Looking for some must see places in Italy? Yeah, you and basically the entire human race.
Because let’s be honest here.
I mean, Italy isn’t exactly a super-secret travel destination.
Which makes total sense when you think about all of the beyond amazing things that Italy is known for.
Super snazzy things like pizza, gelato, the Colosseum, pasta, cannolis, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Vespas, Leonardo Da Vinci, and so much more!
Excuse me while I grab a moist towelette.
Because I’m already starting to drool, like a not-so-adorable-St. Bernard, just thinking about all of this glorious food.
But alas, that’s a story for another post.
So, even though Italy is like Harry Potter level mainstream (at least when it comes to primo travel destinations), you still kind of sort of need to visit.
Especially since this enchanting country is home to a wealth of beyond beautiful, top Italian cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Naples, and so much more!
The question remains, which of these top places to visit in Italy deserve a bit of your limited time and which ones can you take a hard pass on?
You’re a busy individual and you only have so much time to spend in various Italy points of interest.
Not to worry my travel-loving friend! Because that’s where this post comes in mighty handy!
Because if you dare to continue onwards (and you 100% should), then you’re going to learn all about some of the ABSOLUTE top places to visit in Italy!
So, what are you waiting for?
Quick! Grab a pint of gelato and a piece of pizza stat! Because we’re about to cannonball into this epic post about where to go in Italy!
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By: Cris of LooknWalk
Naples – the Italian city that you either love or hate!
Because there is no in-between.
People either vow never to return or desperately want to go back, like me, every chance they get!
Located in the shadows of legendary Mount Vesuvius:
Naples was lucky in 79AD and spared the horrific fate of nearby settlements like Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Bustling, dirty, and beyond interesting:
Naples is a city that appeals to a certain type of traveler. The rather neurotic and adventurous one.
Also known for being the birthplace of pizza:
This city in Southern Italy sticks to a more traditional way of living.
You quickly discover that between 1 pm and 5 pm daily, all local restaurants shut their doors.
And if you ask for food at this time of day:
Then everyone will quickly know that you’re a tourist.
Come evening though and the city’s multitude of vibrant pizzerias, trattorias, and restaurants will once again open their doors and welcome visitors inside.
If you’re not sure where to eat, just look for the eatery with the biggest queue and dine there.
Because I promise, you will not regret it.
Now, aside from hiking up that cranky, old volcano, as well as a visit to iconic Pompeii (Skip the line and get your fast track tickets now!) and well-preserved Herculaneum, visitors can enjoy some of the many historic charms of Naples very own, Old City.
Walking through the picturesque, cobblestone streets here is an experience in its own.
If you really want to enhance this experience, you can always enjoy a lovely guided tour of Napoli Sotterranea, the Naples Underground, where you can explore the city’s literal, layers of history at the Greek-Roman Aqueduct and near the remains of the Roman Theater.
By: Steph of The Mediterranean Traveller
Rome is the most compelling ancient city in all of Europe (which is why you should be planning your very own Rome itinerary right now!). Especially since It has been one of the region’s most important cities for well over two millennia, leaving literal layers of treasure that are just waiting to be discovered.
Even if history isn’t your jam, you can’t help but be amazed by the surroundings of one of the many, must see places in Italy!
The remains of Ancient Rome itself sit smack dab in the middle of the city, where you’ll really begin to understand the phrase ‘all roads lead to Rome’.
While the Colosseum may be Rome’s most famed, blockbuster attraction, there’s always an exciting, beautiful, archeological surprise awaiting you around every corner – be it baroque sculptures, a church of bones, fake ceilings, sacred stairs, a secret keyhole, or an ancient pyramid.
Because laced underneath this mesmerizing city is an intricate network of underground excavations, cisterns, and catacombs that will bewitch even the most unenthusiastic of history lovers.
To top it all off though:
Rome is also home to vibrant street life, mesmerizing views, exquisite shopping, and the awe-inspiring splendor of Vatican City (Avoid the queue and get your skip the line tickets to the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel NOW!).
Rome is a city that requires a lot of walking. Therefore, be sure to visit during either the spring or fall, when the weather here is at its most mild.
After all that arduous exploring, don’t forget to reward yourself with some homemade pasta and a delicious scoop of gelato from one of the many fantastic restaurants in Rome’s charming, Trastevere neighborhood (WARNING: Rome is not and never will be a low-carb or low-calorie city. So, be sure to pack your best and most elastic waist pants).
