I've been to Italy 4 times and am leaving for my 5th time on Saturday!
I loved Florence but then I love art so that helped!
I would say Rome is a must (been twice and would def go again) as is the Amalfi coast - loved Sorrento but Positano is supposed to be even better and with Pompeii/Vesuvius on your doorstep. Don't bother with Capri its overrated. My best friend visited Tuscany this year and had a wonderful time. How about the lakes? Georgeous scenery.
I guess it depends on what really lights your fire?
Well, first of all go to amazon.com or ebay and get the DVD "Visions of Italy" - it's the one that public television constantly airs - aerial helicopter shots and voice over narrative of all of Italy, including Sicily. And get a great guide book - IMHO DK or Cadogan.
I'm sure you know that searching this forum and using google.com is absolutley mandatory - but having been to Italy many times here are my must sees. And, just so you know, my wife and I are "slow-travelers" - meaning we spend at least 1 week, and sometimes more, in one place somewhere - savor and enjoy your trip - don't try to cram too much into a short timeframe.
Time of year - we always travel during the shoulder seasons/April/May or Sept/Oct - so that's when I've been there and I like May the best.
1. Venice - absolutely heaven-on earth, nowhere like it anywhere - do it again!
3. Rome - sometime before you die ;-)
4. Cinque Terre - too charming to articulate, with great hiking
5. The Puglia region of southern Italy, especially Lecce, Ostuni, Martina Franca, Alberobello, etc - very special
6. Matera and Maratea - Matera the oldest cave city in the world
7. The north of Italy - the Dolomites Mountains in German-speaking Italy - great inns and great trekking
BTW - we loved Florence, the art was spectacular as was the gelato ;-)
My favorite thing in Florence: My husband and I took the train to Piza and then to Lucca. Piza was fun and I loved the tower. We climbed to the top and ate lunch on the grass in the tower's shade.
Then train to Lucca. Lucca was so charming! We rented a tandem bike and rode around the city walls. It was only E4 and we had a blast!!
2nd favorite thing in Florence: We rented a car and drove south on the 222 highway to Siena. We left early and didn't make it to Siena until 9pm! We had such fun stopping on the way to take pictures and eat and wine taste and see castles. It was so fun!
Driving on the 222 wasn't bad, but getting back into Florence was a nightmare! It took us an hour to find the parking garage!
But, Oh, the memories! My husband and I fell in love all over again!
I'm not a big fan of Florence either, much prefer Siena!
As to suggestions for must-sees in a 14-day trip, obviously depends on whether this is meant to be a highlights of the whole of Italy or looking at one area.
If it does means looking at one part of Italy......to the mention of "north of Italy" (where one poster refers specifically the Dolomites) I'd suggest looking at more of the Veneto also: Verona/Vicenza/Padova plus smaller towns.
Turin and the rest of Piemonte are also beautiful. And Mantova for the ducal palace; Trieste for its monumental Austro-Hungarian architecture and cultural mix.
Wow! Livetotravel, you've been visiting more places in Italy than I did and I'm Italian and love to travel ...
Jpo37, I totally agree with Livetotravel re. all the places he mentioned. They are all completely different for architecture, landscape, way of living and culture, sometimes even for language, as it is the case in some parts of the Dolomites (in Alto-Adige region German is widely spoken) but all equally beautiful.
I'd suggest you pick up a couple of the aeras that Livetotravel mentioned and spend one week in each of them.
Alternatively, you might want to visit other wonderful areas, such as the lakes in Northern Italy (lago di Como, lago Maggiore and lago di Garda) or the mountainous Val d'Aosta region with lots of Castles and little villages with houses built in local stone. French is widely spoken in this area.
I'm leaving for a 3 week holiday to Mexico on 22nd Oct., but will come back to you if you need more detailed suggestions.
you're right. I did San Cristobal de las Casas last year and loved it (together with many other places). This year is going to be DF, San Miguel de Allende, Querataro, Guanjuato, Taxco and Oaxaca. I just hope I can get there tomorrow with this hurricane Wilma running around ....
Sorry for the intrusion about Mexico in this Italian forum.
Here are my "must sees" (in order of preference)..
then, of course there is always... erm.. NAPLES.
Just got back from Itlay. We went to Milan-great shopping, Cinque terre- highly recommend staying in Monterroso and hiking all 5 towns. read about it in Rick Steves book, Vicenza-beatutiful town that not many tourists are aware of, Veron- beautiful town, lots to see, BAssano de Grappa- quaint, where grappa comes from, Asolo- very pretty. WOuld reecommend all of the above. had a fabulous time!!!