15 of the Most Beautiful Places in Italy
You probably know that there are a million fantastic reasons why Italy makes such an amazing travel destination. It is a country with one of the best cuisines the world has to offer, its wine is second to none and its history is long and varied, making it an incredibly fascinating place to visit. However, one of the main reasons that so many people head to Italy on their vacation is that it is astoundingly beautiful. From its breathtaking coastline to imposing mountains, everywhere you go in Italy, you will see stunning landscapes and pretty city scenes. Of course, there are some places which are more beautiful than others in Italy, so if you are planning on booking your next vacation, you will want to know where exactly you can find the most gorgeous destinations. To help you out, here is a guide to some of the most beautiful places in Italy.
An increasingly popular tourist destination, Cinque Terre is a collection of five villages that hug the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. Each of these five villages – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Riomaggiore, and Manarola – boasts colorful houses, small but beautiful beaches, and pretty harbors. Once these villages were quite remote, but they have massively opened up to tourism in recent years. Despite the higher number of travelers making their way to Cinque Terre, the area has managed to retain an authentic Italian atmosphere. As well as admiring the beauty of the villages, you should also make sure you sample some of the delicious seafood Cinque Terre is famous for, as well as its iconic sauce, pesto.
But a trip to Cinque Terre is not just about visiting the villages. All five are linked by the Sentiero Azzurro cliffside hiking trails, and trekking between them is a hugely popular activity. The scenery between the villages is absolutely stunning and you may even spot a number of ancient structures such as castles along the way.
The Dolomites are primarily known as a winter destination for those keen on skiing and snowboarding, but the region makes a perfect retreat whatever the season. This incredible mountain range – forming part of the Northern Italian Alps – will take your breath away with their imposing height, but they are not the only natural landscape to see here. The Dolomites region is home to swathes of lush green forests and valleys, deep gorges, and icy glaciers, as well as a number of charming towns and villages, dotted all around, such as Belluno, considered to be the gateway to the Dolomites, and Merano, a wonderful spa town which was once a favorite of famous literary figures, including Ezra Pound and Franz Kafka.
As well as admiring the gorgeous scenery, on a vacation in Winter in the Dolomites, you can participate in a whole host of adventure activities. Skiing and snowboarding are obviously the best known, but mountaineering, hiking, and mountain biking are also on offer here. The area is also a fantastic spa destination, meaning you can easily combine adventure and relaxation.
Another Italian destination that perfectly combines relaxation and adventure, the Amalfi Coast has long been one of the most popular places for travelers venturing to Italy. Known as one of the most beautiful regions in the south of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is a collection of delightful towns, all of which overlook the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea and stretches of pristine beaches. It is particularly famous for its scenic coastal drive, and many travelers who come here choose to hire a car and spend their vacation making their way through the different villages. While this may be enough for some, there are lots of other things to do here. It is highly recommended to take a boat ride so you can see the stunning coastline from the water. Then, when you have had your fill of enjoying the scenery, you can take advantage of the many historical sites, shopping opportunities and amazing restaurants the region has to offer.
As the capital of Italy, it should come as no surprise that Rome has made it to this list. But it’s definitely on of the most beautiful places in Italy. A city with an incredible history, Rome is filled with a whole host of architectural wonders for you to marvel at and admire. Possibly the most famous of these is the Colosseum, the monumental amphitheater which was the venue for gladiator fights and battle re-enactments. However, there are countless other sights to see here, including Trevi Fountain, Vatican City, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, and the Spanish Steps. Everywhere you turn in Rome, you will discover something breathtaking and astounding.
Rome’s beauty is not just limited to what you can see outside; there is an abundance of art here housed within museums and art galleries. The most famous of these are the Vatican City Museums, whose highlights include Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and the frescoes on the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Known as one of the most beautiful places in the world, never mind just Italy, Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance and is absolute heaven for architecture and art lovers. The city’s crowning jewel is the Duomo, the magnificent cathedral with its impressive dome, a groundbreaking feat of engineering at the time of its construction. However, it is certainly not the only beautiful building in Florence. Wherever you walk in the city, you will find centuries-old buildings, ornate fountains, and cobblestone streets; it really does make you feel like you have stepped back in time.
Florence is also home to some of the world’s most famous art galleries. The Uffizi Gallery houses some of the most stunning art from the Renaissance, whereas the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze is where you can marvel at Michelangelo’s Statue of David.
A favorite of many a romantic coupling, Venice and beauty seem to be synonymous with each other. With its famous canals, iconic gondolas, splendid architecture, and numerous bridges, you could easily spend a couple of weeks just strolling around Venice and taking everything in. The biggest highlights of the city include St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, the Grand Canal, and Piazza San Marco, but one of the greatest joys about visiting Venice is just getting lost through the maze of streets and alleyways and seeing where you end up.
To see Venice at its most beautiful, you should head out to St. Mark’s Square when the sun has gone down. This is the time when all the tourists are gone and the locals have made their way home, so you will get this stunning plaza to yourself to really soak up the magical atmosphere.
Famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet , Verona is situated not too far from Venice and has become a top destination in recent years among those travelers who want to escape the crowds in Venice. The great thing about Verona is that it encompasses all the romance and elegance of Venice while also incorporating the long history of Rome and Florence. Many come here just to see Juliet’s balcony, but there are lots of other amazing sights here, such as the Arena, a 2,000-year-old amphitheater which still holds concerts and events to this day, Castelvecchio, and Verona Cathedral.
If you want to extend your trip to Verona to take in a day trip somewhere, Lake Garda is a wonderful option. This beautiful lake sits in the shadow of the Dolomites and makes a great day out from the city.
If you want a beautiful Italian destination which is also one of the most upscale in the world, you cannot go far wrong with Lake Como. After all, George Clooney is a huge fan, so it must have something going for it. The lake itself is the country’s deepest and also its most popular, with huge numbers of Italian and foreign travelers making their way there every year. And this is not a recent thing; Lake Como has been attracting tourists since Roman times. Despite this, the area has not become overrun by mass tourism and has retained its traditional charm.
Dotted around the lake are lots of pretty villages and towns for you to explore. The major towns include Como, Bellagio, and Menaggio, and each has its own worthwhile attractions, such as the Silk Museum in Como and various outdoor activities in Menaggio.
Porto Santo Stefano
Another delightful seaside town, Porto Santo Stefano is located in Monte Argentario, often described as the corner of Tuscany, Maremma region, that everyone forgot. Porto Santo Stefano is the largest town in this area and has everything you could wish for from a port town, such as a picturesque harbor, a chic marina filled with luxury yachts, and bustling streets. The town is dominated by the impressive Fortezza Spagnola, a 16th-century Spanish fort that now houses some interesting museums, including the Museum of the Masters of the Axe and Submerged Memories, an exhibit of archaeological finds from beneath the ocean.
Porto Santo Stefano is also home to some absolutely stunning beaches, perfect for lazing around in the sun and taking in the splendid views. Boat trips are also popular here, especially to the Tuscan islands of Giglio and Giannuti.
