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25 Best Places to Visit in Italy (+ Map to Find Them!)

Brainstorming the best places to visit in Italy before planning a big trip?

We have you covered: despite our temptation to list a hundred places to go in Italy on this list, we’ve narrowed it down to the top Italy travel destinations… plus thrown in just a few curveballs for good measure.

Italy has long been one of our absolute favorite places to travel, and despite cumulatively spending months exploring, we’ll be returning to enjoy the most beautiful places in Italy again and again for the rest of our lives.

Here are the best places to visit in Italy, from iconic cities to charming small towns to colorful islands!

Kate Storm in a red dress overlooking the Ponte Vecchio in Florence Italy

How to Choose Where to Go in Italy

It’s downright impossible to visit all the best places to visit in Italy on one trip–so once you’ve compiled your personal bucket list, you’ll need to narrow it down!

We have almost 100 blog posts about Italy on this site, covering everything from detailed breakdowns of what to do in certain cities, to the best day trips, to food guides for cities like Rome and Florence.

I’ll link many of our Italy blog posts throughout this guide to the most beautiful places in Italy, but to find additional posts on a specific place (some places, like Rome, have over a dozen), use the search bar in the top-right corner of the screen.

You can use these posts to help put the backbone of your trip together, as well as plan the more detailed aspects of your vacation.

After reading this guide to where to go in Italy, we recommend reading our suggested 2-week Italy itinerary (with classic suggestions for first-time visitors), our guide to spending a week in Italy that provides several options for structuring your trip, and our step-by-step-guide to planning an Italy trip.

You may also want to check out our Italy road trip guide, our 101 top Italy travel tips, and our suggested Italy packing list.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm on a balcony overlooking Positano

The Best Cities to Visit in Italy

Rome

Nicknamed the Eternal City, Rome is a sprawling, complex city dotted with 2,000+ years of ruins, relics, and memories–and in our opinion, it’s one of the most captivating places to visit in Italy… and also in the world overall.

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What to Do

No trip to Rome is complete without visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum, strolling up the Spanish Steps, stopping by Vatican City, eating a plate (or several) of carbonara, and tossing a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure you return to Rome.

Couple in front of Colosseum: Visiting Rome in Winter

Florence

Beautiful, walkable Florence is known primarily for two things: its art, and its food.

As the Cradle of the Renaissance and the capital of Tuscany, neither of these is surprising!

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What to Do

Touring the famous Uffizi Gallery and visiting Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia is a must-do for art lovers in Florence. 

Be sure to also stop by the Duomo, stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, watch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo, and eat plenty of delicious Tuscan food! 

Florence's Duomo as seen from the side at the Piazzale Michelangelo, one of the best places to visit in Italy

Venice

Of all the best places to go in Italy, Venice is arguably the most unique: there is simply nowhere else on the planet like the regal city of canals, with its iconic gondolas and architecture hinting at the history of the wealthy empire that once ruled from it.

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What to Do

The best things to do in Venice include visiting Piazza San Marco, marveling at St. Mark’s Basilica, taking a classic Venetian gondola ride, and wandering aimlessly through the less-crowded (but still stunning) corners of the city.

View of Venice's Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge--this iconic spot is definitely home to one of the best views of Venice!

Milan

The fashion and business capital of Italy is known for its luxury brands, beautiful architecture, and more modern vibe as compared to many Italian cities–but it still has plenty of history behind it, too, and belongs on any list detailing where to go in Italy.

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What to Do

Visiting Milan’s incredible Duomo (and especially its epic rooftop) belongs at the top of any list of things to do in Milan, followed by getting a peek at Leonardo Da Vinci’s last supper. Other sights include the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Castello Sforzesco, and of course Milan’s famous La Scala Opera House.

One Day in Milan Itinerary: Rooftop of Duomo

Bologna

The capital of Emilia-Romagna is known, above all else, for its food, which just might be the best in Italy. 

Its charms don’t end there, though. Bologna boasts 3 nicknames: la dotta (the educated, for its history university), la rossa (the red, for its unique architecture), and la grassa (the fat, for the aforementioned epic food). It lives up to all of them.

