Rolling vineyards, centuries-old masterpieces, cobblestone lanes, world-class cities, and colorful coastal fishing villages just scratch the surface of what to see in Italy. There’s never a lack of things to do in this magnificent country, the real challenge is figuring out how to create your own tour of Italy and plan your time in “The Beautiful Country”. You can get to know the area in just a day while you’re at port, but it all depends on what you want to see and do. Here are our best tips on how to plan your next Italy shore excursions.
Excursions in Florence (Northern Italy)
The cradle of the Renaissance offers an abundance of monuments, churches, and gorgeous architecture. Home to the Statue of David and glorious Duomo cathedral, Florence is a bucket list adventure for world travelers planning their wish list of what to see in Italy.
After docking in Italy and venturing to Florence, get inspired by one of our favorite itineraries with a walk in Michelangelo’s footsteps. As a born and bred Tuscan, Michelangelo’s greatest works are on display and honored throughout the area. Visit the Accademia Gallery where his Statue of David is on display, as well as marble masterpieces like “The Four Prisoners”. You’ll also see the Piazza del Duomo that inspired Michelangelo’s design of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. You can do a full day itinerary in Florence to hit some of the best stops inspiring Michelangelo and beyond.
If you’ve already explored Florence on a previous cruise trip and want to satisfy your wanderlust with something new, choose one of our other Tuscan adventures:
- Spend your day in port touring both Lucca and Pisa with an English-speaking driver for a day and see the leaning tower and more.
- Explore the five medieval fishing villages of the Cinque Terre. These ancient villages are built right into a dazzling rocky coast.
Excursions in Rome
Spanning over 28 centuries, the city of Rome attracts world travelers, history aficionados, foodies, and culture lovers from around the world. Rome tops the list of places to see in Italy with a wealth of attractions from the Colosseum to the Vatican and beyond. If you choose to explore on your own, you can take in museums and markets, and see the city through the eyes of the great artists from the Renaissance and Baroque Rome. To ensure that you see the best of the best, join one of ShoreTrips’ excursions to see our carefully curated favorites catered to cruise ship travelers:
- Start your shore excursion with an Authentic Italian Testaccio Neighborhood Food Tour to taste the flavor of Rome’s best dishes.
- Enjoy ShoreTrip’s creative spin on classic Rome tours with a golf cart tour of the city to see its popular attractions, backstreets, and neighborhoods tourists often miss in the afternoon.
- End your day with a Rome at Twilight Private Walking Tour to see the Eternal City at nightfall with stops at the piazza of the Pantheon, Largo Argentina, and the piazza of the Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo.
Of course, simply wandering the streets of Rome and soaking up the culture, history, and people is a wonderful way to experience the city. Take a break and sit on the Spanish Steps or treat yourself to some fresh gelato. After a few hours of wandering on your own, consider joining one of our half-day Rome shore excursion to cover everything you want to see in a short period of time from history to culture and more. Knowledgeable guides can make sure you maximize your time and get the most out of your experience.
Excursions in Naples
As the birthplace of Margherita pizza, Naples is a renowned foodie paradise with amazing flavor, culture, and history. It’s a popular spot for cruise travelers looking to stroll the streets, sip wine, and devour pizza.
Here are ShoreTrips’ recommendations for what to see and do during a shore excursion in Naples:
- Join a private boat tour to see the gorgeous island of Capri and explore the grottos, famous Faraglioni rock formations, and sample fresh Italian food.
- Take an excursion to the nearby Amalfi Coast with narrow roads winding past the Cathedral of St. Andrew, olive factories, and mountain cliffs. Stop at the quaint village of Positano with seaside villas covered in lush orange blossoms and roses.
- Book a shore excursion to Pompeii to see what’s left under the ancient ashes of Mount Vesuvius after its eruption in 79 A.D. and covered everything in its wake.
Excursions in Southern Italy
Bari is southern Italy at its best, and a perfect port for cruise passengers with a case of wanderlust. Travelers discover Bari’s shoreline of the promenade, cafes, pubs, and small fishing villages along the way. A must see is the Byzantine castle and famous Basilica de San Nicola which inspired the modern-day Santa Claus. Here is an itinerary of what to see and do on your shore excursion:
- Take a bicycle tour and pedal along the shoreline. You’ll learn more about Bari’s medieval walls that once stood to protect the old city, see a historic fishing village, and more.
- Experience a phenomenal olive oil tasting tour. Situated between Bari and Barletta on the Adriatic Coast, Trani is home to a historic fishing village and a history of olive oil making dating back to 1400.
- Take a shore excursion and learn about the history of southern Italy’s famous rock formations and stunning caves. Also known as the Grotte di Castellana, the Caves of Castellana wind a distance of two miles and 60 meters deep through stalagmites, concretions, fossils, canyons, and calcifications of color.
Excursions in Sicily
Located in southern Italy, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the most densely populated. Known as one of the street food capitals of the world, you can eat your way through the streets trying a wide variety of food from the exotic to pizza. The language of Sicily is also on the UNESCO list of endangered languages and is so different than Italian, that locals on the mainland of Italy often don’t understand it.
Many of Sicily’s Shore Excursion tours will keep you busy for the day, so choose from your favorite themes.
- Take an all-day excursion from Palermo to the medieval town of Erice for an Erice and Olive Oil Factory tour. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to taste marzipan candies, pistachio pastries, and, of course, fresh olive oil.
- Movie buffs who would rather experience Sicily’s landscape while learning more about local film locations can join the Godfather Tour: Savoca – Taormina. Visitors will see the Bar Vitelli, where the character Michael asked the padrone for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
- The slopes of Mt. Etna hold one of Italy’s most intriguing wine regions. Explore the region with a Taormina and Mt. Etna Volcano Winery tour. This family-owned winery is known for its Etna Rossa, Etna Bianco, and amazing Brut wines.
Travelers looking for a shorter excursion can also see what Sicily’s capital city of Palermo has to offer in just a few hours. Learn about the Medieval history of Palermo, its architecture, area cathedrals, and palaces.
This historic, flavorful country is a rewarding travel experience you’ll never forget. Let us know about your favorite stops by leaving a comment below.