Top 12 Best Places to Visit in Italy


Italy’s Magnificent 12: Must-Visit Destinations from North to South

Italy is a country full of history, culture, art, food, and stunning scenery. From the canals of Venice to the hills of Tuscany, Italy has so much to offer visitors. If you’re planning a trip to Italy, you definitely want to make sure you hit the top destinations. Here are the 12 best places to visit in Italy.

1. Rome

As the capital and largest city in Italy, Rome should be at the top of any Italy itinerary. In Rome, you can explore famous sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trevi Fountain, and so much more. Give yourself several days to take in all of the history and culture.

Some top things to do in Rome include:

  • Tour the Colosseum – This ancient amphitheater was built in 70-80 AD and could hold up to 80,000 spectators. Don’t miss exploring the inside as well as the underground tunnels.
  • See Michelangelo’s masterpieces at the Vatican Museums – This impressive museum complex houses the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s famous ceiling frescoes as well as his massive painting The Last Judgment.
  • People watch at the Spanish Steps – Sit on these iconic steps leading up to the Trinità dei Monti church as you take in the vibrant Roman social scene.
  • Make a wish at Trevi Fountain – Legend has it if you toss a coin in the fountain, you’ll be sure to return to Rome one day.
  • Explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – Walk among the ancient ruins and learn how this plaza functioned as the political and social center of ancient Rome.
  • Tour the Pantheon – Check out the magnificent dome on this 2,000 year old architectural wonder.
  • Stroll down Via del Corso – Join the evening passeggiata (promenade) down this popular shopping and dining street.
  • Visit the Borghese Gallery – Admire masterpieces by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Bernini in this museum within a villa.

With so much history and art, it’s easy to spend a full week discovering Rome’s treasures. Make sure to try some authentic pasta like bucatini all’amatriciana and roman-style pizza while you explore.

2. Venice

If Rome is historical, Venice is magical. Built across 118 islands connected by canals and bridges, Venice is truly unique. The canal-filled streets are best explored by foot or by gondola. Here are some top sights and activities:

  • Take a gondola ride along the canals for gorgeous views
  • Walk across the iconic Rialto Bridge spanning the Grand Canal
  • Wander through St. Mark’s Square and see St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace
  • Visit Doge’s Palace and cross the Bridge of Sighs
  • Check out the unique modern art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection
  • Explore the islands of Murano and Burano via vaporetto ferry
  • Tour Teatro La Fenice – one of Italy’s top opera houses
  • Stroll through the Castello and San Polo neighborhoods to escape the crowds
  • Cross the wooden Accademia Bridge for stunning canal views
  • Shop for masks and glassware made by local artisans

With its romantic charm and lack of cars, Venice is sure to delight all who visit. Enjoy the relaxed pace as you explore the city’s maze of walkable streets and canals. Don’t forget to try some freshly-made pasta alla vongole (with clams) or seafood risotto while in Venice.

3. Florence

The capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence houses some of the world’s finest Renaissance art. It’s a more intimate city to explore on foot. Top attractions include:

  • See Michelangelo’s David and other iconic works at the Galleria dell’Accademia
  • Take in views of the red-tiled Duomo from the Campanile bell tower
  • Gaze at the huge Duomo dome when you climb Brunelleschi’s dome
  • See over 148 paintings and frescoes by Botticelli, Da Vinci, Raphael and others at the Uffizi Gallery
  • Cross the Ponte Vecchio – the bridge lined with shops over the Arno River
  • Wander the medieval hallways of the convent of San Marco which houses frescoes by Fra Angelico
  • Tour the opulent Pitti Palace and the vast Boboli Gardens behind it
  • Take a cooking class and learn to make fresh pasta, pizza, and other Tuscan specialties

Don’t miss the chance to see Michelangelo’s David statue up close, and allow time to simply wander the streets and piazzas to enjoy Florence’s atmosphere. Make sure to sample ribollita bread soup, panini, lampredotto sandwiches, and Chianti wines native to the Tuscan region.

