Most beautiful cities in Italy to add to your bucket list
Last Updated on December 21, 2022
A trip to Italy is on most travelers’ bucket list – the country is a perfect blend of natural wonders and architectural prowesses, nature, and culture, and has so much to offer. From tiny Italian villages and busy cities to beaches and volcanoes, deciding where to go in Italy can be overwhelming.
You should definitely include a couple of cities in your itinerary, learning more about Italy’s rich past, discovering its culture and art, and getting lost in small cobblestone streets.
Whether you are planning your first trip to Italy or are looking to come back, whether you just want to visit a few cities or plan an epic Italian road trip, we have come up with a list of the most beautiful cities in Italy you should visit during your trip.
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Travel tip: before any international trip, make sure you get a good travel insurance.
By Anna from Big World Short Stories
Verona is probably one of the most romantic cities in Europe. It is best known for being the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The city is also renowned for its ancient and historical roman buildings and it truly is a romantic medieval town.
There are many things to do in Verona. Juliet’s balcony and quadrangle is probably the most famous landmark in Verona. Another top attraction is the Arena di Verona, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in Italy. Verona Arena is the third biggest Roman amphitheater existing nowadays. Every year it becomes home to the famous annual summer opera festival.
How many days to stay in Verona – Technically it is possible to visit all the top attractions in Verona within one day. But it is best to give it a bit more time to fully enjoy the city. So the optimal time would be 2-3 days depending on your schedule and things you want to do in Verona.
Best time to visit Verona – Verona is beautiful year-round, however, you will enjoy it the most during the summer months. Also, the opera festival takes place only in summer.
Day trips from Verona – Verona is located only about 1-hour away from Venice and there are direct train connections between these cities. Trains leave multiple times a day from Verona Porta Nuova station.
Related article – The most romantic destinations to visit in Europe
By Antoine and Marielle from Offbeat Escapades
Turin is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and also, one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Back in the day, it was once the first capital of Italy and was the home to the royal family.
As such, you’ll see a variety of sights from palaces, Romanesque buildings, and intricately designed churches that were originally built by and for the royals. For example, the Palazzo Reale, the royal palace to the Savoy family, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is simply teeming with these historical and cultural touches that will make you enjoy walking around its streets. It’s been called the Paris of Italy and it’s no wonder why. The city has grand boulevards, old school tramways, and historical architecture that will make you think you are somewhere in France but still in a truly Italian way.
There are many great things to do in the city that answer the all-important question of: is Turin worth visiting? The city is known for many Italian dishes we know of, such as the world-renowned hazelnut chocolate (Nutella), delicious aperitivo, coffee, and gelato cones. Furthermore, what makes it even more unique is that Turin is nestled in the Italian Alps. Meaning, you’ll get to see some incredible scenes of the mountains if you visit from Autumn to Spring, especially if you take in the view from Santa Maria di Monte dei Cappuccini.
By Heather from Conversant Traveller
One of the most beautiful cities in Italy, Venice sits on a collection of over 100 islands connected by bridges. Canals are used in the place of roads, with vaporetto water taxies being the preferred way to get around. The channels are lined with colorful buildings boasting some of the most beautiful architecture in the country. Once a powerful trading and military stronghold, today the city draws tourists from all over the world.
Top sights include the magnificent Doges Palace with its Gothic façade and opulent interior, and St Mark’s Basilica – an incredibly ornate church overlooking a square bearing the same name. Climb the San Marco Campanile tower for the best views in town out over the lagoon.
Meanwhile, artists will enjoy the Gallerie dell’Accademia with works by Canaletto and Titian amongst others, and the glass-blowing island of Murano is another popular visitor spot. Before leaving, don’t forget to take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal for a romantic evening out, and keep your camera ready as you pass beneath the famous Rialto Bridge.
For something more unusual, take a mask painting workshop in Venice deep in the hidden backstreets, or enjoy a lesson where you get to row your very own gondola! Visiting the flooded crypt of San Zaccaria is another fun experience for those looking for a unique way to enjoy Venice.
There are plenty of places to stay in Venice, but hotels do get booked up quickly so make sure you plan well ahead. Hotel Danieli is a popular luxury choice, right on the waterfront with incredible views over the canal.
By Haley from Haley Blackall
The Tuscan capital of Florence is located in the heart of Italy. This renaissance city is full of famous architecture and historic art. But, what makes Florence one of the most beautiful cities in Italy are the charming streets, welcoming trattorias, and lush gardens.
If you are planning a trip to Florence, start by staying at the AdAstra boutique hotel. This impeccably designed and eclectic manor is located a 5-minute stroll to the Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens. A perfect place away from crowds, but close enough to walk to all the attractions.
