The 12 Must-See Destinations in Italy

2023-04-02 00:59:09 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

The art treasures, charming towns, passionate people, and world-class cuisine make the boot-shaped country of Southern Europe one of the world's most popular travel destinations. The Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are just a few of the world-famous landmarks that can be found there.

Visit world-famous Renaissance works and indulge in some high-end retail therapy. Italy is home to breathtaking landscapes and a plethora of outdoor recreation options. Hiking in Cinque Terre, Sardinia, or the Dolomites will reward you with breathtaking views and challenging climbs.

Italy Tourist Attractions Map

Map of Places to Visit in Italy References: OpenStreetMap, MapTiler, and Touropia

Spend your time in this culturally rich country exploring the history of the Romans, learning about the devastation caused by Mount Vesuvius at Pompeii, or just relaxing by the shores of one of Italy's many beautiful lakes and enjoying the lavishness of the Amalfi coast. It would take a lifetime to experience everything Italy has to offer. Make the most of your time in the Mediterranean by consulting our recommended stops in Italy.

12. Milan


Despite suffering severe damage during World War II bombing, Milan has rebounded to become one of Europe's wealthiest metropolises. While the city is known for its abundance of high-end boutiques, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, the La Scala Opera House, Castello Sforzesco, and one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world are also major draws.

Milan, the economic, shopping, and football capital of Italy, is located in the Lombardy region near the Alps and the beautiful Lake District. Milan, with its more glitzy, modern architecture and attractions, gives off a less Italian vibe than the country's more historically significant cities.

11. Naples


Southern Italy's Campania region is home to one of the country's busiest cities: Naples. Naples is an excellent home base for exploring the surrounding area, what with its proximity to the Bay of Naples and Pompeii.

Naples has one of the largest historic city centers in the world, packed with historical monuments, Baroque churches, and Roman ruins that provide an endless feast for history and art buffs.


In addition to Roman baths and volcanic craters, the area surrounding the city offers beautiful landscapes, picturesque villas, stylish hotels, and castles. The National Archaeological Museum in Naples displays a magnificent collection of artistic works and artifacts excavated from the ruins of Pompeii, and the grand Piazza del Plebiscito is a central gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

Pizza, spaghetti, and parmigiana all have their roots in Naples and the surrounding area. In Naples, these dishes are taken very seriously and typically use seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Fresh seafood, mozzarella cheese, and pastries like baba, zeppole, and sfogliatella are also staples in the Naples diet.

10. Pisa


Located on the Arno River in the northwest corner of Tuscany, Pisa is home to some stunning relics from the city's Medieval commercial heyday. If you only come to this city to take pictures of the Leaning Tower, you're missing out on everything else that makes it special. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is just the tip of the iceberg.

One of Italy's most picturesque squares, the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), surrounds the historic site. The Duomo Cathedral, the Baptistry, and the Camposanto Monument are all excellent examples of Italian Renaissance architecture and can be found in this remarkable plaza. The plaza is dotted with shops selling tourist trinkets and bakeries selling delicious biscotti.

Many visitors' memories of Florence are shaped not by the Field of Miracles but by the Arno River's natural beauty. Several picturesque bridges, including the Ponte di Mezzo, span the river that divides Pisa in two. On either side of the river stands a picturesque landscape of homes, landmarks, and vegetation.

The University of Pisa's 60,000 students inject the city with energy and youthful vitality. Events like the Luminara Festival and the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics boat race, as well as the Game of Bridge, a friendly, medieval contest between the city's two sections, take place in the streets and waterways of Pisa frequently.

9. The Italian Lakes Region

Italian Lake District

The Italian Lake District covers much of the country's north. Most of the lakes are relatively flat on their southern ends, but their northern ends are mountainous because they extend far into the Alps. The Italian Lakes have been drawing visitors for over a century thanks to the region's pleasant climate and breathtaking scenery.

The westernmost lake is Lake Maggiore, a long, skinny body of water surrounded by beautiful islands and verdant vegetation. Located in southern Switzerland, the 40-mile-long lake stretches into the Canton of Ticino. Isola Bella, a lovely island renowned for its royal palace and immaculate gardens, is the city's most visited site.

Popular with the rich and famous, Lake Como is known for its dramatic landscape and opulent Renaissance villas. Bellagio, a picturesque town with winding streets and pastel mansions, sits at the lake's very center.

