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Where to Go in Italy? Here Are Four Stellar Suggestions

Updated September 17, 2023

Where to go in Italy depends on your travel style! That's why we asked our locals for their input. With their help, we came up with this guide for where to go in Italy if you prioritize food, art, nature, or history as you travel. 

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

Where to go in Italy if you love food: Bologna

Bologna | Adrian Scottow/Flickr

The food is fantastic throughout Italy. But if it’s your priority, then locals suggest visiting Bologna. And when it comes to food, you’re going to want some local input

Locals tell us that the city is nicknamed “La Grassa” or, The Fat One, because of its delicious obsessions. Prioritize regional dishes! Locals say this means eating lots and lots of tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth), ragu alla Bolognese, and, of course, all the parmiggiano reggiano (parmesan cheese) and prosciutto you can find. 

Local Tip:

Enjoy Bologna’s wonderful markets. The Mercato Ritrovato features tons of local produce—grab some cheese! It’s open Sundays from 9 am-2 pm in the winter; Mondays 5:30 pm-9:30 pm in the summer. 

Where to go in Italy if you love art: Florence

Uffizi Museum in Florence | Matteo Lezzi/Unsplash

If you’re hoping to enjoy richly fantastic art, locals say the best place to visit in Italy is Florence. Here, definitely visit the Uffizi Museum for some of the world’s most classic works of art—locals tell us you’ll find the Birth of Venus, Madonna of the Goldfinch, Venus of Urbino and many others. 

In fact, you’ll have lots of artsy options in Florence. So get some local advice! One of our locals recommended visiting the Palazzo Pitti, which contains the Palatine Gallery. Behind the palace, this trip planner recommended exploring the beautiful Boboli Gardens, “one of my favorite spots.”

Local Tip:

Look out for a typical Tuscan dessert, cantucci col vin santo. It consists of small almond cookies dipped in wine. 

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Where to go in Italy if you love nature: Lake Como 

Lake Como | TanniSK007/Pixabay

If you’d rather enjoy Italy’s fantastic nature, locals suggest planning a trip to Lake Como. One of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy, they tell us you’ll find plenty of nature activities here—all boosted, of course, by the gorgeous lake itself. 

Here, you can enjoy water activities like kayaking and paddle-boarding. If you’re looking to spend time on land, locals suggest hiking up to Brunate. Your two-hour hike will be rewarded with a spectacular view—but you can also hop on a funicular to zip up to the peak.

Aside from enjoying Lake Como’s beautiful scenery and outdoor activities, locals tell us it’s easy to hop between lakeside towns via ferry. Each town is a little different, so benefit from local advice—our locals in Italy can give suggestions based on your travel style. They say Lake Como is an excellent place to stay in Italy if you’re looking to relax, unwind, and explore.

Local Tip:

Take a train from Lake Como to the enchanting Swiss town of St. Moritz if you’re looking to ski or enjoy the Alps. Check out our article on Italian transportation.

Where to go in Italy if you love history: Rome

Roman Forum | kirkandmimi/Pixabay

Rome is the obvious choice for history-lovers. A top place to visit in Italy for all stripes, history buffs will be especially dazzled by the frequent reminders of Rome’s vibrant past. Locals tell us you’ll stumble upon historical sites around every corner! 

Don’t know where to start? In a recent guidebook, one of our locals in Italy wrote: 

“In Rome there is a lively square ("piazza" in Italian) almost at every corner, each with its own unique atmosphere and its own story to tell.”

You’ll find plenty of stories in Rome. Locals say that as you wander past immense sites like the Colosseum, you’ll feel that the past is quite present. The city abounds with incredible museums, architecture, and reminders of Rome’s rich history.

"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
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