35 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Italy

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When you think about beauty, Italy is the first country that comes to mind. From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the water canals in Venice, Italy has plenty of incredible landmarks you cannot miss. Here you’ll find the most beautiful places to visit in Italy on your next Italian adventure.

Positano, on the Amalfi coast, one of the most beautiful places in Italy
Positano, on the Amalfi coast, one of the most beautiful places in Italy

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Italy is one of the world’s most sensational destinations. Featuring an incredible range of architectural marvels, religious landmarks, towering mountains, and balmy beaches, there’s very little that this European country doesn’t have.

And since I was born there, I thought it was about time that I put together a list of the most beautiful places you have to see. As there are hundreds of stunning towns and attractions in the country, I’ve made it my mission to narrow things down for you.

Covering everything: from the glimmering waters of Capri to the ancient and chilling remains of Pompei, this list of the top places to visit in Italy should help you figure out your itinerary.

Oh, and keep an eye out for personal recommendations, top tips on what to see and when to visit, and great places to stay while you’re traveling.

After all, sharing is caring!

And don’t forget to check out my Italy Travel Tips! Bookmark it for when you are planning to go to Italy!

The 35 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Italy

1. Capri, Campania

Via Krupp in Capri, one of the best places to visit in Italy
Via Krupp in Capri

With its sparkling, crystal-clear waters, scenic hikes, and incredible ancient landmarks, Capri certainly deserves a spot on anyone’s list of beautiful places to visit in Italy. 

Not only does it see swathes of tourists each year looking to catch a glimpse of the enchanting Blue Grotto, but it’s been a popular getaway spot since Augustus and Tiberius decided to visit for a spot of TLC some 2,000 years ago. 

Talk about longevity!

This island is located in Italy’s Bay of Naples, and it’s wise to spend a day or so exploring the jutting crags, pastel houses, and azure waters that characterize the area. Then, stroll through Piazza Umberto I (otherwise known as Capri’s most famous square!) and stop for a sharp shot of espresso before hopping on a skipper to explore the rugged coves and secret grottoes of Capri’s beaches.

Although Capri’s natural beauty is its main draw, you shouldn’t leave without chowing down on a wood-fired pizza, trying an authentic Caprese salad topped with perfectly ripe tomatoes and aromatic herbs, or savoring a seriously impressive scoop of gelato. 

There are plenty of beautiful spots for dining al-fresco in Capri, but you can easily kill two birds with one stone by walking along the Fortini Coastal Walk or the Pizzolungo with your snacks in hand.

How long to spend here

You can take a day trip to Capri, but to make the most of your trip to Capri, stay for at least 3 or 4 days. This gives you enough time to check out the rocky crags, stroll through the piazzas, stop for great food, and visit classic historical sites like Villa San Michele, Villa Jovis, and Gardens of Augustus (where you can admire via Krupp from the top), and Castello Barbarossa.

Not to miss

You shouldn’t leave Capri without seeing the Blue Grotto. It’s the island’s most famous attraction and boasts deep, electric blue waters. There are several amazing tours available, but I love this Island Boat Trip and Blue Grotto Visit that offers incredible views of the sea caves and Faraglioni rocks. Be sure to check this guide with all the best things to do in Capri.

Best time to visit

May, September, and October are quiet but still offer excellent weather. Avoid the crowds of July and August at all costs.

2. Varenna & Bellagio, Lake Como

Aerial view of Varenna, on Lake Como
Aerial view of Varenna, on Lake Como

With its mix of high-class spas, forested hiking spots, and panoramic waterfront views, Lake Como is one of the most glamorous areas in Italy.

You can’t go wrong with any of the centuries-old villages in Lake Como.

But the charming towns of Varenna and Bellagio are two of the best places to visit for picturesque streets, lakeside walks, and local eateries.

Varenna is extremely romantic and boasts an incredible harbor surrounded by meandering medieval lanes, local restaurants, and elegant villas. Start by grabbing an aperitivo and a plate of missoltino (salted sardines) by the waterfront. Then explore Piazza San Giorgio, with its old hotels and sprawling gardens.

Continue to the impressive Villa Monastero for its incredible 18th-century antiques and botanical gardens. Once you’ve stopped for lunch and a scoop of gelato, hire a small boat to take out on the water. Here you can admire impressive views of the vivid houses and cypress trees that proudly overlook the lake. Slow-paced and infinitely welcoming, Varenna is one of Lake Como’s finest gems.

Bellagio is just 15 minutes away by ferry, which costs just under 10 euros for a return trip. It’s more touristy than Varenna and you can spend hours exploring its pedestrian-only streets, the Romanesque architecture at Basilica of San Giacomo, and the beautiful Melzi Gardens, which are home to exotic blooms and pleasant paths.

To cool off during the summer months, dive into the Lido de Bellagio, which is right next to Melzi Gardens, before heading off on a luxurious cruise around the lake. If you’re feeling brave, take a small-group kayak tour that will show you the best of the area.

Best time to visit

Between May and October for good weather, but I recommend visiting during May, the beginning of June, and September to avoid the worst of the summer crowds but still get nice and warm weather.

Where to stay

If you’ve got the budget, you can’t beat Villa Cipressi. Originally built between the 15th and 19th centuries, this high-end hotel directly faces the lake, is just 12 minutes from the beach, and is home to one of the most stunning botanical gardens in Italy.

What to do

There’s so much to do in Varenna and Bellagio, but I’d say the Gardens of Villa Monastero, the Church of San Giorgio, and the Sentiero del Viandante (essentially a famous walking path!) are all must-visit spots. You can also check out the 15 Best Things To Do In Lake Como (From A Local) for more places to visit.

3. San Gimignano, Tuscany

Beautiful view of San Gimignano, in Tuscany
Beautiful view of San Gimignano, Tuscany

No list of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy would be complete without San Gimignano. This UNESCO World Heritage site is prized for its beautifully preserved medieval towers, and although there are only 14 left standing, they each offer a glimpse into Italy’s history (and majestic views of the countryside!).

If you are an art and architecture lover, you can miss the “Bella Torres” (or Torre Grossa!). This walled town is also home to the historic Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Cisterna, both filled with charming boutiques and small cafes.

Complete your cultural education with a trip to the 11th-century San Gimignano Cathedral, the Civic Museum, and a climb to the top of Torre Grossa for incredible views over the city. It’s worth noting that the 218 steps to the top are steep, so you may want to head up the easier Fortress of Rocca of Montestaffoli instead.

