Have you ever wondered why Italy is called Il Belpaese - Italian for 'the beautiful country'? Crystal-clear waters, endless beaches, towering peaks, extensive national parks and a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites are just some of the attractions that bring so many visitors here from all over the world year after year on a holiday to Italy.
But the Italian peninsula has so much more to offer. Each region has its many hidden, rare and sometimes little-known gems: different dialects, underground tunnels, places and monuments that tell the stories of the country's rich history, not to mention the leisure activities and the many traditional dishes on offer - too much to experience in one lifetime! If you're planning a trip to discover Italy's less-explored wonders, here's a list of 100 things to see and do, alongside advice and tips on a side of the country that is perhaps still uncharted territory for you.
100 Things to Do and See in Italy
1. Absorb the natural beauty of the Cammino dei Briganti
Its name comes from the group of bandits, the Banda di Cartore, who used to live in the old border territory between the Papal State and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Over a period of seven days and covering roughly sixty miles, you'll wonder at valleys, hillsides and never-ending fields while strolling along footpaths deep in the woods. You start out from Sante Marie, a medieval town in Abruzzo, where you'll be able to visit an exhibition about the history of outlaws in Italy. Not keen on so much walking? No problem - the Cammino dei Briganti is also easily passable by bike!
2. Forget the Maldives: Italy has Salento
With beaches that stretch for miles, coves, natural caves, a sea of sparking colour and unspoilt corners of paradise, why wait to visit Salento? The unmissable Grotta della Poesia - Cave of Poetry - lies embedded amid limestone rocks hollowed out by the sea's ebb and flow. And in-between swims, make sure you visit the city of Lecce: its fascinating baroque architecture will take you on a delightful journey through history and art. Don't leave before you've tried a delicious pasticciotto, a sweet, filled pastry baked locally.
3. Explore the Colosseum with an archaeologist
We all know the Colosseum as a symbol of the capital city, and of Italy as a whole. Book a visit with an expert guide and you'll learn some of the lesser-known strange and unusual facts about this extraordinary monument. For example, did you know that more than 300 plant species grow among its ruins and that in former times it was covered by a canopy on sunny days? Discover the secrets of the Colosseum.
4. Ever heard of a Byzantine mosaics tour in Ravenna?
You can take a tour of the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, but you'll need more than a day to see them all. Start at the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, a funeral chapel where the remains of the Roman Emperor Honorius' sister are kept. Tilt back your head and gaze up at the ceiling. You'll find yourself standing under a starry sky mosaic.
5. Discover Verona and the world's most famous love story
The story goes that the Cappello family, who owned the 14th century building in Verona - with its world-famous balcony - later became the Capulets, leading players together with the Montagues in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Explore the evocative places that inspired one of the most poignant and romantic love stories ever told and get a photo next to the bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard.
6. Experience the thrill of the Volo dell'Angelo in the Lucanian Dolomites
The Italian means 'Flight of the Angel' and the 'flight' links Pietrapertosa with Castelmezzano, two towns in Basilicata that you'll enjoy visiting after you've recovered from this incredible experience. We're talking about a zip-wire suspended 400 metres above the ground, which you ride strapped into a harness and at a speed of up to 62 miles per hour. It's one of the most adrenalin-fuelled experiences Italy has to offer; do it on your own or share the experience? Perhaps you were looking for an anniversary present the stands out this year!
Flight of the Angel - by Lorenzo Palazzo - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62982270
7. Visit the home of pistachios in Bronte, Sicily
At the foot of Mount Etna's western slope, in the province of Catania, lies Bronte. It's here that a variety of pistachio that has made the town world-famous is cultivated. What better place to try all the delicacies produced with Bronte's green pistachio? You could try the pesto, ideal stirred through pasta, or an ice-cream, perfect for a break whilst exploring Bronte's historic centre.
8. Appreciate the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie: art in the heart of Milan
The Renaissance style of this basilica will be the first thing you'll notice, but it's not the only thing that will amaze and excite you. Inside you'll find one of Italy's most celebrated and famous works of art preserved: Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper (Il Cenacolo). Leonardo began painting his masterpiece in 1495, and the allure of this Renaissance masterpiece remains unaffected, despite the passing of centuries.
9. Amble along the avenues at the Royal Palace of Caserta: Jewel of Campania and pride of Italy
The palace was commissioned by the King of Naples, Charles of Bourbon, and construction began in 1752. The residence remains among the world's most visited royal palaces. Breathe in the royal atmosphere that fills the palace's magnificent rooms and wonder at its majestic gardens, as grand as the famous gardens at Versailles. Make sure you don't miss seeing the incredible fountains and waterfalls, as well as the exquisite ceramic museum.
10. Visit Umbria during the festival in Spoleto
From the last Friday of June to the third following Sunday, Spoleto hosts the Festival of the Two Worlds, an annual event first held in 1958. It was founded by Gian Carlo Menotti and was named after his desire to unite two art worlds, the Italian and the American. Why not organise a tour of the Umbrian towns and valleys during the festival? You'll be visiting one of the most beautiful regions of Italy and taking part in one of Europe's most famous festivals.
11. Paradise awaits you between the Aosta Valley and Piemonte
The Gran Paradiso National Park is Italy's oldest park and its 70,000 hectares lie between Piemonte and the Aosta Valley. A visit to the park offers many leisure options: excursions for both young and old, photo trekking, the chance to visit exhibitions celebrating nature, and so much more. Make sure you keep your camera handy: you might come across the park's symbol, an alpine ibex.