One of Italy’s best-loved secrets, Pitigliano is a wonderful village located in the gorgeous region of Tuscany which really encapsulates the Italian spirit and essence. While it has a beautiful medieval center, Pitigliano is also famous for its old Jewish quarter, so much so that the town is nicknamed Little Jerusalem. As you wander around the Jewish Quarter, you will see a restored 16 th century synagogue, dye works, ritual baths, and Kosher butchers, and there is also a small museum to visit. Elsewhere in Pitigliano, you can see the Palazzo Orsini, a 14th-century fortress which now houses a museum, a 16th-century aqueduct, and a number of pretty churches. You should also head to Piazza Becherini, the best place to get great views over the surrounding valley.
Another reason why people choose to travel to Pitigliano is the Etruscan tombs and sacred ways, which are fascinating to explore.
While you may not have heard of the small town of Alberobello in the region of Puglia, the heel of Italy, it definitely is one of the prettiest places in the whole country due to an original architectural feature. Alberobello is known for its trulli houses, whitewashed, conical-roofed buildings that look like something straight out of a fairytale. Trulli can be found all over Puglia, but it is in Alberobello where the highest concentration is. And you do not just get to see the outsides of these unique buildings. Many of them are still used as houses by the local residents, but there are also some which have been turned into restaurants, guesthouses and boutiques.
In addition to the trulli, you can spend a pleasant day or two strolling the narrow streets and soaking up the charming atmosphere of the town. It is also possible to do a walking tour with a guide so you can learn more about the history of the trulli and how important they are to the culture of Puglia.
Not only is Matera one of the most beautiful places in Italy, it’s also one of the most unique. And if you think you have seen Matera before, you may just be right; the town has featured in many Hollywood blockbusters over the years, including Ben-Hur and Wonder Woman . There are many things which make Matera an intriguing destination. Firstly, it is one of the oldest towns in the world; it has been continuously inhabited since the Neolithic Age – so approximately 7,000 years. Secondly, the town is mostly made up of sassi, caves which have been carved out of the rock to make shelters and homes for the local people. In fact, people lived in these caves right up until the 1950s, when the government finally moved them out into new accommodation.
Of course, the sassi are still there and make up part of the spectacular scenery of Matera. While many of the caves have been converted into accommodation, shops, and restaurants, there are many which have been left as they were when they were abandoned and it is possible to visit these caves. There are also a number of cave churches in Matera with amazing frescoes, some of which are considered to be some of the best examples of rock art in the world.
When it comes to breathtaking natural beauty, Sicily comes top of the list. The island’s centerpiece is one of the world’s most famous volcanoes, Mount Etna. It is Europe’s largest and most active volcano and offers travelers a whole host of hiking opportunities. Aside from Mount Etna, Sicily is filled with natural beauty, including bright white sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and an abundance of local flora.
But Sicily’s beauty does not just come from its landscapes. If you are more interested in architectural beauty, the island’s towns and cities will not disappoint. There are many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Ragusa, Noto, and Syracuse, which display buildings from various points in history, and the capital of Palermo enchants visitors with its ancient architecture and narrow medieval streets.
For those looking for the jet-set lifestyle mixed with charming village life, Sardinia makes an excellent choice. The main draw of Sardinia is the beaches; you would be forgiven for thinking you have landed somewhere in the Indian Ocean by how the beaches look here. There is a great mix of beach resorts and smaller, hidden-away beaches, so you will definitely find something for you. Alongside the beaches, Sardinia is also home to a number of nature reserves where you can marvel at all kinds of flora and fauna; the Maddalena Nature Reserve is known for its combination of beaches and nature trails.
Like Sicily, Sardinia also has a plethora of historical sights to visit alongside its natural wonders. The island is particularly famous for its Nuraghe sites, a type of ancient structure from the Nuragic civilization. Over 7,000 structures – ranging from temples to tombs – have been discovered and while some may be in better condition than others, they are all mysterious and fascinating in their own way.
It may not be the most well-known of the Italian islands, but Lampedusa certainly has much going for it. Italy’s southernmost island and also one of the smallest, Lampedusa nevertheless has beaches and natural scenery to rival Sicily and Sardinia, deserving its place among the most beautiful places in Italy. A major advantage of traveling to Lampedusa is the peace and quiet; if you want a vacation which includes relaxing on breathtakingly beautiful beaches, swimming in crystal clear water, and not doing much else, Lampedusa is the place for you. However, there are also a large number of hiking trails and scuba diving sites if you do fancy getting a bit active.
Italy’s reputation for being one of the most beautiful countries on the planet is not unfounded. Whether you visit the country’s cities, villages, or natural areas, you can guarantee you will be spellbound.
25 Most Beautiful Cities in Italy – The Ultimate List
From Trento to Lecce, these are the most beautiful cities in Italy.
There’s no denying that Italy is a country of immense natural beauty – from the Dolomite mountains to the volcanic islands off Sicily’s coast, the resplendent lakes of the north to the idyllic Tuscan countryside, and an endless stretch of sparkling coastline in between. But it’s also true that some of the most beautiful places in Italy are its cities.
From Eternal Rome and other timeworn metropolises to the country’s smaller student cities, there’s endless urban beauty in Italy’s open piazzas, ornate fountains, decadent churches, bustling markets, outdoor cafes, and winding alleyways strung with laundry lines. Bastions of history, safe-keepers of art, culture and cuisine, every Italian city is rich with delights waiting to be explored.
If you’re a city slicker like me, you’ll never run out of places to visit in Italy. Don you best walking shoes and get ready for some serious cobblestones – this list brings together 25 of the most beautiful Italian cities for your wish list, as chosen by me and other travel writers.
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25 most beautiful cities in Italy
By Ben from Driftwood Journals
It may not boast the glamour of Rome or the bravado of Naples, but Bologna is unquestionably one of Italy’s most beautiful cities.
With its russet-red and burnt-mustard hues, warren of medieval streets and crumbling ramparts, Bologna looks as though it were designed especially to adorn postcards and the Insta feeds of in-the-know travellers.
But it’s not all ‘show’ and no ‘go’.
No, Bologna – famously nicknamed ‘La Grassa’ (The Fat One) – is one of Italy’s leading gastro centres. As the capital of the food-centric Emilia Romagna region (which produces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, balsamic vinegar and Prosciutto di Parma), it is one of those places where there seems to be a historic deli, market, cafe, bakery or trattoria on every corner, all calling your name and urging you to stop and scoff.
Bologna is also home to the oldest university in the world, giving it a youthful, gritty edge. It’s the sort of place Harry Potter’s beatnik older brother would have gone to study jazz and the arts while Harry was busy nerding out at Dumbledore.
And you could learn a lot from the local student population, too. Follow their lead and spend your days loitering in the piazzas of the Ghetto Ebraico (Jewish Quarter) and sipping Lambrusco (the region’s famous sparkling wine), while admiring the graffitied walls and watching the beautiful people go by.
Oh, and don’t miss a hike to the top of the iconic Garisenda and Asinelli towers, which offer the best views in town and date back to Bologna’s medieval beginnings. But be warned, they’re even wonkier than Pisa’s more famous counterpart.
Where to stay in Bologna: For a glimpse of what it might be like to live as a local, check in to one of the gorgeous L’8 Boutique Design Apartments. Housed in a historic palazzo, and ideally situated within strolling distance of the city centre, they offer a salubrious dose of comfort and style as well as convenience.