By: Pam of The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Known as the capital of Italy’s Veneto region:
Venice is actually made up of more than 100 islands in the Adriatic Sea.
In Venice, canals replace roads and water taxis replace cars.
You could always skip the boat ride altogether and just take a scenic stroll through the city instead.
Because along the way:
You could marvel at the wealth of stunning architecture that can be found on almost every block.
Because in all honesty:
Walking really is the easiest way to get around Venice.
If you’re only planning on spending one day in Venice, then water taxis are another affordable and reliable way to quickly move throughout the city.
To better understand the beautiful art history of this city, be sure to visit the Accademia Gallery, which is located along the south bank of the Grand Canal.
And for any of my fellow foodies out there:
Be sure to stop at Rialto Market along the way, where you can enjoy fresh pasta, cheese, and various other local foods.
Because let’s be honest:
It wouldn’t actually be a trip to Italy without some delicious food.
Some of my other favorite restaurants in Venice include Pasticceria Italo Didovich (A family-owned bakery that is a 5-minute walk from the Rialto Bridge and that serves classic, Italian pastries like brioches and kimpfels (stuffed doughnuts)), Acqua e Mais (A great place to stop for a quick lunch and grab some polenta), and Paradiso Perduto (A vibrant restaurant with live music and a selection of delicious cCicchetti (finger foods)).
By: Riley of Riley’s Roves
I often see people ask about Pompeii in travel groups.
And they typically want to know if Pompeii really is one of the best places to visit in Italy.
And honestly, I think it really is.
I mean, Pompeii was one of my favorite places to go in Italy for a number of different reasons.
The most important of which was, the history.
It’s just so powerful to wander through the streets here and imagine what life used to be like.
Alternatively, imagine how it would have felt to see Mt. Vesuvius erupt and know that you only had a matter of moments to live.
A visit here will also allow you to better understand what the daily lives of local residents were really like, little eccentricities and all (think brothels on every corner and let your imagination run wild from there).
And while there are many different ways to visit Pompeii:
Once inside the archeological park:
You’ll also find plenty of touristy places to eat (think McDonald’s). However, since you’re so close to Naples, I’d recommend enjoying some local pizza there instead.
There are also plenty of hotels within walking distance of the ruins, my favorite of which include the Hotel del Sole and the Hotel Forum (Stay here and you can get up early to avoid the long queue that quickly forms at the park entrance).
By: Arzo of Arzo Travels
By: Ania of The Travelling Twins
Ostuni is one of the most beautiful towns in Puglia, a beautiful region in Southern Italy.
Known locally as The White City (Citta Bianca in Italian):
This nickname is fitting since you’ll find nothing but charming, whitewashed walls throughout the city’s old town.
Spend some time wandering through the narrow streets of the old town.
And as you continue uphill:
You’ll pass by the local archaeological museum (located inside a former church) while on your way to the impressive Ostuni Cathedral, which exquisitely combines Gothic, Byzantine, and Romanesque architectural styles.
I’d spend at least two days here so you can enjoy Ostuni’s world-famous sunrise and experience the area’s vibrant nightlife scene.
And if you’re not sure where to stay:
Then try Palazzo Altavilla, a fantastic local apartment/hotel with a great location and an amazing swimming pool.
By: Anna of Big World Short Stories
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and most romantic cities in all of Italy:
Verona is most well known for being the famous backdrop of Shakespeare’s immortal play, “Romeo and Juliet”.
This historic city was actually founded in the 1st century B.C and has since become a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you find yourself strolling through one of the many, must see places in Italy, then be sure to stop the Piazza Delle Erbe (with its picturesque fruit and vegetable market), the Piazza del Signori and the Piazza Bra, an area in which Verona’s most historic sites and buildings are concentrated.
And because the city is so small:
You can easily visit all of the main attractions in Verona on foot, like the Arena, which is an ancient Roman amphitheater that is found at Piazza Bra (Cangrande and Dari are also two amazing restaurants that you’ll find along the Adige River, near Piazza Bra).
It is also one of the most well-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world and is famous for its large-scale opera performances, which are held throughout the summer, between June and August.
By: Samantha of Sam Sees World
Sitting high atop the jagged cliffs of the Amalfi Coast is the incredibly charming, yet totally underrated, city of Sorrento, Italy.
