Drinking your coffee al banco: Italians—especially city dwellers—don’t often linger at a piazza table sipping their morning cappuccino. For them, a caffè is a pit stop: They stand at the counter (al banco), throw back the bitter elixir, and continue on their way, reinforced by a hit of caffeine. You will also save a chunk of change drinking Italian style, at least 50% less than the sit-down price, even in the baroque surrounds of Turin's Piazza San Carlo.

Genoa’s UNESCO center: Don't be fooled by a rough, industrial exterior: Genoa has Italy's largest centro storico, with architecture to rival Venice. A restored old port, the Palazzo Reale, and the palazzi of Strada Nuova are just a few highlights in a trading city that got wealthy from the sea. 

The art at Padua’s Cappella degli Scrovegni: Step aside, Sistine Chapel. Art lovers armed with binoculars behold this scene in awe, a cycle of frescoes by Giotto that revolutionized 14th-century painting; it’s the most important work of art leading up to the Renaissance, and visiting is an unforgettable, intimate experience.

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The canals of Treviso: Venice’s near-neighbor has canals of its own, and much thinner crowds, even in peak season. Visit its atmospheric old fish market and city churches adorned with medieval artworks by Tommaso da Modena. 

The view from T Fondaco dei Tedeschi: This Venice department store—renovated in 2016 by stellar architect Rem Koolhas, no less—was once an elegant palazzo beside the Grand Canal. The views from its free rooftop deck are even more spectacular than the opulent goods inside.

 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.