Florence, one of the prettiest cities in Italy
By Kat from Wandering Bird
If you’re looking for the most beautiful city in Tuscany, you need to head to Florence.
This picturesque city is famous for culture, Renaissance art, architecture and historic monuments, including the iconic Piazza della Signoria. It’s full of art galleries and museums, among them the famous Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti.
Florence is so beautiful that UNESCO dedicated the historic centre a World Heritage site in 1982. There are plenty of churches, cathedrals – including the world-famous Duomo Cathedral – and idyllic streets to explore, as well as upmarket shops and boutiques to discover.
In addition to the art galleries mentioned above, you should also visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, which contains incredible marble sculptures by Michelangelo and others, notably David and Prisoners, and Botticelli’s Madonna and Child, and Madonna of the Sea.
Another must-see is the Ponte Vecchio, one of the most historic bridges in Florence. As well as being picturesque, shops line each side of the bridge, including jewellers, artisans and souvenir shops.
While visiting Florence, add on a day trip to San Gimignano, one of the beautiful Tuscan hill towns just beyond the city.
Where to stay in Florence: If you are visiting Florence while campervanning in Italy, there are plenty of great campsites nearby. If you’d prefer to stay in the centre, head for the Laurus Al Duomo hotel and be awestruck at the views.
The Eternal City and Italy’s biggest metropolis, Rome has been the spiritual, cultural and political heart of the country for more than three millennia. One of the world’s great capitals – the inspiration behind countless novels and films – Rome is simply one of those cities you have to see with your own eyes at least once in your lifetime.
Rome’s historic centre is overrun with legendary landmarks including the Pantheon, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and Spanish Steps need no introduction – just know that they’re even more impressive in real life.
Aside from Rome’s famous landmarks – images of which you’ll likely have emblazoned in your imagination long before ever arriving in Italy – there’s a less obvious, more bespoke beauty to be found in the winding streets of Trastevere, often dubbed ‘Rome’s most romantic neighbourhood’.
For a postcard-fit view of Rome, head to any of the arched bridges that span the Tiber River. When viewed from the sweet spot, pretty Ponte Ponte Garibaldi frames the domed Sistine Chapel in profile.
Where to stay in Rome: Otivm Hotel is a 10-minute walk from Trevi Fountain and features a beautiful rooftop terrace with panoramic city views.
Venice, a classically beautiful city in Italy
Oozing with romance and old-world charm, Venice is a city like no other. One of the most beautiful places in Italy and another of those bucket-list world cities whose streets every traveller dreams of getting lost down, La Serenissima is a dreamscape of bustling canals and narrow alleys.
The must-dos in Venice reads like a laundry list of Italy’s most photogenic places: The Grand Canal, plied by gondolas, the iconic Rialto Bridge and Doge’s Palace. The Basilica Di San Marco and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute are among Venice’s most beautiful churches, while the Piazza San Marco – best viewed from the top of St Mark’s Campanile – is another must-see.
Further afield, the Italian islands of Murano and Burano are both known for their colourfully painted houses and exquisite handicrafts.
Where to stay in Venice: If you’ve ever dreamt of spending the night on a private island in the Venetian Lagoon or in a grand deconsecrated chapel in Venice, check out this list of the best authentic Italy Airbnbs.
By Bella from Passport & Pixels
Trento doesn’t have the fame and glory of cities like Rome, Venice or Florence, but what it might lack in celebrity status it more than makes up for in colour, charm, and youthful vibes.
Trento is the capital of Trentino province, a mountainous region situated in the very north of Italy close to the Swiss and Austrian borders. Because of its location it has a very different feel from other Italian cities: less decadent and ancient, more Alpine and active.
That’s not to say there isn’t history here too: Trento has a picturesque, brightly-coloured medieval city centre filled with quiet piazzas and beautifully-frescoed old houses, as well as the stunning 13th-century Buonconsiglio Castle, which is definitely worth visiting for its gorgeous art and pretty gardens. There’s also a cable car to whisk you up to the top of nearby Mount Bodone for breathtaking views over the valley.
As well as its charming streets and colourful buildings, Trento is also a gateway to Trentino’s outdoor activities: from fly fishing in the river Sarca to rock climbing or cycling in the Dolomites and skiing in the winter months.
Where to stay in Trento: Albermonaco is a pleasant and affordable hotel in an excellent location, just a 10-minute walk from the city centre and the train station.
Milan, one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Italy
By Dymphe from Dymabroad
What makes Milan, Italy’s second-largest city, so beautiful is its monuments and buildings. The grand Porta Sempione city gate sets the scene as you travel around Milan on the city’s historic tram network.
The most famous landmark is of course the Milan Cathedral, a sight you have to see even if you only have one day in Milan. This is one of the largest churches in the world. In fact, there are only three churches that are bigger. The cathedral looks gorgeous from the outside, with its white stone and beautiful decorations.
Beyond the cathedral, Milan is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world, so a shopping spree on one of the many pedestrianised streets is in order. For the history inclined, Sforza Castle was built in the 15th century by the Duke of Milan and was expanded and renovated in the 16th and 17th centuries, becoming one of the largest citadels in Europe. Here you’ll find some rather interesting museums.
If it’s the beauty of Italian art that draws you to Milano, you must pay pilgrimage to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, which is housed inside Santa Maria Delle Grazie church. Finally, Don’t miss out on the beautiful Parco Sempione, one of the most relaxing places in the city.
Where to stay in Milan: The Park Hyatt Milano is very luxurious and central to most of Milan’s major landmarks.
Grungy, gritty and full of character, Naples isn’t normally thought of as ‘beautiful’. But Italy’s third-largest city has its particular charms – and unearthing them isn’t a very difficult task.
A day in Naples is all the time you need to get a feel for the city’s history and sink your teeth into its culinary traditions. Start with some of the more noteworthy churches – including the fresco-laden Duomo di San Gennaro and the unusual Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo – before wandering the laundry-lined streets of Quartieri Spagnoli.
At Mercato Pignasecca, Naples’ vibrant outdoor food market, you can find photo-ready displays of fresh fruit and veg and delightful hand-painted shop signs. Stand beneath the glass roof of the Galleria Umberto I and go underground at Toledo to discover one of the world’s coolest metro stations.
Lying in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Naples is a stone’s throw from a few of Italy’s most important archaeological sites, including Herculaneum and Pompeii. The gorgeous Amalfi Coast and some of the most beautiful small towns in Italy are just a short train ride away.
Where to stay in Naples: Le Stanze di Flora offers generous apartments in a typical Italian building with flowered courtyard and a traditional elevator. Centrally located and with a cafe breakfast included, it’s a great choice for budget travellers.
Palermo, one of the most beautiful cities in Sicily
By Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
Palermo, capital of the island region of Sicily, has been a cultural melting pot for centuries, influenced by Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, fought over by Greeks and Phoenicians, and invaded by the Normans. Palermo did not become Italian until 1861.
There are so many things to do in Palermo, including the 12th-century cathedral and numerous squares such as Piazza Pretoria, known as the ‘Square of Shame’ because of the carvings of naked nymphs and tritons around Its fountain.
