The 20 best places to visit in Northern Italy

 

Built in the  early to mid 17th century near to the town of Arona, to the north west of Milan is the 23.5 metre (77 ft) statue of San Carlone, sometimes referred to as the Colossus Of San Carlo Borromeo. Standing on a hill overlooking Lake Maggiore, visitors can access the interior of the statue and look out through the eyes and ears. In 1869 AD the artist Frederic Auguste Bartholdi visited Arona. He would later design the Statue Of Liberty in New York. Thought to have inspired in some way, the Colossus Of San Carlo Borromeo is mentioned on the plaque at the feet of the Statue Of Liberty.

20. San Carlone

 

Completed in 1522 AD, to the north of the city of Verona, close to Lake Garda, built on a rock shelf on Mount Baldo is the Sanctuary Of Madonna Della Corona. Accessible by a thin path, this amazing church, situated in wondrous surroundings is a feat of 16th century architectural engineering
 

19. Santuario Madonna Della Corona

 

Directly north of Como, situated along the border of Italy and Switzerland is the Balcone D'Italia viewpoint. From its vantage point at 1,300 metres (4,265 ft) above sea level if offers visitors wonderful views over the Alpine mountains and the nearby Lake Lugano.

Pictured is Lake Lugano.

18. Balcone D'Italia

 

In the extreme north east of the country, close to where the borders of Austria, Slovenia and Italy meet is the Sanctuary Of The Madonna Of Lussari. Originally constructed in the 13th century, what stands there today is the result of extensions and updates from the 16th century onward. Situated at a height of 1,766 metres (5,794 ft) above sea level in the Julian Alps, accessible by cable car or on foot via the Sentiero Del Pellegrino (Pilgrim's Path) that winds it's way through the forest of Tarvisio, it remains one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Italian, Slavic and German believers. For non believers, the picturesque village and incredible views of the Julian Alps make it one of the most beautiful mountain destinations in the north east of Italy.

17. Monte Santo Di Lussari

 

In the north west of the country,​ not far from the borders of south eastern France is the city of Turin, the capital of the Piedmont region, and between 1861 and 1865 the first capital city of Italy. Situated at the head of the Susa Valley, surrounded by the western Alpine arch, the city is known for its Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-classical and Art Nouveau architecture. Many of the cities grand public squares, boulevards, castles, gardens and palazzi, such as the Palazzo Madama, were built between the 16th and 18th centuries. With such a rich hisotry and culture, part of the historical centre of Turin has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

16. Turin

 

To the west of the city of Verona is the largest lake in Italy, Lake Garda, renowned for it's crystal clear waters. Situated at the edge of the Dolomite Mountains, the shoreline is one of steep jagged rocks interspersed with small villages and beaches. Visitors should head to the southern end of the lake where the town of Sirmione is dominated by the Scaligero Castle, and to the top of Monte Baldo for one of the best panoramic views over the entire Lake Garda and surroundings mountains.

15. Lago Di Garda

 

In the extreme north of the country, in South Tyrol, close to the border with Austria is the Rieserferner-Ahrn Nature Park, a 315 square kilometre (122 square mile) area of protected land encompassing the Rieserferner mountains in the High Tauern. The landscape is one of high mountains, rugged peaks, lakes, waterfalls and large open alpine valleys. 

14. Naturpark Rieserferner-Ahrn

 

Within the beautiful region of South Tyrol, to the west of Bolzano in the Ortler Alps is the Stelvio Pass, regarded to be one of the best driving roads in Europe. Situated at an elevation of 2,757 metres (9,045 ft) above sea level it is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, and the second highest pass in the Alps. Close to the border with Switzerland, this amazing road with its 48 hairpin bends offers some of the greatest driving views in the region, making it truly one of the best ribbons of tarmac anywhere.

13. Passo Dello Stelvio

Between the incredible and unique cities of Venice and Verona is one of Italy's most overlooked yet beautiful cities, the city of Vicenza, renowned for it's elegant buildings designed by the 16th century architect Andre Palladio. With a rich history and culture, the core of the city is home to museums, art galleries, piazzas, churches and elegant Renaissance palazzi. The Palladian Villas of the Veneto in the surroundings area, the renowned Olympic Theatre and the entire historic centre known as the City Of Palladio has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

12. Vicenza

 

In the extreme north west of the country, on the French border between the Aosta Valley and the city of Turin is the 703 square kilometre (271 square mile) area of protected land known as the Gran Paradiso National Park, named after the Gran Paradiso Mountain. The wonderful high Alpine landscape of mountain peaks, valleys, glaciers and lakes is easily accessible by winding smooth roads that takes visitors through this wonderful area. Sharing a boundary with Vanoise National Park in France, the two parks combined form the largest protected area in Europe.

11. Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso

South Of Milan, on the coast of the Mediterranean is the city of Genoa, the sixth largest city in Italy. Mainly viewed as a port town, the historic centre is a maze of squares and narrow streets with ornate buildings at almost every turn. Home to ancient city walls, old castles, large open parks and flower gardens, ornate cathedrals and opulent palaces, the historic centre of Genoa has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pictured is the Piazza De Ferrari at the heart of the city.

10. Genova

 

North of the city of Milan, close to the border with Switzerland is the city of Como, sitting on the edge of one of the countries most famous great lakes, Lake Como. As well as the beauty of the lake scenery with it's mountain backdrop, the city has much historical ancient architecture that includes the very special Duomo Di Como. It's close proximity to the Alps has made Como one of the most visited locations in northern Italy, regarded by many to be it's most picturesque lake. Visitors should climb the surrounding mountain roads for a wonderful view over both the city and lake.

9. Como

 

In the extreme north west of the country, straddling the borders of France and Switzerland in the steep western Alps, covering an area of some 3,623 square kilometres (1,260 square miles) is the Aosta Valley. In an area dotted with many ski resorts and medieval castles and fortresses that include the 14th century Castello Fenis and Castello Di Verres, the areas biggest attractions are undoubtedly the natural ones. Among the great valleys and steep snow capped mountains, the areas most famous include the southern side of both Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, arguably two of the most famous mountains in Europe, if not the world.

8. Valle d'Aosta

 

In the beautiful region of South Tyrol, within the stunning surroundings of the Dolomite Mountains is the picturesque Lake Braies, sometimes referred to as Lake Prags due to it's location within the Prags Valley. Sitting at an elevation of 1,496 metres (4,908 ft) above sea level, this clear body of water surrounded by steep jagged mountains and alpine forests is definitely a contender to be one of the countries most beautiful lakes.

7. Lago Di Braies

 

In the extreme north east of the country, close to the meeting point of the Slovenian, Austrian and Italian borders is a beautifully picturesque lake in stunning natural surroundings, the wonderful Lake Predil. In one of the high valleys of the Julian Alps, the lake sits at 969 metres (3,179 ft) above sea level, nestled beneath the Kanin Mountain it truly is one of the most picture perfect locations in the region.

6. Lago Del Predil

 

In the northern centre of the country sits the capital of the Lombardy region, and the second most populated city after the countries capital, Rome, the city of Milan, regarded as the fashion capital of the world. At the heart of the city lies the Piazza Duomo, one of the finest squares of any world city, thanks in part to the Gothic Duomo Di Milano, or Milan Cathedral. Work began on this most astonishing cathedral in 1368 AD and took nearly six hundred years to complete. Italy's largest church is the third largest in the world, and one of the most iconic buildings anywhere on the planet. 

5. Milano

 

South east of the city of Bolzano, within the beautiful region of South Tyrol in the Dolomites is the Lago Di Carezza, sometimes referred to as the Karersee. Surrounded by alpine forests and high craggy Dolomite mountains, the landscape is the definition of picturesque.

4. Lago Di Carezza

 

Between the famous cities of Milan and Venice lies the city of Verona, another of the countries most incredible cities, thanks to its artistic heritage, ancient monuments and historical significance. Though not known if he ever visited, Verona is the setting for three of Shakespeare's plays. Visitors should seek out the Casa Di Giulietta, the Piazza Bra with Verona's ancient Amphitheatre, the Ponte Pietra Bridge, Piazza Erbe with the Statue Of Madonna Verona's Fountain and climb the 84 metre (275 ft) Lamberti Tower for one of the finest views around. With so much incredibly history, the entire historic centre of Verona has been classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With so much to see, click here for the Must See Locations In Verona...

3. Verona

At the northern end of Italy's Adriatic coastline is one of the most famous locations on the planet. Known as the Queen of The Adriatic, The Floating City and the City On Water, these are just a few names for the 117 small islands that make up the city of Venice. Visitors can explore the tiny passageways that run along the canals, watch the gondolas pass beneath the bridges and find themselves in the amazing Piazza San Marco, or St. Marks Square. Easily one of the most recognisable cities in the world, a unique city of our planet, all of Venice has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

With so much to see, click here for the Must See Locations In Venice...

2. Venezia

 

In the north east of the country, forming part of the Southern Limestone Alps is a wondrous mountain range known as the Dolomites, a place where nature proves it can beat almost anything man can imagine. Incorporating the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park and many regional parks, the area is considered one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Europe. Some of the areas most notable locations include the Pordoi, which can be reached by cable car, the Gardena Pass, Santa Maddalena, the Vajolet Towers and the huge peak of the Langkofel. With breath taking beautiful nature at it's finest, the Dolomites have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Click here to see the Must See Places In The Dolomites...

1. Dolomiti

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