This hidden gem is without a doubt, one of the best cities in Italy since it has all of the iconic views, traditional architecture, and turquoise blue waters that the Amalfi Coast is known for, but without all of the crowds.
Sorrento also has some authentic, Italian charm that is largely lacking from many of the other cities in the area.
Uniquely positioned atop picturesque cliffs along the coast:
Sorrento is home to an expansive marina, enchanting cobblestone streets, and bustling Piazzas, like Piazza Tasso.
Stop by this immortal piazza and you’ll discover a wonderful assortment of delicious restaurants, as well as some breath-taking views of the Bay of Naples.
While you’re here:
You can also visit some local lemon groves, where you can sample authentic limoncello and see lemons that are the size of your head.
By: Soumya of Stories by Soumya
Located on the beautiful island of Sicily:
Modica is one of the most beautiful Italian cities that I’ve ever visited.
Home to a wealth of historic, Baroque-style buildings:
Modica is actually one of eight, late-Baroque towns that make up the Val di Noto UNESCO Heritage Site.
And if you’re looking for stunning examples of Sicilian Baroque style architecture, then head to either the Cathedral of San Giorgio or the Church of San Pietro with its iconic statues of the twelve apostles.
You could also take a walk along the main street of Corso Umberto and marvel at some of the beautiful, ancient buildings here, many of which have balconies that are adorned with statues of grinning monsters, flying mermaids, and winged putti.
And once you’ve had your fill of local architecture:
Be sure to explore Modica’s local food scene by trying some innovative flavors of authentic, Cioccolato di Modica.
You could also stop to watch some local artisans at work as they recreate ancient chocolate recipes that were first inspired by the Aztecs.
But, regardless of what you do:
You’ll quickly realize that Modica is the perfect place to unwind, admire impressive architecture, take in some sweeping panoramic views, and savor some delicious, local Italian food.
By: Sarah and Justin of Travel Breathe Repeat
Not only is Trieste one of the many must see places in Italy, but it’s also one of the country’s best-hidden gems.
Tucked away in a northeast corner of Italy:
Trieste has an assortment of cultural influences that you experience through the city’s diverse food scene, stunning architecture, and overall, unique vibe.
If you’re not sure what to do in Trieste, then take some time to admire the grand, Austro-Hungarian inspired architecture of one of the biggest main squares in Europe, Piazza Unità d’Italia.
Marvel at the nearby ruins (they’re literally a block away) of a well-preserved, Roman amphitheater that is just hanging out, right there in the middle of the city.
You can also take a stroll along the city’s waterfront and see some mesmerizing, sunset views along the Adriatic Sea.
Trieste is home to two very different castles that are just waiting to be explored; the fortress on San Guisto Hill and Miramare, a beautiful, 19th-century castle that is just 30 minutes away via public transportation.
Now, as for a place to stay in Trieste:
We recommend splurging (just a little a bit) on a big, beautiful room at the Savoia Excelsior Palace, which sits right along the water.
And if you’re looking for a fantastic dining experience while in Trieste, then stop by Baracca E Burattini, a super local spot that is known for its fresh pasta.
You could also head to Gran Malabar for an aperitivo and to try some local wines from the Friuli region (PSST: Any craft beer lovers out there should hit up Mastro Birraio, an awesome, local watering hole that is also one of our favorite bars in the world).
So go to Trieste! We promise you’ll have a blast.
By: Mona of Mona Corona
By: Amber of Food and Drink Destinations
From Rome to Venice to Florence:
The list of must see places in Italy is endless. And one of these lesser-known, but equally great, Italian destinations is Cagliari.
Known as the capital city of the Italian island of Sardinia:
Cagliari has been at the crossroads of Italian history for centuries.
Cagliari also offers a wide range of attractions and activities to enjoy, like climbing the marble stairs of Bastione San Remy to enjoy some breathtaking views of the city.
If you want to take it easy, you can always relax at some of the beautiful beaches that sit within the city limits.
The Sardinian cuisine here is unlike anything else that you’ll taste in Italy since it’s made with a unique combination of cheeses, wines, and pasta.
And one must eat, local dish is culurgiones.
Found in restaurants throughout the city, It’s a type of pasta dumpling that is typically stuffed with potato, pecorino cheese, and oftentimes, mint.
Cagliari also has a wide array of accommodations to suit any budget, including Airbnb rentals and luxury hotels, like the Palazzo Doglio.
