Robie is an Italian artist who now lives in the US. She loves to share useful vacation tips and first-hand knowledge about Italy.
My 5 Favorite Italian Cities to Visit North of the Po River
Italy is full of beautiful places to visit, from North to South, including islands. Some are well-known tourist destinations, others not as famous, but just as stunning.
Here are 5 of the top places to visit when you travel to Northern Italy.
- Lake Garda
Keep reading for more details.
Visiting Trieste, Italy: What to See
Trieste is a beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea, and it lies on the sea, at the feet of a hilly region. The city is full of history, with beautiful buildings and monuments reminding of a majestic past.
Geographically Trieste is very close to Slovenia and to the Carso plateau, with its natural beauty and spectacular natural phenomena, like the Grotta Gigante.
Miramare Castle, once the residence of the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg, still preserves the original furnishings. It stands on the peak of a rocky promontory about 10 Kilometers from Trieste, overlooking the blue sea.
Piazza Unità D’Italia (Square of the Unification of Italy), the heart of Trieste, is considered by locals Trieste’s Living Room. This is the largest European square that opens to the Sea, and it is surrounded by beautiful and historical buildings. The square gets particularly stunning after dusk, when its special lighting comes on. Among the most important landmarks of the square is the famous Caffè degli Specchi.
Grotta Gigante (Giant Cave), an exceptionally large cave that you can tour with a guide. The cave is crossed by a geodetic pendulum for the study of earth tides, one of the few in the world. The floor and the ceiling are covered in stalactites and stalagmites of all sizes.
I visited this cave when my kids were younger and they absolutely loved it! Tip: it’s always cold, even in summer, bring a sweater or a coat.
Map of Northern Italy
Visiting Venice, Italy: Main Attractions
If you go to Italy, Venice is one of the cities you must see. Every corner, every bridge, every church in Venice provides an opportunity to admire beauty, architecture, and history.
Some of the main things to see in Venice:
- St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, the heart of Venice.
- The Rialto Bridge, with its stunning shop and astounding view of the Grand Canal.
- Rialto’s Market, with fresh veggies, daily caught fish, and all goodies.
- Peggy Guggenheim’s Museum, for the art lovers.
- La Fenice, the wonderful Opera theater.
The most pleasant periods of the year for a trip to Venice are from the end of March to end of May; and September-October.
To experience the high tide (Acqua Alta), when some areas of Venice can be flooded for few hours a day in winter, go in the months of November or December.
Venetian food is also a delightful thing to try, however, try to get out of the tourist routes and find the places where the locals eat. They are much cheaper and amazingly good.
In Venice, the "Vaporetto" serves the same purposes as a bus, only on water. Below is how a Venetian bus stop looks like.
What to See in Verona, Italy
Famous world round for the Arena and the everlasting love of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is a city with a historical flavor. The history of the city goes back to thousands of years ago. It lived through the Roman Empire, the Barbaric invasions, and domination of different rulers.
Things to see:
One of the most visited destinations in Verona is the Home of Juliet.
From the outside, you can admire the balcony, from which the girl whispered love words to her beloved Romeo and a bronze statue of Juliet. Inside the building, you can see Italian furnishing from the XVI-XVII century, frescos depicting Juliet and Romeo’s story, and antique ceramics.
In truth, it is not certain that the XIII century building was home to the Shakespearian heroine, but the fact that it belonged to a family with a similar last name, has started the belief that it was truly Juliet’s home.
We visited during the Christmas Holiday and really enjoyed entering the ancient Arena, a Roman amphitheater, home of a renowned yearly Opera season.
The structure, with the old stones and amazing architectural details, is pretty cool. Also, when we went, there was an exhibit of nativity scenes inside the Arena, in the rooms where the gladiators got ready before battles; pretty intriguing. Nowadays, most people go to the Arena to attend a concert od an opera, they put on some amazing shows every year.
Sightseeing buses are available to tour the city and the main locations:
- Corso Porta Nuova (Giardini Pradaval)
- Pozza Square - Basilica San Zeno
- Roman Theater
- Porta Leoni
- Bra Square
- Via Pallone – Tomb of Juliet
- Castle Saint Peter
Most visited place in Verona
Lago di Garda (Garda Lake)
The Garda Lake is a jewel situated in between the Alpes, with stunning views and a magic atmosphere.
Many are the things you can enjoy at the Garda lake, here are a few:
- Sirmione, a beautiful and cozy town on a peninsula on the southern coast of the lake, with ancient origins, full of history, it’s an archeological site, with appealing ancient buildings, like Rocca Scaligera, le Grotte di Catullo, le Terme.
The town center is full of shopping and dining opportunities.
- Gardone Riviera, on the western coast of the lake, is full of green and nature but offers also villas, luxury hotels, parks, and cute old districts. Cultural events are always on the agenda, especially in the open theater of the Vittoriale and in Villa Alba.
