Best places to visit in Italy – 100 tips for holidays in Italy – cities, sights, nature

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Best places to visit in Italy
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Best places to visit in Italy! Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world. Visitors find historic artwork scattered throughout the country.

The world-famous cities of Florence, Rome and Venice attracted tourists for centuries and remain popular destinations today. Besides having historic architecture and fine art, Italy boasts picturesque coastlines, majestic mountains, lakes, caves, beaches, islands and more.

Best places to visit in Italy

1. Venice

The dozens of interconnected waterways and romantic gondola rides are but some of the attractions of this popular tourist destination. Venice also features Byzantine to Neoclassic architecture, which spans from the 13th to the 18th century.

One of the popular buildings that guests visit is the Doge’s Palace. Filled with carvings and amazing wall-sized frescoes, the palace once imprisoned famous con artist Casanova. The Bridge of Sighs is another well-known structure that connects the Doge’s Palace with a more modern prison.

Canal Grande, Venice, Best Places To Visit in Italy
Canal Grande, Venice, Best Places To Visit in Italy by Julius

If there is a city you should not miss when in Italy, it’s Venice! Mixing up at one of Piazza San Marco cafes for a foretaste of Venice’s design as well as the sea is the first thing to do before you go ahead to Basilica San Marco, Rialto Bridge, and the Doge’s Palace.

If you are an art lover, head straight to Peggy Guggenheim Collection to see some contemporary paintings from the 20th century. Wrap it up with a Gondola ride or go to a famous Carnevale, if you will be in Italy in February.

10 Best places to visit in Venice

Arsenale, Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio), Grand Canal, San Giorgio island with its church San Giorgio Maggiore, Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri), Saint Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco), Ponte di Rialto, Piazza San Marco, Ca’ Rezzonico (Museo del Settecento Veneziano), Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute.

Check 35 Things to do in Venice to see what else you can do and see in Venice!

Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice, Best places to visit in Italy
Saint Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Best places to visit in Italy by Julius

2. Florence

This medieval Italian city features beautiful flower gardens, ancient buildings constructed with various colors of marble, and many of Michelangelo’s masterpieces. See the Boboli Gardens at the Pitti Palace and the Rose Garden near Michelangelo Square.

One of the Renaissance artist’s most recognized pieces includes the Statue of David, which stands 17 feet (5.2 meters) tall and is on display at the Accademia Galleria.

Florence, Best places to visit in Italy
Florence, Best places to visit in Italy by Joe deSousa

Visitors also find the tombs of Michelangelo and famed scientist Galileo in Florence. The amazing artwork throughout the city also features works created by medieval artists Ammannati and Cellini.

Also, the famous Uffizi Gallery is a home to numerous renowned paintings by renaissance greats. The city’s cathedral is a notable sight, as well.

When looking for a fine shopping experience in Europe, Florence is the destination. Pick exquisite leather goods, jewelry, paper goods and almost any souvenir that comes to your mind.

10 Best places to visit in Florence

Piazzale Michelangelo, Piazza della Signoria, Duomo – Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza del Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, San Lorenzo’s Market, Ponte Vecchio, Oltrarno, Museo del Bargello

Find additional 30 places to visit in Florence to see what else you can do and visit here.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Best places to visit in Italy
Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Best places to visit in Italy by Tim Sackton

3. Rome

This ancient Italian city features a number of iconic landmarks that include the Coliseum, the Forum, and the Pantheon. Vatican City also attracts millions of visitors who admire the fountains, statues, and dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral.

See original masterpieces created by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael in the Vatican museum. The building is also the site of the famous Sistine Chapel.

Trevi fountain, Rome, Best places to visit in Italy
Trevi fountain, Rome, Best places to visit in Italy by Evan Blaser

When in Rome, you will have an opportunity to see the many beautiful monuments, old ruins, and historic architecture, which are what so many are fascinated by.

10 Best places to visit in Rome

Ostia Antica, Colosseum, San Clemente, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Vatican Museums, Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, Piazza Navona, Pantheon.

Check Things to do in Rome – 30 most beautiful places to visit in Rome for more places to visit in Rome.

Pantheon, Rome, Best places to visit in Italy
Pantheon, Rome, Best places to visit in Italy by Moyan Brenn

4. Pisa

Just a few cities in Europe and indeed the whole world gained such fame thanks to one of its buildings, the Tuscan city of Pisa being one of them. Of course it’s nothing else than the famous famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

However, Pisa offers more of great architecture and a day trip is a must for all those spending their vacations in Tuscany. It also has a busy airport which is accessible on foot from the city center, which is its big advantage.

