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10 Best Places To Visit in Italy

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Italy takes a top spot on most travelers’ bucket lists, and for good reason, as you’re about to read in this list of the best places to visit in Italy. Whether you’re looking for delicious food, stunning coastlines, charming small towns, major cities, outdoor adventures, or art and fashion, the Boot of Europe has it all. 

No matter your interests, you will find a part of Italy to fall in love with. In this article, we’re introducing you to 10 of the most beautiful places in Italy that highlight the country’s historical landmarks, natural beauty, culinary delights, and artistic achievements. 

From Rome’s Colosseum and Milan’s Last Supper to the vineyards of Tuscany and the street food of Sicily, let’s discover the best places to visit in Italy.

10 Best Places To Visit in Italy

1. Rome

Rome, the Eternal City, is usually people’s first stop in Italy. Not only is Rome the most populous city and the capital, but it also hosts some of the country’s most important historical landmarks and points of interest. 

Among them, the Colosseum, the largest ancient amphitheater ever built, stands out. Completed in 80 AD, the Colosseum could host up to 80,000 spectators who watched brave gladiators battle wild animals – such as crocodiles, elephants, and leopards – and each other. 

Next door to the Colosseum, you’ll find the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill where you can walk in the footsteps of Ancient Roman citizens, including Julius Caesar, Marc Anthony, and Augustus, past spectacular Roman ruins. 

History and architecture lovers will also want to admire the perfect dome inside the Pantheon, climb the Spanish Steps, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, and people-watch at one of Rome’s famous squares, such as Piazza del Popolo or Piazza Navona. 

Those passionate about the arts won’t want to miss the famous Galleria Borghese and Borghese Gardens. A tour through the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica might also be mandatory for art lovers, as well as religious pilgrims. 

With so much to see and do in Rome, you’ll have just enough time to squeeze in a bite of Rome’s famous pasta, such as pasta carbonara or cacio e pepe, and a scoop of gelato before heading off to your next must-see sight. 

Because Rome is such a well-known city, it receives seven to ten million visitors every year. During the summer or religious holidays, such as Easter, prepare for the city center to be very crowded. If you’re visiting Italy with JayWay though, rest assured that any must-do activities, such as a tour of the Vatican City or the Colosseum, are booked well in advance and include skip-the-line access.

This is a panoramic view of the Roman Forum in Rome.
The Roman Forum with its famous ancient ruins is an essential stop in the Eternal City

2. Venice

Few cities conjure up as romantic a notion as cruising down the canals, a gondolier singing behind you, while you take in the sights and sounds of the Grand Canal and the rest of Venice. Yet, Venice isn’t only for couples. Friends and families can enjoy the car-free bridges and waterways of The Floating City as well. 

While in Venice, you’ll want to walk across – or admire from the water on a gondola ride – the city’s famous bridges, the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs. You’ll also want to visit St. Mark’s Square where you’ll find Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, and live music pouring out of the neighboring restaurants. 

On a day trip, head out to the nearby islands of Murano – famous for glass blowing – and Burano – famous for its lace traditions and colorful houses. With your camera full, it’s the perfect time to fill your stomach with some Venetian specialties, like bigoli pasta, squid ink pasta, and cicchetti, the Venetian version of Spanish tapas. 

Venice’s popularity and busy cruise ship port mean this city is often heaving with crowds, especially in the summer months. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid them by staying for a few nights, rather than doing a quick day trip. By evening, most of the city has emptied, leaving you lots of space to get wonderfully lost in the narrow streets of Venice, definitely one of the best places to visit in Italy.

This image shows a canal in Venice lined by gorgeous buildings.
You won’t be able to take your eyes off of this dreamy floating city

3. Tuscany

Rolling green valleys, iconic cypress trees, many a hilltop town, lush wineries, world-famous Renaissance art, and some of the best produce in all of Italy, all this awaits you on a trip to Tuscany in Central Italy. 

Much like Italy itself, Tuscany is a region of contrasts. You can start your trip in the bustling city of Florence, a mecca for art history enthusiasts. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic center of Florence has no shortage of treasures.

Stroll across Ponte Vecchio, people-watch at Piazza della Signoria, see incredible art in the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia, climb to the top of the Duomo – the glorious Santa Maria del Fiore – and watch the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo. 

After a few busy days in Florence, it’s time to check out the other side of Tuscany. Head to the Tuscan countryside where you can relax by having an Italian villa all to yourselves, pop into historic hilltop towns, like San Gimignano or Siena, and visit family-run wineries for delicious wine tastings and long, leisurely lunches. 

