Italy is a trove of historical treasures – from the Colosseum in the eternal city, Rome, to Milan’s soaring Gothic Duomo cathedral. From the top of the Leaning Tower, Pisa’s cityscape unfolds, and art-lovers can look for their favourite Renaissance paintings in Florence. Drink in Italy’s seductive natural beauty – from the dramatic seascape of the Amalfi Coast and verdant olive groves of Tuscany, to Sardinia’s awe-inspiring gorges and pristine beaches.
In vibrant Naples, dine with the locals in historic Spaccanapolis' trattorias. In glamorous Milan, dress to kill and sip decadent cocktails with model-like people. Hear Italian opera in their rightful home, at Rome’s 19th-century Teatro dellOpera. If you prefer your vacation a little more earthy, try university town Bologna, where bars and clubs are packed with a young term-time crowd.
Family vacations in Italy
Watch the bellowing volcano Mount Etna glowering over Catania. Kids of all ages will love Gardaland amusement park near Verona, and they can get up close to sharks in Genoa's aquarium. Dip into the warm waters along the Amalfi Coast overlooked by craggy cliffs. Turin's belle poque cafés are the place to fill the kids up with the city's famous chocolaty goodies.
Romantic vacations in Italy
Throw a coin into Rome’s Trevi Fountain at midnight, or glide down a Venice canal in a gondola. Romeo and Juliet was set in elegant Verona; practice serenading from under the famous balcony at the 12th-century Juliet’s House. From Bari's medieval alleyways, follow the curvaceous palm-edged promenade to moored fishing boats for a romantic picnic.
Popular multi-centre vacations in Italy
See Italy’s iconic cities and breathtaking natural scenery on a multi-city vacation
Begin your Italian journey in magnificent Rome, where the majestic dome of St Peter’s Basilica stands guard over a city bursting at the seams with artistic masterpieces and architectural icons. Then drive to Naples in its awe-inspiring location overlooked by mighty Mount Vesuvius. Nearby, the ruined Roman civilisation of Pompeii is a poignant reminder of this volcano’s devastating strength. Continue to Sorrento via the exquisite beauty of the Amalfi Coast, where verdant lemon groves and pastel-painted villas cling to higgledy-piggledy cliffs overlooking an azure sea.
Enter the gateway to idyllic Tuscany when you fly to Pisa. on your way to Florence. Feel as though you’ve stepped back in time while strolling around the medieval streets of Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena and Arezzo. Then drink in glorious views of undulating vineyards while sipping magnificent wine in Chianti. End your journey in Florence, where a feast of art and architecture awaits in this stunning city on the banks of the Arno river.
Discover impossibly romantic and bewitchingly beautiful Venice. Drift idly in a gondola along meandering canals and gaze up at the ornate domes of the Basilica while enjoying a glass of chilled Prosecco on St Mark’s Square. Hire a car and drive through the glorious Veneto region, past lush vineyards and medieval hilltop towns. Continue to Verona and wander the cobbled lanes of this beautiful city, before losing yourself in soaring opera notes at the magnificent Roman Arena.
Fly to Milan and explore the city where up-to-the-minute fashion meets a rich historic legacy. Gaze upon the Gothic glory of the famous Cathedral, or the intricate brushstrokes of Da Vinci’s treasured Last Supper. Tuck into creamy gelato at a canal-side café and watch the stylishly-attired Milanese pass by. Then drive to spectacular Lake Como, framed by snow-topped mountains and cypress tree-studded hills. Take a gentle boat cruise to the lemon-hued village of Bellagio, with its cobbled stairways lined with beautiful boutiques and enticing eateries.
Get ready to be carried away by breathtaking Sicily when you fly into Catania and explore by car. From mighty Mount Etna to the sapphire waters that lap its shores, this idyllic island will enrapture. Discover its dazzling architectural diversity – from the baroque beauty in abundance in Catania, to the awe-inspiring ancient Greek monuments of Concordia and Selinunte. Explore the multicultural melting pot that is Palermo, then drink in the stunning views on offer in the chic coastal town of Taormina.
Renowned for its fairly quiet pistes, great hospitality and delicious cuisine, skiing in Italy is also an affordable alternative to other European resorts. Not only can you ski the incredible Dolomite Mountains, you can hop over into Austria, France and Switzerland very easily using the Milky Way ski area. Italian ski holidays are laid-back affairs with plenty of great skiing.
A quiet, picturesque village on the fantastic Sella Ronda circuit, Arabba is located in the heart of the Dolomites. Ideal for the more advanced skier, Arabba’s local slopes have some of the steepest runs on the circuit. It is also part of the Dolomiti Superski, which as the largest ski area in Europe, offers some stunning skiing alongside spellbinding views of the idyllic surrounding mountains. Après ski is very quiet and would not suit those looking for a raucous break, and is more for skiing enthusiasts looking to get first lifts.
A small but lively market town with access to some epic skiing, Bardonecchia is perfect for beginners and competent skiers. Sat in a delightful valley in the southern Alps, you will find long sweeping blues and tree-lined red runs down to the resort. Advanced skiers will not find many difficult pistes, but the bowls above the treeline at Jafferau are exciting with gullies and bumps to navigate. The town itself has some great little bistros and bars, and the après ski is surprisingly lively. Weekends can become quite busy, however the resort is very friendly and copes well.
Linked to Zermatt in Switzerland, Cervinia is a snow-sure resort lying on the southern side of the mighty Matterhorn. The two resorts share 350 kilometres of pistes, alongside some fantastic off-piste for the more advanced skiers and snowboarders. Those new to skiing will enjoy the wide, easy slopes, slowly making their way down the often sun-drenched pistes. But Cervinia best serves the intermediate skier, with lots of difficult blues and challenging reds for your enjoyment. There is also a lively après ski scene in the resort, ranging from traditional osterias to more modern bars serving great Italian food and delicious local wine.