5 Best places to visit in Pisa

The leaning tower of Pisa, Duomo, Pisa Baptistery, Museum of the ancient boats in Pisa, Arno promenade, Graveyard of Pisa.

Pisa, Best places to visit in Italy
Pisa, Best places to visit in Italy by Julius

5. Milan

Are you aware of the fact that Milan is home to one of the world’s largest Gothic cathedrals? Not interested in cathedrals? Then you can visit a park or a museum, such as Castello Sforzesco, to see ancient musical instruments, or the city’s famous archaeology museum, which is filled with artifacts from the pre-historical era.

La Scala Opera House and Museum is not only a tribute to Opera, but it is also a formidable piece of architecture.

5 Best places to visit in Milan

Duomo di Milano and Piazza di Duomo, Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, The Last Supper, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Monumental Cemetery.

Read about the Most beautiful places in Milan to see what this city offers to its visitors.

Milan Cathedral, Best places to visit in Italy
Milan Cathedral, Best places to visit in Italy by Jiuguang Wang

6. The Gran Paradiso National Park

On the territory of France and Italy, southeast of Mont Blanc stretches a mountain range the Graian Alps, which includes the magnificent Gran Paradiso National Park. It covers an area of several beautiful valleys that end at the highest rock massif of Graian Alps – Gran Paradiso (4061m).

Gran Paradiso National Park has great ecological importance. It is a home to very diverse flora as well as fauna that can be hardly seen elsewhere in Europe.

6 Best places to visit in Gran Paradiso National Park

Locana Valley, Cogne Valley, Saint Basso Sanctuary at Valle di Campiglia, Colle del Nivolet mountain pass, Gran Piano, Orvieille – Lago Djouan, Lauson Lake.

Gran Paradiso National Park, Best places to visit in Italy
Gran Paradiso National Park, Best places to visit in Italy by Franck Michel

7. Borromean islands

On the northern border of the regions of Lombardy and Piedmont is a Lake Maggiore which is the second largest lake in Italy (just after Lago di Garda). It is dominated by three Borromean Islands: Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and Isola Pescatori.

They offer magnificent villas, well-maintained gardens that are full of the Mediterranean vegetation and palm trees and breathtaking views of the lake. Isola Bella is a pearl among the Borromean Islands mainly thanks to the beautifully landscaped gardens and extravagant architecture.

Isola dei Pescatori, Borromean islands, Best places to visit in Italy
Isola dei Pescatori, Borromean islands, Best places to visit in Italy by kkmarais

8. Orta lake

The beautiful shores of Lake d’Orta is together with a mild climate a guarantee of pleasant holidays in northern Italy. Lake d’Orta is a unique location for lovers of water sports and hiking.

This lake is one of the least visited of the Italian lakes, but unfairly. It is situated in the charming landscape of the Alpine foothills. In the middle of the lake is Isola San Giulio, which boasts a preserved basilica with the remarkable pulpit of black marble from the 12th century.

Orta lake with San Giulio island, Best places to visit in Italy
Orta lake with San Giulio island, Best places to visit in Italy by Luca Florio

9. Turin

Turin is an elegant city with parks, palaces, and ancient cafés. History lovers will find here some of the most beautiful Baroque buildings outside of Rome.

Turin is also home to the famous and controversial Shroud of Turin. Stunning baroque buildings and wonderful museums are set in the dramatic scenery of the Alpine foothills.

Castello del Valentino, Milan, Best places to visit in Italy
Castello del Valentino, Milan, Best places to visit in Italy by Golden globe

10. Lago Maggiore

Lago Maggiore is of glacial origin and it is something like the first step into the Alps that surround it. Because of its pleasant climate, a lot of tourists and locals come here to spend their holidays. It is suitable for all those who like any kind of water sports or fishing.

Around the lake, you will find a lot of beautiful resorts from which you can certainly choose one where you feel the most comfortable. Just to mention some of them, Arona, Stresa or Leggiuno are all stunning towns.

Lago Maggiore, Best places to visit in Italy
Lago Maggiore, Best places to visit in Italy by Alessio Maffeis

11. Lago di Como

Lago di Como is one of the most beautiful corners of Italy and throughout the Alps. It is quite narrow and surrounded by high mountains. On the steep slopes are scattered picturesque villages and the water in summer warms to temperatures close to the Mediterranean Sea.