12. While away an afternoon at the home of Giacomo Leopardi in Recanati
Allow yourself to be charmed by one of the most visited places in Recanati, the Colle dell'Infinito (Hill of Infinity), which inspired one of Leopardi's most famous poems. In this town in Le Marche, the house where the poet's birthplace and home also awaits you at Casa Leopardi; an 18th century building in the Monte Morello district where items and manuscripts that belonged to Leopardi are now preserved. The library is unmissable, which houses more than 20,000 books.
13. Can't decide between the sea or the mountains? Choose Friuli-Venezia Giulia!
The mixture of cultures and different languages, beach resorts, natural parks, alpine lakes and ski resorts make Friuli-Venezia Giulia a particularly sought-after tourist destination, perfect all year round. Hire a car and set out from Trieste, which borders Slovenia. It's loved by many renowned writers and artists, and you'll be fascinated by its elegant architecture and excellent cuisine. Lignano Sabbiadoro is the perfect destination for a holiday by the sea, while Tarvisio is a quiet mountain town on the border between Italy, Austria and Slovenia. Were you aware that it's among the hills in the province of Udine that you can find the small town of San Daniele, famous for its prosciutto crudo?
14. Climb to the top of the world's most famous leaning tower
Did you know that the Leaning Tower of Pisa does so because of land subsidence that occurred at the very start of its construction? Italy's most famous leaning tower was practically born crooked. At 57 metres high, it's one of the country's most visited monuments by tourists from all over the world. Climbing the almost 300 steps to the top will give you an extraordinary view over the whole piazza and the other important buildings in the Campo dei Miracoli including the Battistero (Baptistry), Duomo (Cathedral) and the Campo Santo (Cemetery).
Tower of Pisa - By I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18902399
15. Organise a tour of the Ciociarian countryside
You could start at Castro dei Volsci, a town in the province of Frosinone that looks out over the Sacco valley. Here a popular nativity scene is put on every Christmas, with the local inhabitants taking part. You could then continue on towards Alatri to the slopes of the Monti Ernici, which boast a rich artistic and archaeological heritage. Alatri is known as the Land of the Cyclops, a nickname that comes from its main attraction, the megalithic Acropolis. Finish at the City of the Popes, Anagni, to visit the Palace of Boniface VIII, the scene of the famous 'Slap of Anagni' in 1303.
16. Meet the Iceman in Bolzano
He's called Ötzi, or the Similaun Mummy, believed to have lived between 3300 and 3100 BC. This extraordinary discovery was made in 1991, and today you can admire Ötzi and the equipment he was carrying before his death in the Venoste Alps in Bolzano's South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. While there, make sure you take in the museum's other exhibits, which date back to the Paleolithic period and the Early Middle Ages, to dive into the history and life of the South Tyrol people throughout the ages.
17. Stroll through the towns of the Riviera di Ponente
Leaving from Ventimiglia and heading for Genoa, you'll have the chance to visit some of the Riviera di Ponente's most beautiful towns. Stop at Dolceacqua, in the province of Imperia, to visit the 12th century castle and the Ponte Vecchio, which crosses the Nervia river. Just a couple of miles from Sanremo you'll find Arma di Taggia, famous for its locally produced olives and its shoreline with long beaches and well-equipped retail outlets, ideal for families. From there, a short distance from Taggia is Bussana Vecchia. This small hill town, in the district of Sanremo, is famous for having been repopulated by a community of painters, sculptors and writers after it was destroyed by a violent earthquake. Today it's an eclectic village of artists.
18. Swim where the dolphins swim in the Isole Tremiti
A couple of miles from the Gargano Peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, five small islands form the Isole Tremiti. San Nicola, Caprara, San Domino, Cretaccio and Pianosa are striking for the intense green of their lush vegetation and the blue of their surrounding seas, but also for their many landmarks and interesting architecture. Park your car and explore on foot or by bike and make the most of the islands with a swim between tours. If you're lucky, you might even find yourself swimming with a pod of dolphins!
19. Sample the prized Alba white truffles
You just can't visit Alba and not try one of the local dishes enriched by the intense taste of white truffle, the town's undisputed champion. And then if after visiting the many museums and awe-inspiring churches in this jewel of the Langhe you still want more, why not book a tour with an expert truffle hunter who will take you on a search for the famous white truffle and explain the tricks of the trade and everything there is to know about these truly delicious (and very expensive) gourmet fungi.
20. Experience a gondola ride in Venice
When visiting Venice you absolutely have to experience a ride in a gondola along the city's charming canals, passing below its famous bridges (take a look at the 10 most beautiful bridges). Venice's characteristic boat has ancient origins that date back to the 14th century; it takes around a year to build one boat. If you are visiting as a couple, remember to kiss as you pass under the Ponte dei Sospiri: according to legend, your love will last forever.
21. Immerse yourself in the colours of Burano
Less well known than Venice, the island of Burano can be found in the Venetian lagoon and is famous for its lace. It's an island of canals and bridges and known for its blaze of colours that greet visitors. In times gone by families painted their houses to make them easy to distinguish from the next and today this urban rainbow of colour is the island's main attraction.
