What to do in Italy?
If like me, you love Italy for its beautiful squares, historical monuments and delicious food, then this article is for you!
In this condensed guide, you will discover the Top 20 cities and regions to visit in Italy with a list of the main attractions of each one. Ideal for getting an idea of your next travel destination.
So, what to do in Italy? Go now to discover the most beautiful places of interest: Rome, The Amalfi Coast, Capri, Sicily and much more!
Visit Italy: The essentials
1. Rome: the capital
We start well on this guide to things to do in Italy by the capital, Rome , which attracts millions of tourists every year but which contrary to what one might believe is only the third city visited in Italy in terms of tourists behind Florence and Venice .
Rome is a beautiful city which in addition has the advantage of very well being visited on foot. It presents a concentration of ancient monuments, beautiful squares and museums. To see first:
- The Coliseum
- The Roman forum
- The pantheon
- Trevi Fountain
- Piazza Navona
If you are visiting Rome, do not forget to take a tour of the Vatican City , which has many places to visit.
- The St. Peter’s Square
- The St. Peter’s Basilica , largest basilica in the world
- The Sistine Chapel and the major work of Michelangelo: The Last Judgment
- And all the Vatican Museums
For more details on the city, discover our article: What to do in Rome .
2. Florence: artistic city
Florence , undoubtedly the most beautiful city of Tuscany, brings together countless museums and palaces of Renaissance art that gives it a very rich cultural heritage. It houses half of the works of art preserved throughout Italy. And you are not mistaken: it is the most visited city in Italy . So, will you be part of the 15 million tourists who make a circuit in Italy this year?
The essentials of Florence:
- The Duomo and its piazza with a magnificent view
- The gallery of offices and his famous paintings in abundance
- The basilica San Miniato al Monte with its panorama on Florence. A tip: go for the sunset
- Piazza della Signoria : real open-air museum
- Cupola del Brunelleschi : after a climb of 400 steps overlooking Florence 360 degrees. Remember to book your tickets in advance to avoid the queue.
And do not forget to take a tour in the Tuscan countryside , known for being the most beautiful in the country!
3. Pisa: Leaning city
When we think of Pisa , the first image that comes to us is that of its leaning tower, the symbol of the city. But there is more to see and you can enjoy a half day or a day to visit many other places.
- The piazza dei miracoli , tourist center of the city where all the coaches of tourists pour. And for good reason, it concentrates all the famous monuments of the city:
- The tower of Pisa whose visit will cost you 20 € (better to be warned, it may surprise as tariff)
- The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption
- The baptistery Saint John of Pisa
- The Camposanto Monumentale Cemetery
- The piazza dei Cavalieri : small typical Italian place and with less tourists
- Borgo Stretto : a shopping mecca and a great place to eat or drink with its many restaurants
4. Venice: romantic city
Venice is the second most visited city in Italy. This is the ideal place for a weekend or a romantic holiday with its many canals and ballads in gondolas, we can not do more romantic. It is in February that the city attracts a huge crowd from around the world to celebrate and participate in the famous Venetian Carnival .
Places of interest to visit in Venice:
- St. Mark’s Square : heart of the city and pigeon area
- St. Mark’s Basilica and its golden mosaics
- The doges’ palace
- The bridge of sighs : the known bridge of Venice
- The islands of Murano (world center of glassware) and Burano with its typical houses all colorful
5. The Cinque Terre: colorful villages
This guide to places to visit in Italy would not be complete without mentioning the Cinque Terre , 5 small villages perched on the cliffs, all more beautiful than the others. You have probably already seen them in photo because they offer a spectacular panorama that can be seen on many representative postcards of Italy.
These villages are close to each other and you can visit them in 3 different ways:
- By a hiking trail that connects them (but depending on the period some trails may be closed). Routes between each village can range from ½ hour to 2 hours.
- By train that runs through all the villages.
- By boat , which offers unforgettable views of the villages.
A brief overview of the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre :
- Monterosso al mare : located farthest north, it is the largest of the villages and the only one with a large sandy beach.
- Vernazza with its colorful houses and small port.
- Corniglia , only one of the 5 not to be connected to the sea, it is reached by a staircase of more than 350 steps.
- Manorala : the oldest village.
- Riomaggiore , located to the east, marks the end of the Cinque Terre.
6. Lecce: Baroque city
Much less known than the previous cities, it still deserves a visit during your trip to Italy. Lecce , located at the foot of the boot, facing Greece, is a city under baroque influence. Everywhere churches and museums, all built in the same style.
To see :
- The Santa Croce Basilica
- The historic center
- The duomo di Lecce
- Piazza sant’oronzo
- Museo faggiano lecce
For more things to do and see in Lecce, it’s in our article: Top 12 places to see in Lecce.
