There are so many beautiful places to visit in Italy you’d need a lifetime to take it in. Andrea Hendrikx has a few suggestions on tourist traps you should avoid, so you spend less time in lines and more time taking in the beauty of Il Bel Paese – the Beautiful Country.
Probably top of everyone’s bucket list while in Venice is to take a romantic gondola ride along the Grand Canal. A word of warning, it is very expensive and can cost anywhere from $65–$130 per person. Consider instead taking a ride across the Grand Canal aboard a traghetto, the water taxis used by locals which will only cost you around $5.
Avoid the Leaning Tower of Pisa – it really is just a tilting old tower, surrounded by endless stalls filled with cheap and nasty souvenirs. Head instead to San Gimignano with its perfectly preserved tower houses and medieval architecture.
Lakes of Lombardy
Sure, you might catch a glimpse of George and Amal (Clooney, that is) as every other tourist at Lake Como is hoping to do. I would suggest the serene Lake Orta with its beautiful island monastery in the centre of the lake.
For the best views over Florence, avoid the Duomo – one of Florence’s most famous and most visited sites, but with a 463-step climb to the top to jostle for position with dozens of other tourists. Choose instead to visit the Piazzale Michelangelo, with the added bonus of being able to include the Duomo in your photographs.
As far as the iconic sight of Italy goes, the Colosseum probably is top of everyone’s list, but if you want to avoid queuing for hours I would visit the Verona Arena instead. Granted, it is a much smaller version of the Colosseum but is perfectly preserved. If you have the time, I suggest seeing an opera at the Verona – this was a highlight of my trip when I visited Italy last year.
Have you been to Italy? Which parts do you think are unmissable and which, in hindsight, would you have given a miss?