Not to miss

If you fancy stopping for a scoop of fresh gelato during your trip, head to the award-winning Gelateria Dondoli. You may have to queue for a while during summer, but the super-smooth texture and unbeatable flavors are worth waiting for!

Where to stay

If you’re looking for a luxury getaway, Locanda Dei Logi is a restored borgo tucked away on a private Tuscan estate that boasts high ceilings, a beautiful pool, and incredible views over the countryside. Alternatively, La Cornice is a friendly B&B that overlooks the medieval towers but remains super affordable.

How long to stay in San Gimignano

You can honestly cover San Gimignano within a day. It’s a popular day-trip destination in Italy, and you can easily check out the towers, shops, and squares in a few hours if you’re savvy.

4. Isola dei Conigli, Lampedusa, Sicily

Isola dei Conigli, Lampedusa, Sicily
The wonderful Isola dei Conigli, Lampedusa, Sicily

If you’re on the hunt for beautiful beaches, snorkeling opportunities, and outdoor adventuring, then you can’t beat Isola dei Conigli. Located on the southern coast of Lampedusa, this island is best known for its rugged coastline, glimmering waters, and unique wildlife.

While you’re dipping your toes in the water, you’ll probably spot a few royal seagulls and Caretta Caretta turtles who lay their eggs near the island’s rocky inlets. As this is a protected marine area, Isola dei Conigli is also a popular spot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. As you dive beneath the waves, keep an eye out for colorful fish, eels, pike, and royal perch, or sail through the crystalline waters on a boat ride to catch a glimpse of the local dolphins.

Despite being only 7 miles long, this beautiful island remains one of the best places to visit in Italy for nature lovers.

How long to stay on Isola dei Conigli

You can probably cover this island in a day, but I recommend spending at least a week here to make the most of what the island has to offer. 

What to do

I’d say that snorkeling or diving was the most popular thing to do here, but you can also check out the Scalo di Furno Archaeological Site that dates back to the Bronze Age and the gorgeous Porto Cesareo Beach!

Where to stay

Lampedusa is so small that you can’t go wrong with any location. If you want a charming experience, stay at I Dammusi Del Sole, beautifully restored stone houses typical of this region. 

5. Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera

Colorful Houses in Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera Coastline
Colorful Houses in Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera Coastline

Anyone that knows me is aware that I have a major love affair with Cinque Terre. 

Not only is it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy, but each of the five villages here boasts breathtaking coastal scenery, centuries of fascinating history, sprawling vineyards, and some of the best food in Italy. Seriously, you’ll forget all about the wood-fired pizza in Naples once you’ve tucked into Moterosso’s focaccia, anchovies, and hearty olive oils.

After marveling at the Gothic exterior of the Church of San Lorenzo in Manarola, Doria Castle in Vernazza, and the imposing statue of Neptune in Monterosso, you can cool off with a dip in one of the town’s many beaches while sipping on a delicious bottle of limoncello. 

Throw in the adorable colored houses, romantic hidden alcoves, and a mountainous backdrop, and it’s easy to see why I simply adore Cinque Terre.

How long to stay in Cinque Terre

I may be biased, but I’d say that you need a few days in Cinque Terre to explore everything it has to offer. As you have 5 separate villages to explore, 3 or 4 days is optimal.

What to do

There are so many incredible things to do in Cinque Terre that I’ve already mentioned, but I recommend paddleboarding at Monterosso al Mare if you’re traveling with kiddos!

Best time to visit

September and October, as you’ll miss the summertime rush.

6. Positano and Amalfi Coast, Campania

Beautiful Houses in Positano Village
Beautiful Houses in Positano Village

Whether you’ve always pictured yourself whizzing along narrow streets in a Vespa or want to comb through picture-perfect villages and charming piazzas, Positano and the Amalfi Coast won’t disappoint you.

The Amalfi Coast balances an impressive medieval history with unspoiled beaches, delicious cuisine, and quaint pastel-colored houses that make the area oh-so-photogenic.

Although you shouldn’t miss areas like Sorrento, Ravello, and Capri, the jewel in the Amalfi Coast’s crown is Positano. The buildings here are perilously perched on the cliffs, providing a sharp contrast between the land and sea that looks truly incredible in person.

As you make your way further inland, you’ll find winding streets, cool boutiques, and some of the freshest seafood in Italy.

Whether you fancy relaxing under one of the enormous umbrellas on Marina Grande beach, want to experience the phenomenal Walk of the Gods hike, or can’t get enough of the peach and pink houses that line the water’s edge, you’ll certainly agree that Positano is one of the most beautiful places in Italy.

Best time to visit

Summer on the Amalfi Coast is stunning, but the crowds are immense. To take advantage of warm weather without battling for a sunbed, try May or September.

What to do

You can cover the Amalfi Coast on foot, but nothing beats renting a boat and covering the coastline for a day or so. If you’d like to take a dip, the Spiaggia di Fornillo in Positano is ideal for cooling off.

Check this in-depth guide for more tips and things to do.

Not to miss

Positano’s nightlife is surprisingly good, and I recommend staying close to the beach at Music on the Rocks. This disco club has been cranking out tunes since 1972, and it hosts several world-renowned DJs throughout the year.

7. Matera, Basilicata

Beautiful City of Matera in Basilicata
Incredible City of Matera in Basilicata

You may not have heard of Matera, but this city in Basilicata is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy. So much so, that it was featured in the opening sequence of James Bond No Time to Die.

If you didn’t know, this historical gem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its collection of Rupestrian Churches and Paleolithic cave drawings. However, I recommend getting lost in the winding alleys, marveling at the sculptures at the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture, and checking out the incredible Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario for a glimpse into what life may have been like for 18th-century cave dwellers.

To truly appreciate this area’s beauty, hike the Belvedere Murgia Timone trail, which starts on the edge of the Sassi area. Not only will it give you unbeatable views of Matera, but it’s an ideal place to watch the sunset.

How long to stay in Matera

At least 3 or 4 days to cover Matera in its entirety. If you’re short on time, you can cover the main churches and attractions in 1 day, but you’ll have to pass on relaxed aperitivos and leisurely meals at local restaurants!

What to do

As there’s so much to cover in Matera, I recommend heading on a guided tour of the area. If you’re a fan of 007, this tour takes you to most of the Bond movie’s picturesque sites.

