In these days of gridlock, when everything is at a standstill and it is difficult to even think about travel, many people have given themselves a mission statement for when everything is back to “normal”: START AGAIN FROM ITALY. Starting over from Italy means going out to discover our country, the masterpieces that we have and that so many times we take for granted.
We actually have never stopped visiting our beautiful Italy, discovering even the corners behind the house. Traveling does not necessarily mean going to the other side of the World, traveling means discovering and being enriched by what you have discovered.
And here I was thinking about this “LET’S START AGAIN FROM ITALY” and wondered:
What are the 25 Adventurous Things to do in Italy least once in a lifetime?
Walking in Florence
I have repeatedly expressed my love for the city of Florence, which to me is the most beautiful Italian city. Those who go to Florence for the first time, in my opinion, must first of all stroll. Stroll through its narrow streets, between Piazza della Signoria and Piazza del Duomo, stroll along the Arno River, stroll on Ponte Vecchio, stroll among the natural wonders and more in the Boboli Gardens.
Climb the Duomo of Milan
To admire the city of Milan at its best, you absolutely must climb up to the terraces of the Duomo and look down on it from above, just as the Madonnina does as she watches and protects her city and its inhabitants. Up here everything takes on a different view, Milan looks different. Up here, so close to the Sun and so far from the hustle and bustle of the city, you really feel at ease with the World, or at least I felt that way!
Seeing Lavender in Calabria
I am from Calabria, I lived in Calabria for my first 23 years and I go back at least twice a year, yet I didn’t know that right in my land there was a spectacle like this: the Lavender bloom. I found out about it thanks to Jamaluca’s post, and I realized that this is one of the things I absolutely must do as soon as it is possible. Take a look at this photo, read the post, and let’s also set out again to discover a park like this!
Seeing cetaceans in the Gulf of Genoa.
When I think of Genoa I usually think of the aquarium and De Andrè. Actually some time ago I discovered that right in the Gulf of Genoa you can have a wonderful Whale Watching experience, that is, a cruise that leaves from the Old Port of Genoa and goes in search of whales. Yes you got it right, whales indeed! There are as many as 8 different species of cetaceans in the marine area between Sardinia, Tuscany, Liguria, Monaco and France. Together with the tourists there will be a marine biologist who will introduce the different animals and provide scientific information and trivia. Needless to say, I can’t wait until my little one grows up a bit to set off to discover whales in Genoa!
Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain
Everyone knows, anyone passing through Rome absolutely must go to the Trevi Fountain and throw a coin to make sure they will return there. Because let’s face it, you can only go to Rome once-impossible! The Eternal City has so much to see that a lifetime, let alone a single trip, would not be enough. That is precisely why we took advantage of it even if only for 24 hours, yes really 24 hours, and of course we flipped the coin so we are sure to go back!
Ride a Gondola in Venice
Venice is one of the most visited cities in the world. Everyone envies it and anyone who comes to Venice for the First Time is fascinated. Characteristic of Venice, besides of course the fact that it is entirely built in the water, are the Gondolas. The typical boats of the lagoon that were once used simply to get around the city and are now used by tourists to admire Venice from the sea.
Trying to straighten the Tower of Pisa
Pisa and specifically Piazza dei Miracoli is an absolute must-see for those who live in and come to Italy. Three magnificent monuments all together in one beautiful square. The Tower of Pisa is known all over the world for its characteristic slope, and 90 percent of tourists come here even if only to take the typical photo where they try to straighten the tower. Don’t feel like taking this kind of photo? That’s perfectly fine, but don’t tell me this place is not worth visiting at least once in a lifetime!
Feeling “One Step Away from Heaven” at Lake Braies.
This is truly a little paradise on earth. Hidden by the Dolomites, Lake Braies leaves you speechless with the beauty of the colors of its waters, colors that change with the seasons. We were there in the middle of autumn, perhaps the least traveled season, yet we fell in love with the trees with orange leaves, the green and blue waters, and the mountains all around almost as if they were protection.
Make the flight of the angel in Basilicata
In addition to Matera, which is a finally reevaluated Unesco Heritage jewel, there is a beautiful experience in Basilicata to be had at least once in your life: the flight of the angel between the towns of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. Immersed in the enchantment of the Lucanian Dolomites, this experience will leave you breathless. It can also be done as a couple, for the more romantic!
