The first 100 things to do in Italy!

1. Driving a Ferrari during a drive-test in Maranello (Emilia Romagna) where the most famous car company in the world has been based since 1943:  the most famous “red car”, the roar of the engine and the adrenalin at its highest level, that’s how it goes with the Formula 1!

2. Spending at least one day to visit the “Vatican Museums” in Rome: more than 70.000 exhibited objects – and 50.000 more in the warehouses that keep the works by the greatest artists, gathered by the Popes or ordered by them during the past  centuries. These works can be seen in the different art galleries that are located in the pope’s palaces that were meant for very few privileged people in the past. The highest point is reached in the rooms and the Raffaello’s loggia, followed by the “Deposition from the cross “ by Caravaggio. The Sistine Chapel is a must, it is decorated with amazing frescos by  Perugino, Ghirlandaio, Signorelli, Botticelli and Rosselli. Michelangelo contributed to its fame since he decorated the vault (1508-1512) and painted Adam and Eve, Noah and other characters from the Genesis.



3. Going through the heart of Venice (Veneto), the Big Channel, on board of ferry-boats and gondolas: the channel runs through the heart of Venice along four kilometres drawing a big upside down “S” and it offers an amazing view of the Serenissima (the most serene) coming out from water.

4. Walking on Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) in Florence (Tuscany), one of the landmarks of the town and one of the most famous bridges in the world made of three big segmental arches. It is featured by the presence of shops that were built along it, as was once common. These shops were made from old arcades that were later closed and contributed to the fame of this bridge. All the shops of Ponte Vecchio look out onto the main passage and have one shop-window that is closed by very thick wooden doors and the back shop very often looks out on the river.

5. Going shopping in the “quadrilateral of fashion” in Milan (Lombardy), so called since it is ideally delimited by four famous streets where the most famous branded shops and workshops are gathered. Which are the four main streets? Via Montenapoleone, via Manzoni, via della Spiga and Corso Venezia.

6. Seeing the most famous Italian Operas at the Verona Arena (Veneto), dating back to the I century BC., the third biggest amphitheatre of Italy after the Colosseum in Rome and the Capua’s one (Naples), a very ancient theatre specialized in playful exhibitions: a perfect combination of spectacular shows and history and also a very important stage for the Opera, every year it welcomes twenty-five thousand people on the occasion of the International Arena Lyrical Festival. The first opera on stage in the big stone shell was the “Aida” by Giuseppe Verdi in 1913.

7. Discovering the Italian art in Florence in the Uffizi Art Gallery (Tuscany), among the most important museums in the world, the basket of the best works of art by the Tuscan school – Florentine in particular – that enables to appreciate the artistic development from the Gothic historical period to the Renaissance up to the Mannerism, from Cimabue to Michelangelo going through Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello. The collection of works by Botticelli is incomparable.

8. Going up to the Duomo cathedral in Milan (Lombardy) and walking along the “embroidery” of its spires: there are 135 of them, each has got 40 small columns and about ten statues. All that is very near the “Madonnina” that is four meters high (4,16 metres, to be precise!).

9. Going up to the edge of Vittoriano’s terrace in Piazza Venezia in Rome (Lazio) to enjoy an amazing view of the Italian capital. An amazing view of the heart of the town and its historical centre, from the most famous Roman domes to the hills, as well as the river Tevere.



10. Visiting Genoa (Liguria) from the panoramic lift called “ Bigo”, the architectural symbol of the “Old Harbour” designed by Renzo Piano: from the Bigo’s top, you can see the whole waterfront with the famous Acquarium, the biggest in Italy.

11. Going to the top of San Marco’s bell tower in Venice (Veneto) to enjoy an unforgettable amazing view: you can see the whole town, the lagoon, the land and on windy days you can also see the mountains in the distance.

12. Knowing the Unesco heritage in Italy by visiting the first Italian site, the rocky engravings of Val Camonica (Lombardy), one of the biggest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs with more than 140.000 drawings, a primitive ideographic writing with a symbolic meaning that shows war, hunting and propitiatory rites scenes.

13. Getting involved with the wonderful Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna (Emilia-Romagna), especially in the cathedral of San Vitale, with an octagonal basement and surprising similarities with the church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus at Costantinople.