4. Amalfi Coast

The stunning Amalfi Coast stretches along the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula and is famous for its picturesque coastal towns. Some highlights include:

  • Soak in the colorful beauty of Positano with its steep cliffs and hillside Mediterranean homes
  • Take a boat tour to the magnificent and unique Grotta dello Smeraldo sea cave
  • Hike the famous “Walk of the Gods” cliffside trail for spectacular vistas
  • Explore the beautiful 13th-century Duomo in Amalfi town
  • Wander the ruins of the ancient Roman villas at Villa Rufolo in Ravello
  • Visit charming towns like Maiori and Cetara and try their local cuisines
  • Eat at cliffside restaurants and beaches only accessible by boat
  • Try your hand at making regional specialties during a cooking class
  • Take a day trip to Capri and check out the famous Faraglioni rock formations

With its vertical landscape against the sea, the Amalfi Coast has captivated visitors for centuries. Its laidback pace, fresh seafood, and scenic hiking make it the perfect place to experience small town Italian life.

5. Cinque Terre

For a quintessential Italian coastal escape, look no further than the string of five villages known as Cinque Terre. These medieval villages seem to hanging off the edge of Italy itself. Things to do include:

  • Hike the scenic cliffside trails between villages like the famous Via dell’Amore (though some trails are still closed due to damage from 2011 floods)
  • Take the train or ferry to easily reach the different villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore
  • Swim in the picturesque coves and enjoy seafood at harborside restaurants
  • Wander through the winding hillside streets of each colorful village
  • Visit Cinque Terre National Park and ride a boat through the protected marine areas
  • Learn about the region’s history and culture at museums in Riomaggiore and Manarola
  • Sample the local wines like Cinque Terre DOC and the famous Sciacchetrà dessert wine
  • Hike up to the sanctuaries for great views of the villages and sea from above

Cinque Terre provides the ultimate escape for relaxation, hiking, and eating beside the Mediterranean waves. Stay nearby in Levanto or La Spezia to serve as your homebase if you want access to more amenities.

6. Milan

Famous as a fashion and design capital of the world, Milan also offers historic sights, vibrant nightlife, and incredible food. Top attractions include:

  • See Da Vinci’s Last Supper painting and tour the rooms at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church
  • Gaze up at the intricate Duomo Gothic cathedral in the main square
  • Window shop at the luxury designer brands along the Quadrilatero d’Oro
  • Gallery hop through the bohemian Brera neighborhood
  • Opera fans can watch world-class shows at La Scala theater
  • Learn about 20th century Italian art at the Museo del Novecento
  • Hang out in the canal and bar district Navigli at night for an aperitivo
  • Tour the massive Sforza Castle and its artifacts and art collections
  • Shop for bargains and Italian foods and spices at the indoor Mercato di Duomo

Milan mixes high-fashion and historic charm in one bustling city. Fuel up on coffees, fresh pasta, osso buco, and risottos as you explore by foot and metro. Plan to visit in spring or fall to enjoy pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

7. Sicily

As the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily has a culture and identity all its own. Here are some top places to visit:

  • Marvel at the Valley of the Temples – a UNESCO site with ancient Greek ruins
  • Hike up Mount Etna – Europe’s most active volcano that erupts frequently
  • Tour elaborate mosaics and cathedrals in Monreale
  • Sample street food like arancini, cannoli, and panelle in the markets of Palermo
  • Relax on the black sand beaches and coves around Taormina
  • Take a day trip to the nearby volcanic Aeolian Islands
  • Visit the hilltop villages of Cefalù and Erice for medieval charm
  • Sip Marsala wine and dessert wine near the port city of Marsala
  • Dine on fresh seafood like swordfish, tuna, and prawns everywhere on the island

From ancient ruins to black sand beaches, Sicily offers a diverse landscape. The island’s unique culture comes through in the Arabic-inspired cuisine and architecture. Allow over a week to experience Sicily beyond the major cities.