Once you’ve settled in, head out to roam the city on foot. Visit the famous Cathedral (Duomo) and marvel at the architecture. Stop off at the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze to see the Statue of David. If you are an art lover, peruse the many rooms and halls of the Uffizi Gallery, one of the best collections of art in Italy. Meander across the ancient Ponte Vecchio bridge, lined with ancient jewelry shops.
If you are up for a longer walk, climb the stairs to the best viewpoint in all of Florence, the Piazzale Michelangelo. This viewpoint is best at sunset but is spectacular any time of day. On your way back to your hotel, explore the wine list at Le Volpi e L’Uva, one of the best wine bars in the country. A perfect spot to finish off a day in the beautiful city of Florence, one of the best cities to visit in Italy.
By Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across the World
Known as the “Città Eterna” – Eternal City in English – the capital of Italy is a sight to behold and one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Rome is packed with myths, legends, history, art, and culture to keep you busy for days and – for the younger travelers looking for more quirky things to do – there is a thriving nightlife, and delicious food to be had.
Start your exploration in the Centro Storico – the Historic Center. That’s where you’ll find landmarks such as the beautiful Piazza Navona, home of Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi among others. Not far from that you’ll find the Pantheon, one of the best-preserved buildings from antiquity; Piazza di Spagna (internationally known as the Spanish Steps) and Trevi Fountain. A short distance from Piazza di Spagna you’ll find Piazza del Popolo, another gorgeous square from where you can access the Pincio Terrace and walk to Borghese Gallery, an impressive art collection where you can admire the works of Caravaggio, Titian, and Raphael.
One of the places you can’t skip is the Colosseum – a beautiful sight during the day, and simply mighty at night when it is beautifully illuminated. Your exploration of Ancient Rome should also include the nearby Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, where Roman arisracy used to live.
Following Via dei Fori Imperiali from the Colosseum, you can reach Piazza Venezia, where you can admire the Altar of the Fatherland. About 5 minutes walk from there, Largo di Torre Argentina is home to Rome’s most famous cat sanctuary, located in a well-kept archeological site. Visiting is free, but you are welcome to make a donation to support the many cats.
The Orange Garden is one of the best places to stay in Rome. Its dining terrace has beautiful views of St. Peter’s Dome.
By Emily from Wander-Lush
Italy’s third-largest city by population and the biggest hub in the Campania region, Naples is one of the oldest continually inhabited urban areas in the world. The historic centre of Naples is the largest in Europe and has been recognized by UNESCO for its plazas and monuments, making it a must-visit city for culture and history lovers.
Whether you’re planning a short Naples city break or a longer itinerary, there are a couple of essentials you can’t miss. Start with a wander around the lively Mercato Pignasecca, the city’s oldest fresh-food market, before ducking into the exceptionally beautiful Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo church. The Museo Cappella Sansevero, home to the iconic Veiled Christ statue, is also worth a visit before you meander down to the waterfront, stopping off at Galleria Umberto I for a photo along the way. Ovo Castle on the waterfront is the ideal place for sunset.
Naples is known as a foodie city so be sure to try some of the local specialties while you’re there – first and foremost a traditional pizza. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is one of the oldest and best-loved establishments in the city. Vegans can opt for the simple marinara version.
For a nice accommodation in the heart of the historic center with a wonderful local feel, check out Artemisia Domus.
By Ania from The Travelling Twins
Lecce, Italy is a hidden gem in the Mediterranean! If you are in the south of Italy, it’s a must-see. It’s only two hours by car or train from Bari.
Lecce is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Puglia (a region known for its amazing food and culture). Whether you’re looking to enjoy some seaside relaxation or find your next culinary adventure, Lecce should be at the top of your list.
Lecce is a perfect destination for a weekend trip. This quaint little Italian city is packed with things to see from historic churches like Santa Croce Church which dates back as far as 1200 A.D. While Cattedrale dell’Assunzione Della Virgine has an impressive facade that will make your jaw drop open as soon as you lay eyes on it, if medieval architecture fascinates you, then you shouldn’t miss Piazza del Duomo.
If you are more into food, you should visit the museums dedicated solely to pasta (the world’s favorite food) and then have a bowl of delicious spaghetti. After the meal, you should go to one of many coffee shops to grab an espresso before exploring more or go and enjoy beaches overlooking clear blue water.
If you are staying in Lecce overnight. One of the best hotels to spend the night is L’Aquila. This boutique hotel is close by and near Piazza Santissima Annunziata, making it a prime location for exploring Lecce on foot.
By Karen from Bewitched By Italy
For many visitors, the main attractions of Rimini are its beaches – 15 km of sand – and its lively nightlife. However, there are plenty of opportunities for sightseeing in Rimini, with a historic town centre and Roman remains. It also has excellent restaurants and is well placed for day trips.
