Top Places to Visit in North Italy
If you are well-versed about Italy, then you will know that the northern and southern regions of Italy are as different to each other as a glass of a full-bodied red wine is to a flute of bubbly Prosecco. And with that in mind, this is why you need to explore some of the top places to visit in northern Italy. Skipping the obvious fashion-focused Milano – because if you are reading this, you have most likely explored this beautiful city – let’s focus on the other northern beauties that must be explored. Let’s start this journey with some beautiful day trips from Milan like Verona or Bergamo and end with areas whose allure will force you to spend a few extra days exploring, like Venice, Cinque Terre and Trentino Alto Adige.\
Day Trip to Verona
“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” Dubbed as one of the most famous lines (albeit most likely one of the most misunderstood lines), it is no wonder that Verona attracts thousands of tourists to take part in the mystique of how the story of Romeo and Juliet began. Juliet’s house, situated in Verona, is said to be the inspiration for the Capulet family in Shakepeare’s famous play. Read more here. Besides that, Verona is home to the Arena Opera Festival and boasts historical sites such as the Ponte Pietra and Castelvecchio. And last but not least, its wine! Do not miss one of the plenty of wine options near Verona. If you’re looking to spend more than one day in Verona, read this detailed article.
Day Trip to Bergamo
Bergamo packs the charm and beauty of an old Italian town and quenches the thirst for a more modern vibe, as well. However beautiful both parts of Bergamo are, the pull to this area is behind the walls of the oldest part of the city, Bergamo Citta Alta. To explore the old town, you can take the cable car that connects the center of Bergamo with the Upper Town, You can see the Venetian Walls and the marble-stone San Giacomo Gates, to name a few. And just like any Italian town, the piazzas are where it’s happening, including Bergamo’s Piazza Vecci, which is home to mouth-watering gelaterias and restaurants but also to the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which is another must-see church in Italy. Explore all of these places in more detail here. If you’re planning to visit Bergamo and need tips on how to do that, read this detailed article.
Below are top places in the north of Italy that definitely deserve at least 2 to 3 days of exploration, so bring a larger suitcase for this one!
Venice Itinerary (Venezia)
It’s no wonder this charming town with its canals and famous gondolas made the list. Getting lost throughout the city’s streets and stumbling upon gem after gem is bound to happen during this adventure. Besides hopping on a gondola for a photo-worthy ride, be sure not to miss some of the popular spots during your visit! Some of the top recommended places include the Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Square, Ponte di Rialto and the Basilica di San Marco. For these attractions, perhaps booking a guided tour would be your best bet to receive top-notch information and avoid the rush of crowds! If you are an art-lover, don’t sleep on the Peggy Guggenheim collection or perhaps you would rather take in the opera at the Teatro La Fenice. Want to skip out of the main city of Venice for a bit? Then, you would be hard-pressed to find a more vibrant area than the Venetian islands of Murano, Torcello and Burano. These areas not only have charm but are known for glass blowing, embroidery and lace. And back in Venice, a hidden gem is the mystical Acqua Alta library, a particularly unique library worthy of a visit. If you would like to find out more about the top attractions, make sure to visit the official tourism website of Venice.
Cinque Terre Itinerary
Recently made more worldwide famous due to social media and the popular animated movie Luca, adding Cinque Terre to this list was a no-brainer. From north to south, the five villages are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Staying in one town and traveling to the other villages is easily doable, so the choice of where you stay will just depend on your budget and preferences. Each village has its own distinct charm, but let’s touch on some of the more captivating aspects of these villages.
Riomaggiore is one of the villages that pulls the lovers in close, and it’s possible its sunset views from the harbor are some of the reasons. Kayaking is also a popular sport in Riomaggiore where you can paddle to Manarola and Vernazza. If you’re looking for a quieter atmosphere, then Corniglia is the place for you as it sits high above the rest of the villages. There is a bus you can take, but if you can make the walk, it is recommended to do so. Another dream-worthy sunset view is in Manarola, where you can sip your beverage of choice during aperitivo time at the popular Nessun Dorma (speaking from personal experience you can expect a long wait, but the view is worth it!) Don’t forget to take in the beach in Monterosso and if possible, book a boat tour so that you can experience the majestic sights from another perspective. But don’t get too comfortable as you must hike along the popular path from Monterosso to one of Cinque Terre’s most famous villages, Vernazza. Although the hike is long – it can take up to two hours – the views are simply breathtaking, and you won’t regret it. Once you have made it to Vernazza, take your time strolling along tasting gelato, wine or coffee (or all of the above!) and eventually make your way to the fisherman’s harbor. Don’t fall for the ‘explore Cinque Terre in a day’ tours because anything less than three days just won’t do it justice.
Trentino Alto Adige – Dolomites Itinerary
One of, if not the most gorgeous of all, is the Dolomites in the northern Italian Alps. This 18-peak mountain range is a Unesco World Heritage site that can give the nature-lover its fix at any season of the year. With hiking, climbing, skiing, water sports, mountain biking and more, this breathtaking mountain range has it all and it is not to be missed. Want to shop or dive headfirst into the winter holiday season? Then don’t miss the village of Bolzano, capital of South Tyrol, which has an annual Christmas market straight out of a Winter Wonderland.
Plus, it is impossible not to mention the Asiago cheese, with the local honey and cured meats like Speck and Luganega. But make sure to save room for the apple strudel!
As you may have expected, narrowing it down to five places is difficult. If you have other places that resonate with you, let us know and we will add it to the list! But first, begin planning your trip and explore why these northern areas passed the check.
Article by Mary Catherine for Easy Milano
Featured image by Elias Kipfer
Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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