50 essential places to see in Italy

Italy is one of our favorite countries. We believe that, together with Spain, it is the most pleasant country to visit in Europe. The weather is good year-round, you eat great for very little, and most importantly, you won’t be short of things to see in Italy .

There are few countries with so many jewels, with such an incredible history and gastronomy . In this post we tell you 50 essential places to see in Italy , those that cannot be missing from your list to visit the country. It is difficult for you to visit them all on the same trip, but surely after setting foot in Italy for the first time you will want to return. We come back every year!

Also Read: The 15 most beautiful countries in Europe

To plan your visit more easily, you can use the following map, where all the 50 essential places to see in Italy that we tell you.


What do we tell you in this post?


Essential Places To See In Italy


Venice and its canals, one of the best cities to see in Italy

Venice
Venice

Venice is a unique city. Known worldwide for its beautiful canals, it will not leave you indifferent. Getting lost in its labyrinthine streets with a gelato in hand is an incredible experience. Dream in front of the Rialto Bridge, ride a gondola while the famous O Sole Mio is sung to you and fall in love with the city. Venice is one of these essential places to see in Italy.


Saint Mark’s Square

Saint Mark’s Square
Saint Mark’s Square

Don’t worry, we didn’t miss out on this beauty! What happens is that this square deserves a special mention since it is one of the most beautiful in the world . We have been lucky enough to be in Venice several times and every time we go it surprises us more. It is the lowest point in the city, so it sometimes floods when the sea level rises.

Napoleon is said to have named it ” le plus elégant salon d’Europe “. We believe that with good reason, since it is surrounded by impressive buildings such as the Doge’s Palace or the Basilica.


Murano, Burano and Torcello

Murano, Burano and Torcello
Murano, Burano and Torcello

In the Venetian lagoon there are three beautiful islands that we advise you to visit. If you have several days in Venice, you cannot miss them, especially the colorful Burano. And don’t forget to take home a Murano glass!


Verona , the city of lovers

Verona, one of the most beautiful cities to see in Italy
Verona, one of the most beautiful cities to see in Italy

On your tour of Italy you cannot miss a stop in Verona. Yes, the city of lovers Romeo and Juliet . You can visit his house and the famous balcony. Although we believe that it has other much better attractions such as its impressive Arena and its beautiful squares . Do not miss it!


The Prato della Valle in Padua , the largest square to see in Italy

The Prato della Valle, the main attraction of Padua
The Prato della Valle, the main attraction of Padua

Italy has beautiful squares. A lot come to mind: San Marco in Venice, Navona in Rome or Piazza del Campo in Siena. But none of those is as big as Prato de la Valle, in Padua. This elliptical square has no more and no less than 90,000 square meters of surface. Then the city also has other attractions such as the imposing Basilica of San Antonio.


The beautiful Lake Garda

Lake Garda
Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, apart from being one of the most beautiful and well-known. It is a glacial lake, which was formed at the end of the last ice age. If you want to enjoy it to the fullest, our advice is to visit one of the towns that are located on its shores.


Sirmione, a magical town on the banks of the Garda

Sirmione
Sirmione

Simeone is another of the best towns to see in Italy and our favorite to enjoy the Garda. It is located just half an hour from Verona on a small peninsula that penetrates the Garda. Get lost in its medieval old town, crowned by the beautiful Scaliger castle. It is spectacular.


Milan and its Duomo, the most beautiful temple to see in Italy

Duomo
The imposing Duomo, at dusk

The capital of fashion is one of the main cities to see in Italy. Apart from its luxurious shop windows, it also has authentic treasures such as the Duomo, the most beautiful temple in Italy . Also do not forget to walk through the Navigli or see The Last Supper , one of the best known works in the history of art. Enjoy the Lombard capital!


Lake Como

Lake Como
Lake Como

If we were talking about Garda before, you can’t miss Lake Como either. There are also beautiful villages on its shores. The best known of them, Bellagio, where many celebrities like George Clooney have a home . It is the third largest in Italy and one of the deepest in Europe. It can be visited quite easily from Milan on a day trip.