The must-see sights in the old town include the Cathedral and the medieval Castel Sisimondo. Then there is the Piazza Cavour, one of the main squares, with grand palaces and a fountain. You will find Roman ruins everywhere: don’t miss the Arco di Augusto (an archway in a fragment of Roman wall) or the Ponte di Tiberio, a 1st century stone bridge.
As you cross the Ponte di Tiberio, you come to the Borgo San Giuliano, the old fishermen’s quarter. This has now been transformed into a fashionable district, its narrow streets full of bars and restaurants. Restaurants in Rimini specialize in either meat or fish: vegetarians should choose a “meat” restaurant as these normally offer vegetarian or vegan options.
The Card International is an excellent hotel in the city centre, conveniently located near the railway station. Rimini has an international airport and is well connected to other Italian cities by train. Potential day trips include Ravenna (for its mosaics) or the beach town of Pesaro. You can also take a bus trip to San Marino.
Check out the complete Rimini travel guide here >>
By Rachel from Average Lives
Bologna is a vibrant city, with a large student population, delicious food, and many exciting things to do. If you are searching for an authentic Italian experience, then Bologna is your answer. Luckily, the city is compact, and you can see the best of Bologna on foot.
One of the best places you can visit is Piazza Maggiore, the main piazza where you will see the locals relaxing, and the Basilica of San Petronio, which is home to the longest sundial in the world. From here, you can roam the narrow alleyways where you can fully immerse yourself in the many markets.
Afterward, you can admire the symbol of Bologna, the two medieval towers, the Garisenda and the Torre Degli Asinelli. The latter is open to climb the 500 steps to have panoramic views over the city. You can also visit the beautiful square Piazza Santo Stefano, otherwise known as the Seven Churches, with a church taking a center spot. There is an antique market here every second Sunday of the month!
Other exciting things to do in Bologna include the Archiginnasio and The Municipal Library, The Basilica of Sana Luca, and the parks such as Villa Ghigi.
Bologna is easy and convenient to reach by train and air and is well-connected throughout Italy and Europe. An excellent hotel to rest your head is Hotel Metropolitan, close to all the main attractions to make your visit to Bologna unforgettable.
By Nichola from Family Hotel Expert
Genoa is a wonderful city, often overlooked for its more picturesque neighbors on the Italian Riviera. There’s no doubt that some of the city can feel a bit urban and busy but don’t let this put you off – there is a wonderful historic heart and a fantastic community.
Get lost in the winding lanes in the Old Town where you can find bakeries piled high with wonderful pastries and greengrocers selling local produce. It’s also great to peer into some of the city’s best historic homes here in Via Garibaldi, the “Strada Nuova” (New Street) which has palaces that once belonged to Genoa’s most well-connected families. Look out for “rolli days”, usually in July and October where the houses open up and you can peer into these impressive residences.
Take the beautiful Art Nouveau lift from Piazza Portello to get wonderful views across the terracotta rooftops, with bell towers rising up across the landscape.
Don’t miss the opportunity to peer into the small but atmospheric former home of Christopher Columbus, the city’s most famous former resident. Here you can see the workshop on the ground floor and the family lodgings above.
If you’re planning a family holiday in Italy or even visiting as a couple or solo traveler then Genoa is a wonderful place to start. Stay at the fantastic Palazzo Grillo in the heart of the Old Town and with bags of style and character – you’ll feel like a resident and won’t want to leave.
By Rai from A Rai of Light
Salerno, found in the Campania region of southern Italy, is known for its good food, fine city life, historic attractions, and its picturesque location on the Gulf of Salerno. Despite this, it is often overlooked in favor of its more famous neighboring cities. It is worth stopping by even for a day or two and those who do visit will discover a welcome contrast to these other overly touristy destinations.
Highlights of a visit include the charming Old Town that is full of passageways and hidden alleys to explore. Don’t miss a chance to see the 11th-century cathedral with its distinct bell tower, containing art treasures and a fresco-covered ceiling. This is the main church of the region.
Shopaholics will be happy to hear that the city is great for shopping both in the Centro Storico and along the main street.
The green space of Villa Communale provides a spot with statues, fountains, and endemic plants. At night a walk along the palm tree-lined boulevard Lungomare is highly recommended.
It is easy to arrive here by train from any major city, including Naples and Rome, or via cruise ship. With its pleasant waterfront, open-air cafes, great weather, and attractions, Salerno should not be missed. A good accommodation option, is the Vinto House Salerno Downtown, perfectly located offering great amenities and services.
By Alice from Adventures of Alice
Just as Italy is known for its fashion, Milan is a city that oozes style. It’s also the birthplace of Italian design and one of the most important cities in Europe. Whether you’re into art, architecture, or food, this town has plenty to offer travelers.
Known as Italy’s fashion capital and home of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Milan has also become known for its stunning architecture and decadent cuisine.
