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8 Tourist Attractions in Italy Worth Seeing

Updated December 19, 2022

Italy’s tourist attractions are spectacular! Here, you’ll find breathtaking historical sites, stunning architecture, and enchanting nature. But what’s really worth seeing? Locals in Italy helped break it down. 

For everything from safety tips to restaurant recommendations, work with a local to plan your trip. Locals in Italy can introduce you to a side of their country that most tourists miss. Learn more

#1: Colosseum 

Colosseum | Matthew Waring/Unsplash

Once the site of gladiator clashes, Rome’s Colosseum still tingles with the energy of battles past. It’s much quieter today—you’ll see more camera flashes instead of sparks from chariot races—but it’s easy to imagine the arena filled with 80,000 cheering spectators, as it was at its peak. 

This site attracts crowds of the curious—so locals tell us it’s a good idea to buy tickets early in the morning to avoid the crowd. And don’t miss out on all that the Colosseum offers! One of our locals notes that your ticket also allows you access to Palatine Hill, one of the most ancient parts of the city. 

Local Tip:

If you’re looking for a burst of Roman history without the crowds, think about visiting the Verona Arena instead. Constructed in 30 A.D., it’s a well-preserved example of Rome’s legendary might. 

#2: Uffizi Museum 

Piazzale Uffizi | Matteo Lezzi/Unsplash

Florence is one of our favorite places to visit in Italy. Why? The fantastic Uffizi Museum has a lot to do with it. Locals rave that it’s hard to beat Uffizi’s collection of classical artwork. One of our locals in Italy wrote:

“Among the highlights are the Birth of Venus and Primavera by Sandro Botticelli, the Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael, the Bacchus by Caravaggio, and my personal favorite - the Venus of Urbino by Titan (being Venetian, I have a soft spot for Titian!)”

The museum is definitely worth a stop if you’re in Florence. Benefit from local tips once you’re there—another of our locals suggests picking up the audio guide, as it’s “inexpensive” and full of “excellent information.”

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#3: Vatican City

Vatican City | Ágatha Depiné/Unsplash

Locals tell us that the Vatican is an excellent place to stop if your travels take you through Rome. Technically its own country (the smallest in the world!) the Vatican is a deeply important religious site. (Locals say this means you should be mindful of how you dress—err on the more conservative side.)

Here, you’ll find iconic sites like Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Peter’s Square, and the Sistine Chapel. Like many tourist attractions in Rome, the Vatican can get crowded. For this reason, locals recommend visiting in the morning.

#4: Venice Canals 

Venice Canals | Dima Port/Unsplash

Full of winding canals, romantic bridges, and breathtaking sunsets, Venice is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy. One reason why it’s so magical? No cars are allowed! So, enjoy your Venice strolls. Locals tell us you’ll find lots of fantastic seafood in this seaside city—walk it off by crisscrossing Venice’s famous canals and bridges.

We love Venice, but it’s a destination that should be approached mindfully. Venice is one of the top sufferers of overtourism. How do you avoid being an overtourist? It’s simple—travel in the offseason, aim to get off the beaten path, and see what locals say about activities that don’t make corporate guidebooks.

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#5: Pompeii 

Pompeii | Andy Holmes/Unsplash

Pompeii is a town frozen in time. Destroyed in 79 A.D. after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii today provides a look at life hundreds of years ago. Wander through the ancient ruins. Locals recommend visiting the well-preserved baths and seeing the still-vibrant frescos at Villa of the Mysteries. It’s an eerie (but very cool) thing to do while in Italy.

Local Tip:

You can also visit the village of Herculaneum, which was similarly destroyed during Vesuvius’ eruption. Ashes and mud buried the city, leaving an extremely well-preserved record of life at the time.

#6: Lake Como 

Lake Como | iKlicK/Pixabay

Where to go in Italy is a tough question. If you dream of sunning yourself in lakeside towns or exploring nearby mountain villages, then locals tell us you’ll love Lake Como. 

One of the most enchanting places to visit in Italy, Lake Como is a refreshing change from the high energy of Italy’s cities. (Of course, locals note that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds—Milan is only a 90-minute drive away.)

Go for a relaxing kayak, hike up Brunate, and enjoy all the charms of Lake Como’s lakeside towns. 

"How did I ever not travel like this?! Ana’s local insight & planning was a game changer. It’s like having a digital concierge, travel agent, and local fixer all rolled into one!"
Sierra, recent ViaHero traveler to Portugal
Sierra, recent ViaHero traveler to Portugal

#7: Milan Duomo

Speaking of Milan...this next Italian tourist attraction is a true wonder. (Locals tell us you’ll find plenty of wonder in beautiful Milano!). The Milano Duomo is one of the oldest and largest cathedrals in Europe. 

Constructed in a decidedly Gothic style—which is different from most cathedrals in Italy—the Duomo looms over the city. Locals say it’s wonderful to look at the church from the Piazza del Duomo, but definitely worth it to buy tickets to climb to the roof. One of our locals wrote: 

“I suggest you to go the Duomo Rooftop, you will admire an alternative view of the city, surrounded by majestic spires.

Local Tip:

The Florence Duomo is another incredible cathedral in Italy.

#8: Capri 

Capri | Martyna Bober/Capri

If you visit Naples, one of our favorite spots in Italy because of its pizza and ports, locals suggest taking a day trip to the island of Capri. 

Locals tell us that you can easily hop on a ferry from Naples. The crossing to Capri is less than an hour and costs about 20 euros. 

Once there, enjoy! Locals suggest visiting the island’s famous “Blue Grotto”, hiking Monte Solaro, or checking out the ruins of Villa Jovis (the former home to the Roman Emperor Tiberius). 

Local Tip:

The “slow” ferry to Capri is a few euros cheaper, but it takes about an hour and a half. 

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