- Gardaland, an entertainment park full of fun activities for the whole family.
Two views of Verona, near the Arena
Visiting Genova (Genoa), Beautiful City in Northern Italy
Genova, the capital of Liguria is a city with a glorious past as a powerful maritime Republic, and the sign of the ancient power can still be admired in the historical center of the city, one of the largest in Europe.
The narrow alleys wind throughout the city; filled with small shops, preserve an old time charm well worth a visit. The city, surrounded by ancient protecting walls, with monumental gates, is full of historical and charming buildings.
Not to be missed in Genova is the Aquarium, with 800 different marine species and a total of 10,000 different animals including aquatic mammals, reptiles, and of course fish.
Genova has a tasty and yummy typical cuisine, and the world famous Pesto alla Genovese sauce, with basil, olive oil, nuts, and cheese is originally from Genova.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Robie Benve
Liza from USA on January 13, 2020:
An excellent article. Speaking from my experience studying in Italy, I have had a great opportunity of visiting some of the places you've mentioned above. However, I would love to visit Italy anytime soon! Thank you for sharing, it reminiscence my past trip to Italy!
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on February 25, 2018:
Thank you Eman. Egypt is not bad either. I've never been there, but it's on my travel wish-list. :)
Eman Abdallah Kamel from Egypt on February 25, 2018:
Italy is one of the most beautiful places all over the world.
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on January 17, 2018:
Sally, trace some of the steps your dad took while in Italy sounds like a wonderful plan! How fun! If you have photos of him during his Italian stay, maybe it wood be fun to go to the same spots and recreate the picture, just a thought. I hope one day you can check this trip off your wish list. :)
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on January 13, 2018:
Italy is definitely on my wish list of places to visit. I would love to spend time photographing some of the amazing places you have listed. My father spoke fluent Italian and it would be wonderful to trace some of the steps he took when he was there.
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on March 13, 2014:
Hi Shinkicker, thanks a lot for your feedback. I'm glad you like the article. :)
Shinkicker from Scotland on March 12, 2014:
I'm glad you picked Lake Garda instead of Lake Como. And Verona is one of my favourite places. I also visited the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice and was pleasantly surprised by the great art.
Cheers for an interesting hub.
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on November 12, 2013:
Glad to be of help. I wish I could have done more travel when I was your age! Enjoy and have fun! :)
Cassidy Dawson-Tobich on November 12, 2013:
Thanks for the list :) I am currently living in Milan and am in need to see more of Italy. I have defiantly caught the travel bug. Am now 19 and have been traveling since I was 17 (coming from NZ). Love being able to write about my travels
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on August 15, 2013:
apartmentsinminsk, thanks a lot for bookmarking my article as future-go-to travel guide, that's flattering! Hope you get to visit Northern Italy soon and enjoy every bit of it! :)
Nata Eberhart from Minsk, Belarus on August 14, 2013:
I have bookmarked this hub in my laptop..next time I will go to Italy this one will be my travel guide
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on May 02, 2013:
Thanks a lot travelholidays, I'm happy you liked the hub and found useful info in it. :)
travelholidays from India on April 30, 2013:
Thanks for sharing such a useful article about northern Italy. The points below 'Sightseeing buses' are really useful for the visitors :)
RaymondLPeters from Burlington, Kentucky on August 08, 2012:
I made the trip to Italy last year. I loved every moment! We were actually on the western side of Italy. We were in Livorno, Tuscany, Cinco Terra (the five villages), Civitiveccio, Roma, Napoli and Amalfi. I loved the food, the wine, the people. Traffic was crazy and the Policemen, traffic lights and the signs were all just for decoration. I want to go back so as to visit the Eastern coast. Check out my Art. I do a lot of Italian Landscapes. http://www.raymondsvision.yolasite.com
Billionaire4545 on August 06, 2012:
Thanks for a great article and the pictures to captivate the beauty of the places.
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on July 30, 2012:
Hi Marcy, I think Northern Italy is amazing too, but I'm from there! ;)
Thanks a lot for stopping by and your super positive comment.
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on July 28, 2012:
It's amazing to me that, aside from Venice, many people don't think of Northern Italy when they plan a trip - it has such a wealth of features and places to see. Thanks for this excellent guide! Voted up!
Robie Benve (author) from Ohio on July 26, 2012:
Hi bdegiulio, if things go as planned I'll go to Venice next week. A visit that will probably turn into several hubs in the future. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I love your hubs about Italy too. :) Ciao!
Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on July 25, 2012:
Hi Robie. Thanks for the tour of northern Italy. We are heading to Venice in September so this will come in handy. Doesn't matter where you go in Italy, it's all beautiful and amazing.