Looking for travel inspiration for your Italy bucket list?!
Regardless of whether you are planning your first trip to Italy or your hundredth, you are bound to have the most amazing trip because Italy is incredible. Every town I’ve encountered in Italy is quaint, every view is beautiful, every meal mouthwatering. But there are some special places and some fantastic activities which deserve special mention.
This Italy bucket list is packed full of ideas for awesome things to do in Italy, from riding a Vespa along the Val’ d’Orcia to learning Gladiator skills in Rome to sailing in Sardinia…
Here are 50 of my favourite things to do in Italy which should absolutely be on your Italy bucket list!
What you can expect from this article…
- 1 The Great Big Italy Bucket List
- 1.1 North Italy Bucket List
- 1.2 South Italy bucket list
- 1.3 Other General Italian Bucket List Activities
The Great Big Italy Bucket List
North Italy Bucket List
1 / Ride a Vespa through the Tuscany countryside
There is something quintessentially Italian about riding a Vespa through the countryside and there is no better places to do it than in the beautiful Tuscany countryside.
Read more | A 5 day Tuscany itinerary
2 / Climb Florence’s city tower for best views of the city
Whilst many people will pay a lot extra and queue to climb the dome of Florences Duomo, I personally feel the best views are from the Tower instead. It’s cheaper and there are fewer queues and you get to see the beautiful dome as well as a birds-eye view of this stunning city.
3 / Hike the cinque de Terre trail
A hiking trail connects the 5 colourful fishing villages that make up the Cinque de Terre. If you like hiking or photography then visiting the Cinque de Terre is a must on your Italy bucket list.
See a Bike, Hike and Kayak trip in the Cinque de Terre
4 / Try the worlds best ice-cream at San Gimignano
If you like ice cream as much as me, get yourself to San Gimignano. The gelato shop, Gelateria Dondoli, in the main square, is worth the queues. It has won the World best Gelato competition 2 years running. May I suggest the Rasberry and Rosemary flavour or perhaps the chocolate orange?!
5 / Take a selfie with the leaning tower of Pisa
Cliche? Yes! But an absolute essential on your Italian bucket list! You simply cannot leave Pisa without that silly photo of you holding the Leaning Tower of Pisa up. You’ll wonder why you are following the masses but if you don’t a little part of you will secretly regret it!
6 / Visit the beautiful Elba island
Elba Island, part of the Tuscan province is relatively non-touristy and yet is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. It is deserving of a place on your Tuscany itinerary!
7 / Visit the colourful town of Burano
You might never see a town so colourful as this anywhere else in the world. This bright and cheerful town painted all it’s houses in bold, bright colours to help the fishermen find their way home in the fog!
8 / Take a hike in the Dolomites
Forget the Swiss or the Austrian Alps, the Dolomites are the definition of alpine beauty. With crystal clear aqua coloured lakes, green forests and snow-capped mountains, this area is an absolute essential for an outdoor lover’s Italy bucket list.
9 / Visit Milan’s cathedral
This is one of the most visited cathedrals in Italy and even Europe and for good reason. It is absolutely spectacular! Book your queue-jump tickets well in advance as this one sells out quickly!
10 / Take the ferry from La Spezia to Levanto
If you don’t fancy hiking the Cinque de Terre (or even if you do) you should consider taking the ferry from La Spezia to Levanto to see the colourful fishing villages from a different vantage point. You can then choose to hike back over several days or hop on the train.
11 / Drive the Val d’Orcia
Possibly the prettiest road trip in Italy, this stretch of road in Tuscany is world famous with photos from this area featured on many postcards. Spend 1-3 days exploring this beautiful area stopping to visit gorgeous towns and take photos of the rolling hills and fields of bright red poppies!
12 / Visit the prettiest town, Pienza
Speaking of towns along the Val’d’Orcia, you absolutely must see Pienza which I think may be the prettiest town in the whole of Italy. Not only is it blessed with cobbled alleys, cute squares and old churches, but it is also adorned with flowers everywhere you look! There are also views for miles out over the Tuscan countryside from the city walls.
13 / Go wine tasting in Chianti region
There are many glorious places to go wine tasting in Italy but one of the most popular places – and rightly so – is in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Conveniently located close to Florence, you can easily take a day trip. I’d recommend taking a tour for this as it would be very depressing to be the nominated driver when the wine tastes this good!
14 / Take a tour of the football stadium in Milan
If you love football then a stadium tour of San Siro Stadium is no doubt already on your Italian bucket list. Reputed to be one of the best sports buildings in the world, this stadium built in 1926 has undergone many renovations and can house up to 85000 fans. It is one of the most popular places to visit beyond the Duomo and historic buildings in Milan.
15 / See Juliet’s balcony in Verona
For romantics and fans of literature, you may want to visit the balcony which was the inspiration for the infamous Romeo And Juliet story by Shakespeare. You can find this in Verona. It’s also said that rubbing the right breast of the statue of Juliet in the courtyard is supposed to make you lucky in love!!
