Most Italian staples are known worldwide: Vespas, the Vatican, The Sistine Chapel, The Coliseum, pizza and pasta and wine more divine than anywhere else in the world. But, with the exception of Vespas and the latter dining options, there’s one underlying similarity: they’re all found solely within Rome.
Fortunately for you, the country of Italy doesn’t stop at Rome’s city limits. The key to discovering all the refined options Italy has to offer is in knowing where to look. To enjoy a taste of Italian life beyond the staples, there are some hotbeds of historical elegance you simply can’t miss.
While the canals of Venice have proved to be a romantic scene for centuries, the historical sites, impressive architecture and priceless art harbored amongst its waters are just as capable at captivating your mind and pulling your heartstrings.
There is no shortage of sites to find, but St. Mark’s Basilica is a must-visit. A stroll through the interior is certain to instill goosebumps—the grand domes feel as high as the heavens, the intricate mosaics as complex as creation. Any time of day makes for a good visit, yet the early morning provides the most spiritual: the silence that echoes within the vast hall feels heavier than is worldly possible.
Another must-visit of Venice is Doge’s Palace. Originally constructed in Venetian Gothic style for the Doge of Venice, the Palace has been a museum since 1923. Exquisite opulence is overwhelming in each and every room of the museum, from the gilded nooks-and-crannies of the fantastical ceiling to the priceless paintings and sculptures every which way you look. Considered the very symbol of Venice, no dive into the history and art of the city is complete without a trip here.
The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence alone is home to more sites of grandeur and art of taste than most European countries. While a peek into any building is certain to elicit gasps and dropped jaws, some are bucket-list material. The Florence Cathedral dominates the Florentine skyline, with its terracotta-tiled dome and bell-tower engineered by the famed geniuses of Brunelleschi and Giotto. A trip inside encapsulates gothic design and austerity of religious life, both providing ample food for thought and sights for your eyes. An even greater wealth of discovery waits at the Uffizi Gallery. The shining jewel of Renaissance museums worldwide, it houses priceless works like The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, and Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Verrocchio.
Perhaps the only piece with greater acclaim not housed in the Uffizi Gallery is the sculpture David—Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Housed within the Gallery of the Academy of Florence, the minute details of the massive stone are enough to convince the keenest eye that this must be a living giant, posing perfectly still. An hour could go by before you’re convinced otherwise, but it only takes a minute to find the appreciation for witnessing these treasures yourself.
Can’t wait to discover the priceless treasures of Italy in person? We can help: contact one of our specialists today! Their in-depth knowledge and connections to prominent tour companies, like CIE Tours International, takes the stress out of planning a vacation and allows you to focus on enjoying the sights.