22. Relax in Saturnia's thermal waters
The thermal spring waters that feed the baths at Saturnia flow from Mount Amiata to the Maremma in Tuscany. This spa town is perfect for those wanting a holiday with all the trappings of relaxation and wellbeing. The therapeutic properties of these waters are already world-famous. With the combination of walking in the woods and therapeutic baths, you'll leave here feeling rejuvenated and wanting to return the following year.
23. Have an up-close encounter with stalactites, stalagmites and fossils in the Castellana Caves
Are you ready for an unforgettable experience 70 metres underground? The Grotte di Castellana (Castellana Caves) are in the south-eastern Murge in the province of Bari and are open all year round. You can choose between two types of excursions of differing lengths and see the spectacular rock formations that date back thousands of years up close.
24. Eat sugared almonds in Sulmona
The home of sugared almonds, Sulmona offers the highest quality products available in so many flavours that you'll be spoilt for choice. Did you know that Sulmona is also the birthplace of the Latin poet Ovid? With its medieval monuments, marble fountains and churches with 18th century stucco, Sulmona is the perfect place to dive into history and tradition.
25. Discover a Ligurian town... in Sardinia
We're talking about Carloforte in the province of Carbonia-Iglesias, founded in the 18th century by a colony of Ligurian fishermen returning from Turkey. They brought with them the Ligurian traditions and dialect, both still well-entrenched in Carloforte today. The area is a paradise for lovers of diving and white sandy beaches, although it also prides itself on some very impressive ancient architecture and one of Sardinia's most important and amazing tuna fisheries.
26. Find the more extraordinary statues on Milan's Duomo
Climb the 300 steps to the roof of Milan's most famous monument and you'll be able to walk among its 135 amazing spires - the oldest dating back to the end of the 14th century. Enjoy finding the most bizarre statues among the devils, boxers and even a figure that clearly depicts the Statue of Liberty. While up there, you'll also be able to get within a few steps of the famous Madonnina, the statue of the Virgin Mary. Despite seeming rather small when viewed from the Piazza del Duomo below, did you know that the sculpture is actually a good 4 metres tall?
Milan's Duomo - By Jiuguang Wang - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11566236
27. Soak up the Renaissance v. modern atmosphere in the centre of Florence
You can't visit Florence without stopping to admire the Church of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto's Campanile (bell tower) and Brunelleschi's majestic dome, which can be seen from (almost) every part of the city. Wandering through the streets and among the buildings that created art history, you'll be amazed by the Tuscan capital's distinct air of modernity. Look around you and enjoy finding the road signs altered by Abraham Clet, one of the many artists who have chosen this city as a gallery for their street art.
28. Have you heard about the history of the mysterious Nuragic civilisation?
More than seven thousand Nuragic structures, which all date back to around 4000 years old, await you in Sardinia. You'll see ancient huts arranged in a circle, small temples, tombs and burial site decorations in these archaeological sites. Which are considered the most beautiful and best-preserved? Palmavera, near Alghero, and Barrumini in the south of Sardinia.
29. Visit a surprising museum in the Mole Antonelliana
At 167 metres high, the Mole Antonelliana is visible from every part of Turin and is the city's undisputed architectural symbol. Conceived initially as a synagogue, the Mole houses the National Museum of Cinema and has temporary and permanent interactive exhibitions about the most notable films, directors and actors that have contributed to the history of the big screen. With costumes and original props, such as the masks used on the set of Star Wars and Superman's cloak, the museum is a real gem for film enthusiasts.
30. Enjoy a glass of Chianti in the hills where it's produced
The Chianti region is packed full of things to see and do. As well as charming medieval towns, it boasts wonderful castles, elegant Renaissance residences and beautiful hills. You'll find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to farmhouse holidays (agritourism), restaurants and wineries, where you can choose a lunch or traditional Tuscan dinner based on pici pasta, Chianina beef and of course, good quality Chianti. Undecided about when to visit? Arrange your trip for the Autumn, then you can help with the harvest!
31. Discover the secrets of subterranean Milan
Hidden beneath Piazza Oberdan, in the Porta Venezia area of Milan, a rather unusual place awaits you: the Albergo Diurno Venezia. No, it's not a hotel, but an amazing example of Art Deco public baths, built in the early decades of the 20th century. Today, they can only be visited on specific days. The area was used by local residents and passengers arriving at the station, and provided a hairdressers, a barbers, beauty and body care services, and even a laundry.
32. Capture the most beautiful sunsets over Rome
Calling all romantics and amateur photographers! Do you want to capture the sky above Rome as you've never seen it before, even at sunset? Climb to the highest point of the Victor Emmanuel Monument in Piazza Venezia, the Pincio Terrace in the heart of Villa Borghese or Janiculum hill. If you choose the Janiculum and prefer daytime hues, make sure you are at the top of the hill exactly at midday. You'll be there to witness the traditional single cannon fire, which resounds across the whole city.
33. Go underground in Naples, and in Perugia, too!
Naples is famous, amongst other things, for its dense network of underground tunnels, which were used as water tanks or as a refuge from war and persecution at various times in the past. But not many people know that Perugia has also witnessed many centuries of subterranean history. Deep inside the Cathedral of San Lorenzo you'll find Etruscan remains, stone walls and Roman foundations that extend for over half a mile.
34. Volcano to sea in less than an hour
In Sicily, specifically in the province of Catania, it takes less than an hour to get from the snow-covered peaks of Mount Etna to Taormina's crystal-clear waters. After a visit to the famous Greek Theatre and a refreshing crushed-ice granita strictly accompanied by a brioche, head for the high altitudes. To explore the volcano and the surrounding area, while remaining in close contact with nature, why not consider booking a guided tour by jeep?
