A sunset view of Florence in Tuscany, one of the best things to do in Italy

Things to do in Italy; the ultimate guide

Read on to discover the best things to do in Italy - for the ultimate "La Dolce Vita" trip to remember.

View of Florence, one of the best things to do in Italy

Discover the best things to do in Italy

For those heading to "bella Italia", our handy guide on the top things to do in Italy invites you to make the most of your upcoming trip. We dive into some of the most iconic and unique regional events and festivals, hosted in Italy's best-loved destinations. So whether you're looking to soak up the timeless romance of Venice and its neighboring lakes, making a splash on the coast, immersing yourself in the history of world-class cities or you're craving the first-class gastronomy and wine regions - you'll find endless things to do in Italy.

Of course, finding the perfect vacation home in Italy will naturally become one of the top unique things to do in Italy. That's because staying in one of our beautiful villas or retreats open the doors to something truly memorable - the opportunity to experience Italy as a local, from the comfort, privacy and luxury of a home-away-from-home. Choose from villas with pools overlooking rolling vineyards to elegant lakeside villas, romantic Venetian palazzos and seaside pool retreats just moments away from the beach. Topped off by optional Concierge Services, our Italy villas place you within carefree reach of the top regional cities, attractions and sights - for the ultimate year-round Italian adventure.

If you're yet to book your Italian getaway, knowing the best time to visit Italy will certainly help. Whichever season you're planning on visiting, Italy promises to be an enticing and unforgettable experience. Read on to discover all the exciting best things to do do in Italy, for the ultimate way to experience your very own "La Dolce Vita!"

Best things to do in Italy

Visit Florence in Spring

The Tuscan capital simply has to be one of the best things to do in Italy. With Florence blossoming in its springtime beauty from March through May, the season offers a tantalizing opportunity to stay and soak up the alluring city charms, historical sites and city botanical gardens, before the crowd levels increase and the temperatures ramp up. Visit the Gallerie Degli Uffizi, the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore (the world's 3rd largest church) and Michelangelo's "David", in the Galleria dell' Accademia. The popular 3-day Taste Food Fair in March at Fortezza da Basso in Florence also makes spring a fantastic time of year to enjoy this city - one of the best things to do in Italy!

Head to Milan

Located just over 31 miles away from Lake Como, the Lombardy capital and regional powerhouse of Milan offers a welcome dose of city culture and finesse during your trip. The city is also a stand-alone top thing to do in Italy. Home to world-class fashion houses and shopping, the largest church in Italy (Duomo di Milano), Leonardo di Vinci's "Last Supper" fresco and traditional Milanese bakeries selling the world-famous Panettone, the Lombardy capital offers the perfect year-round city break. Admire the belle époque splendor of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II as you enjoy some retail therapy, visit the enigmatic Castello Sforza, experience an evening at the opera or theater, or simply unwind and sip cappuccinos or signature cocktails, as you people watch in the city’s piazzas.

Explore Pompeii and Herculaneum

Those heading to the Amalfi or Sorrento coast will relish a chance to experience one of the best things to do in Italy - that is to explore the world-famous nearby archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The off-season is considered to be November - March, when crowds are fewer and temperatures are cooler. April is considered one of the best times to explore, due to the longer opening hours and mild climate. Exploring the 163-acre site in Pompeii and the smaller, well-preserved port city of Herculaneum offers a rare glimpse into the lives of Ancient Romans and the tragedy that befell them. For a truly unforgettable experience join a guided tour, and see these historic sites in a whole new way.