Lake Garda

Italy's largest lake, Lake Garda, is a fantastic destination for those seeking both urban and natural excitement. Take a leisurely stroll through Limone's lemon groves, go windsurfing at Riva del Garda, and visit Malcesine's historic castles. Sirmione, located on the southern end of the lake, is a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to the lake's Roman ruins, medieval castles, and thermal baths.

The largest lake island in central Europe can be found in Lake Iseo, a less well-known Italian lake. Numerous picturesque villages and churches dating back to the 15th century can be found on Monte Isola.

8. Sicily


Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is located directly across the Strait of Messina from the heel of Italy. Its strategic location as a crossroads for so long means that its history, culture, and cuisine are very different from the rest of the country.

Palermo, the capital and largest city of Sicily, is a prime example of this; it was founded in a truly remarkable fashion more than 2,700 years ago. Since then, many different cultures—from the Phoenicians and Romans to the Arabs and Normans—have ruled there, leaving behind their own unique cultural legacies in the form of art, architecture, and cuisine.


Additionally, Sicily is home to numerous significant archaeological sites that have evolved into some of the island's most visited landmarks. Ancient Greeks built the impressive ruins of the Ancient Theatre of Taormina and the ancient edifices in the Valley of the Temples, while others, like the medieval mountaintop castles of Erice, date back to the Middle Ages.

Sicily's rugged cliffs and secluded beaches are surrounded by sparkling waters, and the island's interior is dotted with fertile farmland and mountains. Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes and Italy's tallest mountain east of the Alps, looms large in the landscape.

7. Siena


Siena, a city perched atop three hills in the middle of Tuscany, is renowned for its preserved historic center and centuries-old tradition of horse racing, known as Il Palio. The historic district of Siena, once a thriving metropolis, is now one of Italy's most popular tourist destinations because so much of the city's Renaissance-era art and architecture has been preserved.

The Piazza del Campo in Siena is widely considered to be one of Europe's most beautiful Medieval squares. The Fountain of Joy, Palazzio Pubblico, and Mangia Tower are just a few of the iconic buildings that can be found in this fan-shaped plaza.

Campo Square

The Duomo, a stunning cathedral in black and white of Italian Romanesque design, is another one of Siena's architectural gems. It features marble floors, stained glass, sculptures, paintings, and carvings. The piazza is a great place to unwind, people-watch, and sample regional specialties like wine, coffee, pizza, focaccia, and gelato.

The Palio horse race, held twice yearly in the Piazza del Campo, is a major tourist attraction in the city of Siena. Bareback races on the plaza's cobblestones between representatives from 17 different districts are a 700-year-old tradition. The University of Siena is one of Italy's oldest public universities and is renowned for its medical and legal programs.

6 - Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Five colorful fishing villages cling to the sides of cliffs that drop off into the water. The Cinque Terre National Park includes all of these picturesque towns and the lush countryside that surrounds them. The villages of Cinque Terre, in the Ligurian region of northwest Italy, are home to some of the country's most stunning scenery, including centuries-old wine terraces.

Cinque Terre, which literally translates to "Five Lands," is made up of the five towns of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso, and Corniglia. Manarola is known for its colorful boats, swimming holes, and caves, while Riomaggiore is home to a medieval castle and a lively main street known as Via Colombo.

Cinque Terre

Vernazza, which is surrounded by olive groves, is known for its exciting nightlife. Resorts line Monterossa's stunning beach, while Corniglia's rolling vineyards provide a picturesque backdrop. Cinque Terre is an agricultural and fishing haven, so it's no surprise that the villages are filled with cafes and trattorias serving wine, olive oil, cheese, pasta, seafood, and fresh bread made from scratch.

Cinque Terre is known for many things, but one of its best features is an ancient network of trails that leads to some of Italy's most breathtaking stretches of coastline. As well as its more common designation as "Trail No. Trail No. 2, which links all five of the towns, is a paved path that people of all ages can enjoy.

Due to the small size and pedestrian friendliness of the villages, Cinque Terre is largely car-free. However, regular train service between Genoa and La Spezia connects all the villages. Supplying all five towns

Amalfi Coast, No. 5

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy's most popular travel destinations due to its stunning location in Campania, in the country's southwestern corner. The Amalfi Coast is a 30 mile stretch of coast on the southern side of the Sorrento Peninsula that is renowned for its stunning beauty. It is characterized by glistening bays, craggy cliffs, lemon tree gardens, brightly colored villas, and luxurious resorts.

Positano, a picturesque town on the Amalfi Coast, is known for its picturesque pebble beaches, pastel-colored homes, picturesque mountains, waterfalls, and a Black Madonna from the 13th century.


