Italy: Cradle of European Art and Culture
Italy’s enchanting countryside, great food, splendid architecture, and glorious history make it one of the most diverse and excellent travel destinations. From the icy Alps in the north to the turquoise Mediterranean waters in the south, Italy has a treasure of natural wonders. Italy has been the birthplace of art-maestros and creative legends like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli, whose art and architecture has shaped the Western world. Heart of the Roman Empire and home of the Renaissance, this country holds thousands of years of untold stories to discover. With treasures of art, historic buildings, fascinating culture, and beautiful landscapes, Italy is loved by the travelers from all over the world. Here are the top 7 destinations which are incredibly beautiful and equally well-rooted to their heritage.
No other city in the world is at par with Rome’s artistic excellence. Over the centuries, the “Eternal City” has been an inspiration for the top artists and architects. The result reflects the current heritage of Rome. The city is marked with ancient statues, Byzantine mosaics, and baroque facades adorning the museums, churches, and piazzas. Rome boasts of having an unusually high concentration of creative geniuses – Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Bernini, and many others. Monuments like Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museums, and Pantheon opens a vista into the glorious Roman history.
Birthplace of Renaissance, Florence is as aesthetic as it is artistic. Although it is small enough to be covered on foot, Florence is packed with artistic treasures, historic buildings and delicious eateries. Its rustic narrow streets seem to be unchanged with time and evoke a feeling of romance that can’t be translated into words. From Da Vinci at Renaissance to present day Gucci, Florence has always been the home of design tycoons. Along with art and history that the city has to offer, it also provides plenty of opportunities for activities like food tours, exploring the wineries, and experiencing the lively nightlife of Florence.
Being Italy’s business capital, Milan is Italy’s banking, media, and industry hub. It is a city which has established itself as a glamour and fashion magnate, a city which follows football like a religion and is a shopper’s paradise. Milan’s culture is an amalgamation of the old and modern, traditional and chic. Although Milan represents modern Italy, there is a layer of heritage hiding beneath its fast-paced lifestyle. The splendid Gothic cathedral, Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and the Gothic Duomo still hold Milan attached to its roots.
Venice is a city which seems to be taken straight out of fairy tales. The winding streets and peach-colored Venetian buildings line the banks of a network of canals. This unique layout of Venice makes it one of the most romantic cities in the world. Venice has been the heart of numerous empires, and their influence shows in its fascinating mix of cultures – Roman, Ottoman, Byzantine, and Italian. Along with world-class galleries, museums, and churches, the narrow labyrinth passages leading to San Marco and the mystic Palazzo Ducale add to the glory of this city.
Cinque Terre, which is translated to “five lands”, is a group of five small towns beautifully perched along the Italian Riviera. Once an undiscovered gem, Cinque Terre has gained massive popularity in the last decade or two, but its enchanting ambiance is still prevalent. This small group of towns offers dramatic scenery of the turquoise waters, rocky coasts, and vibrant homes. With old castles and churches marking the hillside meadows, the surrounding of Cinque Terre itself is fascinating. Although Cinque Terre is relatively new on the tourist map, a part of it still reflects the pre-medieval days.
Bathed by the Tyrrhenian Sea, Amalfi Coast is located on the peninsula of Sorrento in the southern Italy. The beautiful coastal route meanders along vineyards, lemon groves, and pastel-colored small towns perched on the edge of the cliffs. Whether you’re traveling to Praiano, Positano, or Ravello, every bend along the 28-mile coastal highway invites you to stop and take photos.
To deviate from the typical tourist routes and explore real Italy, visit Vicenza: a hidden gem just an hour’s drive from Venice. It was the former home of the famous Italian Renaissance architect Palladio, so as you can imagine, the city is full of architectural wonders. Our favorite is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Teatro Olimpico, a 16th-century theater which is hard to believe that it was once a prison.