10 Best Cities In Italy: Places To Visit

A trip to one of the best cities in Italy is an adventure for all senses. Grandiose sights, spectacular ancient ruins, and food that lingers in your memory for a lifetime.

If you haven’t visited any of the best cities in Italy, you have yet to unlock a unique experience. Are you eager to find out the 10 best cities to travel to in Italy? Below you will find an easy-to-use map of Italy for travel which features all the cities and towns listen in this list.

Map of Best Cities in Italy

10. Palermo

Must-see city in Italy - Palermo

If Sicily is on your itinerary, Palermo is also a nice city to visit. Imagine a fusion of 12th-century architecture, unique culinary experiences, and rich nightlife. Add some beach days, and you have the perfect trip to Italy. Palermo is home to Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele, the largest opera house in the country.

A few days in the city let you sneak a peek into the islander’s daily life while soaking in the Sicilian sun. Among the city’s most famous landmarks is the Cattedrale di Palermo which is the location of royal tombs. The Quattro Canti square is the lively town center where you get to enjoy your aperitivo while people watching.

Don’t miss: Take a street food tour to taste the best of Palermo. The arancini and cannoli are traditional Sicilian street food. Then, soak in the turquoise waters at Lido Finanza or Spiaggia di Modello.

9. Siena

Siena in Italy

Let the surrounding countryside landscapes take your breath away at the hill town of Siena in Tuscany. The medieval streets take you to ancient landmarks like the Duomo di Siena and the Piccolomini Biblioteca. Take the edge off at Piazza Del Campo square, a UNESCO World Heritage site hosting dozens of cafes and restaurants.

Siena is most famous for the Palio horserace, a medieval tradition that occurs twice a year, in July and August. However, the ancient walls stretching over 7km make this city even more remarkable. This is one of the few cities left in the world with well preserved ancient city gates.

Don’t miss: The aqueducts of Siena stretch over 25km underground and emerge into fountains at a few spots in the city, like the Fountain of Joy. Go on a quest and look for Dante’s 5 Divine Comedy quotes attached on the walls in the small streets leading to Piazza Del Campo.

8. Verona

Italy Top 10 Cities - Verona

Verona is among the top tourist cities in Italy, thanks to Shakespeare. Each year, millions of tourists flood the town searching for the bronze Juliet statue and the infamous balcony. But this beautiful city has more to it than the tragic love story.

There are dozens of well-preserved Roman ruins worth your time. Take a stroll to the Roman theatre and the Arena di Verona, built even before the Colosseum! Then, go to the Giardino Giusti, a 17th century garden with a labyrinth, statues, and impressive flora.

Don’t miss: Take a day trip to Parco Delle Cascate, a park featuring 8 waterfalls, pools, springs, and stunning nature. Pick a warm day and take your walking gear.

7. Sorrento

Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast

Enjoy the beauty of the Amalfi coast without the overwhelming crowds at Sorrento. Ranked among the best places to visit in Italy year after year, this town is the savvy traveler’s hub.

You get to stay at a more peaceful spot while still being close to the most popular places on the Amalfi coast, like Positano and Capri. Best of all, you don’t need to rent a car in Sorrento as the impressive landmarks are often a walking distance of the hotels.

Don’t miss: Piazza Tasso is the place to shop, eat or drink while in Sorrento. It’s a pedestrian area and the ultimate meet-up spot. As night falls, this is the place to be for an unforgettable evening in one of the best Italian cities!

6. Bologna

Bologna in Northern Italy

Bologna is the capital city of northern Italy and the best place to live in Italy for foreigners. Expats choose Bologna because of its versatility, rich cultural scene, career and education opportunities.

What gives Bologna its charm is the medieval architecture overflowing with watchtowers. But not all of them were defensive. Some were built as a showoff by wealthy families. Today, you can visit two famous towers on your trip and get a glimpse of the fascinating history.

Then, rent a scooter and drive through the vibrant city, stopping by for a bite with a view at Piazza Maggiore.

Don’t miss: Put on your walking shoes and walk the portico from the city center to the Santuario di Madonna di San Luca. At 3.7km, it’s the longest portico in the world!

5. Naples

Naples - one of the most popular cities in Italy

Naples, the pizza capital of the world, is one of the nicest cities in Italy. Ranked third among the major cities in Italy, Naples is the regional capital. This vibrant city is a foodie mecca and full of ancient history. Visit the Galleria Borbonica, a network of tunnels that have been in use since the 1800s, to get an insight into the city below Naples. Or take a tour to the Catacombe di San Gennaro.

