Touring Italy’s Big Three on Your Italian Trip

By Priscila Siano

An Italian trip will always be an unforgettable experience, but those heading to this amazing country for the first time should be sure to hit all the major highlights before returning home, armed with hundreds of pictures, souvenirs, and memories that will last a lifetime.

The best way to get a taste of Italy is to be sure to include the “Big Three” on your Italian Trip – Rome, Venice, and Florence. These three cities have been and always will be Italy’s most popular tourist spots, each offering something unique for those who take a trip to Italy. With as little as 7 to 14 days of vacation time, you can still get a good idea of what each of these three wonderful cities has to offer. For an even more fascinating glimpse of Italian life, travel between the cities – whether by car or coach – provides a look at more of Italy’s beautiful terrain as Rome, Florance and Venice are each located in different regions of the country.

The best way to see these three lovely cities – especially it it’s your first Italian trip – is to book an escorted tour with a company that knows them inside-out. By enlisting the help of an experienced tour company, you’ll be sure to see all the major attractions while also discovering those little out-of-the-way places, like an amazing cafe or gelato shop you might not find on your own.

Rome

Rome remains Italy’s most visited city. After all, The Eternal City is so full of things to see and do, no matter what your particular interest. Of course, if you’re a history buff, you’ll probably head straight to the buildings and remains of the Roman Empire and other early civilizations. You’ll want to visit the Colosseum, built by Emperor Vespasian and his son Titus in 80 A.D.; the triumphal Arch of Constantine, erected in 315 A.D.; St Peter’s Basilica with Michelangelo’s renowned frescoes; the extraordinary Pantheon, the first temple built for the common people; and the Roman Forum, once the center of political and commercial life in ancient Rome.

Museums abound, including the wonderful Vatican Museum, housing the most extensive and impressive collection of fine art found anywhere in the world. You’ll also want to include trips to The Spanish Steps, the renowned Trevi Fountain, the Via Appia Antica (Appian Way), Castel St. Angelo, and Rome’s beautiful churches.

Dining is a joy, whether you’re in search of a five-star restaurant experience or would prefer to take a seat in a small outdoor cafe on the Piazza della Rotonda and do a little people watching. Either way, the food is stellar!

Try to allow at least 4 full days to enjoy the capital city and when planning your Italian trip, do a little research ahead of time to decide which places you’d like to explore during free time when organized activities are not scheduled.

Venice

Situated in Northern Italy, Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world and is often a first choice for honeymooners. But, of course, anyone can enjoy this spectacular city, which stretches across about 110 small islands along the Adriatic Sea.

You’ll need at least two full days to see all the highlights of Venice. As a first time visitor, you will certainly want to hop aboard a gondola or a vaporetti (water taxi) to explore the city’s system of canals, which take visitors past most of the prime attractions in Venice. (The canals serve the same function as roads because Venice is a car-free city). While on your canal tour, you can decide what you’d like to see once you’re back dry land to explore on foot.

Top attractions include pigeon-filled St. Mark’s Square, home to the renowned St. Mark’s Basilica, the magnificent gothic Doge’s Palace, and many other buildings and archeological sites. You’ll also want to make your way to the Bridge of Sighs, one of the city’s many bridges, so named because it passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. It was often the last place prisoners would see in Venice before their incarceration or death.

Be sure to sample the local seafood as well as the innovative pasta dishes. Venice is also known for its wonderful sweet treats, so you’ll want to include a stop at a patisserie or two while exploring every breathtaking inch of the city.

Florence

Florence, is the gateway to Tuscany, and has become more and more popular over the past few decades. Always known as Italy’s most cultural city, it’s been that way since the Renaissance, when families in Florence like the Medicis sponsored artists like Michelangelo and others.

The centerpiece of Florence is the Duomo, or Santa Maria del Fiore. A must see, with its magnificent dome and baptistery, this is the architectural jewel in Florence’s crown. After you’ve seen the cathedral, head to the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), the only one to survive World War II, lined with interesting shops held up by stilts. Stop at the Uffizi Gallery, one of the finest art museums in the world, or visit the Academia to view Michelangelo’s David.

Wherever your first (or second… or third) Italian trip takes you, it’s a sure bet you’ll be mesmerized by all that Italy offers, from its vibrant cities to its breathtaking countryside and friendly people always ready to welcome you with open arms.

Contact us at Tour Italy Now today and we’ll help you discover the big three with our Classic Italy Escorted Tour. All you’ll need to do is take the time to savor every moment!!