Upper Town of Bergamo

Bergamo
The Città Alta of Bergamo, a good excursion from Milan

Bergamo is another interesting excursion to do when you visit Milan. Well, specifically its Città Alta, which is the historic city . There you can enjoy authentic treasures such as its Piazza Vecchia. Oh, and don’t forget to eat a good polenta!


Turin , one of the most interesting cities to see in Italy

Turin
Turin

Being close to Milan, Turin unfairly loses a lot of prominence. It is a super interesting and beautiful city from which you can see the beautiful Alps. In fact it was the first capital of Italy in 1861, residence of the powerful House of Savoy . Do not miss its Egyptian Museum, the curious Mole Antonelliana and many more attractions. Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and interesting cities to see in Italy.


Bologna

Bologna
Bologna

This city goes far beyond its prestigious university, the oldest in the Western world. It has the second largest medieval historic center in Europe , only surpassed by that of Venice. Enjoy a good aperitif and the Neptune Fountain, among many other things. And don’t miss Piazza Maggiore, one of the most beautiful places to see in Italy.


The church of San Vital in Ravenna

The church of San Vital in Ravenna
The church of San Vital in Ravenna

Ravenna has been a very important city on a historical level. It was the capital of the Western Roman Empire from 402 AD until its fall. In short, it was the last capital of the empire. It is also known for housing the famous church of San Vital, one of the most important and impressive Byzantine temples in the country .

It dates from the 5th century and is a true architectural marvel. Also, as a curiosity, the great Dante Alighieri is buried in Ravenna . One more reason to visit this historic city!


Genoa and its history

Genoa
The cathedral of Genoa and its famous lions

We will not say that Genoa is one of the most beautiful cities to see in Italy (we were a bit disappointed). Even so, it is worth knowing it since in its day, the Republic of Genoa was one of the great European powers and the wealth left authentic treasures . So knowing its important port, the second largest aquarium in Europe and the birthplace of Columbus are some reasons to get lost in this city.


Portofino, an idyllic town on the Italian Riviera

Portofino
Portofino

This colorful fishing village is one of the main attractions of the Italian Riviera . It is located just 30 kilometers from Genoa and is worth a visit. About 500 people live in Portofino, so we dare say there are almost more tourists than locals! A perfect place to spend a great day.


Cinque Terre, five charming towns to see in Italy

Cinque Terre
Riomaggiore, our favorite Cinque Terre town

Five coastal towns (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) are known as Cinque Terre. All five have the same characteristics: very small, colorful villages with their beautiful stacked houses. Its structure is really curious! Our favorite is Riomaggiore.


Tower of Pisa (still leaning)

The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the icons of the country. But do not think that it has tilted over the years. Nope! In fact, it started to lean when it was built in August 1173. So the defect came from the factory! The Government of Italy has done some work to prevent its collapse and since 2008, for the first time in history, it stopped moving. Enjoy the tower and the Duomo of Pisa!


The walled city of Lucca

The walled city of Lucca
Aerial View of Historic Centre of Lucca Surrounded by Walls, Italy

Tuscany is one of the most beautiful regions to see in Italy. And Lucca one of the most interesting cities in Tuscany. This curious city still has its medieval walls intact (thankfully) since they were never attacked . Located between Pisa and Florence, we think it’s worth a visit. At least to get to know its well-preserved historic center.


The towers of San Gimignano

The towers of San Gimignano
The towers of San Gimignano

San Gimignano is one of the most beautiful towns to see in Italy. During your visit to Tuscany you cannot miss this walled town, known for its medieval architecture. The most famous are its towers. In these Tuscan towns, in the medieval period, wealthy families competed to see who could get the tallest tower. Back then it was a symbol of power and wealth and also served as hostels and fortresses.


Florence and the Ponte Vecchio, one of the most beautiful places to see in Italy

Florence from Piazzale Michellangelo
Florence from Piazzale Michellangelo

The cradle of the Renaissance leaves no one indifferent. In every corner you will come across a work of art. The Duomo of Florence left us speechless. Get lost in its streets, fall in love with the beautiful Ponte Vecchio and enjoy a sunset from Piazzale Michellangelo . Florence is beautiful!


