Some of the main characteristics of Naples

Naples, or Napoli according to its native name, belongs to the Italian region of Campania. This city has a population of about one million people and one of its main characteristics by which it is world wide known is its pizzas. But, besides its pizzas, there are several other elements which characterize it and which turn it into an amazing destination for tourists to choose.

The city of the pizza

Naples is the city of the pizza and is famous by it. This way, in this city pizza can be seen sold at many restaurants and places, and even the street sometimes as well. Besides pizza, the city also offers other amazing typical food such as, for example, the famous Italian calzone and pastries which can also be bough at the street as well as in stores and restaurants.

Pizza on a table of a very local street in Naples, Italy.
Pizza in Naples

The weather in Naples

Weather can be very nice during summer but very cold during winter. Between the months of June and September, temperatures would range between 15ºC and 30ºC, allowing tourists to enjoy of sunny days and clear nights most of the days. During winter, from December to March, temperatures would range between 3ºC or 4ºC and 14ºC, although during nights it could be lower.

Aerial view of Naples, Italy on a bright summer day.
Naples in great weather

Places to see

There is a great amount of interesting places to meet while visiting Naples. Some of these places are: Piazza Girolamini, Lago di Corpo di Nilo, Castel Nuovo, Quartiere Spagnoli, Villa Communale, Centro Storico, Spaccanapoli quarter, and the teatro San Carlo among many others.

Outside view of Piazza Girolamini in Naples, Italy.
Piazza Girolamini

Galleries and museums in Naples

There also are several great art galleries and museums. Among these museums and art galleries there is the Museo Filangieri, Museo Nazionale Di Capodimonte, Museo Nazionale di San MArtino, Museo Archeologico NAzionale, Museo Duca Di Martina, and the Quadreria del Girolamini.

Nearby Naples there are several other interesting places to meet and which visitors could visit while being in this city. To start with, the region in which Naples is located, Campania, is a very beautiful place by itself and is worthwhile visiting some of its main spots. Besides this, tourists could also visit places such as Villa Oplontis, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, Sorrento, Salerno, Paestum, the Gulf of Naples, and Amalfi coast.

The antic village of Pompeii in Italy.
Pompeii

Map of Naples

Interesting places to visit in Italy

Some general characteristics of Ravenna

Ravenna is an Italian city located in the Northeast area of the country, on the Adriatic coast. Tourists can reach this town through several ways, such as for example by car, on a tour or by train, although the last possibility is not the most recommendable since there are not main train lines that reach this city.

The changing weather in Ravenna

If you are planning to visit this city, you should take into account its changing weather. Ravenna’s weather might change from sunny to rainy within a few hours, and then to humid and then back to rainy or sunny. This way, it is very recommendable to be ready to go through different climate conditions and take light clothes as well as some warm ones, mainly in case it is winter.

A square in Ravenna in Italy on a rainy day.
Ravenna

Winter and summer in Ravenna

During winter time, winds can be very strong and the temperature can be very low. This way, in case you are visiting Ravenna during winter time, it is highly recommendable that you bring as many warm clothes as you can.

On the other hand, during summer time Ravenna’s temperature can go over the 30ºC. Therefore, if you are planning your visit for the summer months, you should make sure of bringing light clothes and sun protection lotions.

The famous mosaics

One of the most characteristic elements of Ravenna’s culture is its mosaics. Ravenna is world wide known by the amazing artistic mosaics which allow visitors to have a close encounter with history just by looking at them.

Beautiful mosaics on the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy.
Mosaics on the Basilica of San Vitale

These mosaics look almost as when they were created, although they might date from many centuries ago, such as from the 5th century for example.

Local tours

A great way to meet and discover Ravenna is by asking a local expert for guidance. There are several local tours for tourists to choose and which allow them or visit the city’s main points and learn what they are meaning as well. By taking one of these tours, tourists can make sure of meeting all the most interesting places of Ravenna as well as learn why they are so important and what are the stories that each wall, mosaic and area hides.

Map of Ravenna

Interesting places to visit in Italy

Sardinia – An amazing island

Sardinia is probably the most visited Italian island and there are several reasons for it. This island would suit the wishes of ever visitor it receives due to its amazing beauty and wide variety of different activities it offers. It provides a unique environment for exploring the past as well as enjoying the present while having fun at local pubs or cafes or relaxing at the beach.