7. Verona: Shakespirean city
Verona is the city of love and tragic fate of Romeo and Juliet, everyone has heard about it but do you know everything you can visit?
The list of things to see in Verona is here:
- Juliette’s house : the opportunity to admire the famous balcony and take a picture with your half
- The piazza bra where are the bullring of Verona
- The piazza delle erbe with its market and its restaurant bars and terraces
- Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore , the oldest church in Verona
- The castelvecchio , a castle of the 14 th century turned into a museum
8. Genoa: port city
Genoa is above all a port city that has seen one of the most famous adventurers born: Christopher Columbus. But that’s not all that, the city is full of monuments and beautiful sites to admire. Few people visit but it is a shame, because there are very pretty things to see in Genoa.
Tour things to do:
- The port of Genoa where are the aquarium and a replica of a pirate ship. Do not forget to take the glass lift to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
- The historic center with the piazza dei Ferrari adorned with its beautiful fountain
- Walk along Via Garibaldi and visit one or more palaces such as Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Bianco or Palazzo Rosso
- Stroll along the Lungomare , a 3-kilometer seaside promenade
- Go to Boccadasse , a former fishing district with colorful houses
9. Naples: historic city
Naples is the European city with the largest historical center, so as to tell you that you will be served in churches and monuments. Naples is also a city famous for its gastronomy: The pizza, formerly food of the poor would be of origin, as well as the famous Neapolitan sauce.
The essentials of Naples :
- Start with the historic center and its Duomo
- The piazza del plebiscito , huge place very photogenic thanks to the monuments that surround it
- The parco vigiliano and its magnificent view of the bay
- Visit the archaeological museum that brings together objects from Pompeii
- Go to Pompeii , about forty minutes by bus or train from Naples and see the damage of the murderous eruption of Vesuvius.
10. Capri: beautiful island
From Naples , you can easily access the island of Capri by ferry for a day trip.
You can start the discovery of one of the most beautiful places in Italy by the port of Marina Grande . Then take the funicular to the city of Capri to go to the famous Piazzetta , with its cafe terraces and views of the bay.
You can also walk along the coastal path to see the arco naturale , a huge rock arch 20 meters high, and the viewpoint of Tragara also offering a magnificent view. Do not forget the major attraction of the island of Capri: the blue cave that owes its name to the particular color of its water.
11. Turin: city of cinema and chocolate
You may not know it, but Turin is THE city of chocolate. And yes, there is not only Swiss or Belgian chocolate, Italian has its place. Your favorite spread has even been invented by a pastry master from Turin! Every year Turin also organizes the chocolate festival with of course many tastings on the program.
But Turin is also the city of cinema. Located in the Mole Antonelliana , the emblematic monument of Turin with its dome and its spire, is the museum of cinema. You can see the masks of Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings. Be sure to take the panoramic elevator that leads to the building’s terrace and offers views of the entire city.
To see also during your visit to Turin:
- The Egyptian Museum : the 2nd largest after Cairo and the oldest Egyptian museum in the world
- The car museum with its impressive collection of vehicles
- Palazzo Reale , former residence of the Dukes of Savoy
12. Milan: City of Fashion
Milan , is the capital of fashion and design with many luxury boutiques and showrooms of renowned designers but if you decided not to over heat the Blue Card, it also offers many historic buildings to visit.
A short tour of things to see in Milan:
- The piazza del Duomo and its magnificent Cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin . Do not miss to climb on the roof for the panoramic view.
- Sforza Castle and Parco Sempione just behind
- The Vittorio Emmanuel II gallery and its huge glass roof, a luxury shopping mecca
- The Pinacoteca Brera and its very rich collection of paintings by Italian masters such as Raphael, Bellini or Caravaggio.
- The monumental cemetery: visit the flamedio, burial place of great personalities and the cemetery with its stelae all more unusual than the others.
13. Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands
The Lake Maggiore is one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy and is one of three major Italian lakes with Lake Como and Lake Garda . You can very well combine his visit with that of Milan, since it is only 1h30 drive. Tour offices offer day tours from Milan.
The major lake is known for the Borromeo islands that can be visited very well all three in the same day. Many boat tours are organized there.
The 3 islands :
- The Isola Madre where you can admire its famous exotic garden famous for its peacocks who walk there in complete freedom
- Isola Bella with the Borromeo Palace , its garden and a grotto made of shellfish
- Upper Isola , a fishing island
14. Lake Como
Third largest lake in Italy and located one hour from Milan, Lake Como awaits you. It is a popular jet set holiday destination and is famous throughout the world for its many majestic villas and lush gardens.