The countryside of Tuscany is the perfect place to relax, slow down, and appreciate the natural beauty of Italy. It’s also a great place to appreciate Italy’s produce as you enjoy fresh truffles, olive oil, fruit, vegetables, and a lot more.

At JayWay Travel, we always make sure our guests join the best small-group tours of Tuscany. Alternatively, we can arrange exceptional private tours through the region’s stunning scenery, certainly a unique way to check out some of the best places to visit in Italy.

A close-up of the Cathedral in Florence, one of the best places to visit in Italy.
The Cathedral in Florence is breathtaking

4. Amalfi Coast

Just south of Naples lies the beautiful Amalfi Coast where homes are steeped on mountainsides that appear to crash into the sea. While it’s known for attracting A-list crowds to its luxurious shores, you don’t have to own a megayacht to enjoy a few days on the Amalfi Coast.

The Amalfi Coast is made up of a series of towns, each offering something slightly different. We suggest staying in one town and joining day tours to visit the others. 

For a convenient stay, choose Sorrento. This town, on the north coast, is the only one on the Amalfi Coast that’s accessible by train. It’s easy to visit Naples, Pompeii and Capri from Sorrento. It’s also the original home of limoncello, which is a must-try while on the Amalfi Coast. 

For postcard-perfect views, choose Positano. This is one of the most popular towns on the coast, owing to its beautiful dramatic cliffs, sandy beaches, and great shopping.

For history and great food, choose Amalfi. The town of Amalfi, which shares its name with the coast, is steeped in history and hosts a stunning Cathedral that’s well worth visiting. Amalfi is also known for great food and a quieter atmosphere, perfect if you’re a foodie looking for some peace. 

Keep in mind that the Amalfi Coast is a seasonal destination, typically visited from early April until late October, with July and August seeing the most visitors. Larger towns, like Sorrento, are open year-round but most of the smaller towns’ restaurants, shops, hotels, and ferries shut down outside the peak season. 

This is a panoramic view of Positano with its buildings perched on a steep slope by the sea.
Positano is utterly picturesque

5. Milan

Milan is undoubtedly the fashion capital of Italy, as well as one of the world’s four fashion capitals, alongside New York, London, and Paris. This northern Italian city is known for its style and distinct culture that’s seeped into its food, art, architecture, and, of course, fashion. 

If you have a passion for fashion, Milan is the perfect place to browse designer shops, be inspired, and add to your wardrobe. But if you dread shopping, there’s lots more for you to do, see, and eat in Milan.

Stare up at the imposing Duomo di Milano then take a stroll through the equally impressive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II next door. Learn about Renaissance royalty at the Castello Sforzesco or take a science lesson at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology. 

See a show at the Teatro Alla Scala opera house and enjoy a meal of famous Milanese risotto. Milan is home to plenty of art galleries, churches, squares, and parks you can enjoy, too.

One thing you can’t miss in Milan is a visit to Santa Maria delle Grazie, the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, The Last Supper. As this is an extremely popular painting, it’s best to see it on a guided tour that can be arranged by your expert JayWay trip planner way in advance.

This is a panoramic view of the interior of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, one of the best places to visit in Italy.
A stroll through the impressive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is mandatory when in Milan

6. Naples

While it’s the third largest city in Italy, Naples’s checkered history kept visitors away for a long time. Luckily, those days are over and visitors are heading to Naples once again. Despite not being the most picturesque city, Naples’s charm is in its grit. It’s a city of real Italians with layers of rich history around every corner. 

One thing that undeniably keeps visitors coming back to Naples is the city’s pizza. Naples, the birthplace of pizza, serves up some of the best plates in the country. 

From simple but delicious options at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele – made famous by Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love – to long menus and many toppings at Gino e Toto Sorbillo to any hole-in-the-wall pizzeria you’ll discover at random, enjoy tasting your way through Naples’s pizza scene.

And if you happen to get sick of pizza, if that’s even possible, you can try other famous Neapolitan dishes like cuoppo (fried street food), ragu pasta, spaghetti puttanesca, and sfogliatelle (layered pastry). 

Besides eating, there’s lots to discover in Naples. Take a walk through the historic center, visit one of Naples’s many castles, pop into churches and galleries, and dig into the city’s culture at the National Archaeological Museum. 

Naples is also a great base for day trips. From Naples, you can visit the famous archeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Speaking of which, you can also visit Mt. Vesuvius. You can even ferry to the island of Capri or the Amalfi Coast from Naples.

