31 things everyone should do in Italy in their lifetime

While the food in Italy is reason enough to visit, the country is filled with famous works of art, exceptionally beautiful cities, and gorgeous lakes and mountains.

We compiled a list of 31 sites in Italy you should see at least once in your lifetime.

We included important classics like Rome’s Colosseum and Venice’s canals, but also added more obscure spots, like the gardens of the Villa d’Este and the natural hot springs of Saturnia in Tuscany.

An earlier version of this post was written by Sara Bower.

Drive along the gorgeous cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. Stay a night or two in the charming village of Positano -- it's straight out of a postcard.


Admire the colourful homes in Isola di Burano.


Explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii, a city that was destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.

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Take a boat around Lago di Como, one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy.

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Meander through the ruins of the Roman Forum, which stand in the center of city. The ruins are remnants from important government buildings.

Ski the Dolomites, a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, and explore the charming ski village of Cortina d'Ampezzo.

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Sail on Lago di Garda, Italy's largest lake.


Check out the reflection of St. Mark's Basilica when its namesake square is flooded, which happens fairly frequently in Venice.


Shop along Milan's luxurious Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II. It's often nicknamed il salotto di Milan (Milan's drawing room), since it's a common meeting and dining place for locals.

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Step back in time and explore the ancient Greek ruins of the Temple of Concord and Theatre of Taormina in Sicily.

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Stroll through the peaceful Renaissance gardens of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli.


Watch a performance at La Scala, Milan's world-renowned opera house.

Stroll the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, a Medieval stone arch bridge across the Arno River that still has authentic stores along it. It's beautiful any time of day, but there's nothing like seeing the lights reflect off the river at night.

iStock / sorincolac

Sip a Super Tuscan wine straight from the sprawling vineyards of Tuscany.

Marvel at the enormous Colosseum in Rome, where brutal gladiator fights took place centuries ago.


Take a dip in the natural spas of Saturnia in Tuscany, where gorgeous hot springs flow freely.

Gaze up at Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling. Although it's technically in Vatican City, any trip to Rome wouldn't be complete without seeing this esteemed artwork.

Tour the gorgeous Palladian villas of the Veneto (a region in northeastern Italy), which were designed by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.

Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, and legend has it you'll be sure to return to Rome again.


Explore the medieval city of San Gimignano, a walled city within Siena.


Take a gondola ride through the magnificant canals of Venice.

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