Are you ready to visit Italy, one of the most beautiful and delicious countries in the world? Our list of the best places to visit in Italy is ideal to help with the planning stage of your trip. If you search online for ‘Italy best place to visit’ you’ll likely receive an extensive list. The truth is, with so many amazing contenders for the best places in Italy to visit, it’s challenging to make a shortlist. 

However, we’ve narrowed it down to 15 of the best places in Italy for vacation. 

Map Italy best place to visit

So, whether you’re planning an 8 day Italy itinerary, a 9 day Italy itinerary or you’re lucky enough to have more time, then consider including these places in Italy as part of your itinerary.

Let’s Go! 15 of the Best Places to Visit in Italy

1) FLORENCE

Florence Best Places to Visit in Italy

Florence – One of the Best Places to Visit in Italy

Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance. This city is one of the best places to visit in Italy for its many beautiful art museums. Admire Michelangelo’s statue of David, the frescoes inside the dome of the Duomo, the incredible Uffizi Gallery, and the Accademia Gallery, to name a few.

Walking around this stunning city is a great pleasure; it feels like an outdoor museum. And for visitors who may not be all that interested in art, this city is guaranteed to impress!

Florence is a popular city for many visitors to Italy. I’d recommend pre-purchasing entrance tickets with GetYourGuide for entrance to the art museums & attractions you’d like to visit to avoid missing out. They can sell out months in advance, especially during the busy summer season.

Top Rated Places to Visit in Florence – Take a Guided Tour of the Duomo with Brunelleschi’s Dome climb for stunning views of Florence. Visit the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David. Then, stroll around, admire Piazza Della Signoria’s statues, and walk across the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

Where to Eat in Florence – Check out my list of these 5 places to eat the best pizza in Florence. If you want to try the best sandwich of your life, don’t miss All’Antico Vinaio.

2) VENICE

Venice Best Places to Visit in Italy

Venice – Best Places to Visit in Italy

There are so many things to love about this unique city built on water, and getting lost in the alleyways is one of them. Venice is a city best explored on foot because you won’t miss any intricate details of the historic buildings surrounding you.

Venice is full of beautiful architecture, museums, canals with gondolas bobbing around, and of course, the colourful islands of Burano and Murano.

Read more about my Top 10 Best Things to do in Venice.

Top Rated Places to Visit in Venice – Visit St Mark’s Square and the Basilica, visit Doge’s Palace, or combine both and join this City Walking Tour including Doge Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica: Skip The Line Entrance.

Get a bird’s eye view of Venice and climb up the Campanile, take a shared Gondola Ride on the Canals or a Sunset Cruise by Venetian Boat (highly recommended). Visit Burano & Murano Island by taking public water taxis OR book a seat on this 4.5 hr Boat Trip to discover Murano & Burano Island.

Where to Eat in Venice – My favourite area to find a nice local restaurant is in the Cannaregio district, along the canal. I recommend you try ‘Cicchetti,’ while you’re here too, they’re Venetian tapas. The perfect way to end a big day of sightseeing in Venice is to enjoy a refreshing glass of wine or Aperol spritz with Cicchetti.

3) THE AMALFI COAST

The Amalfi Coast Positano Best Places to Visit in Italy

The Amalfi Coast, Positano – Best Places to Visit in Italy

You’ve probably seen photos of this stunning coastline splashed across postcards and travel brochures. It is well known as one of the most scenic drives in the world, and I agree, it’s gorgeous. But, of course, summer is the ideal time to visit with perfect weather and picture-perfect beaches. The problem with this is that the road along the Amalfi Coast is very narrow, and the volume of tourists it receives in summer is high. 

As a result, the road gets clogged with too many cars, small vans, and Vespas to fully enjoy the experience. In addition, it can be pretty stressful as a driver on these roads at this time of year; my friend who did this a few years ago still talks about what a nightmare it was to drive a Fiat 500 along here (which is one of the most miniature cars you can hire in Italy).

