As a tourist destination, Italy needs little introduction. The reasons why it consistently ranks among the top holiday destinations among tourists the world over are many. While it may be small, the richness of the history and culture of the country is limitless. Italy boasts the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any country in the world, one of the most famous national cuisines and an artistic heritage that is second to no other. If you have dreams of visiting the European country, things may be about to become a lot easier if you hold an American passport, with the European Union set to introduce an ETIAS visa waiver for U.S. citizens. This will immediately open the doors for Americans to visit some of Italy’s most famous destinations. Read on for some excellent ideas of the places to consider when planning your trip.
The first stop on any Italian vacation, Italy’s capital city is steeped in thousands of years of fascinating history. As soon as you arrive and begin wandering through the narrow and windy streets of the old town, the sense of times past seeps through the very bricks and mortar around you. All located within a stone’s throw of each other, Rome’s many historical sites never fail to capture the imagination of star-stuck visitors. In just a few hours, it is possible to take in the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel and the Pantheon. Today, however, the city is an effusive mixture of antiquity and modernity. Long considered a cultural and religious powerhouse, life in modern Rome is fast-paced, and the city is full of young fashionistas and trendy clothes stores and restaurants. The perfect place to get up to speed with the Italian way of life.
Rivalling Rome in the stakes for the most famous tourist destination in Italy is the ancient city of Venice. With its canals, gondolas, fantastic restaurants and uniquely romantic atmosphere, Venice is a must-see for any foreign tourist. Among the most popular attractions are the bustling Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco, although the city extends far beyond these in relaxing little side-street and squares and makes for good opportunities for exploration for any tourist looking for a more laid back experience.
3. Cinque Terre
Situated on Italy’s north-western coast, Cinque Terre consists of five astoundingly beautiful seaside towns whose fantastically colored buildings are matched by the turquoises of the sea. Protected by UNESCO, the towns are built up high around the cliffs that surround a series of miniature bays, giving them a precarious feel. While the area is not known for its beaches, there is an abundance of interesting activities in which to partake, including cliff-top walks and visits to top-notch wineries
4. Amalfi Coast
Easily one of the most breathtaking sights anywhere in the Mediterranean, the Amalfi Coast is relatively easy to access, lying just over an hour south of Naples. The area contains 13 brightly colored towns, each built into the hillsides and cliffs of a spectacular mountain range that runs along the coast. The towns are connected by a single highway said by many to be one of the most awe-inspiring drives anywhere in the world. The area is protected by UNESCO and famous for its fine-dining opportunities. There are also several good beaches in the vicinity that offer bathers relief from the heat in the humid summer months.
5. Lake Como
Surrounded on all sides by the immense mountains of the Italian Alps, Lake Como has been the summer retreat of well-to-do Italians for hundreds of years. Lining the shores of the crystalline lake are luxury hotels and villas that are often fronted by fantastically well-maintained beaches. There is plenty to do here for those with expensive tastes, with the full complement of designer stores and upmarket restaurants. For those for whom outdoor pursuits are more desirable, there is a wealth of hiking and watersports possibilities to get stuck into.
Although Italy is small when compared to the size of the United States, the cultural and natural diversity of the country means that a trip there holds something for everyone. Whether you like fine dining, visiting historical sites, mountain trekking or kicking back on the beach, Italy has you covered. Do not hesitate in booking a flight and starting to plan your adventure for your next vacation. There are now companies that provide an ETIAS guide that make the process simpler, quicker and easier than you had ever imagined to make your Italian dream a reality sooner than you would think.