A safe, car-free, walker’s paradise of canals and waterways, this Italian city is perfect for exploring, and wandering, on your own—half the adventure here is simply getting lost on your own along the winding alleyways and discovering tucked-away neighborhoods. (Of course, you’ll want to also leave time to see Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace, and a few of the world-class museums). In the evening, join the convivial crowds along the Rialto for Apertivo hour, when locals sip goblets of “spritz” (Aperol and prosecco) or regional wines accompanied by small bites or “cicchetti” at a small bar (bàcari)—a perfect time for solo travellers to find a dining companion if they want. At night, retire across the canal to the small island of Giudecca where the Belmond Hotel Cipriani which boasts a saltwater pool and rose gardens feels like a resort, but with views of San Marco. Even if you’re not staying here, stop by the sun-kissed cocktail lounge for their signature Bellini, a mix of white peach puree and local prosecco.
Before your trip, commit these commonly-used Italian phrases to memory.
There’s a vibrant energy to this buzzing business centre known for its high-end shopping and fashion-forward designers. However, it’s not all commerce in this northern Italian destination. Head to the roof of the magnificent Milan Cathedral, the third largest in Europe, for gorgeous views of La Scala theatre and over the downtown. Book tickets in advance to see “The Last Supper;” Leonardo’s Da Vinci’s masterwork graces a wall of the unassuming Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie; although you can only spend 15 minutes with the massive mural, the experience will likely stay with you for a lifetime. Check into the Baglioni Hotel Carlton for a chic stay right in the heart of the city’s vibrant shopping and dining heart.
We count down Italy’s most beautiful small towns and lakes.
Located in northern Italy, right below Milan, this azure glacial lake may be the deepest in Europe, but it’s much better known as the vacation destination of choice for style setting globetrotters, including George and Amal Clooney, who have a home here. Enjoy the stunning lake and mountain scenery here from Villa d’Este, the world-famous resort hotel overlooking the gorgeous lake is set amid 25 acres of luxuriously landscaped park with a legendary floating swimming pool that sits directly on the lake. Known as “Hollywood on the Lake,” everyone from Greta Garbo to Elizabeth Taylor has stayed here, and most recently, it was the site of Emily Blunt and John Krasinski’s destination wedding.