I find that Europcar offers the best deals on car hire in Italy if you’re planning to take this option.

I’d highly recommend that you still visit the Amalfi Coast, but try and visit during shoulder season when the roads aren’t quite as busy, perhaps during April-May.

Top Rated Places to Visit on Amalfi Coast – Of course, the most famous towns of Positano and Amalfi are beautiful, but to stay here, expect accommodation to be expensive. I recommend visiting the villages of Praiano and Ravello for a more relaxed, local, and somewhat more affordable visit to the Amalfi Coast. 

Where to Eat on the Amalfi Coast – Your location is right by the sea, so find any small trattoria (restaurant) serving fresh seafood and cold beer – that’s my tip!

4) SIENA

Siena Best Places to Visit in Italy

Siena – Best Places to See in Italy

Siena is a quiet achiever. It’s got vibes quite similar to Florence, yet it doesn’t receive the magnitude of visitors that the city of Florence does. The Duomo here is spectacular, and a visit inside is highly recommended. Pre-book your ticket here to save time.

Don’t miss the magnificent Piazza del Campo, the main public space of the historic centre. There’s no question why it’s regarded as one of the greatest medieval squares in Europe.

Siena is the kind of city to spend a few days enjoying the best of Tuscan hospitality, food, and wine. A few good reasons why this is the best place to visit in Italy.

Top Rated Places to Visit in Siena – Admire Piazza Del Campo, and climb to the top of the Torre Del Mangia. Pre-book your ticket to visit the Duomo (ticket includes entrance to the Baptistry, the Opera del Duomo Museum). 

Where to Eat in Siena – Enjoy some local Tuscan dishes at Antico Tagliere or Osteria Il Carroccio & visit Pizzicheria De Miccoli Snc Di De Miccoli E Zambito for Tuscan-style panini with freshly sliced cured meats and cheeses.

5) Lake Como

Lake Como Bellagio Italy best place to visit

Lake Como, Bellagio – Italy Best Place to Visit

One of the most beautiful lakes in Italy is Lake Como. The lake is located at the base of the Alps, and it’s a relaxing escape from the busy cities in Italy. Cool off on one of the many beaches, stroll through one of the cute towns with a gelato in hand or take the water taxis across the lake to explore different villages.

Here are some interesting facts about Lake Como that will surprise you.

The romantic town of Bellagio in Lake Como is one of my favourite places to visit in Italy. And, it’s quite easy to reach Lake Como from Milan. This detailed blog explains how to do it.

Top Rated Places to Visit in Lake Como – I recommend you visit colourful Varenna and the picturesque town of Bellagio. You have an option to book this Day Trip & Cruise around Lugano & Bellagio or take public water taxis to explore on your own. 

A visit to Villa del Balbionello and Villa Carlotta is recommended. Why not visit these villas and sail around Lake Como like a VIP with this Intimate 4-Hour Boat Cruise for your group that stops in Bellagio & Varenna?

Your cruise includes a glass of prosecco as you admire the villas and romantic views from your private boat.

Where to Eat in Lake Como – The town of Bellagio has some great little restaurants, with Trattoria San Giacomo and La Lanterna Bellagio are my top picks.

6) ROME

Rome Best Places to Visit in Italy

Rome – Italy Best Cities to Visit

With its remarkable history, Rome is in the Top 3 most visited cities in Europe. In addition, you can find some of the world’s most famous landmarks in Rome. These include the Colosseum, the Vatican City (I highly recommend you book one of these top-rated Vatican tours), the Sistene Chapel, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, and so much more!

Furthermore, Rome has some world-class museums, and great neighbourhoods to enjoy classic Roman dishes (here are 10 dishes you need to try), and enjoy the beautiful piazzas (squares) for aperitivo time.

Top Rated Places to Visit in Rome – So many AMAZING sites to visit here, which is why Rome is one of the best places to visit in Italy.

