General Question

brettvdb's avatar

If you were going to Italy, what are the 5 things/places that you would have to do/see?

Asked by brettvdb (1192points) June 23rd, 2009

So I’m going to Italy for the first time in a month. What are some must-sees and must-dos?

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19 Answers

DeanV's avatar

Do? See? Dude, I’d probably just eat…

jrpowell's avatar

I wish I would have gone to Pompeii. We only went to Venice so I can’t offer much. But I can offer this, if you go to Venice buy a map. The city is like a maze. You can walk for ten minutes to find it is a dead-end.

Jeruba's avatar

For me they would include the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Roman forum, the Amalfi coast and the isle of Capri, a glimpse of Tuscany, and, I hope, Pompeii. My chances of getting there seem small now, but Firenze would still be at the top of my list for the sake of seeing one painting.

Aethelwine's avatar

I have never been there. If I went backpacking, I’d go to Lake Como.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I would have to visit Taormina , Mt. Etna, and the town where my grandparents are from.

bonus's avatar

I loved Rome. I hated Florence (over-ridden with tourists) even though I love the Duomo. If I went back, I would like to check out Cuomo +/or Vico (the lake country), go fooding in Tuscany + Bologna, Design touring in Milan, Venice during the biennale, drive down the coast all the way to Calabria and cross over to Sicily (it’s just a hop across to Africa!).

Judi's avatar

In Florence, get tickets in advance to see David. In Milan, get tickets in advance to see the Last Supper. Get guided tours in advance of Florence and Venice for sure, and Don’t miss the Vatican!
If ou have time, don’t miss Pompei!
@bonus, We hired a private guide in Florence who was an art history teacher there. He got us access to places we never would have recognized on our own!

Jack79's avatar

the thing about “must see” places is that they are all pretty touristic and everyone just sees them because they must.

Sure, the Colisseum in Rome is one of those places where you have to form a queue and pay a ticket, and take pictures next to some poor Pakistani immigrant dressed as a gladiator (what? you really thought those guys were Italians?). And of course there are amazing museums, but once again you have to squeeze in with all the other fat Americans trying to take pictures.

I guess it all depends on your own reasons for visiting the country. The Vatican for example is quite interesting, if only for the fact that it’s so tiny. And of course it would be even more interesting if you’re a catholic. I’d go to San Marino for a similar reason (plus you get lots of cheap stuff there due to the low taxes).

Venice is unique in that it is on water, and if your road takes you that way, it’s worth getting lost in. I find the whole gondola experience too cheesy and far too expensive myself, but some people may like that. Though try to avoid it in the summer – films don’t usually portray the smell of a city built on water.

I’d agree that Florence is the nicest city, though unfortunately most tourists seem to agree with that too. Never been to Etna, but that sounds interesting. And I’m not too keen on the south overall.

But there are amazing little corners in every country, and if you have the time you might want to get off the beaten track and perhaps take a bus ride to some suburb where everyday people live. There was this huge computer hardware store in some neighbourhood in southern Rome where all the people went to shop, and across the street there was this amazing restaurant with the best spaghetti in the world for about a quarter of the price it cost in the city centre. That’s where actual Italians go to eat. And there are nice mountains up north, and a beautiful lake near the Austrian border where you could actually swim in the summer. There’s a wonderful castle on a cliff on the west side, but I never figured out how to get there.

That sort of thing.

bonus's avatar

@Judi I know, I know. I have heard from many others that Florence is great. During my trip, though, it was the only place just completely besieged by travelers. Probably, it is a better idea to be there at low season. We did love the Uffizi and the Duomo and we ate very well and it is definitely worth seeing…

LexWordsmith's avatar

The birthplaces of my four grandparents; and then, as #5, famous sites, such as the Sistine Chapel, the Bay of Naples, Piazza di San Marco, world-famous paintings and sculptures, and so on.

renee's avatar

We took a group trip to Italy in 2000 and managed to see a lot of the country in 8 days. The highlights: The Vatican, Pompei, Florence (saw the fake David outside, not the real one in the museum), Tuscany (Siena and San Gimignano are both charming and not too overrun with tourists), Venice. One tip: If you want to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, go at about 6:00 pm or later. All of the shops are closed up and most of the tourists have left, so it’s much less crowded. When we were there, you couldn’t get up in the tower anyway (I’ve heard that you can now), so you could take your time walking the grounds and taking pictures without too many people in the way. In Venice, if you can take a side trip to the islands of Burano and Murano, it’s worth it.

LexWordsmith's avatar

@renee : thanks for the tips!

Judi's avatar

@renee To bad you didn’t get to see the “real” David. It glowed. brought me to tears.
Here is a place to get your advance tickets to see David in Florence. They may also be able to sell you tickets to other must see venues. In the summer they book up quickly so having reserved tickets really helps.

Sariperana's avatar

I have been to italy a number of times… if i were you, (and if you have the time of course) i’d take a boat or a train over to Croatia… ! It is not over run with tourists and they are not on the euro yet so it is a bit cheaper.
However, if time does not permit such luxuries, then try to go to the less touristy places… South would be amazing, though very dangerous unless you are meeting someone there!
Venice is looks these days like an old overpriced whore, Rome is equally as filthy, Vatican city is nice enough… Pisa is over rated, Milan is full of rude people… i could go on but i think you get the idea

Judi's avatar

Wow! Maybe it’s because I went in January, But I found Milan friendly and enchanting and Venice stole my heart. I went to Rome and Florence in the summer and I would agree that Rome was kind of dirty and there was a lot of anti American graffiti. (Bushe’s reign)
I also did Florence in the summer and I know I would have been miserable without the private guide. It was crazy packed.

bonus's avatar

Hey, Rome. Don’t feel bad. You had Anti-American graffitti when I was there (in the Clinton administration). My favorite was OTAN = SATAN. Just brilliant, really. It’s not your fault the US was bombing Kosovo then.

My experience was that Rome is a city. Like EVERY city in the world, there was some dirt. No more, no less. And ferile cats. Definitely a lot of ferile cats. That part, actually, was very creepy. It also has glorious old (some of the oldest, technically) wisteria shaded cobblestone alley ways filled with cafes and people of all generations are hanging out at the fountains, the steps, the Pantheon at all hours, just living the life. It is a great walking city.

Zen's avatar


Zen's avatar

OOps. I meant Naples.

anartist's avatar

@Zen you meant Napoli— beautiful and easy to get to Pompeii
Rome/Roma as @bonus says was very dirty, but it’s a pretty old place. European civilization came out of Greece and Rome and things like the Colosseum cannot be missed [and if you like feral cats, I have never seen so many. I came back with a lot of pictures of cats against a dramatic BG]. And Vatican City with its Michaelangelo and Bernini and all [check out the Trastevere section for night life]—there is so much more in Rome like the Farnese Palace or the Fountain of Trevi that I would use up my 5 points.

Go to Florence/Firenze see Il Duomo – Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza della Signoria with Michaelangelo’s David and Palazzo Vecchio[vecchio=old], and buy things from the vendors on Ponte Vecchio/the old bridge or go to Venice/Venezia and experience the canals. If you love opera—Milano..

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