From the most visited cities in Italy to the lesser known towns, these are the most beautiful cities in Italy.
30 of the Most Beautiful Cities in Italy
Real shocker to see Venice made the list, right? Who doesn’t one day dream of traveling to Venice and taking a gondola ride down the canals?
Interesting facts about Venice: Did you know there is only one main road and two side streets in Venice? Instead of roads there are 170 canals run through the city. The city of Venice is built on more than 100 individual islands. Kind of crazy! Have you been to Venice? What was your favorite thing to do in Venice?
Where to Stay in Venice: Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia – Located in the trendy Castello district is this amazing hotel. It offers easy access to the main attractions in Venice and is close to great restaurants, bars, restaurants and museums.
Matera, one of the most beautiful small cities in Italy
If I had to pick a favorite on the list, Matera would be it. An ancient town once considered impoverished now one of the prettiest towns in Italy.
If you’re wondering what to do in Matera you MUST go see The Stassi (or stones). The historical architecture will make you want to take a million pictures.
Other popular sites include the many churches and monasteries built from limestone of the area. And the famous cisterns used as water filtration. It’s no wonder that Matera was declared the European Capital City of Culture for 2018!
Where to stay in Matera:
Best Overall (& most romantic): Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita – is a popular cave hotel that is within walking distance to the old town. The panoramic terrace overlooks the Murgia National Park.
Best Boutique Hotel in Matera: Palazzotto Residence & Winery
Budget Choice: Hotel Residence San Giorgio
Best Location: Corte San Pietro
3. Tropea, Vibo Valentia, Italy
Located in Calabria, at the toe of Italy’s boot, Tropea doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The beaches are incredible, and the Santa Maria dell’Isola (Castle on the hill) is one of the most underrated attractions in the area. Other top things to do in Tropea are visiting the Norman Cathedral, checking out the Historical Center.
Read next: 7 Best Italy Honeymoon Destinations
Parma is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and no one knows about it. Located in the western part of Emilia-Romagna, Italy, between Bologna and Milan.
Wondering what to do in Parma Italy? I recommend visiting The Cathedral of Parma and the Teatro Farnese, which is the primary theater in town. It’s absolutely stunning.
Ostuni is a lesser known small town in Italy, also known as The White City. It is located in Italy’s Apulia region that’s known for its whitewashed old town.
Where to Stay in Ostuni: Hotel La Terra is one of the few hotels located in the city centre. Dating back to the 13th century you can get a feel for what it was like living back then at this completely renovated hotel. If you are looking for more hotels that came highly recommended here is a list of the most popular places to stay in Ostuni for all budgets.
Rome is an amazing city that everyone seems to have an innate desire to see. The Italian allure is powerful enough in itself, but by adding in everything else that Rome has to offer, it makes a trip simply irresistible.
Rome features fascinating history associated with the Roman Empire, the epicenter of the Catholic faith in Vatican City, and the perfect representation of the Italian expression la dolce vita translation, the sweet life.
Even if you aren’t a history buff, the Roman Empire has to fascinate you. At its peak the empire was so large that it ultimately would influence the spread of Christianity around the world, all of the romance languages, many country’s governments, and cultures around the world would adopt facets of Roman culture.
Where to stay in Rome
Hotel Foro Romano (The exact hotel we stayed in)– The reason you book this hotel is because of its location. It is right next to the Roman Forum and Coliseum, easy walking distance. This is the area you want to stay in. Check out the most highly recommended hotels in Rome here.
Read our other articles on Rome next – 10 Best Things to See in Rome | 9 Bad Things About Rome Italy I Didn’t Know Before Going (it can’t all be good).
The Italian city of Bogliasco is one of the most beautiful destinations in Liguria. Located just 40 minutes’ drive from Genoa Airport (50 minutes by train), Bogliasco is a postcard destination with the beautiful blue sea and bright, colorful houses.
When is the best time to visit Vogliasco? Spring and autumn are the best seasons to get the most out of a trip to this charming town in Italy.