I recommend you take this awesome guided tour of the Colosseum, explore the Vatican Museums on a guided tour (includes viewing the Sistine Chapel), visit the Pantheon, and a guided tour around the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (incl entrance to the Colosseum). 

Where to Eat in Rome – I’ve listed some of my favourite places in the food guide to Rome above (click here to view this post). For the food lovers out there, this Street Food Tour of Rome with a Local Guide is fantastic! And I need to mention this Evening Food Tour of Rome, it’s a good choice for exploring and eating in Rome at night.

If you want to try the best Italian sandwich, loaded with fresh Italian ingredients – head to All’Antico Vinaio.

7) CINQUE TERRE

Cinque Terre Best Places to Visit in Italy

Cinque Terre – Italy Top Places to Visit

Cinque Terre (translates to five villages in English) are five picturesque, colourful villages dotted along this iconic scenic coastline. Each town is different, and it’s entirely up to you how you wish to explore them. One of these options is to hike between villages, allowing you to enjoy magnificent views and tranquility.

Sometimes, the hiking routes may be closed, so check this website before you plan your hikes here. Alternatively, you can book a spot on this Hiking Tour around Cinque Terre

Or, buy a daily train ticket (most visitors begin from La Spezia, the main town, to explore the Cinque Terre) and hop from town to town via train. Cinque Terre is definitely one of those places in Italy to go after you’ve seen the stunning photographs of each village. It’s quite unique and very pretty.

A Kind Reminder: Cinque Terre is incredibly busy with tourists during summer, so perhaps plan your visit for the shoulder season to enjoy the experience more. I’d recommend visiting in April/May.

Top Rated Places to Visit in Cinque Terre: That’s a difficult question to answer, as each village has their charm. Vernazza and Manarola are the most popular, as they’re visually appealing because all the houses are super colourful and cling to the side of the cliff. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which village you like most. 

Where to Eat in Cinque Terre:  There are so many places to eat here, so the choices are endless. However, if you’re looking for a quick lunch on the run, then Batti Batti’ Focacceria is excellent! I recommend the focaccia or pizza with fresh pesto and cheese.

8) SORRENTO

Sorrento Italy best place to visit

Sorrento – Italy Best Place to Visit

Sorrento is a very pretty city and the ideal base to explore the Isle of Capri, the Amalfi Coast and the ancient, preserved city of Pompeii. What a fascinating place!

I highly recommend you take this small group guided tour of Pompeii with an Archeologist if you visit. And, if you’re staying in either Sorrento or Naples, this Full Day Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius Tour is the best choice.

Explore the beautiful city of Sorrento, and get lost in the sprawling alleyways in the Old Town. Or just stroll around the pretty city, stopping for Aperol Spritz, and a plate of pasta as you watch the world go by.

Top Rated Places to Visit in Sorrento: I recommend taking a Day Trip to Pompeii as mentioned above. Take a ferry to visit the Isle of Capri (Marina Grande) or better yet, treat yourself to this Capri Island Day Trip by Boat Cruise from Sorrento, so you don’t miss any highlights.

Back in Sorrento, stroll the Corsa Italia and try limoncello.

Where to Eat in Sorrento: My top pick is L’ Antica Trattoria, located in the centre of Sorrento. I highly recommend you taste limoncello and even limoncello-flavoured gelato or sorbet too. 

9) THE ISLE OF CAPRI

Isle of Capri Italy best place to visit

Isle of Capri – Italy Best Place to Visit

The little island of Capri, just off the coast of Italy, has attracted celebrities, movie stars and emperors for the longest time due to its stunning scenery.

Many of the island’s highlights are best seen by boat, including the Blue Grotto (€14 entrance fee pp, incl a short visit inside the grotto with illuminating shades of blue) and the Faraglioni rock formations. 

On the island, go high-end shopping, visit Villa Jovis, formerly occupied by Roman emperor Tiberius, and the Gardens of Augustus, which provide more spectacular views of the turquoise beaches below and panoramic landscape. 

