Many people traveling to Italy aren’t sure which airport to fly to, and while there are many options, only one is centrally located, offering the most convenient starting point for any Italian vacation.
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- What’s the best airport to fly to in Italy?
What’s the best airport to fly to in Italy?
Rome-Fiumicino International Airport is the biggest airport in Rome which is also Italy’s biggest city. As it’s the busiest airport in the country with more international flight options than any other in Italy, flying into Fiumicino almost always offers the most direct flights at the very best prices.
Another reason to fly to Rome is that it’s very centrally located, making it easy to get to many of the top destinations in the country from here by shuttle, bus, or train in a relatively short time. Most major airlines fly into the Rome Fiumicino airport, making it easy for passengers from all over the world.
While there’s plenty to do in the Eternal City, if you’re looking for day trips only a short taxi ride from the airport, you’ll have lots of options, with the best including the following.
One of the most popular destinations from Rome, Florence, can be reached in just 90 minutes via the high-speed train for an easy, comfortable journey. This city known as the cradle of the Renaissance has lots to offer for history and art enthusiasts. Some of the things you might do here include:
- Dining on the terrace at the Michelin-star Borgo San Jacopo restaurant overlooking the River Arno with a romantic view of Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence.
- Marveling at one-of-a-kind works of art at the Uffizi Gallery, including pieces by da Vinci, Raffaello, Michelangelo, and Botticelli.
- Admiring David (one of Michelangelo’s most famous masterpieces) at Accademia Galleria for an up-close look at the sculpture’s pulsing veins and watchful eyes.
- Climbing Giotto’s 300-foot-high bell tower, a free-standing campanile part of the complex of buildings that make up the Cathedral of Florence in Piazza del Duomo.
- Shopping for leather goods at Cellerini in the old city center. One of the most famous leather shops here, it offers outstanding leather products made by local artisans, including customized items that will be ready in just a few days.
- Enjoy a view of the city skyline and one of the best vantage points for sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo.
Located in southern Italy on the Bay of Naples, Naples is just a 70-minute train ride from Rome. While Naples does have the Naples International airport, you’ll likely get a better deal flying into Rome, and a better trip travelling from Rome to Naples. It dates back to the 2nd millennium BC and is home to centuries of important architecture and art. Some of the top things to do here include:
- Experiencing the lively street life, people watching and browsing the shops along Via dei Tribunali or Spaccanapoli. There are street musicians to enjoy, magnificent churches, artist workshops, and unique statues.
- Exploring the Archaeological Museum with an extraordinary collection often named among Europe’s best. It’s not-to-be-missed for anyone who has an interest in Roman art, with exquisite frescoes and mosaics, along with huge Roman statues like the Farnese Bull.
- Visiting the San Gennaro Catacombs with its network of passageways and tunnels that are lined with crypts and graves that date back to ancient times. On the lower floor, there are more than 3,000 burials, while the top floor features beautiful works of art and elaborate frescoes.
- Riding the funicular up the hill to Castel Sant’Elmo, a medieval fortress that offers breathtaking views across the Bay of Naples. From here, you can see the nearby islands of Ischia and Capri as well as towering Mount Vesuvius.
- Delving into one of the world’s best food scenes with a food tour. Guided street food tours provide a unique take on the culture through its delicious cuisine, with samples of everything from fresh buffalo mozzarella to Margherita pizzas and limoncello while sightseeing at the same time.
Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii
While it’s easy to visit Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii from Naples, you’ll want time to explore these iconic attractions, and there are many full-day bus tours departing from Rome.
One of the world’s most famous “lost cities,” Pompeii was destroyed in the 79 AD Mount Vesuvius eruption that covered the city in ash, allowing it to remain perfectly preserved in time. You’ll get a good glimpse at life centuries ago as you stroll the ancient streets.
Look down, and you can still see the ruts from the chariots that people used for transport.
Marvel at the forum, an amphitheater, baths, bakeries, and even brothels where the walls are painted with various sexual positions like a menu for customers to choose from. Some of the fleeing citizens were literally frozen mid-escape and can now be seen as ash-encased mummies.
Nearby, Mount Vesuvius is the stratovolcano that caused the destruction of Pompeii when it famously erupted, dominating the skyline. The visit to Italy’s most famous volcano includes a short but steep hike to the edge of the main crater, where you can watch the steam rise and take in a view of the landscape below.
While it takes a little longer, if you head out early you can easily visit Venice on a day trip with the high-speed train from Rome taking three hours and 20 minutes using the fastest Frecciarossa service.
And who hasn’t dreamed of relaxing in a gondola while gliding through the dreamy canals? One of the most unique cities, historically, architecturally, and environmentally, it’s also one of the oldest tourist centers in the world.
Founded in 697 AD, Venice encompasses nearly 120 islands, the entire perimeter of the lagoon and two mainland boroughs.
The top things to do in this romantic city built in the middle of the lagoon include:
- The obvious must-do here is to take a gondola ride through the narrow canals, where you’ll view hundreds of bridges and many islands as you learn about the city’s history. As the Grand Canal is the busiest, you can enjoy a more authentic experience by selecting another departure point, like San Tomà. If the price gives you sticker shock, consider a trip on a local Vaporetto, or “water bus” instead.
- Visit the iconic buildings in Piazzo San Marco, including St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and the Torre dell Orologio. Climb the bell tower of the basilica, St. Mark’s Campanile, of a bird’s-eye view from the city’s tallest building. You can also tour the stunning Venetian-Gothic Doge’s Palace to discover more of the city’s impressive history, culture, and art.
- Take a boat tour to Murano to learn about its famous glassmaking tradition, watch a glass-blowing demonstration, and visit the glass museum.
- Get a glimpse of authentic life by wandering through the Dorsoduro neighborhood, which offers canals, shops, and museums without the crowds.
The fastest high-speed train from Rome will bring you to Bologna in just under two hours. One of Italy’s best-kept secrets, it’s often overlooked, but visitors who make it here tend to fall in love. It has many charms, with a rich history and a thriving food scene as the origin of many favorite Italian dishes, often prepared with Bolognese sauce.
It contains many elegant, ancient arcades that date back to the Middle Ages, along with Baroque- and Renaissance-style monuments, and spectacular medieval towers.
While you’re visiting this lively city, be sure to check some of these things to do off your list:
- Take a guided walking tour of the historic center while sampling local bites. Tours include highlights like Piazza Malpighi with its 13th-century Gothic-style Basilica di San Francisco, the ornate Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio, a hall once used for displays and anatomy lectures at the medical school, and the market district, home to bakeries, specialty food shops, and produce stalls.
- Learn more about the city’s history through the ages at the Archaeological Museum. Located on Piazza Maggiore, it offers an extensive range of collections divided into nine sections covering everything from prehistoric to Celtic, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian history.
- If you’re here on a Friday or Saturday, the historic La Piazzola Market is a massive market in Piazza dell Agosto that runs from early morning until 8 p.m. throughout the year. It’s been held in Bologna for centuries and includes more than 400 stalls selling flowers, fashion accessories, pottery, jewelry, shoes, and clothing. It’s worth visiting just for the captivating atmosphere, with a colorful blend of aromatic foods and spices to take in as the locals haggle for the best prices.