Where to stay

You seriously need to stay in a Matera Cave Hotel while you’re here. They tend to be incredibly atmospheric and add to the mystical, old-world feel of the entire city. La Corte Dei Pastori is one of my favorites, as it’s located inside the historic Sasso Caveoso, one of the city’s oldest cave dwellings.

8. Ostuni, Puglia

Beautiful whitewashed town of Ostuni, Puglia
The whitewashed town of Ostuni, Puglia

Ostuni is one of the best places to visit in Italy for historians and is home to a whitewashed Old Town, several stunning palaces, and defensive walls that once kept Puglia’s residents safe from invaders.

Much of Ostuni’s beauty lies in the historic Old Town, which is home to countless aesthetic arches, marvels like the Church of San Francesco D’Assisi, and the gorgeous Cathedral of Ostuni which blends elements of Byzantine, Gothic, and Romanesque architecture.

If you’re feeling up to the task, stroll through the labyrinth of alleyways, staircases, and white buildings that characterize the city. Just be sure to pull out Google Maps to avoid getting too lost!

Before leaving, you’ll want to visit Piazza della Liberta which is Ostuni’s grandest square. Boasting several quaint cafes, the striking Palazzo San Francesco, and the column of Sant’Oronzo, this eclectic area is well worth visiting.

How long to stay in Ostuni

Exploring the Old Town’s winding alleyways can take around a day, but you are free to spend more time here, especially if you enjoy relaxing al fresco while drinking an aperitivo.

Where to stay

There are surprisingly few hotels in Ostuni, but Hotel La Terra is an excellent four-star option that provides panoramic views over the town along with top-notch facilities. You can also stay in a beautiful trullo or a typical rural masseria in the surrounding hills for an unforgettable experience.

Best time to visit

May or September to take advantage of the start and end of the summer rush. 

9. Stintino, Sardinia

 La Pelosa Beach in Stintino, Sardinia
La Pelosa Beach in Stintino, Sardinia

Stintino is a small village tucked away in northwest Sardinia, and it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy by a long shot.

This area is famous for its beautiful beaches, and you’ll love the soft sands and clear waters at the Punta Negra and Cala Lupo beaches during your stay.

Spend time sunbathing and snorkeling on the gorgeous Gulf of Asinara before taking in the incredible views over the waterfront from Capo Falcone. Sure, it might be a bit of a trek to the top, but the panoramic vistas and gentle breeze are truly unbeatable during the summertime.

When you’re done with the area’s natural beauty, recoup with fresh seafood, pasta, and seasonal soups by the picturesque marina. To round off your trip, trawl through the boutiques and winding village alleyways for artisanal crafts and souvenirs!

Not to miss

Although the beaches are Stintino’s main draw, I recommend visiting the Tuna Fishing Museum to learn more about how this adorable village was built from the ground up.

Best time to visit

During May, June, September, or October. You’ll get great weather without the mass of tourists that arrive during the height of summer.

Where to stay

The Park Hotel Asinara is a reliable 3-star hotel that offers 30 rooms decorated in a Mediterranean style. Not only do they offer bicycle hire, tennis courts, and an excellent Sardinian restaurant, but there’s even a free shuttle that takes you straight to the beach!

10. Assisi, Umbria

Basilica Santa Maria Degli Angeli in Assisi, Umbria
Basilica Santa Maria Degli Angeli in Assisi, Umbria

With so many incredible places to visit in Italy, lesser-known spots like Assisi can be overlooked by first-time visitors. However, I’m here to tell you that this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval hill towns.

Boasting a collection of historical buildings, ancient artwork, and glorious spas, this hidden gem is well worth exploring.

There is plenty of choices when it comes to historical landmarks, but the Tempio di Minerva’s towering columns, the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli’s gold accents, and the underground remains of Assisi’s ancient forum are standout beauty spots.

If you tire of the ancient and medieval architecture, saunter over to the famous lavender fields of Assisi. With over 60 different species of lavender growing here during the summer months, it’s a pleasant assault on the senses!

Whether you’re here for the city’s local cuisine, historical hotspots, or impressive flora, it’s clear to see why Assisi deserves a spot on anyone’s list of beautiful places to visit in Italy!

How long to spend in Assisi

You can cover Assisi in a day if you’re focusing on the main sights, but I recommend staying for a couple of days if you want a relaxed sightseeing experience that lets you explore this medieval hill town in its entirety (and stop for an aperitif or two!).

What to do

In addition to the experiences that I’ve touched on above, I recommend tackling the trails at Mount Subasio Park and sampling Umbrian wines and delicious prosciutto sandwiches at Terra Umbra Antica.

Where to stay

If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a convent-turned-hotel, look no further than Nun Assisi Relais & Spa Museum. It’s not the cheapest option in town, but this 13th-century structure is a sleek and luxurious choice for anyone with cash to burn.

11. Venice Canals & Burano, Venice

Canals in Venice
Canals in Venice

Thanks to its endless canals, hidden bridges, and places of historical interest, walking through Venice always feels like stepping directly into a renaissance painting. 

I’ve always thought that Italy’s “Floating City” was one of the world’s most romantic destinations, but it’s also so unique. I mean, where else in the world do you get to travel almost entirely by boat? And with no cars in sight?

As you stroll through the picturesque Piazza San Marco, you’ll spot gondolas gently gliding by, crowds marveling at the Romanesque-Byzantine beauty of St. Mark’s Basilica, and tourists snapping photos on the Bridge of Sighs that’s mere meters away.

Although much of Venice’s beauty is in full view, there’s also plenty to love about the hidden glass-blowing boutiques, local wine bars, and slower pace of nearby Burano. You can access this charming island from Venice.

Here you can admire the beautiful colored houses that give the area an otherworldly, magical feel.

Not to miss

While you’re in Venice, eat like Venetians and try cicchetti in a typical bacaro. Cicchetti small plates are usually served with an aperitif. Al Merca’ (nothing fancy, no seating but a real Venetian experience) or Osteria Bancogiro (beautiful location next to a canal) are two of my favorites.

Best time to visit

May and September, when tourists tend to depart, hotel rates dive, and tours are cheaper.

What to do

The Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Square are must-dos, but I highly recommend booking a gondola tour of the Grand Canal in advance. It’s a sad reality, but gondoliers take advantage of tourists when it comes to hiking prices up.

12. Portofino, Liguria

Aerial view of Portofino, Liguria
Aerial view of Portofino, Liguria

If you’ve ever wanted to discover how the other half lives, then Portofino should be on your Italian Bucket List. 