Street cafes offer good coffee and cannoli – cream-filled tubes of pastry – or you can buy a refreshing Granita al Limone from a street seller in Piazza Verdi. Palermo has three Arabic-style markets: Capo, Vuccinia, and Ballarò. Via Marqueda is the main pedestrian precinct with numerous side alleys, all filled with interesting shops and architecture.
Pasticceria Costa, down one side street, is a famous marzipan patisserie that opened in 1700. At one end of the precinct stands Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele – the third largest opera house in Europe. Take a tour as this includes the roof terrace with amazing panoramic views.
Hop on the #806 bus to the former fishing village of Mondello, 20 minutes outside of town, to visit a beautiful sandy beach with crystal waters.
Where to stay in Palermo: La Terrazza Palace is an excellent hotel located in the centre of Palermo near the cathedral, making it the perfect base to explore the city. It offers comfortable modern rooms with air conditioning and free WIFI.
Matera, one of the most beautiful small cities in Italy
By Ophelie from Limitless Secrets
European Capital of Culture in 2019, Matera is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on Earth, with a history that dates back to 7000 BC. It also happens be one of the prettiest places in Italy.
Located in Basilicata in the country’s south, Matera is characterised by its white-stone houses. These cave dwellings, called Sassi Di Matera, are inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Getting lost in the Sassi is a great way to discover the city and see the stone cave houses up close. If you’re curious what these typical cave dwellings look like from the inside, be sure to visit Casa Grotta, which is set up with traditional furniture and tools.
Walk to the top of Civitas Hill to admire Matera’s Cathedral. It was built in the 13th century and from up here, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city. Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli and Belvedere Luigi Guerricchio are two more excellent viewpoints in Matera for panoramic views of the Sassi.
Where to stay in Matera: Thymus Residence nei Sassi is a 3-star hotel with rooms hewn from stone in typical Matera fashion.
Verona is a majestic Italian city, best known for attracting people who want a bit of romance in their life. The famous Juliet House in Verona is the city’s main attraction. Reachable by foot from the centre, the site includes a small courtyard with a statue of Shakespeare’s Juliet.
While the Casa di Giuletta is a great stop in Verona, the city has an array of other things to see and do. The Verona Arena, one of the best-preserved in all of Italy, continues to host concerts and artistic performances.
Heading west of the amphitheater and towards the river, a walk across Ponte Castelvecchio is worth the trek. This medieval bridge has a lot of viewpoints to take photos from plus several climbing areas to reach the upper portions of the bridge.
Castelvecchio, a castle connected to one end of the bridge, has an interesting museum that visitors can tour from the interior courtyard.
Where to stay in Verona: Il Relais is a charming hotel right next to Castelvecchio. It’s a perfect location to maintain closeness to several attractions and get a feel for Italian hospitality.
By Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Catania is easily one of the prettiest cities in Italy, and one of the most lively in the country, with a thriving cultural life and nightlife scene.
The second largest city in Sicily, Catania is located at the foothills of Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It was founded by the Greeks, but it’s seen a series of dominations that shaped its landscape as well as its character – most notably the Roman domination. Yet it was during the Renaissance period that Catania thrived.
Among the things to do in Catania that you can’t miss there’s visiting the Roman Amphitheater and the Cathedral, doing a food tour of the market (Catania is a great place to try fish and seafood, and has an incredible street food scene), and exploring Mount Etna and the surrounding wineries.
You can also take a day trip to Syracuse, Noto or Ortigia from Catania.
Where to stay in Catania: If you have the budget to splurge, Duomo Suites & Spa is by far the best luxury hotel in town. If on the other hand you have a limited budget, opt to stay at Eco Hostel.
An important port city on Italy’s Adriatic Coast, Bari is the capital of southern Puglia region and a stronghold of distinct Apuglian culture and heritage. The city is a convenient departure point for travelling by ferry to Albania and Montenegro, and until recently, that’s all Bari was – a transit point. But the city’s reputation is slowly changing and Bari is becoming a destination in its own right.
The most beautiful slice of Bari is its old town. Known as Barivecchia, it occupies a tapered peninsula and when viewed from afar, the maze of whitewashed houses and church bell towers melts seamlessly into the sea beyond.
Previously considered a no-go area due to high levels of petty crime, the neighbourhood has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years and is now tourist-friendly. Bari’s two main squares, Piazza Mercantile and Piazza Ferrarese, have also undergone a facelift.
Erected in 1132, the Castello Normanno-Svevo is a must-see in Bari, as is the magnificent Teatro Petruzzelli opera house. Murat quarter is the city’s south has a distinct feel, with classical 19th-century architecture and wide pedestrian streets.
Where to stay in Bari: For a comfortable self-contained suite with balcony views of Bari, Bed & Breakfast Il Priscio is an ideal choice for budget travellers. The location is ideal for enjoying Bari’s many local restaurants and bakeries.
Genoa, one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Italy
By Marta from Learning Escapes
Genoa is a beautiful city in the north-west of Italy with a stunning historic centre and an interesting old port. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Genoa experienced a period of great wealth thanks to the successes of its powerful fleet. Many of the city’s attractions are connected to this maritime vocation.
There are two main areas worth exploring: the centre, and the Porto Antico (Old Port), both easy to visit even with just one day in Genoa. The city center is a mix of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Not to be missed are the Palazzi dei Rolli (a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2006), the Royal Palace, and the churches of Annunziata and San Lorenzo, a dream for art and history lovers.
This is also the area where you find Genoa’s caruggi, medieval narrow alleys full of charm.
The Old Port is now Genoa’s trendy waterfront and cultural hub. Worth seeing here are the aquarium, the various creations by architect Renzo Piano, Genoa’s several museums, and the Bigo panoramic lift, from where you can catch sunning views of the city.
Where to stay in Genoa: For a pleasant stay, hotel NH Collection Genova Marina is a 4-star hotel at the old port, with nice views over the marina.
By Maggie from The World Was Here First
If you’re looking for a beautiful and underrated Italian city to visit, then you really cannot go wrong with lovely Perugia. As the capital of the Umbria region in central Italy, Perugia is located about equidistant between Florence and Rome and makes for an excellent stop on any Italy itinerary.
There is lots to do in Perugia and its ample student population gives it a vibrant and youthful energy that makes the city a joy to explore. Make sure to wander around the Piazza IV Novembre and take a leisurely break to people watch on the many steps, gaze in awe at the imposing Etruscan Arch, and take in the beautiful sunset views at the Giardini Carducci.
It’s also worth visiting Underground Perugia in order to learn more about the city’s fascinating history. If you have more time, consider taking a day trip to nearby Assisi or even go wine tasting at one of the many vineyards in the surrounding countryside.
Where to stay in Perugia: If you’re looking for a great place to stay while in Perugia, then consider booking a room at the Residenza il Punto. This centrally located hotel is situated within easy walking distance of the city’s top attractions and has a number of comfortable rooms to choose from.
By Roxanne from Faraway Worlds
On the edge of the spectacular Dolomites mountains, Bolzano, the beautiful capital of South Tyrol, is one of the highlights of northern Italy.
