The 20 best cities to visit in Italy

As Italian, I am very proud of my home country and I would like to share with you my personal list of the 20 best cities to visit in Italy.



Italy is a wonderful country, and it’s full of things to see and places to visit. In this article I would like to focus on the cities I consider the most beautiful in the country.

I will list them in no particular order, they are all gorgeous and I couldn't classify them, I just want to let you know what are the 20 best cities to visit in Italy.

Before starting, if you love Italy and you would like to visit it, you could also be interested in the ultimate Worldpackers Italy travel guide

The best cities to visit in Italy

1. Rome: "The Ethernal City"

They call it “The Ethernal City”, thanks to its invaluable artistic and cultural heritage, Rome can’t be missed on a list about the best cities to visit in Italy.

Not only it is the capital of Italy, but it’s also the city with the greatest cultural heritage in the country.

If you are planning a trip for the best places to visit in Italy, and you are in love with art, culture and cities, you should definitely include Rome in your visit, and make sure to have at least 5 days to visit it, because it’s really full of things to see and do.

Don’t miss a photo with the famous Colosseo, explore the culture of the Roman Empire visiting the Foro Romano, and don’t forget to taste the delicious typical pasta carbonara.

Don't lose the guide about what to do in Rome in 3 days if you're planning a visit here.

2. Florence: one of the most beautiful cities in Italy

Florence is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, and it’s definitely worth a visit.

Everybody falls in love with Florence the first time they visit it, and the list of things to see and do in this city is countless.

If you love art you should definitely visit the gallery Uffizi, if you love nature you can’t miss Boboli Gardens, and if you want to bring home the best pictures of the city you should take them from Piazzale Michelangelo, the place with the best view in town.

And since Florence is quite an expensive city, you can have a look at all the volunteering opportunities in Florence, where you can exchange some hours of work for accomodation.

Among those possibilities, you could help with daily tasks at a holiday house in the countryside of Florence or give a hand with cleaning of a 1,000 yr old Tuscan Castle!

3. Visit Siena, the "small Florence"

Not so far from Florence, there is another city which deserves to be on the list of the best cities in Italy to visit, and I am talking about Siena.

They often refer to Siena as a “small Florence”, because it is smaller but equally beautiful.

The truth is that Siena is so amazing that sometimes it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the entire country.

Famous for the medieval fair of Il Palio, Siena can steal your heart in a minute.

You can start your visit from Piazza del Campo, a stunning square famous worldwide. You’ll wish to take a lot of pictures, trust me. And it’s only one of the beautiful things you can see in the city.

4. Don't miss Venice

Everybody in the world knows Venice, and it’s so famous that it’s often used as a touchstone and a model for other cities which try to resemble it, like for example Aveiro, the so-called "Venice of Portugal".

Venice is not only one of the best cities to visit in Italy, but also one of the best cities to visit in the world.

You can visit the amazing Piazza San Marco and take a lot of pictures trying to avoid the pigeons, but the real attraction in the city are the canals.

The best thing to do in Venice is to get lost in its canals, no doubt.

5. Naples: the hometown of pizza

Let’s move in the south of Italy and let’s talk about one of the most beautiful cities in this part of the country: Naples.

If you want to enjoy a beautiful scenery over the Vesuvius volcano on one side, and the sea on the other side, Naples is the right place to visit in Italy.

But natural landscapes are not the only thing you can see here, because Naples has also a beautiful city centre full of things to visit, and the city is known to be the hometown of pizza, the most famous and delicious Italian food.

If you want to explore an amazing city and eat the best pizza in the world, you must visit Naples.

This is one of those cities that usually the longer you stay, the more you like. To have that experience, you can try one of the work-exchange opportunities in Naples

6. Enjoy the stunning coast of Amalfi

Not so far from Naples we can find another gorgeous city, famous for its sceneries over the sea and the coast, Amalfi.

Amalfi gives its name to one of the most beautiful coast and sea landscape in Italy, the Costiera Amalfitana.

And if you visit the city of Amalfi, you will fall in love with its tiny streets and the amazing Duomo, and you will be able to understand why it deserves to be on the list of best cities to visit in Italy.

7. Go South to Sicily and visit Palermo

If we go further south, we will reach the island of Sicily, and here we can find another beautiful city to include on the list of best cities in Italy to visit. I am talking about Palermo.

Palermo is a very particular city, it is a mix of different cultures, the Norman, the Italian and the Arabic.

The result can be seen in its historical buildings, such as its stunning Cathedral.

Besides the cultural experience, you can also try some of the tastiest Italian dishes, such as the unique cannolo siciliano or the arancino.

Worldpackers has a volunteering position in a hostel of Palermo, where you can help with cleaning and reception tasks in exchange of a place to stay.

More inspiration in Beyond the glass: eco-volunteering at a winery in Sicily with Worldpackers.

8. Don't miss the baroque city of Lecce

Another city in the south you should definitely visit if you love to experience particular artistic styles is Lecce, in the region of Puglia.

Lecce has a style which is unique in the world, it is called Lecce Baroque.

You can see this style all around the city historical centre, in its buildings, such as the Duomo and the theatre.

Lecce is a city which is worth a visit and deserves to be on this list.

Explore the genuine Puglia's culture while helping at this hostel in the Province of Lecce and stay for free!

9. Matera: the "city of stones"

Matera is one of the most special places to see in Italy. It is called “the city of stones” because its ancient part is made by very old stones and is so fascinating.

The ancient stones are very well preserved and Matera is really a piece of history. Walking down its streets you will feel like being on another planet, in another age.