Well-known as a snow sports hub since the 1930s, Cortina d’Amprezzo is often referred to as the Queen of the Dolomites. Since hosting the 1956 Winter Olympics – Italy’s first – it has been on the map for luxury ski holidays. Much like Courchevel or St Moritz, the resort is often frequented by celebrities, but that doesn’t take away from the unbelievable skiing available. Wide, well-groomed pistes are perfect for beginners, and advanced skiers can take the opportunity to try out the Sella Ronda circuit. Après ski is a time to parade your style and drink an Aperol spritz or two.
Sat at the foot of the majestic Mont Blanc, on the Italian side, Courmayeur is a beautiful village with picturesque churches and cobbled streets. The Via Roma, its main thoroughfare, is packed with mouth-watering bistros, exciting boutiques and bustling bars. Skiing here, while it is a smaller resort, is perfect for that weekend away in a chic and stylish resort. Challenging for beginners, it is ideal for those more versed in mountain life, however, more advanced skiers will find the terrain too simple. But it is close by to neighbouring Chamonix, and has some great après ski options for the evening.
One half of the international Espace San Bernardo ski area, La Thuile enjoys fantastic conditions and captivating views of the iconic Matterhorn and sublime Mont Blanc. French resort La Rosière is the other half of the duo, and is easily accessible after skiing the sweeping red runs that make up the majority of the pistes here. The more challenging runs are generally back down to the resort, with some freeskiing potential and there are fairly cheap heli-skiing options for hard core off-piste fans. The village is a modernised resort which has luckily kept its alpine charm intact, with superb restaurants and lively après ski.
The picturesque town of Livigno sits in a stunning valley, creating a long mall with plenty of shops, restaurants and some fantastic après ski bars. The skiing is first rate, with the bulk of the pistes being long reds. There are quite a few beginner slopes for those new to the sport, and also some difficult blacks above the tree line on the Giorgio Rocca trail. There is an impressive freestyle zone, and even a snow park for children to learn tricks early. The après ski is brilliant, especially 1816 - Birrificio Livigno, where you can try smoked beer at Europe’s highest brewery.
High up in the Brenta Dolomites, Madonna di Campiglio is considered one of the best resorts in the Italian Alps. It has a traditional and almost fairy tale-esque atmosphere, in the middle of a stunning valley, making it discreet and elegant. This area is ideal for intermediates, with a few gondolas going from the centre to the heart of the mountain’s action. Sweeping long reds and even some wide blacks cater for those more versed, and experts will fall in love with the long ‘Amazzonia’ run through incredible scenery. You’ll find excellent pizzerias, exciting and varied bars for après ski, and some clubs to dance well into the night.
Sitting comfortably between the regions of Trentino and Lombardy, Passo Tonale is a purpose built ski resort ideal for beginners and kids. Short learner slopes and easy blues flow down the mountain, with some good pistes for intermediates too. More skilled skiers may find the lack of difficult runs a bit disappointing, but there is some good off-piste to be had off the glacier. Also, in the Ponte di Legno area there are some decent hair-raising blacks through the trees. Après ski is varied, but being in Italy means amazing food and free snacks with your aperitivo.
Santa Cristina is located in the Val Gardena region of Alto Adige (South Tyrol), which is a beautiful and sunny place to visit. On the Sella Ronda circuit, beginners and intermediates will definitely find some epic runs within the 175 kilometres of piste. However, it is also part of the Dolomiti Superski, which has an incredibly vast area to search for whatever you enjoy. Santa Cristina’s famous Saslong piste is an FIS Ski World Cup run, and veterans will love its steep undulating terrain. Après ski is not particularly busy as the resort is spread out, but you will find delicious food and traditional taverns.
Sauze d’Oulx is known for its lively apres ski and fantastic nightlife, but that isn’t all it can offer. As part of the huge Milky Way area, it has some superb skiing too – from beginner slopes to terrifying expert runs – which will cater for any ski fan. Advanced skiers will love the World Championship Kandahar run in Sestriere, and the Moncrons area which offers some fresh powder off-piste. As Sauze d’Oulx sits on the border of Italy and France, visitors get the best of both cultures, such as fine dining, great hospitality and excellent Piedmontise wine.
Sitting in the Val Gardena and part of the massive Dolomiti Superski area, you’ll find the picturesque village of Selva. Breathtaking scenery and world-class skiing conditions await you, and as Selva is in South Tyrol, you’ll find an overlap of Italian and Austrian culture. Beginners will find some exciting blues, but the real challenge starts for the more competent skier. Tree-lined red pistes sweep down the mountain, and FIS World Cup-standard runs can be found along the legendary Saslong slope. The town itself offers traditional après ski and superb dining options, try a Tyrolean Radler – a refreshing take on the lemonade shandy.
Sestriere is a resort renowned for its great location, high up in the Milky Way ski area with access to some of the best skiing on the French-Italian border. Quieter than nearby Sauze d’Oulx there is still plenty to do off the mountain and some great après ski. But Sestriere is fantastic for skiing and snowboarding – lots of runs for everyone, including sweeping blues and some difficult red slopes. Experts will find the famous Kandahar Slalom and Kandahar Banchetta here too, so expect some difficult and speedy races back down to the resort.
Rome wasn’t built in a day – so it’s no surprise that even a few days in the Eternal City isn’t enough to take in all of its ancient sights, creative cuisine and classic architecture. But you can still enjoy a city break without eating into your holiday time. Here’s how to make the most of your weekend when you only have 48 hours to spare.