14. Venturing into the underground town of Perugia (Umbria): besides the path that involves the Rocca Paolina, you can also visit the underground world that was discovered under S. Lorenzo cathedral: one kilometre of Etruscan remains and Roman foundations, ancient walls, staircases and arches.

15. Photographing four aces of priceless works of art. In Florence (Toscana): the cathedral, Giotto’s bell tower, the Baptistry and the Brunelleshi’s dome. The baptistry is one of the oldest buildings of Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral – it is 153 metres long and it took almost 170 years to build it – and the octagonal Brunelleschi’s dome overlooks the whole town.

16. Half-closing your eyes before the dazzling brightness of the “trulli” in Alberobello – under the aegis of Unesco – a place on the hill in an area called “Murge” in Puglia between the Adriatic and the Ionian sea. “Trulli” are an architectural example of universal value since they represent a unique experience, the heritage of an ancient civilization and a cultural tradition that has disappeared, an important period in human history.

17. Walking along a number of places in Verona (Veneto) that were the setting for some of the most famous tragedies by Shakespeare: “Romeo and Juliet”, but also “The Taming of the Shrew” and “The two Gentlemen of Verona”. We can’t forget the climax of the tragedy that is set near Juliet’s grave that is kept in a small crypt of the monastery of San Francesco al Corso.

18. Hiking – or flying by helicopter above the Dolomites that have been numbered among the sites that are considered the Heritage of Humanity by Unesco since 2009. Dolomites belong to the Eastern Italian Alps and they are famous for their high needles and limestone rock walls.

19. Skiing down the snowy slopes of the Etna and soon after swimming. A dream? No, it’s the Sicily of the province of Catania where the lower slope of the Etna is very near to the beaches of Taormina. And the emotions are endless.



20. Going deep into the seventh art inside the Mole Antonelliana of Turin (Piedmont): the peculiar landmark of the town that contains – the only one in Italy – the evocative, amusing and interactive National Museum of Cinema.

21. Admiring breathless views from the top of Tuscan towers (Mangia tower in Siena, Grossa tower in San Gimignano and Guinigi tower in Lucca), from  the churches’ domes and from the top of the hills. Contemplating the landscape of Tuscany from the top is an amazing emotion that must be lived.

22. Letting your eyes rest – in the sunset – on the colours of Scilla’s sea (Calabria), in the stretch called  “the violet coast”: before going down below the horizon, the sun lights the water with its last rays offering amazing purple reflections.

23. Listening to a number of poems by Giacomo Leopardi, one of the greatest Italian poet of the XIXth century in his hometown, Recanati (Marche), on the occasion of one of the seasons dedicated to him.

24. Sipping a drink in Portofino (Liguria), in its very famous “small square” – where the International jet set gathers – it looks out on the harbour where the Ferraris of the sea are moored and where all possible sports can be practiced.

25. Walking in the bora (strong wind) of Trieste (Friuli Venezia Giulia) in Piazza Unità d’Italia. Rectangular, it’s the second biggest square of Europe looking out on the sea, after Piazza della Libertà of Salerno. It is a "discontinuous" wind since it comes with strong gusts spaced out with weaker ones.

26. Discovering the archaeological area of Naxos gardens (Sicily) helped by a guide and getting drunk with art and history. The ancient Naxos was the first Greek colony in Sicily, it was founded in 734 BC. by some colonists from Chalsis in Euboea that were later followed by a certain number of people from Naxos, in the Aegean sea.

27. Going to Bolzano (Alto Adige) and visit that particular meeting point between the Latin world and the German one. Bolzano is a town with two faces: very typical from Tyrol  for Italian visitors and  so Mediterranean for the ones who come from the North.

28. Tasting pizza, maybe in Naples, where it was invented in 1535, with the sea, the gulf, the Vesuvio in the background.

29. Visiting the antiques markets spread everywhere in Italy. There are plenty of them and some are true must for the valuable things you can find. The oldest one is the Antiques Fair of Arezzo (Tuscany), set in  Piazza Grande.