It is impossible not to include Matera on the list of best cities in Italy to visit.

10. Avoid the tourist crowds (and traps) in Urbino

In the centre of Italy we can find Urbino, a very nice city not so visited by tourists.

Trust a local, Urbino is worth a visit and you will be able to enjoy its beauty without being surrounded by tons of tourists because it is still an authentic place.

Don’t forget to take lots of pictures to the amazing Castle of Urbino and try to eat the super famous olive all’Ascolana, a kind of olive unique in the world.

More of the best cities to visit in Italy

So far we have seen 10 of the best cities to visit in Italy, but there are still many more that I'd love to recommend...

11. Visit Milan, the "fashion capital of the world"

Let’s go back to the north of Italy and let’s talk about the city of business and fashion, Milan.

It is famous to be the city of business because the most important companies are all located here, and it’s also the city of fashion, because of the festivals which take place here every year and the amazing and super cool shops you can find in Milan’s streets.

Besides that, Milan also has its nice places and things to visit, such as the famous Duomo and some very pretty spots like Navigli.

You can’t miss Milan if you want to visit the best cities in Italy.

Check all the volunteering opportunities in Milan and stay longer than you expected.

Visit more for less with the budget-friendly Milan travel guide.

12. Pisa: much more than just the "Leaning Tower"

Everybody in the world knows the tower of Pisa and everybody at least once dreamed of taking a cool and funny picture with it.

Pisa is famous worldwide thanks to its main attraction, the bell tower of the city's cathedral, and it gets every year so many visitors who want to take pictures of it.

But the tower is not the only thing which is worth a visit and a picture, the whole city is amazing and deserves your attention.

Piazza dei Miracoli and the streets along the river are just two other examples of what Pisa has to offer.

You should definitely include it on your list of top places to visit in Italy.

13. Going north to Turin

Turin is a city in the very north, so close to the amazing Alpes Mountains, the perfect place if you want to see beautiful sceneries of mountains and snow.

But the city itself has a lot of things to see and do.

You can start your visit from the famous Mole Antonelliana, the most beautiful attraction in Turin, and take a bike ride through its gorgeous squares.

And don’t forget to try agnolotti piemontesi, if you love Italian pasta!

14. Verona: the most romantic city in Italy

Verona is the city of love. The city of Romeo and Juliet, the most romantic city in Italy.

You can visit the real balcony of Romeo and Juliet, and you can breathe love in every street of the city.

And talking about the attractions of the city, don’t miss the Arena and the beautiful churches all around the historical centre.

Verona is really beautiful and it’s also perfect for an elopement.

15. Visit Bologna, the university town of Italy

Did you know that the oldest university in the world is in Italy? It’s located in Bologna, and it’s more than two thousand years old.

Bologna is famous for its university and every year a lot of international students choose to study here and to explore Italy being based in Bologna.

The city also has the longest arcades in the world, they are quite famous.

It’s hard not to mention Bologna if you talk about the best cities in Italy.

16. Take a detour to Ferrara 

Very close to Bologna there is another gorgeous city which deserves to be on the list of top cities to visit in Italy, and it is Ferrara.

With its stunning Estense Castle and its beautiful streets, Ferrara is worth a visit.

Here you can find some of the most delicious dishes of Italian cuisine.

The city is small and you can visit it in one day taking a detour from Bologna.

17. Enjoy cheese and historic buldings in Parma

In the same region of Ferrara and Bologna, there is another city you must visit before going away. I am talking about Parma.

Parma has a great historical background and it was very powerful and important in the past. Today this can be seen in its buildings and squares.

The best place to see is Piazza del Duomo, with the church, but the city is full of historical buildings to visit.

And of course, also in Parma the food is delicious, specially its world famous cheeses. 

18. Spend some time in Ravenna

Let’s move closer to the sea and we will find a very gorgeous city with a strong history, and this is Ravenna.

Ravenna is amazing city and you should add it on your list if you are traveling to Italy.

Not only you can have a trip to the seaside from here, but you also have to see its beautiful city centre and its Byzantine buildings, full of mosaics unique in the world.

You can’t miss all the things Ravenna has to offer.

19. Mantua: another not crowded beautiful destination

Mantua is another Italian city full of history, beautiful churches, delicious cuisine and things to do and see.

It is not so crowded and full of tourists, but as a local I can tell you it is worth a visit and if you go you won’t regret it.

Its Cathedral is certainly one of the most amazing cathedrals in Italy.

Don’t go before tasting its famous pasta filled with pumpkin, it is so tasty!

20. Experience the seaside lifestyle in Genoa

Let’s close the list of top cities to visit in Italy with Genoa, the city you should pick if you would like to live by the sea in Italy.

Genoa is amazing, its tiny streets are so cute and the influence of the sea and of its past as a maritime republic is so strong even nowadays.

The sea here is so blue and if you want to have a glimpse on it you can’t miss a visit to the famous Aquarium, one of the biggest in Europe.

Read the experience of a fellow traveller volunteering in Genoa: Teaching English and becoming part of an Italian family in Genoa

Ready to pack and explore the best cities to visit in Italy?

This was my personal list of the 20 best cities to visit in Italy, but Italy is the country of wonders and you could spend all day talking about all the things you can see and do in this small but so complete country.

So don't waste another minute and start planning your trip, and let Worldpackers help you save tons of money with all the volunteering opportunities in Italy!

Keep exploring Europe:

Leave your comment here

Write here your questions and greetings to the author

More about this topic