Places to visit in Italy range from the truly grand—think the Trevi Fountain in Rome—to the beautiful and unknown—like the city of Padua. It's tough to know where to begin! So we asked some locals to weigh in. With their help, we've created this list of 10 places to visit in Italy.
Any list of places to visit in Italy will include Rome. Rome is definitely well-loved by tourists, but locals tell us that the city is full of hidden gems—if you know where to look. Our trip planners suggest a healthy mix of the big sites (the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Square, and the Vatican / Sistine Chapel) with some of Rome's more undiscovered spots.
For example, don't be afraid to cross the river! One of our locals recently suggested an evening of exploration in Trastevere. After you've had your fill of Aperol spritz, be sure to find late-night arancini to top things off.
Climb Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill) for an incredible view of the city
These are all worth checking out, but locals say it's also worth it to get off the beaten path. They tell us that places like the Bardini Museum and Gardens are beautiful, peaceful, and a nice break from the more touristy areas.
Florence is the birthplace of the negroni, so be sure to order one while you're here.
Venice is beautiful, classic, and romantic. Here, you'll find bridges stretching over peaceful canals, the stunning St. Mark's Basilica, and restaurants like Bacaro 22 Vintido, where you can hear live opera.
But! Venice has been one of the top-suffers of overtourism in recent years. That means that you can still visit and enjoy the city, but you should be mindful of it. Getting local tips is a great way to do this—our trip planners will suggest locally-beloved places and activities that you might not find in corporate guidebooks.
Only an hour from Venice is Padua. Smaller and less touristy than Venice, in Padua you'll find canals, ancient architecture, and Italy’s second-oldest university. Visit Basilica di San Antonio, home to the tomb of Saint Anthony (the patron saint of the city) and the 14th-century frescos at Padua is Scrovegni Chapel.
Naples is the birthplace of pizza, so obviously (obviously) you should indulge while you're in town. Locals tell us that oven-blackened crusts of Neopolitan pizza are traditionally topped with fresh, simple ingredients: tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. (In other words, save your pineapple pizza for home.)
Sorbillo is world-renowned for their pies, but locals tell us you might be waiting a while—sometimes up to an hour and a half. So benefit from local advice. Locals can add their favorite spots to your itinerary.
And locals tell us that Naples offers way more than just pizza. They suggest exploring the city's underground catacombs, taking a boat to visit Capri, visiting Pompeii, or wandering along Naples' beautiful harbor. Our trip planners tell us that Naples is experiencing something of a renaissance, and 2021 is an especially cool time to visit.
Most people know that the volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, blanketing the town in ash and freezing it in time. But not many Pompeii visitors know about the Antiquarium; opened in 1864, this museum houses many of the most amazing artifacts from Pompeii. It’s an absolute can’t-miss for history lovers.
If you love wine, sunshine, rolling green hills, and the chance to explore ancient villages, then visit the beautiful region of Tuscany.
Tuscany contains Florence and Pisa, as well as less-visited places like Montalcino, Montepulciano, and San Gimignano—the last of which features an arrangement of 13 medieval towers soaring across the skyline.
The Piazza del Campo—the heart and soul of the town of Sienna—is known as one of the most beautiful squares in the world. Siena is also home to a famous bareback horse race, Il Palio, held each summer, and art lovers can’t miss visiting the Civic Museum, home to remarkable Sienese works.
It's easy to fall in love with Cinque Terre, the brightly colored cluster of cliffside villages along the Italian Riveria. You can take a train between the five towns of Cinque Terre; or, pick one to enjoy!
Where to go depends on your unique travel style. Locals in Italy tell us that Corniglia, difficult to access and surrounded by vineyards, is ideal if you want peace and quiet, good wine, and fewer crowds. But if you're all about that beach you may be happier along the warm sands of Monterosso.
The Footpath Monterosso hike is great to get some exercise and for beautiful views.
Speaking of coasts...many travelers are either team Cinque Terre or team Amalfi: we love them both. Amalfi is further south than Cinque Terre, near Naples.
Like in Cinque Terre, you'll have plenty to explore. The town of Sorrento, which overlooks the Bay of Naples, comes highly recommended by our trip planners. Home to beautiful lemon gardens, locals say you'll find tons of colorful shops selling everything and anything lemon-flavored.
If history is your hobby, be sure to visit the Correale Museum, which features famous paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, along with rare furniture and precious glass.
Just as Naples is known for pizza, Bologna is known for pasta. Locals tell us that Bologna is celebrated for its tortellini, Bolognese sauce (called tagliatelle al ragu by the locals), and cured pork (mortadella). Trattoria Anna Maria is one of the more well-known places in town—you'll dine surrounded by autographs of celebrities who also enjoyed their pasta—but if you're looking to get off the beaten path, see what locals say about their favorite ristorante in town.
And, after all, eating pasta is definitely one of the most satisfying things to do in Italy.
Milan dazzles the senses with its stunning architecture, high-end restaurants, and joyful obsession with all things fashion. But Milan is more than a pretty face. Locals tell us you'll find many of Italy's most fascinating places to visit here. Check out the incredibly beautiful and ornate Duomo cathedral, which took almost six centuries to build. Or, pop into Santa Maria delle Grazie to gaze upon da Vinci's Last Supper painting.
Locals say you'll also find tons of coffee shops, bakeries, and bars—Milan is a fantastic place to explore.
Go to Navigli, Milan's canal district, for a unique look at this beautiful city.
Settled at the foot of the Alps, Lake Como features numerous surrounding villages, warm waters to swim in, and beautiful mountains to enjoy and hike. We won't judge if you spend your whole trip sunbathing by the lake—but locals tell us the area is packed with cool activities. Want a unique perspective? Locals suggest taking the funicular up to Brunate.
Take at least two to three days to explore Varenna, a slow-paced town by the lake, or Bellagio, an adorable lakeside village known for its cobbled lanes and sophisticated architecture.
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