Italy has always been known for its rich history and as a cultural centre and one of the oldest civilizations in the world, but what many don’t know is that there are numerous adventures to be had in this amazing country. If you’re wondering about the things to do in Italy for adventure, we’ve got you covered.
Italy for Adventure: Climb Mount Vesuvius
One of the most famous volcanic mountains in the world, Vesuvius gained its fame after the discovery of the remains of the city of Pompeii that was completely wiped out due to the volcano’s eruption in 79 AD, making it one of the most well-known volcanoes in the world.
What makes it even more interesting is that the volcano is still active to this day. However, it is safe for hikers and travellers to attempt the trek up the mountain.
If you have any fear of an impending eruption, remember that modern technology can now predict an eruption two weeks in advance and issue warnings to hikers to avoid the area. But, since the volcano has only erupted 40 times in the last 2000 years, it is safe to say that you can enjoy a trip to the area at any time.
You can drive to the starting point of the trail or go on one of the many available tours from Naples to Vesuvius before taking the trail up the mountain, which is wide, safe and spirals up until you reach the edge of the crater.
What should you bring?
Before attempting a climb let us give you some advice in order to be prepared. Please make sure that you are equipped enough for this trek and are physically prepared for the climb. Also, be sure to pack warmer clothes, even in summer, since the temperature can get colder at such a high altitude. You should also pack a hat and sunscreen, and don’t forget to bring a big enough water bottle!
How to get there?
The tour buses can take you right to the parking lot at 1,000m. But, if you’re coming on your own from Naples, then you should take the Circumvesuviana train from Naples or Sorrento to Ercolano Scava or Pompeii train station then a bus to Vesuvius. A tourist bus service called Vesuvio Express runs every 40 minutes from Ercolano Station.
If you are coming to the area from Rome, you can take the Circumvesuviana trains that depart from a station next to the main Naples Centrale station.
What will I see when I get to the top?
On a clear day, you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the bay and the city of Naples.
Have a Water Adventure at Lake Garda
Lake Garda is ideal for a vacation, whether you are there to simply enjoy the beautiful nature, try one of the sea activities, or experience its history and culture.
There, you can go swimming, sailing, mountain-climbing, biking, hiking, and horseback riding, rafting and hang-gliding.
Tourists also prefer wind-surfing on the enormous Lake Garda as a prime wind-surfing location because of its non-stop winds.
Sail along the Amalfi Coast (Ischia, Capri, and more!)
One of the most scenic spots in Italy, the Amalfi Coast is also perfect for experiencing a number of sea adventures. There, you’ll find a number of boat rental companies and take in the Mediterranean villages from a new vantage point.
The sailing conditions on the Amalfi Coast are perfect as the climate is ideal, the views are stunning can’t and there are countless beautiful coves and bays to anchor to as you go snorkelling.
Explore the multiple islands along the Amalfi Coast, like Ischia; one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Amalfi Coast, where you can enjoy the natural hot springs and volcanic mud. The island also has the best beaches on the whole coast.
You can also explore the Amalfi Coast is by Vespa. Take a road trip from one town to the next, and take in the cosy and beautiful shops and beaches along the way.
For more adventure, take a day trip to Capri Island and visit the truly extraordinary Grotto Azzurra (Blue Grotto). You can take a boat ride inside the Blue Grotto, which is truly enjoyable, especially when the sea is calm and there are low tides, otherwise the cave opening will get closed.
Upon entering the Grotto, you will be surrounded by the luminescent blue colour of the water, it is truly an unforgettable experience.
If you’re anywhere near Sicily, you absolutely can’t miss the chance to climb at least partway up Stromboli, another still active volcano.
Stromboli is in a state of almost-constant eruption. Small explosions (Strombolian eruptions) take place every 20-30 minutes, sending out puffs of smoke and sometimes even molten rock. On a clear day, the small eruptions can be seen from the neighbouring islands. A few times a year, more explosive eruptions are enough to see Stromboli’s villages (and sometimes even neighbouring islands) evacuated.
