Located in Southern Europe, Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and among the top places to visit in Europe for many reasons that include art treasures, charming towns, spectacular landscapes, trendy fashion, passionate people, and amazing cuisine. From the sparkling waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the fairytale setting of the Italian Alps and in between renowned Renaissance masterpieces, this is a place that has something to entice every kind of traveler. The list of best places to visit in Italy is long, in fact, that it would take months to see all of them. But most people have just a week or two to explore this amazing country. For those people, we make a list of the magical places to visit in Italy to get the best itinerary.
Referred to as the Eternal City, Rome is one of the top places to visit in Italy and the 3rd most visited city in Europe after London and Paris. This hot-blooded capital of Italy attracts millions of tourists from around the world every year due to its rich culture, and glorious history spiced up with a vibrant nightlife. One of the popular cultural destinations in Europe, this Italian city is home to the most iconic sites in the world –the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain along with Roman Forum, Pantheon, Piazza Venezia, Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s Basilica, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo. A heady mix of haunting ruins, awe-inspiring art, and vibrant street life make Rome one of the most romantic and inspiring cities in the world.
A trip to Italy involves visiting lots of cities and towns. And even if you’re not a big fan of city trips, there is one more city that you absolutely should visit in Italy, and that’s Florence, the capital city of the Tuscan region. Considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is a veritable chocolate box of treats for the culture vulture as this Italian city is credited with propagating many artists, inventors, writers, scientists, and explorers as well as inventing opera and the florin currency, which lifted Europe from the Dark Ages. The city is home to a large number of museums, stunning churches, like the domed Santa Maria del Fiore, internationally esteemed art galleries like the Ufizzi and Pitti Palace. The Piazza Della Signoria, the main square, is home to beautiful buildings and world-famous sculptures like Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Ammannati’s Fountain of Neptune, and Michelangelo’s Statue of David.
Known for its immense beauty, Venice is one among the most beautiful cities in the world, and among the must-include places in Europe Tour Packages. The dream-like city of Venice attracts millions of tourists especially honeymooners every year due to its romantic scenery, historical attractions, and serene canals. Besides, it is considered one of the best European destinations for Indians due to its vibrant and intriguing cultural heritage. This lagoon city has been a major center of art since medieval times and is also the birthplace of the unique form of art known as Venetian School. St. Mark’s Basilica, Doges Palace, the Grand Canal, Bridge of Sighs, Ponte di Rialto, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice Lido, San Giorgio Maggiore, Piazza San Marco, Teatro La Fenice, Scuola Grande di San Rocco and Santa Maria della Salute are some of the top tourist places in Venice. Don’t forget to take a gondola ride down one of the canals or hop on a Vaporetto and cruise the Grand Canal where you will see several Italian palazzos and museums, housed in pretty pink buildings.
Italy has 20 regions and they are all worth a visit. However, if you are a first-time traveler then Tuscany is one of the nicest regions to visit in Italy due to its convenient location, and a lot of tourist attractions. Known for its picturesque landscapes with rolling hills and winding roads lined with cypress trees, the region of Tuscany is home to some of the most beautiful towns in Italy including Florence, Siena, Pisa, Florence Lucca, San Gimignano, Volterra, Prato, Arezzo, and in honestly, all these towns are worth a visit! Florence, the capital city of the Tuscan region, is considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. It is a veritable chocolate box of treats for the culture vulture as this Italian city is home to a large number of museums, stunning churches, like the domed Santa Maria del Fiore, internationally esteemed art galleries like the Ufizzi and Pitti Palace. Just wandering the cobblestoned streets of Siena, visit the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and Piazza dei Miracoli for their unique architecture, and the scenic vineyards of Chianti in Tuscany while in Europe. Also, Tuscany is a great destination for foodies and wine lovers.
The Amalfi Coast in the Campania region is another popular tourist destination that must visit during your Italy trip. Forming the southern rim of Naples Bay, the Amalfi Coast is stretching 30 miles along the southern side of the Sorrento Peninsula and is prized for its picturesque coastline bordering the Mediterranean Sea that features shimmering bays, craggy cliffs, lemon tree gardens, multicolored villas, and ritzy resorts. The main attractions of this area are the coastal towns Positano, Amalfi, Furore, Ravello, and Sorrento. Besides, it is said that the drive along the Amalfi Coast is one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Located close to the modern city of Naples at the foothills of Mount Vesuvius, the ancient city of Pompeii is one of Italy’s most visited tourist destinations. This Roman city was buried under several feet of volcanic ash after the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. The city remained frozen for nearly 1,700 years until excavations began in the 18th century and the site is yet to be totally unearthed. A tour of Pompeii offers a fascinating insight into the everyday life of the ancient Roman world. One can see the remains of shops, bars, bakeries, brothels, baths, and residential homes as well as buildings that served as commercial and religious centers while walking through the streets of Pompeii. The key attractions in Pompeii are the Amphitheatre, the Forum, the Temple of Apollo, the Basilica, and the Granary Market, which contains a large number of artifacts and plaster casts of people and dogs that died during the catastrophe.
