Are you planning a trip to the “Bel Paese” and deciding which Italian cities to visit? As you probably know, Italy has many beautiful towns, full of art, history and food, so picking the best to visit is not an easy task. Luckily, we’re here to help.
10 Best Italian Cities to Visit and Why
The list of Italian towns is endless. Scattered across the peninsula, many of them have played an important role in Italian history as independent municipalities or state capitals. This is why, over the centuries, Italian cities have been transformed into living works of art. Which are the best Italian cities to visit? Here are our top 10.
1. Roma, Rome
Rome, the Eternal City, needs no introduction. Its history spans 28 centuries, making it one of the oldest and most fascinating cities in Europe. It was the capital of the Roman Empire and one of the major centre of the Italian Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassicism. Today it’s the capital city of Italy but also of the Vatican City, the smallest country in the world.
Why you should visit Rome
To discover the most impressive Roman sites in the world and see the finest works of Italian Renaissance.
What to visit in Rome
The Colosseum and the Roman Forum, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona with Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, Castel Sant’Angelo, Trastevere neighboorhood.
Where to stay in Rome
Palazzo Navona, a stilish 4-star hotel in the heart of Rome with an incredible roof top.
2. Firenze, Florence
Florence is the best town to visit in Italy if you’re looking for Medieval and Renaissance art. With its unique history and cultural richness, the capital city of Tuscany attracts millions of visitors every year.
Why you should visit Florence
To live an authentic Italian experience and enjoy the great food of this region, such as Florentine steak, pecorino cheese, truffle and superb wines.
What to visit in Florence
Uffizi Gallery Museum, Florence Catheral with the great dome by Brunelleschi, Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Piazzale Michelangelo, David sculpture by Michelangelo. For other tips check out our Florence guide.
Where to stay in Florence
The Student Hotel Lavagnini, great location for people who love modern interior design and fashion with a breathtaking view of Florence.
3. Venezia, Venice
One of the most iconic cities in the world, Venice is built across a group of small islands in the Venetian Lagoon, linked by over 400 bridges, and is famous for its charming canals crowded with gondola boats.
Why you should visit Venice
To discover one of the most romantic cities in the world.
What to visit in Venice
Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica, Palazzo Ducale, Canal Grande, Ponte dei Sospiri, Ponte di Rialto, Acqua Alta Bookshop, the colorful island of Burano.
Where to stay in Venice
Hotel Ai Reali, this luxurious hotel in the city center will make you feel like a royal.
If you cherish gastronomic tours, Bologna is your ideal destination: a medieval city in the heart of the Emilia Romagna region with an incredible culinary tradition.
Why you should visit Bologna
To eat the best fresh homemade pasta of your life: tagliatelle with ragù, tortellini, cappelletti, lasagne… and discover that spagnetti bolognese is only a myth!
What to visit in Bologna
Piazza Maggiore and its medieval buildings, Garisenda and Asinelli leaning Towers, Basilica of San Petronio, Piazza Santo Stefano, Via Piella secret window, the portico of San Luca (the longest in the world). For other tips check out our Bologna guide.
Where to stay in Bologna
Hotel Al Cappello Rosso, an original boutique hotel in the city center.
5. Milano, Milan
Milan is not only the financial capital of Italy, but also its most fashionable city. Modern and stylish, it’s the perfect place for luxury travelers looking for a memorable shopping experience, art and design.
Why you should visit Milan
To see the future of Italy with your own eyes, a place where tradition and history meet modernity.
What to visit in Milan
Milan Cathedral (the Duomo), Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Museo del Novecento (one of the best modern art museums in Italy), Castello Sforzesco, the Navigli, Brera streets, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, Gae Aulenti Square, Corso Como, via Montenapoleone.
Where to stay in Milan
TownHouse Galleria, definitely not cheap but hey, it’s the most instagrammable hotel in Milan!
