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Where to Stay in Italy: 13 Incredible Options

Updated May 29, 2023

It doesn’t take long to see why Italy is ranked yearly as a top travel destination. At a crossroads of history and modernity, the country is ripe with points of interest that tell a story of the peninsula’s past and present. No matter what kind of traveler you are, you can find activities and attractions that will satisfy art enthusiasts, history buffs, nature lovers, and foodies. Immerse yourself in the proud traditions of fashion, art, and architecture of the metropolises of the north; or enjoy a sunny reprieve in the Mediterranean cities of the south, which feature some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The birthplace of the Renaissance, the varied and rich heritage of this vibrant country continues to lure in and captivate visitors. 

With so many charming locations, it can be tough to choose where to stay in Italy. To help narrow down your search, our Italian local guides (a.k.a. local Heroes) have created the following list of their recommendations. 

For personalized recommendations on where to stay in Italy—and what to do once you get there—work with a local to build your trip. Learn more

#1: Rome

Rome | Cristina Gottardi/Unsplash

Rome tops the list of many travelers’ bucket lists - and with good reason. Referred to as the Eternal City, the thriving metropolis has been an important Italian hub for millennia. Here visitors can find all the perks of a capital city set to the classic scenery of this historic settlement. History enthusiasts will have their itineraries full in this ancient city. Rome boasts some of the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. 

Locals say there's nothing better than exploring the Colosseum or the Roman Forum. Into food? Rome has some of the best pasta carbonara that you’ll ever eat. Want to visit the world’s smallest country? Just hop over to the Vatican.

Basically—locals say you’ll never run out of things to do in Rome, and the combination of excellent, immersive history and delicious food makes it a wonderful place to stay in Italy. Plus, it's a big city full of diverse neighborhoods. Get some local advice about where exactly you should find a hotel or Airbnb. Our trip planners tell us that the Trastevere neighborhood is hip, young, and full of locals.

Local Tip:

Keep an eye out for trapizzino, a popular Rome street food. It's basically a bread pocket filled with fresh, classically Italian ingredients. 

#2: The Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast | Sander Crombach/Unsplash

Do photos of colorful Italian villages stacked upon a cliff give you major wanderlust? Traveler, meet the Amalfi Coast. 

Locals rave about Amalfi's beautiful towns. Each one is a bit different, so getting personalized recs on where to stay can help. 

What should you do on the Amalfi Coast? Locals recommend sipping Limoncello in Sorrento, visiting the seaside cathedral in Amalfi, and taking in the view from the mountainous Ravello. There are a lot of wonderful places to explore here.  

Local Tip:

In the South of Italy street food is very popular, and it's usually fried, tasty, and inexpensive.

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#3: Venice

Venice | bogitw/Pixabay

Venice is an incredible place to stay because of its unique formation—locals tell us the city is made up of 118 islands! They say that, in Venice, you can spend your days traversing beautiful bridges—including the iconic Rialto bridge—and exploring the network of canals that crisscross the city. 

A popular city among tourists, Venice is a wonderful place to get advice from locals. They recommend visiting the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo for an "incredible view over Venice's roofs" and eating as much fresh seafood as possible. 

#4: Lake Como

Lake Como | iKLICK/Pixabay

Enjoying Lake Como is not restricted to the rich and famous (but keep an eye out for George Clooney, who has a home there).

Because of its sweeping nature and the surplus of amazing activities, locals say it's one of the top tourist attractions in Italy worth seeing. Especially if your dream Italian vacation involves lake kayaking.

Locals suggest riding the Brunate funicular for an incredible view (our trip planners note you can also hike—it takes about two hours), taking a boat tour, or exploring the towns around the lake like Cernobbio and Bellagio.

If you are trying to decide where to stay in Italy and cities aren’t your thing, then locals say that Lake Como is an excellent place to call home for a bit. 

Local Tip:

If cities are your thing, Milan is about 90 minutes away. 

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#5: Naples

Naples | StockSnap/Pixabay

Naples is a fantastic place to stay in Italy if you want to do everything. Everything. Here, locals say that you can find some of the world’s best pizza, enjoy easy access to popular sites like Pompeii and Capri, and experience a vibrant nightlife scene.

Naples is a bit grittier than Rome and less popular with tourists—which means the city is the perfect place to get off the beaten path - literally.  Escape the city and hop on a ferry to one of the nearby islands. A beach day trip from Naples is one of the top things to do in Italy according to our local Heroes. 

Local Tip:

Italy is safe for travel, but keep an eye on your belongings while in Naples, especially in crowded places or train stations. 

#6: Florence

Florence | Noric Laruelle/Unsplash

Don’t know where to go in Italy? If you’re an art lover, look no further than the Tuscan city of Florence. The cradle of the Renaissance, the historic metropolis is home to treasures like Michaelangelo’s famous statue of David and Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.

The beauty of Florence is found throughout the cityscape. Locals rave that you’ll find magnificent classical architecture all around. Visit iconic buildings like the grand Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) that looms spectacularly over the city. Housed inside the cathedral’s dome is Giorgio Vasari’s Last Judgement fresco which is truly breathtaking.

Locals rave that you’ll find magnificent classical architecture all throughout Florence, and the city’s allure and rich culture make it an excellent place to stay. 

Local Tip:

Florence is the capital of Tuscany, which means you'll find excellent Italian wine throughout the city.

