Cultural Experience | Florence

The Big Trip – Not to be Missed Cities of Italy


Experience the beauty and charm of Italy in its most admired cities.

Ah, Italy, the land of pizza, pasta and gelato. Home to world-renowned works of art, dreamy architecture and alluring culture, it’s no wonder it attracts so many young travelers. If you’ve decided to go on an adventure to Italy but aren’t sure where to start, you’re not alone. With so much to see and so many adored cities, it’s impossible to conquer it all in one visit. To help plan your first (and hopefully not last) trip to Italy, here are some of the highlights you don’t want to miss.

Many visitors claim this is their home away from home in Europe. If you plan on studying abroad in Italy, I recommend choosing a program in Florence. However, even if you just plan to travel for leisure, still start your trip there. It’s an extremely popular destination for millennials, and the locals are very accommodating. It’s also easy to navigate and less intimidating than some of the other regions of Italy. I suggest dining at Gusta Pizza for lunch, Gatto e la Volpe for dinner, and snacking on gelato from Santa Trinita for some true Italian cuisine. Be sure to stroll the Ponte Vecchio, climb the Duomo, and visit some of the famous museums.

Florence image

This town is bursting at its seams with charm. Obviously, a gondola ride is a must. The Grand Canal is a tourist favorite as it’s always bustling, however the smaller passages are much more beautiful in my opinion. The Bellini (prosecco with peach purée) was born in Venice, so be sure to sip on one as you sightsee. Venice is also well known for its tiramisu, so don’t pass on dessert! Other popular activities include walking tours and the famous glass blowing demonstrations. Neither will disappoint! My last and most important piece of advice is to check the weather forecast before you book your trip. Venice is the last place you want to be on a rainy day!

Venice image

I’ll be honest— Rome can be quite overwhelming if you don’t know what you want to accomplish while you’re there. Don’t be afraid to go on one of those embarrassing headphone tours. I went on a group tour to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine chapel and was extremely glad I did. There is so much history to be learned, and the beauty of these popular attractions is even more impactful when you understand the significance behind them. Other must-dos include walking down the Spanish Steps and making a wish at the Trevi Fountain. Rome is one of the most visited cities in Europe, so be sure to book your accommodations early to avoid high rates.

Rome image

Cinque Terre
This once hidden gem has rapidly become one of the most adored regions in Italy. Cinque Terre is made up of a string of five fishing villages— Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The area is a hikers paradise, as the trails offer spectacular views of the colorful cliffside towns. However, if you aren’t up for hitting the trails, you can take the train from town to town. What keeps visitors coming back for more is that each village has its own unique appeal. Monterosso is popular for its stunning beach, Vernazza for its charm, and Manarola for its slow pace and beautiful views. I’d recommend at least three full days in Cinque Terre to fully enjoy each area. If nothing else, be sure to try the world famous pesto and seafood dishes.

Cinque Terre image

Almafi Coast
The Almafi Coast is a little slice of Italian heaven. Positano, my favorite town, resembles Cinque Terre with its colorful cliffside buildings. However, it’s a bit more upscale and even more photogenic (if you can believe that). Capri and Anacapri are just as stunning. I recommend taking a boat tour to explore the incredible rock formations and the blue grotto. If you aren’t afraid of cold water, cliff diving into the Mediterranean is a must! Grab a pair of custom handmade sandals in Capri for a functional keepsake and indulge with a fresh seafood dish and limoncello.

Almafi coast image

Have more questions about taking a big trip to Italy? Connect with us in the comments. Arrivederci!

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Jenna Rice

University of Central Florida | 20 stories

Jenna Rice is an alumna of the University of Central Florida. She studied abroad in Florence, Italy and seeks out any opportunity to travel within the U.S. and abroad. When she isn't working on her personal travel blog,, Jenna enjoys scouting out foodie spots, boating, online shopping, spending time with friends and taking ridiculous amounts of photos. Stay up-to-date with Jenna’s travels by following her on Instagram and Twitter at @ricejenna.

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