30. Walking to the sound of the violin in Cremona (Lombardy), the town where Andrea Amati invented the violin in 1530. Andrea Amati, Andrea Guarnieri and Antonio Stradivari have been, since the XVIth century on, the highest expression of this precious Italian handicraft art.

31. Learning the history of Trento – walking along its old streets full of monuments -, it is the town where the Council of Trent was held – the 19th ecumenical council of the catholic church called by Pope Paul III in 1545 and closed after many interruptions in 1563. This Council stated the reformation of the Catholic Church (the Counter-Reformation) and the reaction to the doctrines of Calvinism and Lutheranism (the Protestant Reformation).

32. Discovering the area of the Roman Castles  (Lazio), a group of villages and sites of the Alban Hills, not far from Rome featured by many castles, churches, monasteries and nature. For the Italians it’s the typical “outdoor trip” an opportunity to leave the town to experience and appreciate the good food of the territory!

33. Knowing the process of the blown glass working in Murano (Veneto), one of the Made in Italy’s symbols: in almost all 70 factories of the island you can discover all the secrets of this old tradition that goes back to 1295.

34. Walking among seven thousand “nuraghi” in Sardinia: they are spread everywhere in the island and they are four thousand years old. They are very often surrounded by megalithic remains, villages of huts arranged in a circle, small temples, wells, springs and collective graves. The seven most famous groups of nuraghi are – starting from the North – the ones of Albucciu (Arzachena), Maiori (Tempio Pausania), Palmavera (Alghero) and Santu Antine (Torralba). In the Centre the ones of Losa and the village of Santa Cristina (Abbasanta), while in the South there are the famous nuraghi of Barumini.

35. Taking part in a “Pupi” show (the Sicilian Puppet Theatre), they are puppets of medieval origin and their shows take inspiration from the deeds of Carlo Magno’s court, they are the result of a team work that has its roots in the first half of the XIXth century, in particular in Catania and in Palermo.

36. Attending the Festival of the Two Worlds in Spoleto (Umbria) in July, it is an international event where music, art and culture are the protagonists.

37. Discovering the history of the Italian Navy at the Technical Naval Museum of la Spezia (Liguria): old environments and situations are reproduced and models, geographical maps, photographs and documents are shown in order to make the visitors experience the naval history from the origins to the present time.

38. Canoeing in deep gorges shaped by water. Starting from the gorge of Gorropu, in Sardinia, the deepest European canyon, shaped by the strength of the river Flumineddu, then trying with the Rio Barbaira (Liguria), the river Sesia (Piedmont), the gorges of Valnerina (Umbria) and the gorge of Alcantàra (Sicilia).

39. Travelling along the Chianti routes (Tuscany). The area is amazing: medieval villages, renaissance castles and residences are spread in the territory. The old flavours, typical products, the gift of a land that must be tasted while drinking a precious glass of … Chianti!



40. Wandering round the villas of lake Como (Lombardy) that are one of its main attractions: built in the neoclassical period and surrounded by wonderful botanical gardens. They are a mix of past and present in the residences that are inhabited by the modern celebrities. For example Gorge Clooney is the owner of the very famous Villa Oleandra in Laglio.

41. Discovering the two souls of Sardinia starting with Arzachena, the “capital” of the Emerald Coast (Costa Smeralda) that looks back to the past and at the same time looks ahead towards the future: this area is full of archaeological monuments that inspires the silence of contemplation. While, along the cost there is the noise of the jet set, in Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo where the sea, everyone knows, is an elixir of emeralds, aquamarines and turquoises, surrounded by the Mediterranean vegetation.

42. Going back to adolescence and having fun in the different theme parks, above all the ones on the Lake Garda, not far from Verona. Some names? Gardaland, Parco Natura Viva and Caneva World, Movieland Studios, Parco Cavour, Acqua Paradise and Parco Giardino Sigurtà.

43. Plunging in the water of Gallinara Island (Liguria), at Punta Falconara where you can see a huge statue of Christ in the depth, 18 meters deep.

44. Reaching the sacred mountain of Orta, with a panoramic view of Orta (Piedmont), there are twenty chapels containing frescos and huge earthenware statues.

