Your Must See?

I am going to Italy in June of next year and I have had a lot of fun reading many posts on this site. I have a very good idea of what I want to see and MUST see. But I am curious as to what others had their heart set on seeing. For me it is going to be the Trevi Fountain. There are many other things I want to see but this is the one spot that I really want to see.
How about you? Did it live up to your expectations?

Posted by Cate
Tacoma, WA, USA
668 posts

I just had to reply about the Grand Canyon- when my husband was going for the first time last year (my third time), he asked me what it was like. I told him, "All I can tell you is that it is AWESOME, but you just have to see it to understand what that really means."

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6606 posts

My two must-sees were St. Peter's Basilica and Michelangelo's David. The David brought tears to my eyes. St. Peter's made my jaw drop.

Posted by Patrick, Arkansas
Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA
606 posts

The Trevi Fountain met my expectations. It was about the size I was expecting and the water flow was about what I expected, though the piazza where it's located is smaller than I expected. In fact, there's really no piazza there, just 3 streets going around the fountain...and solid people day and night.

I've used the word awesome only three times in my life, and the Trevi Fountain wasn't one of those times, but you may feel differently.

To each his own. Personally, I'm more interested in the old Roman stuff, the wine, and il dolce far niente.

Posted by Colleen
69 posts

The Trevi Fountain for me is not just about the fountain but about a conversation I had with my mother about the fountain and throwing the coin in... it was the last real conversation I had before she died. I was telling her about the things I want to see and she was saying she would like to go to Italy too, so throwing in the coin when I go will be for her. I wasn't able to take her with me but in spirit she will be there.

Posted by Lane
Mansfield, GA
848 posts

So many things that are a must see and the Trevi Fountain is one of them. You watch the movies such as "Three coins in a Fountain" as a youth,knowing you will never see the Trevi Fountain for real but one day it does happen and it just seems surreal. That can also be said for so many other historical sites we read about and see pictures of while growing up. The Trevi was my wife's favorite hangout in Rome. I don't think you will be disappointed.
Patrick, care to share the three times you used the word "awesome". :)

Posted by Patrick, Arkansas
Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA
606 posts

Lane asked: Patrick, care to share the three times you used the word "awesome". :)

I know people who use the word "awesome" several times every day. Not me. I have only been awed 3 times:

1) When I saw the Declaration of Independence in the US Archives.

2) When I climbed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and looked up at the huge statue of Lincoln there.

3) When I reached the rim of the Grand Canyon.

With the first two it's a matter of my own mental process. Otherwise, the document is just parchment and the statue isn't that big. But that canyon! Now, that's got to be awesome in anybody's book! Unlike the Trevi Fountain, the canyon exceeded my expectations.

Posted by Lane
Mansfield, GA
848 posts

Thanks Patrick. Those certainly warrant the use of the word "awesome".

Posted by Jill
Santa Maria
88 posts

I like the Roman Forum.

The Arch of Titus is a must-see, as it has a bas relief of the Temple treasures taken from Jerusalem when Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D.

The Colosseum, but avoid the "gladiators".

These are within walking distance of Trevi Fountain.

Posted by Debby
Lawton, OK, USA
60 posts

Like Lane, I saw "Three Coins in a Fountain" as a young girl and it shaped my desire to visit Rome/Italy. I must say, that my first glimpse of the Trevi was a bit disappointing, but only because it no longer resembled the 1950's era fountain. It was over run by tourists and it was hard to get close. However, I have been back to Rome 3 times, and I ALWAYS make my husband take me to the fountain and I ALWAYS throw a coin in. I will be there next month and I will again throw a coin in the fountain. I still love the movie and I love the fountain, even if it is over run by tourists like me. One of my must sees was the Colosseum, along with most other ancient Roman sites. The Vatican, along with the Sistine Chapel. And for me, the Piazza Navona. Not so much as a place to "see" but as a place to experience Rome.
This trip I am going to finally realize one of my "must sees", when I get to go to the Villa d'Este (just outside Rome). This is also a sight from the 3 coins movie. The one with all of the beautiful fountains. I have finally identified it and I will visit there soon. Can't wait.
For me Rome is truly the Eternal City. I hope your trip is fabulous (didn't want to use the word awesome :) )


Posted by SamSn
Scottsdale, AZ, USA
1127 posts

The Pantheon. I stop here every visit to Rome and never tire of it.

Posted by regina
la frette sur seine
448 posts

I just mentioned on other spot, that my must see was the Baby Elephant Obelisque at StMariaMinerve just behind the Pantheon...He's so sweet...Because it was my husband's first time to Rome we followed the Rick "Night Tour of Rome"...during the day..I think he indicated it would take a couple of hours, but took us all day...because we had all day..Of course, see the Trevi Fountain, but expect to share it with several other people. When we were there it wasn't worth the struggle to toss a coin...and the street was being torn up with jackhammers!! Despite the noise people were actually eating at sidewalk caf├ęs in front of the workers...i figured they were very hungry.
I think it's fun to choose a "must see"..I had a painting that i wanted to see in the national gallery of modern art...took forever to find it , but did..and i was glad.

