Top 10: Cities in Italy

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Ellissa Bio

Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral, one of Milan's biggest attractions, is just one of the many exquisite sites in Italy.

By Ellissa Bio, Staff Writer

As a young adult, traveling to Italy for three months while I studied abroad and learned about the people, the traditions, and myself was an exciting opportunity. Living abroad opened my mind since this was the first time I had ever left the United States. It was the summer of 2015 and as I traveled through the many cities, I was becoming more aware of places that exist outside my comfort zone. Each weekend I tried new types of food, learned new languages, and experienced new adventures. I fell deeply in love with all aspects of the Italian culture. As I reflect on my trip, here are the top 10 cites I visited when in Italy.

1. Positano is a beautiful city located in Southern Italy on the Amalfi Coast. The scenery is breathtaking, from the colorful houses to the beautiful black sand beaches. The Mediterranean Sea whisks salt throughout the air and the sun fills the sky with blue. The beaches are filled with happy tourists, cameras in one hand and a famous spritz drink in the other.

2. Capri is an island located south of Italy. It is a 20-minute boat ride from Sorrento, and the view is unbelievable. There is a hike to the top of the island called the Phoenician Steps with a stunning, panoramic view of the island. Others also rent a boat that takes visitors through the Blue Grotto, which is a small cave on the island where the water inside is crystal blue.

3. Cinque Terre is located on the coast in the Italian Riviera consisting of five villages in the National Park. It is a coastal city, very similar to the Amalfi Coast, but worth visiting. There is a view of about a hundred painted homes in an assortment of colors, ancient vineyards that cling to steep terraces, fishing boats bobbing in harbors and trattorias turning out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region’s famous sauce, pesto.

4. Firenze, also known as Florence, is in Northern Italy and is one of the most famous cities in Italy. It is a small city, convenient too. One can walk around the entire city because everything is in walking distance, from the cathedrals to the restaurants. Don’t walk too much though. Make sure to stop and reminisce on the beautiful Ponte Veccio Bridge. From sunrise to sundown, the reflections create a view that will fill all with awe.

5. Located all over Rome is history from the gladiatorial fights in the Colosseum, work created by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, and the hundreds of churches. Within Rome are also the Vatican City and the Trevi Fountain. With the flick of a coin, one’s wish may come true.

6. Tuscany is a small, old town where everyone knows each other. Located north of Rome, it is a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature and the smell of pine cones. Most importantly, it is the birthplace for many wine regions and a great place to experience real Italian wine. Like friends and wine owners of Castelle di Verrazano told me, “May we never go a day eating without wine nor a day drinking wine without food. Salute!”

7. Venice is located in northeastern Italy and consists of 117 islands. The view looking over the canals are absolutely stunning. Be sure to take a gondola ride while there, but don’t fall in the water. Water contamination is noted.

8. Pisa is a city in central Italy’s Tuscany region best known for its iconic Leaning Tower. Already tilting when it was completed in 1372, the 183-foot white-marble cylinder is the bell tower of the Romanesque, striped-marble cathedral that rises next to it in the Piazza dei Miracoli, a grassy, walled square.

9. Lucca is a city on the Serchio River not far from Pisa. It’s renowned for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city center and its cobblestone streets. Broad, tree-lined pathways along the tops of these massive 16th- and 17th-century ramparts are popular for strolling and cycling. But on a hot, sunny day, an ice-cold gelato from around the corner is all one needs. Mint, strawberry and cookies and cream leave the possibilities endless.

10. Milan, a metropolis in Italy’s northern Lombardy region, is a global capital of fashion and design. Women walk the streets in Louis Vuitton clothing and Ferragamo shoes, and carry Gucci handbags. Home to the national stock exchange, it’s a financial hub known for its high-end dining and shopping. The Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco “The Last Supper,” testify to centuries of art and culture.