves an impression. You can’t help but remember every little detail of a vacation here because it will be a vacation like no other. The best travel experiences are true to be found in Italy, as our list shows. We have a wealth of other tours across the country along with multi-day package tours to ensure you make the most of your vacation here. All that is left to do is to choose the perfect Italian hotel from our curated list and book that flight!