Italy’s cities evoke romantic images of rustic ruins, rolling vineyards, famous works of art, strolling through lively piazzas, gondola rides, delectable dining and stylish clothing. Italy is a must-see for anyone with a passion for the good life. Here are some of our favorites to inspire your own journey to explore the splendors of Italy.
Venice, long considered one of the world’s most romantic cities, is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea and built entirely on water. Experience the narrow winding canals on a Gondola, complete with singing Gondolier rowing you under ornate arching bridges.
No trip to Venice would be complete without admiring the elaborate ceiling mosaics at St. Mark’s Basilica. Where ever you roam in Venice, you are sure to soak in the mix of architectural styles from Byzantine to Rococo. Step just outside of St. Mark’s Square and sip on a cappuccino, people watch and enjoy a large slice of the most delicious pizza that has ever crossed your lips.
Witness a Venetian glass-blowing demonstration and admire the intricate art of lace-making at Burano. Dine and shop for fine Italian leather and handbags near the Rialto Bridge.
A Musical City
Venice is also the birthplace of the famous composer Vivaldi. You’ll find ample opportunities for taking in a symphony or opera at Chiesa Santa Maria della Pietà (Chiesa del Vivaldi) or the famous opera house Teatro La Fenice.
A Tasteful Excursion
Tuscany features amazing vistas of rolling hills, vineyards, and miles of coastline along the Tyrrhenian Sea. The climate provides ideal grounds for producing lovely olive oils, herbed honey and bountiful wines such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Chianti. Rent a car or take a train to see the scenic rural countryside.
The Capital: Florence
Florence, the capital of Tuscany, maintains much of its medieval origins. It is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and a World Heritage Site. Here you will find the pinnacle of the western world’s art and architecture. There is an abundance of art galleries, including the Uffizi. The Uffizi is one of the world’s oldest and largest museums and home to Renaissance Masters’ works such as Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. Don’t miss the spectacular Gothic style Florence Cathedral (Duomo di Firenze) with its famous dome.
When you’re done enjoying Tuscany’s historic beauty, head to Vigna Nuova and browse modern designer boutiques full of current fashions, including the Salvatore Ferragamo shoe store. Enjoy a slow-paced five-course-dinner, paired with robust Italian wines, and drift off to sleep dreaming of the magnificent beauty of Tuscany.
Culture & History
In Rome, the capital of Italy, monuments to the Roman Empire abound. Tour the ruins of the Roman Forum (the former center of ancient Rome), the Pantheon (a temple to the ancient Roman Gods) and the famous Colosseum, where the emperor and 55,000 spectators gathered to watch gladiators fight.
Be sure to visit Vatican City (located within Rome) and the St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as its surrounding square where the Pope can be seen on special occasions, Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel ceiling and the breath-taking Renaissance masterpieces at the Vatican Museum.
When in Rome, Do…
Modern Rome comes to life in the cafes where locals sip espresso and have animated discussions. Shop at the base of the Spanish Steps in Via Condotti for Gucci and Armani — in the country that created these world-famous brands.
To complete an ideal day in Rome, take a stroll through a piazza with a tasty gelato in hand. Lastly, toss a coin into the magnificent Trevi Fountain while making a wish that you will one day return to this beautiful ancient city.
A Holland America Line Mediterranean cruise is the ideal way to enjoy the splendors of Italy’s cities. For your own taste of La Bella Vita—the good life, contact one of our travel specialists today.