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What to Do

While in Bologna, be sure to climb the Asinelli Tower for incredible views of the city, hunt down the city’s hidden canals, and visit the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca.

Plus, of course, enjoy plenty of food: tagliatelle al ragu, mortadella, and traditional balsamic vinegar are just a few of the delicacies that the region is known for.

View from San Petronio's Terrace in Bologna, one of the most beautiful places in Italy

Naples

The bustling port city of Naples isn’t everyone’s cup of tea–some would even argue that it doesn’t belong on a list of where to go in Italy. We disagree, though.

Naples has a very, very different vibe than Italian cities located further north, but its unique history, interesting things to do, and of course, pizza, make it well worth a visit.

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What to Do

In Naples, be sure to visit the Piazza del Plebiscito, get underground at the Bourbon Tunnel, San Gennaro Catacombs, or Naples Underground, and visit the magnificent archaeological museum, which is one of the best in Italy and where many of the most impressive artifacts from Pompeii ended up!

Plus, of course, visiting Naples means eating at least a couple of classic Napoli-style pizzas–they truly are better there than anywhere else.

Trip to Italy Cost: View of Mount Vesuvius from Naples

Palermo

Sicily’s stunning capital city is certainly a bit rougher around the edges than many of the best places to visit in Italy, but that’s no reason to stay away.

With a long and storied history impacted by half a dozen empires or so, plenty of palm trees, and even catacombs filled with mummies, Palermo is an unforgettable place, and utterly captivating if you give it the chance to be.

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What to Do

A trip to Palermo should definitely include a visit to the Palermo Cathedral, a food tour through the city (Sicilian food is distinctly different from what many foreigners associate with Italian food–plus, you get to eat cannoli), and a stop to check out the Quattro Canti.

Mosaics on the ceiling of the Church of Martorana, Things to See in Palermo Sicily

Verona

The city of Romeo and Juliet is located along the Adige River in Veneto and is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.

Packed with gorgeous views, colorful architecture, and interesting sights, Verona gets far fewer international visitors than, say, Venice or Florence–but it is easy to add onto a typical Italy vacation and well worth the effort!

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What to Do

While in Verona, be sure to enjoy the view from Castel San Pietro, visit Juliet’s House, and walk across the Ponte Pietra.

Best Things to Do in Verona: Castel San Pietro

Siena

Tuscany’s second city was once the military rival of Florence–today, it is better known for its oval-shaped central piazza, its excellent food, and the Palio di Siena, a bi-annual horse race that takes place in the Piazza del Campo, and is a tradition that dates back around 800 years!

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What to Do

Visiting Siena’s Duomo (considered by some to be even more beautiful than Florence’s!) is a must-do when visiting the city, as is strolling around the oval-shaped Piazza del Campo and enjoying the view from the top of the Opera della Metropolitana.

Piazza del Campo of Siena as seen from above. Siena is one of the best places to go in Italy.

Siracusa

Located on the eastern coast of Sicily, the beautiful city of Siracusa is home to beautiful views and history that dates back to the ancient Greeks (fun fact: the famous Greek mathematician Archimedes was from Siracusa!).

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What to Do

The best things to do in Siracusa include wandering the island of Ortigia (home to Siracusa’s old town), stopping by the many baroque churches (especially the Duomo), visiting the ancient Greek and Roman ruins scattered around, and seeing the Fort of San Giovannello.

Ortigia of Siracusa Sicily as seen from the beach with the bright water in the foreground. Syracuse is one of the most beautiful places in Italy

Incredible Small Towns to Visit in Italy

Alberobello

With its distinct white-washed trulli (round buildings with cone-shaped roofs), Alberobello is one of the most unique places to visit in Italy and Puglia’s most famous inland sight.

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What to Do

The trulli are absolutely the biggest draw of Alberobello, so the most important thing to do in town is stroll through the Rione Monti, where you will find the biggest concentration of them! However, the quieter part of town, Aia Piccola, also has plenty of trulli and is well worth a visit.