8. San Gimignano

For the feel of a classic Tuscan hill town, head to San Gimignano in central Tuscany. Known for its medieval “skyscrapers” and towers, highlights include:

  • Climb the Torre Grossa for panoramic views of the vineyards and rolling hills
  • Visit the Romanesque cathedral Duomo di San Gimignano and its impressive frescoes
  • See the Palazzo Comunale and its Torre del Diavolo (Devil’s Tower)
  • Sample and shop for saffron grown in the area
  • Try the regional dessert saffron cake called Torta di San Gimignano
  • Take a guided walking tour through the narrow cobblestone streets
  • Tour nearby wineries in the Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine region

The walled hill town looks like it’s stuck in medieval times with its stone architecture and towers. Grab an outdoor seat and sip on the famous local white wine as you admire the cityscape views. Don’t miss the chance to stay on an agriturismo farm or vineyard just outside of town.

9. Siena

Set on three hills in central Tuscany, the town of Siena dates back to the 12th century. Known for its elaborate architecture and its famous Palio horse race, top sites include:

  • See the black and white marble stripes of the main Piazza del Campo and the Palazzo Pubblico
  • Gaze at masterpieces in the Museo Civico inside the Palazzo Pubblico
  • Take in scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary at the Duomo
  • Climb the Torre del Mangia bell tower for views from the 14th century
  • Wander through the La Lizza public gardens built above the medieval amphitheater
  • Catch the excitement of the biannual Palio di Siena horse race if you visit in July or August
  • Sample biscotti, panforte, and ricciarelli treats popular in Siena

The universities give Siena’s historic center a lively, youthful vibe. Allow time to wander through the peripheral neighborhoods too. Don’t leave without trying a plate of pici cacio e pepe, a hand-rolled pasta specialty.

10. Positano

The stunning coastal village of Positano on the Amalfi Coast is considered one of Italy’s most beautiful destinations. Characteristics include:

  • Stay in an intimate hotel, villa, or B&B built into the cliffs above town
  • Take the public SITA bus or walk down the many stairs into town
  • Visit the historic Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta church and its majolica tiled dome
  • Walk along the Via dei Mulini past historic homes and gardens
  • Go shopping for ceramics, lemon products, linen clothes, and leather sandals made locally
  • Head to the Fornillo and Arienzo beaches reachable by public bus or on foot
  • Eat seafood at lively restaurants along the pebble beach and harbor
  • Take a boat tour for the chance to swim in secluded coves and grottos
  • Day trip to the islands of Capri and Ischia via ferry

Positano is the perfect place to unwind on the Amalfi Coast. End your days watching the sunset while sipping on limoncello cocktails. Just be prepared to walk…a lot! Wear comfortable shoes to navigate all the scenic staircases.

11. Bologna

The northern Italian city of Bologna is a food-lover’s dream destination. Here’s what to see and do there:

  • Take a food focused tour and sample local specialties like tortellini, mortadella, parmesan, and balsamic vinegar
  • See Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar made nearby in Modena on a day trip
  • Wander through the oldest university in Europe and admire the medieval palaces and towers
  • See exhibits and art at the Pinacoteca Nazionale art gallery
  • Stroll through the bustling markets at the Quadrilatero historic center
  • Try Bologna’s famous hearty cuisine like meat ragu, lasagna, and tagliatelle al ragu
  • Climb the Torre degli Asinelli for aerial views of the red rooftops
  • Admire the architecture in the main Piazza Maggiore and Neptune Fountain
  • Tour old-world food stores and family-run delis

This leftist city also has a lively bar and nightclub scene thanks to its student population. Don’t leave without hitting up a café for an espresso and Italian pastry.

12. Matera

The ancient city of Matera in southern Italy offers a look into history. Must sees include:

  • Tour the stone churches, homes, and structures of the Sassi cave dwellings
  • Learn about the cave dwelling history at the Museo Laboratorio di Arte Contadina
  • Take in views from a cliffside park above the ravine
  • Wander through the 13th century Rupestrian Churches carved into the side of the ravine
  • Hike through the dramatic Murgia National Park
  • Try Basilicata regional specialties like orecchiette, fresh tomatoes, and options at farm-to-table restaurants
  • Stay in a unique cave hotel for a one-of-a-kind experience

Matera has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Ages and looks like an ancient city lost in time. The 2019 European Capital of Culture has fascinating layers of history just waiting to be explored.

So there you have it – the 12 best places to visit in Italy! With world-class art and food around every corner, you really can’t go wrong when planning a trip to this culturally rich country. Just be sure to give yourself ample time to soak in the history, art, cuisine, and landscapes in each unique destination. Buon viaggio!