The ruins of Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background

Savor the Wine & Gastronomy

Savoring the mouth-watering cuisine and regional wine is one of the best things to do in Italy whilst away. Depending on the season you're looking to get away, Italy offers an abundance of tasty wine and gastronomic things to do. May is a great time to explore and savor the very best Tuscan wines, with the regional wineries opening their cellar doors to showcase their wines in the annual "Cantine Aperte'' and "Vigneti Aperti" events. Inviting locals and visitors alike to enjoy guided tours, wine tastings and a plethora of wine-tasting activities. It is in the late spring too that Liguria serves up its famous "Fish Festival of St. Fortunato" - one of the best things to do in Italy. Complete with fireworks, dancing, a bonfire and 30,000 complimentary fish portions, which (quite sensibly) are cooked in the world's largest frying pan, you'll enjoy a memorable May break here! Also in May, Piana degli Albanesi near Palermo in Sicily celebrates this world-famous "dolce" with gusto - with a 3-day "Sagra di Cannolo Festival". Hosting everything from giant cannoli treats to a comical cannoli-eating marathon, this little Albanese town goes above and beyond to offer one of the best things to do in Italy for families and sweet tooth fans!

Cannoli - traditional Sicilian pastry tubes with mascarpone filling

September invites foodies to enjoy numerous cheese, mushroom and chestnut festivals across Italy's top gastronomic regions, making this a fun time for foodie group trips. Wine-lovers should head to Piedmont, for the famous "Festa del vino Barolo" (Barolo Wine Festival) which is held in this quaint medieval village, renowned for being the capital and "king of wines". Tuscany is also a must-go place for wine-themed things to do in Italy in September, as the region's authentic towns and wine-growing villages celebrate their best-loved local grapes and world-famous wines. Enjoy winery festivals, open cellars, wine tastings, special dinners and more, against a backdrop of beautiful vineyards, from your very own Tuscan vacation villa. In the central Italian region of Umbria, self-confessed chocoholics can also treat themselves to the epic EuroChocolate festival in Perugia. Into Olive oil? The region also celebrates "L'Oro di Spello" (Spello's gold) for 5 consecutive weekends, starting from the end of October. In the warmer climes of the south, Sicily also stages popular gastronomy and harvest-themed food festivals. From the sublime Sicilian produce such as Etna mushrooms on offer at the "Ottobrata Zafferanese" in the Catania region, to the 3-day "Scale del Gusto" (Stairs of Taste) foodie fest.

A group of female friends enjoy wine tasting in a Tuscan vineyard

Fun things to do in Italy

Experience the Carnival Season

Aside from Venice, one of the top fun things to do in Italy in February is to head to the Tuscan coast, for the nationally-renowned 15-day Viareggio Carnival. This up-scale Italian seaside resort plays host to a truly wow-factor spectacle, with gigantic 70-ft caricatures in the form of 40-tonne papier-mâché floats, processioning along the resort's beautiful Liberty-era boardwalk, 'La Passeggiata'. Foodies in town will also be able to sample endless regional cuisine and carnival specialties, including cenci fritti and bomboloni. Stay in nearby Livorno, Pisa, Lucca and a little further afield, Florence and experience all the fun and amusement that the Tuscan coast and nearby UNESCO cities have to offer.

Hit the beach

With 4900 miles of coastline, Italy is blessed with endless beaches and the peak season of July and August promises first-class fun. For many Italians, the #1 beaches are to be found in Liguria, Tuscany, Puglia and Sardinia. From the white pebble expanse of Polignano a Mare in Puglia to the fashionable resorts of Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany, the colorful Ligurian fishing village resort beaches, the crystal clear waters lapping against the Sardinian shore and the dreamy Amalfi and Sorrento coasts, Italy is place for a classic, sun-drenched beach vacation. Activity-wise, the Mediterranean, Ionian and Adriatic Seas which lap the Italian coast are a mecca for boat rentals, yacht charters, fishing trips and water sports - inviting all ages to soak up the ultimate family beach vacation.

Whether you’re looking to visit the ‘Golden Triangle’ Resort towns of Lake Como, the Cinque Terre fisherman villages of Liguria or you’re looking to explore the Sorrento coast or sea caves in the south, a boat ride has to be one of the best fun things to do in Italy.