Known for its pastel-colored houses, high-end boutiques, and glistening marina packed with super-yachts, this picturesque resort town on the Italian Riviera is a panacea for luxury lovers.

This place oozes glamor, and you can spend hours watching the yachts cruise by with a cocktail in hand. To stretch your legs, stroll up to Castello Brown and walk through the stunning gardens, peruse the designer boutiques that are tucked away down small alleyways, and explore the stunning Ligurian coast which is flanked by shading Cyprus trees.

Portofino may be small, but its sprawling coastal paths, upscale shopping scene, and picture-perfect port make it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy.

Best time to visit

April and May or September and October to avoid the tourist rush.

Where to stay

Accommodation in Portofino tends to be extremely expensive, but Belmond Hotel Splendido is a truly gorgeous option if you have the cash to burn.

Not to miss

While you’re here, make sure you visit San Martino Church. It’s an incredible landmark that’s home to several valuable paintings including the Madonna del Rosario.

13. Zingaro Nature Reserve, Sicily

Aerial view of Zingaro Nature Reserve in Sicily
Aerial view of Zingaro Nature Reserve in Sicily

Zingaro Nature Reserve is part of Sicily’s vast coastline and covers 1600 hectares of undisturbed land. 

Although much of Italy has been built upon over the years, this entirely natural area is home to unspoiled hiking trails, dramatic cliffsides, and several bird, mammal, and marine species that you won’t find anywhere else. 

In my opinion, the beauty of this spot lies in its simplicity. You won’t find touristy hotspots, shops, or major attractions, but I promise you won’t be disappointed by the hidden grottoes, picturesque beaches, pebbled coves, and rows of wildflowers and shrubs that are supported by the humid bio climate. Oh, and did I mention the falcons, eagles, owls, and hedgehogs that regularly appear on the reserve?

Unmarked by civilization and boasting some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, Zingaro Nature Reserve is considered one of the top places to visit in Italy for a reason.

Best time to visit

Spring is the best time to visit as the flowers are blooming, the wildlife is active, and the temperatures are bearable.

Not to miss

While you’re here, check out Bar Pasticceria Scopello which is located right on Scopello’s main square (approximately 1km from the reserve’s entrance). It sells delightful homemade pastries that are ideal for taking on the trails!

How long to spend at Zingaro Nature Reserve

I’d say that a day is probably enough to hike from one end of the reserve to the other. The overall distance takes around 4 hours to complete, but you’ll need to account for rest stops, exploring, and dips in the water!

14. Florence, Tuscany

Florence's rooftops in Tuscany
Florence’s rooftops in Tuscany

Ah, Florence. The place to visit for Renaissance art, incredible museums, and seriously gorgeous cathedrals. Set against the backdrop of the Tuscan countryside, this place manages to balance modernity with Italy’s famed natural beauty.

Thanks to the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River, sunsets here are almost ethereal, and you’re guaranteed to get at least a few Insta-worthy snaps during your visit.

While soaking up the city’s cobblestoned streets, fountains, and colorful homes, you’ll pass the Uffizi Gallery that’s home to The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, and the Duomo which proudly showcases Brunelleschi’s fabulous dome and intricate carvings.

Although Florence is considered one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy because of its historic center, there’s plenty to love like: the street art at Sottopasso delle Cure, the Piazza Ciompi’s flea market, and the Piazzale Michelangelo’s unbeatable views over the city.

Not to miss

Visiting Florence’s main attractions goes without saying, but you can’t leave the city without visiting Buca Mario. Home to the best Steak Florentine around, this authentic centuries-old dining room is a must-visit spot for carnivores.

How long to spend in Florence

You don’t want to spend less than 3 days in Florence if you’re visiting for the first time. The architecture, cobbled squares, and street art deserve your full attention, and you risk missing things if you try to power through sites too quickly.

Where to stay

In my opinion, the best all-around hotel in Florence is Portrait Firenze. It’s right by the city center and offers scenic views over the river and Ponte Vecchio. If you stay here, you’ll be minutes from the Duomo, Galleria degli Uffizi, and the city’s bustling streets! Villa Nardi is a bit further out, but it’s surrounded by beautiful gardens and more affordable.

15. Baunei Coast, Sardinia

Aerial view of Baunei Coast in Sardinia
Aerial view of Baunei Coast in Sardinia

The Baunei Coast may not be one of Italy’s most-visited spots, but this quaint Sardinian mountain area packs a punch with its coves, caves, and secluded sandy beaches. The main village is perched 480 meters above sea level and offers unbeatable views of the rocky crags and aquamarine waters that characterize the area.

You can spend most of your time kicking back on the beautiful Cala Sisine beach, but this 40km stretch of coastline is also regarded for its incredible hiking opportunities. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can embark on the Selvaggio Blue coastal trail which covers the entire area and takes approximately 4 days to complete. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the vistas over the Supramonte mountain range make it worth the inevitable blisters!

Almost completely untouched and rivaling tropical islands when it comes to stunning balmy beaches, it’s unsurprising that the Baunei Coast has become one of the best places to visit in Italy for sunseekers.

What to do

While you’re exploring the Baunei Coast, you can visit several archaeological sites, go rock climbing on Pedra Longa, take in nature’s wonders at the Golgo Plateau, and sail along the Gulf of Orosei for stunning mountain views!

How long to spend on the Baunei Coast

If you’re doing the Selvaggio Blue trail, you’ll need to stay for at least 4 days. If you’re just beach-hopping and spending time on the water, a couple of days will suffice.

Where to stay

B&B I Cinque Mori is a popular tourist spot that offers a lovely garden terrace, and great access to the coast. Plus an incredible breakfast.

16. Mount Etna Volcano, Sicily

Aerial view of Etna Volcano in Sicily
Aerial view of Etna Volcano in Sicily

Mount Etna is among the world’s most active volcanoes, and it stands proudly on the east coast of Sicily. It watches imposingly over the city of Catania and contrasts sharply against the Greek and Roman ruins found in Sicily’s main towns.

You can enjoy Mount Etna from afar, but there’s nothing better than getting stuck in on the nature trails around Etna Park that wind through vineyards, woods, and fields of lava. Locals adore Etna, as the fertile soils surrounding the mountain produce the most glorious olive oils, oranges, and wines.