Tips for Visiting Italy

Visiting Italy can be a memorable experience, but you’ll want to properly plan your trip to make the most of your time. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Choose Less Crowded Times

Be aware that the peak summer months of July and August come with hordes of tourists, long lines, and sweltering heat. April, May, September and October tend to be less busy with more comfortable temperatures.

Book Advance Tickets

Make sure to book advance tickets for major museums and attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and Colosseum to skip the long ticket lines. Timed entry reservations book up quickly.

Get a City Travel Card

Consider getting a sightseeing card specific to the city you’re visiting to save on top museums and public transportation. Rome, Florence, and Venice have great city card programs. Just check that the covered attractions match your itinerary.

Take Overnight Trains

Taking sleeper trains between cities at night saves on hotel costs and lets you maximize your sightseeing time during the day. Book a cabin or couchette ticket in advance through Trenitalia. Popular routes connect Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan.

Fly Between Sicily or Southern Italy

The train system doesn’t extend to Sicily or parts of southern Italy. Flying between cities here is quick and affordable with carriers like Alitalia, RyanAir, and easyJet.

Learn Basic Italian

You’ll have an easier time interacting if you learn key Italian phrases and pronunciation. Focus on pleasantries (ciao, buongiorno), dining terms (per favore, grazie), and asking for help (Mi scusi, dove…?).

Get a SIM Card

Buying an Italian SIM card for your unlocked phone provides affordable data coverage while traveling. The major providers are TIM, Vodafone, Wind, and 3.

Pack Lightly

Most city hotels and Airbnbs come with modest accommodations. You’ll be better off packing lightly, utilizing laundry services, and leaving extra luggage at your home base when possible.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Much of Italy involves walking on cobblestones, up stairs, and on uneven surfaces. Make sure to break in comfortable walking shoes with arch support before your trip.

Popular Italian Destinations By Region

Italy stretches the length of the Italian peninsula and covers many diverse landscapes and cities. Here is an overview of top destinations broken down by region.

Northern Italy

Northern Italy presents visitors with the Alps, Lakes Region, and some of Italy’s most vibrant cities like Milan and Verona:

  • Milan – The fashion and finance capital known for its Duomo, shopping, and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”.
  • Lake Como – Glamorous area with cliffside villas overlooking the scenic lake and mountains.
  • Venice – Romantic canal city with gondola rides and St. Mark’s Basilica.
  • Verona – Charming city that inspired Shakespeare and is home to a Roman amphitheater.
  • Cinque Terre – Picturesque string of five coastal villages perched above the sea. Great hiking.
  • Dolomites – Dramatic jagged mountain peaks that attract skiers, hikers, and nature lovers.
  • Parma – Foodie paradise known for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham.

Central Italy

Chianti Region

Moving south along the Italian peninsula brings visitors to some of Italy’s most famous cities and Tuscany’s rustic countryside.

  • Florence – The epicenter of Renaissance Italy with masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David.
  • Siena – Charming walled city known for its central Il Campo plaza and Palio horse races.
  • Pisa – Famously home to the Leaning Tower along with other noteworthy monuments.
  • San Gimignano – Hill town dotted with medieval towers above the Tuscan vineyards.
  • Chianti Region – Cypress lined country roads through rolling vineyards and olive groves.
  • Umbria – Green heart of Italy with charming hill towns like Perugia and Assisi.
  • Cinque Terre – Colorful cliffside villages overlooking the sea with hiking trails connecting them.

Southern Italy


Southern Italy brings visitors to sun-soaked beaches, ancient ruins, and laid back island life. Don’t miss:

  • Naples – Gritty port city next to ruins of Pompeii and pizza’s birthplace.
  • Amalfi Coast – Jaw-dropping coastal scenery with clifftop villages like Positano and Ravello.
  • Matera – Ancient cave dwellings carved into limestone cliffs.
  • Aeolian Islands – Volcanic islands off Sicily with spectacular beaches and scenery.
  • Sicily – Diverse island with Greek ruins, beaches, and unique culture. Don’t miss Palermo and Taormina.
  • Sardinia – Rugged island with golden sand coves on the Costa Smeralda and UNESCO sites.