45. Taking part in the “Pink Night” along the Emilia-Romagna coast on the first week end of July, when  110 kilometres of coast become the core of the entertainment with the music, the shows and the concerts, the museums, the cinemas, the pubs and the shops open all night long. Even monuments are  “pink” and street lights radiate pink light at sunset. There’s also a special “washing machine” if you get into it you’ll come out lit by the pink colour!

46. Discovering the mystery that’s in the air in Pitigliano (Tuscany) and its Etruscan quarries: an underground world where you’ll find graves with different shapes, galleries, tunnels, hollows and above all the huge “tagliate”: long routes, two or three meters wide, built from the cutting of the tuff rock that penetrated the rock and date back to more than 4.500 years.

47. Strolling around the Harbour-Channel of Cesenatico (Emilia Romagna), designed by Leonardo da Vinci in obedience to Cesare Borgia. In the oldest part of the harbour there is the Museum of the Marineria, the only one in Italy. The are two separate sections: the “floating” area where you can see the historical ships of the Upper Adriatic Sea and the “ground” section where you can see the different aspects of sea life.

48. Going to Monte Isola (Lombardy) by ferry-boat, it s the biggest Italian lake island and you can walk there surrounded by the lake without pollution since cars are forbidden on the island!

49. Exploring the Pyramids of Terra di Monte di Mezzo on the Renon plateau (Alto Adige), they are geological formations created by the erosion of glaciers and weather conditions. They are very peculiar since they feature a pinnacle covered by a rock



50. After jumping back into the past in the ancient Rome of the Colosseum, you can stroll around the trendiest streets of the town; Via Veneto the very famous street celebrated by the “Dolce Vita” (the good life) with its night clubs and the jet set. It is not by chance that the profession of “paparazzo” was born there in the 1960s”.

51. If you are going to get married you can go to Terni (Perugia), the town of Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers. You can visit the remains of the saint and martyr in the church dedicated to him.

52. Crossing the glaciers of Monte Bianco (White Mountain) by cableway leaving from Cormayeur (Valle d’Aosta): the cableway crosses the glaciers and reaches 3.842 metres.

53. Gazing at the sea horizon in Capo Colonna (Calabria), the famous Doric column, the only remain in Italy of an ancient temple dedicated to Junonis.

54 In Milan (Lombardy), crashing with the right foot’s hill the male attributes of the bull – engraved on the floor - in Vittorio Emanuele gallery-, that links Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala. According to the  popular tradition it brings good luck.

55. Soaring in the sky of Basilicata, where a steel cable hung between the peaks of two villages, Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, enable to live a unique experience: the “angel fly”. Hung on a safety hook you’ll live an unforgettable experience, flying in the air.

56. Feeling the protagonists of a movie set in Rocca Calascio (Abruzzo), in the heart of National Park of  Gran Sasso, used as a set for movies such as “Ladyhawke” by Richard Donner starring Michelle Pfeiffer and “The name of the rose “ starring Sean Conner.

57. Skiing in Campitello Matese (Molise), one of the very few “total-ski” resorts of the Centre and Southern Italy, after learning all the secrets of the making of the bells of Agnone, a small town that still keeps valuable palaces dating back to the XVIth and XVIIth centuries.

58. Being a witness of the miracle of San Gennaro in Naples, three times a year. When? The first Sunday of May, September the 19th – the date of his agony – and December the 16th, the anniversary of the Vesuvio eruption of 1631, when the people from Naples called the saint for their protection. Being the spectators of this ritual means taking part in a deep faith demonstration

59. Swimming around in the deep water of the Ionian sea hoping to find out extraordinary finds. It happened in the past: in 1972 the famous Riace Bronzes were discovered in Riace (Calabria).



60. Going back in time in order to learn the Italian history in Pesaro and Urbino (Marche): the former is on the sea, the latter is in the hinterland. Pesaro was the town of the Malatesta and della Rovere families while Urbino was a duchy governed by the Montefeltro family.

61. Tasting the famous “cassata” from Sicily an amazing cake, one of the most famous sweet products of Italy or, if you prefer salty products you’ll love the capers from the Eolie islands, seven wonderful volcanic islands that are under the aegis of Unesco.

