- Italy has something for everyone – from spectacular cities and ancient ruins to glorious museums and delicious local cuisine
- Discover the most beautiful places in Italy to visit on a city break, tour, beach or walking holiday
- Read our list of the best places to visit in Italy for must-see destinations that will rocket Italy to the top of your bucket list
There are so many beautiful places in Italy to visit. From captivating cities and scenic coasts to iconic landmarks and historic sites, there’s plenty to see and do on Italian city breaks and Italian tours. And no wonder – Italy is the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites alongside China and offers an incredible array of places to visit and explore. But where should you go first?
The 15 best places to visit in Italy
It goes without saying that one of the best places to visit in Italy is Rome. The ancient capital is an exhilarating city with a wealth of cultural, historic and religious sites to explore including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and the Spanish Steps. Toss a coin in the famous Trevi Fountain to bring you good fortune – and wish for a return trip to the Eternal City.
While in Rome, make sure you also visit the Vatican City. An independent state and centre of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican attracts some five million visitors every year. Many pilgrims seek a blessing from the Pope; others arrive simply to admire St Peter’s Basilica and Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel.
The stunning Amalfi Coast, stretching along the Sorrento peninsula, is another of the best places to visit in Italy. The dramatic coastline is awash with picturesque towns and villages, olive groves and lemon orchards, and just across the Bay of Naples is the tranquil island of Capri. The exclusive resort of Positano, with its colourful buildings nestled into the cliffs, will be another highlight.
A thought-provoking trip to Pompeii should also be on your itinerary if staying in the Bay of Naples. The ancient Roman city was buried under a thick layer of volcanic ash and rock after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD and not rediscovered until the mid-18th century. Wandering through the vast UNESCO-listed archaeological site today provides a fascinating insight into an intriguing past life. Buy tickets online in advance to avoid queues.
If thinking about holidays to Italy, consider Tuscany, especially if you’re a keen artist or walker. Green vineyards, golden barley fields and chalk plains compete for your attention and result in magical landscapes that have inspired painters for centuries. Rustic paths are lined with cypress trees and silvery olive groves, and weave through medieval towns and villages, allowing you to step back in time.
An enchanting island located in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is one of the best places to visit in Italy for a friendly, warm welcome. You’ll also find a unique culture – Sicilians have their own language – as well as some fantastic food and wine. On a Sicily tour, be prepared to stumble upon an array of Greek, Roman and Moorish relics including amphitheatres, monasteries, temples and more.
Magical Venice is one of the best places to visit in Italy for a romantic break. You can’t help but fall in love with the Grand Canal, St Mark’s Basilica and the city’s tangle of alleys and bridges. Be sure to see the ornamental Bridge of Sighs – legend says if a couple kisses as they pass under on a gondola, their love will last forever.
Whether you choose a Lake Garda tour or spend time at Lake Como, Maggiore or Orta, the Italian Lakes are sure to capture your heart. Stunningly beautiful, each lake has a distinct charm. Italy’s beguiling lakes attract swimmers, water sport enthusiasts, hikers, cyclists and those who enjoy a tranquil setting. Relax, soak up some spectacular scenery – there’s no better place.
The stunning Renaissance city of Florence is a good reason why you should visit Italy. Nowhere else in the world will you find such magnificent artwork and architecture. A highlight of a city break will be a tour of the Uffizi Gallery, home to masterpieces by Botticelli, da Vinci and Michelangelo. The city’s Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Ponte Vecchio bridge are sensational too.
A two-hour drive from Venice, the Dolomite mountain range is one of Italy’s natural wonders, and an excellent destination to discover on a walking holiday. Visit during early summer to enjoy the surrounding meadows filled with wildflowers – you may also see birds of prey and inquisitive marmots. For an awe-inspiring sight, stay until the sun sets when 18 jagged mountain peaks often turn red.
It’s easy to see why Europe’s elite love Portofino. The exclusive resort, a fishing village on the Italian Riviera coastline, is extremely picturesque and full of highly-recommended fish restaurants. Celebrities arrive here in their droves. Follow their example and sail into the superb natural harbour on a boat. You may not be aboard a superyacht, but it’ll be a journey to remember.
A foodie’s paradise, Bologna in Northern Italy is world-renowned for its delicious cuisine. Atmospheric alleyways are filled with fantastic food shops, selling the finest ragù, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pasta and balsamic vinegar. The city is also home to the enormous San Petronio basilica, a leaning tower and Europe’s oldest university. Founded in 1068, students have included Dante, Marconi and Copernicus.
If you’re wondering where to visit in Italy to indulge in a little café culture, head to Trieste in Friuli Venezia Giulia. The tiny region’s capital boasts Europe’s largest sea-facing square where many of its smart coffee shops were once frequented by the likes of James Joyce and Sigmund Freud. After a cappuccino or espresso, the medieval castle and Roman theatre ruins are worth a wander.
West of the Italian Peninsula, Sardinia is a charming island with an exhilarating thousand-mile coastline, white sands and hidden coves. However, the Mediterranean’s second-largest island offers much more than beautiful beaches. Head inland, and you’ll find sun-baked grassland, rugged mountains and dense forests of cork trees – a fascinating museum explains the cork production process. Make sure you also sample Sardinia’s prestigious wines.
The region on the ‘heel’ of Italy’s famous ‘boot’ appropriately concludes our list of the 15 best places to visit in Italy. Puglia – a little-known treasure that produces 80 per cent of Europe’s pasta – has quaint fishing villages, outstanding architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A highlight is the hobbit town of Alberobello, much loved for its trulli – whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs.
Get to know the best places to visit in Italy with Riviera Travel
There are lots of reasons why you’ll enjoy a holiday in Italy. Whether you want a cultural trip, city break, to explore a coastal resort or sample some delicious pasta and fine wine, you’ll find all this and so much more.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.