16 / Take a gondola ride in Venice
Okay yeah, it’s a little cheesy. But when in Venice, you cannot miss this off your bucket list! Yes, it’ll cost a small fortune but you absolutely have to suck it up and do it anyway! There’s no better way to experience Venice than to be rowed along the canals listening to the gondolier singing to you in Italian.
17 / Go skiing in Trentino
Whilst many flock to France and Austria for their ski holiday, there are actually some incredible places to ski in Italy. Trentino is one of the most affordable destinations I have been to in Italy but also one of the most beautiful.
18 / Visit an ancient walled hill town in Tuscany
There are some incredibly cute walled villages in Italy which sit atop a hill and look like something straight out of a fairy tale. I recommend Monteriggioni, it’s delightful.
19 / Get lost in Venice’s cobbled alleys
This is one place you will WANT to get lost! Spend your day ambling through cobbled alleys and walking along colourful canals exploring shops, museums, churches and restaurants. Stay until it goes dark and witness Venice lit up by many lanterns.
20 / Visit Gardaland theme park
Italy isn’t the obvious destination for thrill-seekers but for those who are seeking adrenaline-pumping activities in Italy, Gardaland needs a place on their Italian bucket list. With an aquarium, a waterpark, Legoland and rides for all the family, you could easily spend a few days here.
21 / Visit the spa at Sirmione
The spa at Sirmione, Terme Di Sirmione, is an absolute must on any trip to North Italy. Sirmione is a gorgeous little town perched on the South shores of Lake Garda complete with fairytale castle with its own moat. The spa looks straight onto Lake Garda and is open until midnight so you can sit in a jacuzzi, watch the sun go down then enjoy relaxing in the warm water under a blanket of stars.
22 / Hang out at Lake Como
Often referred to as Italy’s prettiest lake, this has to be one of the most relaxing places to spend some time in Italy. Explore the little picturesque towns and villages with are dotted along the shore and make sure you take the cable car from Como to see beautiful views over the lake.
23 / Visit Buonconsiglio Castle in Trento
The alpine town of Trento deserves a mention on this Italy bucket list as it is one of my absolute favourite towns in Italy. It’s non-touristy, affordable and oh-so-pretty! But one of the main highlights is Buonconsiglio castle. Explore the corridors of this ancient castle, admire the well preserved medieval paintings and wander the pretty gardens.
Read more about Planning a weekend in Trentino
24 / Take a Food Tour in Bologna
The food in Bologna is well known for being the best in Italy. Bologna is often referred to as the foodies capital of Italy and as such, if you are going to take a food tour anywhere, let it be in Bologna! Italy is a food lover’s paradise so it would be rude not to indulge a little…
South Italy bucket list
25 / Go shopping in Milan
Italians are some of the most stylish people and it doesn’t get much more stylish than Milan. Even if you can only afford to window shop, shopping in Milan is incredible.
26 / Learn to be a gladiator in Rome
Did you know you can actually join a Gladiator class and learn about life as a gladiator as well as learning the basics of sword fighting! Suitable for both adults and children.
27 / Visit the blue grotto at Capri
Little rowing boats will take you into this tiny grotto on the island of Capri, where the water is the brightest blue you will ever see. You’ll have to lie flat in the boat to gain access as the entrance is so tiny. The light streams in and lights the water up, it’s incredibly eerie. Inside, the fishermen will sing to you in Italian to demonstrate the amazing acoustics.
28 / Explore the Valley of the Temples
If architecture is your thing then I suggest you take a step back in history and visit The Valley of the Temples. These monuments close to Agrigento, are a world UNESCO site and one of the best-preserved examples of greek architecture within Italy. Definitely make this a stop on your Sicily itinerary.
29 / Go sailing around Sardinia
Sardinia has some of the most stunning bright blue crystal clear oceans you will see. There can be nothing nicer than sailing around Sardinia stopping periodically to cool off with a refreshing dip in the sea or going snorkelling.
30 / Visit Ravello Gardens
Ravello Gardens is home to one of the most beautiful lookouts onto the stunning Amalfi Coast. Browse the old house and perfectly manicured gardens and soak up the breathtaking scenery. This is a must-see on your Amalfi Coast itinerary.
31 / Watch the sunset at Scala Dei Turchi in Sicily
If you are looking for one of the best sunset spots in Italy then this may be it. The Scala Dei Turchi or the Turkish Steps near Agrigento in are made up of limestone rock which has been washed away to reveal a huge white natural staircase. It’s perfectly positioned for sunset, take wine and a picnic…
32 / Chill out in Cefalu
Cefalu is one of the nicest towns in Sicily with its ramshackle cobbled alleys, churches and beautiful beaches. The jetty is one of the most beautiful places in Sicily where sandy-coloured houses meet the bright aqua sea dotted with wooden fishing boats and framed by mountains in the background.