It’s also a popular filming location, and you’ve seen it in Star Wars episode II, some of whose shots were shot at Villa Balbianello , by the lake. But it’s not just that! Around the lake you can find very pretty fishing villages and many hiking trails . A must in Northern Italy!
To do :
- Como and its pedestrian center
- Tremozzo and Villa Carlotta with its sumptuous botanical garden
- Bellagio and villa Melzi, source of inspiration for Stendhal himself
- Varenne and the villa Monastero with its promenade at the edge of the water
- Castello Di Vezio and its panoramic view of the lake below
15. Lake Garda
Another great lake in Italy and certainly the most touristy, Lake Garda is located 1h30 by train from Milan. It is the largest lake in the country.
Besides the lake itself, you can visit some cities around:
- Sirmione : the best known of the towns of Lake Garda. Its medieval castle marks the entrance to the city. Very pleasant to stroll through the typical narrow streets. To see also the archaeological site of the Grottes di Catullo which shelters ruins of temples and Roman villas.
- Malcesine : in the city visit the Scaliger Castle and the Palazzo dei Capitani . Then take the cable car to Monte Baldo and enjoy a panorama of Lake Garda.
- Torri del Benaco : with its small fishing port and Scaligero castle, it deserves to stop there.
16. The Dolomites
If you like hiking and Italy then the Dolomites are for you! Classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, the area has 18 mountain peaks culminating for some at 3,000 meters above sea level.
Famous for their particular rock walls, sheared by the elements, they offer an exceptional panorama especially at sunrise or sunset where they take on an intense red hue.
To take full advantage of the landscape you can take the Dolomite road from Bolzano to Cortina by car . Over 100 kilometers you’ll have your eyes full.
Do not hesitate to stop in the villages or lago di Carezza . Once in Cortina you will have the opportunity to discover the many hiking trails in the region and to strengthen your calves! If you like the outdoors, this is the region to see in Italy.
17. The Amalfi Coast
Located south of Naples, the Amalfi Coast is famous for being one of the most beautiful coasts of Italy. With its wild relief and villages clinging to the cliffs, there is no doubt that the Amalfi Coast will impress you greatly.
Overview of the most famous places of interest:
- Sorrento , perched on a cliff with a view of the entire bay and the island of Capri.
- Positano , set of colorful houses clinging to the mountain. A popular place for jet-set fashion boutiques and trendy cafes.
- Nocelle : You can go to the village of Nocelle, above Positano, a beautiful hike “the path of Gods” awaits you.
- Amalfi and his magnificent Duomo.
- Ravello and the villa Cimbrone with its garden of 6 hectares overlooking the sea is the walk not to be missed in Ravello.
18. The Gargano Nature Park
Located in the Puglia region, the Gargano Natural Park is Italy’s largest natural park. This park is formed of several limestone rocks that the sea has carved over time. You can see many caves and cavities and beautiful coves almost wild.
In the center of the nature park, you can also hike in the foresta Umbra , literally the forest of shadows. Stroll under ancient trees and enjoy the fauna and flora.
The small town of Vieste is also a must in the region!
Sicily, beautiful island of Italy combining beautiful beaches for relaxation and relaxation and many historical monuments for culture. Add to that the delicious Italian cuisine and the mix is perfect. Here’s what to visit during your trip to Sicily :
To see in Eastern Sicily :
- Catania and its piazza del Duomo with the Cathedral of St. Agatha
- Syracuse and the island of Ortygia : lose yourself in its narrow streets, admire its grandiose piazza del duomo and enjoy the view offered by castello Maniace
- Baroque cities : Noto, Modica and Ragusa
- Taormina with its Greek theater, its view of Etna and its beautiful pebble beach, “Isola Bella”.
- Etna , the most active volcano in Europe.
To see in Western Sicily :
- Palermo and its palatine chapel , its Norman palace and its unusual visit to the catacombs
- Cefalu , typical small fishing village
- Agrigento and its valley of the temples
- The beaches of “Scala dei Turchi” and Eraclea Minoa
- The Egadi Islands , a small paradise on earth
Another Italian region and other Mediterranean island, Sardinia has many assets to spend a pleasant holiday in the sun.
What should not be missed in Sardinia:
- Cagliari , capital of Sardinia that stretches over several hills. Visit the Castello district , the tourist sites are concentrated there.
- The islands of Maddalena : wild coasts and paradise islands are on the program.
- Costa Smeralda that hosts the jet set from around the world. The road, all along the coast, offers a spectacular view.
- The Gulf of Orosei : bordered by limestone cliffs, it is a very beautiful place with more beautiful beaches.
And you, what did you plan to visit in Italy? What are your favorite places?