Top Rated Places to Visit in Capri: Marina Grande, the Blue Grotto (book your return transfer at the small stand located in Marina Grande or buy your online ticket here (both options are the same price €20 per person).

Visit the pretty Gardens of Augustus (where you can take some fantastic photos of the surrounding landscape) and I recommend strolling around the southern part of the island for more great views.

This Full-Day Capri & The Blue Grotto Tour from Sorrento is a great value. I recommend if you’d like a guided tour of Capri that already includes entrance and transport to visit the Blue Grotto.

Where to Eat in Capri: Try some fresh seafood at Pescheria Le Botteghe or La Focacciera Capri for the best pizza & focaccia in town.

10) LUCCA

Lucca Italy best place to visit

Lucca – Italy Best Place to Visit

Lucca is an underrated gem. So perhaps it’s a good thing it’s not typically included in many tour itineraries of Italy. This means you won’t have to deal with huge crowds of tourists.

The city of Lucca is known for its well-preserved Renaissance walls surrounding its historic city centre and charming cobblestoned streets. Wide pathways along the top of the massive ramparts date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, popular for walking or cycling. So naturally, the views from here are fantastic.

The architecture, churches, Lucca Cathedral, and restaurants and cafes inside the walls provide a welcoming setting to explore. 

Top Rated Places to Visit in Lucca: Lucca Cathedral (San Michele in Foro), Guinigi Tower, Piazza del Mercato – This oval space surrounded by multi-storied structures was once the interior of Lucca’s Roman amphitheatre. You can find many great restaurants here, which look fantastic in the evening. 

There’s a 2-Hour City Centre Guided Tour of Lucca which offers fantastic value at just €10 per person. Make a reservation on this tour here.

Where to Eat in Lucca: This city is full of great restaurants and places to eat. Better yet, they don’t typically charge inflated tourist prices either. I enjoyed some delicious local pasta called ‘tordelli’ (similar to ravioli) at Trattoria da Leo, I’d return again in the future. Another restaurant I recommend for great food is Osteria Dal Manzo.

11) LECCE

Lecce Italy best place to visit

Lecce – Italy Best Place to Visit

Another destination on my list of the best places to visit in Italy is Lecce. Located in the southern region of Puglia, or in the ‘heel of the boot’, if you’re looking at a map of Italy. Lecce is well known for its baroque buildings, and I enjoyed the relaxed vibe here most.

It’s a great city to enjoy a few days of exploring, before you may travel further in the Puglia region to the impressive city of Matera or the famous Trulli village of Alberobello. This entire region is the best place to visit in Italy for travellers wishing to immerse themselves a little more into southern Italian culture. 

Top Rated Places to Visit in Lecce: Basilica di Santa Croce, Roman Amphitheatre, Piazza Sant’Oronzo, Piazza del Duomo and the Historical Centre. 

I recommend this Baroque Architecture and Underground Walking Tour as a good option for learning more about the beautiful city of Lecce.

Where to Eat in Lecce: You must try the local specialties called Pucce or Frise at Pizza & Co and a plate of the local pasta dish, orecchiette at Osteria Le Volte.

Finally, the best sweets and pastries are found at Boulangerie. Be sure to try Rustico (a savoury pie/pastry filled with bechamel sauce, tomato paste, and fresh tomatoes) and pasticciotto (pastry filled with egg custard).

You may taste a few or all of these classic Lecce foods on this 3-Hour Street Food Walking Tour.

12) SICILY

Sicily Italy best place to visit

Sicily – Italy Best Place to Visit

Sicily feels like another world, and I love it! Picture a huge island with beautiful cities, gorgeous beaches, friendly locals, incredible cuisine, and fantastic wine. And, there are other islands in Sicily to visit that are even more beautiful. 

Seriously, you can score super cheap flights (from €15 each way) on Skyscanner.com from major cities like Rome, Bari or Pisa to either Palermo or Catania. At such great flight deals like this, I’d consider even a quick weekend visit to Sicily if you can. 