62. Living the most natural atmosphere of Puglia in its large farms, in particular in the Veglie area, where there are at least forty of them to prove the great importance of this territory founded by the Messapians four hundred years before Christ.

63. Looking for the truffles or the mushrooms, a sort of hunting parties with trained dogs. The white truffle of Alba (Piedmont) and the black truffle of Norcia (Umbria) are the most famous. Acqualagna (Marche) is the only area where you can find all types of truffles throughout the whole year.

64. Attending the inauguration of the Opera Season at Teatro alla Scala of Milan (Lombardy), on December the 7th, the day of saint Ambrose, the patron-saint of the town. It is one of the most important events of the cultural life of Milan and it inaugurates a season of operas, ballets and classical music concerts.

65. Taking part in the historical commemorations that are held in Marsala (Sicily), a true bath into history where Garibaldi landed with his Thousand Men. It is also a good opportunity to taste the famous wine, the Marsala, an alcohol fortified wine with a controlled denomination of origin.

66. Living the atmosphere of Asti (Piedmont) on the third week of September when the famous Palio (horse race) is held: one thousand two hundred figurants dressed with medieval costumes, twenty-one horses, the town decked with flags and the Eve propitiatory dinners.

67. Horse-riding on the famous horses from Maremma in Tuscany whose history gets lost in the mists of time when the first horses belonging to the Etruscan civilization appeared along the Tyrrhenian cost.

68. Skiing in the night on the mythical Canalone Miramonti in Madonna di Campiglio (Trentino), where the World Cup was held on December the 18th 2012. The famous ski slope, lighted and equipped with a new system to produce artificial snow is perfect to live an exciting and amusing experience.

69. Running in a slay pulled by the Siberian Husky dogs on the snow of Valle d’Aosta, surrounded by peaks and glaciers that are famous all over the world, then tasting the typical products in Gressoney, Brusson and Champoluc.



70. Visiting the archaeological museum of Bolzano (Alto Adige) that keeps the Mummy of Similaun, also known as the man of Similaun (or the iceman, informally called Ötzi).

71. Windsurfing or sailing in Malcesine and Brenzone, the Olives coast (Veneto) on Lake Garda. They are perfect locations for these sports because of the Peler wind that blows from the North in the morning and the Ora, a wind that blows from the South in the afternoon.

72. Discovering the hometown of the typewriter, Ivrea (Piedmont), where the mythical Lettera 22 (letter 22) was born. The most famous typewriter was produced by the enlightened entrepreneur Adriano Olivetti

73. Reaching Taormina (Sicily) in August to see “Taormina Arte” in the amazing Greek theatre that dates back to the third century before Christ. This famous event includes dancing shows, concerts, opera and theatre.

74. Seeing the preparation of saffron in Navelli (Abruzzo), where the small purple flower of the Crocus sativus is grown, the saffron is produced from its pistils.

75. Following the steps of the French novelist Jules Verne who could create in Stromboli – the most famous volcano of Eolie islands – the most unexpected character of “A journey to the centre of the earth”: in fact this is the place where the rolling rock, where the protagonists found their shelter, is stopped.

76. Following the Po river on board of typical boats in the Po river park (Emilia Romagna and Veneto), born to protect a precious geographical area for its history and ecosystem.

77. Becoming skilled amateurs of the Italian chocolate whose competing capitals are: Perugia (Umbria), Turin (Piedmont) and Modica (Sicily).

78. Admiring the talent of people from Liguria and see how the “five lands” have been revived after the recent flood. The “five lands” are among the sites considered the heritage of Unesco as well as the area of l’Aquila (Abruzzo) and Emilia, both hurt by the earthquake.

79. Skiing on the most famous slopes in Piedmont that welcomed the XXth Winter Olympic Games in  2006.



80. Going deep into the atmosphere of the national Pollino Park in Calabria, an area surrounded by  mysteries and legends, a land where the marshes, after drying up, push on the surface the skeletons of elephants and hippopotamus.

81. Surfing the water of lake Maggiore (Piedmont) to see the three Borromean islands: Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre, the biggest one featuring a botanical garden.