Etna - By Jacopo Werther, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56187786
35. Try the roast pork in one of Ariccia's traditional fraschette restaurants
Ancient churches, amazing convents, beautiful medieval towns and a rich and long tradition of food and wine: the Castelli Romani area lacks nothing, and certainly not good food. What better way to sample some typical local specialities than in the noisy homely atmosphere of one of Ariccia's traditional restaurants or fraschette, as they call them. Don't forget to complement your meal with some sweet sparkling Romanella wine or one of the many wines produced in the Alban Hills.
36. Lose yourself in the twists and turns of the world's largest maze
The Masone Labyrinth can be found in Fontanellato, in the province of Parma. With its varied routes, some of them a mile-and-a-half-long, and covering more than 70 thousand square metres, it's the world's largest maze. Dare to venture through the 200,000 bamboo plants, of twenty different species, to the very centre of the star-shaped layout and have fun trying to get out in the shortest possible time.
37. Witness Capri's Blue Grotto
Capri offers a holiday by the sea dedicated to rest and relaxation, but that's not all - the island is also the perfect destination for those who love Michelin star dining and the high life. Climb into one of the small wooden boats that go into the breathtaking Blue Grotto, but be careful: you have to lie down to get through the cave's narrow and uneven entrance.
38. Race across the snow at Cormayeur
With 60 miles of snow-covered pistes, a lively historic centre, and the impressive backdrop of Mont Blanc, Cormayeur, approx. 20 miles from Aosta, is the dream destination of all winter sports enthusiasts. If vertigo doesn't affect you and you want to try a completely new high-altitude experience, try the Step into the Void experience, a completely transparent glass cube, suspended 3842 metres above the ground in the Graian Alps.
39. Explore the Langhe wineries
Winding through the gentle hills of the Langhe is the Strada del Barolo - the Barolo wine-tasting route. It's here that you'll discover some of the most celebrated wines in all of Italy. The Association that manages this area has around a hundred members from among the companies and tourist attractions in 18 municipalities, all there for you as you wander this route where culture and wine are the undisputed stars of the show.
40. Look up at the Ghirlandina bell tower in Modena
Not as famous as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but Modena's Ghirlandina most definitely leans. The bell tower, part of the cathedral complex, watches over the inhabitants of the historic centre from its height of 86 metres... plus a few centimetres of leaning. Did you know it was built following an ambitious project to construct the highest bell tower in Italy, higher than the towers in Bologna?
41. Lean out of an unusual window in Bologna
Nicknamed 'fat' due to its rich cuisine, 'learned' because it is home to Europe's oldest university and 'red' because of the characteristic colour of its roofs, Bologna is a city that never ceases to amaze, as much for the height of its towers as for the appeal of its porticoes, which hide little gems. One of these is the Finestrella di Via Piella - a window which looks out over a canal that runs between painted houses.
42. Get swept away by Giotto's frescoes in Padua
Boasting one of Europe's largest piazzas, Padua is home to some unmissable art and architectural gems. Which is the best? The Cappella degli Scrovegni, where you'll find an enchanting fresco cycle painted by Giotto in its nave at the beginning of the 14th century. Make sure you try the bigoli, a typical pasta very like spaghetti, in one of the many trattorias in the city's centre.
43. Enjoy a relaxing weekend in Tuscany
San Casciano dei Bagni, a small town in the province of Sienna, is renowned for its natural thermal springs where waters flow at 40°C. However, not many people know that just a short distance away from the main facilities are several other hot water baths that are completely free of charge. There are ancient washtubs carved into the stone amid the magnificent natural landscape. Can it get any better than that?
San Casciano dei Bagni - By LigaDue - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41175138
44. Capture Isola Madre's white peacocks on camera
A trip to Lake Maggiore will let you discover an untouched natural environment, romantic views and picturesque old towns. Take a trip on one of the boats that run to the Borromean Islands. Isola Bella - famous for Borromini's palace, which dominates its centre, and Isola Madre - where many white peacocks live in the botanical gardens, are both unmissable.
45. Take in the breathtaking panoramas of the Amalfi Coast
The wild coast, hidden coves and the small village perched on hills overlooking the sea make the Amalfi Coast one of the most charming parts of the whole peninsula. Drive the panoramic route or venture along the Sentiero degli dei (Path of the Gods), which extends from the hilltop town of Agerola to a hamlet on the outskirts of Positano. The route combines myth and legend and is simply paradise for hiking lovers.
46. Watch the ceramic artisans at work in Deruta
Deruta is a delightful town in the province of Perugia and its Etruscan origins are still alive in its centuries-old ceramic tradition. Wandering through the streets in the centre you'll come across dozens of workshops. Go inside and see the artisans creating and decorating exquisite items by hand, and choose a souvenir as a memento of your visit. Some shops even offer day courses on ceramic decoration. Why not give it a go?
47. Dive into Ponza's crystal-clear waters
Opposite Lazio's coast is the beautiful island of Ponza. You can reach it by ferry and then spend some relaxing at Chiaia di Luna, Cala Inferno or Cala Fonte, three of Ponza's most beautiful beaches. At sunset, the small streets in the historic centre come to life, but before you dive into Ponza's nightlife, grab a bite to eat in one of the restaurants near the port that serve fresh fish specialities.
