On this sweeping tour of Italy, travelers explore legendary cities like Venice, Florence and Rome, as well as smaller, extraordinarily charming towns like Assisi and Bologna. From food and wine to art and history, follow along as Jimmy indulges in all things Italia on the Grand Tour of Italy—and takes his camera along to capture it all.
Jimmy’s top 3 reasons to visit Lake Como
“Lake Como is like a little jewel of Northern Italy with great weather. It’s tucked away in an awesome mountainous landscape with charming Italian architecture. The places where we had dinner boasted an amazing view of the lake, add a bit of Italian wine on top of that and you’re the king of the world!”
“I really enjoyed Bellagio, located in the central part of the lake. Small winding cobblestone streets go up and down the hill, and the warm tones of the colorful facades are a photographer’s dream.”
“The one thing that surprised me was the vegetation. It is an incredible mix of Mediterranean and mountain flora, with both bristly pines and more delicate flowers. There’s an incredible—and it is absolutely beautiful. The gardens of Villa Carlotta that we visited during our tour is actually a great example.”
Seeing the Pope in Assisi
“We saw the Pope in Assisi! He was there for the Feast Day of Saint Francis. We expected absolute chaos, but it was just exhilarating. You could feel that everyone was extremely happy to be there. He had a full schedule that day, visiting various churches—there are so many in Assisi! I was with quite a few people from our tour group and we waited only about a half an hour for him to come into the square. We thought we were really well located to see him, but his Pope-mobile took an unexpected turn before he got close to us. Of course we got impatient, but it was funny, too. After some more waiting, he drove right by where we were! It was really cool. He seems really close to the people.”
Rome day & night
Jimmy captured this breathtaking view of Rome cast in the bright colors of day and then again in the glowy lights of night, which made us think: What are Rome’s must-dos for both daytime and evenings?
Rome by day:
Rome is a city that’s meant to be strolled, so spend the day exploring on foot. While the museums are fantastic and definitely worth visiting, especially the Vatican Museums, Rome has so much historic art right in the city’s piazzas. Take a walk through Piazza Navona, a great example of Baroque architecture, where you can see Bernini’s famous Fountains of the Four Rivers. For lunch, try Baguetteria del Fico (12 Della Fossa, Rome), tucked away on a side street off Piazza Navona, for delicious baguette sandwiches. While you could eat in the cozy baguetteria, we recommend taking the sandwiches to go and having a picnic in the Villa Borghese (Villa Borghese, Piazzale Napoleone, Rome). With various sculptures throughout, these sprawling gardens are perfect for wandering around. Consider making your way to the picturesque lake, where you can take a row boat for a spin or enjoy a leisurely glass of wine in the Caffetteria Casina del Lago. The Borghese Gallery (5 Piazzale del Museo Borghese, Rome) is also located in the gardens and houses an impressive number of renowned paintings and sculptures.
Rome by night:
The main event of the evening is obvious: dinner! If you haven’t had the chance to see the Trastevere neighborhood yet, try it for dinner. It’s a maze of old streets brimming with charming trattorias, outdoor restaurants and twinkling courtyards. Take your time exploring and pick whichever eatery catches your eye. Interested in a restaurant closer to Vatican City? Hostaria Dino & Toni (60 Via Leone IV, Rome) is a casual family-run restaurant. It’s the type of spot where the owners serve the dinner, menus are forgone in favor of nightly specials and you walk away feeling like you’ve made a friend or two. Cap off dinner with gelato at Old Bridge (5 Viale Bastioni di Michelangelo), which is open late each night—be sure to order a few flavors on your cone! Once you’re full, set out to see the city at night. St. Peter’s Square (St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City) is very crowded during the day, but after sunset offers a quiet time to explore the square’s stunning architecture at your own pace. From there, head over to Castel Sant’Angelo (50 Lungotevere Castello) and walk down the Bridge of Hadrian. A truly dramatic sight at night, the pedestrian bridge is lined with grand statues of angels done by world-famous artists, including Bernini.
Want to learn more about the Grand Tour of Italy? See the full tour itinerary here!