Don't miss the 15 most beautiful cities to visit in Italy
From the Sicilian coast to the Dolomites, from volcanic islands to the Tuscan countryside, Italy has something to offer even the most demanding travelers. All cities are rich in mysteries, natural and cultural attractions and welcome visitors at any time of the year.
No matter how many times you've been to Italy, every trip reveals something new and unique. History and culture, food, drink, and nature - it's worth moving from the south to the north of the country or vice versa to see something completely different, to experience a special flavor and atmosphere. So, put on your comfortable shoes and embark on an incredible journey, because 15 of the most beautiful cities in Italy for travelers are waiting for you.
Of course, the capital of Italy is at the top of the list of the most beautiful cities worth visiting. Travelers who are new to this unique country are advised to start with Rome. Pantheon and Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, and the Sistine Chapel - you cannot find such a variety of cultural and historical monuments.
One of the most beautiful and popular cities in Europe harmoniously combines ancient and modern architecture. Besides, where else can you visit a sovereign state located in a city?
After walking around the most popular locations, we recommend enjoying unique Italian ice cream, drinking coffee near the fountains and sitting on the Spanish Memories, reflecting on this wonderful trip.
Romantic and enchanting, La Serenissima or the "most peaceful" place on the planet is a unique landscape, bustling narrow alleys and endless canals. Venice is not only located by the sea, but is also surrounded by a lagoon. This city from the list of the 15 most beautiful places to visit in Italy consists of more than 100 islands, and there are simply no roads. That's why locals and visitors get around on foot, by gondolas or other water transport.
If you want to bring back the most vivid photos from your trip, you should visit the following locations:
- The Grand Canal with its gondolas and gondoliers (it is better to choose an evening time to avoid too many people);
- Palace of the Doges;
- Rialto Bridge;
- Basilicas of Santa Maria della Salute and San Marco - one of the most beautiful religious buildings in Northern Italy;
- Piazza San Marco, the best view of which is from the top of St. Mark's Campanile.
We also recommend visiting the islands of Burano and Murano with their colorful houses and buying some handicrafts created by local craftsmen as a souvenir.
From May to November, Venice hosts the Biennale, which will certainly enchant art lovers. For gastronomy lovers, a visit to the Rialto Market is the perfect solution, where you can taste homemade pasta, fresh seafood, and delicious desserts.
This beautiful city in Italy is not so popular among tourists, but it has nevertheless gained fame as a culinary capital. However, not only gourmets who have come to taste the famous cheeses and wine will enjoy it. Bologna still has the ancient city walls built in the Middle Ages, and the porticoes are still intact. Take a coin with you to throw it into the Neptune Fountain, located in the main Piazza Maggiore square. For those who want to spend a quiet and peaceful evening, we recommend visiting the secluded Piazza Santo Stefano.
The Asinelli Tower offers incredible views of terracotta red roofs and bright green hills. Hiking enthusiasts can take a route of about four kilometers to the Santuario di Madonna di San Luca to enjoy the picture as if from fairy tales.
If you have time, it is worth visiting the surrounding villages of the Emilia-Romagna region, they will definitely enchant you! In addition, Bologna is known for the oldest university in the world and its own leaning tower like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are worth a visit to this center of Renaissance art alone. The heart of Tuscany also boasts the Florence Cathedral and Piazza del Duomo, the famous statue of David and Botticelli's "Birth of Venus", which is kept in the Uffizi Gallery.
The historic center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts romantics from all over the world. Walking along the cozy old streets to the Ponto Vecchio (one of the oldest bridges), coffee shops and restaurants in Piazza della Signoria are just a small part of what couples will especially enjoy.
Not far from Florence is the small town of San Gimignano - a very beautiful and atmospheric location on the picturesque hills as if it came from the pages of a romantic poem.
This Italian city immediately comes to mind when you think of the world's most famous lovers - Romeo and Juliet. The balcony described by Shakespeare always attracts a line of people who want to imagine the famous scene and see the wall with numerous declarations of love. However, Romeo and Juliet are not the only reason to visit Verona. Here, for example, the best-preserved amphitheater of the Roman Empire is located, and we also recommend visiting the Ponte Scaliger Bridge and feeling the special atmosphere in ancient basilicas and churches.
Castelvecchio Castle houses a museum, which can be accessed from the courtyard. To take beautiful photos, go to the Ponte Castelvecchio Bridge, which offers incredible views from different angles.
