Hero Verona City

A tour around Italy’s cities

 

Ancient architecture? UNESCO-stamped sights? World-class museums? That’s a hat trick for Italian city breaks. Say ciao to these let’s-go-this-weekend escapes…

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Picture this: magical mornings wandering cobbled streets, long lunches dining in tucked-away squares and enchanting evenings full of sunsets and spritzers, now that’s amore…

Get ready to savour a slice of la dolce vita as we take you on a tour of some of our favourite spots for an Italian Jet2CityBreak.

Verona Adige River

Verona

Renaissance romance oozes from every stone in plucked-from-a-fairytale Verona. There’s so much to see, and it’s best done by foot as the compact centre makes landmark-ticking a doddle. The well-preserved Roman amphitheatre is at the heart of it all. It’s at its most dazzling during the summer months when it hosts the Opera Festival. Take a seat and prepare to be blown away, as a symphony of sounds rings through the arena’s ancient arches. Away from the historical attractions, there’s also a bounty of natural beauty to enjoy. Head out for an evening passeggiata along the Adige River or explore the lush Giardino Giusti gardens. Once you’ve had your fill of fresh air, settle in for a delicious dinner at one of the city’s many restaurants. Dig into risotto soaked in rich amarone wine or light-as-a-cloud gnocchi. Verona’s also perfectly positioned to uncover more of northern Italy, with Valpolicella’s vineyards and Lake Garda’s sparkling shores within easy day-tripping distance.

Venice

Venice

Rightly heralded as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Venice promises a feast for all the senses. Listen to the chirping choruses of gliding gondoliers, follow the scent of freshly-ground coffee and gorge on the grandeur of Venetian architecture. The city is split into six sestieri (districts), each serving up a different piece of Venetian bliss. Spend a day museum-hopping in the Dorsoduro District, sightseeing in San Marco or souvenir-searching in San Polo’s Rialto Market. The winding turquoise trail of the Grand Canal is another gift that keeps on giving, studded with ornate bridges, opulent palaces and charming churches. Escape the crowds and delve into the surprise-sprinkled backstreets, where hidden-away restaurants serve up cicchetti, tapas-style treats. Fancy exploring further? Get away from the bustle and catch a water taxi to the islands of Murano and Burano. The former known for its glassmaking credentials and the latter for its rainbow-coloured buildings.

Florence

Florence

This Tuscan treasure is a delight for culture vultures and foodies alike. The entire city centre is an open-air gallery like no other, overflowing with history, and well deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage stamp. You’ll discover museums adorned with masterpieces, churches coated in frescoes, and at the centre of it all, the Duomo, crowned with Brunelleschi’s terracotta-tiled dome. As evening falls, Florence basks in an unmatched beauty. Take a leisurely stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, where jewellery stores gleam with golden trinkets, to Piazzale Michelangelo. This is the best spot to watch the sunset, so grab a glass of vino from the local vendors and get ready for Mother Nature’s spectacular show. You’ll want to have your camera ready to capture the city as it’s bathed in a fiery amber glow. When it comes to dining, you can experience everything from Michelin-starred eateries to traditional trattoria here. The Mercato Centrale is a great place for sampling some of Tuscany’s local specialities, such as lampredotto and porchetta.

Pisa Square

Pisa

Sights, shopping and sun-soaked strolls, Pisa’s got all the ingredients for an unforgettable city break. You’ll want to venture to Piazza dei Miracoli first, its name translates to the ‘Square of Miracles’, which seems fitting considering its quartet of architectural gems. Take the time to admire the striped cathedral, terracotta-topped baptistery and fresco-filled cemetery before capturing the all-important Leaning Tower holiday snap. Once you’ve ticked off the busy square, escape the tourist trail to uncover the true essence of the city. Soak up some culture at the National Museum of San Matteo, full of stunning sculptures and ancient artefacts, before sauntering across the Arno River to the quaint Santa Maria della Spina church. If you fancy a bit of retail therapy, Borgo Stretto should be your first port of call. This central street is full of boutiques and designer shops, as well as plenty of cafés for a post-shopping spritz.

Rome

Rome

Arriving in Rome is like stepping into a magical metropolis. It’s a city that shines with ancient splendour, from the sprawling Roman Forum to the temple-turned-church, Pantheon. No visit would be complete without experiencing the vast Colosseum. Step inside, close your eyes and imagine the roar of the crowds and the clash of the gladiators. Art-buffs should leave a full day to discover the sprawling Vatican Museums, home to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and Raffaello’s Renaissance masterpieces. Piazzas are the city’s social hubs, buzzing with chatter and charm. Walk the Spanish Steps at Piazza di Spagna or make a wish at the Piazza dei Trevi’s Renaissance fountains. If you’re embarking on a sightseeing spree, there are plenty of street food snacks to fuel your wanderings. How about a slice of baked-to-perfection pizza followed by a cream-coated, sugar-sprinkled, bomboloni?

Naples

Naples

Nestled on the beautiful Bay of Naples, with mighty Vesuvius and idyllic Capri on the horizon, the capital of Campania delivers charisma by the bucketload. The streets are a higgledy-piggledy maze of family-run shops and bustling cafés, where getting lost is all part of the fun! It’s creative to its core, packed with contemporary galleries and street-art-splattered streets. History-hunters will be in their element exploring the frozen-in-time ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which are just a short train ride away. Neapolitan soul shines through in its delightfully moreish cuisine. Its coastal dwellings mean the seafood is particularly special – we’re talking pasta speckled with net-fresh mussels and juicy octopus (alla Luciana). If you’re searching for your sugar fix, pop into a bakery for flaky sfogliatella. These shell-shaped pastries are stuffed with oh-so-creamy ricotta cheese and are utterly delicious. And of course, a day dedicated to pizza-hopping around the city is a given!

Posted: 1st Aug 2022.

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