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10 Not-To-Miss Activities in Italy
Here are some suggestions on what to see or do in the next year (or at least in your lifetime)
by Francesca Di Meglio
The new year is a great time to set goals. Whether you can make it to Italy in 2011 or you'll have to put off your trip for some time, you can at least start to think about the must-do activities of your dream trip. Here are some ideas to help you start planning–
1. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain in Roma.
Tradition has it that visitors should throw one to three coins in the Trevi Fountain. One coin is to guarantee you will return to Rome, the second is for a new love, and the third is for marriage. Regardless, you'll feel pretty lucky just to see the pretty and popular fountain.
2. Observe glass makers in Murano.
From Venezia, you can take a boat to Murano to see exquisite pieces of glass art. From detailed chandeliers to precious figurines of birds or frogs, you will delight in all that you see on this small island. And you can watch the glass makers on the job. Just be aware that as you stand in that little room, you're going to sweat. The fire necessary to shape glass is pretty hot. Well worth it!
3. Visit the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) in Firenze.
A very old bridge, the Ponte Vecchio has been restored and renovated many, many times. The stores lining the bridge now are famous for their gold. If you can afford it, you can buy a pretty piece of jewelry on your trip there to boot.
4. Eat pizza in Napoli.
People go to Napoli for pizza the way pilgrims go to Rome for the Vatican. They are on a mission to eat pizza in its birthplace. Rumor has it you get the best pies in the most run down of pizzerias. You can read all about one person's journey to find great pizza in Napoli at the Gadling.com.
5. Participate in the vendemmia in Toscana.
Italian wine is celebrated the world over, and Toscana in northern Italy is the best place to sample it. The vendemmia is the grape harvest, and it's a wonderful celebration both in Toscana and other parts of Italy. Often, there are street fares, food, and music. Of course, if you're a true wine maker, there is the actual harvest.
6. Go skiing in Torino.
I've never actually done this next one, but I hear it's a great experience for snow lovers. If you take to the slopes, you should head to Torino (home of Fiat and Italy's most popular soccer team Juventus) for some skiing.
7. See the Grotta Azzurra in Capri.
The electric blue color of the Grotta Azzurra is magical and worth at least one visit. If you're lucky, your gondolier will sing O Sole Mio to you (which usually does not happen in Venezia). You'll have to duck down as you enter the Grotta Azzurra, especially if you're tall. And you'll have to plan your trip according to weather. If it's even slightly stormy, you risk being shut out of a ride.
8. Shop in Milan.
Milan is the fashion capital of the world (some say it even beats Paris). Shopaholics will enjoy indulging in the designer shops and boutiques in Italy's fine metropolis. Although this is out of my price range, I wouldn't mind window shopping. Think of the clothes as art.
9. Tour Castello Aragonese in Ischia.
The Castello Aragonese, which is connected to the Neapolitan island of Ischia by bridge, is stunning and historical. You'll definitely want to bring your camera for this trip. If you don't mind a hotel room without a television, you could actually spend the night in Castello Aragonese, which can be ultra romantic.
10. Go back in time in Taormina in Sicily.
The Greek amphitheater in Taormina might be used for concerts and plays, but it also offers great views of the volcano Mount Etna, which, according to Best of Sicily, is the highest mountain in Sicily and home of the Cyclops in Greek mythology.
Di Meglio is the Guide to Newlyweds for About.com, and you can read more about her life and work at the Two Worlds Web site.
Article Published 12/26/10
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