Amalfi, one of the larger towns, has charming plazas teeming with eateries and gift shops. Ravello, a town perched on a hill overlooking the Amalfi Coast, is known for its stunning gardens, villas, and artwork, as well as its lively annual art and music festival. Furore is known as the "Painted Town" due to the numerous murals that adorn its buildings.

4. Pompeii


Pompeii is a well-known Roman city that was buried for nearly 1,700 years under ash from a volcanic eruption, making it one of Italy's most popular tourist attractions. Vesuvius Even though excavations of Pompeii began in 1748, the city has not yet been fully uncovered. The area is close to present-day Naples.

A visit to Pompeii is a fascinating look into Roman life and culture. Visitors can explore the ancient streets and see the ruins of various buildings, including commercial and religious establishments, as well as restaurants, bars, bakeries, brothels, baths, and homes.


The Granary Market, which houses many artifacts and plaster casts of people and dogs killed in the catastrophe, is also very important. Other notable buildings include the Amphitheatre, the Forum, the Temple of Apollo, the Basilica, and the Granary. Numerous paintings and frescoes depicting erotica, mythological characters, and hunting scenes can be found embedded in the stonework of Pompeii's ancient buildings.

There are a number of souvenir shops and food vendors selling snacks and beverages near the Pompeii entrance. There aren't many places to eat on-site, but there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in and around the train station.

3. Venice


Venice, one of Italy's most popular tourist spots, is an unusual city due to its location on a lagoon in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. Venice, an archipelago in northeastern Italy, consists of 118 islands connected by hundreds of stunning bridges and picturesque canals. The Grand Canal is the most well-known and serves as a dividing line between the northern and southern halves of the city. Venice is one of the world's most romantic cities due to its picturesque waterways and historic architecture.

The crowds and high prices in Venice are worth it to see the Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge, and Saint Mark's Square and Basilica. Taking a gondola ride along the Grand Canal is a classic Venetian experience. A vaporetti ride along one of Venice's quieter canals is just as enjoyable, though.

San Marco Square

Every year, Venice hosts one of Italy's most vibrant Carnival celebrations, drawing in crowds decked out in elaborate costumes and masks and filling the city's iconic Grand Canal with fleets of colorfully decorated boats and gondolas. One of the most iconic symbols of the city of Venice is the elaborate carnival masks.

People get around Venice by walking or taking water taxis along the canals because the city bans private automobiles. It is important for visitors to keep in mind that spring and fall are peak times for high water in Venice.

Second, Florence


Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is home to so many amazing works of art and architecture that it is often compared to a huge open-air museum. Florence is widely recognized as the starting point of the European Renaissance due to its role in fostering numerous influential thinkers, including artists, inventors, writers, scientists, explorers, and the creators of opera and the florin currency.

Florence is also famous for being the seat of the Medici dynasty, which produced several kings and popes and had a profound cultural, economic, and political impact on the entire world.

The city of Florence is home to numerous museums, beautiful churches like the dome-topped Santa Maria del Fiore, and renowned art galleries like the Uffizzi and Pitti Palace.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Stunning architecture and iconic works of art, such as Cellini's Perseus and the Head of Medusa, Ammannati's Fountain of Neptune, and Michelangelo's Statue of David, can be found in the Piazza della Signoria.

Seeing the city's main attractions is best done by foot. The Ponte Vecchio, a stunning bridge spanning the Arno River and home to numerous jewelry shops, is a popular walking destination. Before returning to your lodging, you should also check out Florence's markets. Tourists can find a wide variety of locally grown foods and crafted goods at the San Lorenzo markets, which are among the most popular in the area.

1. Rome


Rome, the ancient capital of the Roman Empire, is now the administrative center and official capital of Italy. Rome, the capital and largest city of Italy, is in the region of Lazio in the country's center.

Rome has been a cultural, political, and religious hub for more than 2,500 years, thanks in large part to its preservation of ancient Roman architecture and the Vatican City.

The Spanish Steps

The Colosseum, Forum of Augustus, Capitoline Hill, and the Roman Forum are all located in the central district of Rome known as the "Colosseo." Old Rome, with its Pantheon, stunning cathedrals, plazas, and Renaissance architecture, is located on the city's outskirts. It's common knowledge that St. The Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica

It would take months to see everything there is to see and do in Rome. However, taking a hop-on, hop-off bus tour is one of the best ways for visitors to see the city's top attractions. Tourists are free to hop on and off the bus at any of the designated stops, including some of the world's finest museums.

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