By: Claudia of My Adventures Across The World
By: Katy of Untold Morsels
By: Nicky of That Anxious Traveller
It’s easy to see tons of amazing things in Florence, even if you’re short on time!
Because in a country that is filled with amazing cities and towns:
You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think that Florence is one of the many, must see places in Italy.
And thanks, in part, to its surprisingly-compact size:
Two days in Florence is more than enough time to see some of Italy’s most iconic attractions, like the breathtaking architecture of the Duomo, Michangelo’s immense statue of David, and the artistic treasures found within the Uffizi Gallery.
You could also take a stroll over the ancient bridge of the Ponte Vecchio, one of the most Instagrammable places in Florence, and eat as much gelato as humanly possible along the way
And if you’re looking for a well-located hotel:
Then try to stay either in or around the city center since you’ll easily be able to see many of Florence’s major attractions from here, even in just a couple of days.
There are also a ton of great restaurants here as well, including Mercato Centrale if you’re on a budget and the lovely little trattoria, Osteria Antica Casa Torre (try one of their freshly made pasta dishes!).
Because let’s be honest:
Florence isn’t just one of the best cities in Italy – with immeasurable amounts of history, art, and culture – it’s one of the greatest cities in the world!
By: Disha of Disha Discovers
There are so many incredible places to visit in Italy and Milan is one of them.
Milan is brimming over with diffrent things to see and do, like eating at delicious restaurants, shopping at high-end fashion stores, and experiencing stunning art at local museums.
But of all the places to go in Milan:
Piazza del Duomo is the most popular since it is always buzzing with activity, which makes sense since this square is home to Milan’s most famous church, Duomo di Milano.
Venture just two minutes away from the sqaure and you’ll stumble across Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a covered shopping arcade that is lined with amazing coffee shops, fantastic eateries, and luxury stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc.
And even if you’re not interested in shopping:
This famous shopping corrdior is still well worth a visit since the extravagant architecture here is truly stunning to behold.
Milan is also the perfect destination for museum lovers since this enchanting city is home to Leonardo DeVinci’s famed, Last Super, (Please book your tickets months in advance since this Milan attraction always sells out quickly) as well as the Museo del Novecento, which is jiust a short walk away from the cathedral and home to more than 400 works of 20th century, Italian art.
Also, if you can:
Try and stay in the Centro Storico nieghborhood of Milin since it’s right in the heart of the city and is within walking distance of all of the city’s main attractions.
By: Kristen and Jeff of Our Passion For Travel
Nestled in the northwest corner of Italy, with the Cottian Alps visible in the distance, is Turin, a wonderful city to add to any Italian itinerary.
Because even though Turin isn’t quite as well known as cities like Rome, Florence and Venice:
That just means that you get to enjoy all of the city’s top attractions, but without the crowds.
And one place that you absolutely must visit while in Turin is Caffe Torino in Piazza San Carlo.
A throwback to another era:
This iconic cafe serves an amazing glass of bicerin, a delicious mixture of hot chocolate, cream, and coffee, that is just as iconic as the neon Martini sign that lights up the entranceway.
Now, once you’ve had your fill of sugar and caffeine:
Head to the Royal Palace of Turin.
Originally built in the 16thcentury:
This breathtaking complex was once the home of the Savoys, the ruling family in the region, and has since been converted into a fantastic museum where you can explore the onsite armoury, as well as the Chapel of the Shroud.
It is in this Chapel that you’ll find the Holy Shroud, a sarced piece of cloth that many people believe Jesus was buried in.
Because of the relic’s delicate nature, the shroad is only put on public display once every few years.
Once you’ve had your fill of historical grandeur:
Stop by the most iconic part of Turin’s skyline, the Mole Antonelliana, and visit the cinema museum.
Exhibits here feature memorabilia that was used throughout various Italian and American films, like the iconic Darth Vader mask from the Star Wars movies.
While you’re here:
You can also board the building’s free standing lift, which will shuttle you to the roof for some stunning, panoramic views of the city.
By: Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan
And yes, I’m talking about that old St. Nick, as in Santa Claus!
Other beautiful churches that you might want to visit include the Cathedral of San Sabino and the Church of St. Mark of Venice and Saint Anthony.
It’s here that you can see exactly what real, southern Italian life is like, minus all of the souvenir shops and other tourist-related trappings that you’ll find in more popular, Italian cities.