When is the best time to visit the Amalfi Coast Positiano at dusk

Enjoy a Cookery lesson

This tempting cuisine of this beautiful country needs no introduction, being home to renowned dishes and cooking ingredients known the world over. Whilst on vacation here, enjoying an authentic cookery lesson is easily one of the most memorable fun things to do in Italy. From pizza and pasta making in the south to panettone masterclasses in the north, Italy invites you to create (and of course sample) some of its most famous national dishes and regional delicacies.

Sample endless pizza

Has talking about cooking got your appetite going? Although pizza fans need never travel too far in Italy for a tasty slice, those seeking out one of the top fun things to do in Italy can take pizza eating to a whole new level. Enjoy paying (and tasting) homage to the birthplace of Pizza - with a trip to the Amalfi Coast in September, for Naple’s Annual Pizza Village festival! This week-long pizza-loving extravaganza invites you to devour your favourite pizza toppings from the free-style pizza stalls, which serve up wood-fired, gluten and gluten-free pizzas, for a truly tasty time away.

Friends enjoy pizza whilst sitting along along an Italian street

Savor the gelato!

One of the tasty fun things to do in Italy has to be working your way through the endless “gelato” flavors. Whilst you will find many glorious "gelatarias" wherever you travel in Italy, mega ice cream fans traveling to Tuscany in June can dive into one of the ultimate fun things to do in Italy - at the world's best "gelato" competition in Florence! This prestigious 2-day "Gelato Festival" and industry competition in Piazalle Michelangelo sees the best ice cream makers around melt into a frenzy to win the "Gelato Festival World Masters" title. Pay entry to the festival and savor indulgent ice cream, as well as the opportunity to visit the world's largest ice cream production lab, "Buontalenti". "Buon appetito!"

Explore the festive Christmas markets

Visitors eager to experience the magic of the upcoming festive season, will also find Christmas markets beginning to open towards the end of the month, particularly in the north Italian ski region of Trentino-Alto Adige, creating a fun seasonal activity for those visiting the Dolomites. Festively-decorated for the Christmas season, a day in Milan has to be one of the top things to do in northern Italy. Across the country too, beautiful churches, decorations and buzzing Christmas markets selling artisan food, wine and gifts (plus authentic yuletide treats) create a seasonal scene of enchantment. Head to the country's best-loved Christmas markets, including "Christkindlmarkt" in Bolzano (Dolomites), the "Weihnachtsmarkt German Market" in Santa Croce Piazza, Florence, the ambient "Roman Christmas Market" in Piazza Navona, Rome, the "Matera Christmas Village" in Sassi near Puglia and the "Christmas Nativity Market" in Naples on the Amalfi Coast.

A small church in front of mountains in Italy with a thick blanket of snow on the ground

Experience these cool things to do in Italy


When thinking of one of the top cool things to do in Italy, a ski break may not be the first activity that springs to mind. But for those in the know, Italy is home to some truly awesome winter sports opportunities! Whether you're a family looking for an uplifting winter break, or you're seasoned powderhounds, making the most of Italy’s ski resorts is not only one of the cool things to do in Italy, it’s also one of the top fun things to do in Italy! Head to Italy's top ski resorts, particularly the Italian Alps - for the likes of Cervinia, Livigno (a Lombardian resort in the heart of the Italian Alps) and Courmayeur (the Italian side of Mont Blanc/ Monte Bianco). With the other top ski regions of Trentino-Alto Adige, Valle d'Aosta and Veneto also to sample and enjoy, it’s easy to experience one of the #1 cool things to do in Italy. Those visiting Livigno from February 6 through 22, 2026 can also look forward to the Milano-Cortina Winter Olympics - for an awesome way to experience the Italian Ski resorts.

