Top 10 best places to visit in Italy
What are the best places to visit in Italy? Italy’s fortes stretch far beyond its architecture and history! The country ( shaped like a boot), boasts extreme natural gems and has some of the best places to visit in Europe! From the norths mountain ranges to the souths turquoise grottoes, this combined with its culinary delights makes Italy the perfect European destination!
For me personally, Italy is up there in my top 5 fav countries, it probably has something to do with the non-stop feeling of being serenaded exploring cobblestone streets, whilst overindulging in pasta, pizza and wine ( the favourite food groups :D)
If you are planning a trip to Italy, be prepared to fall in love with an extraordinary country and maybe gain a couple of kgs. The food, the wine, the history in Florence and Rome, the art, the food and architecture, the quaint, hillside towns in Tuscany, the underrated Dolomites, did I mention the food?… There is something here for everyone.
Here are the best places to visit in Italy.
Read more: “Where to stay for the perfect honeymoon in Sardinia“
The sprawling capital is the epicentre of Italy, a cosmopolitan city with over 3,000 years of history, architecture and influential art. Every Rome itinerary should include a visit to ancients ruins such as the Forum, Pantheon and the infamous Colosseum and religions sights like the Roman Catholic Church, St. Peters Basicila Vatican Museums.
Sit and people-watch at street-side cafes, make a wish at the trevi fountain and shop up a storm on Via Del Corso. Eating out is one of Rome’s great pleasures (and mine) and the combination of alfresco dining, trattorias, pizza bars, and gelato stores is sure to tick every occasion!
Short on time or want to avoid the crowds? Rome at night is just stunning. Try a Colosseum tour at night or throw a coin into the Trevi whilst everyone is enjoying dinner. Speaking of dinner, a romantic Italian meal is best served when the tiny cobbled streets are lit and music softly serenades.
See our options below on where to stay in Rome or check out the best hostels in Rome if you are on a budget.
Bologna is a bit of a hidden secret, but easily one of the best places to visit in Italy. The lively, historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region is located in northern Italy.
There is a lot of things to do in Bologna, it’s Piazza Maggiore is a sprawling plaza lined with arched colonnades, cafes and medieval and Renaissance structures such as City Hall, the Fountain of Neptune and the Basilica di San Petronio.
Also known for its food scene why not embark on a Bologna food walking tour and discover the authentic Italian delights!
Don’t Miss: Food Tour, Medieval towers, Piazza Maggiore
There is no doubt about it Cinque Terre is one of the best places to visit in Italy and my personal favourite! Cinque Terre Meaning “Five Lands,” is made up of 5 colourful towns, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso and Corniglia. Located in Italy’s northwestern coastal region of Liguria, the villages of Cinque Terre feature some of Europes most beautiful landscapes that include steep cliffs against a Mediterranean backdrop.
Like most Italian towns you’re going to want to indulge at the best restaurants in Cinque Terre, our top picks Nessun Dorma and Enoteca Dau Cila!
My favourite part of Cinque Terre was hiking through the 5 towns, the entire trek takes around 6 hours. Although there are some tough moments you will be rewarded with the most stunning views! Take a break in Vernazza and refuel with some lunch, a dip and a big scoop of gelato!
Located in the south of Italy, this impressive coastline stretches 50-kilometres from Punta Campanella to Vietri sul Mare. An extremely popular vacation destination for both tourists and locals pick your time to visit wisely as during the summer it can become overcrowded and unpleasant.
The tourist hotspots are Amalfi and Positano which boost quaint towns against sheer cliffs and are dotted with small beaches. To escape the crowds head to the pastel-coloured fishing villages like the ones in Cetara. English is rarely spoken but you will get an authentic look into a charming Italian town. Weave through the narrow roads and countryside and admire the grand villas, vineyards, lemon terraces and olive grove, only to be rewarded with glittering bays, colourful houses and an esplanade full of quaint cafes and souvenir shops.
Read more: ‘Full guide to Positano’
Located in the south of Italy, this impressive coastline stretches 50-kilometres from Punta Campanella to Vietri Sul Mare. An extremely popular vacation destination for both tourists and locals pick your time to visit wisely as during the summer it can become overcrowded and unpleasant.
The quaint towns boast sheer cliffs, dotted with small beaches and pastel-coloured fishing villages. Weave through the narrow roads and up to countryside on a Tuscany road trip, admire the grand villas, vineyards, lemon terraces and olive grove, only to be rewarded with glittering bays, colourful houses and an esplanade full of quaint cafes and souvenir shops.
Milan is the fifth-largest city in Europe and is widely recognized as the design and fashion capital! This buzzing metropolis in Italy’s north is a financial hub known for its high-end restaurants and shops as well as the famous, Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper”.
A lot of people either love or hate Milan, I would recommend just staying a few days in the city and then venturing to close by towns like Lake Como, Bergamo and Turin for some stunning natural landscapes and a more relaxed vibe.
In around two and a half hours you can travel by train to Venice from Milano Centrale station. Immediately, walking from the station you are transported back in time, feeling like you are in a fairy tale. With over 100 islands interconnected in the Adriatic sea, with canals and Renaissance palaces, it’s easy to see why Venice is one of Italy’s most unique cities!
The best things to do in Venice are just to wander and get lost! Immerse in the mazed narrow lanes until you reach the Central Square, where you will find Piazza San Marco, containing St. Mark’s Basilica. How many days in Venice? I would say 3 is good. If you have extra days, take a day trip to Burano, famous for its colourful house!
Full of mesmerising history, art, culture and great food, this is one of the world’s most charming and endlessly fascinating cities you could easily spend a week in Tuscany. This endearing town is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region where you can rent some incredible homes and villas in the Italian counrtyside for under $150 night.
It is also home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture including Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and the bell tower by Giotto. This city is quite compact yet packed with extraordinary art, architecture and cafes. Don’t miss Gelateria La Carraia where I had the best Gelato of my life!
Editors Tip: Here is ‘The Perfect 2 Days in Florence Itinerary for First-Timers‘ guide!
Sicily is the largest Mediterranean island, off Italy’s mainland, and can be reached by ferry. On Sicily’s eastern edge you famous Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes. To the north lies Palermo, the island’s capital and is rich in mouthwatering cuisines, crystal clear waters and cultural treasurers. The best way to explore this rich European gem is by car, cruise along the coastline, enjoying the stunning seaside scenery. There are lots of things to do in Sicily, but don’t forget to visit the Aeolian Islands, Norman Palace and the islands second largest city Catania which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If time permits consider a lovely southern Italy road trip from Naples to Sicily! Where you can absorb the history, landscaped and UNESCO World Heritage sites at a slower and more enjoyable pace.
Located in the Northern part of Italy, the Dolomites are amongst the most striking mountain ranges in Europe. Powerful rocky cliffs sit on top rivers that run through peaceful villages.
Embark on a self-guided trek from Collazo to Bolzano, where you will be rewarded with dramatic landscapes, rugged mountains and small delightful towns.
Don’t miss the incredible Lake Garda, the ancient town of Bellun and Monte Cristallo! Or head to Trentino were you can see some of the best castles in Italy!
Read more: ‘12 Things to Know Before Visiting South Tyrol‘
Capri, an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples, is famed for its rugged landscape, upscale hotels and turquoise coastline. One of its best-known natural sites is the Blue Grotto, a dark cave where the sea shines electric blue. Capri’s dramatic coastline draws many yachts and tourists during the European Summer and can be reached by ferry from Naples or Sorrento.
Editors Tip: If you want a cheaper island experience in Naples try the island of Ischia.
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