48. Don't be afraid of the Bomarzo monsters!
Bomarzo's Parco dei Mostri (Park of Monsters), created in the 16th century at the request of Prince Pier Francesco Orsini, is one of Italy's more interesting attractions. Set amid green countryside, the garden is a few miles from Viterbo and takes its name from the rock-carved mythological monsters around the garden. There's nothing to be frightened of here, just some fun to be had for adults and children alike!
49. Wander among Italy's most famous rocks
Revisit the past with a stroll through the Sassi in Matera, a collection of traditional dwellings carved into the tufo calcarenitic rock. A large part of the city of rock's historic centre has been preserved. Here, among the overhanging rocks and sheer drops, alleys and steep flights of steps, the cave dwellings still cling to the rocky promontory. These are single room dwellings used by working family homes, some of which you can still see inside.
50. Visit the mysterious town of Pentedattilo
The Calabrian town of Pentedattilo is perched on the rock of Monte Calvario and takes its name from this promontory, which is strangely shaped like a hand. It is now uninhabited following several earthquakes, and the legend of the Massacre of the Albertis just serves to increase its air of mystery. Go there in summer during the Paleariza, an important ethnic music festival.
51. Dive from the rocks on Pollara Beach
Found on the island of Salina, in the Aeolian Archipelago, Pollara Beach is a paradise of sand and pebbles bathed by crystal-clear waters, nestled between two high rocks. It's quiet, private, wild and primitive, and you can reach it by a steep path that starts from the small town of Malfa. It's here that the poet Neruda went for a swim in the film Il Postino (The Postman). Do you recognise it?
52. Visit the mountain town of Visso
This is a small municipality in the Apennines in the province of Macerata and, unsurprisingly, it features in the Borghi più belli d'Italia (Association of Italy's Most Beautiful Towns). It's actually known as the jewel of the Sibillini Mountains due to its beautiful town wall, lovely stately residences and features that tell of its noble history. Go there in the summer months to see the line-up for the Polifonic Festival, where both Italian and international musicians have taken to the stage.
53. See Lake Como from a cable car
Lake Como is so well thought of that many actors and famous film directors have bought houses on its shores. A great way to see it from a different perspective is to take a cable car from Como to Brunate. The lake opens up before your eyes in all its magnificence and, if you love excursions on foot, you can descend towards Como by means of two picturesque paths. Book a Lake Como hotel to take advantage of the area!
View of Cernobbio from the Voltiano di Brunate beacon, By Luca Casartelli - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19042840
54. Experience Asolo's 100 horizons
They call Asolo the City of a Hundred Horizons because, thanks to its position, it offers spectacular views from whatever point you look from. It is a medieval town located between Vicenza and Treviso. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Rocca Braida fortress, the grand construction on the top of Monte Ricco. On clear days, you can even make out the Venetian lagoon.
55. Follow in the footsteps of Cicero in Arpino
In the province of Frosinone, between the Liri Valley and the Comino Valley, lies Arpino. This delightful ancient town is the birthplace of Cicero. Everything here recalls and pays tribute to the great writer, such as the commemorative statue in the heart of the historic centre.
The curious thing about this town is that it gets its name from the town centre's distinctive harp shape.
56. Take a trip among the wonders of Aspromonte's National Park
The towns of Aspromonte have many a tale to tell and they do so through their local produce. Organise a gastronomic tour in Calabria, starting with Ciminà and its caciocavallo cheese, excellent when eaten fresh or grilled. Continue on to Gerace to get stuck into some sugar-glazed rafioli pastries, and then finish your trip among the gastronomic delights found at Mammola, home of the strange mushroom-shaped smoked ricotta cheese.
57. Find the world's smallest theatre in Umbria
The town of Monte Castello di Vibio, a few miles from Todi, has a remarkable record to boast about: it has the world's smallest theatre. The Theatre of Concordia actually has less than 100 seats. Inside you can see some exquisite frescoes, which help make it one of Umbria's most visited attractions.
58. Wander through the narrow streets of the medieval town of Corinaldo
Climb up the 100 steps of the Piaggia, the stairway that takes you directly into the heart of Corinaldo, and immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of this town in the region of Le Marche. In a side street half way up the stairway you'll find yourself outside the front of a house that has a street number, but isn't finished. This is the home of Scuretto, an artisan devoted to the pleasures of wine, who squandered all the money his son sent him from America to build his house.
59. Take part in the Trento Film Festival
Each year Trento hosts one of the world's most well-known and celebrated festivals of cinema, attracting a great many actors, film directors and musicians. The festival was established in 1952 by the Italian Alpine Club, the oldest association of its kind in Italy. The excellent combination of cinema and mountaineering reflects the relationship between man and nature on screen.
60. Visit Rocca Calascio, a favourite spot of the world's film directors
In Abruzzo, at almost 1500 metres above sea level, stands the fortress of Rocca Calascio. It had been abandoned for a long time, but the town is once again a highly popular tourist destination thanks to the many film directors who have chosen it as a set for their films. Ladyhawke, The Name of the Rose, and The American are just a few of the films shot in this spectacular natural scenery.
Rocca Calascio - By Paoladc91 - wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roccacalascio.jpg, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38956774
61. Return to childhood in Collodi's Pinocchio Park
Collodi, a small village in the Province of Pistoia, is world-famous as the birthplace of the author of one of the most well-loved stories by adults and children alike: Pinocchio. The theme park is dedicated to the famous puppet, and each year it attracts hundreds of visitors. Wander among the park's shrubs and mosaics, the wooden carousels, and along the paths. You'll feel like a child again, as if time has stopped right there, in toy town.