While you’re in the area:
This is the most popular shape of pasta in all of Puglia. It’s also always egg-free, even when it’s freshly made, which makes it a naturally vegan, Puglian specialty.
By: Aswani of A Charming Escape
Ideally located in central Tuscany:
Siena is only an hour away from Florence, Chianti wine region, Val d’Orcia, and various medieval hill towns like San Gimignano, Montalcino and Montepulciano.
If you plan to travel a lot while in Tuscany, then Siena will make the perfect home base.
And even though you could easily visit Siena as part of a day trip from Florence:
There are ao many amazing things to do here, that you may want to stay just a little bit longer.
If you want to stay in the Old City, but without breaking the bank, then try booking a room at Hotel Athena.
If you want to indulge and feel a bit like royalty, then try either the Grand Hotel Continental (a historic palace turned hotel) or the Castello delle Quattro Torra (a 13th century fortress turned hotel).
Walk inside and you’ll immeditately see that the interior of the Cathedral is just as impressive as the exterior, with an awe-inspiring dome, fantastic black and white pillars, and exquisite works of art done by masters like Donatello, Bernini, and more.
Another fantastic place to visit is the Piazza del Campo.
It’s a scallop shell shaped, 13th century sqaure that is home to a wealth of delicious restaurants, as well as the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia.
If you have more time:
You can also stop by the Siena National Gallery and the Church of San Domenico.
By: Michelle of That Texas Couple
Situated in the beautiful Bay of Naples is one of the best places to visit in Italy, Capri.
Because from the designer fashions to the homemade limoncello to the fabulous natural landscape, Capri is one of those amazing island’s that should be on everyone’s Italy itinerary.
Now, when visiting Capri:
Be sure to take a boat tour around the island since this is the best way to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you.
You could also spend a few hours swimming in the area’s beautiful waters, before taking a trip to the famous ‘Blue Grotto’, where the sunlight bouncing off the water in the cave is sure to amaze you.
And after spending all that time in the water:
Enjoy some retail therapy at one of the island’s many boutique shops, all while sipping on some fantastic, homemade limoncello.
But, for those of you who would rather hike than shop:
Be sure to explore the miles of walking paths and wild hiking trails that are found all across the island, including the incredible 921 Phoenician stone steps that link Anacapri to the Marina Grande.
In addition to all of this:
Capri is also home to a fabulous nightlife scene where night clubs are open well into the evening since most Italians don’t sit down for dinner unitl around 10:00 pm.
By: Annabel of Smudged Postcard
Within easy reach of important historic cities like Assisi and Orvieto:
Perugia is the capital of the Umbria region of Italy and is home to a wealth of different attractions that visitors can enjoy.
Take some time to meander through the charming streets of this city and you’ll discover Etruscan archways, gothic palazzos, medieval alleyways, and so much more.
In the heart of Perugia, at Piazza IV Novembre, you’ll find a stunning, 15th century cathedral, as well as the world famous, Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, which is home to important works of art done by famed masters like Piero della Francesca and Perugino.
And If you’re visiting Umbria with kids:
Then be sure to take them to the Perugino chocolate factory, where the entire family can enjoy an exciting tour of the facility (available in English).
Another amazing event that you’ll want to experience is Perugia’s annual, Umbria Jazz Festival.
Starting in early July:
Thic city comes alive with music as buskers play on street corners and small bands perform outside cafes. A stage is also erected in the main piazza so that free, open air concerts can be held for all to enjoy.
AND…THAT’S ALL SHE WROTE MY ITALY LOVIN’ HOMIES.
BECAUSE THIS CONCLUDES MY EPIC LIST OF 21 AMAZING, MUST SEE PLACES IN ITALY!
I ALSO WANNA SEND ONE GINORMOUS SHOUT OUT TO ALL OF THE AWESOME TRAVEL BLOGGERS WHO CONTIBUTED TO THIS BEYOND EPIC LIST OF PLACES TO VISIT IN ITALY.
THEY ARE TRULY AWESOME AND I SERIOUSLY COULD NOT HAVE CREATED THIS POST WITHOUT THEM!
AND, IF THIS POST HAS LEFT YOU FEELING LIKE YOU NEED TO PLAN A VERY ITALIAN VACAY OF YOUR VERY OWN, THEN YOU KNOW THE DRILL, PIN THIS NOW AND READ IT AGAIN LATER.