Things to see and do in Sardinia

Almost anything a visitor might want from a tourist destination, Sardinia would have it. Those tourists who wish to meet ancient buildings and historical places would be able to find some of the most amazing they ever could; those who wish to enjoy of beautiful beaches would find they wishes fully fulfilled as well; and those who want to practice sports, of almost any kind, would be able to do so while visiting Sardinia as well.

The Cala goloritze beach in Sardinia, Italy. Clear blue water, cliffs, and people on the beach.
Cala Goloritze

The history of Sardinia

History and ancient époques can be breath and almost lived while meeting many Sardinian places. This island has several amazing historical buildings, such as, for example, medieval churches of a fascinating and charming appearance. Also, some places contain elements from many other historic époques as well which surely would amaze those who observe them.

Aerial view of the colorful town of Bosa in Sardinia, Italy.
The town of Bosa in Sardinia

Getting active

Sardinia offers the possibility to practice many different activities and sports for those who wish to burn energies while visiting it. Among the sports of this type that this island offers there are, for example, hiking, sailing, hunting, horse riding, or fishing for those who rather a calmer activity.

Two adult with a lot of gear bicycling on a road in Sardinia, Italy.
Bycycling in Sardinia

The Sardinian beaches

Sardinian beaches and landscapes are among the most beautiful a tourist could find. Sardinian beaches contain absolutely clear waters along with thin and soft sand. This added to the incredible landscapes surrounding the coastlines, make this island’s beaches be a unique place for relaxing.

The Cala Mariolu beach in Sardinia, Italy.
Cala Mariolu

Besides all the mentioned above, there are several other things offered by this beautiful island to its visitors and which would allow them to remember their vacations in it as some of the most amazing ones they have, if not the most.

The combination of historical elements and buildings with nowadays technology and modern life as well as with amazing coastlines and beautiful beaches makes this to be a very versatile destination in which every visitor will be able to have a great time.

Map of Sardinia

Interesting places to visit in Italy

Planning a trip to the Dolomites

The Dolomites consist on a group of mountains which are part of the Veneto and Trentino Alto, in north Italy. This area is about 3 and a half hour by car from Munich, 4 hours by car from Milan and about an hour and a half from Venice. Tourists who are approaching he Dolomites from other countries could reach the area by train or by airplane arriving to the international airport of Milan or the airport of Munich and then completing the remaining distance by car or train.

The Weather in the Dolomites

Weather in the Dolomites can be very nice during summer months and very changing during winter. The Dolomites’ summer months go from June to September and are characterized by offering warm temperatures and clear days, although some storms might appear once in a while. During winter, from December to March, this area becomes very cold and snow is always present in the landscape.

Yong woman with a cup of coffee enjoying the view of the Dolomites in Italy.
The Dolomites

These mountains are surrounded by several roads and paths which allow visitors to easily go from one point to another. This way, tourists can go to every main spot by car or by walking since it is very easy to follow indications and reach every place through the different paths. There also are other possibilities for tourists to consider, such as taking a specialized taxi which would take them to the main spots as well as to some areas which might be far away as by go walking.

Remember Venice

The Dolomites receive many visitors who come from Venice due to the short distance that separates these two spots. This way, those tourists who intend to visit Venice, should consider also visiting the Dolomites as well since it is a very interesting Italian area to meet. There are special tours that go to the Dolomites from Venice every week and make it very easy for tourists to go from one point to the other.

The Dolomites are considered to be the most interesting and beautiful group of mountains in Europe. This group of montains offers amazing peaks, lakes of fascinating appearance and colors as well as some picturesque villages. Although at high altitudes these mountains are always snowy, at their base they might be very pleasant and even warm during summer months as well as during the first days of spring and the last days of fall. During winter, their appearance changes and offers a different and also fascinating environment to explore and meet.

Map of the Dolomites

Interesting places to visit in Italy

Meeting Tuscany

There are several different interesting places and areas to meet in Tuscany. Tuscany is one of the most visited cities of Italy, if not the most, due to the great amount of attractive spots it concentrates and the way in which different history époques can be evoked through them.

Tuscany contains buildings dating from époques such as the Renaissance or even from the time of the Etruscans, the native inhabitants of this city. Florence is one of the main areas where visitors can observe art and architecture from the Etruscans at some buildings, along with the products of artists from many other époques and historical times as well.