Savor an out-of-season break in the South

A leisurely out-of-season break in the South of Italy or Sicily has to be one of the top cool things to do in Italy. That's because for those in northern Europe, a winter break in Southern Italy and Sicily offers a welcome respite from the cold. Although not hot, the pleasant winter temperatures (between 8 - 11°) makes it vastly more appealing than the frosty mornings and icy roads back home. What's more, the laid-back South of Italy and Sicily offer plenty of cool things to experience. Enjoy a cookery class in Puglia, embark on a street food city tour, explore the Sicily's Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, or simply indulge in a spot of scenic relaxation. If you time your trip to Sicily just right, you'll also be able to savor the authentic charm of the annual "Sagra della Sfincia di Priescia" food festival in Montelepre, on January 6. Head to Piazza Principe di Piemontein and celebrate (as well as savor) the local sweet treat, sfincia di prescia. When you're ready to work up your appetite again, embark on a scenic Mount Etna summit tour - one of the top adventurous things to do in Italy!

Small fishing boats moored by a seafront city in Sicily

Embark on a photography holiday

A photography tour in Italy guarantees to not only open your eyes to the country’s astounding beauty, but it promises to unlock a passion. The best photography trips include to the picturesque Cinque Terre towns of Liguria - to capture the authentic coastal beauty of Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Monterosso and Corniglia, as well as the captivating shoreline along the Amalfi and Sorrento coasts.

Run a marathon

Keen runners looking to sightsee on an epic scale should sign up for the annual Rome Marathon - one of the top cool things to do in Italy. Held at the end of March, this phenomenal city marathon offers one of the most scenic running routes in the world - taking in Rome's most iconic sites and inviting participants to experience 2000 years of history, along its 26.22-mile long route. Plus, the "Eternal City" is home to some of the best things to do in Italy, making Lazio a popular region in which to stay. Take in the ancient Roman sites of the Colosseum, the Forum and the Pantheon, before soaking up the iconic Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, the buzz of the Spanish steps, Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. For a cool way to explore Rome, a vespa tour offers an exciting way to take in this world-class city and has to be one of the top cool things to do in Italy. Stay in our collection of Lazio vacation homes and enjoy the very best that Rome and this captivating region has to offer.

Meanwhile, along Italy's northwestern coast, active visitors can sign up to Liguria's annual Schiacchetrail in the Cinque Terre. Held on the 2nd of April, this annual 29-mile race promises the ultimate sightseeing experience, with its running route meandering through the beautiful 5 Cinque Terre towns and numerous vineyards - with the opportunity to admire (and sample) the local sweet passito wine, Sciacchetrà - making it one of the top adventurous things to do in Italy.

Sunset skyline of Rome

Go Truffle Hunting

Those heading to Tuscany during the truffle season (late September through December) will be able to savor one of the top cool things to do in Italy - a memorable truffle hunting experience, with a local guide and truffle-hunting expert! Truffle fans also should not miss Italy's largest truffle food fair, the famed "Alba International White Truffle Fair''. This has to be one of the best things to do in Italy for serious gastronomy fans, chefs and restaurateurs. Hosted in the Piedmontese city each weekend from October through November, this fair is one of the best culinary things to do in northern Italy. If you’re heading to Italy in early spring instead have no fear, as Foodies heading to Italy at the end of February - early March will find the black truffle and gastronomic 'Nero Norcia' festival in Norcia, Umbria one of the best things to do in Italy!

The last 3 weekends in November sees Tuscany's truffle season in full swing - with popular tastings and displays of the region's "white gold" taking center stage. "The National Exhibition of the White Truffle of San Miniato" offers a tasty top thing to do in Italy, with visitors able to sample delicious truffle-themed dishes, from pizzas and truffle sauces to flatbreads and sausages.

Unique things to do in Italy

Celebrate a second New Year in Tuscany

That’s right. Those heading to Tuscany can also enjoy celebrating a second New Year on March 25, in Pisa and Florence. "Si", you heard right! These two world-class cities observe this momentous day as it would have been celebrated back in the mid-18th century, when the old "calendario pisano" was still in use. As well as this event being one of the top unique things to do in Italy in March, sightseeing during this month is also a #1 activity. Experience climbing the 300 steps of Pisa's famous leaning 12th-century tower, or relish the Renaissance marvels of Florence.