Eat panelle, arancini, cannoli and granite in Palermo
Palermo, the Baroque pearl of Sicily, is a truly wonderful city and a must-visit. But in this list I wanted to give a prominent place to its culinary tradition: there is no place where I have eaten as much as in Palermo! We start with the fritti, found in the streets and markets of the city: panelle, arancine and panino con la meusa, for starters. Then we move on to the first course: pasta alla norma and pasta with sardines. IT continues with caponata, sarde a beccafito, boiled octopus… and finally, the grand finale: cannoli and granite! Just talking about it made me gain a couple of pounds!
Go to the Museum of Cinema in Turin.
When people talk about Turin, most think of the world-famous Egyptian Museum, but I’m talking about the beautiful Cinema Museum that is housed inside the Mole Antonelliana. The Mole is the symbol of the city and so many people walk through the streets of Turin until they reach it to photograph it, but how many decide to discover its interior? I recommend that you do because the Cinema Museum of Turin is definitely worth a visit. Also perfect for those traveling with children since it is very technological and interactive. And then up the panoramic elevator to see the whole city from above!
Sleeping in a Trullo
Alberobello is another beautiful place that only we in Italy have and should be proud of. Many people come to the town on day trips, but I think in the evening the white Trulli, narrow streets and soft lights give the town even more charm. Then if you also have the opportunity to sleep in a trullo, well I’d say you can check off the list and move on!
Visit the Royal Palace of Caserta
The Royal Palace of Caserta has always rivaled the splendid Versailles. Some say it is more beautiful, some say it is not, either way I think you have to go there at least once in your life. Meanwhile, the palace and the park all around it are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and then it really is a place rich in history, art and beauty. The Park and the Great Waterfall, then, are a truly impressive scenic sight. I have been there as a girl, together with my parents, and I have fond memories… but I think I will go back!
Bathing in the crystal clear waters of Sardinia
Let’s face it, in Italy we have many places with beautiful sea. I am used to the Calabrian sea and I admit that in these years of traveling sea comparable to mine I have found it a few times (just in Mauritius), but I have never been to Sardinia and this is a big miss I know. I have seen photos and videos of Caribbean beaches like the one at La Pelosa in Stintino or seabeds with every facet of blue and azure in existence like at Cala Spinosa and that was enough for me to realize that sooner or later I will have to go to Sardinia and swim in its waters! Probably even here one trip is not enough but after all…we have the time no?
Seeing the Castelluccio Plain during lentil flowering.
This is a dream I have carried in my heart for a while. It was in 2011 when I met my husband and a few months later I had bought all the kit to go motorcycling with him. From day one he always told me, “I have to take you to see the Castelluccio Plain during the lentil flowering, it’s really a sight.” Unfortunately, we never did–the motorcycle took us to the Dolomites, through the Sienese hills and up and down our Apennines. Then the bike went and we changed our mode of travel, but on the Castelluccio Plain we never went. Why? Maybe because it is a trip we would like to take by motorcycle (tomorrow who knows), in any case I think my husband is right-it is a real sight to see at least once in a lifetime.
Seeing the Castelluccio Plain during lentil flowering.
This is a dream I have carried in my heart for a while. It was 2011 when I met my husband and a few months later I had bought all the kit to go on a motorcycle trip with him. From day one he always told me, “I have to take you to see the Castelluccio Plain during the lentil flowering, it’s really a sight.” Unfortunately, we never did–the motorcycle took us to the Dolomites, through the Sienese hills and up and down our Apennines. Then the bike went and we changed our mode of travel, but on the Castelluccio Plain we never went. Why? Maybe because it is a trip we would like to take by motorcycle (tomorrow who knows), in any case I think my husband is right-it is a real sight to see at least once in a lifetime.
Going to Marmore Falls.
Umbria has a thousand places to discover, it is difficult to choose some and not others. Many people know it mostly for the places associated with St. Francis of Assisi, but I admit that I love this region mostly for its nature. Marmore Falls is a perfect blend of nature and human ingenuity:with its total drop of 165 meters, it is one of the highest in Europe. Since it is an artificial waterfall, it is important to know that it is activated on a timetable, so a visit should be organized in good time. But the real beauty is all the way down, always accompanied by the sound of falling water and the smell of wet grass. And then the rainbows that are created in the droplets of water left in the air — truly a sight not to be missed!
