Eat, pray and love your way through tasty trattorias, calming cathedrals and romantic retreats with a cruise to Italy.
Cruise to Italy and contemplate world-class art and architecture, timeless natural scenery and a food and wine scene against which all others are judged. Roam the lively streets of the Eternal City of Rome, and see the Colosseum in its massive, ancient glory. Check out the unmistakable Duomo ("dome") of Florence, and taste your way through the wineries of the nearby Chianti hills. Ride a gondola down the serpentine canals of Venice, see the brilliant gold mosaics of St. Mark's Basilica, or hike volcanic Mount Vesuvius and refuel with a classic Neapolitan pizza in Naples. Discover the magic with a Italy cruise.
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Whether you traipse through the "Eternal City" of Rome or get lost in the museums and chapels of Florence, history lives in Italy — and outside it. Trips to the city-states of San Marino and Vatican City make for great excursions during your vacation onboard the best Italy cruises.
History class comes alive in Italy's iconic structures and celebrated art galleries. From gazing upward at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, to combing through the dozens of timeless works that make Florence's Uffizi Gallery famous (including "The Birth of Venus"), Italy's artistic heritage is as impressive in the big picture as it is in the finer details.
Rome is Italy's Eternal City, with its massive Colosseum and the ruins of the Roman Forum, but there are other spots here with roots equally as deep. In Florence, visit the Gothic church of Santa Maria del Fiore, built on the site of a 7th-century chapel. In Venice, you can set foot in 9th-century St. Mark's Basilica and see the dazzling gold mosaics from Byzantine times.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, no trip to Rome is complete without a tour of Vatican City, where the splendor transcends its Catholic identity. From Florence or Venice, visit the mountainous micro-country of San Marino, which boasts an 11th-century citadel that rests hundreds of feet above the ground.
Take advantage of Italy's varied topography with hikes in the hills of Tuscany or through the villages of Cinque Terre. Enjoy world-class food scene, perfect for culinary aficionados who don't mind a little indulgence when you cruise to Italy.
Who says Italy is only churches, pizza and high-brow art? Take a hike through the hills of the Tuscany region or have a dip in the crystalline waters of Capri, where the harbor is filled with yachts as far as the eye can see. From the pristine coasts to the rolling hills, Italy is a natural beauty.
Even if you stick to "mainstream" Italian destinations, you can still spice up your time in Italy. Ride a vaporetto (a local form of taxi boat) from Venice to the colorful island of Burano, or take a westward train ride from the port city of La Spezia to the lush coast of Cinque Terre. These are great alternatives to going south and east to Florence or Pisa.
Sophia Loren famously said that she'd rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero, which is a great attitude to have while visiting Italy. Indulge in the notorious pizza of Naples or the award-winning pastas of Rome's Trastevere district — you'll need the energy for exploring cities on foot.
The best time to go to Italy depends on your preferences as a traveler. While summer is better for days at the beach and nights dining al fresco, winter boasts lighter crowds and lower prices. The "shoulder" seasons of spring and autumn, meanwhile, provide the best of both worlds.
Italy's weather is likewise good year-round, certainly among the best in Europe. Winters here are relatively mild, with rarely more than a light snow once or twice a season. Summer temperatures can get up into the '90s, but thanks to the climate, you can have a sunny, mild day here any time of the year.
Italian cuisine is popular all over the world, but you've never really eaten it until you've had it in Italy. From familiar favorites like pizza and pasta, to a delightful variety of Italian meats and finishing touches like bitter espresso and sweet gelato, food is an essential part of the Italy travel experience.
As its name suggests, Dal Presidente Pizza in Naples is famous because President Bill Clinton enjoyed its pizza during a visit. Whether you choose a simple margherita (mozzarella and tomato) or a complex capricciosa (the heat cooks the raw egg on top of it), Neapolitan pizza is sure to get your vote.
Pasta in Italy will change your life, whether you choose egg-and-bacon carbonara or pasta primavera, which pairs farfalle with fresh seasonal vegetables. No matter where in the country you are, choose a place that makes its pasta fresh — and one where patrons speak more Italian than English.
Gelato is not just "Italian ice cream." It uses more milk and fewer eggs (zero, in fact) than ice cream, but that's just the start of why it's essential to Italian dining. Try classic flavors like rich stracciatella (milk flavor with chocolate shavings) and fruity amarena, which tastes like cherries.