Small street in Alberobello Italy lined with trulli, one of the best travel destinations in Italy

Cinque Terre

Technically, I could list each of the five villages of Cinque Terre separately here (in order: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore), but even though they are technically separate places, Cinque Terre as a whole is one of the best travel destinations in Italy.

These five traditional fishing villages are known for their colorful buildings, their location right on the sea, and of course, their seafood.

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What to Do

When in Cinque Terre, hike from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza (if you have limited time for hiking, this is the one to do!), enjoy a meal featuring seafood and/or pesto, and watch the sunset over Manarola.

If you have time, consider making it a point to visit all five villages and choose your favorite–ours are Vernazza and Riomaggiore, but ask me again tomorrow. It’s nearly impossible to choose!

View of Vernazza Harbor from Above: One Day in Cinque Terre Itinerary

Matera

Located in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, Matera is known for its ancient “sassi” cave dwellings, which were forcibly emptied by Mussolini in 1952.

Today, the city has reopened and been given new life, and its remarkable beauty has made it one of the most unique places on this guide of where to go in Italy.

What to Do

In Matera, be sure to visit the Church of Saint Peter and its incredible viewpoint, see the city’s rock churches, and take a walking tour through the maze-like city center in order to learn about complex history dating back 10,000 years while also seeking out incredible views along the way!

View of Matera at sunset from outside the city, one of the best Italy travel destinations

Polignano a Mare

As one of the most picturesque beach towns in Puglia, Polignano a Mare is primarily known for its visually stunning Cala Porto beach–but like other places in Puglia, the whitewashed architecture, historical buildings, and seafood also shine.

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What to Do

Visiting Cala Porto is at the top of everyone’s Polignano al Mare bucket list–be sure to also enjoy the view of it from above at Balconata sul Mare!

Polignano al Mare Beach in Puglia Italy

Montepulciano

Truthfully, there are many hilltop towns in Tuscany that are worthy of being considered among the most beautiful places in Italy, but I chose Montepulciano to include here because it is such a delightful example of an idyllic Tuscan town: with its winding cobblestone streets, beautiful churches, fantastic views of the countryside, and excellent local wine, it’s not to be missed.

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What to Do

When in Montepulciano, sample the delicious Vino di Montepulciano (ideally at the wine cellar in the center of town), seek out views of the beautiful Church of San Biagio, and snap photos at Piazza Grande.

View of the countryside from the edge of Montepulciano, an excellent stop on any Tuscany itinerary!

Val di Noto’s Baroque Towns

The Baroque towns of Sicily’s Val di Noto are known for their remarkable architecture, excellent food (especially Modica’s chocolate), and incredible natural setting. They’re also, collectively, a UNESCO World Heritage site!

What to Do

Siracusa, also included in this guide to beautiful spots in Italy, is technically among these towns, as is the city of Catania. However, the grouping of Ragusa (home to stunning views), Scilici, and Modica (home to incredibly unique chocolate) are a popular and worthy collection of villages to visit in their own right!

Ragusa Ilba as seen from above in the Val di Noto, a must-see place during a Sicily road trip itinerary

Pompeii

Pompeii isn’t exactly a small town, of course, but this incredibly famous archaeological site doesn’t quite fit into any of our categories on this guide to the best places to see in Italy, so I’ll include it here.

In 79 AD, Pompeii (as well as other nearby cities like Herculaneum) was buried by an enormous volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius… and it wasn’t seen again until the 18th century.

For this reason, Pompeii offers a positively incredible look into daily life in the ancient Roman empire.

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What to Do

Tour the city on foot (we highly recommend a guided tour), see the haunting plaster casts of victims who were buried alive, and marvel at the small details of life 2,000 years ago that are on display in Pompeii.

Photo of a square in Pompeii Italy with ruins of columns and several statues in it

Nature-Focused Beautiful Places in Italy

Lake Como

Glamorous Lake Como has long been considered one of the most beautiful places in Italy, and the resort-style feel of the gorgeous villas and villages that dot the lake is a testament to its overwhelming beauty.

