Choosing between the Italian cities, and deciding what to visit in Italy can be always hard. There’s so much to see in every region, every city! With this post, we will be exploring the 10 best cities to visit in Italy, to make that choice easier. Or harder, if this list will make you want to visit them all! The Italian cities are full of history, stunning architecture, great food, and life. However, each of them has its own specialty, that you won’t find anywhere else. The reason is mostly related to Italian history and the fact that before the unification of Italy, each Italian city-state had its own culture, architecture, and rulership. This makes Italian destinations diverse, but still similar.
10 best cities to visit in Italy
On this list, you’ll find 10 of the best cities to visit in Italy. These cities are also some of the major cities in Italy, so if you love urban destinations, busy streets, and have a huge variety of things to do on your vacation, you’ll love these places!
You’ve never seen Italy if you’ve never visited Rome! It is true, that the Italian capital is itself a huge museum. On every hill, street, or square there’s something incredible awaiting you to discover it. When you visit Rome, you can’t miss the essentials, such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, or the Trevi Fountain.
You must also visit the Vatican City, the St Peter’s Basilica, and the neighborhood of Trastevere! Rome isn’t just about landmarks and museums. Rome is about colors, life, and food! Discover the authentic neighborhood of Trastevere and stop by in a local Trattoria/Osteria for some traditional Italian food.
Also, do not miss the beautiful Piazza Navona, and the neighboring Roman streets. Stop by on Via del Governo Vecchio for an aperitivo, or a great Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe! Rome is definitely one of the best cities in Italy, that you must visit!
The birthplace of the Renaissance. Florence is definitely one of the best cities to visit in Italy! Arriving in Florence is just as easy as arriving in Rome. The city has its own airport, but it’s easy to get there by car, bus, or train as well! Florence is full of art, culture, and museums that you must explore. Do not miss the highlight of the city, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and the surrounding area.
Another of the best things to see in Florence is the Piazza della Signoria. Walk around the square to explore the many sculptures, and if you have time, enter the Palazzo Vecchio as well for some Renaissance touch. Do not miss the Uffizi Gallery, and the Galleria dell’Accademia for some stunning Renaissance art, as well as Michelangelo’s David statue.
If you’re in Florence, the Ponte Vecchio bridge is a must-see, as well as watching the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo. Besides these, make sure you’ll try some dishes with Tartufo (truffles) and the famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina paired with some great wine! Florence is not just one of the best cities to visit in Italy, but it’s also one of the major cities in Italy.
Venice is one of the best cities to visit in Italy, that must be on everyone’s Italy bucket list! The beautiful city with narrow streets that are running alongside the labyrinth of canals is just amazing! Venice is an island city that can be reached by train, bus, or boat. If you are flying into Venice, you can also take a ferry from the airport.
The Vaporetto and the water taxis are the main way for getting around Venice if you don’t want to walk. One of the highlights is always to get a gondola ride, though these are used for the experience, and not for transportation. The center of Venice is Piazza San Marco or St Mark’s Square. This is the one spot in Venice that you cannot miss! Stop by for a coffee or have an aperitivo on the square, listen to music, and take in the beautiful view of the square and the buildings surrounding it.
Another highlight must be also the Doge’s Palace in Venice, and the Grand Canal (Canale Grande) which’s the main canal sliding Venice. As for the many canals in the city, as you can imagine, there are several bridges as well that you must see. A highlight would de the beautiful Rialto Bridge. If you want to find out where to stay in Venice, where to eat and the best day trips, we’ve gathered these in different posts to check!
Milan is the financial capital and the fashion capital of Italy. The Lombardian city is a highlight of the best cities to visit in Italy, especially for its many faces. Once you’re visiting Milan, you must visit the Duomo di Milano, as well as the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, that’s located nearby.
This is the oldest and most famous shopping mall in Italy, hosting the most famous Italian and non-Italian luxury brands. Milan is also home to one of Europe’s most famous opera houses, the Teatro alla Scala. One of the best things about Milan, as I have mentioned is, that it has many faces. You can travel in time while you explore the city!
First, there comes the modern era, the financial district, and the Isola neighborhood. From that, you can dive into the chic neighborhood of Brera, which’s full of cultural sights, art galleries, and showrooms. Crossing the historic center of Milan, you can have a glimpse of the real Italian Milan by visiting the Navigli neighborhood, and stopping for a drink at one of the many bars along the canals.
Bologna is the capital city of the Emilia Romagna region. It’s located just about an hour away from the east coast, and it’s halfway between Florence and Milan. Also, getting to Bologna is super convenient, as it has an international airport, as well as many train lines that are passing the city. Alternatively, you can reach the city by bus or train as well!
Bologna is home to the world’s oldest university that’s dating back to the 11th century. You can also visit the old anatomy classroom while you’re exploring the city! Another highlight of Bologna, and also the reason why it’s one of the best cities to visit in Italy, is the food! Bologna has some of the most famous Italian dishes, including the popular Bolognese sauce (Bolognese ragu) and different types of handmade egg pasta.