Still, Stromboli is safe enough that it has several villages and a slew of hotels and restaurants along its beaches.
For an easy hike trail, you can walk 400 meters by yourself up the sides of Stromboli, although if you want to continue on to the crater you will need a certified guide to take you. They also won’t let you up without the appropriate gear – hiking boots, headlamps and trekking poles, which are all available to hire from shops around town.
Getting to the very top takes around 3 hours and the way back down takes around 2 hours, so make sure to prepare yourself for a five to six-hour trek all in all.
Although the climb can be quite strenuous, it is well worth it for the spectacular views.
Never fear though, even if you’re not a hiker, you can still get a good look at the eruptions from the beach – or even on the deck of a boat just offshore.
Scale the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Many know of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy, but few are aware that it was not actually built this way. The tower was erect at first, but an architectural mistake or perhaps geological mistake led to its sinking into the marshy ground beneath it.
The tower may be open or closed to the public according to the decision of architects who are always assessing if it is safe to enter.
When the tower is open you can climb to the viewing platform at the top where you can view all of Pisa.
Journey into the Frasassi Cave
The Grotte di Frasassi is one of Europe’s largest cave systems, and there are 75-minute guided tours available to explore them.
The caves are so huge that they could easily fit the Milan Cathedral and they contain forests of stalactites and stalagmites that reach lengths of up to 20m and took 1.4 million years to form.
The inside of the grotto is covered in walkways and lighted areas that let you take in the amazing geology within such amazing natural formations.
Ride a Vespa or Cycle around Tuscany
It’s a widely known fact that the best way to explore Italy is via Vespa and what better way to journey through the Tuscan countryside, watching the vineyards, olive trees, rolling hills, and Tuscan homes than to drive by at your own pace.
Cycling in Tuscany is a favourite activity of visitors to the beautiful region as well. You can take a wine tour by bike or go alone to explore the UNESCO world-heritage listed cities like Florence, Siena, San Gimignano and Pienza.
You can also try the bike paths along the Adige River in Veneto that run from the Austrian border to Verona, connecting major cities like Venice, Verona, Mantua and the beautiful Lago di Garda (Lake Garda).
It’s a freeing experience to be sure and you’ll find it quite relaxing and enjoyable to be able to visit the beautiful Italian countryside.
Catch a Panoramic View of Florence
Now, for an opportunity to view all of Florence from above, you should the steps to Piazzale Michelangelo.
Although it was named after him, the Piazzale was not designed by Michelangelo himself. It was actually created in 1869 by Florentine architect Giuseppe Poggi.
The spacious terrace is a typical 19th-century design and has traces of Michelangelo’s masterpieces. Poggi designed a monument dedicated to Michelangelo, featuring copies of Michelangelo’s works, including the David and the sculptures of the Medici Chapel from San Lorenzo.
You can walk up to the Piazzale Michelangelo or you can also take the bus (Bus 12 or 13) or drive up there if you have a car.
After finishing your tour of the Piazzale Michelangelo, consider taking a five-minute stroll up past the church of San Salvatore to the monastery of San Miniato al Monte, which dates back to 1013.
Then, you can take a panoramic walk from San Miniato back to the city center by walking down the Viale Galileo to enjoy the tree-lined street that offers some of the most magnificent views of Florence until you reach the Via di San Leonardo. During your walk, you will spot a plaque on the wall of the first villa on your left that says “Tchaikovsky lived here in 1878”.
Sail or Trek through Alghero, Sardinia
Sardinia has some of the best sailing opportunities and activities in the world. One of the best ways to experience Sardinian beaches is by sailing from Alghero, in the northwest coast of Sardinia. Not only does a sailing trip allow you to enjoy the serenity of the waters, you also get a unique vantage point of the Catalan Gothic buildings of the city. During the boat ride, you can dive into the crystal clear blue waters.