With a history that spans a thousand years, Bolzano encompasses German, Austrian and Italian culture. The charming town centre filled with cafes, bars and restaurants is the perfect base for exploring this beautiful region.
From Bolzano, it’s just 30 minutes to the breathtaking Dolomites for world-class skiing in the winter. In the summer months, there are a range of day hikes and multi-day treks for all levels of ability, with spectacular views of snow-studded mountains, rolling valleys and glacial lakes. For those after less strenuous pursuits, there are a number of excellent wineries in the area, along with several monasteries that are open to visitors.
Back in town, it’s easy to spend a day strolling through the delightful town centre, stopping for pastries and visiting one of Bolzano’s interesting museums. The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is especially fascinating, with an exhibit that features the world-famous ice mummy, ‘Ötzi, the Iceman’.
There are a range of delicious food options in town, including many local choices which travellers might normally associate with Germany rather than Italy, such as pretzels and strudels.
As lovely as the city is, it’s the surroundings that make Bolzano truly special. With the Dolomites as a backdrop, every moment here is magical.
Where to stay in Bolzano: For a luxurious experience in Bolzano, stay at Castel Hörtenberg, a restored Renaissance castle with beautiful grounds and easy access to all the local attractions.
Located on Sicily’s far-northeastern coast, just a skip from Reggio Calabria, Messina is a classically beautiful Sicilian port city that sadly gets overlooked by many tourists. An important trading hub throughout its long history, Messina centres on a lively harbour fringed with palm trees and fronted with classically beautiful buildings.
The nearby Strait of Messina, the passage of water that separates Sicily from the Italian mainland, forms a picturesque backdrop. Everything in Messina is tied to the water and the city’s seafaring heritage, including the gorgeous Neptune Fountain, which is crowned with a statue of the sea god.
When it comes to sightseeing, the Cathedral of Messina and its astronomical clock – one of the largest in the world – can’t be missed. After wandering the picturesque Port of Messina, head into the hills behind town to walk amongst the wild lemon, mandarin and orange trees.
With frequent hydrofoil services, Messina is the jumping-off point for the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Linger a few days in Messina to experience one of Sicily’s most underrated cities – and to overindulge in authentic Sicilian gelato of course!
Where to stay in Messina: B&B Porta Della Sicilia offers homely rooms set back a few blocks from the waterfront.
Located in Italy’s far north-east, the city of Trieste is technically part of the Balkan Peninsula. Its position at the gateway to Europe makes Trieste one of the most culturally fascinating and visually distinct cities in all of Italy.
Trieste is perched on a narrow strip of territory that hugs the Bay of Trieste, very close to Croatia’s Istrian coast and the adorable Slovenian town of Piran. The city was ruled by the Habsburg Monarchy until 1918 and was, for a time, the fourth-largest city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire after Vienna, Budapest and Prague. Before that, Trieste was the final stop on the Maritime Silk Road, with connections to Turkey via the Suez Canal.
All this heritage adds up to a multilayered urban landscape of glorious architecture, open sea-facing plazas, and enough outdoor cafes to keep you buzzing for several lifetimes.
One of Europe’s literary capitals and recently voted among the best small cities in the world to live in, Trieste has no shortage of sightseeing opportunities for visitors. The Piazza della Borsa, Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi and 1st-century Roman Theatre of Trieste are all within walking distance of the harbour.
One of the prettiest spots in the city is the Ponte Rosso bridge, which spans Trieste’s narrow canal and is backed by the stunning Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Spyridon.
Where to stay in Trieste: For luxurious rooms and canal views, Forvm Boutique Hotel embodies Trieste glamour and is walking distance from all the major landmarks.
By Claudia from Strictly Sardinia
The capital of Sardinia is a truly lovely city and a perfect destination for a long weekend trip, yet it remains one of the most underrated cities in Italy.
Cagliari has an incredible ancient history. Founded by the Phoenicians, it went through several dominations – the Romans and the Aragonese to name but a few – before it became part of Italy. Each and every domination left its mark on the city. Scattered around town you will find interesting archeological sites, the most notable being the Roman Amphitheater. You should also visit Villa Tigellio and Tuvixeddu Necropolis.
Make sure to go for a walk across Cagliari’s historic districts. Castello is the one with the highest concentration of landmarks – here you will find the Cathedral, the Museum of Archeology, the two protective towers, and a few viewpoints for breathtaking views of the city.
La Marina, by the harbour, and Stampace across the street have a few beautiful churches. After dark, these are the local hotspots for nightlife. Villanova, the last historic district, is the one that has retained all of its local character.
When in Cagliari, make sure to pay a visit to Poetto Beach and the nearby Molentargius Nature Reserve, where you can spot pink flamingos.
Where to stay in Cagliari: There are a few good Airbnbs in Cagliari that are perfect for a short stay. Charming Marina is by Sant’Eulalia church, in the heart of the Marina District, and combines a stylish interior with the best customer service you can hope to get at an Airbnb.
An ideal unconventional city break destination in Europe, Parma is a quaint university city in Italy’s northern Emilia Romagna region. The entire city radiates out from central Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, a beautiful Italian square surrounded by administrative buildings and palaces.
Parma is famed for its Romanesque buildings, none more iconic than the Baptistery of Parma, a distinctive octagonal-shaped pink marble structure that’s become a symbol of Parma. The city cathedral lies on the north-eastern corner of the square, juxtaposed by the many-arched facade of the Vescovado Parma on the opposite side.
There’s a world of beauty to be found in Parma’s cafes and restaurants – this city holds claim to such delicacies as Parmesan cheese and Parma ham.
Where to stay in Parma: The comfortable rooms at Niki O. Apartments feature balconies with views over Parma’s rooftops. It can’t be beat in terms of location, lying mere footsteps from the main plaza.
By Hayley from A Lovely Planet
Lucca isn’t as well-known or visited as some of the other Tuscan cities on this list, and it’s for this reason that a visit to Lucca is a one of the best things to do in Tuscany.
Lucca is a walled city and the 16th-century fortifications that surround the centre are still mostly intact. In fact, you can even hire a bike and cycle around the city walls, admiring the view both in and outside the city from above.
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a huge circular piazza in the centre that was once a Roman amphitheatre. Concerts are often held here, with a program that ranges from classical music to mainstream pop.
While exploring Lucca, you’re bound to notice Torre Guinigi, a tall tower with trees growing from the top. You can climb the tower for fantastic views of the city and the surrounding hills. As with many Italian cities, one of the best pastimes in Lucca is to indulge in delicious cuisine, and you’ll find plentiful osterias, trattorias and pizzerias across the city.
There is very minimal parking in Lucca, so if you’re driving, leave your car outside the walls. Better yet, take the train – most of the city is made up of narrow, walkable pedestrian streets, another thing that makes it so lovely.
Where to stay in Lucca: Palazzo Rocchi is a nice guesthouse inside the city walls. Breakfast comes included in the nightly rate.
By Megan from Megan Starr
Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region in Italy and one of the most popular cities to visit in the north of the country. The city’s roots are extremely old as it used to be a Roman settlement, dating back to the times of Emperor Augustus. Today, Turin is renowned for its historical sights, restaurant scene, world-class museums, and the Juventus football team.
