Are you planning a trip to Italy? It can be a tough call to choose your itinerary among the country’s numerous wonderful and majestic cities. It can be quite overwhelming to narrow down your itinerary if you only have a week’s worth of vacation but worry not, as this guide can help you choose some of the best Italian cities to visit on your trip.
Read on and discover the ten best Italian cities to visit that will surely give you a memorable experience.
As Italy’s capital, Rome will most likely be on top of travelers’ itineraries when visiting Italy. The enchanting city of Rome offers spectacular sights, ancient monuments, gorgeous fountains, art museums, and Renaissance palaces, and stunning Baroque churches.
It is easy to get lost and overwhelmed with many sights and tourist attractions in the city, so be sure to pace yourself and try to have varied experiences as you explore the city. A trip to Rome would not be complete without visiting the famous and iconic Colosseum and Arch of Constantine.
Other must-visit sights are Vatican City, the smallest independent state globally, which houses St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square. The Pantheon, the best-preserved monument during the Roman empire, is an architectural marvel that everyone should see.
The only city in the world built over the water in the middle of a lagoon, the “floating city” of Venice is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Italy. Venice is famed for its Grand Canal and the Piazza San Marco, the heart of Venice, which houses the famous St. Mark’s Basilica.
As the northeast of Italy, Venice was historically the bridge between East and West Italy. Its architecture reflects a Byzantine period that is unique to the city and cannot be observed anywhere else in the country.
Aside from the usual itinerary, take a day trip to Murano and Burano if you have an extra day or two. You can also consider visiting the cities that are less visited by tourists, such as Castello and Cannaregio. Take a tour of La Fenice Opera House and Gallerie dell’Accademia, too!
Florence is also in the running as Italy’s most romantic city and Italy’s most important Renaissance center of art and architecture. As with any other city in Italy, it is impossible to see everything there is to see in just three days, so you will also need to decide on sights and places to visit.
Though sights such as the Duomo, which is the city’s centerpiece, and the Baptistery, are filled with tourists, they are still worth a visit. The Uffizi Gallery is a must-see for art enthusiasts, as it houses some of the most important Renaissance artworks by Da Vinci, Botticelli, and Michelangelo.
Other things to do are to visit the Bardini Gardens to admire the Florence skyline, visit the Accademia Gallery and see Michelangelo’s David, explore several Medici palaces, and head to the Piazzale Michelangelo during sunset for a stunning view of the city.
Known as the global capital of fashion and design, Milan is famed for its galleries, boutiques, and shops. As one of Europe’s wealthiest cities, life in Milan moves faster than the rest of its neighbors in the country.
Shopaholics should not miss a shopping spree at the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, Italy’s oldest shopping mall filled with elegance from 19th-century architecture. The city is also home to the iconic Last Supper by Da Vinci, which has been a top attraction in the city ever since.
The city’s rich cultural and artistic heritage is reflected in the Gothic Duomo, a magnificent cathedral with a stunning marble facade. Don’t miss a trip to La Scala, one of the most popular opera houses in the world.
Pizza lovers should stop by Naples, the Italian city where pizza was born. One of Italy’s most vibrant metropolitans, the city holds many artistic and historical treasures, aside from its famous pizzas and desserts.
Aside from sampling the city’s famous pizzas, head to the National Archeological Museum of Naples or the 13th-century Gothic cathedral. You will notice that the city retains its Baroque character amid modern times.
Some of the popular activities to enjoy in the city are to take a trip to the mighty Vesuvius, visit the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, explore the secret underground catacombs of San Gennaro, and admire the majestic Castel Nuovo and Sansevero Chapel.
Bologna is an underrated city that is great to be explored on foot in any kind of weather due to its beautiful flat streets lined with shops, stalls, arcades, and restaurants. The city is set in a medieval grid pattern leading to stunning churches, artistic piazzas, and indulgent restaurants.
Considered the culinary capital of Italy, the city has a vibrant cuisine that offers some of the best dishes and meals for all ages. The streets are lined with trattorias which people flock to for dinner, drinks, and snacks. Aside from that, the city is also home to one of Europe’s oldest universities.
Some of the best places to visit in the city are the Piazza Maggiore, the city’s central square where the most important buildings are located, the leaning towers of Bologna at the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, the Bologna National Gallery, and La Piazzola Market at the Piazza dell Agosto.
The fourth most visited city in Italy, the city of Verona, was made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As the setting of the tragic story, the city features the famous balcony of the protagonist Juliet and many other places featured in the play.
Aside from being a setting to one of the most famous romantic plays globally, Verona is also known for its Roman Arena, the third-largest in the country.
Visitors can explore Roman ruins, churches, magnificent castle complexes, as well as high-end shopping arcades, and a medieval center. The regions surrounding the city also produce the country’s finest wine and are home to the beautiful Lake Garda.
Another underrated city, Genoa, is the place to be if you want to escape the crowds but experience an authentic and unique experience in Italy the way you would in the larger, more known cities. Once a powerful maritime republic, the city fronts the Ligurian Sea and features a revitalized port.
The city is hidden under the radar of tourists, so you can expect a calm and peaceful vibe while in Genoa. There’s great art to admire at the uncrowded museums such as the Palazzo Blanco and Palazzo Rosso.
The Porto Antico is a marvelous work of art that was transformed by starchitect Renzo Piano, who is a native of the city and is responsible for the largest aquarium in Europe, Biosphere, and the iconic Bigo Crane in the port.
A place filled with architectural wonders and treasures, the city of Siena in the Tuscany region of Italy boasts UNESCO-listed sites. This small, romantic, and beautiful medieval city set in a modern time is a must-visit when heading to Tuscany.
First is the Piazza del Campo, the heart of Siena, which is also considered one of Europe’s grandest medieval squares. Second is the Duomo of Siena, a Gothic masterpiece with a stunning exterior and mosaic-decorated floors. Visitors can also climb 400 steps to reach the top of the Torre del Mangia inside Piazza del Campo.
Take a break from the city and enjoy the Tuscany countryside and villages, which are minutes away from the city. If you happen to be in the place by July and August, witness the Palio, a horse race between the city’s districts that happens in the Piazza del Campo.
Perugia is a city filled with gorgeous churches, stunning historical structures, as well as great museums. The city established the University City, which was known for its dedication to the flourishing and development of arts and culture in the region. The Umbria Jazz Festival is a longstanding tradition which the city maintains and hosts annually.
Some of the best sites to visit are the San Lorenzo Church, an unfinished cathedral, and the Piazza IV Novembre, the city’s main square. Inside it are attractions and sites such as the Fontana Maggiore, the Cathedral of Perugia, the Palazzo dei Priori, and the Logge di Braccio.
Nearby the city square is the Oratorio di San Bernardino, a historical example of Renaissance art in the city and is known for its facade designed with colored polychrome marble.
Italy is indeed a country of beauty, art, food, architecture, and history, which are reflected in its vibrant and bold cities. Every city has a unique and diverse culture that will add up to a trip of a lifetime.
No matter what city you choose to visit, you’ll be guaranteed to have an authentic Italian experience in these ten best cities to see in Italy.