If you’re in the city, you must have at least once a Tagliatelle al Ragu. You won’t taste a bolognese as great as it’s done in its birthplace! Strolling around the city center, and discovering the Piazza Maggiore, the small streets nearby where you can also find street markets with fresh food is a must.
Bologna is famous for its porticoes as well! In fact, the city has 38km of porticoes with beautiful arches and columns. Last, but not least, you must also visit the two leaning towers of Bologna, Garisenda, and Asinelli. You can also climb the Asinelli Tower for a breathtaking view over the city of Bologna!
More of the best cities to visit in Italy
Verona, one of the best cities to visit in Italy is also one of the most romantic cities up north. The famous story of Romeo and Juliet made Verona known worldwide, and it feels like the vibes of their love are just all around the city center. Verona has some really charming streets, aligned with beautiful houses, plants, and stunning piazzas.
If you’re in Verona, you must visit the Piazza Bra, as well as Piazza delle Erbe. This second is without question the most beautiful square in Verona! Since you’re in Verona, do not miss the Arena di Verona, which’s the 3rd largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire.
Besides these, you must see in Verona is Juliet’s House, the stunning Castelvecchio, and the Castel San Pietro for stunning panorama! From Verona, you can also visit one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy, Lake Garda.
Torino, while it appears to be an underrated city in Italy, it is however one of the best cities to visit in Italy! It’s located in the north of Italy, just an hour away from Milan. A city where you can discover a lot about the royal history of Italy!
Torino was the capital of the House of Savoy during the 16th century, and it was also the capital of Italy for a short period in the 19th century. The city is aligned with elegant streets and breathtaking palazzos reflecting the Baroque age. There are also impressive royal palaces, an Egyptian Museum, the Cinema Museum, and the stunning Mole Antonelliana.
While you’re in Torino, you must also know that the city is really famous for its automotive history, since it’s the home of the two famous brands, the Fiat and the Lancia. You can also visit the Automotive Museum in the city!
Naples is one of the most colorful, diverse, and also one of the major cities in Italy. The southern city is offering a really exciting experience for its visitors that’s followed by the most famous dish in Naples, the pizza! Naples has its own international airport so you can fly directly into the city, but you can also get there by car, train, bus, or even ferry boat!
Some of the highlights of Naples are the Duomo di San Gennaro and the stunning Castel Nuovo right near the sea. Among the many things to explore in the city of Naples, we must highlight the most famous Italian volcano that’s also nearby. You can also plan a day trip to visit the Vesuvius volcano, as well as the ancient cities that were destroyed by its eruption. Pompeii is the most famous city to visit that was covered by the lava of the volcano, but Herculaneum is just as important and stunning as Pompeii!
When it comes to food in Naples, you can’t leave the city without eating pizza! The Neopolitan pizza is something incredible, and something so delicious, that it’s a sin not to try it! Simple and delicious! Make sure you also check our list of best places to stay in Naples!
Genoa was once a really powerful maritime city-state and it’s one of the highlights of the best cities to visit in Italy, more specifically in the North of Italy. Genoa has its own airport, but it’s also close to Milan and Turin (about an hour away from both).
Wandering around the historic center is the first must-do when you visit Genoa. Right after that, you must see Porto Antico, which is the old port of Genoa. Here, you can find the largest aquarium in Europe, the botanical gardens, and Bigo Crane, which’s taking you up to 40m to get a stunning view over the city of Genoa.
Some other things to do in Genoa are visiting Palazzo Reale, the Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola, and let’s not forget the seaside and the fresh seafood and fish dishes either!
Now let’s head down south again, to the beautiful island of Sicily. Palermo is definitely one of the best cities to visit in Italy with mixed culture and great vibes. The city has its own airport, but you can reach the city by other transportation methods as well.
Palermo is colorful, with street markets, and stalls overflowing with fresh products from fruits to fish. We must highlight, that Palermo is rich in culture as well, as Italy’s biggest opera house is to be found here. The city is also full of unique, characterful churches and beautifully decorated squares and fountains.
Quattro Canti is one of the highlights you must see in Palermo! The four Baroque buildings standing face to face with each other, the statues that represent the four seasons. This city is rich in stunning architecture, real Sicilian vibes, amazing food, sea, and sunshine. It’s a major city in Italy that you shouldn’t miss, especially if you love warm destinations!
Wrapping up the 10 best cities to visit in Italy
As we’ve mentioned before, the 10 major cities in Italy, which are also the best cities to visit in Italy can help you choose what to visit next! If you love the south, definitely add to your list, Palermo or Naples. If you’re looking for places rich in culture and history, Rome and Florence are a must! If you’re looking for an Italian city that’s calmer, and it has amazing food, then Bologna is your place! For stunning and unique experiences, choose Venice! To discover the North of Italy, Verona, Milan, Turin, and Genoa is definitely a must-see! So these are the 10 best cities to visit in Italy!