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5 must-do city breaks in Italy holiday cottages

Italy

5 must-do city breaks in Italy

Emily 13 March 2019

For a holiday to set your senses alive, Italy city breaks are perfect for your next adventure. Admire majestic architecture, devour delicious local dishes and soak up the cultural atmosphere of this beautiful destination. We've picked out our top city breaks in Italy to inspire your next visit to the country.

Romantic and charismatic Rome

rome

Rome, the capital of Italy has a wealth of historic sights to discover from the famous Colosseum to the great art collections housed in famous museums across the city. Aside from the breathtaking classical ruins, baroque fountains and renaissance art, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants and unique shops, perfect for relaxing and unwinding in the city. Make sure you stop off for a famous Gelato (ice cream) during your tour of Rome too. An iconic area to visit, surrounded by the city of Rome, is Vatican City which is home to the Sistine Chapel and 800 residents including the pope.

Culture:

From the Colosseum, one of the most iconic sites in the world, and the imposing former Roman temple of the Pantheon, to museums bursting with beautiful Renaissance art, the bustling city of Rome will take days to explore. But there are some places that you cannot miss!

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Dine:

Romans love their food and wine, and you'll always find somewhere for a good meal in the city, whether a simple trattoria or a fine dining restaurant. From thin and crispy pizzas topped with juicy tomatoes and fresh herbs, to traditional dishes of pork and roasted lamb, there is somewhere for every taste. 

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Shop:

Shopping doesn't come cheap in Rome. With elegant streets such as the Via Condotti, Via Frattina and Via Borgognona leading to the Via del Corso, this area is for those who have come to shop. It's not all high fashion, however as there are lots of old artisan and vintage shops to pick up some excellent finds as well as gourmet food shops where you can buy some mouthwatering olive oils, cured meats and cheeses. 

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  • Via del Corso
  • Piazza di Spagna
  • Via del Governo Vecchio and Via dei Coronari 

Enchanting and Renaissance Florence

florence

Hailed as the birthplace of Italian Renaissance, Florence is the picturesque city where you can view some of the world's best and most famous art including works by Michelangelo. Situated on the riverside, the city provides plenty to do, see and explore. Discover the narrow streets bursting with rich history, wonderful eateries and workshops, the fabulous wine bars boasting local tipples and for fantastic views of the city, head to the church of San Miniato al Monte, a magnificent building built in the late Middle Ages.

Culture:

They say that all of the city of Florence is a museum, from its candle-lit churches and chapels to its beautiful squares flanked by palazzi. While this is true, the museums and galleries are outstanding with works by Michaelangelo, da Vinci and Botticelli.

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Dine:

Visitors don't come to Florence just to see Michaelangelo's David, they also come for Tuscany's excellent gourmet cuisine. Locally-sourced produce, including meats, soups and breads, are accompanied by robust wines from the surrounding vineyards. Not all traditional cooking, Florence has an up-and-coming young foodie scene as well.

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Not many people know this, but Florence was the birthplace of Italian fashion. Though Milan is known as Italy's fashion capital, iconic brands such as Ferragamo and Gucci started here in the 1920s and while there are still many fashion houses lining the Via de' Tornabuoni, the city is also packed full of artisan boutiques in enchanting backstreets. 

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  • Via de' Tornabuoni
  • Scuola del Cuoio
  • Mercato di Sant' Ambrogio

Grand and colourful Venice

venice

One of the most popular city breaks in Italy is the romantic city of Venice built upon the water and offering a truly memorable and unique break. Boasting beautiful architecture, quirky alleys and passageways and canals, Venice is a spot where you'll discover something new around every narrow corner. People-watch in Piazza San Marco with coffee, explore the city on an idyllic gondola ride or simply stroll the streets and uncover beautiful fountains, sculptures, churches and museums.