But be careful! If you once decide to go here instead of the sea, you might never want to go elsewhere. The lake and the surrounding landscape will amaze you with the wild beauty, rugged coast, and a lot of beautiful subtropical trees and flowers.

Lago di Como, Best places to visit in Italy
Lago di Como, Best places to visit in Italy by SoWhat

12. Bergamo

10 years ago, I spent a night at Bergamo airport waiting for another flight to Rome. What a pity that I haven’t visited this wonderful city. At that time, I was absolutely not aware of its beauty. Instead, I spent a terrible night at the airport, but for the last time! Next time I’ll make a trip to the city center!

Bergamo is divided into two parts. Citta Alta and Citta Bassa. The first one is on the hill and it is a historic city center surrounded by intact medieval walls, with stunning views of the surrounding area.

Bergamo, Best places to visit in Italy
Bergamo, Best places to visit in Italy by ANDREA PONTIGGIA

13. Pavia

About 20 kilometers from Milan is the city of Pavia. Here you can see the castle with the remaining two towers from the 14th century, which was built for one of the ruling families – Visconti.

Piazza Duomo is home to the third largest cathedral dome in Italy. It is a Romanesque basilica of San Michele from the 11th century that has served as a crowning temple.

Pavia monastery, Best places to visit in Italy
Pavia monastery, Best places to visit in Italy by mat’s eye

14. Grazzano Visconti

Not far from Piacenza you can find a small but very nice fairytale castle Grazzano Visconti. It was built at the end of the 14th century by Giovanni Anguissola to reside there with his wife Beatrice Visconti.

And later, in the 20th century, a village grew up around the castle with the intention of creating an original artistic center in medieval dress.

Grazzano Visconti, Best places to visit in Italy
Grazzano Visconti, Best places to visit in Italy by Daniel70mi Falciola

15. Mantova

A charming historic town of Mantova is located in the region of Lombardy. It is famous for being the birthplace of one of Rome’s most famous poets – Virgil. Many people consider it as the most romantic city in Italy.

In the city center, there are three squares – Piazza Sordello, Piazza Broletto, and Piazza delle Erbe. All of them are surrounded by medieval buildings and old cobbled streets with arcades.

Mantova, Best places to visit in Italy
Mantova, Best places to visit in Italy by Davide Oliva

16. Lago di Garda

Lago di Garda is the largest lake in Italy and although it is located in northern Italy, more and more people opt Garda as the main family beach holiday.

Thanks to its glacier origin the water in the lake has a nice transparent cyan color. There are a lot of reasons to visit Lake Garda – it offers all from thermal baths to ancient monuments in Sirmione, amusement parks, or to a day trips e.g. to Verona.

Lago di Garda, Best places to visit in Italy
Lago di Garda, Best places to visit in Italy by Markus Bernet

17. Verona

Verona – a city of lovers, romantic parks and unique atmosphere of old Italy. Do not miss Romeo Juliet balcony, Verona amphitheater from the year 30, Giardino Giusti park, or Porta Borsari – a gateway to the past…

But Verona offers much more, for no coincidence, it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Verona, Best places to visit in Italy
Verona, Best places to visit in Italy by Fred Bigio

18. Padova

Padova belongs to the oldest towns in Italy, and this is why we should not forget at least for a short visit. You will find it not far from Venice, in the heart of the northern Italian region of Veneto.

It is beautiful picturesque university town with almost three thousand years of history. Since the 12th century, Padova was considered an important cultural and educational center of the whole of Italy.

Padova, Best places to visit in Italy
Padova, Best places to visit in Italy by Giorgio Galeotti

19. Vicenza

Vicenza was for centuries the famous Roman city and later an independent city-state until 1404 when it came under the domination of Venice. The biggest development came in the 16th century when the city became a home to one of the most influential medieval architects of the 16th-century – Andrea Palladio.

Today, thanks to the Palladian buildings, Vicenza is one of the most elegant cities in Italy. In addition to his buildings, however, Vicenza boasts a number of other historic and artistic sites.

Vicenza, Best places to visit in Italy
Vicenza, Best places to visit in Italy by Patrick Denker

20. Palladian villas

Not only Vicenza can boast great architecture from Andrea Palladio. But it is the whole region where you can find his works. They are inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage Site list as the Palladian villas of the Veneto.

