Italy, with its passionate people, breathtaking landscapes, trendy fashion and art treasures, is a charming European hub that never fails to amaze travelers. Praised for its grandeur, history and top-class cuisine, Italy has so much delights and mesmerizing sights to offer that it might take a lifetime to explore it. Known as one of the world’s most gorgeous and sought-after destinations, Italy is truly a heavenly place that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
Want to travel to Italy, but don’t know where to start? Wondering where to go in Italy? We’ve compiled some of the best can’t-miss places to visit in Italy, to make your travel planning experience a breeze.
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1. The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast, deemed as one of the most stunning seaside destinations in Europe, is a drop-dead gorgeous haven that beckons travelers with its exquisite blend of natural and cultural wonders. Inscribed in 1997 as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this scenic harbor has been adored by cinematographers and tourists for its extraordinary beauty and quintessential Mediterranean landscapes. With a dramatic coastline speckled with terrace cliffs, pastel-colored houses and winding roads, it’s no wonder tons of travel junkies rank the Amalfi Coast high on their bucket list.
Rome, Italy wasn’t built in a day, and you certainly need much more than a day to take in this supremely beautiful and timeless city. Often ranked as one of the best tourist destinations in the world, the capital of Italy is a real-life collage of fabulous historic sites, open-air markets and piazzas. As you visit this historic city, you’ll get a chance to catch sight of some of the world’s must-visit and most iconic sights, such as the Vatican, Roman Forum, Piazza Navona, Basilica San Clemente, Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum.
What’s more, the “Eternal City” is dotted with restaurants and eateries that offer some of best-tasting dishes in all of Italy. And by the way, did we mention that has a growing nightlife scene and is often seen as shopping scene? As a matter of fact, it is regarded as one of the world’s fashion capitals, serving as a home to some of the oldest clothing and jewelry establishments in the country.
3. Cinque Terre
Nestled amidst some of the world’s most dramatic scenery, Cinque Terre is a colorful, bright and bewitching Italian paradise that can uplift even the most jaded of spirits. Listed in 1997 as UNESCO World Heritage site, this heavenly place will leave you in awe with its steeply terraced cliffs, pastel houses and vernacular architecture.
To experience an unforgettable tour of Italy, make sure to include a visit to Verona to your Italy travel itinerary. Though it isn’t as popular as its neighbor Venice, it still is a beautiful city that every traveler should visit at least once in their life. After all, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site full of mesmerizing sights, such as a Roman theater, the Roman gate Porta Borsari, Lamberti’s clock tower, a Roman ampitheater, and Juliset’s tomb and balcony. Interesting and charming, Verona also serves as the backdrop to many of Shakespeare’s plays– most notably Romeo and Juliet.
Visit it once, and you’ll see why Florence has inspired so many writers and artists. With its cobblestoned streets, graceful buildings and showstoppers like Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo, Florence is a feast for the eyes. An art historian’s dream, Florence also flaunts a ton of world-class museums and art galleries filled with wondrous works of art. The Galleria dell’ Accademia, for instance, burst with masterpieces from Caravaggio, titian, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci.
Naples, one of the country’s busiest metropolitan cities, usually gets a bad rap. And quite frankly, it is much more chaotic and a little grittier than the other cities in Italy. But, there’s a good reason why Italians call it bella Napoli – or beautiful Naples in English. It is home to some of the best theater and opera houses in the world, and is often called a lovely open-air museum, thanks to its wealth in historic monuments and statues.
Many Italian favorite staples originated in Naples, such as parmigiana, spaghetti and pizza. These staples are seriously taken here, and usually feature locally grown and fresh ingredients. Since it is nearby famous sites like Pompeii and the Bay of Naples, the capital of Campania region presents great and ideal base for those who want to explore the area.
Milan, one of the fashion capitals in the world, offers endless opportunities for lavish and chic shopping. Hit Via Monte Napoleone for expensive, exclusive boutiques and the artsy Brera neighborhood for top-notch leather goods. The enchanting glass vaults and mosaics of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II make shoppers feel like they are strolling inside a painting. Take a much-needed break from your shopping spree, and be wowed by the iconic Duomo. Afterwards, pay a visit to the other sought-after monuments and attractions in Milan, such as the Castello Sforzesco, San Siro, Pirelli Tower, Brena art gallery and La Scala.
Want to snap a photo of Italy’s most iconic tower? Don’t forget to swing by Pisa during your trip to this splendid European nation. One of the most photographed landmarks in Italy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is breathtakingly spectacular, and even more so in person than in photographs. But, there’s more to Pisa than this bizarrely beautiful architectural marvel. The medieval city boast a plethora of museums and monuments that will surely take your breath away, such as the Duomo di Pisa, Battistero, tine Romanesque churches, Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, and a whole lot more.
Rimini – the largest beach resort on the Adriatic Sea – is a favored seaside holiday destination for Russians and Italians. Not only does have excellent food and energetic nightlife, but it also has helpful and friendly people. More importantly, the historic city offers a long and impressive shoreline that will give you a fascinating and memorable beach escape. Plus, its old town is brimming with interesting sights, such as the Tiberius Bridge from the 1st century and the Arch of Augustus from 27 BC.