Michellangelo’s David and art

Michellangelo's David and art
Michellangelo’s David and art

As we have said, Florence and art go hand in hand. In the city you will find some of the most famous works of art history. For example, Michellangelo’s David . Well, actually there are several, but the real one is in the Galleria dell’Academia . Also don’t forget to enjoy the Uffizi Gallery and its precious Renaissance works.


Arezzo, remembering that life is beautiful

Arezzo
Arezzo

Arezzo is the typical Tuscan town that will take your breath away. If it is already beautiful by itself, if you are a movie buff, your curiosity will surely pique you even more. The famous film La Vita è bella directed by Roberto Begnini was shot there. So if you travel as a couple, when you wake up you will always have the opportunity to say: Good morning princess! Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful villages to see in Italy.


The Piazza del Campo in Siena

The Piazza del Campo in Siena
The Piazza del Campo in Siena

And finally, to put the golden gap to Tuscany you can not miss Siena and its beautiful Piazza del Campo, one of the most beautiful things to see in Italy . It is said that the city was founded by the sons of Remus, one of the founders of Rome. Its historic center, a World Heritage Site since 1995, is a real delight. Do not miss it!


Elba and its beaches

Elba and its beaches
Elba and its beaches

Many would already like to be exiled in a setting as beautiful as the island of Elba. So Napoleon can’t complain! This island is known for being the place of exile of the emperor after the disastrous battle of Leipzig and the Treaty of Fontainebleau. However, the main attractions of this volcanic island are its beaches. The most beautiful, the Sansone.


The Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi, one of the best monuments to see in Italy

The Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi
The Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi

This temple dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi is one of the most important to see in Italy. It is the headquarters of the Franciscan Order and also an essential stop for many during their trip to Rome. At the same time, its importance is also due to the artistic level since it contains works such as Giotto ‘s Life of Saint Francis . The Basilica has been a World Heritage Site since 2000.


The Ducal Palace in Urbino

The Ducal Palace in Urbino
The Ducal Palace in Urbino

And from a very important religious temple we move on to one of the most important monuments in the country. Duke Federico de Montefeltro ordered several works that changed the history and importance of the city. This patron was able not only to transform the city of Urbino into a court of princes, but also to attract the greatest Italian artists and intellectuals of the time to the duchy. This Renaissance temple is the highlight of the beautiful historic center of the city. Entrance to the Doge’s Palace costs €6.50.


Rome and its legacy

Rome and its legacy
Rome

The historic center of Rome is something unique to see in Italy and in the whole world! Did you know that Rome is the City with the most historical and architectural assets in the world? Its fascinating past is still part of its streets. It is wonderful to go for a walk with a gelato in hand and come across, as if nothing, ancient buildings. Even if you are just passing through, we suggest an itinerary to get to know Rome in one day.


The Colosseum, the main monument to see in Italy

The Colosseum
The Colosseum

You can’t leave Italy without seeing one of the seven wonders of the modern world. The most famous amphitheater in the world awaits you in Rome. For 500 years, great events such as gladiatorial combats were held there with 80,000 spectators, amazing for the time! We recommend that, in addition to visiting it during the day, you sit down to contemplate it from the outside in the quiet of the night, without the crowds. Find out how to buy Skip the Line Colosseum tickets .


The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain

This fountain needs no introduction, it is surely the most famous to see in Italy. Its 40-meter front full of details sculpted in marble leaves anyone with their mouths open. Don’t forget to flip a coin (or several).

Legend has it that with one coin you will return to Rome, with two you will find the love of your life and with three you will marry that person . In addition, all the coins left in the bottom of the fountain are used for charitable causes.