Participate in the Venice Carnival
Venice is the only city to have a double card in this Tombola on the 25 things to do in Italy at least once in a lifetime. But excuse me, could I not mention an event like the Venice Carnival? After the Rio Carnival, I think it is the best known in the world. They come from all over the World to be dazzled by the elegance of the clothes and masks. I’ve never been, partly because it’s very expensive, partly because it’s one of those things you take for granted-you know it’s always been there and always will be there and you think you’ll be able to go sooner or later. This year for the first time it was suspended because of Covid 19, and that’s when I realized that you should never take things for granted, even and especially traditions. So I am including the Venice Carnival in my bingo and hope to fill the box soon.
Cross them the Spaccanapoli
It is said “See Naples and then die,” and indeed it is the best way to say that Naples should be seen at least once in a lifetime, then you can also die! Spaccanapoli is the street that runs from the Quartieri Spagnoli to the neighborhood of Forcella and cuts through the city of Naples in a straight line, hence the name. Walking along this street gives you the feeling of walking through the beating heart of the city of Naples, its soul. Here you will find ancient buildings and churches, but also the legends of the city and the unmistakable smells of Neapolitan cuisine.
Stroll under the arcades in Bologna
The porticoes of Bologna have been nominated among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In Bologna you can walk for as much as 40 kilometers always covered by these beautiful porticos, which makes the city of Bologna unique in the world. Walking around the city, you can walk through various types of porticos. From wooden ones, such as the porticoes of Via Marsala, to the 14th-century “beccadelli,” column-less semi-porticoes of the Ghisilardi-Fava Palace. There are also tours in the city to discover the oldest and most beautiful arcades.
Seeing the “sciara del fuoco” from Tropea
Let’s go back to Calabria and precisely to one of the most beautiful and characteristic towns: Tropea. The beauty of this place, in addition to the crystal clear sea, the intricate streets of the old town, and the church on the Island that plunges into the sea, are also the sunsets with Stromboli as a backdrop. Starting from Tropea, it is possible to make excursions to discover not only Stromboli but all the Aeolian Islands and to see the very famous and spectacular “sciara del fuoco”:a steep slope formed by lava, lapilli and incandescent slag that descends from the crater (750 meters) to the sea.
Going to the Dolomites
From the sea to the mountains, from Calabria to the northernmost part of Italy: the Dolomites are my favorite mountain place. I was lucky enough to see these great mountains for the first time during a motorcycle tour and fell in love with them. Impossible not to return there whenever possible: trekking through the mountains, eating in the mountain huts, discovering the many villages that rise at the foot of these giants and relaxing, because up here you live on another planet, far from any stress.
Participate in the Kite Festival in Cervia.
Every year between April and May, a beautiful event is held on the beaches of Cervia: the International Kite Festival. It is a great way to spend the day at the beach with all your family and friends and immerse yourself in the colors and magic of kites. The festival program has always been full of jaw-dropping performances, choreography and kite fights. This year (2020) due to the Coronavirus emergency the 40th International Kite Festival has been postponed from September 25 to October 4, but there is no certainty yet.
Walking through the excavations of Pompeii
Visiting the archaeological excavations of Pompeii are a real plunge into the past. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D. caused the destruction of Pompeii and a very large area of the present-day Vesuvian area, such as the cities of Herculaneum, Stabia and Oplonti. The city was buried by a thick layer of ash and lapilli, but all this on the one hand destroyed an inter-city and killed all its inhabitants, and on the other hand preserved that moment intact. You only need to take a walk among the ash-covered remains to realize that everything there is still standing at that August 24, 79 A.D., and it is very impressive.
Take a cruise to the Tremiti Islands.
The Tremiti Islands constitute a marine nature reserve that is part of the Gargano National Park. They offer rich vegetation and above all a pristine sea rich in wildlife, ideal for diving. The villages perched on these islands, then, look very much like the villages on the Greek islands, yet we are still in Italy. Cruises to reach this archipelago of 5 islands depart from Termoli in Molise, but also from Vieste and other locations in the Gargano. You can choose to take a day cruise or stop here and spend a few days between sea and nature.
Enter the Blue Grotto on Capri.
Let’s end this list of 25 things to do in Italy on a high note with the beautiful Capri and specifically with an excursion inside the Blue Grotto. Surely the island of Capri must be seen at least once in a lifetime but I would not be satisfied since right between the stacks and the cliffs there is a jewel like the Blue Grotto. The blue coloration is due to the sunlight that enters through an underwater window below the entrance gate filtered by the crystal clear water. The silvery reflections of the submerged objects, on the other hand, are due to air bubbles adhering to the outer surface, giving a truly fantastic atmosphere.