Nicknamed as the land of colors, lemon groves, orange and mermaids, this small city in Campania, Italy has earned quite a few alluring monikers and names for its mystique and beauty. Famous or its magnificent sea cliffs, Sorrento’s steep slopes offer outstanding views of the azure waters to the Bay of Naples, Capri and Ischia. In addition, the town has excellent hiking trails, appetizing restaurants, boat cruises, great sea fishing and good diving.
11. Selva di Val Gardena
Indulge on a refreshing and luxurious retreat to the Alps with a ski vacation to Italy’s Selva di Val Gardena. Here, dazzling mountains loom over quaint B&Bs and world-class hotels – all dedicated to giving you the utmost comfort and most indulgent escape imaginable. There are local craftsmen that pore over elaborate wood carvings encapsulating Selva di Val Gardena’s artistry. Winter sports are, of course, the purest form of art in this destination, with perfect and captivating powder for snowboarders and skiers to plow through.
The Ionian Sea and volcanic Mount Etna create the cinema-worthy and jaw-dropping backdrop for Taormina – the legendary resort town of Sicily. A 2nd century Greek theater and twisting medieval streets add to its romantic feel, which inspired the creations of Truman Capote and D.H. Lawrence. To enjoy panoramic views of this charming place in Italy, walk uphill behind Saint Joseph Church, or get a cable car ride to the beach.
Sounds familiar? Known as the birthplace of the 13th century friar Saint Francis, this charming quaint town holds artistic, historical and religious significance. Periodical fairs and exhibits enrich the experience of every visitor in this small medieval town.
Turin, with its aristocratic atmosphere, several art galleries, leafy parks, grand palaces and boulevards, old-world sophisticated shops and aristocratic atmosphere, is an incredibly popular resort. Its recent status as a World Book Capital and the 2006 Winter Olympics have prompted travelers to visit this gorgeous and overlooked city in Italy, which has a longstanding artistic and cultural history.
Lucca’s exceptional medley of intact historic sites makes it an absolute must-see layover on any Tuscan travel itinerary. Here, you can catch sight of elaborate churches, elegant palaces, cobblestoned streets and a ring of fortification Renaissance-era walls that have been wonderfully turned into walking and biking.
Bologna isn’t usually the first thing that pops into mind when foreign travelers think of places to visit in Italy. While it’s well-known among Italians, foreign visitors don’t come to Bologna very often. But, make no mistake about it – this city is drenched in beauty, culture and history. In fact, most Italians consider it second to Venice, in terms of beauty. Plus, it has one of the best-preserved and largest historic centers among the cities in Italy. It has striking architecture known for its palette of warm yellows, burnt oranges and terracotta reds. Not to mention, it has an internationally celebrated cuisine – la cucina Bolognese – and home to the oldest university in the West.
Palermo – the capital of Sicily – has a wide variety of intriguing monuments, attesting to its rich and long history. One of the most underrated tourist destinations in Italy, Palermo has a ton of natural and cultural attractions that offer a pretty interesting experience to its visitors, such as the Palermo Cathedral, the Zisa Palace, Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel and the Cathderal of Monreale.
Perugia is a wondrous Italian destination known for a lot of things, including its jazz festival, medieval art, chocolate-making and prestigious university. An underground tour in the city’s old own offers you a rare opportunity to discover tunnels that were once a part of the city’s fortress walls. Those who are into architecture can marvel at Porta Marzai – an eye-catching Etruscan 3rd century BC gate. The Medieval Fontana Maggiore, which was built to celebrate Perugia, has an interesting blend of art images, including saints, prophets, the zodiac and biblical scenes.
Orvieto, designed as an impregnable protective village, was discovered by the Etruscans on top of a lofty hill made of a volcanic ash stone known as tufa. Today, it is an increasingly popular tourist destination filled with awe-inspiring architecture, such as the Duomo Cathedral, which influenced the lovely Sistine Chapel of Michelangelo with its stunning frescoes and mosaics. Likewise, it has a labyrinth of underground tunnels that would give you a one-of-a-kind sightseeing adventure. Carved by the Etruscans more than 3,000 years ago, these intricate tunnels feature quarries, cisterns, stairs and grandiose rooms.
To top it all off, this fortress city has high vantage points that offer spectacular views of the countryside. A nice place to visit in Italy, right?
Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient Roman city frozen in time, due to Mount Vesuvius’ devastating eruption in 79 AD. As with most of the top places to go in Italy, Pompeii has no shortage of sights and delights. Here, you may treat your eyes to a myriad of amazing historic sites, such as the Temple of Apollo, Great Palaestra, Amphitheatre, House of the Tragic Poet, and many more.
Siena – a lovely hill town in Tuscany – will take you back to the Middle Ages. The grand cathedral of Siena, built in the 13th century, has marvelous marble floors and treasured artworks that appease art and photography aficionados. Piazza del Campo – the main town square – is a celebrated UNESCO World heritage site, and a host to the Palio, which is arguably the world’s most infamous horserace.
No list of the best cities to visit in Italy is complete without the inclusion of Venice. With its irresistible romantic charm, amazing restaurants, canals and gondolas, Venice is, without a doubt, a city for everyone’s bucket list. Historic churches, places and waterfront palazzos make drifting down the world renowned Grand Canal feel like a cruise through a timeless painting. To experience the true feel of Venice, you must linger in art gallery’s exhibit hall, nibble pastries and fresh pasta, and go to a classical music performance or the opera.
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