Holidays in Italy offer exquisite food, history, and entertainment
Italy holidays are famous the world over for sublime cuisine, much of the world's most fascinating history and art, and beautiful cities and coastlines. Whether touring the Colosseum and Vatican Museums on a city break to Rome, shopping in Milan, or staying at chic resorts on the Amalfi coast, Italy is a destination that delivers.
Below we'll take you through some highlights of a holiday in Italy. From where to go and what to see to what you should eat, we've got it covered. Do you fancy a cheap trip to Italy but aren't sure where yet? Read on to see our latest deals and get inspired about Italian cities, provinces and islands.
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The Most Popular Destinations for Italy Holidays
- City break Rome - The capital of Italy and former home of the mighty Roman Empire. Come for history and an endless selection of restaurants and nightlife venues.
- City break Milan - One of the major fashion capitals of the world, this northern Italian gem is also a great place for food, such as risotto Milanese.
- City break Naples - Often cited as the best city for a taste of traditional Italy, the hilltop views and charming architecture will enchant any visitor here.
- Amalfi Coast - Stay at one of Europe's most fashionable beach locales, with everything from secluded clifftop accommodations to eye-popping seaside villages.
- City break Florence - Particularly famous for its concentration of art, such as at the Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze, which houses Michaelangelo's David.
A Roman Adventure
The Italian capital is a popular spot for families looking to soak up culture, as well as anyone interested in art or looking for a wide range of Italian cuisines. Roman pizza is famously crispy and delicious, and you'll be spoilt for choice when seeking out tasty gelato, too. Highlights include the Colosseum, Vatican City (with the world's biggest Catholic cathedral and a huge complex of museums), Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. The latter is a superbly well-maintained church that was a Roman temple before being converted into a church. As with the other gorgeous churches and cathedrals around town, it's totally free to enter. Although some of Rome's highlights are on the pricey side, it's not too hard to plan a cheap city break here.
- Experience ancient history at the legendary Colosseum: The amphitheatre ruins are well known for the fights showcased there between rival gladiators and attracting up to 50,000 spectators.
- Toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain: Locals believe that tossing a coin into the fountain will give you good luck. The fountain is made from illuminating marble which lights up at night to deliver a magical effect.
The Beauty of Northern Italy
Milan is the largest city of the north, where crowds flock for Fashion Week in September and February, and come year-round for the pretty architecture and sophisticated vibe. Lake Como is a nearby resort town that's a popular spot for celebrity holiday homes in Italy. Venice is an alluring and unique city on the water, where you'll take boats instead of taxis and can visit the magnificent St Mark's Square.
Northern Italy also offers endless variety. If wandering around the beautiful cities isn't for you, then head further north and check out some of the beautiful landscapes. There are mountains and ski resorts in South Tyrol, alpine lakes such as Lake Garda and stunning hills and mountains of the Dolomites. That makes northern Italy a great destination for a hiking trip to spend some time in nature.Or why not combine both types of holidays? Public transport in Italy is excellent and cities like Milan or Bergamo would make a great base to do both.
Culture and Cuisine in the South
For many, the south is the best place for taking in the traditional way of life the country is so famous for. Naples is a must-visit destination, and smaller towns such as Paestum, which dates from Ancient Greek times, and the clifftop-perched Tropea, are among the smaller hidden gems to discover. Holidays in Italy can encompass everything from vibrant, busy cities to tranquil escapes among much of Europe's most beautiful scenery. Wherever you choose to ho, the food, atmosphere, and history are sure to enchant you and leave you wanting to see even more of this gorgeous country.
On the east coast is the area of Puglia. Here you'll find excellent food, stunning beaches and the signature trullo houses. The cities of Bari and Lecce make great bases to explore the area. Make sure to take in the small towns of Alberobello. Monopoli and Otranto. There are loads more, making Puglia a great choice for a variety filled break. One of Italy's most popular destinations is Sicily, an island off the southern tip of the mainland. Rent a car and explore the island. Almost every town here has its own unique charm, while the cities of Catania and Palerma are equally incredible.
Top things to do in Italy
A 2.5 hour flight will get you in the heart of the Mediterranean from the UK. Filled with history, breath-taking natural sites and the La Dolce Vita, it is hard to decide where to go on a weekend away. We have picked 5 places that should be on your bucket list when planning a visit to Bella Italia.