What to Do

While visiting Lake Como, be sure to sample a few of the different villages on the lake (Bellagio, Varenna, and Como are all popular), tour a villa or two, take a hike above the lake for stunning views, and hit the water in a boat!

lake como with a sailboat on it with the village of varenna visible to the right side of the photo

Capri

The stunning island of Capri has been captivating visitors with its gorgeous vistas and otherworldly grottos since the time of Roman Emperors–and 2,000 or so years later, it’s still just as captivating.

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What to Do

When visiting Capri, be sure to take a boat tour around the island, admire the views from the Garden of Augustus (don’t miss the view of Via Krupp looking straight down), ride the chairlift up Monte Solaro, and if you have enough time, tour the magical Blue Grotto.

Photo of Via Krupp and the sea seen from above on a Day Trip to Capri

Dolomites

The magnificent Dolomites are arguably one of the most dramatically beautiful mountain ranges in all of Europe, and whether you’d like to visit for a summer hike or a winter ski session, they are absolutely among the best places to visit in Italy.

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What to Do

The best things to do in the Dolomites include visiting the charming small cities of Bolzano and Cortina d’Ampezzo, hiking to stunning mountain lakes, taking funicular rides to small mountainside towns, and road-tripping the Great Dolomites Road.

View of the Italian Dolomites on a clear day with a village visible below it.

Lago di Braies

Instagram-famous Lago di Braies is known as one of the most beautiful places in Italy. 

Framed by the Dolomites and populated by picturesque wooden rowboats, it’s truly a sight to behold.

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What to Do

Renting a rowboat to admire the lake from the water and hiking the circumference of the lake (it takes about 1.5 hours) are among the best things to do at Lago di Braies.

Lago di Braies in the early morning with a line of boats tied to the dock at the boathouse. Lago di braies is at the top of any list of italy beautiful places

Tuscan Countryside

Known for its rolling hills, golden light, beautiful vineyards, charming villages, and even its hot springs, Tuscany has long been one of the most popular places to visit in Italy–for a very good reason.

What to Do

In addition to touring its cities and small towns (Florence, Siena, and Montepulciano are also included on this list and are in Tuscany), consider visiting a hot spring, taking a cooking class, going for a hike, and of course enjoying several wine tastings while in the Tuscan countryside.

Kate Storm in the Tuscan countryside at sunset, with a sun flare on the right side of the photo.

The Amalfi Coast

Of course, no list of the most beautiful places in Italy would be complete without mentioning the utterly magical Amalfi Coast, which is home to quite possibly some of the best coastal views on the planet.

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What to Do

When visiting the Amalfi Coast, be sure to village-hop a bit–Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello are among the most popular–enjoy views of the coast from the water with a boat tour or rental, and for some of the best views of all, hike the aptly-named Path of the Gods.

View of Positano with its beach in the foreground and the sea to the left. Postiano is one of the best places to visit in Italy

Sardinia

The gorgeous island of Sardinia gets far fewer non-Italian–and especially non-European–visitors than coastal retreats like the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, or even Sicily, but that’s too bad… because it is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in Italy.

What to Do

Sardinia is known for its beaches, so be sure to add several to your list of things to do on the island! 

Visiting ancient ruins, sailing around the island (either yourself or on a tour), visiting the charming city of Cagliari, and checking out the many unique castles and caves all also belong on your list of what to do in Sardinia.

White sailboat in the clear blue sea surrounding Sardinia as seen from above--Sardinia is one of the most romantic places in Italy

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius, primarily known for the 79 AD eruption that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum, is the most famous volcano in Italy and an incredible place to visit.

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What to Do

Visit the crater of Mount Vesuvius (it’s about a 25-minute walk up, you can drive most of the way) to marvel at the smoldering volcano crater and to soak in magnificent views of the Bay of Naples.

Map of the Best Places to Visit in Italy

4 photos of Italy: amalfi coast, tuscan countryside, dolomites, venice grand canal. black and pink text on a white background reads "25 most beautiful places in italy"

 

2 thoughts on “25 Best Places to Visit in Italy (+ Map to Find Them!)”

    • Ah, if I included everywhere amazing in Tuscany, the post would never end! Lucca is my grandmother’s favorite too, we’ve spent some lovely trips there. 🙂

      Reply

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