From detailed marble sculptures to iconic buildings brimming with centuries-old paintings, there are countless masterpieces to see while on tour in Italy. Here are five of our favorites ways to uncover the country’s impressive artistic traditions.
Step into a Shakespearean play in fair Verona
Verona’s pink-hued marble sidewalks and romantic piazzas make it easy to see why Shakespeare chose the elegant city as the setting for Romeo and Juliet. Use free time to set off for Juliet’s House and courtyard, where you can stand on the play’s famed balcony or stick a love note in the stone wall.
Admire Renaissance masterpieces in Florence
The Renaissance City is home to some of the world’s most magnificent artwork and architectural wonders. During free time, see masterpieces like Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Accademia Gallery and Botticelli’s painting of Venus at the Uffizi, one of our top 10 museums to visit in Europe. Then look up when you’re outside museum walls—the towering Duomo, Firenze’s undeniable icon, is impossible to miss.
Learn about local craft traditions in Amalfi
Papermaking is a centuries-old tradition in the town of Amalfi, and the embossed sheets make the perfect souvenir for all papyrophiliacs (translation: those who love paper). Use free time to seek out handmade paper products—but be sure they’re embossed with the Amalfi watermark, a sign of the real deal. Another must-buy from the region? Colorful ceramics painted with bright scenes that sing an ode to Italy’s sunniest days.
Bring Old Hollywood to life in the Taormina Region
Savoca and Forza d’Agrò served as the Sicilian backdrops for Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic movie, The Godfather, and adding the Hidden Sicily: Medieval Savoca & Forza d’Agrò excursion while on a Taormina Region extension is the perfect way to bring the film to life. Walk through these traditional villages while admiring the Church of St. Lucia and Bar Vitelli—two spots a generation got acquainted with on the big screen.
Watch a glass-blowing demonstration in Venice
Romance and mystery have settled in to every corner of Venice, and each of the city’s many islands offers something new. Watch a glass-blowing demonstration during a guided sightseeing tour of the city, and then go straight to the source during free time in Murano, the epicenter of this celebrated-glass blowing tradition. Or, add the Islands of the Venetian Lagoon: Burano & Torcello excursion to admire brightly colored homes in the fishing village of Burano and see archaeological wonders and striking mosaics in Torcello.
What’s the most beautiful piece of artwork you’ve seen in Italy? Tell us in the comments below!