Beautiful green, rural landscape in Tuscany, Italy.
Tuscany

Recommended sights in Tuscany

Among some of the main places of the region and the most recommended for visitors to meet are the towers of san Gimignano, the Leaning Tower in Pisa, The Duomo or Cathedral of Florence, Pitti Palace, and the Cathedral of Siena among many others. It is very recommendable for visitors to plan which places they wish to meet since there are so many that time might not be enough sometimes.

The Leaning Tower in Pisa, Tuscany. Blue sky and green grass.
The Leaning Tower in Pisa

Italian art

Art is one of the most valuable attractions which Tuscany offers to visitors and actually attract them from all points of the world. Art pieces, paintings, sculptures, buildings and a mixture of all the before mentioned created by some of the most amazing artists of all times can be observed in Tuscany. Among these artists, we can name, for example, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Donatello and Botticelly.

The Medici family

Another very important attraction of Tuscany is the palaces and buildings where the Medici family inhabited hundreds of years ago. The Medicis influenced the city art and had a great impact on it due to the fact that they were constantly impelling artists to create new pieces and objects, many of which can be observed in many of Tuscany’s, and specially Florence’s buildings.

Remember the wine

Tuscany is also world wide known due to its unique wine. Throughout region of Tuscany, there are wide extensions of fertile lands which offer ideal conditions for the production of excellent red wines. These wines are exported to many different destinations and are rated among the best of the world.

Vineyard in Tuscany - near Florence.
Vineyard in Tuscany

Map of Tuscany

Interesting places to visit in Italy

Verona – Romeo and Juliet’s town

Verona is not only where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet lived, but also one of the Italian cities which contain some of the most interesting historical areas. This way, this city offers an incredible environment in which romanticism can be felt through the real and fictitious people who have lived in it and the stories the town buildings tell.

Tourists who visit Verona can always find something interesting to do or an interesting place to meet. This city is full of cultural and entertainment related spots, buildings and activities from which visitors can choose at almost any time of the day. At Verona, there are activities suitable for all preferences and wishes, and it is almost impossible to visit it without feeling and breathing its past and its modern present at each one of its spots.

Aerial view of Verona devided by the Adige river.
Verona

The Roman Amphitheater in Verona

One of the main places which visitors would have the great chance to visit while being at Verona is the Roman Amphitheater. The Roman Amphitheater is one of the most amazing monuments of the world. This monument was built during the first century and then was extended during the third century as well.

The amphitheater in Verona, Italy. Beautifully lit at dusk.
The amphitheater

The past and the present

While being at Verona, modern life can be seen perfectly mixed with the past and historical environment. There is a wide variety of different cafés, bars, pubs and discos to visit and have fun. There also are many options for those who wish to mix with the Italian culture and, for example, eat a typical meal at a truly Italian restaurant or a typical pizza at a local pizzeria.

A narrow and cozy street in Verona with small shops, old houses, and pedestrian.

Other things to do in Verona

Visitors can also have a calm and relaxing time, enjoying Verona’s historical environment and feeling its past while meeting its different spots. Besides this, there also are plenty of different cultural options available to choose such as, for example, operas, theaters; and besides this, activities at the Roman Amphitheater can be enjoyed sometimes as well.

Music is always present at this city and there are always several options related to it from which to choose; from traditional opera to rock concerts, all music tastes and preferences can be fulfilled in Verona.

Map of Verona

Interesting places to visit in Italy

Typical Italian cuisine and its characteristics

Italian cuisine is characterized not only by its typical ingredients and the way they are used in each meal, but also by the way dishes are served and the environment in which they are eaten. Italian cuisine is unique and very special, and when it is properly done, it can transport those who enjoy it to Florence, Sicily, Venice, Tuscany or any Italian town as if they were there.

Typical Italian cuisine

A typical Italian cuisine meal would start with an entree, followed by a first course, a secondo or main course accompanied by a side dish and bread, a desert or a fresh fruit and an espresso or coffee. Each one of these dishes and courses has its own characteristics, and in cases of special occasions there might be more than one main course.

An Italian entree

An Italian entree dish which would usually be of smaller size than the next ones. This dish could consist on pasta, meat or fish, and in the two last cases sometimes are cold dishes. Following the entree would be the first course which usually consists on soup or risotto, although there might be other variations as well such as pasta for example.

The typical Italian dinner

After the first course, a typical Italian dinner would indicate a second or main course. A main course is usually based on meat, fish or vegetable, depending on which ingredients consisted the dishes served before. This main course is accompanied with a side dish which must be complementary to the ingredients of the main dish. For example, in case of a main dish based on meat, the side dish could consist on a small portion of vegetables.