Naples is one of the best port cities in Europe, with a stunning promenade. As the day comes to an end, take a walk on the Lungomare Caracciolo built over the ruins of the old port. And if you’re staying a while longer, take a train to Pompeii, an old town demolished in 79 CE when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

Don’t miss: The popular ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ movie had a say in ranking Naples among the most famous cities in Italy. The heroine is pictured to enjoy her newly found freedom indulging in the classic Margherita at the L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples.

4. Milan

Milan or Milano, one of the many old Italian cities.

Milan is the second-largest city in Italy, famous for its historic city center. However, unlike most Italian cities, Milan has a sophisticated spirit influenced by its title as the European fashion capital. You won’t find the old town soul in this fashion hub. The two iconic sites featured in every Milan postcard are the Duomo di Milano and Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle.

For a more cultural experience, take a leisure walk from Arco Della Pace through Parco Sempione and arrive at the Sforzesco Castle. This fortress includes a museum that features art from Michelangelo and Da Vinci. As the workday is done, head to Navigli for aperitivo. This picturesque neighborhood in Milan is full of cafes that provide after-work food and drinks well into the night.

Don’t miss: Take a day trip from Milan to Lake Como to admire some of the stunning villas owned by George Clooney, Sting, and many other celebrities. In the summer you can enjoy a boat ride and a dip!

3. Florence

Florence, one of the best cities in Italy to travel

Arriving at number 3 is the most popular solo destination in Italy and one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. What’s not to love about this romantic art hub? Starting with the Florence Cathedral, an architectural gem ahead of its time. Visit it early, and make sure to climb to the top to enjoy a spectacular panoramic view.

Don’t fail to visit the gallery Degli Uffizi, one of the most prestigious galleries in the world. It portrays the movement from gothic to renaissance with art by Botticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Titian. Among the top things to do in Florence is a trip to Pisa, the home of the famous leaning tower. The leaning tower of Pisa is merely an hour away from Florence and reachable by train.

Don’t miss: Stroll through the ancient streets and visit the oldest operating pharmacy in the world, Santa Maria Novella, which opened in 1221. The decore is jaw-dropping, as well as the products inside, ranging from medicine to perfume, supplements, and medicinal herbs.

2. Venice

Italian tourist city Venice

Gondolas, canals, masks, and a laid-back lifestyle are the perfect words to describe this beautiful city. Ranked among the most touristy Italian towns, Venice still maintains its mysterious charm. Start your day at Piazza San Marco, a historic center of the Venetian culture. Then, continue to the Basilica San Marco for breathtaking insights into ancient art and history.

Of course, one of the top things to do in Venice is taking a gondola ride through the canals. It’s a surreal adventure, gliding through the tiny canals between houses in a small boat.

Not many Italian cities can take pride in having their own tiny islands, but Venice can! Murano, Burano, and Torcello are located in the Venetian lagoon, and all of them are worth a visit. At Murano, you can witness the art of glass blowing, while Burano is famous for handcrafted lace and fishing nets. Torcello is uninhabited but keeps one of the oldest landmarks in the region, the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta.

Don’t miss: Get ready for your next carnival and take a mask-making class from the professionals. Or take a food and wine tour and enjoy Cicchetti, the Venetian finger food accompanied by prosecco.

1. Rome

Best city in Italy - Rome

All ancient streets lead to Rome, the capital city and historic centre of Italy. We can’t make a list of the best cities to see in Italy without including the eternal city, a place beaming with culture, history, art, and versatility. You’ll see locals rushing to their jobs and tourists lining up in front of the Trevi Fountain.

You’ll see hundreds trying to figure out the way around the Colosseum and an equal amount of people enjoying their third gelato of the day. There’s nothing you can’t find in Rome as it’s one of the very best cities in the world, and don’t forget the Vatican. The Vatican museum is among the best places to visit in Rome.

Don’t miss: Always finish your day in Trastevere, a neighborhood filled with restaurants with mouth-watering pasta. Don’t worry if you have to wait in line; they’ll always serve you a complimentary glass of prosecco!

There are many reasons to travel to Europe, and one of them is to explore Italian cities! Make sure to add the cities above to your bucket list and enjoy the moment when you’re there!

What city is most beautiful in Italy?

Rome is the most beautiful city in Italy, followed closely by Florence, Venice, and Milan. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you might find other cities more beautiful.

What cities should I skip in Italy?

Avoid smaller province towns as most Italians don’t speak English, and it will be hard for you to manage around. The region of Calabria and Catania are deemed the least safe areas, so it’s best to avoid them. But Italy is a safe country in general.

Which city in Italy should I live in?

The cities with the most expats in Italy are Bologna, Florence, Rome, and Milan. However, if you’re looking for a lower-cost place suitable for foreigners, try Palermo, Genoa, Padua, or Trento.

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Article by Kyle

Digital nomad since 2010. I spend my time traveling around the world learning about new cultures and languages. I've lived in 4 continents and still have a lot left to explore!