Top Rated Places to Visit in Sicily: Palermo is a fantastic city with incredible markets, nightlife, and street food. Both cities of Syracuse & Taormina. Try to visit at least one of the Aeolian islands, I enjoyed Lipari but I hear great feedback on all of them from friends.

Where to Eat in Sicily: Everywhere! The food is terrific here; I don’t think you can go wrong. Don’t miss cannoli (Sicilian sweet), arancini, granita, and ice cream sandwiches. 

13) SARDINIA

Sardinia Italy best place to visit

Sardinia – Italy Best Place to Visit

Sardinia is the second biggest island in the Mediterranean sea, with Sicily being the first. It has about 2,000 km of coast, gorgeous sandy beaches, and a mountainous core crossed with hiking paths. This island is an adventure lovers’ paradise!

As if this wasn’t enough, in northeastern Sardinia, the archipelago of La Maddalena is a dream place to visit. It consists of 62 islands, most of them very small; this protected paradise (National Park of the Archipelago of La Maddalena) is home to some stunning pieces of nature.

It’s up to you where and how you choose to explore this breathtaking part of the world.

Top Rated Places to Visit in Sardinia:

  • Cagliari is a great city to explore.
  • La Pelosa Beach is the most beautiful beach in Sardinia.
  • The archipelago of La Maddalena is undoubtedly a highlight of Sardinia. This Full Day Boat Tour of La Maddalena is a popular choice – and offers great value at €50 per person.

Where to Eat in Sardinia: I won’t recommend where to eat, as you can eat with your eyes in Sardinia. But, I do recommend trying cured meats and sausage, pecorino cheese, seafood Fregola with saffron, and Tagliere (meat and cheese platter).

Oh, and Nero d’Avola (Sicilian red wine) is a must!

14) SAN MARINO

San Marino Italy best place to visit

San Marino – Italy Best Place to Visit

Italy surrounds this little independent nation, yet San Marino has its own personality. It sits high up in the mountains, with amazing views from the piazzas and the guard towers.

San Marino is unique; its capital is also named San Marino. The city is an organised maze of medieval streets, cobblestoned alleyways, and restaurants and cafes tucked away for you to discover. You can even stop in at the Tourist Information Office and pay €5 for a stamp of San Marino on your passport if you wish.

Top Rated Places to Visit in San Marino: Purchase a ticket and visit the guard towers for epic views! Then, wander the small streets and get lost; it’s always when you find the best photo opportunities. Finally, take a photo at Liberty Square – you can capture many flags of San Marino flapping in the wind, and the views are fantastic.

Where to Eat in San Marino: The food is great at Ristorante Il Beccafico.

15) BOLOGNA

Bologna Best Places to Visit in Italy

Bologna – Best Places to Visit in Italy

Bologna has to be one of the most underrated cities in Italy. There are many reasons why this city is on my list of the best places to visit in Italy. In Italian tradition, Bologna is called “the wise” for containing the oldest university in Europe, “the rich” for its quality gastronomy and cuisine, and “the red” for the terracotta red coloured roofs of its houses.

I feel like Bologna is one of those cities you need to visit yourself to fully understand and appreciate.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed my visit to Bologna, and I simply cannot wait to return.

My Tip: Visit Bologna before everybody else realises what a gem this place is!

Top Rated Places to Visit in Bologna: Climb Asinelli Tower, Wander through the pretty porticoes, enjoy Piazza Maggiore, 

Where to Eat in Bologna: Wander down the charming Via Pescherie Vecchie, and choose from one of the many charming restaurants to enjoy lunch or dinner. Or, head over to Trattoria da Serghei, a local trattoria that serves traditional homemade dishes and the freshest pasta.

I highly recommend this 2-Hour City Centre Walking Tour to learn more about the history of Bologna. And for the food lovers out there, this traditional food tour of Bologna is of great value. You can taste the best of this region with a local food guide leading the way. What a great way to learn more about the city as you graze on delicious foods.

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