One of the most historically important places in the city is Piazza San Carlo Square, which is lined with cafes, souvenir shops, and some of Turin’s finest museums. The Galleria d’Arte Moderna definitely attracts one’s attention because it’s the home of some of the most famous modern artworks in Italy. There are approximately 45,000 pieces to admire inside.
After perusing the centre of Turin, take a walk or hire a bike to do a bit of sightseeing in San Salvario along the river. In Parco del Valentino, you can visit a model Medieval village called ‘Borgo Medievale’ as well as the beautiful 18th-century botanical garden. Both of these Turin attractions are free to visit.
Where to stay in Turin: A fantastic choice for mid-range accommodation is Best Quality Hotel Dock Milano, located right next to the train station, making it an easy place to get to if you’re arriving in Turin from Milan or any of the other cities to the east.
By Linn from Brainy Backpackers
Jam-packed with medieval buildings and home to what might just be the most recognisable square in the country, Siena is truly one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Most travellers only spend one day in Siena, but truthfully this stunning corner of Tuscany deserves so much more.
The popular Piazza del Campo is the main attraction, with its shell shape and many restaurants and bars. At the square, you can climb more than 400 steps to the top of Torre del Mangia for spectacular city views. Make sure you visit the Civic Museum while you’re there.
Every 2nd of July and 16th of August, the square hosts a huge horse race known as the Palio of Siena. The roots of this tradition go all the way back to the 6th century, and is an important part of life for Siena locals.
Siena Cathedral, Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, is another highlight. The Romanesque-Gothic church is said to be one of the most beautiful in Italy, and it is easy to see why. With multiple famous Tuscan artists including Michelangelo and Donatello immortalised in statue form within the cathedral, astonishing frescoes and stained-glass windows, it’s a true gem.
Where to stay in Siena: For a touch of Tuscan luxury, Grand Hotel Continental Siena has gorgeous rooms footsteps away from the Piazza del Campo.
By Veronika from Travel Geekery
Syracuse, or Siracusa in Italian, is a beautiful city in the southeast of Sicily. Its historical core, located on a separate island called Ortigia, draws the most crowds.
Walking from New Town Syracuse to Ortigia, you’ll come across the remnants of the Temple of Apollo – a Greek monument from about the 6th century BC. The real heart of Syracuse’s Ortygia lies in a vast Square called Piazza Duomo, which is dominated by a large Baroque cathedral – the Cathedral of Syracuse. It’s right here at the square where you can find all sorts of stunning architectural gems including the local city hall and the church of Santa Lucia, as well as a maze of underground tunnels.
Continuing to the seaside, you’ll find a small city beach. If you make it all the way to Ortigia’s southernmost point, you can admire the majestic Castello Maniace, a seaside Citadel. For a small fee, you can explore its nooks and crannies and feast your eyes on the views.
Syracuse is located just an hour away from Catania (by car or bus), so it can be easily visited on a day trip from Catania.
Where to stay in Syracuse: If you’d like to stay overnight, do so at the well-rated B&B Palazzo del Sale, located ideally just off the Piazza Duomo.
With grand baroque buildings, sculpted towers, a sunken Roman amphitheatre and a sea of buff-coloured facades, the walled city of Lecce in southern Puglia – the nail in the heel of Italy’s boot – is a sight to behold.
The most important settlement on the Salentine Peninsula, Lecce has been nicknamed ‘the Florence of the South’ for its outstanding monuments. Many are hewn from Lecce stone, a distinctive limestone that gives the city’s skyline its milk-and-honey profile.
Like all the best cities in Italy, Lecce’s epicentre is a stunning cathedral. The Church of the Holy Cross features an ornate rosette window and stone carvings that you need to see up close to fully appreciate.
Showcasing a similar brand of local craftsmanship, the nearby Colonna di Sant’Oronzo is a beautiful example of a Roman colonnade, marking one of Lecce’s grandest plazas and the entrance to the 2nd century Roman Amphitheatre, which was only discovered in recent decades and is still only partially excavated. The Giardini Pubblici Giuseppe Garibaldi is a beautiful public park that offsets the stone city with shades of green.
Where to stay in Lecce: Located strolling distance from the cathedral, the rooms at Rudiae Boutique are sun-lit and spacious.
You probably know Pisa for its famous Leaning Tower. Beyond this iconic Italian landmark lies a city of monumental beauty – and you’re going to need more than just a quick day trip to see it all.
Pisa is located in the heart of Tuscany, itself one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in Italy. Aside from the famous Leaning Tower (the bell tower of the city’s main cathedral), Pisa boasts at least two dozen other historic churches, a handful of medieval palaces and some charming historic stone bridges.
Don’t miss the 16th-century Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, dressed in an unusual Mannerist facade, nor the nearby Piazza dei Cavalieri, a distinctly Italian Renaissance-style square.
Wander through the pleasant Botanical Garden to reach the waterfront, with its many cafes and restaurants. Drink in the river panorama from the Lungarni di Pisa viewpoint before heading east for more of Pisa’s beautiful churches, palazzos, and the university complex that draws students from around Europe to walk its 12th-century learned halls.
Where to stay in Pisa: Gialel Pisa is well positioned for sightseeing and features bright, clean rooms with ensuite bathrooms and comfortable furnishings.
The 20 Best Things to Do in Italy (Bucket List)
You’re planning to visit Italy for your next trip and you’re looking for the best places to visit?
Great choice, there are many beautiful things to see in the country, you will love it!
With many beautiful cities, a rich history, stunning landscapes, some of the most beautiful Mediterranean islands and of course delicious food, I can say without a doubt that Italy is one of my favourite destination in Europe.
In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this list of the 20 best things to do in Italy, with all the highlights and must-see attractions. It will for sure give you an idea of your next travel destination.
So, what are the best points of interest in Italy? Discover Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Sicily and much more now!
Visit Italy: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
1. Rome : the capital
I will start this guide of the best things to do in Italy with the capital, Rome. The Eternal City city attracts millions of tourists every year but, despite what you might think, it isn’t the most touristic city of the country. Florence and Venice both attracts more international visitors!
Rome is a beautiful city, with the added advantage of being very easy to visit on foot. It’s full of ancient monuments, beautiful squares and museums. Here are the must-see:
If you are visiting Rome, you should also go to the Vatican City. Don’t miss the following:
- Saint Peter’s Square
- Saint Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest basilica
- The Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s major work: The Last Judgement
- And all Vatican museums
For more details about the city, you should read my article: The 25 best things to do in Rome.
The Colosseum, in Rome
2. Florence: the art city
Florence, undoubtedly the most beautiful city of Tuscany, is home to numerous museums and Renaissance palaces. The Cultural Heritage is immense: Half Italian works of art are located in Florence. No wonder why it’s one of the most visited city in Italy along with Venice!
So will you be one of the 15 million tourists that will visit the city this year?
Must-see places in Florence:
- The Duomo
- The Uffizi gallery and its famous paintings
- The basilica San Miniato al Monte, from which you will have a panoramic view over Florence. A tip: go there for sunset
- Piazza della Signoria: a real open-air museum
- Cupola del Brunelleschi: climb 400 steps for a 360 degree view of Florence. Remember to book your tickets in advance to avoid the queue.