If you’re more of a fan of trekking around the area, then we recommend a trip through Gola Su Gorropu. Dubbed as Europe’s Grand Canyon, it is 426 meters deep and eight kilometers long. It might take you all day to hike there but it will be well worth it when you look over the brilliant blue sea.
Visit the Cave City of Matera
The cave city of Matera in Basilicata, Italy is nicknamed the “cave city” because the old town consists of carved caves with house facades. In the past, Matera was a very underdeveloped town, where people actually lived in those caves with no electricity.
After most locals were relocated to the new houses, the empty caves were abandoned for quite some time. In the 1980s, the churches and the cisterns were renovated, new hotels and restaurants opened in the area, and Matera slowly became one of the trendiest places to visit.
Try to catch the sunset over the city. When the sun goes down and the lights start to appear in the caves, it is a truly spectacular sight. There are many hotels located in the caves as well, promising for an interesting stay.
Hike in the Dolomites
Located in the region of South Tyrol in the north of Italy, the Dolomites are some of the finest mountain sceneries in Italy. Hiking or climbing in the Dolomites is a must if you’re ever in the area.
For an easy hike, head to the Alpe di Siusi, one of the best day hike options in the Dolomites, especially if you have children on the trip with you. If you are up for something more challenging, then make sure to visit the Catinaccio Mountain and you will enjoy the amazing views from the mountaintop. Or you can try braving the via ferrata, or “iron way,” the original World War I mountain routes made with iron cables, bridges and ladders. Unless you are a seasoned veteran, the via ferrata are best approached with a guide – they are one of the most stunning, but also difficult adventures in Italy.
In these majestic mountains, you can ski, snowboard, parasail, raft, kayak, mountain bike, and cycle, among other things.
Go Camping in Puglia
Camping sites are available in nearly every part of Italy. Puglia, in southern Italy, is a great location for camping. The area offers sea and forest landscapes as well, so it’s quite scenic and ready for exploration, specifically near the large Riva di Ugento campsite.
If you’re looking for a bit of comfort while camping, campers or mobile homes are also available, as well as bathrooms and a nearby supermarket and tennis courts. Relax by your tent or lay down on a hammock and enjoy the picturesque landscapes ahead.
Mountain Biking in Abruzzo and Molise
While the Dolomites have the most extreme mountain biking in Italy, you can also find better trails, fewer crowds and equally beautiful scenery with plenty of wildlife in the Apennine Mountains in the region of Molise and neighbouring Abruzzo in central Italy.
In the middle of the Apennines, Abruzzo hosts some of Italy’s wildest terrain and you can also visit Molise for more secluded option. Try biking through the trails in Abruzzo National Park for an enjoyable time.
Skiing in Val d’Aosta Valley
Cervinia in Val d’Aosta is one of the highest mountain resorts in Italy, standing at 3,500 meters. The mountains are often the first to get snow and the last to end the season, which makes it suitable for skiing throughout most of the year.
Cervinia has one of the best resort towns with much cheaper prices than Zermatt, across the border in Switzerland, even though they use the same mountains. For those looking for a bit more Adventure in Italy, Alagna Valsesia in Monterosa Ski offers excellent skiing opportunities as well as heli-skiing by the beautiful Monte Bianco.
Snorkelling in Sicily
Sicily and the Aeolian Islands have some of the most pristine waters, to explore than the Amalfi Coast. There’s also another sea cave, the Grotto Azzurra of Taormina, Sicily, which is only a short boat ride from the shore. You can dive into the majestic water to find a world of multi-coloured algae, sea sponges, red coral in deep areas and all kinds of fish.
Sea-Kayaking off Elba Island
Elba Island, the largest and most popular island in the Tuscan Archipelago, attracts thousands of visitors every year due to its beaches and many snorkelling opportunities. That is why the best way to see the island is from the sea. Located in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, a protected maritime area, with 147 kilometres of coastline to explore, kayakers can paddle through the tranquil seas and stop off at the beach, and even explore some of the inlets and caves in between.