So, if your ideal vacation involves stunning views, authentic Italian wines, and hikes that will quite literally take your breath away, then be sure to make room for Mount Etna on your Italian Bucket List.

Not to miss

If you’re not hiking Mount Etna, try out the Funivia dell’Etna which takes you from the town of Rifugio Sapienza to a great viewing spot that’s 2,500 meters above sea level. The views are excellent, and you won’t have to contend with any aching muscles!

Best time to visit

May and October to avoid the swathes of tourists. Always bring extra layers with you. You can thnk me later. It can get rather cold on the top, even when the temperature at sea levels is extremely hot. Don’t ask me how I know…  

Where to stay

The Cavanera Etnea Resort is a surprisingly affordable wine resort that’s right at the foot of Mount Etna. All rooms offer excellent views of the vineyard, and if you look closely, you’ll notice that the tiling is made from volcanic lava!

17. Seceda, Dolomites

The Beautiful Seceda Mountain in the Italian Dolomites
The Beautiful Seceda Mountain in the Italian Dolomites

Oh man, Seceda.

Not only is this majestic mountain adored for its unmatched views of the Geisler Peaks and Val Gardena, but it gives outdoor enthusiasts an excuse to hike some of the most impressive ridges in the Italian Dolomites.

You’ll immediately recognize the jagged peaks of Seceda, but nothing will prepare you for just how dramatic the views are in-person. The various trails to the summit pass through stunning alpine pastures and tricky crags before bringing you to the peak, but you can shorten your trip significantly by hopping on the cable car from Ortisei.

Proving just how remarkable nature’s wonders can be, this is one of the best places to visit in Italy by a country mile. Just remember to keep your wits about you and only tackle what you feel physically able to!

Not to miss

I honestly adore the cable car from Ortisei, and it costs ~ €36 for a return trip. Although it’s cheaper to hike, it’s a wonderful way to see the mountain between late May and mid-October.

Best time to visit

September or early October when the cable car is open, the weather isn’t unpredictable, and the temperatures are mild.

What to do

As you’re wandering the trails, make sure you check out the Church of St. Jakob and the beautiful Val Gardena.

18. Saturnia, Tuscany

Geothermal Hot Spring in Saturnia, Tuscany
Geothermal Hot Spring in Saturnia, Tuscany

If you’ve ever dreamed of relaxing in geothermal hot springs while taking in the glorious views of Tuscany’s countryside, then you’ll need to add Saturnia to your Italian itinerary. This small town is in the Maremma, and it stands proudly on top of a hill that overlooks the nearby springs.

Trawl through the Saturnia Archaeological Museum and discover the prehistoric artifacts that date back to the Roman period. Then, head to Cascate del Mulino with a picnic and marvel at the impressive waterfalls that plunge into a series of springs. 

If you feel like indulging in a touch of TLC, you can even stop by the town’s dedicated spa resorts – Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort and Terme Fonte Pura.

Although there’s much to love about the area’s medieval walls, cascading waterfalls, and ancient ruins, Saturnia’s main attraction will always be its thermal pools. When I first visited, it took me a moment to adjust to the sulfurous smell, but the perfect temperature, rich mineral deposits, and the instant release of my seriously aching muscles made that slight assault on my senses worthwhile.

With its majestic hot springs, hilly landscape, and a plethora of wonderful picnic spots, Saturnia is one of my all-time favorite destinations in Italy for loved-up couples.

Best time to visit

As summertime in Saturnia is borderline unpleasant and there’s little shading available, visit during the spring or autumn months.

Not to miss

If you’re even remotely interested in art, don’t leave without visiting the Polo Culturale Pietro. Inside, you’ll find several works by the famous Mancianese painter who was committed to representing the people and landscapes of Maremma.

Where to stay

It’s a touch pricey, but the Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort is extremely close to the Saturnia Hot Springs and boasts a spa, an 18-hole golf course, and two onsite restaurants.

19. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Dolomites

Beautiful view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Beautiful view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Located just three hours from Venice, the Dolomites is an imposing mountain range that’s a mecca for hikers, bikers, and nature lovers. Not only does every trek offer sweeping views of towering peaks and luscious green fields, but the hefty dose of fresh mountain air is the perfect antidote for stressed-out city slickers.

The Tre Cime di Laveredo is a particularly gorgeous section of the Dolomites and is a 10.3km hike characterized by jutting limestone peaks, blooming wildflowers, and a vast network of rifugios.

As you walk along this southeast corner of the Alps, you’ll get incredible panoramas of alpine meadows, jagged crags, and the expansive valley that lies beneath you. Although I recommend completing this trail during daylight hours, confident climbers will appreciate the warm glow that hits the sandstone monoliths as the sun sets!

Not to miss

On the Col de Forcellina slope, you’ll spot three ponds that reflect the Tre Cime. It’s a beautiful site that deserves a place on anyone’s Instagram grid!

Where to stay

There isn’t anywhere to stay that’s close to Tre Cime di Lavaredo (unless you enjoy wild camping!). The town of Rifugio Auronzo is around 23km away and offers several accommodation options for weary travelers.

Best time to visit

September or October as the weather is still decent but you won’t be battling summertime tourists. Just be aware that the entire area closes from the end of October before reopening at the end of May.

20. Rome & Vatican City

Aerial view of Piazza San Pietro
Aerial view of Piazza San Pietro

Rome is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy. It’s renowned for its architectural masterpieces, ancient ruins, and timeless artwork.

Throw in the fact that it houses the papacy, several enchanting piazzas, and world-class museums, and it’s easy to see why Rome and Vatican City are considered two of the best places to visit in Italy.

Italy’s capital is fast-moving and exciting, but you can easily take your time walking the Spanish Steps, making a wish at the Trevi Fountain, and strolling through the Pantheon and Colosseum which are all remarkable sights to behold.

However, it’s not just the ruins that make the Eternal City a cultural marvel. You’ll also come across iconic pieces of art by Michelangelo, Sangallo, and Bernini, and you can expand your knowledge of the city’s great artists by visiting the Galleria Borghese and Capitoline Museums.

Before leaving, stop by the Vatican City to explore the most sacred Catholic area in the world. While you’re here, gaze upon the ornate ceiling at the Sistine Chapel and amble through the many Vatican Museums. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the pope in St Peter’s Square!

Whether you want to take a passagiata through the elegant squares or explore the varied neighborhoods that make up Rome’s residential character, this capital city promises to leave you mesmerized.