The Vatican

The Vatican
The Vatican

During your visit to Rome you will not only step on Italian soil. And it is sure that you do not want to miss the great works of art that are in the Vatican. You can see his great collection in the Vatican Museums. But, without a doubt, the star of the visit is the Sistine Chapel. It’s shocking to think how one man could create something like this…


Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio
Civita di Bagnoregio

This municipality is one of the most curious and interesting to see in Italy. They call it the city that is dying, since it is in serious danger of disappearing . It has only eight inhabitants and the tuff hill is gradually collapsing due to phenomena such as rain, wind or the instability of the ground itself. Even the Etruscans already knew about the seismic instability of this area! It is said that in the last 100 years the height of the town has decreased by 25 centimeters and that little by little it will disappear. Cross its famous bridge and discover it!


The magic of the Dolomites

The Dolomites
The beautiful Dolomites

The Dolomites are one of the main attractions to see in Italy . This mountain range is magical and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2009. In its surroundings there are beautiful villages and if you like to walk you can do some incredible hiking trails . The highest mountain in the Dolomites is the Marmolada with 3,342 meters above sea level.
Why are they called Dolomites?

The name comes from Deodat de Dolomieu, a French geologist who discovered the composition of the rock in 1791. They were previously known as “Monti Pallidi”.


Bruneck and the villages of South Tyrol

Bruneck
Bruneck, one of the most beautiful villages to see in Italy

Sudtirol is one of our favorite regions in Italy . We love nature and there you will find incredible landscapes. It is right on the border with Austria , in fact, it has a lot of influence from the neighboring country. When we walked through one of its towns we thought we were in Salzburg. One of our favorite towns is Bruneck or Brunico . If you are looking to disconnect and enjoy nature, you cannot miss this region.


Trento, an interesting city to see in Italy

The Neptune Fountain
The Neptune Fountain in Piazza Duomo

It is another city to see in Italy that you cannot miss . It is historically known for hosting the famous Council of Trent. And without a doubt it is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is the capital of the region and was Austrian until the end of the First World War, so the influence is very great. It is located in the beautiful Valle del Adige, one of the most beautiful areas of the Region.


Lake of Braies

Lake of Braies
Lake of Braies

Without a doubt, next to Lake Pukaki in New Zealand it is the most beautiful we have seen. It is only a couple of hours drive from Trento, at the foot of the Dolomites. Seeing that emerald-colored water surrounded by dolomite peaks is something incredible. So we believe that this lake is one of the essential things to see in Italy.


Lake Carezza, one of the most beautiful lakes to see in Italy

Lake Carezza
Lake Carezza

And another lake that cannot be missed on your tour is Carezza. This small alpine lake is located about 25 km from Bolzano. The landscape is incredible: surrounded by dense fir forests and below the slopes of the Latemar massif, which is reflected in its crystal clear waters. Do not miss it!


Naples and its heritage

Naples and its heritage
Naples and its heritage

Naples is a chaotic city but at the same time full of history . With 6 million inhabitants it is the largest city in southern Italy. Its historic center is a World Heritage Site and if you like good food, it is a perfect place to try some of the best pizzas in the country . The city itself disappointed us a little but we believe that it is one of the best places to see in Italy to discover its treasures and discover its surroundings.


Pompeii

Pompeii
Pompeii and Vesuvius in the background

Precisely, just to visit Pompeii, a visit to Naples is more than justified. The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried under lava after the violent eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 . Until the year 1748 nobody heard from her again.

Thanks to numerous archaeological works, much of the city’s ruins and even the petrified bodies of those who lost their lives more than 2,000 years ago can now be seen. Without a doubt, one of the most impressive things to see in Italy.


Vesuvius

Vesuvius
Vesuvius

And you can’t stop visiting the protagonist who buried Pompeii 2000 years ago. It is one of the most famous volcanoes in the world. It is still active, being the only one in Continental Europe with this condition. However, you can go up to the crater in a very curious and fun excursion. From the top you will have incredible views of the Gulf of Naples.


The Blue Grotto in Capri

The Blue Grotto in Capri
The Blue Grotto in Capri

The island of Capri is another of the main tourist destinations in the area. And that is nothing new. It’s a resort since Roman times! And it does not surprise us since its beauty is undeniable. The Blue Grotto is its main attraction. The water appears to have illumination from below!


