Short on time? Start with the big three: Rome, Florence and Venice. A week is (just) enough to enjoy the country’s headline acts.
The diversity of regional cuisine alone is worth travelling to Italy for. Bistecca alla fiorentina (Florence’s iconic T-bone steak); creamy Po plains risotto; olive oil and lemon-laced grilled fish on Elba; espresso and sweet treats in Naples’ backstreets bars; fresh-from-the-wood-oven pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) in Rome.
And as for sampling Brunello, Chianti, Prosecco, Montepulciano and Soave wines in historic cellars and in restaurants just yards from the vines – that’s an experience that lingers for life.
Lastly, here are some practical tips for your trip.
- When greeting people, shake hands or kiss both cheeks and say buongiorno (good day) or buona sera (good evening). Only use first names if invited.
- Restaurants have a cover charge (coperto) of €2-3. If service isn’t included, a small tip may well prompt a smile.
- When visiting religious sites avoid offence by dressing modestly: cover shoulders, torsos and thighs. Although shorts and sandals are fine for the beach, you’ll need smart-casual clothes for towns. Walking shoes make cobbled streets and hill paths more comfortable, as will a sunhat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
- In the main tourist centres English is fairly widely spoken, but in rural areas and south of Rome learning a few key expressions and using a phrasebook/phone app with a menu guide will make your visit more fun and mealtimes more enjoyable.
Which destination do you consider the best place to visit in Italy?
- Florence & Tuscany
- Amalfi Coast
- Cinque Terre
- Lake District
Question: Does this article accurately describe Italy in your opinion? What places would you recommend?