This is a panoramic view of the Bay of  Naples in the blue hour.
The blue hour in Naples is enchanting

7. Lake Como

Just north of Milan lies the beautiful Italian Lakes district and its star, Lake Como. Created by melting glaciers and framed by the Alps, Lake Como hosts a number of picturesque small towns around its shores – including one where George Clooney is a resident. 

Start your journey in Como, the main city on the lake. Stop into the Como Cathedral, visit Villa Olmo, and ride a funicular up the hill for a beautiful view. 

Carry onto Bellagio, one of the most famous and beautiful towns on Lake Como. Here, you’ll find gorgeous villas and gardens to explore, colorful homes, and rocky beaches. Next door is Varenna, another town known for its historic sites, garden villas, and lakefront views. 

Spend your days on Lake Como relaxing on the beach, heading out on boat trips, strolling along the many nature trails, and admiring the views.

This image shows a boat approaching a small quaint town on the shore of Lake Como, one of the best places to visit in Italy.
The charms of Lake Como are best enjoyed from the water

8. Cinque Terre

Southern Italy has the Amalfi Coast but Northern Italy has Cinque Terre, a series of five towns along the Ligurian coast that boast incredible views, sharp cliffs, brightly colored homes, and beautiful blue waters. 

Each town in Cinque Terre – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – offers something slightly different. Monterosso is the largest and has the only sandy beach, Vernazza is the most picturesque, Corniglia is the smallest and the only town not built on the sea, Manarola is the most famous, and Riomaggiore is the easiest to get to, plus great for sunsets. 

Spend your time in this magnificent part of the Italian Riviera exploring the different towns, hitting the beach, enjoying fresh seafood, hiking, joining boat tours, and appreciating the coastal views. 

While it’s possible to visit Cinque Terre on a day trip, we recommend staying at least one night to truly experience the towns. Like many places in Italy, Cinque Terre empties in the evening, offering a completely different atmosphere for tourists who stay the night. Staying overnight also gives you a head start on exploring in the morning, before the day trippers arrive.

This image shows a colorful village built atop dramatic grey cliffs.
When night approaches, the towns of Cinque Terre become even more beautiful

9. Sicily

Just off the toe of the boot of Italy lies Sicily, a region of the country known for its distinct culture, Mediterranean weather and food, Ancient Greek landmarks, and mafia history. While much less visited than Rome or Venice, the island of Sicily is a wonderful place to get a different taste of Italy. 

You can start your exploration of Sicily in Palermo, where you’ll find UNESCO World Heritage Cathedrals and churches, as well as a strong street food scene. Enjoy strolling through the markets or learn more about what you’re eating by joining one of the best food tours. 

Head south to Agrigento, where you can wander through The Valley of The Temples. This impressive site of Ancient Greek art and architecture holds multiple temples, sanctuaries, and a necropolis. 

Over on the east side of Sicily, you can visit the ancient neighborhood of Ortigia in Syracuse, see the Baroque architecture in Catania, and climb or cable car to the top of Mount Etna. Up north, you can relax on the beautiful beaches of Cefalu or take a ferry over to the Aeolian Islands for more beaches and volcanoes. 

This image shows an ancient temple under the sunshine.
Agrigento will leave you wondering if you’re in Italy or Greece

10. Sardinia

Sardinia, a large island located in the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the best places to visit in Italy for nature lovers. This island is well-known for its beaches, turquoise waters, and rock formations.  

Adventurers will have lots to do in Sardinia. Spend your days biking through national parks, sailing along archipelagos, hiking historic mining sites, exploring caves, and diving into ancient shipwrecks. For a little more culture, you can explore the ruins of Su Nuraxi, wander around Cagliari’s citadel, and discover the archaeological sites of Nora and Tharros. 

Of course, you’ll want to try some of Sardinia’s world-class cuisine. Enjoy su porceddu (roast suckling pig), culurgiones and malloreddus pasta, pane carasau (crispy bread), pecorino cheese, and fresh sea urchin. 

This is a panoramic shot of the transparent waters of La Pelosa Beach in Sardinia.
In Sardinia, you’ll have to pinch yourselves to make sure these beaches are for real

Travel To Italy With Us

It’s no overstatement to say that, here at JayWay, we know Italy like the back of our hand. From our expert travel advisors to our experienced trip planners to the knowledgeable locals who await to welcome you on the ground, everyone will work together to craft the perfect Italy itinerary for you, tailored to your desires and preferences.

So, if this list of the best places to visit in Italy inspires you to travel to this breathtaking country soon, get in touch, and we’ll make your dream Italy vacation come true.

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