What to do

Make sure you hit the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and the Piazza Navona on your trip to Rome!

How long to spend in Rome

You can power through most of the main attractions in a day, but I highly recommend spending 3 or 4 days here to cover the top experiences, hit local restaurants, and explore hidden gems that you’d otherwise miss.

Where to stay

If you want to be blown away by Rome’s Renaissance architecture and gorgeous fountains, stick to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona district. The rates are relatively high for most hotels, but the Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj is worth every cent. I mean, it’s literally attached to a Baroque church that overlooks the main square!

21. Maddalena Archipelago, Sardinia

Maddalena Archipelago in Sardinia
Maddalena Archipelago in Sardinia

Tucked away in northern Sardinia lies the Maddalena Archipelago. Comprised of 7 unique islands, this area is lauded for its clear waters, perfect sandy beaches, and incredible national park. 

Add the abandoned lighthouses and fascinating military buildings from days gone by, and it’s easy to see why the Maddalena Archipelago is considered one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy!

This archipelago has been popular with yachters for years, and you’ll often see them sailing through the ethereal aquamarine lagoons before stopping off at the trattorias, bars, and cafes that line the waterfront. If you fancy diving below the surface, head to one of the many pristine beaches to commune with nature.

After sinking your feet into the white sands at Cala Soraya or Cala Corsara, you can venture over to the almost untouched islands of Budelli, Razzoli, and Santa Maria. You may pay a premium for food and drink in these quieter areas, but the serene atmosphere, quaint shops, and lack of tourists make it feel as though you’re on a private island.

Total bliss.

Not to miss

There are several beautiful beaches around here, but you can’t miss the completely pink sands of Spiaggia Rossa. Just be aware that you can’t walk across the sand and will have to appreciate the view from a boat as people kept plundering the sand!

Best time to visit

May, June, September, or October are all excellent times to visit, as you’ll get relatively empty beaches and top-notch weather.

How long to spend in the Maddalena Archipelago

I’d say around 3 days is best. This gives you plenty of time to drive around the scenic roads on day 1, check out Caprera Island and Teialone Tower on day 2, and beautiful Budello and Spargi on day 3.

22. Taormina, Sicily

Hilltop town of Taormina in Sicily
Hilltop town of Taormina in Sicily

If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Italy that balance the country’s ancient history with immense natural beauty, then you can’t beat Taormina. Not only were parts of The Godfather filmed in this charming Sicilian town, but it offers spectacular views of the Ionian Sea, Mount Etna, and luscious vegetation that stretches as far as the eye can see.

In addition to the glorious panoramas, you’ll be able to walk through preserved Medieval streets that lead to old churches, bustling shopfronts, and a few mesmerizing beaches like Marazzo Beach and Isola Bella. 

This Italian town is home to several pedestrianized squares, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Piazza Duomo’s stunning fountain and the excited buzz of Corso Umberto which boasts vast terraces and kitsch boutiques.

Once you’ve taken in the area’s local character, marvel at Taormina’s rich history at the Ancient Greek amphitheatre. Built way back in the 3rd century BC, this place hosted everything from dramatic theater productions to grisly gladiator fights once the Romans got their hands on it. Exceptionally preserved and offering premium views over the ocean, it’s a must-visit spot.

To continue your archaeological adventure, head to the Victorian Trevelyan Gardens, the Gothic-Romanesque Duomo di Taormina, and the gorgeous Porta Messina that proudly frames Corso Umberto.

What to do

Don’t miss walking across to Isola Bella from Mazarro Beach. You get to walk across the sea on a sandy path to reach the exotic island where you can sunbathe, take a dip in the water, or explore the nearby sea caves.

How long to stay in Taormina

You can easily cover Taormina as a day trip from Mount Etna or surrounding Sicilian towns.

Where to stay

I love staying close to Piazza IX Aprile, as you get incredible views of the square and Mount Etna. Casa Turchetti is a great 4-star pick that’s tucked away on a quiet street just 50 yards from the city center.

23. Polignano a Mare, Puglia

Polignano A Mare Beach in Puglia
Polignano A Mare Beach in Puglia

When it comes to picture-perfect towns in Puglia, it doesn’t get much better than Polignano a Mare. This place offers everything from a quaint Old Town to magnificent limestone cliffs that dramatically frame the seafront.

The city center is known for its classic Italian character and is paved with cobbles and surrounded by fine buildings, restaurants, and delicious gelato shops.

Promenade through Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II for a perfectly brewed coffee before heading to the spectacular Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali to check out Italy’s most spectacular works of contemporary art.

If you’re still craving culture, trail the city for snippets of poetry written into the walls by Guido Il Flâneur.

Once you’re ready to relax, head to the beautiful Cala Porto Beach which is essentially the postcard spot for Polignano a Mare. Surrounded by towering cliffs, covered with white sands, and home to azure waters, you can easily spend an entire day drinking the place in. 

When your stomach starts to rumble from all the excitement, head down to Grotta Palazzese for an incredible meal. This restaurant is tucked inside an ancient cave and offers sweeping views of the beach from its stunning terrace.

What to do

It can be tricky to cover all the town’s nooks and crannies, so I suggest booking this 1.5-hour walking tour. It brings you past the famous winding alleys, several famous landmarks, and the beautiful seafront.

Best time to visit

June, and July are very busy here, so I suggest visiting during the shoulder months of May, September, or October when the weather is pleasant, but you won’t struggle for space.

How long to spend in Polignano a Mare

You can easily cover the main sights here in a single day, just make sure you hit the main town and spend a bit of time by the water!

24. Valley of The Temples, Sicily

Valley of The Temples in Agrigento
Valley of The Temples in Agrigento

The Valley of the Temples is located just outside of Agrigento and remains one of the most incredible examples of Magna Graecia architecture in the world. Beautifully contrasting against the arid Sicilian hilltops and the vivid turquoise waters of the Mediterranean sea, this collection of 8 ancient temples is a true marvel that’s well worth visiting.

This UNESCO World Heritage site may be weathered (it was built between 510BC and 430BC!), but you’ll instantly be drawn in by its towering columns, the enormous olive groves that surround the area, and the warm nighttime lights that add depth and dimension to the ruins.

It’s always best to cover all the temples if you can, but I’d say that the Temple of Concordia, the fallen statue of Icarus, the Temple of Zeus, and the Temple of Juno are unmissable.

To close off your foray into Greek history, check out the Museum of Archaeology which houses beautiful mosaics, statues, and amphoras that once lay inside the temples.