"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: Tuscany

Tuscany vineyard | chetanls/Pixabay

...which leads us to Tuscany itself. Tuscany contains Pisa (and its famous leaning tower) and Florence. When asking our locals where to stay in Italy outside of the major cities they recommended Tuscany. The region is a wonderland of idyllic small towns and medieval hamlets like San Gimignano, Siena, and Lucca, where you can walk along old stone ramparts. 

Since we're all about sustainable travel, we'd recommend staying at a Kind Traveler property. They're the first socially conscious hotel booking and sustainable travel media platform—staying with them empowers travelers to positively impact communities and the environment in the destinations they visit!

Local Tip:

Be sure to try Chianti, Italy's classic red wine that is made in this region.

#8: Milan

Milan | IgorSaveliev/Pixabay

Milan may be known for its glitz and glam (the famous shopping center, Gallerie Vittorio Emanuele II, feels like a palace), but locals tell us that Milan is much more than a gorgeous face.

The city is well-traveled, but our locals can offer some insider advice to see a new side of the city. For something a bit eerie, they suggest checking out the stacked skulls at San Bernardino alle Ossa church. For an incredible view, check out the Parco Sempione. And they highly recommend indulging in Milan’s twist on the Negroni—Negroni Sbagliato, which uses prosecco instead of gin. If Negronis aren’t your thing, then locals say to check out Milan’s surprisingly great craft beer scene

Of course, there’s plenty of glitz to explore. La Scala Opera House is jaw-droppingly beautiful and feels like something out of a glamorous film. Its elegance is matched only by the incredible artists that perform on its stage.

Local Tip:

Don't let a huge suitcase cramp your Milan style. You can store it in one of LuggageHero's Milan locations for the day.

#9: Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre | Kookay/Pixabay

Cinque Terre is often compared to the Amalfi Coast—both boast colorful, cliffside villages and stunning ocean views. But locals tell us that the two regions are really different.

For one, Cinque Terre is over 400 miles north of Amalfi. And whereas Amalfi is best known for sunbathing, boating, and high-end vacations, locals say that Cinque Terre has a more rugged feel. One of the best places to visit in Italy for nature lovers, the region is known for its excellent hiking trails that connect its villages.

So if you’re looking for gorgeous views, a unique experience, and the chance to explore some of the best hiking in Italy, then our trip planners say that Cinque Terre may be the place for you. 

#10: Bologna

Bologna | Bboyangel/Pixabay

Bologna is less visited than places like Rome or Florence. But locals say it's definitely where you should go in Italy if you love food. 

The city is considered one of the ultimate destinations for foodies and has been called Italy’s greatest gastronomic treasure! Yum. 

You'll have a lot of choices of things to eat and where to eat them—so don't miss out. Our trip planners tell us that Bologna is known for tortellini al brodo (tortellini in broth), tagliatelle al ragù, and piadina (flatbread stuffed with ham and cheese). 

Local Tip:

For a sweet treat, check out the Carpigiani Gelato museum in Bologna. 

#11: Sicily

Torre Faro in Sicily | Luca N/Unsplash

Located just off the "toe" of Italy's "boot" is the southern island of Sicily. The picturesque island is the largest and most densely populated island in the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its location, the culture has been influenced by dozens of ethnic groups over the centuries - which are still present today. A mixing pot of cultures, this diversity is reflected in their art, architecture, and cuisine. 

Sicily has been ranked as one of the Top 25 Islands in the World and many Italian locals say it’s their favorite place to stay in Italy. Visitors can find incredible historical sights, enchanting nature, and fantastic beaches.

Take a tour of Mount Etna, explore ancient ruins at the Valley of the Temples (a UNESCO World Heritage site), relax on some of Sicily’s best beaches, or spend the day exploring one of the island’s awesome towns—such as Palermo, Catania or Cefalù.

#12:  Puglia

Puglia | Daniele Testa/Flickr

Puglia is the “heel” of the "boot" of Italy. Locals say that this hidden gem is an awesome place to stay if you want to enjoy southern Italy. Life moves at a slower pace in this sun-soaked region, but there are still plenty of things to explore. Check out the gorgeous town of Gallipoli (not the same as the film), hike through Terra Delle Gravine Natural Park, and take a dip in the azure pools of Poetry Cave

Locals tell us that any tourists you’re likely to encounter in Puglia are Italians—it’s where they go for vacation! But this means that most people do not speak English. When you work with a local to build your trip, they'll make sure you know a few key words and phrases to make navigating a breeze. 

#13: Bergamo

Bergamo | Daniel Chodusov/Flickr

Located in between two popular Italian destinations—Milan and Lake Como—Bergamo often gets overlooked. But this hidden gem is an excellent place to stay.

Locals suggest taking the funicular for a spectacular view of the medieval city (they tell us it's been in use for over 100 years), walking along the ancient city walls, and grabbing an espresso or an Aperol spritz at Piazza Vecchia, the town’s gorgeous main square. 

Because Bergamo is smaller and less visited, it’s the kind of place where getting local advice can be especially advantageous.  

Get personalized recs on where to stay in Italy

Couple in Italy | Alessia Cocconi/Unsplash

What's your travel style? Are you looking for romance and history, without the crowds of Rome? Romeo and Juliet took place in Verona, and locals tell us that you'll also find a well-preserved Roman arena there. Maybe you're hoping for the charms of Venice, but don't want to contribute to over-tourism? Our trip planners note that nearby Padua is packed with Venetian charm (and fewer tourists). Our trip planners give you personalized recommendations based on your preferences. 

Still have questions about travel to Italy?
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