Hidden Gems Off-the-Beaten Path

Alberobello, Puglia

While Italy’s main cities and regions get lots of hype, travelers wanting a more local experience should consider checking out these under-the-radar spots:

Burano, Venice

Skip the crowds of Venice for the peaceful pastel island of Burano, renowned for its handmade lacework and colorful fisherman’s homes.

Alberobello, Puglia

See the unique cone-shaped stone trulli homes of this quaint town in the Puglia region of southern Italy.

Calcata, Lazio

Wander the ancient stone streets of this Medieval village with commanding views of surrounding canyons.

Camogli, Liguria

Find yourself in this charming seaside retreat known for its tall colorful buildings hugging the beach.

Castelfranco Veneto, Veneto

This walled town between Venice and Verona boasts medieval architecture and Giorgione’s famous Madonna painting.

Tre Cime Natural Park, Dolomites

Hike high into the peaks to see the iconic three-peaked Tre Cime (three peaks) jagged Dolomite mountain range.

Scanno, Abruzzo

Experience rural life in this traditional mountain village with ancient stone houses clinging to hillsides.

Salina, Aeolian Islands

Escape to this volcanic island where you can relax on secluded beaches and hike to the crater.

Ostuni, Puglia

Stay in or tour Ostuni’s all-white old town perched on a hilltop overlooking olive groves.

Procida, Campania

Take a ferry to this lesser-known island with its pastel colored fishing villages.

Best Small Towns for Retreats


If you’re looking to totally unwind, Italy has no shortage of tranquil small towns and villages away from the hustle and bustle. Here are some top options:

  • Positano – Cliffside jewel of the Amalfi Coast. Relax on pebble beaches by day and window shop the boutiques by night.
  • Orvieto – Hilltop Umbrian town encircled by defensive walls with underground caves to explore.
  • Vernazza – Perhaps the most charming of the five villages of Cinque Terre. Stay right in town.
  • Asolo – “City of 100 Horizons” in the Veneto region surrounded by castle ruins.
  • Polignano a Mare – Bright whitewashed buildings perched over dramatic limestone cliffs above the Adriatic.
  • Maiori – Sleepy yet sophisticated Amalfi Coast town with a family-friendly beach.
  • Camogli – Colorful fishing village on the Italian Riviera known for its seafood and beachfront hotels.
  • Tellaro – Beautiful Ligurian fishing village on the Gulf of Poets.
  • Portofino – Upscale harbor town beloved by celebrities hidden away on the Italian Riviera coast.
  • Orta San Giulio – Historic village sitting on the shores of gorgeous Lake Orta in Piedmont.

Best Agriturismi Farm Stays

Agriturismo Testone, Piedmont

One of the best ways to experience life in the Italian countryside is by staying on an agriturismo farmstead. Here are some top picks:

Agriturismo Tra Cielo e Terra, Tuscany

  • Farmhouse B&B with views of the Val d’Orcia valley near Pienza.

Agriturismo Casa Ortigaia, Sicily

  • Working olive grove estate to tour near Ragusa with apartments and farm-to-table meals.

Agriturismo Cesane, Lake Garda

  • Family-run restored farmhouse in the Valtenesi countryside near pretty Salo.

Agriturismo Testone, Piedmont

  • Beautiful guest rooms on a family-owned wine estate surround by the Langhe hills and vineyards.

Agriturismo LaCasa dellaTreviliana, Umbria

  • Relaxed country chic villa in Umbria between Perugia and Assisi.

Agriturismo Il Frantoio, Tuscany

  • Charming biodynamic olive estate and inn near Castellina in Chianti.

Agriturismo Valle Scannese, Abruzzo

  • Remote eco-lodge and retreat center high in the Apennine Mountains.

Agriturismo La Contea Cisterna, Sicily

  • Grand but cozy farmstay amidst olive groves outside Palermo.

Agriturismo Santa Venera, Marche

  • Tranquil B&B on a biodynamic farm immersed in nature.

Agriturismo Torre Pali, Puglia

  • Luxurious but earthy masseria estate and olive farm near Alberobello.