Oh, and one more thing – it’s best to jump on a guided tour of this area that starts at around 6.30 pm. Not only will you get great insider information about the site, but you’ll be able to catch the sunset right as it hits the temples.

Not to miss

Tack on a trip to the Garden of Kolymbethra which is tucked between the Temple of Castor and Pollux and the Temple of Vulcano. Here, you’ll find over 300 species of plants including poplar trees, prickly pear bushes, and Saracen olive trees.

Best time to visit

May or September to avoid the extremely hot summer temperatures.

Where to stay

If you can afford it, I highly recommend staying in the Hotel Villa Athena. Not only is it just steps from the Valley of the Temples, but it boasts a wellness center, a glorious pool, and ridiculous views of the temples.

25. Siena & Val D’Orcia, Tuscany

Beautiful hills of Val D’Orcia
Beautiful hills of Val D’Orcia

I physically couldn’t make a list of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy without including Siena. Home to a gorgeous Old Town, exciting local markets, and incredible wines from the Chianti and Montalcino regions, you can always convince me to go on a cheeky Sienese jaunt.

While you’re here, engage with the locals at La Lizza market, which sells authentic local street food, clothing, and souvenirs. It may be a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s worth exploring if you have a spare morning. Then, you can visit the jewel in Siena’s crown – the Piazza del Duomo. It’s one of Italy’s most ornate Gothic buildings, and the mosaic-lined floor must be seen to be believed.

If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a delicious cup of coffee, head to the Piazza del Campo (otherwise known as the beating heart of Siena!) which is lined with quaint cafes and bars. After you’ve spent time soaking in those Tuscan rays, stretch your legs by climbing the Torre del Mangia which offers spectacular views over the town and countryside. 

Although the city itself is truly gorgeous, you can’t leave Siena without seeing Val d’Orcia. It’s basically what everyone imagines Tuscany to be in a nutshell. Rolling hills? Check. Medieval castles? Got it. Miles of vineyards surrounded by cypress trees, bales of hay, and tiny towns that are imperceptible to the naked eye? You bet.

Whether you’re visiting Siena for its rich history or impressive landscapes, you’ll quickly realize why it’s considered one of the top places to visit in Italy.

Not to miss

I highly recommend checking out the Siena Cathedral and Piccolomini Library while you’re here. This great entry ticket from GetYourGuide helps you skip the lines!

Best time to visit

Between May and June for glorious weather and fewer tourists.

Where to stay

If you want to stay close to the action, the Piazza del Campo is the best area to stay in. Palazzetto Rosso is a top-notch affortable pick that’s tucked away in the historical center and is just 550 yards from both Siena Cathedral and Basilica di San Domenico.

26. Sirmione, Lake Garda

Lakeside view of Sirmione in Lake Garda
Lakeside view of Sirmione in Lake Garda

You may not have heard of Sirmione, but this quaint Italian town on the edge of Lake Garda sees swathes of tourists each year thanks to its turquoise waters, historical charm, and remote location. As the town essentially spills into the lake from a narrow peninsula, I honestly think it’s one of the most geographically fascinating spots in Italy.

You can spend your time strolling through the charming town, grabbing a scoop of gelato near the lakeside, or relaxing with an aperitivo near one of the many historic sites.

Although you’ll be impressed by the Grottoes of Callus and the relaxing thermal baths, it’s the 13th-century Scaligero Castle that continues to top my list of the best things to do in Sirmione. Looking like something out of a medieval fairytale, the castle boasts an otherworldly moat and a drawbridge that harks back to when the site was used as a fortress.

Not to miss

The Church of San Pietro is a stunning old church that’s home to impressive stained-glass windows and medieval frescoes. It’s also located slightly off the beaten track, making it perfect for anyone needing a break from the tourist trails.

Best time to visit

May is a great time to visit as you’ll benefit from the scorching Italian sun without having to battle crowds.

Where to stay

If you’re on the hunt for gorgeous views over Lake Garda and have a decent budget to play with, the 5-star Villa Cortine Palace Hotel is an enormous 12-acre property with a private beach, next-level amenities, and plenty of charm.

27. Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio

Top view of Civita di Bagnoregio Village
Top view of Civita di Bagnoregio Village

If you’ve ever wanted to pack up your troubles and head to a remote Italian hilltop village, then you’ll appreciate everything that Civita di Bagnoregio has to offer.

It’s a weird and wonderful tourist destination that’s tricky to access. If you’re wondering why, it’s because the town sits precariously above a canyon and the unstable terrain is gradually tumbling into the valley below. However, the incredible views, stunning main piazza, and laidback atmosphere make it one of the best places to visit in Italy for introverts.

Although the town charges a cheeky entrance fee of €3 on weekdays and €5 on weekends and public holidays, the menial cost opens a world of beautifully maintained stone houses, narrow cobbled streets, and Etruscan remains that date back hundreds of years.

There’s not much to do here in terms of activities, but you can spend hours exploring the ivy-covered courtyards, chatting to the friendly locals (with as much Italian as you can manage!), and admiring the magnificent panoramas from every angle.

Not to miss

The view from the bridge that connects Bagnoregio to Civita shouldn’t be missed, as it offers unparalleled views of the valley below.

How long to spend in Civita di Bagnoregio

Honestly, you probably won’t need more than a day to cover the best of this area.

Where to stay

If you’re on the hunt for somewhere romantic that won’t break the bank, iRoom Civita is an excellent option with a kitchenette, comfortable beds, and great views of the surrounding landmarks.

28. Alberobello & Val D’Itria, Puglia

White Stone Trulli in Alberobello, Val D’Itria, Puglia
White Stone Trulli in Alberobello, Val D’Itria, Puglia

Whenever I visit Puglia, I always make room in my itinerary for Val D’Itria. With its historic centers, quaint villages, miles of vineyards, and unique ‘Trullo’ structures (fascinating stone-roofed houses!), this region is unlike anywhere I’ve ever seen before.

You can meander through Martina Franca’s beautiful baroque buildings and admire the labyrinth of alleyways of Locorotondo, but the town of Alberobello will always hold a special place in my heart. If you’re wondering why, it’s because this place is home to those famous stone-roofed houses that I was talking about earlier!

The entire area is UNESCO World Heritage-listed, and the maze of conical rooftops combined with the town’s winding cobblestone alleys is enough to take anyone’s breath away. Even if you’re not here for the Trulli, there’s no shortage of beautiful churches and bell towers to explore in this slice of paradise.