It’s Italy’s second-largest city and a world-class destination in its own right. The fashion capital of the world, home to some of the most prestigious fashion houses in Italy, and hosts major events like the Milan Fashion Week and Pitti Uomo.
However, the city also remains a go-to destination for those who are looking for something more than just clothes and shoes – especially if you’re after some history mixed in with your shopping spree! It’s home to some of the most iconic Italian landmarks like the Duomo di Milano cathedral, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade, wandering beautiful parks and green spaces like Sempione Park, and enjoying a decadent espresso at an outdoor café.
If you’re looking for adventure, Milan offers plenty – from visiting Leonardo da Vinci’s painting studio to exploring the Gothic architecture of Santa Maria delle Grazie. There are numerous attractions such as San Siro Stadium (where AC Milan plays), Palazzo Reale (the Royal Palace), Teatro alla Scala (one of Europe’s most prestigious opera houses), and many others which make it worth your while.
For a unique experience, stay at Château Monfort, a 5-star boutique hotel part of the Relais & Châteaux label, known for its highest standard of excellence. The hotel is right in the city center and looks like it came out of a fairy tale.
By Annabel from Smudged Postcard
Perugia is the capital of Umbria in central Italy. The central square, Piazza IV Novembre is a great place to start a tour of the city – here you’ll find the cathedral and the National Gallery of Umbria as well as a significant fountain by the Tuscan sculptors Nicola and Giovanni Pisano.
There are traces of Perugia’s ancient history in the city streets with a vast stone archway dating back to 300 BC – there’s an excellent archaeological museum beneath the city’s cathedral where visitors can learn more about Perugia’s Etruscan and Roman past.
There is plenty of more recent culture available in Perugia too. The city hosts an excellent jazz festival each summer which features concerts as well as small music events through the city – there are plenty of free events as well as some major names in the music world.
Due to its location, Perugia makes an excellent base for visitors taking a central Italian road trip through Tuscany and Umbria. Although there is a small airport in Perugia, the city is more easily accessed from Rome by car or train. There are plenty of hotels in central Perugia but to really make the most of your stay in Umbria, it’s worth considering an agriturismo – Relais Casamassima is a good bet, just outside of Perugia.
By Shobha from Just Go Places
Palermo is a city with a 2700 year history which shows in the street food tour of Palermo. There are influences from its Greek, Roman and Arab past in the food and in the architecture. For example, one of the best street snacks in Palermo is a chickpea fritter!
Among the highlights to visit are the three food markets in Palermo. The oldest, the Capo Market was established by the Arabs 1200 years ago! Fast forward a few thousand years, and the Capuchin Catacombs from the 16th century are a fascinating, if creepy, place to visit. Another must-see is the enormous Palermo Cathedral built in the 18th century. The Teatro Massimo, built in 1897, is well-known to the fans of The Godfather Movie trilogy as the ending of the Godfather Part III.
Palermo is a small city and easy to walk. It is, however, packed with things to see and do. For example, Palermo has about 100 churches and a dozen UNESCO world heritage sites. One of the best things though is to sit with a coffee in the sunshine and watch the world go by. You can also take a cooking lesson – Sicilians really do love their food!
Palermo is easy to reach from anywhere in Europe thanks to its large international airport. Nearby you can visit Cefalu. This beach town is a short distance from Palermo but feels a world away with its small-town feel. It’s definitely worth going to experience a laid-back Sicilian beach resort frequented by Italians.
By Jürgen & Martina from Places of Juma
Everyone knows Pisa in Italy, the famous city with the Leaning Tower, which is considered to be one of the most popular landmarks in Europe! The most interesting thing here is that the construction of the tower took about 200 years, from 1173 to 1372, and it was already leaning at this time. Much later, in 1990-2021, it had to be closed and restored for safety reasons. In the process, it was straightened by a whole 4 degrees.
But a visit to this extraordinary attraction is just one of the highlights in town! The entire Piazza dei Miracoli, the so-called Square of Miracles, where it stands, is worth seeing! Together with the Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the Cemetery, the Leaning Tower is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This square is also home to several interesting museums that should not be missed.
Another must-see in Pisa is the historic old town. Especially beautiful is the Piazza dei Cavalieri, or Knights’ Square, one of the most charming places in the historical center of Pisa. Here you will find unique buildings and monuments from the Renaissance.
If you have some time left, then you can go and check out the many fantastic beaches of Pisa. The most beautiful part is for sure at Marina di Pisa, about 10 kilometers from the city center.
For a hotel tip. we can recommend the Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast – a lovely place in a prime location, which impresses with its comfort and cleanliness, but also with its delicious breakfast.
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Thanks for the great post. I hope they will open Italy for tourism soon.
Yes me too! Hopefully this summer…