Summer is upon us, and for many lucky Americans, that means a vacation is just around the corner. For those of you vacationing across the pond – on a small peninsula by the name of Italy – there is no lack of beautiful locations to visit.
A beach town one must visit, located in the north, is Portofino. This tiny piece of the Italian Riviera has less than 500 permanent residents, and is the perfect coastal town to wander around with the sun shining on the water and seagulls squawking in the air. Portofino is best known for its spectacular views and intimate beach-town-feel, but the town also offers restaurants, shops, and galleries. Make time to catch the sunset. If you’re looking for something truly special, you will not be disappointed.
Also in the north, every Italian traveler must spend time in Florence. This city is perfect for travelers who desire a city full of history but not full of traffic and tourists. The Ponte Vecchio, often photographed, is the bridge crossing the Arno River lined with little shops. Just blocks away is the Uffizi Gallery, one of Europe’s leading museums, which houses the famous David statue. Beyond the historical and cultural attractions, Florence is a city full of intimate coffee shops, beautiful leather markets, and boutiques containing everything one could ask for.
Just a little bit south, but still in Tuscany, San Gimignano is the next town to add to your Italian list. This small, walled, medieval town is famous for its medieval architecture and the beautiful views of Sienna surrounding the town. From the Palazzo Comunale to the dozens of small churches and secular buildings will fulfill all of any traveler’s medieval Italian travel dreams.
The Amalfi Coast + Capri
This next location, commonly idolized in the United States, is a bit tricky to navigate. The Amalfi Coast is a beautiful area on the west coast of the Italian peninsula. The town of Amalfi, and a neighboring town of Positano, are small villages spilling down the cliffy coastline into the ocean. While stunningly beautiful, they can be difficult for travelers, as there are no train stations and carrying luggage up and down narrow stairways can be treacherous. The author’s recommendation? Stay in Sorrento, a similarly small and beautiful town next to Positano, and a short bus ride away from Positano and Amalfi. Second recommendation: while on the Amalfi coast, regardless of which town you stay in, a boat ride out to Capri is a must. A couple hours out and back on the beautiful, crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean will
provide an unforgettable memory. The island itself is stunning, and you will be given a few hours to explore the island’s small towns. If you are really lucky and the tide is low, you can even explore the Blue Grotto, a must-see for anyone in the area.
Rome, the capital of Italy and once capital of the largest empire on Earth, holds everything a tourist could ever hope for. From the Colosseum to the Pantheon to the Spanish Steps, there is no end to magnificent historical sights to be seen. If you’re lucky, you can even catch a concert on the Circus Maximus, which now serves as a venue for outdoor events in the city. If you hope to see the Vatican, set aside a morning or afternoon for a tour in order to get the most out of the visit.
And finally, the best Italian vacation can be topped off by a visit to the island of Sardinia. Sardinia is one of the larger islands on the Mediterranean, edged with white beaches and surrounded by the emerald Mediterranean Sea. It’s filled with nature, from the high peaks of the mountainous region to the beautiful forests that come right up to the sea.
Ultimately, visiting Italy, you can’t go wrong. From city to country, small coastal town to stunning little islands, there is an Italy for everyone.