Posted by Jackie
Renton, WA, USA
219 posts

I have to say that being able to observe the dolce vita!! The way of life in Italy is so much easier. They show a true meaning of family! I enjoyed the gelato stands and their distinct beauty at each corner..and I DID stop at and have a single cone! The joy of the market and seeing how they display each tomato. The smells at the market.
Colleen..just being there is a MUST SEE! You will alway compare Italy to every other country you visit..and will always want to go back again and again. Don't get stuck on seeing every tourist attraction! I always tell people to go get lost in some out of the way village and just walk around..this is the true Italy! You must find new paths..not just the paths that RS has created! I was there in 2006 for the first time since I lived there in 1978-1980. It has changes and now they charge for everything. Also..the best Pizza in in the south..the best steak is in Florence. Enjoy and take it all in!!!

Posted by steve
johnson city
100 posts

Colleen, where all in Italy will you be visiting? Italy is by far my favorite country and I always tell friends and family that if you go anywhere in Europe, definitely go to Italy. I have to echo what another blogger posted and just get lost in the city. My husband and I did this in Florence. We walked for hrs, and enjoyed every bit of it. In Capri, we walked to the top instead of taking the bus, much more enjoyable (but only if you are able too, it can be very daunting). As for a must see, I would have to say the Greek Temples in Paestum. It's south of the Amalfi Coast and they are simply stunning! But regardless of what you see and do, please do one thing; Sit and relax. Enjoy the atmosphere, the smells and the people. Those are what make trips so memorable.

Posted by Liz
Seattle, WA
1311 posts

I found the Trevi Fountain to be extremely impressive. Unfortunately, it was also the area where the street vendors were the most aggressive/annoying and would not leave you alone even after a firm "no". This greatly diminished the enjoyment level of the area in general. That said, it's still a definite must-see and coin-toss. I threw one in and I am going back this fall, so it must work!

The other must-see that I have for Rome now, that I did not have when I first arrived, are Bernini's statues in the Borghese Gallery. The beauty and detail of the sculptures, especially the Apollo and Daphne, just took my breath away.

Posted by Colleen
69 posts

I think some may have misunderstood my posting. I have done extensive research on what I want to do and I am taking my time to relax and enjoy my time while I am in Italy. We are going to Venice, CT, Rome, Amalfi Coast for 2 1/2 weeks. While I do not mind suggestions I was just trying to find out what others were most excited to see. Like I said I know what I want to do but it is fun to find out what others like. When you finally got to the spot what did you do? I have always wanted to go to Italy. I am 28 now and will be going next year just before my 30th birthday. I am going to have the fortune to share this time with my 5 yr old daughter (she will be 6) and my husband. I am sure that when I see the canals of Venice I will start crying I will be so happy to be there. However I will do my best to get to the Trevi fountain because of personal reasons. I plan on seeing St.Marks, Campinile, the trails of the CT, all of Rome- collosseum, vatican, spanish steps, the borghese gallery, roman forum, etc onto Pompeii, capri, sorrento, ravello... there is so much I want to see and do and we will. I just know that for everyone while they want to do so many things there is the one thing that they have to do/see and I just wanted to share that.

Posted by Ryan
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
41 posts

We just came back from in Italy (April/May) and my must sees were:

1)Pompeii- totally lived up to expectations. I guess I wasn't expecting it to be soooo big!! If I had to do it over again, I would have definitely gone with one of the tour-guides there, as I'm sure I missed a lot of small things.

2)Hiking in Cinque Terre. Even though there were some folks who discouraged us from going for just one night (spent two full days there) I'm so glad we ignored them and went anyway. It was absolutely fantastic and I am so happy we went. We had beautiful weather, the restaurants were amazing (Il Pirata, Il Castello, and Mikky's), and the views were spectacular. Some of our best photos came out from Cinque terre.

3) Seeing some of my Italian relatives who I haven't seen in over 12 years. Plus, it was really great seeing all the non-touristy places and living like a local.

Posted by Gio
Chicago, Illinois, USA
586 posts

MUST sees in Italy include (and while I've seen it, in reality, the Trevi Fountain is nothing all that magical or spectacular, at least for me!):
1. The city of Venice - the WHOLE city of Venice (nothing like it in the world)
2. The view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo, across the Arno
3. The Coliseum in Roma (and the adjacent Forum)

Have a great trip!

