Start your Italy tour in Venice. Some people swear Venice is the most romantic city on the face of the earth. Gondolas, the Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Square are all on the to-visit list. The atmosphere and ambiance will embrace you. Allow yourself to sink into this magical city so it can touch your soul.
Venice – the city
The city of canals continues to be isolated from the mainland by two to three miles of ocean. It is a place that must be visited to be understood and appreciated. Venice has maintained its charm and culture. During the Middle Ages, it was a safeguard in a sea of chaos. How did this magical city appear off the coast of Italy?
Take a tour in a gondola. A gondola is a traditional hand-crafted flat-bottomed boat. It is also immediately recognized as being an icon of “Venice.” The main gondola tours start some of the well-known places such as the
Basilicata at Saint Mark’s going to the Grand Canal. On the way, the boat will also pass by the Venice Theatre, near the Rialto. In Venice, there are about 400 gondoliers plying their trade around the canals. Hopping on a gondola is an ideal way to see some of the great sites of the city from the water. Some people want to venture out during the day. Others prefer to see the sunset over the Grand Canal.
The Grand Canal is the major waterway of Venice. It follows a natural channel and makes an S turn. It is a bit more than two miles (three km) long. Its width varies from 100 to 225 feet (30 to 70 meters) wide. Gondolas were the traditional ways to get around. Now, however, motorized public-transit boats are the cheapest and fastest way to travel around the waterway. The Grand Canal is lined with churches, hotels, public buildings, and palaces. The architecture varies from the Renaissance, the Gothic, and the Romanesque. Because they are in close proximity, you will be able to see all three distinct styles.
The Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) is the oldest of four bridges that crosses the Grand Canal. A stroll across this historic spot that was built in only three years is a must-do while on your Italy tour.
Continue your Grand Tour of Italy in Florence.
Florence, the capital city of Tuscany province, was originally a military post during the Roman Empire. It is located about 145 miles (23 km) north of Rome. In 1982 UNESCO declared the city a world historical site. Florence was originally known for its artists, money-lenders, and cloth makers. The city is also credited with being the home of the Renaissance. The city continues to be a hub of cultural, artistic, and economic development. Like Venice, Florence is a city that will capture all five senses of your senses. You can explore, ingest, and imbibe all it has to offer on your Italy tour.
Uffizi Museums and Gallery
Located in the heart of Florence, the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions. It is also one of the most visited art galleries in the world. The collections are spread over 110 rooms on two floors of the huge building. Slow down. Act Italian. Check out the Uffizzi gallery at your leisure.
Ponte Vecchio. A stroll across the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is another must-do outing in Florence. This historic site is also known for jeweler’s shops along the bridge. It is particularly charming at sunset.
Out and About. Day trips from Florence to Tuscany and Pisa are very popular for people who do Italy tours. These two cities will give you yet another glimpse into the art, history, and food on your Italy Tour. There is one question when it comes to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World – is “Why hasn’t it fallen over?”
End your Italy tour in Rome.
The “eternal” city is waiting for you. Given its majestic history, it is easy to understand why writers, poets, and travelers thought Rome would last an eternally. And it has.
Construction of The Colosseum began in 72 AD and was completed eight years later. This mammoth building is estimated to hold up to 80,000 spectators who came to watch the gladiators try to defend themselves against the lions and/or each other. Although it has been damaged by earthquakes and natural erosion over the years, it still stands as an iconic tribute to the Roman Empire.
The Vatican Museums
After visiting the Sistine Chapel, make your way to the Vatican Museums. These were founded by Pope Julius 11 in the early 16th century. From the humble beginning of only one state – Laocoon and His Sons – it went on to become one of the largest art galleries in the world. Here you will find Roman statues and the most important art of the Renaissance era in the 54 galleries. Be prepared to be overwhelmed. The Vatican is also home to some of the greatest art treasures in the world, including work by Raphael, and Michelangelo. It is impossible to calculate the value of the artwork at the Vatican. How do you put a price tag on Raphael’s Transfiguration, Caravaggio’s The Entombment of Christ, or Leonardo’s St. Jerome in the Wilderness?
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is built on the burial site of the saint it is named after. And it is one of the largest churches in the world. In addition, it is also one of the holiest shrines of the Catholic faith. It attracts millions of visitors every year. Architects for this church included Donta, Maderno, and others. St. Peter’s is an excellent example of Renaissance architecture. A hike up 491 stairs will take you to the dome designed by Michelangelo. The statue of Pieta – the only signed work by Michelangelo – is in a bullet-proof case so it is viewable to the public.
This fountain is considered the most beautiful in Rome, which is a city of fountains. It is also the largest fountain in the city. The name of the fountain means “three says” in Italian as three streets intersect there. Many people believe that throwing coins in the fountain is good luck. Be sure to take three with you when you go to this landmark. About a million euros are gathered a year and used for good causes.
In summary. While your Italy tour may end in Rome, consider it a beginning to a new adventure. You now have the experiences and memories to return to Italy for more. And if you remembered to take three coins to the Trevi Fountain that will happen for sure. Italy is now in your blood.