The tear-drop isle of Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea that lies just across from the southern tip of Italy, on the narrow Strait of Messina. Home to ancient Greek and Roman ruins, gorgeous beaches, picturesque towns, and hundreds of castles, it is one of the best places in Italy to explore. Sicily has earned seven places on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, three for its ancient sites, two for natural wonders, and two for architectural treasures. Visit the Greek Theatre of Taormina, visit the Aeolian Islands, see Temple of Concordia at Valley of the Temples, visit Palermo, the capital of Sicily, and relax on the beaches are some of the top things to do in Sicily. Also, the isle of Sicily is home to Mt. Etna, the second most active volcano in the world, along with several smaller active volcanoes.
Set at the foot of the Alps near the border with Switzerland, Lake Como is a destination with pure beauty, marvelous nature, and breathtaking views, from where you can walk, relax, discover the peace and enjoy the calm of a holiday in Italy. It has been the favorite summer retreat of the rich and famous since ancient Romans who escaped Milan’s summer heat to cool off in villas along its sharp shores. The third largest of the Italian lakes, this is the most beautiful lake as well as one of the romantic spots in Italy. Catering to celebrities, royals, and affluent visitors, Lake Como is famous for its lavish, dramatic setting and extravagant Renaissance villas. The Como Cathedral, Villa Carlotta, Villa del Balbianello, and Bellagio are the top places to visit in Lake Como.
If you’re looking for something a little more cosmopolitan, take a trip to Milan, Italy’s most cosmopolitan city. Virtually destroyed from heavy bombing during World War II, the city has been reconstructed since, and now shines as one of the wealthiest cities of Europe. Milan also allures many travelers due to its existence worldwide popular treasures such as Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “ The Last Supper”, the Castello Sforzesco, the La Scala Opera House, and Basilica Sant’Ambrogio. This bustling city of Itlay is famous for fashion and is widely regarded as one of the top fashion capitals of the world. Besides, Milan is also known for its fashion shows held twice in a year when the city witnesses the influx of buyers, designers, and supermodels from all over the world.
Noted for its dramatic coastline, Cinque Terre is a string of five fishing villages (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore) perched high on the Italian Riviera. One of the scenic offbeat places to visit in Europe, Cinque Terre isn’t the undiscovered Eden it once was but there is still a feeling of remote authenticity, with few narrow winding roads, perfectly preserved architecture, and a network of stunning coastal and mountain hiking trails. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, now it is a National Park and Protected Marine Area. The breathtaking views of harbours, inviting coastline, architecturally interesting locations, and plentiful wines make Cinque Terra an ideal spot for a relaxing holiday away from the maddening crowds.
Naples, the capital of the Campania region, is nestled amidst the Phlegraean Fields and the volcanic region of Mount Vesuvius in Italy. Known for its stunning locales, rich history, and culture, Naples is regarded as one of the world’s largest historic city centers as it has the maximum number of historical monuments, Baroque churches, and Roman ruins, offering an endless feast for lovers of history and art. Whether you’re a foodie or an archeological enthusiast, the city offers something for everyone. It is the birthplace of pizza, so don’t forget to sample the pizza on the lanes of the Quartieri Spagnoli.
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea sits just to the south of Corsica and to the north of Tunisia. This island is famed for the azure-blue shoreline waters, which lap against the rugged rocks and caves of the coast where the Tyrrhenian Sea meets the greater Mediterranean. The mountainous interior of the island is a hiking paradise, where tourists can visit one of the deepest gorges and the highest dunes in Europe. Cagliari that hosts bobbing millionaire yachts and terraced lines of colorful Renaissance mansions and palazzos, the shimmering sands at Villasimius and Chia, secluded Tuerredda, and UNESCO-attested Cala Goloritze are some of the places in Sardidina simply to die for! If you are looking for a destination that combines long sandy beaches, historical sites, and outdoor adventures, Sardinia is one of the best places in Italy to put on your bucket list.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.