62. Visit Bergamo and walk a city-centre hilltop
Did you know that Bergamo, like Rome, is laid out over seven hills? The Città Alta (upper town), which looks out over the Città Bassa (lower town) from a high hill, contains the historic centre and can be reached by cable car or a long but pleasant walk. Wander around Piazza Vecchia and admire the Torre Civica, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and what appears to be one of the world's narrowest houses.
63. Sunbathe on one of Liguria's stunning beaches
The coastal road from Finale Ligure to Varigotti boasts magnificent panoramic views making it the perfect route to take for a relaxing day at Baia dei Saraceni. Named by locals, the bay was used as a sheltered and safe location as it was notoriously difficult to reach by land. Today, however, it's more famed for its crystal-clear waters, wild vegetation and the sheer cliff drops straight into the sea.
64. Try the pizzoccheri in Valtellina
Pizzoccheri, a traditional dish from Valtellina, is a type of flat pasta made with buckwheat flour. The place to go to taste a truly authentic version, seasoned with melted butter, garlic and plenty of cheese, is Teglio, a town in the province of Sondrio.
65. Spend the night in a trullo
Mention trullo and the town of Alberobello comes to mind. Located in the Province of Bari, it is famous for these traditional trullo houses with their conical roofs. Why not spend the night in one? You can find a vast selection of trulli for all tastes here on Expedia. We recommend visiting the Trullo Siamese, in Rione Monti, the oldest part of town, or the Trullo Sovrano, which stands at 14 metres high. You can also find restaurants or taverns inside the trulli, where you can sample some of the delicious local specialities.
66. Discover native natural species at Capracotta
Capracotta's Giardino della Flora Appenninica (Garden of Apennine Flora) covers an area of 10 hectares on the slopes of Monte Campo. What makes it special is that it's one of Italy's few natural botanic gardens, meaning the majority of its natural species are endemic and grow freely in the gardens. In 2016, the park opened the Percorso di Sensi, a project created to include people with sensory and motor impairments as well as families and the elderly.
67. Delight your palate with ciambelline al vino in Velletri
You can't visit Velletri, or its surrounding areas, without trying a ciambellina al vino. Try dipping these sweet wine biscuits into a glass of red wine, as is tradition. Visit in April to take part in the Festa del Carciofo alla Matticella (Festival of Artichokes Roasted under Charcoal), an important event that celebrates another of the town's culinary specialities.
68. Embrace the mystery and magic of esoteric Turin
It is thought that the two rivers that run through Turin, the Dora and the Po, are what binds the city to both the black magic triangle and the white. Why not try an alternative tour of Turin? Set off from Piazza Statuto with its statues and monuments, shrouded in mystery. Then head to the Duomo, where you can find the Sacra Sindone (Shroud of Turin), before visiting Gustavo Rol's house - one of Italy's most famous spiritual philosophers.
69. Prepare to be dazzled in Ostuni - the white city
In the province of Brindisi there's a city with houses so white they almost seem to shine in the sunlight. But why are they so white? Aside from the fact that the buildings of Ostuni are predominantly built from limestone, legend has it that thanks to the sunlight reflected from the houses, anyone trying to attack the city from the sea would be dazzled and blinded.
70. Sample Genoa's traditional cuisine while strolling through the carruggi
In Genoa's historic centre, the narrow streets, known as carruggi, are home to some of the city's oldest buildings. Hidden in these streets you'll find many restaurants and trattorias where you can sample such delights as focaccia, enjoyed all throughout the day, many pesto dishes, lasagnette - a ribbon pasta, and even minestrone. Is your mouth-watering yet?
71. Indulge at Perugia's Eurochocolate Festival
For several years now, Perugia has hosted an annual chocolate festival in October. Throughout the festival, various artists exhibit their work, made entirely from chocolate, on the Corso Vannucci and in Piazza Matteotti. You're able to admire the artist's work and then head over to the tasting stands - just don't nibble on the art!
72. Peruse more than prosciutto and parmesan in Parma
The city of Parma is home to two if the most enjoyed Italian D.O.P designated products (Protected Designation of Origin): parmesan cheese and the local Parma ham, named after the city. However, Parma also has a substantial artistic and cultural heritage. Explore it in a unique way with a free Archeo-Bike tour, a cycling tour for the whole family!
Palazzo del Governatore, Parma - By Pjt56 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71006741
73. Wander through the Città della Carta (the City of Paper)
Take a walk through Fabriano's small alleys and piazzas on the way to the Museo della Carta e della Filigrana (Paper and Watermark Museum), where you'll be able to imagine yourself among the 13th century master papermakers and create your own handmade sheet of paper. You'll also find the Historic Piano and Sound Museum here, where 18 pianos from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries are on display.
74. Dive into the Christmas spirit at Bolzano's street markets
Bolzano is the perfect city if you're looking for a mix of being able to admire monuments and works of art, but also take walks in nature and enjoy winter sports. Our best advice? Visit during the Christmas period when the historic centre is transformed into a large street market that will fill you with festive enthusiasm. Sip a glass of mulled wine, eat a plate of raclette and buy some beautiful wooden toys from the local artisans on your holiday to Bolzano.
