Italy enthrals with its irresistible food, beautiful scenery, architecture and welcoming locals. Rome, Florence, and Venice are the three big attractions. Allow at least a week to discover these cities, as they say: Rome was not built in a day. There's the Colosseum, the 2000-year-old Pantheon, the palace ruins of the Palatino, sacred St Peter's, and the art-filled Vatican Museums for starters. Venture up the Spanish Steps and toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, shop in narrow lanes, sip coffee and cocktails, and take time to immerse yourself in the beautiful, welcoming Italian culture.
In Venice, a float down the Grand Canal by gondola is a must for first-time visitors. For shopping, visit the Rialto Market, food is never left wanting in Italy. From pasta to pizza to lasagne, meatballs, and home-cooked bottarga, and then there's the Ossobuco. If you like food, expect to gain a few kilos in Italy.
Florence and Tuscany are two other cities worth seeing. In Florence, see Michelangelo's David and shop on the ultra-chic Via de' Tornabuoni. Milan is the fashion capital, while Cinque Terre, made up of five villages, is a dramatic city. Go hiking, exploring the city, and end the day enjoying a local aperitivo as the sun sets on one of the most beautiful of views.
If time allows escaping to rural Italy, take a self-drive tour and rent a farmhouse in a district such as Chianti, with its rolling hills and wineries. The villages and countryside present you relax time, and if you need it, time off the grid to unwind and become continually entranced in the Italian way of life.
And then there's Naples from which you can see Pompeii easily on a day trip. Mt Vesuvius could be added to your itinerary if conditions are right, and you'll gaze into this ancient volcano and across the blue bay, supporting a perfect backdrop. Or maybe you will indulge in the Italian Riviera with an Aperol Spritz in hand. The Amalfi Coast is simply magical, as are Cinque Terre and Sicily.
Italy may be a small country; however, it has a big heart. So, Si (yes) welcome to Italy and Grazie (thank you) for visiting.
Peak tourist seasons is April to June and September to November. From the Italian Alps in the north to Sicily in the south, there is a lot to see. The cheapest month to fly is October, and it's worth planning around the prices of flights as a month can make a huge difference in your dollar spend. Avoid Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence in the high season as prices are inflated, and crowded. Look at spring and fall instead when the prices are generally kinder.