82. Watching the reconstruction of one of the oldest fishing systems at Lake Trasimeno (Umbria) such as the one with “tuori” and the one with “arelle”.
Surrounded by the hills, this lake can be green or deep blue with shores covered by thick beds of reeds. Because of its light many Renaissance painters, above all Pietro Vannucci, the Perugino,  chose it as a background for their paintings.

83. Walking in the archaeological area of Aquileia (Friuli Venezia Giulia), one of the most interesting sites in Italy, a true opencast museum. The Paleochristian church is amazing, it contains a 760 square meters mosaic floor, the biggest in the Western Christian world.

84. Going deep into the knowledge of the Franciscan ideology in Assisi and Gubbio (Umbria), the icons of the itineraries on the trail of Francis who was declared Saint in 1228. The Saint and the spreading of his ideology are the key to understand Assisi, a medieval town where the Franciscan monuments represent the core of this community.

85. Going back to the ancient Roman time and spending a few hours at the Baths, spread all over Italy respecting the ancient dogma “salus per aquam” that is “health comes from water.

86. Swimming in the waves of the Salento sea, in Puglia, a sea that is considered as beautiful as the “Caribbeans” for the extraordinary clearness of its water.

87. Discovering the history of Nano Vialone at Isola della Scala (Veneto), a geographical area that has become famous thanks to the cultivation of this very good rice. You must taste it in many different ways, from the starter to the dessert.

88. Going to Punta Palascia (Puglia), the Eastern Italian edge, on December the 31st to see the sunrise on the new year – according to tradition, it is a good omen.

89. Becoming experts with the Italian vinegar: wine, balsamic, honey, fruit or flavoured with herbs: the vinegar offers an extraordinary range of qualities and tastes. Starting with the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, awarded with the European Dop (Protected Designation of Origin). It is so precious that it became the protagonist of the Spilamberto museum in the province of Modena (Emilia Romagna).



90. Buying the famous briar-pipes – a market featured by skilled customers who can appreciate perfect products – in the famous workshops of Lombardy in Cantù (Como) and Gavirate (Varese).

91. Playing with the Goddess of Luck in the four Italian casinos: four locations in four amazing geographical areas: Sanremo (Liguria), Saint-Vincent (Valle d’Aosta), Campione d’Italia (Como, Lombardy) and Venice (Veneto).

92. Improving the knowledge of the flora and becoming “green thumbs” by visiting the famous “Italian gardens” created according to a perfect symmetry that contain a huge amount of flowers, plants, water games and fountains.

93. Spending “theme” nights and days in the castles that are spread all around where you can feel old atmospheres surrounded by people dressed with historical costumes and tasting the products inspired to old times.

94. Discovering the middle-European charm of the castle of Miramare in Trieste (Friuli Venezia Giulia), sheltered on a promontory and looking out onto the sea. It is one of the most interesting examples of a princely residence dating back to the second half of the XIXth century in Italy.

95. Reaching Palermo (Sicily) from the sea, first admiring the view of the mountains around it then going deep into the gulf and focusing on the towers and the domes of the town. Set among the palms,  Palermo is a mosaic of colours and gardens.

96. Surfing on board of “burchielli” – steam boats – along the Brenta Riviera, between Venice and Padua (Veneto), to see the historical villas that have always been visited since the Grand Tour period.

97. Strolling around under the Arcades of Bologna (Emilia Romagna) that stretch for forty kilometres! They date back to the late Middle Ages. In the past these arcades were made of wood, nowadays they are all made of stone except for one, the arcade of Casa Isolani in Strada Maggiore, which is still made of wood.

98. Driving along the Sorrento coast (Campania) and admiring the amazing view of Sorrento, Massa Lubrense, Vico Equense and Sant’Agata on the two Gulfs.

99. Becoming children again ad going to Collodi (Tuscany), famous thanks to Carlo Lorenzini, the author of the fairy-tale of Pinocchio. A park was dedicated to him with around twenty statues dedicated to the famous puppet among which  “Pinocchio and the little Fairy” stands out”.

100. Buying the precious Italian coral choosing between two “titans”: the one from Alghero (Sardinia) that in 1355 was even engraved on the town’s coat of arms or the one from Campania, where the craftsmen gathers in the area of Torre del Greco, in the province of Naples.


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