Italy is one of those places you want to keep coming back to forever. It’s not just a country, but an atmosphere and a lifestyle, and basically a whole bunch of wine and happiness. Whether you fall for it because of the rolling hills of the countryside, fresh pasta, or insanely gorgeous Venetian architecture, it continues drawing you in. For a list lover like myself, I decided to create the ultimate Italian bucket list of the top things to do across Italy.
As a side note: these are only things I’ve personally done, and I know there are SOOOO many more amazing things to do. Guess that’s the perfect excuse to go back…
who’s with me?
1 | Check out the insanely beautiful Cinque Terre views
Yes, Cinque Terre is the place you see on postcards around the world and for good reason. Visiting Cinque Terre has always been on my Italian bucket list, and you can see why from these photos! For more on Cinque Terre tips and photo spots, check out my guide to Cinque Terre!
Vernazza was drop dead gorgeous!
You could choose to swim here or simply relax on land with a nice glass of wine! (or cup of gelato).
The views of Manarola were pretty spectacular too. This is what I think of when I think of Cinque Terre – the quintessential view.
However, it was pretty cool to get down into Manarola and actually see what life looks like in the town. Hint: it’s still very pretty close up.
Ahh, Riomaggiore is so special. We got this view by approaching on a boat!
2| Climb to the top of the Duomo
The Duomo is an iconic part of Italy when you view it from the ground. Climb the stairs to the top and the views will blow your mind! That, or you’ll be so out of breath after devouring a pizza and trying to climb 463 stairs that you’ll pass out. The Duomo line can get ridiculous during peak season, so make sure to take advantage of this skip-the-line guided tour…100% worth it!
3| Get lost in Venice
I don’t have to make much of an effort to get lost; you can spin me in a circle and I’m pretty much done. But Venice is on a whole other level. Venice has long been on my Italian bucket list, and while I loved St. Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs, and the main sights, I absolutely LOVED the little alleys and winding canals. Take time to wander around, soak in local life, and of course, sample all the local food you can handle. For more on what to do in Venice, check out my guide to Venice, Italy.
From the quieter canals to the Grand Canal, take your time exploring. I’m still so in love with the quiet nooks and crannies of this place.
Yup, this is the kind of spot I’m talking about…how can you not fall in love?
4| Snap photos of Burano
Burano was quite possibly one of the most colorful places I’ve ever been, and I still kind of wish I could live there. Aside from being thousands of miles from my family and lonely in the winter, it seems like a lovely place. I definitely took wayyyyy too many photos there, so for more pretty pictures, check out my guide to Burano, Italy!
I’ll give you a taste of all the colors you can see! It’s basically every color of the rainbow and my version of heaven.
5| Ride a Vespa through Tuscany
This one has been on my Italian bucket list for a while…can you think of anything better than cruising around on a Vespa through the Italian countryside? Ok, maybe in a Ferrari with the top down…but for now, the Vespa will do! Take a tour (trust me, you’ll need some guidance)…look into this Vespa tour that offers yummy lunch and views!
6| Marvel at Ancient Art
You can’t go to Italy and skip out on the art, even if you’re completely ignorant like me. I’d recommend learning a bit ahead of your trip using this cheat sheet to art in Florence. The two places you absolutely have to visit are the Uffizi Gallery (book a tour ahead of time) and Accademia where you can see the statue of David (buy a skip the line pass). I’m seriously not joking with these skip-the-line passes…I would have given up immediately after seeing those lines!
7| Eat a calzone the size of your head
This item might be oddly specific, but it’s really fun and also delicious, so you’re going to want to keep this on your Italian bucket list. If you don’t love calzones, feel free to sub in a Stromboli, plate of pasta, pizza, really whatever floats your boat!
8| Take a gondola ride through the Venetian canals
Every Italian bucket list has to have a gondola ride. Are they touristy? Absolutely. Are they expensive? Yes. But can you really go to Venice, Italy and not try out a gondola? No, you may not. If you don’t want to commit to a long ride, you can find some that just take you across the canal. It still counts, but I’d recommend a longer one if you can swing it.
The canals can get pretty busy with gondolas in the summer, so you might experience a bit of a gondola traffic jam. Yes, that was a first for me too!
9| Watch glass blowing in Murano
Murano is easily combined on a day tour from Venice to the islands of Murano and Burano. Glass blowing is such a unique type of art, and the finished product is absolutely exquisite (and also exquisitely expensive.) Make sure you catch a glass blowing demonstration, and save some time to wander through the shops.
10| See the sun set over Florence
Florence is such a gorgeous city that catching a sunset is an absolute must on any self-respecting Italian bucket list. My personal recommendation is to hike up to the Piazzale Michelangelo and watch the sunset there. As a forewarning, get there a bit early to grab some wine and a good viewing spot…it gets packed with tourists all vying for the same epic shots. Read along here for more breathtaking photo spots in Florence.
Cheap flights to Italy: I’d recommend searching through eDreams.net. They scan tons of different travel discount sites and feature special flight deals. You can typically find decent flights into Rome, Milan, and sometimes even Venice…keep an eye on the deals!
Italy Resources: For further reading on Italy, check out the following guides:
- 10 days in Italy: Discover your perfect 10 day vacation in Italy!
- Cinque Terre: For all of the best hiking tips and photogenic views, look no further!
- Venice: Do you know the top attractions and off the beaten path activities in Venice?
- Florence photo spots: Take a sneak peek at Florence’s top photo ops around the city!
- Burano: Fall in love with Burano after you check out these photos.
And there you have it, my first attempt at an epic Italian bucket list. No, I don’t have anything from Positano, Rome, Naples, and so on, but I’ll be back again one day soon…so stay updated! What are some of the items on your Italian bucket list?
P.S. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own.