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.

Ideal for first-time visitors, Walks Inside Rome provides more than 40 custom tours of the city’s greatest landmarks, including the Pantheon, Colosseum, and Vatican. Additionally, some tours focus on specific topics such as Jewish history, underground Rome, gardens, and antique shopping.

View the church's frescoes by Perugino, Andrea del Sarto, and Jacopo da Pantormo.

The Site: This riotously baroque 17th-century church is most famous for Bernini's lavish Cornaro Chapel.

The Cabernet-dominated Ornellaia has the big name, but the lush, all-Merlot Masseto is the collector’s prize.

Sorrentinos and tourists rub shoulders at the blue-and-green Bisazza-tiled bar on the main piazza. Join them for aperitifs (sparkling white wine; fresh fruit cocktails) or after-dinner drinks (limoncello or finocchietto, made with wild fennel).

The best way to enjoy the precipitous and beautiful Amalfi Drive is to avoid the hair-raising hassle of driving it yourself and instead take the public bus.

Book tickets for the recently restored 1836 opera house, where you can listen to Verdi and Puccini's masterpieces in their home country. (If you can't make a performance, take a daytime tour.)

Take a walk through Lucca’s Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a sun-bleached ellipse of medieval houses built upon the ruins of a Roman amphitheater.

Beneath the unassuming storefront are block-long subterranean caves filled with unexpected finds, such as 1970’s California Cabernets. The vaults are as enchanting for a child as for a wine lover.

A remote convent with a cloistered garden, where 75 Trappist nuns make natural wines under the guidance of Giampiero Bea. Sample the Coenobium Rusticum, an orange-inflected white wine made by soaking grape skins in fresh juice, and golden-green Coenobium, with hints of herbs.