The capital Rome is filled with ancient ruins, palaces, daunting churches and world-class museums. Within the historic center lies the Forum, which was the assembly place during the golden age of the Roman Empire. Close by are ageless monuments such as the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum.
Trevi Fountain is a destination for both the hopeless romantics and the lovelorn. Toss some coins into it to gain some luck in love. It is also an age-old custom to make a wish on the fountain for another fruitful visit to Rome.
More highlights along the tourist trail include Castle Sant’Angelo, an old fortress and mausoleum, and the Capuchin cemetery. Rome has an excellent range of museums, but if you are pressed for time, spend your day at Galleria Borghese. Marvel at the works of Bernini, Raphael, Caravaggio, and other Renaissance masters. Explore the grounds of Villa Borghese Park with its enchanting landscape.
Right across Tiber River is Vatican City, where more cultural icons can be found. Around St. Peter’s Square is a bevy of museums offering priceless artifacts and masterpieces. St. Peter’s Basilica casts an authoritative figure in the middle of the square. Lastly, find Michelangelo’s frescos in the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel.
The largest city in Lombardy region, Milan has an unquenchable thirst for finance and the high life. Home to the stock market and the much-awaited yearly sortie, the Milan Fashion Week, the city basks in a sophisticated cultural climate.
Milan’s skyline is dominated by the Gothic spires of the Cathedral. The structure remains a great trademark of the city, its intricate details creating a stunning silhouette in Milan. Of equal importance is Basilica Sant’Ambrogio, which houses the tomb of the city’s patron saint, St. Ambrose. Rounding up the city’s architectural wonders are Sforzesco Castle and La Scala Theater.
While in Milan, you must not miss the chance to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” which is on display at the Santa Maria Delle Grazie convent. Inside the Museum of Historic Art in Sforzesco Castle is Michelangelo’s “Pieta De Rondanini.”
Heavenly shopping awaits at Via Montenapoleone, an area filled with clusters of the trendiest boutiques such as Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and Ferragamo. Another Milanese shopping icon is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of the oldest malls in the world. The glass-roofed Neo-Classical building is a constant source of amazement for visitors.
Naples is a port city located in Southern Italy and is the gateway to explorations in Pompeii and Bay of Naples. The vibrant skyline includes Mount Vesuvius, one of Italy’s most famous volcanoes. Amalfi Coast is another popular getaway that is accessible from Naples.
The heart of Naples is definitely its historic center. The San Gennaro Cathedral stands as the focal point of the heritage district. Worthwhile visits to churches of Gesu Nuovo, San Domenico Maggiore, and San Lorenzo Maggiore are part of the Napoli sightseeing route.
Making your way through the narrow alleys might lead you to Via San Gregorio Armeno, the area famous for Naples’ nativity-scene makers. Needless to say, during Christmas, the shops become dotted with tourists fascinated at the skillful renditions of the Nativity scene.
Unknown to many, the Tuscan city of Pisa has the humble origins of a seaside settlement from 3,000 years ago. Pisa’s most recognizable trademark, the Leaning Tower, is just one of the many historical and cultural highlights waiting to be discovered.
Pisa’s most significant showcase of monuments can be found on a green lawn referred to as Piazza dei Miracoli, or “the Square of Miracles.” Standing beside the Leaning Tower is a five-naved cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta; it was constructed back in 1064. Near the cathedral is the baptistery, the largest one in the country, measuring 107.25 meters in circumference.
Close by is the walled structure of Camposanto, or Holy Field, one of the world’s most breathtaking cemeteries dating back to 1278. Just a short walk from the tower is Orto Botanico di Pisa, founded in the 1500s, which makes it one of Europe’s oldest botanical gardens.
Firenze, or Florence, takes immense pride in its cultural heritage; it is a treasure trove of historic attractions.
The city gave birth to the Renaissance movement, serving as the cradle to a momentous phase in the world of art. The Cathedral of Florence, Santa Maria dei Fiore, is a highly recognizable landmark in the city, especially with its distinguished brick-red Renaissance dome. You’ll see more of the Renaissance masters when you go to Uffizi Museum, but be prepared to take on the long queues as it is the most visited museum in Florence.
Another church that ranks high among tourists is the Santa Croce, which is the resting place for many illustrious Florentine personalities. Pay respects to the likes of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Rossini, and Galileo, who are all buried in the church. Santa Maria Novella and Medici Chapels are two more churches that capture the artistic passion of Florence.