Italy Travel5 Top Views in Italy

5 Top Views in Italy
Published on Sunday, February 22, 2015 by

cimbroneGazing at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or admiring Leonardo’s The Last Supper are must-sees, but Italy also has plenty of other ways to engage your sense of sight. Don’t neglect outdoor vistas, especially the ones here: We know you probably have a few favorites, but if you haven’t seen all of the views on our list, you haven’t seen everything.

1. Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

You’ve seen Sorrento, swum at Capri, and sipped Prosecco in Positano—but you haven’t seen the full glory of The Amalfi Coast until you’ve headed up the mountainous route to Ravello and visited the Villa Cimbrone. This 11th century villa’s belvedere (the word itself means “beautiful to see”), also known as Il Terrazzo dell’Infinito (The Terrace of Infinity). While the villa itself has little historic interest, the “cimbronium” (rocky outcrop) on which the villa rest provides a stunning and stable foundation for gardens more English than Italian. Yet those gardens lead to the most Italian of vistas, allowing unfettered views of the Amalfi Coast up to Herculaneum and down to Naples. Nowhere else in Italy will you feel so enveloped in luxury that is all sun and sky—for the modest entrance fee of seven euros.

2. Villa del Pensionato di Malta, Rome

You might make the trek to Rome’s Traventine Hill for religious purposes, but if you take the time to visit the gardens at the Malta Pensioners’ Home, you’ll be privy to one of the most iconic and gorgeous views of the Eternal City and its St. Peter’s Basilica. This view, however, can’t be seen from a veranda or a bell tower: It’s available through a humble keyhole. The plain, unmarked door is at the Priory of the Knights of Malta, and if you lean down to peer through the aperture you will see a nearly ethereal vision of St. Peter’s, surrounded by greenery in the Priory gardens. Sure, you could purchase this unforgettable image on a postcard—but wouldn’t you rather see it for yourself and imagine the circumstances in which a monk or laborer first realized he had a perfect frame for a perfect picture?

3. Val di Chiana, Tuscany

Yes, there’s a great outlet mall here,  but the real attraction is…an alluvial valley. Huh? What that means to the layperson is that the valley is relatively young, geologically, and often also incredibly abundant and fertile due to the deposits of alluvium in the soil. Still confused? What this means to the Italophile is that Tuscany’s 62-mile long, nearly 900-acre Chiana Valley, is a place of beauty and productivity that has been preserved by the stringent Tuscan zoning regulations. Climb to the top of the bell tower in Cetona and gaze out over land that, while not exactly as the Etruscans and Romans saw it, remains verdant and quiet.  Arezzo and Cortona are two cities that offer splendid perspectives on this unspoiled territory.

4. San Giorgio Maggiore Bell Tower, Venice

In this campanile (bell tower), on a clear day you may not be able to see forever—but you can see all the way to the Alps, and that’s pretty spectacular. Even better? Head to the bell tower on the other side of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore and you’ll have an unparalleled view of St. Mark’s Square. Nothing beats walking along a Venetian canal, or floating down one in a gondola, and your experience of either will be enhanced by your photos and memories of seeing the entire municipality spread out with watery tendrils snaking through its limits. Pssst: There’s even an elevator you can take for five euros if your muscles ache after a day of palazzo hopping.

5. Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

You’ve seen it on countless postcards: From the Michelangelo Square, all of Florence in all its glory can be sighed over at your leisure. If you’ve been before, go again; if you’ve never been, what are you waiting for? Not only will you see the Ponte Vecchio in its entirety, you can even see some of the fields of Fiesole. Designed by famed architect Poggi in 1869, the piazzale can be reached on foot via his equally famed “Poggi ramps” that broke down the city’s third wall and opened up its main roadways and bridges to the hills across the Arno. Poggi also dedicated a Loggia to the works of his Square’s patron artist. After wandering through galleries of Michelangelo reproductions, relax for a bit in the bar or restaurant before heading back into Florence proper.

By Kathy McCabe

Ready to travel to Italy? Perillo Tours has been leading group trips throughout Italy since 1945 and can custom design an independent itinerary for your dream Italy vacation!

Taking your first trip to Italy soon? Learn everything you need to know when you get your FREE copy of The First Timer’s Guide to Italy by contributor Kathy McCabe

Photo by Ronnie MacDonald,

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