6. Napoli, Naples
Humanity should thank Naples for its greatest gift: the pizza. This Italian symbol was invented here, in the capital city of Campania, also known for the fabulous Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius and the island of Capri. Have you read My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, now a major HBO show? Yes, it’s set in Naples.
Why you should visit Naples
To eat the best Italian food, like the legendary pizza at Sorbillo, and experience the charm and picturesqueness of Southern Italy.
What to visit in Naples
Piazza del Plebiscito and Palazzo Reale, Castel dell’Ovo, Spaccanapoli and the Spanish Quarters, Maschio Angioino, Toledo metro station (the prettiest in Europe), Castel Sant’Elmo, Underground Naples, the archeological museum of Campi Flegrei.
Where to stay in Naples
Decumani Hotel De Charme, this charming hotel, set in a historic building, will seduce you with the friendliness of its staff and the breakfast served in a decorated room.
One of the greatest Italian wonders, and yet such a small town: Matera is known as the Underground City or the city of “Sassi”, houses carved out in the rocks. A UNESCO World Heritage site and European Capital of Culture for 2019, this town of Basilicata will definitely stole your heart.
Why you should visit Matera
To see something unique in the world, so beautiful and antique you’ll never forget it, and live the experience of sleeping in a cave hotel.
What to visit in Matera
Sassi di Matera, the Cathedral, the Park of the Rupestrian Churches.
Where to stay in Matera
Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA, a luxury hotel inside the Sassi is the perfect romantic escape!
8. Genova, Genoa
With its strong maritime tradition, Genoa is one of the most interesting cities to visit in Italy, also a good place to start your trip to La Spezia and the Cinque Terre, a must-see if you love amazing landscapes and colorful villages.
Why you should visit Genoa
To discover its sea history and taste the authentic pesto sauce.
What to visit in Genoa
Acquarium of Genova (the largest in Italy), the elegant Via Garibaldi, Doge’s Palace, St. Lawrence Cathedral, Strade Nuove, the Lighthouse of Genoa (the Lanterna), Palazzo Reale Museum, Christopher Columbus House, Galata Museum of the Sea, the ancient seaside district of Boccadasse.
Where to stay in Genoa
Hotel Bristol Palace, a gorgeous hotel in Liberty style, recently renovated.
9. Torino, Turin
This elegant city of the Piedmont region, in the north of Italy, is a real gem: Turin is the perfect destination for culture and book lovers, with incredible castles and museums to enjoy, not to mention its cosy cafés.
Why you should visit Turin
To discover the history of the first capital of Italy and the superb residencies of the Royal House of Savoy, while eating tons of gianduja chocolate.
What to visit in Turin
The Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale), Piazza Castello, Mole Antonelliana with the National Museum of Cinema inside, Parco del Valentino, Castello del Valentino, Borgo Medievale (a replica of medieval mountain castles of Piedmont and Aosta Valley), Basilica of Superga, the Egyptian Museum, the Royal Palace of Venaria.
Where to stay in Turin
Hotel Diplomatic, great value for money and excellent position, between the city center and Porta Susa train station.
Palermo is the right place to start your exploration of Sicily: colonised by the Greek, the Normans, the Arabs and the Spanish, this beautiful city is really a melting pot of different cultures and styles that strikes the visitors with its incredible vitality.
Why you should visit Palermo
To fall in love with its fashinating architecture and crowded food markets, where you can have a taste of Sicilian cuisine.
What to visit in Palermo
Palermo Cathedral, Palazzo dei Normanni and the Cappella Palatina, Quattro Canti, San Giovanni degli Eremiti Church, Chiesa della Martorana, San Cataldo Church, Zisa and Cuba castles, Ballarò market, the Botanical Gardens.
Where to stay in Palermo
Hotel Porta Felice & Spa, great location with a spa in the old part of the town.
With that, we’ve reached the end of our list. Of course, it could have been much longer: there are so many Italian cities worth visiting! Have you picked your favourite yet?
Are you planning a trip to Italy? Send us a message through the Contact section, we’ll be happy to help!