Italy

Things to do in Italy

There are endless possibilities for things to do in Italy. As the seat of Western Civilization, there are many museums and historical sites that are not to be missed. The ruins from the Roman Empire can be seen across the land, but nowhere as well as in Rome itself. Standing inside the Coliseum as the sun sets over the City of Seven Hills is an experience not soon forgotten. There are many beautiful ecclesiastical sites—the foremost being the illustrious Vatican, seat of power for the Catholic Church and former Holy Roman Empire. It’s worth a visit to admire St. Peter’s Basilica and gaze at the frescoed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

If you are wondering what to do in Italy for shopping—look no further than the cobblestone streets of Via de' Tornabuoni in Florence. Stroll through the designer shops and save an hour for a turn through the Ferragamo Museum before hitting the picturesque Ponte Vecchio. For high fashion, Milan is the go-to city, especially during fashion week when models and designers arrive in droves to roam the streets in their seasonal finery.

There are many outdoor things to do in Italy, from stunning beaches to gorgeous hikes and bike rides through vineyards and olive groves. Check out the Travel + Leisure guide to discover what to do in Italy.

Boat tours of the caves near Santa Maria di Leuca.

Gelato aficionados can find some of Sicily’s most popular in a small kiosk outside the Giadini Inglese in Piazza Gentili. Everything is created with traditional techniques and natural ingredients since the 1950s.

Located in San Giovanni, this small, basilica-style church is dedicated to the virgin martyr Saint Bibiana. Originally built in 467, the church was restored in 1224 and again in 1624, when Bernini built the present pale-yellow façade—his first architectural design.

The park has beautiful trees and shrubs, in particular the camellias, which date back to the garden’s inception in 1840.

Pope Innocent VIII began construction of the first modern garden at the Vatican in the 15th century. Two-hour tours are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 11 a.m. Make reservations at least one month in advance by sending a fax or e-mail to the Vatican’s Guided Tours Office.

Dried fruits, truffles, 80 kinds of spices, and 100 varieties of chocolate fill the shelves at the best grocery store in town.

There are no lavish, aspirational lifestyle displays à la Williams-Sonoma at this excellent back-to-basics cookware emporium; instead, the utilitarian racks overflow with nondecorative tools made of wood and stainless steel plus simple machines like tomato mills or Bialetti stove-top espresso mak

The oldest paper producer in Europe (founded in 1264), Fabriano not only invented the watermark, but also supplied artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Goya.

Little seems to have changed in this coffee and cake shop on Via Santa Maria alla Porta since opening in 1824. Baristas still wear white shirts under black vests and bowties while dispensing pralines, éclairs, and 30 different types of cream cakes.

Years as agent: 35. Other specialties: Italy, the Iberian Peninsula. Consulting fee: From $350. tor@jensenworldtravel.com

In a city full of classical architecture, Renzo Piano's über-modern classical music hall, shaped a bit like three computer mouses, has become wildly popular with Romans.