And don’t forget to visit the Tuscan countryside, famous for being the most beautiful in Italy!
Florence, in Italy
When you hear about Pisa, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably the famous leaning tower, the symbol of the city. However, there are also other things to see in the city, so you can easily spend a full day in town.
- The Piazza dei Miracoli, is the touristic heart of the city: all the famous monuments of Pisa are located there!
- The tower of Pisa, with it’s 20€ entrance fee (it can be a surprising price!)
- The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption
- The Baptistery of Saint John of Pisa
- The Monumental Cemetery Camposanto
- La Piazza dei Cavalieri, a small typical Italian square with fewer tourists
- Borgo Stretto: shopping hotspot and ideal place to eat or have a drink in one of the numerous restaurants.
Pisa is the perfect day trip from Florence, a train connects the 2 cities in one hour for less than 10€.
4. Venice: the romantic city
I can’t write an article about the Best of Italy without mentioning the famous City of Venice!
Venice is one of the most touristic cities in Europe, a great choice if you want to spend a weekend or more in Italy. With its numerous canals and its famous gondola rides, it’s also the perfect destination for a romantic stay. The Venice Carnaval takes place every year in February and attracts tourists from all over the world. If you don’t mind the crowds, it can be a good time to visit the city!
The places to visit in Venice:
- Saint Mark’s Square: heart of the city and pigeons’ area
- Saint Mark’s Basilica and its golden mosaics
- The Ducale Palace
- The Bridge of Sighs: Venice’s famous bridge
- The islands of Murano (world famous for glassmaking) and Burano with its typical colorful houses.
5. The Cinque Terre
This guide of the best places to visit in Italy wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Cinque Terre, 5 stunning cliff-side villages overlooking the Mediterranean sea. You have probably already seen pictures of them, these spectacular colourful towns are amongst the most famous sights of Italy!
Cinque Terre villages are located close to each other. To visit them, you have 3 choices:
- Do the hiking trail that connects them (but be careful, depending on the season, some of them might be closed). The routes between each village can go from ½ hour to 2 hours.
- Take the train that connects all the villages: The Cinque Terre Express.
- By boat, with amazing views over the villages.
The Cinque Terre villages are the following:
- Monterosso al mare: located in the northernmost part, it is the largest of the villages and the only one with a large sandy beach.
- Vernazza with its colourful houses and small port.
- Corniglia, the only one that isn’t connected to the sea, can be reached by a staircase of more than 350 steps.
- Manorala: the oldest village.
- Riomaggiore, situated in the very East, at “the end” of the Cinque Terre.
6. Lecce: the baroque city
Much less known than the previous cities, it’s however definitely worth a visit during your trip to Italy. Lecce, located at the base of the “Italian boot” in Puglia region, is a very beautiful baroque town. There are churches, museums and palaces everywhere, all sharing the same architectural style.
7. Verona: the Shakespearean city
Verona is the city of love and of the tragic destiny of Romeo and Juliet. Everyone has already heard about it, but do you know what are the best things to do in town?
Here are the best places to visit in Verona:
- Juliette’s house: the opportunity to admire the famous balcony and take a picture with your lover
- The piazza Bra, where Verona arena is located
- Piazza delle Erbe with its market, bars and restaurant terraces
- The basilica of San Zeno Maggiore, the oldest church in Verona
- The Castelvecchio, a 14th century castle turned into a museum
8. Genoa: port city
Genoa is and have historically always been a port city. Christopher Columbus, one of the most famous adventurers of all time was born here!
The city is also full of monuments and beautiful sites to admire. Not many people visit it but it’s a shame, because there are very nice things to see in Genoa.
Things to do:
- The port of Genoa where you can visit the aquarium and see a replica of a pirate ship. Don’t forget to take the glass elevator to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
- The historical center with the piazza dei Ferrari and its beautiful fountain
- Walk along Via Garibaldi and visit one or more palaces such as the palazzo reale, the palazzo bianco or the palazzo Rosso.
- Stroll along the Lungomare, a 3 km seaside promenade
- Go to Boccadasse, an old fisherman’s village with colourful houses
If you go to Genoa, you shouldn’t miss Portofino, a beautiful coastal village located about 35km south of the city.
9. Naples : historic city
Naples is the European city with the largest historical centre, so you can be sure there are a lot of churches and monuments to visit in the city! Naples is also very famous around the world for its gastronomy: the pizza (created in the 1600s as a street food for the poorest Neapolitans) as well as the famous Neapolitan sauce.
Naples must-see attractions:
- Start with the historic centre and its Duomo
- The Piazza del Plebiscito, a huge and very photogenic square with beautiful monuments surrounding it
- The Vigiliano Park and its magnificent view over the bay
- Visit the archaeological museum which houses objects from Pompeii archaeological site
- Go to Pompeii, located about 40 minutes by bus or train from Naples and witness the damage caused by the murderous eruption of the Vesuvius.
10. Capri: magnificent island
From Naples you can easily take the ferry and go to Capri island for a day trip.
You will start your visit of one of the most beautiful places in Italy in Marina Grande port. You should then take the funicular: it will take you directly to the famous Piazzetta, in Capri town center. With its café terraces and magnificent view over the bay, the place is magical!
Other things you shouldn’t miss in Capri are the Arco Naturale, a large 20m height rocky arch and the viewpoint of Tragara, which also offers a magnificent view. And of course the must-see attraction of Capri: the blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra in Italian), named after the unique water color inside.
11. Turin: the city of cinematography and chocolate
You may not know it, but Turin is THE chocolate city. Yes, there is not only Swiss or Belgian chocolate! Italian one is also very famous. Your favourite sweet thing has even been invented by a master pastry chef from Turin! Every year, the chocolate festival takes place in town, with many events and tasting.
But Turin is also the city of cinema. Located in Turin’s emblematic monument, the Mole Antonelliana, the Cinema Museum is one of the best in the world. You will learn more about the history of cinema and you can even see masks of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings! Don’t forget to take the panoramic lift to the upper terrace, you will enjoy a 360° view over the entire city.
Also worth seeing during your trip to Turin:
- The Egyptian museum: the 2nd largest after the one in Cairo and the oldest Egyptian museum in the world
- The automobile museum, with its impressive collection of vehicles
- The Palazzo Reale, former residence of the Dukes of Savoy
To plan your visit to Turin, you can read my definitive guide about the city: The 20 best things to do in Turin
12. Milan: the capital of fashion
Milan is the capital of fashion and design, with many renowned designer’s luxury boutiques and showrooms. In addition, there is also many historic buildings to visit in the city!
The tourist attraction you shouldn’t miss in Milan:
- The Piazza del Duomo and its magnificent Cathedral: the Duomo di Milano. Don’t hesitate to take the entrance ticket with rooftop terrace access, it’s worth it!
- The Sforza Castle and Parco Sempione, just nearby
- The Vittorio Emmanuel II gallery and its huge glass roof, a luxury shopping spot
- The Pinacoteca di Brera (Brera art gallery) and its rich collection of paintings by Italian masters such as Raphael, Bellini or Caravaggio.
- The monumental cemetery: The burial place of celebrities, featuring some very unusual tombstones.