The capital city of Tuscany, Florence is one the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is also one of the most populated. It is surrounded with historical and gorgeous sights to explore.
What to see in Tuscany
I recommend checking out the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in all of its Gothic glory, and look on in amazement at the largest brick dome in the World. Or how about a visit to Accademia Gallery of Florence to go say “hello” to David. Yes, THE David. Before you leave, make sure to have a Bistecca Fiorentina – the king of steak dishes in the region.
Where to stay in Florence:
Budget Choice: Hotel Alessandra – The location of this hotel is perfect. It is within a stones throw of the famous Ponte Vecchio, while Florence Cathedral is less than 10 minute walk. The buffet breakfast is delicious.
Best hotel for families: Four Seasons Hotel Firenze – This hotel is next to the botanical gardens of Giardino della Gherardesca and includes an amazing upper terrace with pool and hot tub for the kids.
Modica is a city in southeast Sicily, known for its spectacular views, breathtaking architecture and its locally produced chocolate. Yum! You can even go and check out their working lab, the Chocolate Museum explores the city’s history of chocolate-making.
What to see in Modica: The castle of Modica (Castello dei Conti), The Garibaldi Theater, Pizzo Belvedere, and Mercedari Palace – currently a museum.
An important port city on Italy’s Adriatic Coast, Bari is the capital of southern Puglia region and a stronghold of distinct Apuglian culture and heritage. The city is a convenient departure point for travelling by ferry to Albania and Montenegro, and until recently, that’s all Bari was – a transit point. But the city’s reputation is slowly changing and Bari is becoming a destination in its own right.
The most beautiful slice of Bari is its old town. Known as Barivecchia, it occupies a tapered peninsula and when viewed from afar, the maze of whitewashed houses and church bell towers melts seamlessly into the sea beyond.
Pisa is a city in Italy’s Tuscany region and is best known for its Leaning Tower. When it was completed in 1372 the white-marble bell tower was already tilting. Whoops.
Where to stay in Pisa: Grand Hotel Duomo (Budget Choice) – This hotel is located right across from the Piazza dei Duomo, it is the perfect location to explore the main attractions in Pisa at an affordable price.
Procida Island is one of the most colorful and lesser known of the Italian islands. Located in southern Italy in the Campania region, Procida Island faces the island of Ischia.
Where to stay on Procida Island: There are numerous hotels around the northern part of the island. I recommend staying at the Albergo ‘La Vigna’ hotel. This beautiful hotel is surrounded by its own vineyards and is just a short walk from the historic city center. If you plan on spending significant time on the beach, your best bet would be to head over to Chiaiolella on the southern side of the island.
Verona is a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region. It’s world famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Wondering what to do in Verona? Make sure to check out the Arena of Verona. It was built in the 1st century and predates the Colosseum in Rome by almost 50 years!
One of Italy’s most underrated destinations and the capital of the region of Umbria. Perugia is located in the center of the country, right in the middle of Florence and Rome. This hilltop region is surrounded by valleys and beautiful mountain landscapes.
Wondering what to do in Perugia? Don’t miss the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, San Pietro and the Rocca Paolina.
Catania is the second largest city in Sicily and is located at the foothills of Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. This massive volcano makes for spectacular city views.
Foggia is a city in Southern Italy. With a population of just over 153,000 Foggia definitely slides under most people’s radar.
17. Cefalù, Italy
Cefalù is a coastal city in northern Sicily, Italy. It is one of the prettiest towns in Italy.
Messina is the third largest city on the island of Sicily, and the 13th largest city in Italy.
One of the most beautiful cities in Sicily.
Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. Make sure to visit the markets while you are there, Ballarò Market is one of our favorites.
The top attractions in Palermo are visiting the Norman Palace, Cattedrale di Palermo, Cattedrale di Monreale, Massimo Theater, and the Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio.
Bolzano is the capital city of the South Tyrol province in northern Italy, set in a valley amid hills and vineyards. It’s a gateway to the one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, the Dolomites in the Italian Alps. From Bolzano, the Dolomites are just a 30 minute drive.