Vicenza, Rovigo, Treviso, Venice, Padova, and Verona are cities where you can admire his works.

Villa Godi, Palladian villas Best places to visit in Italy
Villa Godi, Palladian villas Best places to visit in Italy by Stefan Bauer

21. Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the most famous Italian ski areas, which in 1956 became the scene of the Winter Olympics. Annually still holds one of the World Cup races in skiing.

Although this resort is regarded as the old one, where nothing has changed since 1956, Cortina is one of the most beautiful places of Italian Dolomites.

Cortina d'Ampezzo, Best places to visit in Italy
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Best places to visit in Italy by Navin Rajagopalan

22. Murano and Burano

Once in Venice, it would be a mistake not to visit its famous islands Murano and Burano. They both are picturesque islands and while Murano is famous for the traditional production of glass, Burano is famous for the production of lace.

Also, beautiful Venetian mirrors came from Murano island.

Murano and Burano, Best places to visit in Italy
Murano and Burano, Best places to visit in Italy by niall62

23. Trieste

One hundred years ago Trieste was the most important port of Austro-Hungarian Empire and thus it has Central European character. Its history dates back to 1000BC but its city center started to form in the 19th century.

Piazza Unità d’Italia is the center of the city and boasts a number of spectacular palaces. The most famous landmark is the castle of Miramare situated on the coast.

Trieste, Best places to visit in Italy
Trieste, Best places to visit in Italy by Davide Oliva

24. Rovereto

Rovereto is located 25 km south of Trento. It is one of the charming medieval towns that you certainly should not miss on your journey to northern Italy. Rovereto is often called City of Peace and also a City of Museums.

It became a City of Peace probably thanks to the monument La Campala della Pace di Rovereto. It is a memorial to all the victims of war, both soldiers as well as civilians.

Rovereto, Best places to visit in Italy
Rovereto, Best places to visit in Italy by Gio 2000

25. Aquileia

Aquileia is an ancient town in the northern part of the country, it offers a surprising silence, peace and a rich history. Aquileia is a day trip spot on the Adriatic coast close to the pretty stone town of Grado and only 60 km east of the famous summer resort Bibione.

The town is popular mainly because of its archaeological excavations and early Christianity monuments.

Aquileia, Best places to visit in Italy
Aquileia, Best places to visit in Italy by Giovanni Dall’Orto

Don’t worry, it’s not the end!
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Julius

I am someone who left his open-spaced cubicle after spending there 8 years of his life. Someone who started to live more outside! :) I am in travel blogging since 2010 and with Traveltipy I am going to conquer the world :)

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14 Responses

  1. Scorpio says:

    Its great list of such beautiful places.

  2. Valentin says:

    So many beautiful places. And yet, there are many more towns worth visiting. I have been to Loreto, Lucera, Monte Sant Angelo, Barletta, San Giovanni Rotondo and Lanziano. Neither of these towns is in this top 100 list, but they are nice places to visit. And who knows how many other towns are there still beautiful and worth visiting.

    • Julius says:

      Thank you, Valentin, for your suggestions! Italy is amazing country and every town, city or other places have something beautiful. The beauty is everywhere you turn! 🙂

  3. Theresa says:

    What a fantastic and comprehensive list. While I’ve been to a handful of the places you mentioned goes to show the endless offerings of Italian cities and towns. Bookmarking for when I return.

  4. WOW what a comprehensive list! Will definitely bookmark for when I get to Italy! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Carolina Colborn says:

    I have only been to six of these!!! And I am already 68!!!

  6. Alex Datsev says:

    What a wonderful list of things to do in Italy – all-time favorites as well as places off-the-beaten-path. No wonder Italy is Europe’s top travel destination.

  7. Conor says:

    Whoa, what an epic list. It’s a shocking shame they I can only tick Venice off that list! So much more of Italy to discover – defo bookmarking this!
    Good job!

  8. Hannah says:

    You’ve picked some great spots – some I’ve never even heard of and I’ve seen quite a bit of ItalY!

  9. verushka says:

    Italy is such a beautiful country with so many interesting and different places. Thanks for such a fantastic post.

  10. tapirtales says:

    wow – very complete list. happy to see off the beaten path towns in here.
    nothing beats Italy as a holiday destination.
    TT

  11. This is such a cool article for those who want to visit Italy, including myself.
    You showed me the places in Italy that I didn’t even know exist. Hope I can visit this beautiful country soon!

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