Eat Pizza in Naples
Naples is a vibrant city in the south of Italy overlooking the sea with beautiful islands such as Capri or Ischia only a short boat ride away. Its mild weather allows you to escape for a short trip from the British climate at any time of the year - the weather gods will not disappoint you.
Naples is famous in Italy for its modest and down to earth lifestyle. With its budget-friendly prices, this makes it a popular destination for tourists and offers visitors the chance to experience an authentic Italian lifestyle with friendly, welcoming people.
In addition to its historical centre being declared as a UNESCO World Heritage, Naples is also famous for its original Neapolitan pizza. The pizza is made using locally grown tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese and is the origin of the thin-crust pizza. For a memorable experience, visit the Dal Presidente where former US President Bill Clinton once enjoyed a delicious pizza in 1994. Sorbillo and L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele are two of the most famous for having some of the best pizza in Naples. Just be prepared to queue!
But if you are not a pizza fan - don’t despair! Naples also offers Michelin starred restaurants.
A 30 minute train or car ride will take you to the historic city of Pompei. The city was buried in ashes after the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD and now acts as an impressive insight to the Roman era. Visitors can walk around immaculately preserved houses, Roman baths and squares.
Float away in Venice
The romantic capital of Italy is famous for its waterways; Venice has no streets, only canals. The city is set for adventure and allows you to navigate the canals on a water taxi. Alternatively, you can take a vaporetto water bus through the various parts of the Grand Canal, catching glimpses of the bridges and traditional houses facing the water as you travel along.
Indulge in an Italian tradition by taking part in the famous Venetian carnival. Usually starting 40 days before Easter, the mystical carnival and its mysterious masks create a unique and unforgettable experience.
Before you leave, visit Saint Mark’s Basilica. This magnificent church is considered as one of the most unique churches in Italy. Fittingly nicknamed as the Church of Gold, the Basilica shines and stands proud as a display of ancient Venetian wealth. Venice sees very high numbers of tourists each year and is often crowded. Escape the crowds with a trip to the Lido which has a much calmer vibe.
The cities of Bologna or Florence are great day trip options out of Venice and take around 2 hours on the train. Verona is another beautiful city with lots to explore.
Get your heart beating in Siena
This magical place in the heart of Tuscany, is especially known for its historic centre whose Gothic architecture, starting as early as the 12th century, will transport you to a different world. Perfect for a quiet stroll, you‘ll find delicious cuisine on offer in the many restaurants and bars in the city.
Siena is also famous for the palio horse race, which takes place on the Piazza del Campo twice a year on 2 July and 16 August. The build-up to the race features a procession with flag wavers and police on horseback – all leading up to the nail-biting race between 10 bareback horse riders! Our tip: arrive early to reserve your spot.
Explore the Vatican
During hot summer days, the gardens in Rome offer some shade and relaxing moments while exploring the city by foot. One of them, the Orange Garden on Aventine Hill, offers a panoramic view of Rome and the St. Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican palace is a historical monument and right next to it, you can experience the work of Michelangelo and one of his most famous creations, the ceiling of the Sistine chapel and The Last Judgement.
Lose yourself in the charm of Milan
You might be surprised to find out that the biggest church in Italy is not to be found in Rome or Vatican City - it is located in Milan. The cathedral, referred to as Duomo, was built over six centuries ago and the top of it offers an amazing view over the whole city of Milan.
Another highlight of every Milan trip is the mural of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. It is on display at the Santa Maria delle Grazie and depicts one of the most iconic scenes of biblical history.
Milan is also famous for its shopping malls, fashion and offers something for every budget. Whether you are looking for Italian designers, vintage or second-hand shops, you will find some real treasures here.
Getting around Italy
Italy‘s reliable train system will ensure that you travel to your favourite sites in a relaxed and affordable manner while enjoying the Italian landscape. For independent travellers who want a bit more freedom, there are several car rental options right at the airport
Where to stay
Guesthouses are very popular and offer a true local (and affordable) experience. Be prepared for a different morning experience - Italian breakfast is nothing like a traditional English breakfast, don‘t be surprised when you‘re offered a coffee and some biscuits to start the day.
For the explorers among us, the agriturismo (“farm holiday”) offers a different style of Bed & Breakfast. Located on farms outside the city, you will usually need a car to access them But don’t worry - you will not be expected to do farm work. Instead you will be provided with a fresh organic meal, enjoy the countryside and have the opportunity to take part in activities such as cooking classes.