If you’re planning on visiting Italy soon or just need some inspiration for your next vacation, I recommend putting a couple of these places on your bucket list. Italy has so much to offer, and the following cities barely do the country justice. These are some of the best places to visit in Italy if you’re looking to catch a glimpse into the Italian lifestyle.
Italy, frequently touted as the ‘gem of Europe’ is about the same size as California, and has just about as much diversity. Italy’s rich history, food, culture, architecture, and scenery will entice you to come back again and again.
Many first-time travelers visit iconic Italian cities such as Florence, Venice, and Rome. Italy has a lot more to offer, however, and going off the beaten path will prove to be equally rewarding and eye-opening. It will also help with over-tourism in the more popular cities.
So without further ado, here are some beautiful places to visit in Italy that I hope will spark a sense of wanderlust in even the least spontaneous of travelers.
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POSITANO & THE AMALFI COAST
The Amalfi Coast is perfection incarnate, where one can behold picturesque towns teetering precariously above the glittering seas. Rugged yet refined, the Amalfi Coast epitomizes perfectly the natural drama and cultural elegance we speak of when we speak of Italy. It’s diverse enough to accommodate everyone, from celeb spotters to nature lovers, to book nerds.
Positano has been put on the map recently by content-hungry Instagramers. Which has resulted in overcrowding in the summer times, but can still be enjoyed in the offseason after the crowds have left.
The city is a mix of pastel-hued buildings that jet over the aquamarine Mediterranean on a near-vertical cliffside. One can enjoy views of the city and the Mediterranean from a variety of vantage points on the hill all the while eating gelato.
Not only is Venice one of the best places to visit in Italy, it is also one of my favorite cities in the world. The ancient city is suspended on stilts above the water. Frequently dubbed as the world’s most beautiful city, there’s a certain sense of romanticism that courses through the city.
Rome is home to iconic treasures such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon, as well as beautiful neighborhoods (take Trastevere and Centro Storico for starters), and ahhh-maz-ing food like the world’s best pasta. Rich in culture and history, the city is a world unto itself.
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Rome is super easy to travel to from the Leonardo Da Vinci Airport. You can take the Leonardo Express train across the street from the entrance of the airport. A quick 30-minute train ride will take you into the center of Rome. Next, to the train station, you’ll find sightseeing bus tours where you can travel around the city in around 1.5-2 hours. You have the opportunity to jump on and off the buses to see the major attractions.
Lake Como is known as a place frequently visited by the world’s mega-rich. Luxurious hotels and 5-star restaurants line the beautiful coastline of this small lake located just north of Milan. The picturesque lake is surrounded by lush green gardens, opulent villas, and sleepy little villages. Enjoy gorgeous views, delicious food and wine in one of the prettiest destinations in the world.
CASCATE DEL MULINO
After having posted some of these pictures on Pinterest recently, I’ve received some comments such as ‘these are actually in Turkey’ and ‘this is Pamakule.’ But guess what, Italy has some beautiful hot springs that are just off the beaten path and away from most tourists radars.
Cascate del Mulino can be found amid the hills of Maremma. Access to the pools is public and free throughout the year.
Known the world over as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is an absolute must for any first-time traveler to Italy. Between the huge wealth of artistic and historical attractions as well as the fantastic day trips you can take in the region, you can easily spend a week in Florence and still uncover new things to do.
Portofino is a fishing village on the Italian Riviera coastline, southeast of Genoa city. Pastel-colored houses, high-end boutiques, and seafood restaurants fringe its Piazzetta, a small cobbled square overlooking the harbor, which is frequented by super-yachts of the ultra-wealthy.
Tropea is a secluded Italian beach town located on the toe of Italy’s boot that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. The city is home to two and a half miles of pristine white beaches, dramatic rock formations, cliffs and coves that dot the coastline. There are both public (free) and private (fee) beaches where you can swim in sparkling, turquoise, Caribbean-like water.
One of the busiest metropolitan cities in the country, Naples is the capital of the Campania region in Southern Italy. Naples offers a treasure trove of art galleries and historic sites as well as a vibrant atmosphere of shops, restaurants and nightlife venues.
FUN FACT: Plenty of well known Italian dishes like pizza and spaghetti originated from this area 🙂 So if you’re a foodie, Naples might just be the perfect place for you to visit in Italy
World-famous historic sites like the Bay of Naples and Pompeii are nearby, making Naples an ideal base if you’re interested in learning more about Italian history and culture.
You can find the pulse of Italy in Milan. Recognized internationally for it’s contribution to fashion and design, Milan is a great place for even the snobbiest of art critics. Milan is the best place to visit in Italy if you are a fashionista – The country’s biggest fashion brands call this city home. One of the best spots in the city center to find them in one spot happens to be the world’s oldest shopping mall, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, featured above.
RIVA DEL GARDA
Plenty of hikes to be found around Riva del Garda, a town that can be found in the northern part of Italy. The bustling Italian town is at the dramatic end of Lake Garda, with mountains rising on either side. The town was part of Austria until 1918 and there is still something sedate and un-Italian about the streets and architecture.
Sardinia is an island smack dab in the middle of Meditteranean. It’s a beautiful Italian island that strikes visitors with it’s natural beauty, characteristic coves, and snow-white sandy beaches. Sardinia is perfect for those seeking a uniquely Mediterranean vacation similar to Mykonos, but without all the tourism.
The town of Assisi sits on a hilltop in Umbria, southeast of Tuscany. Assisi has many of the trappings of a small Italian town – churches, of course, with more frescoes than you can shake a paintbrush at, but also medieval castles (two), a Roman amphitheater, ancient winding streets, excellent food and sweeping vistas across the valleys that surround it.
If you’re looking for one of the best places to visit in Italy you have to add Cinque Terre to your itinerary. Cinque Terre translates to the “Five Lands” and refers to the five coastal towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The cities are home to iconic colorful houses perched on top of steeps cliffs, which drop off into the turquoise sea, the towns of Cinque Terre have marveled travelers for years.
One of the most scenic mountains in the world is the Dolomites. If you’re a fan of nature and enjoy hiking, the Dolomites is one of the best places in Italy to visit.
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