If you have planned to go to Milan, you should my detailed article, with all my best tips to visit the city in 1, 2 or 3 days: The 15 best things to do in Milan
During your trip to Italy, it’s a good idea to group the visits of Milan and Turin together, as both cities are less than an hour away by train from each others.
13. Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands
The Lake Maggiore, along with Lake Como and Lake Garda is one of the 3 biggest (and most beautiful) Italian lakes. If you plan to visit Milan during your stay in Italy, it can be a great idea to spend a day or 2 around Lake Maggiore, as it’s only at 1h30 by car. And if you don’t have a car, many tour companies offer day trips from Milan.
Lake Maggiore is especially known for the Borromean Islands: the great new is that you can perfectly visit all 3 of them in 1 day with one of the many boat tours available.
The 3 islands
- The Isola Madre, where you will be able to admire its famous exotic garden with freely wandering peacocks.
- The Isola Bella, with the Borromean palace, its garden and the shell grotto
- The Isola Superieure, an island of fishermen.
14. Lake Como
Located at only 1 hours from Milan, Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy. The lake is a very popular jet set holiday destination and is famous around the world for its many majestic villas and lush gardens.
It’s also a very popular shooting location: for example, you might have seen in it in Star Wars episode II! A part of the movie was shot at the Balbianello villa, one the lake shore. But Lake Como is more than this: around the lake you can visit beautiful fishing villages and enjoy many hiking trails. A must visit in Northern Italy!
Best Places to see:
- Como city and its pedestrian center
- Tremezzo and Villa Carlotta with its sumptuous botanical garden
- Bellagio and villa Melzi, a source of inspiration for Stendhal himself
- Varenne and the villa Monastero with its promenade at the edge of the water
- Castello Di Vezio and its panoramic view of the lake below
- And of course, if you’re Star Wars fan, the Villa Balbianello.
If you’re planning to spend a week in Northern Italy, an excellent itinerary can be: Turin, Milan, Lake Maggiore, Lake Como.
15. Garda lake
Lake Garda is the largest and one of the most touristic lake in Italy. It’s located at only 1h30 by train from Milan.
Besides the lake itself, you can visit some of the nearby towns:
- Sirmione: the most famous town on Lake Garda. Its medieval castle marks the entrance to the city, and it’s vert pleasant to stroll in the small typical alleys. Catullo caves archaeological site is also worth seeing for its ruins of Roman temples and villas.
- Malcesine: in the city, you can visit Scaliger Castle and the Palazzo dei Capitani. Then take the cable car to Monte Baldo and enjoy a panoramic view of Lake Garda.
- Torri del Benaco: with its small fishing port and Scaligero castle, it also deserves a stop.
16. The Dolomites
If you love hiking and Italy, then the Dolomites are made for you! Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area has 18 mountain peaks, some of them being more than 3,000 meters height.
Famous for their very particular shape, sculpted by the elements, they are even more beautiful at sunrise and sunset.
To fully enjoy the landscape, you can drive along the Dolomites road from Bolzano to Cortina. There is around 130km and the road offer breathtaking views on the mountains.
Don’t hesitate to stop in the villages or at the lago di Carezza. Cortina is one of the best starting point for the numerous hiking trails in the region. If you love outdoors activities, the Dolomites is the region you should see during your next trip to Italy!
17. The Amalfi Coast
You are looking for the top sights in Italy? Then the Amalfi coast is a great choice for your next trip!
Located South of Naples, the Amalfi coast is famous for being one of the most beautiful coasts of Italy. With its wild coast and amazing cliff-side villages, no doubt you will love it!
Overview of the best places to visit:
- Sorrento, standing on a cliff with a view over the bay and the island of Capri.
- Positano, a colorful cliffside village. It’s popular jet-set destination for its fashion boutiques and trendy cafes.
- Nocelle: if you go to Positano, you should really do the Path Of Gods Trail, it start from Nocelle, a bit above Positano.
- Amalfi and its magnificent Duomo
- Ravello and the villa Cimbrone: with its 6 hectares garden overlooking the sea, it’s a must-do in Ravello.
18. Gargano National Park
Located in Puglia region, Gargano Natural Park is the largest natural park in Italy. The coast is famous for the limestone rocks the sea has carved over time. You will be able to see numerous caves, wild coves and faraglioni.
The center of the Gargano is a great place for peaceful hikes, especially in the Umbra forest, literally “the forest of shadows”. Stroll under the hundred years old trees and enjoy the flora and fauna.
The small town of Vieste is also a must in the region!
Sicily, the biggest island in the Mediterranean sea, is the ideal place to visit if you want to mix relaxation at the beach and discovery of world class archaeological sites. Add the delicious Italian cuisine to the mix and the result is a perfect combination for unforgeable holidays!
Best places to see in Eastern Sicily:
- Catania and the Piazza del Duomo with the Cathedral of Santa Agatha
- Syracuse and the island of Ortigia: Take a walk the small alleys of the historical center, admire the grandiose Piazza del Duomo and enjoy the view of Castello Maniace
- Baroque towns: Noto, Modica and Ragusa
- Taormina: For the famous Greek theatre, the view over the Etna and its magnificent pebble beach: “Isola Bella”.
- Etna, the most active volcano in Europe.
Places to visit in Western Sicily:
- Palermo, with the beautiful palatine chapel, the Norman palace and the unusual Capuchin Catacombs
- Cefalu, a small traditional fishing village
- Agrigento and the valley of the temples
- The beaches of “Scala dei Turchi” and Eraclea Minoa
- The Egadi Islands, a paradise on earth.
Discover all of my articles about Sicily.
If you choose to spend a week in Sicily, the best way to plan your trip is to visit either the east or the west coast. Come back a second time to visit the other one.
Isola Bella, Taormina’s jewel, Sicily
You love beautiful beaches and you’re wondering where to go in Italy?
Sardinia, the 2nd biggest Italian island, is famous around the world for its stunning beaches. It’s the perfect destination if you want to enjoy holiday in the sun.
Best places to visit in Sardinia:
- Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia which stretches over several hills. Visit the Castello district, most of the tourist attractions are located there.
- Maddalena Islands, with beautiful wild beaches.
- Costa Smeralda: the perfect jet-set destination for a luxury holiday. The road, all along the coast, offers a spectacular view.
- The Gulf of Orosei: Huge and impressive limestone cliffs, hosts some of the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia.
You’re planning to visit Sardinia during your next trip? Have a look at my article about the best things to do: The 20 best places to visit in Sardinia.
And you, what do you plan to visit in Italy? What are your favorite places?
Flight prices to Italy
So, you want to go to Italy? In order to get the best price, I highly recommand you to check flight prices now. It’s quick and easy, just use our flight comparator below!
Once on the results page, feel free to compare several sites, to make sure that no fees are added to the final rates.
Italy travel Guides
- Buy the Lonely Planet Italy guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Rick Steves Italy guide on Amazon.comor on Amazon.co.uk
You’re traveling in Italy? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Italy: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Italy are listed there.
- Rome: The 25 best places to visit in the eternal city
- Milan: The Top 15 things to do in the city and around
- Turin: The 20 must-see attractions
You’re using Pinterest? Here is the picture to pin!
Visit Italy: the 20 best places to visit and highlights