Posted by Bill
San Leandro, CA, USA
632 posts

I think Debby captured it better than anyone when she says "And for me, the Piazza Navona. Not so much as a place to "see" but as a place to experience Rome." Chalking up individual "places" as if they were trophies results in seeing Europe as a series of nice looking postcards...most of us on this board keep returning to Europe because we have "experienced Europe"...many times it is in the little things than make us smile...sometimes it is the profound...sometimes it's in the details. Invariably, it involves the people of Europe and our interactions with them. As for locations, just going down the Grand Canal does it for me...but getting onto my first metro ride after an interval of some indeterminate period of time does it equally as well.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8970 posts

The first and last time I was in Italy was in 1985.
What I remember as being most impressed with, on an emotional level, was the Coliseum . Seeing the little iron cross in the centre, in honor of all those who died there, struck a note with me.

Colleen, this particular trip will be oddly special for me as the last time I went was 23 years ago. I went with my best friend, and we of course threw some coins in the Trevi fountains, since it means you will return to Rome.
My friend will not be returning. She is dead. Instead, her namesake, my 12 yr old daughter will be returning with me . It will be special in ways I cannot describe, bittersweet I suppose.

Posted by regina
la frette sur seine
448 posts

So...Colleen did use the entry question of "must see"...but she also used the word "heart" set the explanation paragraph...she wasn't really talking about running around with a checklist ( i think...) just wondering what was your /our special destination...For me, i do like the idea of one " i really want to see or touch"...something more precise than sitting , watching...I'll always thank the 2 young priests who saw us studying our map outside a church, St Minerve, and sent us back inside because we hadn't touched the only touchable Michelangelo...he wasn't on "my" must see list, but i'm glad someone else showed it to me...

Posted by Lori
Seattle, WA, USA
27 posts

My must see list:

  1. Cinque Terre - amazing hiking through each of the towns then dinner and conversation with other locals and travlers.

  2. venice is a great place to see for a day

  3. road trip through tuscany

Posted by Natalie
Thunder bay, On, Canada
48 posts

my must sees of italy happen to be outside of rome. i think it is definately worth your while to visit the trevi fountain or the roman forum/colesseum.

but my highlight of rome was definately vatican city. the whole vatican city. walk around and visit the areas in there, but i was just in awe of the sistine chapel. i never realized the value of not taking flash pictures until i saw it. its just amazing to think that that was created by a man lol.

outside of rome, my absolute fav place to visit was pisa. everyone says its such a cheesy place but it is not, it is amazing to see all three buildings in a row on beautiful green grass. the foreign street merchants are abound, but that was one of my favorite parts. if someone is trying to sell you something on the street, barder with them to get the best price. if they dont want to go low enough move on to the next spot and do the same with them. there are many of the same street vendors that sell the same stuff and it is a fun time. i did not get to climb the tower because i was on a school tour but i plan to when i go next spring.

pompeii was definately another very interesting place to visit however i did not experience it all because i was having difficulty keeping up with my high school group trying to walk on those cobblestone streets, so make sure you have plenty of time to wander around, but amazing none the less.

Posted by Bill
San Leandro, CA, USA
632 posts

I love the Trevi Fountain, and I go back every time, as corny as that sounds. Heck, I even love the view of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel (known as the Wedding Cake) when you are walking down the Via del Corso (preferrably in the evening or at night after the traffic has been cut off). How sick is that?

Posted by Colleen
69 posts

I love that everyone is posting their own opinions, and don't worry what other people think. This is your opinion and you should not be judged for it. So Natalie, don't think that Pisa is not worth loving. This is one of your favorite spots - that is great. Everyone has a place that just connects...
Bill- not sick at all! :)

Posted by Bob
San Diego
13 posts

Cinque Terre is beautiful and great walking...Rome is a fantastic walking city. I would walk in the Roman Ruins at sundown or some other quiet time...see some ghosts!!! Florence is magnificent and manageable. I recommend Hotel Panorama Firenze. Get a 4th floor room...with a view of old Florence; the Duomo et al from your patio...100 Euros..with breakfast from a glassed in patio with more great views! The best...for us it was a week at an agriturismo (Cretaiole...GREAT place!) in Southern Tuscany, the Val d'Orcia area. Home of Brunello wine..I can taste it still! Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza..all wonderful little hilltowns. I'd go there again in a heartbeat. As our agriturismo owner said, "drive down any dirt road and you'll find something beautiful!" we did and she was right! I love Italy! We're going to Switzerland in about 3 weeks. We're going to Locarno...and may dip down to the Lake Come area for a day! Enjoy!

Posted by Joann
orlando, fl, usa
49 posts

We Just returned from Italy and I cannot wait to go back..Things that were impressive:
1. Rome: vatican,trevi fountain, and colleseum
also wine on rooftop of hotel
2. Florence: Duomo, Uffizi and the David. and a wine trip thru tuscany
3. Venice: a must see and a gondola ride is essential
4. Cinque Terre: relax on the beach and finish your trip..
I will go back and repeat the above one day