33 / Sail along the Amalfi coast
Seeing the Amalfi Coast from a distance where the colourful villages and towns rise steeply from the coast framed by mountains is just spectacular!
34 / Explore Rome’s icons
You cannot write an Italy bucket list without mentioning Rome’s iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, The Roman Forum and The Pantheon. These places are absolute must-sees for your Rome itinerary to learn about the history and culture of this ancient city.
35 / Visit the Baroque cities in Sicily
The Baroque cities in the SouthEast of Sicily are a major tourist attraction in Sicily, Noto, Modica and Ragusa drawing many tourists in. Each city is beautiful and full of stunning churches and rich in history. The most scenic of them all is Ragusa where the blue dome of Santa Maria dell’ Itria dominates the view overlooking Ragusa Ibla (the old town.)
36 / Cycle around Favignana
This idyllic island of Favignana is relatively unknown and so if you visit out of peak season, you may find there are very few other tourists. This island is so compact that you can hire a bike and cycle around it on a day trip to Favignana, stopping off at all the gorgeous beaches and swim in the crystal clear turquoise ocean.
37 / Climb Mt Etna
Experience the thrill of climbing an active volcano by taking a trek up Mt Etna. You can still see smoke rising from the crater and you can marvel at the lunar-like landscape created by cooled black lava.
38 / Chill out in Positano
Positano is romantic, beautiful, relaxing but expensive. But despite the hefty price tag, this is one beautiful Italian town you definitely shouldn’t miss off your Italian bucket list!
39 / Spend a fortune on a delicious lunch in Capri
Capri, the Italian island of the rich and famous, also comes with a big price tag. But if you’re going to splash out and enjoy a posh meal anywhere, then I recommend eating lunch at Ristorante Il Geranio with stunning views straight onto the Faraglioni and a mouth-watering menu washed down with delicious wine. The bill was an owch but I’d d it again…
40 / Visit the amphitheatre in Taormina
This amphitheatre is one with a difference. Not only is the amphitheatre itself beautiful but the views beyond it have the wow factor with mt Etna seen, on a clear day, billowing steam from its active crater overlooking the sea.
41 / Drive along the Amalfi coast
Out of all the roads you can dive in Italy, this is the most challenging and then most rewarding with breathtaking coastal scenery at every turn. But the roads are narrow and twisting and Italian drivers have a tendency to hog the road…
Read More about Driving in Italy…
42 / Visit Pompeii
Another great place of historical and archaeological significance in Italy. See the ancient city ruins of a city which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption.
Check out Pompeii Tours here
43 / Hike in Zingaro national park
The coastal path in Zingaro National Park is accessible for most and hiking along this route stopping off at beautiful coves for a swim to cool off, is one of the nicest ways to spend your time in Sicily.
44 / Visit a country in a day at the Vatican
Tick off another country on your Europe bucket list by visiting the Vatican City – yes technically it is a separate country! Visit the Sistene Chapel, the Vatican museum and the Basilica. You can even choose to visit on a Wednesday when the pope comes to a balcony window to address the public. Since most of the activities are indoors, visiting the Vatican is a popular thing to do in Rome in the rain too!
Other General Italian Bucket List Activities
45 / Take a cooking class
Learn to cook pizza Italian style and perfect your pasta al dente! The . go home and host an Italian dinner party to impress your friends!
46 / Take an Italy road trip
In my opinion, there is no better way to experience Italy than by taking a road trip. My favourite Italy road trips have been in Sicily, along the Amalfi Coast, in Tuscany and across Northern Italy from Cinque de Terre to Venice road trip. My favourite Ital road trips have been in Sicily, along the Amalfi Coast, in Tuscany and across Northern Italy from Cinque de Terre to Venice.
47 / Stay at an agriturismo
Head to the Italian countryside and book into an agriturismo. These Italian farmhouses converted into guesthouses are usually lovely places to relax. Many organise cooking classes and wine tasting and some come with swimming pools. Every time that I visit an agriturismo, I wish I was staying longer. They are the ultimate way to experience authentic Italy.
48 / Explore the catacombs
Get underground and explore the spooky Catacombs, an ancient burial site with an underground network stretching for miles!
49 / Learn to make gelato
There’s nothing quite like Italian gelato so imagine if you had the skills to recreate it at home? Not only can you take cooking classes in Italy but you can also take gelato-making classes which I think might be EVEN better!
Learn to make gelato here
50 / Stuff yourself silly with pizza and pasta
Finally, the true reason many of us travel to Italy… PIZZA! The food in Italy is delicious and it’s one of the most popular countries for foodies with good reason. Make sure you seek out the best restaurants when you travel and avoid touristy places with a barge pole!
Hopefully, this huge Italy bucket list complete with 50 of the absolute best things to do in Italy has given you heaps of travel inspiration. Which activity or place in the list above has made it onto your Italian bucket list? Tell us in the comments below!
In the meantime, here are some Pins for your Pinterest boards…