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It is difficult – if not impossible – to limit a list of things to do in Italy to 100, and even more difficult to put them in order of descending significance or entertainment value: home to Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Etruscans, Greeks and Romans, with islands as diverse as dour Sicily and African-influenced Pantelleria and cultures as far apart as Renaissance Venice and the prehistoric Trulli in Alberobello, Italy is a vibrant and colorful hotch-potch, a land of stark and passionately defended contrasts.
Let’s continue the count…
98. La Scala Theatre and Opera House, Milan
Opera and theatre lovers should not miss this unique glimpse backstage into one of the most famous opera houses in the world. The auditorium, the stage, the pit and portraits and history of the famous artists connected with “La Scala”, as well as the history of the opera house and a tour of the costume rooms, are all included in a guided tour of around one hour duration at a very reasonable fee. Tours should be booked in advance.
La Scala is on the Via Filodrammatici, 15 minutes by metro from Milan`s central railway station.
99. Regata Storica (Venice)
Venice’s history of regattas goes back to the start of the 13th century. Traditionally beginning on the first Sunday of September, the “Regata Storica” is one of the city’s best loved annual events, combining exciting and entertaining races and competitions with boats largely in 16th century style. The water pageant commemorating the arrival of the Queen of Cyprus (who gave up her throne in favor of Venice in 1489) is a particular highlight.
The Regata Storica takes place all along the Grand Canal, easily accessed by waterbus from landing stage D of the Santa Lucia station.
100. The Chianti Wine Trail
One of the most picturesque routes in Italy, the Chiantigiana (SR 222) runs from Siena to just south of Florence (around 69 km), taking in thousands of acres of vineyards and all the most important towns involved in the Chianti wine trade, from historical times to the present day. Many of the farms and vineyards on the way offer wine sampling or demonstrations of wine-making techniques, though it is advisable to make reservations in advance. Obviously, fall is the best time for this activity, when the grapes are being harvested, though the route through the rolling countryside of Tuscany is scenic at any time of the year.
The Chianti Wine Trail can be pursued by bicycle, car or coach; guided coach tours are also available.