There are probably no people who have never heard of the famous Neapolitan pizza. This dish, popular all over the world, was invented here. It is not surprising that Naples has the most delicious and traditional pizza. In addition to delicious food, the most beautiful city in Italy is also a delight for the eyes. Among the most visited locations are the following:
- The Cathedral of Naples;
- Umberto Gallery;
- The Royal Palace;
- Piazza del Plebiscito.
The famous Pompeii, a World Heritage Site, is also located near Naples. The ancient city consists of houses frozen in time, religious buildings, and even paved paths.
The largest city in southern Italy, both literally and figuratively, is built on ruins, so you can feel the special atmosphere of the Middle Ages and reflect on how people lived and what they did centuries ago.
While in Naples, we recommend visiting Castel Nuovo with its impressive fortress and staying in Castel del Ovo. Another little secret is that this majestic city opens up best at sunset, giving its visitors an incredible view as a reminder of a wonderful trip.
If you want to visit another UNESCO-listed location, then head to Via Garibaldi in Genoa and see every detail of the palace and the Roman cathedral of San Lorenzo, visit the Acquario di Genova - the largest aquarium in Europe.
The most visited location of the port city is the picturesque waterfront and the historic center, where a large medieval quarter is very well preserved.
In addition to the center, the Old Port is a must-see, which now plays an important cultural role. It is home to several museums, architectural masterpieces by Renzo Piano, and the Bigo panoramic elevator, which offers views of the entirety of Genoa.
The world's fashion capital is rightfully among the most beautiful cities in Italy for travelers. Milan, which is also a well-known financial center, is filled with extraordinary works of culture and art. The city gate Porta Sempione, Leonardo da Vinci's painting "The Last Supper", exhibited in Santa Maria Delle Grazie, as well as one of the largest cathedrals in the world - the Italian city has prepared a lot of beautiful and interesting things for its visitors.
In the central part there is the Duomo Cathedral, built in the Gothic style. From its top you can enjoy a bird's eye view of the entire city. In the Navigli district, you can observe the system of canals developed by Leonardo da Vinci.
Those looking for modern aesthetics will be interested in visiting the Rosanna Orlanda Art Gallery, which always exhibits incredible installations. In addition, you can find many examples of street art in the Isola district. For those who want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax, the beautiful Sempione Park is the best place to go. In addition, the famous Lake Como is just 50 minutes from the center.
The capital of Sicily with a population of over 0.5 million inhabitants is a completely different Italy than the one we see in Rome or Venice. With its numerous street markets and noisy motorcycle traffic, Palermo has a special flavor similar to that of North Africa. We recommend visiting the following places first:
- the Cattedrale Di Palermo Cathedral, which stands out among other religious buildings for its Norman-Arabic architecture;
- Mondello Beach, one of the most famous in Sicily, and the Capo Gallo Nature Reserve, located within walking distance;
- Quattro Canti.
In total, Palermo is home to more than 230 churches, including the Cathedral of Monreale, which is decorated with a huge fresco depicting Jesus Christ.
After exploring the historic center, be sure to stop by one of the local markets to taste local cuisine, buy fresh fruit and, of course, souvenirs. If you have time left, book a walk along the Sicilian coast to enjoy the unique views of Italy's most beautiful city - from the secluded cliffs to the lights of modern Palermo. It is worth noting that a 20-minute drive from the city is the former fishing village of Mondello with its beautiful sandy beach and crystal clear water.
Palermo also attracts attention with its nightlife, which does not stop raging even after midnight.
10. Cinque Terre
This is not quite a classic city, because in fact, Cinque Terre consists of five villages that, like a puzzle, form a very picturesque landscape of the whole of Italy.
- Riomaggiore is located closest to La Spezia, the center of the province, so it is best for travelers to start exploring Cinque Terre from here. In addition, the train station is located in the heart of the town and it is convenient to get to all the popular attractions from there. For example, the castle, the Church of St. John the Baptist, or the cozy promenade with cute cafes and restaurants. The best way to get to the neighboring village of Manarola is along the Via dell'Amore trail, which was carved into the rock a long time ago.
- Monterosso al Mare is the oldest town in the national park, which has the only sandy beach (the rest are pebbled). That is why it is most often chosen by those who want to enjoy all the benefits of a warm vacation by the sea. The Aurora observation tower, which is also the bell tower of the Church of St. Giovanni, offers a magnificent view, so we recommend that you go up there.
