There is nowhere like Italy. Italy – Bella Italia, the Bel Paese – is a country of extremes, with something to offer every visitor: from snow-topped mountains to hot, lazy Mediterranean beaches, from unspoilt hill villages to cities that have bustled for thousands of years. On this website you’ll find a huge range of ideas to help you plan your dream holiday in Italy, or to research Italian vacation options.
Celebrating 20 years online, Italy Heaven aims to be the ultimate Italy travel resource. Love art? History? Architecture? Lakes? Mountains? Shops? Whether you’re planning a short city break, a summer holiday, a sightseeing tour or an extended stay, you’ll find all you need to begin making your dreams a reality, and one that is tailored just for you. Start with destination guides to choose where to go and what to do, read up on travel practicalities, check hotel guides and reviews – and get booking!
Looking for inspiration? Read about the best beaches and seaside resorts, or investigate Italy’s offbeat and quirkiest experiences. Feeling overwhelmed? Try my ready-made itinerary suggestions, from a southern coastal odyssey to a northern art city tour. After two decades of exploring on and off the beaten track, I’ve created articles and tips to share the best of Italy, its secrets and its treasures.
- Weird and wonderful places in Italy
- Italy’s best seaside resorts
- Italy by region – explore the country from north to south
- Italy itineraries – four suggested touring holidays, from art cities to cave hotels
Latest featured destinations
- Polignano a Mare – sun, sea and iconic views in Puglia
- Abbey of San Vito, Polignano – shabby-picturesque seaside grandeur
- Castello di Torrechiara – a castle with a romantic story among the vineyards of Emilia-Romagna
- Portogruaro – hidden gem in the Veneto, a train ride from Venice
- Concordia Sagittaria – a glorious 11th-century frescoed baptistery in a small town built over a Roman colony
- Rovigo – overlooked city of the Veneto with a fab museum
Italy in the post-Covid world
Tourism in Italy has seen big changes since the start of the Covid pandemic. Lockdowns led to a temporary total stop in travel, followed by a boom in domestic holidaying and a prolonged drop in international visitors. Several years on, there seems to be a new tourism boom in Italy. But with a new note of caution in travelling plus ongoing shifts in the travel market, the situation is far from stable.
New patterns in tourism and in the popularity of destinations are being established. Instagram tourism – the mass rush for the latest perfect photo-opportunity – is just one of many factors influencing choices of destination and the impact of over-tourism on fragile communities.
For Italy, which has an economy heavily reliant on tourism (13% of GDP in 2019 pre-pandemic, climbing back to 10.2% in 2022), the repercussions of the last turbulent years will be felt for some time.
The good news is that Italy is still a fantastic place to visit. Travellers have been finding a warm welcome, some changes and some things reassuringly the same. There have even been hopes that some positive changes, if maintained, could mean an improved tourism experience for Italy and its visitors. For example, Venetians and travellers relished the lagoon city without the usual hordes of mass tourism, and attention since then has focussed more than ever on managing numbers and flows of trippers.
Those of us who are thankful to be travelling again, and those Italy-lovers planning a return, may be considering new ways of travel. Maybe extended trips or visits to favourite Italian places will make up for what we have missed. Flying less often but staying longer is one way of lightening your environmental impact and minimising the complications and formalities of cross-border journeys. It’s more important than ever now to read the latest advice, check you have good travel insurance cover, and make sure that bookings are refundable. As time goes on we’re all nearer to our next low-stress spring or summer holiday in Italy.
> My experience of a sunny Venice without the crowds in August 2020
Italy off the beaten track
As well as all the famous sights, this website also specialises in the less well-known treasures of Italy. Away from the famous cities, the Italian destinations featured on Italy Heaven include attractive villages, lakes and islands that are off the most obvious tourist trail, like cave-town Matera, the unique volcanic Aeolian islands, lovely, little-known Lake Iseo and the ancient Greek city of Syracuse (modern Siracusa) in Sicily. You’ll also find suggestions for interesting excursions in the overlooked area around Rome, with recommended day trips including unusual spots like the cave of an emperor at Sperlonga and Terracina‘s temple above the sea.