A view of Ponte di Mezzo in Pisa

Immerse yourself in a Medieval Fantasy Festival

For something wholly unique, the Unicorn Festival (Toscan nel Cuore) is certainly up there. The City of Vinci near Florence plays host each July to this renowned fantasy festival. Featuring fantasy concerts, parades and you guessed it, Unicorns across 9 themed areas, this event easily has to be one of the top unique things to do in Italy. Look out for the magical elves’ parades, elves weddings, family entertainment and unique activities!

Visit an ancient Cave settlement

A trip to Puglia in the south of Italy not only opens up the opportunity to savor a laid-back vacation, it offers the unique opportunity to explore a 7,000-year old cave house settlement! Located in the Sassi area of Matera City this is an experience that is definitely up there with the top unique things to do in Italy!

Experience a Palio

If you’re heading to Italy in the summer, then one of the top unique things to do in Italy is to experience one of the two annual Palios in Siena, Tuscany (held in July and August). The vibrant, medieval Palio draws a mix of homegrown spectators and curious tourists, who look to book out the best seats and balcony views. In Sardinia, the "L'ardia Di San Costantino" ancient horse race (held in July) also promises to be a unique and memorable vacation moment.

Regional flags parade through the Siena streets on the day of a Palio race

Soak up some wellness

Unwinding in the country’s natural springs has to be one of the top unique things to do in Italy. A late trip to the Amalfi Coast promises plenty of opportunity for R and R - with the scenic "Poseidon Thermal Gardens" ranking as one of the best things to do in southern Italy. Sicily also promises plenty of opportunity to unwind - with the opportunity to soak up natural hot springs from the unique, thermal mud pools of an actual volcanic crater at the "Thermae of Volcano" on the Aeolian archipelago, or enjoy the free public hot springs at Pantelleria.

Watch an historical Regatta

For those traveling to Tuscany in mid-late June, the "Giugno Pisano" celebration of Pisa's patron saint, San Ranieri is not to be missed! Stay in Pisa fohttps://www.thetopvillas.com/destination/pisar this popular festival and witness the ambient "La Lumina" event on June 16, which sees hundreds of thousands of lights illuminate Pisa's historic center, before taking in an exciting historical rowing regatta along the Arno River on June 17. This memorable event is followed by a medieval tug-of-war, known as "gioco del ponte" (game of the bridge) over the Mezzo bridge, on the evening of the last Saturday in June. As the summer heat fades and the school term begins, September in Venice opens up a tantalizing possibility to experience one of the top unique things to do in Italy - with its famous historical regatta and boat procession along St. Mark’s Basin and the Grand Canal.

A regatta makes its way along the Grand Canal in Venice, one of the best things to do in Italy

Experience a unique Halloween in Italy

For some of the best unique things to do in Italy in November, visitors can enjoy immersing themselves in some alternative annual events, such as "Toussaint" and the Day of the Dead rituals held in Naples for "La Festa dei Morti" (the Day of the Dead), on November 2.

Fall for these romantic things to do in Italy

Visit Venice

How could we not begin with Venice? Couples looking to be swept off their feet should head to the "City of Bridges" in February, for a stay in Venice - easily one of the most romantic things to do in Italy in February. Couples looking to splash out will find a scenic gondola ride past the palazzos and iconic landmarks not only one of the top romantic things to do in Venice, but one of the top unique things to do in Italy! Tour the Doge's Palace and enjoy the beauty of St Mark's Square. This world-class city is also awash with the buzz and excitement of its annual Venice Masked Carnival - an extravaganza which takes place 2 weeks before lent and sees parades, street performances and grand masquerade balls take over the city's most illustrious palazzos, canalways and iconic piazzas.