75. Immerse yourself in the colours of Castello di Sammezzano
Just outside of Florence, you can find the town of Leccio, home to the 17th century Castello di Sammezzano, an eclectic-style fortress with an elegant red stone facade. But the real surprise is inside: the castle's rooms are a blaze of shapes and colours. Visit the Sala dei Pavoni (Room of the Peacocks) or the Sala del Giglio (Room of the Lily) and look up at the ceiling to admire one of the most noteworthy examples of Italian Orientalism. Afterwards, take a stroll through the residence's vast beautiful and pristine park.
76. Have you ever seen a bell tower emerging from the waters of a lake?
Yes, that's right. Assuming the answer is 'no' and you're dying of curiosity, visit Curon Venosta near Bolzano, and go to the edge of Lake Resia. Following the construction of this artificial reservoir, the old inhabited centre was entirely submerged, together with the beautiful 14th century bell tower. In winter, it's possible to reach the tip of the tower on foot when the water freezes.
77. Try the street food in Naples
Between walking around Piazza del Plebiscito and climbing the hill to Vomero, trying the street food in Naples is a must. Pizza reigns, of course, and if you don't want to take a seat in a restaurant, pick up a piece of folded pizza a portafoglio to eat on the go as you explore the city. Looking for something a bit different? Try a panino filled with meatballs and ragù, a cuoppo - brown paper cup - of mixed fried food, or even a sfogliatella pastry filled with sausage and friarielli, a leafy green, similar to turnip tops.
78. Stroll through Carnia's picturesque towns
Carnia, in the north-east of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, is famous for its unmissable old towns. Thermal waters and horse riding await you at Arta Terme, in Sutrio you can buy beautiful wooden artisan crafts, while in Sauris you'll enjoy some excellent prosciutto and delicious craft beers. And if you detect that they're speaking a different type of Italian here, it's got nothing to do with the strength of the drinks! In fact, in Sauris they speak an ancient dialect based on German.
79. Sea, sand and a glimpse of history in Cilento
Explore the many beautiful sights Cilento's wild coast has to offer. The area boasts stunning archaeological sites like the Greek temples of Paestum and the ruins of Velia. Why not finish an afternoon of historic discovery with a long, relaxing walk on Palinuro's golden beaches or a stroll the Punta Licosa cliffs? Don't miss a visit to the Certosa di Padula monastery, built between the 14th and 19th centuries.
80. Murano: the art of glass making
Take a trip in a vaporetto water bus from Venice to Murano, an island famous for its colourful blown glass. Retail therapy knows no bounds when it comes to the wondrous shapes, sizes and creations you can find among the locally crafted souvenirs. The island also houses the Murano Glass Museum, which was founded in 1861 and displays artefacts dating from as early as the 4th century!
81. Discover your destiny... on foot!
Walk through the Tarot Gardens of Capalbio, Tuscany, alongside the Major Arcana Tarot statues including the Emperor, the Tower and the Devil. Your karmic journey will be your own - the artist, Niki de Saint Phalle, wanted each visitor to interpret the garden in their own way, so walk with an open mind and without a map!
82. Experience the beauty of Aosta
The 'Rome of the Alps,' whose nickname stems from the richness of works of art and ancient monuments, is home to the glorious Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which safely guards its 14th century mosaics. Aosta is famed for its proximity to some of Italy's top ski resorts and is also home to some striking medieval fortresses and excellent cuisine.
83. Satisfy your chocolate cravings
Lose yourself among Modica's narrow streets and captivating Baroque architecture. The small city in the Sicilian province of Ragusa is renowned for its unique cold-pressed chocolate production technique, passed down from the Aztecs through generations. According to tradition, the chocolate was flavoured with cinnamon or vanilla, but why not venture into the unknown and try the aniseed, carob or white pepper flavours?
The grand entrance to the Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio - By Ruggero Poggianella - Flickr: Modica, Duomo di San Giorgio (CC BY-SA 2.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16612502)
84. Escape to a theme park
An adrenaline rush can certainly be found in one of Italy's many theme parks. Gardaland and Mirabilandia rollercoasters and water attractions are sure to give you the ride of your life, whichever you chose. If you're looking for a fun family day out, try Fiabilandia or Italia in Miniatura, where your little ones can explore a little Italy and its monuments.
85. Uncover the beauty of Monte Argentario
Cycle around Monte Argentario's natural attractions for an enjoyable and environmentally-friendly adventure. En-route you will discover the old towns of Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano, as well as coastal towers, beaches and coves. You'll need to be as fit as fiddle, as the trail is often up hill, but the panoramic views will most certainly be worth your efforts.
86. Enjoy a concert or an opera at Verona's Arena
Check out the calendar of events held in Verona's beautiful amphitheatre, the third largest in Italy. The venue holds concerts by the most popular Italian and non-Italian artists, and each year hosts the Opera Festival. The very first festival performance was Aida, by Giuseppe Verdi, in 1913.
87. Dive into prehistoric Val Camonica
Val Camonica - the Camonica Valley - is home to the Naquane National Park of Rock Engravings. The park comprises over 14 hectares containing 104 rock carvings, which were made between the Neolithic and Iron Age periods. Follow the five guided routes. along which you'll find useful information panels. Remember to wear good walking boots - the visit takes at least four hours.
88. Discover violin making in Cremona
Did you know that Cremona is known as the violin capital? Strolling through the city's streets you'll find more than 200 workshops, and among these you'll find where the celebrated Antonio Stradivari worked. Go deeper into the world of violins and visit the Museo del Violino, where you can be immersed in an acoustic experience in the specially-designed auditorium. As if that weren't enough, don't leave Cremona without having tried a slice of Torta Bertolina, a cake made with uva fragola, literally, 'strawberry grapes'.