Most Romantic Places for Couples


From romantic hotels to charming locales, Italy provides many options for traveling couples. Here are some of the most romantic spots around Italy:


Glide through the canals by gondola before cozying up in your own hotel room overlooking the city.

Amalfi Coast

Spend lazy days touring cliffside villages before sunset dinners by the sea. Positano and Ravello set the mood.


Relax together at a countryside villa or farmhouse in between wine tastings under cypress trees.

Lake Como

For Old Hollywood romance, book a suite at an elegant lakefront hotel complete with mountain views.

Taormina, Sicily

Soak up this hillside town’s romantic allure with ancient ruins and panoramic Mediterranean views.

Cinque Terre

Hike through the vineyards between the colorful fishing villages of the Cinque Terre.


Propose on the Ponte Vecchio bridge before cuddling up in a quaint bed and breakfast.


Get lost together down the island’s winding streets and secret corners made for romance.


Sit in the same stadium where Romeo wooed Juliet and steal a kiss.

Cefalu, Sicily

Escape to this intimate seaside town with its historic streets and dramatic coastal scenery.

Best Italy Tours

Italy By Segway

Booking a tour takes the hassle out of trip planning and helps you see the highlights with an experienced local guide. Here are top Italy tour options to check out:

Walks of Italy

Offers small group and private walking tours focused on food, archaeology, and unique experiences in Rome, Venice, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast.

Intrepid Travel

Adventure tours from Intrepid blend hiking, cycling, food, and history across Italy for an active experience of the culture.

Urban Adventures

The small group tours from Urban Adventures give travelers an insider’s perspective of the top cities via local guides. Tours are themed by interests.

Italy By Segway

Fun way to cover a lot of ground while seeing Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice, and other destinations via Segway and with an expert.

Take Walks

Specializes in private and small group walking tours of Rome led by historians and experts able to skip lines into exclusive sites like the Vatican Necropolis.

Eating Italy Food Tours

Food focused walking tours in Rome, Florence, Venice, and Bologna that give inside access to markets, local eateries, and specialty shops.


One of the most extensive catalogs of group, private, and self-guided tours around Italy covering all interests from food to faith.


For hiking enthusiasts, their hiking and cycling guided tours explore the natural beauty of places like the Amalfi Coast, Alps, and Apennines.

Enchanted Italy

Upscale customized private and semi-private tours across Italy or regionally with extras like exclusive opera tickets.

How Much Time to Allow For Places

Figuring out how much time you need in each city or region helps when planning an Italy trip. Here are recommended minimums:

  • Rome – At least 4 days; a full week better
  • Florence – 2 – 3 days
  • Venice – 2 – 3 days
  • Milan – 1 – 2 days
  • Cinque Terre – 2 days
  • Amalfi Coast – 3 – 4 days
  • Naples/Pompeii – 2 days/1 day
  • Sicily – 1 week
  • Lake Como – 2 days
  • Siena – 1 – 2 days as part of a Tuscany visit
  • Matera – 2 days
  • Bologna – 1 – 2 days
  • San Gimignano – 1 day trip from Florence/Siena

Allow extra time to relax and take excursions to nearby towns and villages. You definitely want to build in time to wander and just soak up the atmosphere!

Best Italy Beaches and Swimming

Beach Taormina, Italy

While famous for art, Italy also boasts over 4,700 miles of coastline. Here are some top beaches and swimming spots:

  • Positano and Praiano – Cliff and cove beaches along the dramatic Amalfi Coast.
  • Elba Island – White sand beaches off the Tuscan coast in the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago.
  • Tropea – Vibrant small city in Calabria with dramatic cliffs overlooking sandy beaches and the sea.
  • Taormina – Legendary fine black sand beaches against the scenic backdrop of Mount Etna.
  • Favignana – Picturesque island in the Egadi Archipelago off Sicily with rock formations and grottoes to explore.
  • Ischia – Volcanic island in the Bay of Naples known for natural thermal waters and sandy beaches.
  • Polignano a Mare – Bright whitewashed town perched over cliffside turquoise swimming spots.
  • Scoglitti – Miles of beautiful sandy Mediterranean beaches along Sicily’s southern coast.
  • La Pelosa – Powdery white sand and turquoise waters on Sardinia’s Stintino peninsula.
  • Menaggio – Relaxing Lake Como beach town perfect for swimming and water sports.

