If you find yourself staring south in a longing fashion, you’re not alone. Italy lies that way, beyond the Alps, where you’ll find warmth, culture, beauty and amazing food. And the Alps themselves aren’t so bad, either.
Even though you may not be able to make Italy a reality just yet, you can get there virtually. Here are five great destinations (and a sweet bonus) that will plunge you into the heart of Italy and whet your appetite for the real thing.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Housed in a brilliant building that stretches back to the 16th century and the Medicis, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the top art museums in the world. It features an impressive collection of work by one-name luminaries such as Michelangelo, da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, and Caravaggio. A virtual visit of this place is pretty awesome, too: you can find in-depth information about artists and their works. Plus, you can get as close to the paintings as your screen will allow!
Take the virtual tour: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/uffizi-gallery
Visit the Dolomites
On any given day, you can find breathtaking views in the Alps. The Dolomites, located in northern Italy, are on a whole different level. There, the earth looks like nothing else, anywhere. Spires point like bony fingers toward blue sky. Immense rock fields stretch below chalky rust-streaked vertical cliffs. Green meadows shimmer on distant hillsides across massive valleys. Take it all in from the comfort of your own home.
Take the virtual tour: https://7daysabroad.com/virtual-tour-of-unesco-sites/ (Scroll down and click on the picture of the Dolomites, which will take you to a fantastic Google Earth tour)
Venice city tour
Getting lost in Venice is one of the most fun things that any human being can do. The old city offers a wondrous — and seemingly endless — series of maze-like streets that seem to bring surprises with every turn. There are churches, grand plazas and, of course, famous canals. Touring it virtually doesn’t bring quite the same thrill as on-site exploration. But it can give you a really good taste of the beauty of Venice.
Take the virtual tour: https://photo360tours.com/tour/venice/venice-virtual-reality-tour-360.html
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79, it meant the end for Pompeii. For explorers two millennia later, however, that volcanic eruption was a beautiful thing. It preserved an immense amount of Roman culture, architecture and art. This virtual tour gives a very thorough experience to visitors. You’ll be able to see almost everything you want to see in one of Italy’s most famous places.
Take the virtual tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4flx14q5OE
Vatican Museum, Rome
The Vatican Museum is an absolute treasure trove. Paintings and sculpture abound, and the museum itself is a work of art. Even better: the museum offers an excellent set of virtual tours. In each one, you’ll see a number of halls and exhibits in exquisite detail. And when you toggle up to look at the ceilings, you’ll feel more than just a little like Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.
No trip to Italy is complete without consuming copious amounts of gelato. You’ll love this video on how traditional gelato is made in the town of Ruvo di Puglia, using a recipe that’s nearly 200 years old. A little knowledge about what you’re enjoying will make it all the sweeter!
Learn how traditional Italian gelato is made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_YL3R32RzU