89. Take part in the Notte Rosa in Emilia-Romagna
The unmissable Notte Rosa festival takes place each year during the first weekend of July. More than sixty miles of shoreline are transformed into an open-air festival with free concerts, jugglers and an array of food festivals. The unifying theme is the magnificent colour pink; decorations are strewn through mid-air and lights are projected onto buildings so the area is aglow with a pink hue.
90. Get swept away by unspoilt nature on the Aeolian Islands
Enchanting old towns, where time seems to stand still, unspoilt nature, breathtaking volcanoes and some of Italy's most beautiful beaches and coves all await you on these islands. Food wise, among the traditional specialities don't miss the pane cunzato, a type of round bruschetta seasoned with olive oil, tomatoes, oregano and capers, all strictly local products and produced to exacting standards.
91. Discover the gourmet delights of the Dolomites
We all know the Dolomites for their unique panoramic views, but did you know that the area also prides itself on its well-respected gastronomy? Some specialities found at Ortisei are the canederli allo speck (dumplings with speck), served in broth or a butter sauce, while in San Virgilio di Marebbe you can taste the gulasch, a traditional Ladin dish. If you visit Alta Pusteria, be sure to order some strauben, pancake stuffed with cream and soft red fruit.
92. Venture into the Middle Ages in Este
Este, in the province of Padua, is one of Italy's best-preserved medieval walled towns. Wander along the town walls, almost two metres wide and dotted with a dozen towers, and arrive at the grand 14th century Castello Carrarese. In the Museo Nazionale Atestino you'll find a large number of prehistoric and medieval exhibits, including bronze utensils and armour.
93. Take in the Trabocchi Coast
The stretch of coast in Abruzzo between Vasto and Ortona is called the Trabocchi Coast, distinctive for its trabocchi, wooden fishing structures on stilts, which in the past allowed the fishermen, or traboccanti, to fish in the sea without owning a boat. And the most famous? The Trabocco Punta Torre and the one known as Spezzacatena.
Costa dei Trabocchi - By maury3001 (CC BY 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54649317)
94. Be charmed by a fairy tale castle
On a hill in the town of Savignano around 30 miles from Bologna is Rocchetta Mattei, a truly distinctive building because it eclectically mixes many different styles, including Byzantine, Moorish and Medieval. It was built in the middle of the 19th century on the instructions of Count Mattei, who recreated a medieval court inside it, complete with ladies-in-waiting and jesters.
95. How does learning to cook in the beautiful setting of Sorrento sound to you?
After admiring Sorrento's beautiful centre and visiting the Duomo, why not devote an afternoon to a cookery course? Learn to prepare the famous gnocchi alla sorrentina, seasoned according to tradition with fresh tomato, basil and fiordilatte mozzarella, and the delicious babà al limone, lemon cakes.
96. Discover a little bit of Egypt in the heart of Turin
Perhaps not everyone knows that the world's second most important Egyptian museum, second only to the one in Cairo, is in Turin. It was created from the House of Savoy collections. They began to collect Egyptian exhibits in the 17th century, and today the collection boasts 8000 pieces, including busts, canvasses, papyri, mummies and jewels. It's almost impossible to see all the collection, but don't miss the statue of Pharaoh Ramses II!
97. Stroll among Rome's Art Nouveau-style buildings
If you want to discover a really unusual part of Rome, visit the Coppedè quarter, created at the start of the 20th century by the architect of the same name. Admire the Palazzo degli Ambasciatori and the Palazzina del Ragno. Their eclectic styles reflect the architecture of Gaudi in Barcelona. Then enjoy the Casina delle Civette in the heart of Villa Torlonia, which combines elements of Gothic and Nouveau Art.
98. Explore Milan's Art Nouveau buildings
In Milan's Maggiolina quarter you'll find eight igloo-shaped houses, amazing structures built in the 1960s, and still lived in today. Don't miss Casa Galimberti in Via Malpighi. You'll be struck by the enormous hand-painted ceramic decoration that covers its facade, while Palazzo Castiglioni, built at the beginning of the 20th century, is the oldest Art Nouveau building in Milan.
99. Organise a tour of the abbeys in Le Marche
There are so many abbeys that you could choose to visit in Le Marche - how do you pick between them? The Abbazia di Fiastra is situated in the beautiful natural setting of Tolentino, while Eremo di Monte Giove is an amazing 17th century building that sits on top of the hills surrounding Fano. The Fonte Avellana Monastery is also unmissable and is even mentioned by Dante in his Divine Comedy.
100. Inhale the beauty of Lake Iseo
Discover enchanting old towns and unspoilt nature surrounding this lake that spans approx. 40 miles all the way round. Don't miss Torbiere del Sebino, a marshy paradise much-loved by bird-watching enthusiasts, and explore the town of Lovere - its historic centre is full of monuments and churches. Europe's largest inhabited lake island, Monte Isola, lies in the centre of Lake Iseo.
These are just 100 ideas intended to help you to discover some of Italy's most famous landmarks and hidden treasures - its beaches, mountains, arts cities, delightful towns, feasts and celebrations. Countless activities for all ages await you on Expedia's pages. Just open our search engine, type the name of the place you want to visit and be inspired by the choice available to you.