Best Day Trips From Major Cities

Italy’s prime location makes it easy to take quick day or half day trips from major cities. Here are some top options:

From Rome

  • Tivoli – Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este with impressive gardens and fountains
  • Ostia Antica – Excavated ancient Roman city and port near Rome
  • Pompeii and Naples – Take the high speed train to see ancient ruins and pizza’s birthplace

From Florence

  • Siena – See the central Il Campo plaza and medieval architecture
  • Cinque Terre – Visit the colorful cliffside villages and stunning coast
  • San Gimignano – Hill town dotted with historic towers and vineyards

From Venice

  • Verona – Wander through the setting of Romeo and Juliet with its Roman Arena
  • Murano and Burano – See Venice’s famous glass making island and the picturesque pastel island
  • Lake Garda – Relax lakeside and explore charming towns like Sirmione

From Milan

  • Lake Como – Cruise to see elegant lakeside villas like Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbianello
  • Cinque Terre – Hike between the pretty coastal villages and turquoise beaches
  • Parma – Gaze at Correggio’s frescoes and sample Italy’s finest foods like parmigiano and prosciutto

From Amalfi Coast

  • Capri – Boat over to see the famous Faraglioni rock formations and Blue Grotto
  • Pompeii and Vesuvius – Experience the perfectly preserved ancient city and still active volcano
  • Paestum – Roam one of the world’s best remaining examples of ancient Greek architecture

Best Italy Road Trips

Renting a car opens the door to scenic drives past vineyards, coastlines, mountains, and hill towns. Top road trip routes include:

Amalfi Coast

This stunning stretch of coastline extends along vertical cliffs and colorful villages like Positano and Ravello.

Tuscan Wine Trail

Connect top wine regions from Florence to Siena to Montepulciano with stops at wineries along the way.


With so many incredible places to explore, planning your ideal Italy itinerary can feel overwhelming. Just remember that rushing between destinations often leaves you needing more time in each place. Focus on picking 2-4 parts of Italy that most interest you, whether that’s art in Florence and Rome or coastal scenery along the Amalfi Coast.

Ideally you’ll want at least 2 weeks in Italy to dive into a few locations properly. For first-timers on a 10-14 day trip, choosing just Rome + Florence OR Rome + Amalfi Coast keeps things simple. You can take day trips from both cities too.

Those with more extended time could combine regions like starting in Milan, train to Venice, drive the Cinque Terre, and finish in Tuscany. With 3 full weeks, you can see iconic spots in Rome, Florence and Venice before heading south to the Amalfi Coast or Sicily.

If you only have 7 days or less in Italy, you’re better off focusing on just one prime region like Rome and Lazio, Venice and the Veneto, Florence and Tuscany or the Naples and Amalfi Coast areas. Slow down and save the rest for future trips.

Wherever you choose, build in buffer days between destinations. This prevents feeling rushed if you want to spend longer in a favorite town or a transportation delay occurs. Don’t overschedule every day either – leave room for spontaneity and discovering places off the beaten path!

Packing the right clothes is also key to making the most of your time in Italy. Focus on comfortable walking shoes, lightweight layers, and quick-drying fabrics that can handle Italian weather and all the gelato you’ll eat. Bring sun protection for summer or warmer coats for visiting during colder months.

Booking accommodations through Airbnbs, small hotels or quieter areas just outside major cities also enhances your experience. You get more of a neighborhood feel and can save money compared to big tourist hotels right in the action.

Lastly, don’t stress too much about seeing everything in Italy on one trip! The country offers so much history, culture, art and beauty to take in that you’ll undoubtedly find yourself planning return visits to your favorite regions again in the future. Immerse yourself in la dolce vita – the sweet life – as you explore bellissimo Italy!

With smart planning using these tips, you’re sure to have an unforgettable trip in Italy that avoids common mistakes and makes room for magical moments. Whether you decide on an art-focused tour of the classics or an off-the-beaten-path adventure, now is the time to turn your Italian dreams into reality. What are you waiting for? Let your Italian journey begin!

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