Italy is one of the most sought after places of globetrotters, history buffs, and art enthusiasts around the world. Just like Vienna, France, Germany, or Amsterdam, Italy was able to preserve most of its old-world architecture and mixed it well with contemporary designs. Which means then when you walk the streets of the cities, it is like getting a glimpse of what it was like in historical Italy.
But more than just the architecture, there are a lot of activities and places you can appreciate when you take a luxury Italian vacation. Visit museums which houses the largest collections of artwork in the world, seats of power, breathtaking views, and so on. But before you book that plane ticket, check out this list of things you should definitely do during your trip.
Get a tour of the Vatican museums
Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. More than just the seat of the Pope, it is where cardinals meet with each other to address concerns within the church. A lot of tourists go straight for the Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, or the Castel Sant’Angelo. But to make your trip to the Vatican state worthwhile, you should join a tour to for the Vatican museums.
The Vatican Museums was founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century. Here, you will find the largest religious art collection, amassed by different Popes throughout the centuries. There are painting, classical sculptures, and Renaissance art masterpieces. You may also get the chance to see art that are being restored. An estimated 70,000 art works can be found here, 20,000 of which are currently on display in 54 galleries. You can visit the Vatican museum website to know more about the displays and the ongoing research and restoration projects.
Visit The Last Supper in Milan
Leonardo da Vinci is probably the most underappreciated genius of his time, just like Vincent van Gogh. Open Culture has just made da Vinci’s notebooks available for viewing online and you can see the various topics he was interested in. There were sketches of the human body, with notes on anatomy and physiology. He also made engineering feats by sketching what looked like his vision of a chopper and a SCUBA gear. But his most famous works were his art, like the largest equestrian sculpture commissioned by the Duke of Milan or the Mona Lisa. One of his popular art works, though, measures at 180 inches by 350 inches found in the dining hall of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, called The Last Supper.
A depiction of the Last Supper is a common refectory art, as told in the Gospel of John. Travellers are allowed only 15 minutes to view da Vinci’s own interpretation of the Last Supper. Because of environmental changes and damage made intentionally during the French Revolution (when anti-clerical troops used the area as an armory), much of the original painting is gone. However, there were numerous attempts at restoring the painting, the last of which was completed in 1999.
Experience a Gondola ride in Venice
This might seem like the go-to activity in Venice, and some people just skip over it because they feel it is just become banal. But really, anyone who finds themselves in Venice should be able to stream the Venetian canals on a gondola.
Venice sits on a lagoon which is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. Around it are 118 smaller islands which you can visit through bridges like the Rialto bridge. However, one of the more scenic ways to go from one island to another is through the canal waterways. The Grand Canal divides Venice into two sections, so it is the perfect way to get a view of the whole city.
Bask in the Renaissance art collection in Florence
You are in Italy, you might as well overdose on art because that is what you will see at every corner of each city. Most especially in Florence, where the Uffizi Gallery can be visited by art enthusiasts. It houses the largest collection of Renaissance art, including: Leonardo da Vinci’s The Annunciation, Adoration of the Magi, Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo, Fra Filippo Lippi’s Madonna and Child, Coronation of the Virgin, and the Piero di Cosimo’s Perseus Freeing Andromeda.
While you are in Florence, you might want to climb up the Duomo. Although if you are scared of heights, you can just appreciate it from below. The Duomo is actually the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, the main cathedral in Florence. The Gothic design is credited to Arnolfo di Cambio and was completed with the dome by Filippo Brunelleschi.
Try the pizza in Naples
One should not pass up the opportunity to eat pizza where it originated, in Naples. While the Neapolitan pizza is said to have originated in Turkey, from a dish called Jeyoun, the modern pizza had its roots in the city during the late 18th century when tomato was added in the focaccia — a flat oven-baked bread. But the word “pizza” is documented to have been coined first in 997 CE in Gaeta, located in Lazio, Central Italy.
Walk through the excavated streets in Pompeii
A lot of discoveries in Pompeii are being talked about on History Channel, National Geographic, and archaeological publications. More than just the remains of the residents who fell during the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, we are discovering more about their way of life because of the artworks, graffitis, and potteries being excavated. Travellers are encouraged to walk the streets of Pompeii, allowing them to imagine how life was like before the explosion.
Make sure you try out these things during your trip to Italy. It will give you a much deeper sense of what the city is and help learn more about why Italy has gone to lengths to preserve its rich culture and history.