> Italy off the beaten track
Italy is a dream destination for city breaks, with three of the world’s most beautiful cities: Rome, where antiquities bask in the sunshine in a colourful and lively metropolis, Florence, probably the art capital of the world, and one-of-a-kind Venice. Those in search of culture or vibrant modernity may prefer the charms of fashionable Milan or stately Turin, while the intrepid can dive into the colourful chaos of historic Naples.
An Italy for everyone
One of the charms of Italy as a travel destination is that, as I always say, there is an Italy for everyone. Whether you want beaches, hiking, Renaissance art, long, leisurely lunches or a combination.
First-time visitors asking: ‘I have two weeks in Italy, what should I see?’ will receive responses ranging from: ‘Everything: do Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome then Naples,’ to ‘Spend a fortnight in Tuscany‘. The best answer, of course, is to do what suits you. Some travellers want to squeeze in as much as possible for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Others prefer to explore a culture at a slower pace.
On Italy Heaven you can look around, and consider what your dream holiday might be. Learn more about selected destinations, and read advice on travel in Italy to make your stay easier, more fulfilling or more fun.
Planning your own holiday tailored to your tastes is a viable and economical alternative to booking a package. It’s easy to organise your own journey and book online, and Italy Heaven offers you practical tips and assistance, from advice on choosing a hotel to suggested Italy travel itineraries.
Supporting Italy Heaven
Have you found this website helpful over the years? The pandemic took a terrible toll on the travel industry in general and small businesses like mine in particular. Even now in 2024 as the world returns to normal, my earning levels are still severely reduced, and burdened by pandemic debts, it isn’t sustainable to maintain this website, update it or continue to work on it like before. There are a couple of ways you could help:
When you next travel to Italy (or anywhere else in the world), please could you consider helping out Italy Heaven by making your accommodation bookings through the links on this site? For each booking, Booking.com will pay a small commission that helps to keep this website online. They offer a vast selection of hotels, B&Bs, villas and apartments, along with useful guest reviews, and provide an extra layer of confidence when you book. They also have a Price Match guarantee, so you shouldn’t be paying any extra. The Italy Heaven website only exists thanks to partnerships like this one.
> Booking.com in partnership with Italy Heaven
Alternatively, if my destination guides, suggestions and photos have inspired you, helped you with planning successful holidays or even saved you travel costs, perhaps you could consider buying me a coffee?
Every little bit of help will go towards keeping this website online and growing.
My original goal twenty years ago was to share useful travel advice and help other people enjoy Italy as much as I do. I’ve been so glad over the years that I’ve been able not only to do that, but also to make a living that enabled me to concentrate on Italy, on travel, on research and on growing the website to include more and more fantastic destinations. I’m grateful to everyone who’s read the website, who’s recommended it to others, who’s accompanied me on my travels via social media and who has shared my love of this beautiful, welcoming country, from its glamorous tourist hotspots to those little villages filled with charm far from the beaten track.
- Finding your way in Venice – navigating history
- The aromas of Rome – scent and memory
- Montalbano’s Sicily – in the footsteps of the TV detective
- The thrill of a volcano – Stromboli and volcano tourism
- Castle of Love – a painted love story from the 15th century
More about Italy
Italy Heaven has a blog for the latest website news, Italy stories, and random thoughts and anecdotes (and find older blog articles here). You can also follow Italy Heaven on Facebook and Instagram for holiday ideas and travel photos from Italy.
You can also support the website by shopping at the Italy Heaven Redbubble store where you’ll find photographic prints, gifts, masks and slogan T-shirts all celebrating Italy. Redbubble is an international website shipping globally; for every Italy Heaven design purchased, Redbubble pay a percentage to this website.
> Italy Heaven Redbubble store
More about Italy Heaven.