21. Burano, Venice Italy
An island off the coast of Venice, known as one of the most colorful cities in the world. It’s built around a network of canals that are filled with fishermen’s homes painted in every shade imaginable.
If you’re able to steal yourself away from just one more photo in front of the water – go take a look at the famous lace exhibits in Museo del Merletto and try to straighten out their 17th century leaning bell tower.
While the leaning bell tower of Chiesa di San Martino is just beautiful and their seafood an obvious choice. You need to check out the exhibits in the Lace Museum which includes some scrumptious history on their famous “Bussolai Buranei” – butter cookie.
22. San Gimignano
The beautiful town of San Gimignano is located in Tuscany, just southwest of Florence. Encircled by 13th-century walls, its old town centers on Piazza della Cisterna, a triangular square lined with medieval houses.
Sitting on the Bay of Naples this city is close to the still-active volcano – Mount Vesuvius. Yes, that volcano, that notoriously destroyed Pompeii.
Take a bus to the base of the slopes then make the 30 minute trek to the top and peer into the crater. This volcano has erupted in the last 100 years, making it extremely dangerous for the people of Naples.
The most destructive explosion wiped out the entire city of Pompeii. Make these ruins your next stop in your journey. Then when you are ready to wind down find a quaint local watering-hole on the Naples harbor.
Siena is located in the central area of Tuscany. It’s warm burnt-sienna hued bricks and Gothic buildings will make you want to linger it’s streets a little longer.
I think the fan-shaped central square, Piazza del Campo, absolutely charming. There you can see the Palazzo Pubblico, the town hall with its slender Torre del Mangia tower that has some breathtaking views from the top.
And if freschos are more your thing, those at the Piccolomini library are a must see.
It is time for gelato in Bologna! Follow the locals and tourists alike and find your way to Trattoria da Serghei. You will find some of the best ingredients and creamiest flavors, the ricotta flavor is a favorite.
If you are ready to burn off those calories take a stroll around the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. An annual procession from the Cathedral of San Pietro to the Sanctuary goes along a very accessible arched pathway.
Milan, one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Italy.
Calling all fashionistas! Milan, is a global capital of design and known for its streets filled with high-end fashion and the finest restaurants, it is THE place to treat yourself.
This metropolis found in Italy’s northern Lombardy region is home to the national stock exchange and a large financial district. Not to be confused with the Duomo of Florence, the Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral can be found there along with the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, which holds Leonardo da Vinci’s beloved mural “The Last Supper”.
I hear Dolce and Gabbana calling your name!
Originally the first capital of Italy, Turin continues to be a center for the economy. If you are one for long strolls, this city was made for you – the pedestrian. Walk yourself into one of the wonderful museums like the Royal Palace of Turin for the decor or the Egyptian Museum for one of the largest collections of Egyptian available.
Make sure to take yourself over to the Mole Antonelliana. In Italian a mole is a building of monumental proportions, and this one holds the National Museum of Cinema.
28. Como, Italy (Lake Como)
Also found in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, Lake Como is an upscale resort area known for its dramatic scenery and positioned against the foothills of the Alps. The lake is shaped like an upside-down Y, with three branches that meet at the resort town of Bellagio.
At the bottom of the southwest branch lies the city of Como, home to magnificent Renaissance architecture and a cable railroad that travels up to the mountain town of Brunate.
There is so much focus around Lake Como that I am a little shocked at how beautiful the actual city is even without the lake! Amazing.
The city of Bergamo is known as the city of rare Medieval beauty. The Città Alta or “Upper Town” is nestled into a group of hills. This walled area has a regional park and sweeping plains below and is guarded by a Venetian defensive system. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site!
What to do in Bergamo: Santa Maria Maggiore is a must-see basilica in the area. Take your time inside to get a good look at the beautiful architecture and reliefs of Biblical stories.
Where to Stay in Bergamo: Hotel La Terra is one of the few hotels located in the city centre. Dating back to the 13th century you can get a feel for what it was like living back then at this completely renovated hotel. Check out the most highly recommended hotels in Bergamo here.
30. Syracuse, Sicily
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