Culture:

Venetian architecture rising up from the Grand Canal, fabulous palazzos and the glorious Basilica di San Marco - what more could you need to see? The backstreets of this floating city have a wealth of churches, museums and galleries ripe for exploring, with century-old collections of art to the contemporary, and you must catch an opera at the Feniche Opera House if you have time.

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Dine:

If there's one thing that you'll want to try in Venice, it's the speciality seafood from the lagoon. Sit back and try some of the best dishes at the little bistros by the canal and don't forget to try some Cicheti in one of the local bars, small tapas-style meals washed down, of course, with a glass of sparkling prosecco. 

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Venice is a literal treasure trove of beautiful handmade items, from bags made by local designers and stunning Murano glass to beautiful linens. Make sure that you pick up a couple of tricorni, the famous three-cornered hats made to wear at the famous carnival and one of the elaborate Venetian masks. 

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Sophisticated and fashionable Milan

milan

The home of fashion, Milan is the cosmopolitan and vibrant city known for its high-end shops and fine dining restaurants. The perfect location to shop till you drop, you'll find top designer brands as well as independent Italian boutiques and there is even a wealth of fantastic history to unearth in this metropolis. The Duomo is one of the biggest Gothic cathedrals in the world and La Scala is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world, both perfect for an interesting day out. Financially the most important city in the country, Milan is a fusion of modern and historical sites, providing plenty to keep you entertained on a city break.

Culture:

This fast-paced city isn't only the home of haute couture and the national stock exchange, it's also a hub of Renaissance and 20th and 21st-century art. Beautiful churches, an impressive gothic cathedral and a famous convent, home to Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, sit under the modern skyline designed by the famous late architect Zaha Hadid. 

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Dine:

Milan is a real foodie's destination with the highest number of Michelin stars in Italy. Bringing different styles together from central Europe and France, and adding sumptuous Italian produce to the mix has resulted in a myriad of excellent dishes.

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Shop:

Where do we start? If you know your fashion and design, you will already know the places to go. If you need some guidance, there are a wealth of shops to choose from, from grand shopping centres and outlet stores to vintage stores and quirky galleries. 

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  • Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Quadrilatero Della Moda
  • Corso di Porta Ticinese

Intense and energetic Naples

naples

Naples is the perfect city break for trips to Southern Italy and a great location if you have ever wanted to visit the famous ruins of Pompeii. This coastal city has a beautiful promenade where you can catch the sun setting, historic statues and some of the world’s best opera houses. Day trips to enjoy from the city include Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that buried Pompeii, Parco Virgiliano, a beautiful park boasting views over the bay of Naples, or a visit to the colourful island of Capri by boat.

Culture:

This important southern city retains much of its Baroque character and is home to many historical and cultural treasures. Royal palaces and castles, ancient ruins, museums - you'll bump into a wealth of art and culture wherever you go.

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Dine:

From people-watching at fabulous seafood restaurants, while admiring the views of Capri to traditional pizzerias and cafes full of sticky cakes and pastries, Naples is heaven for food-lovers. Try struffoli, little balls of deep-fried dough covered in sweet honey and sprinkles, the crunchy and delicious sfogliatella riccia, and of course the famous spaghetti alle vongole, a pasta dish with clams that you will never forget. 

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Shop:

While Naples, like most modern cities, is host to some popular chain stores, it's really still an old-fashioned city at heart, with family-run businesses selling handmade leather gloves and beautiful ornaments, to gourmet and artisan markets and tailors who are renowned the world over for their amazing quality. Get your shopping fix in some of Naples' most coveted shopping areas.

Shop here:

  • Via Toledo
  • Via dei Mille
  • Via San Gregorio Armeno

Stay in Italy

For a comfortable and elegant base for your group holiday exploring these magnificent Italian cities, browse our large villas to rent in Italy.

We have a superb selection of beautiful villas, ranging from elegant manor houses with fountains and landscaped gardens to rustic farmhouses with private swimming pools overlooking olive groves. Come and live la dolce vita at one of our stylish properties.

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