From visiting Venice carnival to watching an opera at sunset, here are 19 experiences to add to your bucket list...
When you search for “Events in Italy”, your search engine throws over 2.1 million types of activities and destinations your way. But what about ones that will show you new skills, or enhance your vacation by introducing Italian culture off the beaten track?
If you’re looking for a few ways to expand your travel horizons in 2019, here are 19 experiences to add to your bucket list…
1. Be a part of the parade at Venice Carnival
Find yourself in a sea of beautifully-decorated masks and extravagant costumes at the Carnevale di Venezia.
Dating back to the 11th century, the Carnival attracts thousands of visitors to Venice during early spring, who come to admire one of the most artistic and famous events in the world.
This year’s festivities begin on the 16th of February, continuing through until the March 5th.
2. Learn a new skill at Venice Glass Week
The people of Venice have been making crystal and glass since the 10th century, when the Venetian merchants brought back the secrets of production from the East.
There’s nowhere better to discover the art of glass than by visiting Murano, a short boat tour from Venice, where everyday life revolves around the glassmaking industry.
Every year a whole week is dedicated to the glassmaking, not just of Murano, but also in Mestre and central Venice a whole host of activities take place.
2019’s Glass Week begins on September 7th.
3. Tick off a bucket list experience: Easter Mass in St Peter’s Square
Easter celebrations begin on Palm Sunday, Good Friday sees a torch-lit procession and the most anticipated day of all is Easter Sunday when the Pope makes his blessing at noon.
Tip: If you attend the Vatican at Easter you’ll need to arrive early on the day and expect to stand for a long time - but we promise it’s worth it! For more tips for visiting the Vatican, read this article.
4. Keep your wallet happy with free admission to museums
Free Museum Day is an initiative that began in 2014 and has since seen over 10 million visitors to the 450 participating state museums since it began.
Up until 2019, free visits only took place on the first Sunday of each month but this has now been increased to 20 days throughout the year which is good news if you’re visiting on a Sunday!
5. Take part in the Year of “Slow Tourism”
Italy’s Minister of Culture announced that 2019 will be focussed on getting tourists off the beaten track to little-known corners of the country by way of train, cycling and walking.
If you’re looking for inspiration, the funicular railways of Naples are a fantastic way to see the hills surrounding the city, or you could spend a day visiting Padua from Venice by train! Of course, one of the most beautiful journeys by train is through Cinque Terre, where you can gaze upon miles of the sparkling sea while you travel.
6. Celebrate the life of Leonardo da Vinci
2019 is the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death and an abundance of museums and galleries are celebrating and marking this anniversary.
Tuscany, the region of his birth, is hosting the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Genius and Textiles in Prato, just a short train ride from Florence. In Florence itself, the Uffizi Gallery will be exhibiting the Codex Leicester which is on loan from Microsoft founder Bill Gates!
Of course, you can mark the occasion by visiting The Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, or the Ambrosiana Gallery which is expected to hold an exhibition including his works.
7. See Pisa in a new light
One of the most spectacular festivals in Italy is the Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa, Tuscany.
70,000 wax candles are placed along the riverbanks of the Arno to highlight the features of the buildings and bridges of the city. Oil lamps illuminate the famous Leaning Tower and candles are also floated on the river itself.
Taking place at dusk on June 16th, it’s sure to be an illuminating experience!
8. Watch the sunrise & sunset in Cinque Terre
These five picturesque hilltop towns on Italy's west coast remain one of the most iconic locations in Italy.
Watch the sunrise with an Italian coffee, or relax after a day of exploring with a glass of wine in hand while you watch the sunset - there’s nothing quite like it!
9. Live your best life in Tuscany on a wine tour
With more than 350 grape varieties in Italy, it really is the homeland for oenophiles.
Tuscany is one of the most famous winemaking regions, as it is home to the Sangiovese grape which appears in Chianti - Tuscany’s most popular export.
So why not taste the wine on the doorstep of where it has been made? A wine tour is the perfect way to experience the true Tuscan lifestyle!
10. Broaden your musical knowledge at the Puccini Opera Festival in Tuscany
Tuscany offers an abundance of culture, art, and festivities to enjoy. And where better to watch a Puccini opera than in its birthplace?
Imagine yourself in a venue besides a lake at sunset, spending your evening enjoying a performance of Madame Butterfly, Aida or Tosca with a beautiful glass of Chianti in hand.
11. Wind back the clock and explore Pompeii
Whether you’re a history buff or not, Pompeii is one of the most fascinating sites in Italy.
Learn about life in Ancient Pompeii - the habits, lifestyles and peculiarities of the Ancient Romans as you explore the ancient market areas, food stalls, typical Roman homes, and brothels, and admire the delightful frescoes - all preserved by an erupting volcano that still dominates the Pompeii skyline.
12. Already thinking of booking a cruise? Compliment your water-based trip with a visit to Venice and Lake Como
A cruise is a wonderful way to explore the beautiful Mediterranean coast in one trip. But did you know that you can add on a tour further inland before, or after you board?
Explore the canals of Venice by gondola, and spend a couple of days relaxing at beautiful Lake Como - it’s the perfect way to end (or begin!) your vacation.
13. Find new lows in Rome
Did you know that you can explore Rome below street level?
The Capuchin Crypt, also known as the Crypt of the Bones, is located under the Santa Maria della Concezione Church which was built in the early XVII century. It used to be a burial place for the monks of the church and the bones of around 4,000 monks have been preserved here.
You can also visit the Catacombs of Priscilla, often considered “regina catacumbarum” – the queen of the catacombs. These catacombs are the perfect testament of life of the early Christian communities. They’re dug from volcanic rock and feature the most ancient image of the Virgin Mary currently known.
14. Improve your cultural knowledge with a visit to the 3 art cities
Culture vultures might find it difficult to pick just one of the art cities - Florence, Rome, and Venice, so why not visit all three?
You could see the Vatican & Sistine Chapel, Ancient Rome & the Colosseum, Renaissance Florence & David, and Venice all in one trip!
15. Give yourself a makeover in Milan
Fashion week may only take over the city for a few weeks every year, but Milan is a fashion lover's paradise all year round.
Combine Milan with a visit to Venice, Florence and Lake Como, where you’ll be sure to blend in with the celebrity visitors!
16. Get on your bike (or watch people on theirs) at the Giro d’Italia
Forget the Tour de France: the Giro d’Italia is where it’s at. With sections of the race named delightfully tempting titles such as “The Sangiovese WineStage”, lovers of sport and culture alike can combine a trip to Italy with this cycling event.
17. Go further afield and explore Sicily
Sicily is the perfect addition to your Italy vacation. It offers a different cultural experience and there is a whole range of activities on offer - from cooking classes in a private home to walking tours of Mount Etna.
18. See Italy from a new perspective: high up in the Dolomites
Whether you decide to visit in the spring or summer months and reap the benefits of the clear Alpine air, or if you’re a winter sports enthusiast and spend your winters on the slopes, the Dolomites are a spectacular destination all year round.
And best of all? It’s just a short day trip from Venice, and offers scenery that absolutely cannot be missed!
19. Avventure Bellissime is 20 Years old this year - join us
We’ve been looking after visitors to Italy for 20 years! So if you haven’t traveled with us before, now is the time. Just contact us today and we’ll be happy to put together an itinerary just for you!