Desert and coffee

A typical Italian meal would be closed with a desert and a coffee. The desert would usually consist on a cake, pastries, fruits or a fruit salad. After this, an Italian cuisine mandatory element is a cup of espresso or coffee. It is also important to mention that an Italian meal would most of the times be accompanied with wine, chosen according to the kind of meal and the elements in which its preparation is based.

Interesting places to visit in Italy

The uniqueness of Italian art

Italian art is among the most rich and interesting sources of art from the entire world. This region has been home of some of the most incredible artists as well as, today, it still is home of some of the most valuable art works which could be found. World wide art owes an important part of its history and its major influences to Italian art periods.

Female italian artist in front of one of her paintings in her studio.

There are several periods in which art out of Italy can be divided and explored according to the époque in which they were created as well as to the roots of their creators. This way, most most arts with Italian roots works show characteristics that not only are unique but also clearly show in which time they were created.

The Medieval Period

One of the main periods in which art from Italy got a strong impulse was during the Medieval Period. During this period of time, art started gaining a greater importance than it had before, and appeared through the creation of mosaics and frescoes, some of which can still be observed today at many different Medieval Italian buildings.

The Renaissance Italian art

The Renaissance was another period during which Italian art has gained great importance and when many of today’s most valued art pieces and art works were created. During this époque, a new approach to the way objects and living beings are represented through paintings and sculptures can easily be noticed since they show a more natural and human point of view.

After the Renaissance, many other major Italian art periods have succeeded it. Some of these periods are the Quattrocento, the High Renaissance, the Mannerism, the Baroque, and the Rococo. All these periods had specific characteristics of their own and added new elements to what they had inherited.

Modern Italian art

During the last centuries, from middle 19th century, we went through what can be called modern Italian art, which went through movements such as, futurism, which had its main impulse given by the Macchiaioli group. After that, art from Italy started becoming more diversified, and different approaches were added to it. Italy has such an influence on art and the approach which other cultures have to it that it has actually been school of art for many artists from the entire world.

Interesting places to visit in Italy

Florence in a day

Overflowing with history, art and culture, Florence is a city that’s very hard to do justice to in a single day. A visit to the Uffizi museum alone could easily eat a day or two into any itinerary.

If you’re fortunate enough to visit Florence for the first time, but unfortunate enough to have only a single day to savour the delights of this city, you will need to ensure that you have a plan.

Panoramic view of Florence, Italy.
Florence

The best of Florence

So allow me be your guide for the day and take you on a whistle stop tour of the sights and sounds of Florence. I can’t promise you the Uffizi in a day, but hopefully at the end of the tour you’ll feel like you’ve seen the best of the city. Your only problem will be deciding when to come back for more!

The centre of Florence

The first thing you’ll need before you start your tour is a map of the city. The centre of Florence is pretty compact, so the best way to see it, without missing a thing is by foot. If you don’t have a map or a guidebook and you’re not the type that enjoys aimless wandering, make your first stop of the day one of the tourist offices where you can pick up a free map of Florence.

A narrow street in Florance in Italy.

Visiting the Duomo

Starting off in the main Piazza, you’ll easily spot the famous Duomo, with its magnificent terracotta coloured cupola. If you are there early enough to avoid the crowds and feel you can face the 463 steps I’d recommend starting your tour by climbing up into dome for a spectacular view of the city. The Duomo is probably the most distinctive feature of Florence’s skyline and is the result of years of work spanning six centuries.

An outside view of the majestic duomo in Florence - Santa Maria del Fiore.
Santa Maria del Fiore

Piazza della Signoria

Once you’ve taken in the view, catch your breath with a leisurely stroll around the streets surrounding the Duomo, and then take a walk to the nearby Piazza della Signoria. Here you’ll find a unique outdoor gallery of sculptures, including Neptune’s Fountain and a copy of the famous Statue of David. You’ll also find the Palazzo Vecchio (the Old Palace) here. This was built in the early 14th century and is still used today for its original purpose, as a town hall.

The Piazza della Signoria in Florence at dawn. Horse in the foreground.
Piazza della Signoria

The Uffizi museum

Just beside the Palazzo you’ll find the Uffizi museum, with its unrivalled collection of Renaissance art. If you’re an art lover, you don’t want to miss the Uffizi, but it’s not something that can be easily covered in a short 2-hour visit!