Two people in flamboyant pink costumes and masks on a bridge in Venice

Have a music concert date

As well as being the land of art and romance, Italy is the land of music. From April through June, music-loving couples should head to Florence, for the “Maggio Musicale Fiorentino” opera festival. Experience the timeless appeal of a music concert date, set against the beautiful sightseeing opportunities of this world-class Renaissance city. A summer-long program of classical music awaits couples meanwhile amidst the beautiful charms of Lake Maggiore, with the “Stresa Festival” promising plenty of timeless moments for romance. For culture vultures, August is a great time to head to Italy - with more great music festivals and concerts to look forward to, plus the “Venice International Film Festival” offers the perfect excuse for couples to visit one of the most romantic cities in the world!

Explore the gems of Tuscany

For couples seeking out history, beauty and gastronomy will find a trip to Tuscany a match made in heaven. The renaissance marvel of Florence is by far one of the most romantic cities in Italy. Enjoy sightseeing around the must-see attractions, or take time out to enjoy a stroll along the River Arno, or an idyllic picnic in the Boboli Gardens. Beyond the city walls, the other nearby famous Tuscan cities of Arezzo, Lucca and Pisa are all easily reachable by car hire or train. Couples can also enjoy the freedom of heading out into the Tuscan countryside, to explore the many unique and distinctive medieval hilltop towns. From the iconic towers of San Gimignano to the charms of Cortona and scenic hill streets of Siena, a romantic trip here heralds in the enduring wonder of travel.

Soak up Lake Como

For a timeless sense of romance, Lake Como is the place to head. The reputation of this breathtaking Lombardian Lake precedes itself many times over, as Frank Lizt once said “When you write the story of two happy lovers let the story be set on the banks of Lake Como”. Known for being an upscale lake resort which is home to world-class villa attractions, botanical gardens, scenic dining and dreamy lake vistas that would make Aphrodite blush. Lake Como is beguiling in all seasons, but for couples looking to visit spring and early autumn offer fewer crowds, more attractive accommodation rates and a magical quality that will appeal to born romantics. Appreciating the scenery together, either by strolling along the shoreline, exploring the villa gardens or embarking on the hiking routes has to be one of the most romantic things to do in Italy! If you’re on Lake Como for the last weekend of June, make sure you don’t miss the annual "Sagra di San Giovanni Festival" (San Giovanni), with an unmissable show of music, a solemn island procession and show-stopper firework display, over the legendary Isola Comacina.

Varenna lakeside on Lake Como

Get hitched in an Italian Villa

For many, saying “I do” in the surroundings of an Italian Villa is one of the most romantic things to do in Italy. From timeless Tuscan villas and scenic Venetian palazzos to romantic Lake Como retreats and sun-drenched Sicilian and Amalfi Coast villas, our award-winning collection offers wonderful wedding guest accommodations to suit all group sizes and preferences, as well as stand-alone Wedding villa venues to host your guests and wedding in one place. Let our dedicated Concierge Team and Travel Planners assist you with every element of your big day, from sourcing a bilingual wedding planner, to sourcing the accommodations, catering, entertainment, transport and more. Celebrate your special day with one of the most romantic things to do in Italy, today.

Concierge Services for luxury things to do in Italy

Whichever season you're looking to experience the best things to do in Italy, our optional Concierge Services offer the perfect excuse to upgrade your stay. Whether you've booked a trendy city condo, elegant townhome, romantic villa with pool or an ancient palazzo complete with its own vineyard, Top Villas invite you to experience the very essence of "la dolce vita", from the comfort and luxury of your home-away-from-home. From private car hire, airport transfers and grocery shopping to private chefs, housekeeping, private tours, cookery lessons, wine tasting, spa treatments and more, we invite you to create a tailor-made stay with a difference. Our most luxurious vacation homes in Italy can cater for large multigenerational families and VIP groups - making them ideal for hosting lavish reunions and special occasions.

Luxury concierge services at Araldica villa in Italy. Special occasions, catering.