Heli-skiing in Piedmont
Offering the best heli-skiing in all of Italy is the Monterosa ski park heli-skiing complex. With drop zones above 4,000m and just a few minutes’ helicopter ride away. You can sign up for a three-day program including avalanche training and off you go!
Hang Gliding in Castelluccio
One of the best adventures you can take in Italy is hang gliding, and where better can you try this than the rolling hills Umbria? Castelluccio is the highest village in the Apennines where you can find many hang gliding schools. Fly over the hills in the springtime for the best views of the blooming fields all over the region. It is sure to be an unforgettable experience!
Paragliding in Veneto
Like many of the other adventures to be taken around the country, you can go paragliding almost anywhere in Italy; along Lago di Como at the foot of the Alps, over the beautiful Sicilian coast, and also over the rolling hills of Umbria, but in Veneto, you’ll find the widest variety of options. Paragliders can choose fly over ake Garda, to enjoy an unobstructed view of the Dolomites from Cortina d’Ampezzo. The peak is protected from northern winds, so flyers can be nearly sure to find ideal weather conditions. There you can even fly over the Brenta Valley as far as the Slovenian border.
Cycle around Rome
Rome is one of the biggest open-air museums in the world, in the sense that, no matter where you go, you’ll find amazing historical locations to explore and what better way to do so than on a bike! Go at your own pace and take a leisurely cycle around the gorgeous city from piazza to piazza. Actually, you’ll find many bike rental shops and bike tours and Uber even offers the service in the city, so you can cruise by the Coliseum, the Roman Forum and the Trevi Fountain among the numerous touristic spots in this ancient city.
For more ideas, check out our article on the best spots to visit in Rome!
Explore the Sunken City of Baia
The Parco Sommerso di Baia is a flooded city near Naples. What makes this dive site very unique is the number of antiquities and monuments still left untouched underwater, making for a fascinating diving adventure to this submerged museum.
Explore the pillars and mosaic floors from ancient villas which belonged to emperors and ancient rules. Imagine the treasures you can spot!
Extreme Heli-Skiing in Piedmont
If you’re looking for more blood-pumping activities with a high dose of adrenaline, you can go heli-skiing in the Alps. Now, regular skiing in the Alps in itself would be an amazing adventure, but imagine skiing off of a helicopter! You can ski in Valle Sturla, one of the few remaining valleys of the European Alps protected from development to enjoy the experience of heli-skiing in the secluded wilderness.
Hike the Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre is known for its spectacular views, picturesque villages, and wild open landscapes. The Cinque Terre is made up of five towns with a cliff path connecting them. The 12-kilometer Sentiero Azzurro stretches from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, so you can hike from one town to the next quite easily.
Like before, we must stress that you shouldn’t forget your gear and water for the trek. The most recommended route for this trek is the two-kilometre Via dell’Amore, between Riomaggiore and Manarola
Now, if you’re looking for a less crowded route, then we recommend the section of the road from Manarola to Corniglia, but it might take a little longer to hike.
Another quite picturesque road is the trail between Corniglia and Vernazza, which reaches the highest point but also includes walks through beautiful olive groves and stunning panoramic views.
For the more adventurous among you, you may try the narrow trail between Vernazza and Monterosso, which also provides gorgeous panoramic views of the five towns of Cinque Terre and you won’t find any crowds to disturb your solitude.
White Water Rafting in Calabria
White water rafting is one of the most popular sports among the most adventurous travellers and there’s no shortage of opportunities for this activity in Italy, especially in the region of Calabria. Watch as the water cascades from the Lucanian and Calabrian Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea creating several rivers, with beautiful and rocky courses that are perfect for white-water rafting.
An example of such rivers is the Lao River which flows southwest passing forested valleys. Rafting trips range between 3 to 4 hours and are suitable for families as well.
Experience Italy through its beautiful and unpredictable nature and try one of these amazing activities to fully absorb the opportunities provided to all travellers in the country. Let us know if you’ve ever tried one of these activities before and if you intend to go on one of these adventures soon!