The Uffizi museum in Florence, Italy.
The Uffizi museum

Alongside the Uffizi you’ll find the River Arno, with its many bridges. If you take a right turn you’ll arrive at the Ponte Vecchio, the famed bridge that houses a multitude of goldsmiths and jewellery shops, with its medieval workshops overhanging the bridge. The bridge itself was built in 1345 and is the only bridge on the Arno that wasn’t destroyed in World War II.

Over the Arno …

Once you’ve crossed the bridge, you’ll arrive in the area called Oltrano, which literally means “Over the Arno”. Here you’ll find the Palazzo Pitti – a large 16th century palace. The palace was originally home to the Medici family who ruled Florence almost continuously between 1434 and 1743 and it now houses several important museums and galleries.

The garden of Palazzo Pitti in Florence and the palace in the background.
Palazzo Pitti

The Boboli gardens in Florence

You may want to finish your day by taking a relaxing stroll in the Boboli gardens, which can be accessed through the Palazzo Pitti. These gardens were laid out in 1550 for the Medici a year after they bought the Palazzo Pitti and were opened to the public in 1766. Many parts of the gardens give stunning vistas over Florence and make a welcome retreat after a day of walking round the city.

The Boboli gardens in Florence on a bright day.
Boboli gardens

The Ponte Vecchio

If you have the time, it’s worth returning to view the Ponte Vecchio at sunset, followed by a walk along the bridge after dusk, when the lights on the bridge reflect on the River Arno and everything seems almost magical.

The colorful Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Arno River.
Ponte Vecchio bridge

Finally, don’t forget to take a break from your sightseeing – stop for lunch or a drink in a pavement café, take some time to soak up the atmosphere and do a spot of people watching.

About the author

Suzanne Morrison is a keen independent traveller and considers Florence one of her favourite European cities.

Interesting places to visit in Italy

Italy cruise – Expert guide

History, wine, serene beauty, dramatic people and stunning views – an Italy cruise has it all! You can visit the main sites of Italy on a European cruise or a Mediterranean cruise, but to really experience Italy – to really taste it – you need to immerse yourself in everything that Italy has to offer by taking an Italy cruise…

A giant cruise ship leaving Venice, Italy.
Cruise ship in Venice

Italy cruise departures

Italy cruises depart from several ports around the country. Many depart from Civitavecchia – the gateway port to Rome. However, to get the full Italy experience it is recommended that an Italy cruise be embarked upon from the ports of Savona or Genoa on the Ligurian Peninsula and taken all the way round to Venice, or vice-versa. This way, you’ll discover that there’s a lot more to Italy than a cruise departing from Civitavecchia would be able to show you!

So, what delights await in this classical land? The Ligurian Peninsula is a true paradise. Largely undiscovered by mass tourism, quaint Italian villages line the coastline in this spectacular part of Italy. Beautiful sandy beaches alternate with rocky headlands, and magnificent coastal villages shine like beacons on the shore…

Passenger sitting on a cruise ship enjoying the view and having a drink.

In Genoa you can discover the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and marvel at the city’s stunning Gothic architecture. A little further to the south Livorno is a port of call worth spending a little time at. Here, you will be able to arrange shore excursions to see the famous leaning tower of Pisa, as well as visit the grand Renaissance city of Florence – home to Dante, Michaelangelo and the Medicis…

The Colosseum at Rome, Mount Vesuvius and the ancient city that it buried – Pompeii – are essential attractions to visit when on an Italy cruise, as is Rimini on the Adriatic Sea. From Rimini you can take a shore excursion to visit the enclave of San Marino, which is less than an hour’s drive from Rimini port…

A fabulous Italy cruise to Venice

Finally, irresistible Venice awaits as the final stop at the end of your cruise. Venice is a true waterworld, consisting of more than 120 islands through which a network of waterways can be explored by gondola. Renaissance-style architecture is everywhere in this city, and you’ll be able to take a shore excursion that takes in the famous Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs…

So, whether you want to discover what it felt like to be a gladiator in Rome’s Colosseum, peer into the gigantic crater of Mt Vesuvius or navigate your way around Venice’s canal system, an Italy cruise is a special adventure that you’ll never forget.

About the author

John Metcalfe is the author and web publisher of A to Z Cruises your #1 source for cruise information.

Interesting places to visit in Italy