Sorrento and the Bagni della Regina Giovanna

Sorrento and the Bagni della Regina Giovanna
Sorrento and the Bagni della Regina Giovanna

Before visiting the beautiful Amalfi Coast, it is worth spending a few hours in Sorrento. We tell you how to get there from Naples .

This small town is ideal to spend a quiet day. There you can enjoy a unique landscape: an incredible contrast between sea and mountains. Also don’t forget to try their limoncello or take a dip in the gorgeous Bagni della Regina Giovanna . Sorrento always surprises.


Positano and the Amalfi Coast, one of the most emblematic places to see in Italy

The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast

All the municipalities that make up this stretch of coast bathed by the Adriatic Sea have been a World Heritage Site since 1997. So you can get a little idea of its beauty. The most beautiful and well-known is Positano, but we advise you to rent a car and discover and enjoy them one by one.


The Sassi of Matera

The Sassi of Matera
Matera, a very curious city to see in Italy

Matera is a unique city to see in Italy. It is also known as the Second Bethlehem because there are dwellings carved into the stone with 9,000 years of history and reminiscent of the constructions that were carried out in Jerusalem and the Middle East . The city is inhabited since the Paleolithic. Scenes from The Passion of the Christ, by Mel Gibson, have been recorded there. And it looks like a manger! To visit Matera is to travel back in time.


Sicily and its capital, Palermo

Sicily
Sicily

Sicily is one of the most beautiful islands in Europe. Its quality as a tourist destination is unquestionable: it contains a precious historical legacy with very important Greek ruins and more than interesting beaches. In addition, its chaotic capital, Palermo, is another reason to get lost on this island, the seventh largest on the continent.


Etna, the most active volcano to see in Italy

Etna the most active volcano to see in Italy
Etna the most active volcano to see in Italy

Along with Vesuvius it is the most famous volcano in Italy. Although if we compare them by size, Vesuvius is David and Etna, Goliath. It is a real colossus: it is 3322 meters high. It is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is constantly erupting. Even so, you can climb the volcano and have the possibility of seeing some of its eruptions.


The Theater of Taormina

The Theater of Taormina
One of the Sicilian treasures

This theater of Greek origin leaves you speechless due to its location. It has beautiful views of the sea and the Etna volcano. After the Romans rebuilt it, it hosted gladiator fights . It is currently the setting for the Taormina Film Festival, as well as hosting concerts and plays in a unique atmosphere.


Syracuse

Syracuse
Syracuse

Syracuse is one of the most fascinating cities to see in Italy. Since Ancient Greece its importance at a cultural level has been enormous. It was the second colony of the Greeks in Sicily only after Naxos. Neither the harsh earthquakes it has suffered nor the impact of wars are going to prevent you from enjoying its treasures .


The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento

The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento
The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento

If you are a lover of Greek temples, in Agrigento the best complex in the world is preserved. These seven monumental Doric-style Greek temples were built during the 6th and 5th centuries BC. C. The one that stands out above the others is the Concordia, the best preserved. Without a doubt, a good memory of the passage of the Greeks through Sicily.


Stromboli Island

Stromboli Island
Stromboli Island

If you like adventure, you cannot miss your visit to Stromboli. This island is one of the most fascinating to see in Italy. As its name indicates, it is home to one of the oldest and most famous volcanoes in the world, Stromboli, with more than 2,000 years of activity . Surely it sounds familiar to you, since it gives its name to a type of eruption, the strombolian. Eruptions occur every 20 minutes , always preceded by a loud roar. And the best thing is that you can see them from very close and safely. Without a doubt, one of the most fascinating things to see in Italy.


Sardinia and La Pelosa beach, one of the most beautiful beaches to see in Italy

Sardinia and La Pelosa beach
Sardinia and La Pelosa beach

And finally, our last recommendation to see in Italy is the beautiful island of Sardinia. There you will find beautiful beaches such as La Pelosa. Why go to the Caribbean with these crystal clear waters so close?

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