- Cornilla. This is the only city among the four that does not have its own port, so you can only get here by train or on foot. Cornilla is built on the cliffs, so it cannot boast of beaches, but the views from here will not leave anyone indifferent.
- Vernazza. This city is considered the most beautiful in the Cinque Terre. Here you can enjoy not only beautiful nature, but also see authentic Italian houses, visit a medieval castle, and climb to the top of an atmospheric tower.
- Manarola is adjacent to Riomangiora, and the distance between them is less than a kilometer! If you are traveling in Italy in winter, we recommend seeing the world's largest nativity scene, and in summer, travelers will find spectacular scenery and clean beaches. A large number of olive trees grow on the hills here, and the houses are located on the hills and repeat their pastures. In the vicinity of Manarola are the small but very beautiful villages of Volastra and Gropa, which are also worth visiting if you have enough time.
All villages are connected by picturesque hiking trails. The territory of Italy's most beautiful place includes both equipped and wild beaches, fantastic viewpoints, ancient castles, and many other interesting locations. In addition, all five towns of the national park are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
If you want to stay overnight, we recommend La Spezia, located near Cinque Terre.
For a measured vacation with an aperol in hand, this city located in the Tuscany region is the best place to go. The oldest bank in the world is located in Siena, and the best views are offered from the 85-meter-high tower of the Siena Cathedral, which is located at the top of the Torre del Mangia.
Siena is famous for having hosted many famous people, including Leonardo da Vinci, and is also the birthplace of the famous director Fellini.
The most visited location is the Piazza del Campo, made in the shape of a shell and lined with a large number of restaurants and cafes. The City Museum is also located there, and the top of the Torre del Mangia offers views of stunning Tuscany. However, you will have to overcome 400 steps to get there. In the summer, the square hosts the famous horse races, a tradition that dates back to the sixth century.
This coastal and very beautiful city in Italy is located in the Emilia-Romagna region. In addition to beach vacations, Rimini also attracts with masterpieces of art, cathedrals, and unique cultural and architectural monuments. Among them are the following:
- The Tiberius Bridge is one of the city's key symbols, so it's a good place to start your exploration of Rimini;
- The Arch of Augustus is the oldest in the whole of Italy and used to serve as a gate;
- Cavour Square, overlooked by the facades of three medieval palaces built in the 18th century, with a famous fountain that impressed even Leonardo da Vinci;
- "Italy in Miniature" is a unique park where you can see miniature copies of prominent Italian and some European architectural monuments;
- Sismondo Castle - built in 1446 by order of the Malatesta family and more closely resembles an impregnable fortress surrounded by 30-meter walls and a huge moat.
The extraordinary seaside resort also has magnificent white sand beaches along the Adriatic Sea.
Most often, travelers are attracted to the unique "leaning" tower. However, Pisa is much more than that. A large number of historical ancient cathedrals, bridges and palaces - the most beautiful city in Italy in the Tuscany region is worth visiting not only the Leaning Tower of Pisa and taking a picture with an outstretched arm. Be sure to visit Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, a 16th-century church with a Mannerist facade, and Piazza dei Cavalieri, a square in the classic Italian Renaissance style.
On your way to the waterfront, stop by the cool botanical garden and enjoy the extraordinary panorama from the Lungarni di Pisa observation deck.
14. Amalfi Coast and towns worth visiting
Coastal, somewhat smaller cities also deserve the attention of travelers. Ravello, Positano, Sorrento, and Minori are just a few on the list.
Be sure to stroll through the cobblestone streets of Ravenna and explore the coast, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Amalfi Coast is dotted with small towns, so one of the best solutions is to choose a boat tour and see Capri.
This ancient city was "mothballed" in 79 AD during a volcanic eruption. Pompeii, a mastvizit in Italy, illustrates life starting from the third century BC. Visitors can explore the ancient buildings and the complex as a whole. We advise you to book excursions to Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii to learn as much as possible about the thermal baths, the Greek Theater, and the Formae.
The most unusual and beautiful city in Italy for travelers is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so there are very long queues during rush hour. To avoid them, we advise you to arrive about 15-20 minutes before the opening. In addition, the first hours in Pompeii are relatively calm and quiet, and you have the opportunity to reflect and enjoy the cultural monument alone.