Where to stay

It goes without saying, but you need to stay in one of the world-famous Trullis! Trullo Essenza-Trulli Antì Charme & Relax is one of my favorites, as the décor is quaint, and the entire 4-star property is air-conditioned!

What to do

Check out my guide to find out exactly what to do. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, I recommend heading on a walking food tour of Alberobello, which takes you through the Trulli and gives you tastes of the area’s wines, cheeses, and meats!

When to visit

June, and July are extremely busy around here, so I suggest visiting during May, September, or October for pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

29. Pompei, Naples

The Roman House in Pompei, Naples
The Roman House in Pompei, Naples

Pompei is a preserved ancient Roman city that’s known for its rather grisly history. Tucked away in the Campania region, this fascinating area is as close as you’ll get to stepping back in time.

When the city was buried by volcanic ash in 79AD, everything was essentially frozen in time.

Although a few artifacts were looted directly after the blast, most of the area remains exactly as it once was. While most of the excavations and bodies were sent to the museum in Naples, there’s still plenty left to uncover in the various villas, amphitheaters, and walls that remain untouched.

As you stroll through the city, you’ll pass the House of the Tragic Poet which is home to glorious mosaics, and the ornate House of the Vetti which houses erotic artwork that offers a cheeky glimpse into the private lives of Pompei’s ancient residents.

Latin scholars will also appreciate the lewd graffiti plastered on the public walls!

If you feel up to the task, you can even climb the fearsome Mount Vesuvius that watches over the city. It’s unlikely to erupt anytime soon, but as it’s an active volcano, you’ll be able to see the incredible molten craters frothing and bubbling beneath you.

Not to miss

There’s so much to see in Pompei, but I’d say the Forum, the Amphitheater, the Gladiator Barracks, and the Temple of Isis are all must-visit spots.

When to visit

Between November and March as the peak season can get super crowded and expensive!

Where to stay

If you want to stay walking distance from Pompei, Habita79 Pompeii is a beautiful renovated building with modern facilities just 5 minutes on foot from the ancient ruins. 

30. Lake Braies, Dolomites

Beautiful view of Lake Braies in Dolomites
Beautiful view of Lake Braies in the Dolomites

The first time I visited Lake Braies, it well and truly took my breath away. 

Often called the “Pearl of the Dolomites” this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site is best known for its glistening green-blue waters, pine forestry, and imposing mountain peaks that provide visitors the most Instagrammable backdrop in all of Italy. Seriously, search the hashtag and you’ll immediately get where I’m coming from.

Although it may seem like the kind of place where you’d stop to snap a photo before moving swiftly on, there’s much more to this beautiful lake than first meets the eye. You can spend hours ambling through the hills of Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park before catching your breath with a pleasant picnic along the trails.

If you’re a true water baby, take in the mountainous vistas by renting or rowboat! Alternatively, dive in headfirst and cool off in the crystal-clear waters. Just be warned though – temperatures rarely get above freezing in this glacial mountain lake!

Best time to visit

It’s gorgeous at any time of year, but I recommend visiting at the tail-end of summer or the beginning of fall. The weather is comfortable enough to tackle the trails and you’ll still get plenty of daylight hours!

Not to miss

You may not spot it at first, but the lake is home to the charming Lago di Braies Chapel which is designed in the South Tyrolean architectural style. It’s only open during the summer, but it’s a fascinating place to explore.

Where to stay

There aren’t any hotels directly on the lake, but the Berghotel is an excellent option that’s just 1.2 miles from Sesto. The rooms are spacious, you’ll get a sweet and savory buffet breakfast, and the whole place feels like a refined hunting lodge.

31. Verona & Madonna della Corona, Veneto

Top view of Madonna della Corona Sanctuary
Top view of Madonna della Corona Sanctuary

Perched between Milan and Venice lies the city of Verona, which is known as one of Italy’s most romantic destinations. I mean, there’s a reason it’s the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet!

Most people visit Verona for its stunning historical attractions and the sprawling Roman Forum, but I’m partial to riding the famous funicular to the Piazzale Castel San Pietro for breathtaking views over the city. 

If you’d prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, explore the charming Piazza delle Erbe which boasts buildings that date to the middle ages, Romanesque statues, and gushing fountains that add an ethereal romance to the area.

To indulge your inner architecture buff, stroll by the Scaliger Tombs, the 84-meter-tall Lamberti Tower, and Juliet’s Balcony which is a stunning example of Verona’s Gothic influences.

While the general atmosphere and landmarks in Verona promise to enchant you, it’s also one of the top places to visit in Italy when it comes to artisanal goods, glorious wines, and authentic cuisine. Any of the quaint local cafes will have you bursting at the seams with risotto, pasta, and pizza, and you’re bound to uncover a new favorite tipple after sampling a glass of Valpolicella wine.

Although you can spend a few days meandering through the main city, you’d be missing out if you didn’t schedule a trip to Madonna della Corona. Located a stone’s throw from Verona, this centuries-old sanctuary is built right into a rocky hill, and you can even hear the dulcet tones of the choir if you’re visiting during a service. Seemingly floating in mid-air, this unique church is truly breathtaking. 

Not to miss

I adore Juliet’s house and the large piazzas in Verona, but I’d say climbing Torre dei Lamberti for sweeping views over the city is a must.

Where to stay

If you want to be in the heart of the action, Hotel Accademia is an excellent option that’s right in the historic center. For those on a budget, San Leonardo Suites in the university district of Veronetta is fantastic and surrounded by trendy bars and gorgeous medieval buildings.

How long to spend in Verona

Spend at least a day here. You can cover the must-see sites in a few hours, but I recommend stopping in the evening for an authentic meal and a romantic stroll.

32. Milan Cathedral, Milan

Front view of the Milan Cathedral in Milan, Italy
Front view of the Milan Cathedral in Milan, Italy

Milan is Italy’s most fashionable city and is best known for its sprawling shopping streets, art-nouveau houses, and iconic art galleries. But what always keeps me coming back to this artistic hub is the Milan Cathedral.

Standing proudly in the center of Milan, this marvelous Gothic building has been enchanting visitors with its perfectly carved marble exterior since construction began in 1386. Although the cathedral took a mind-blowing 600 years to complete, it remains a testament to Milan’s religious power and artistic flair.

As you climb the ornate stairs, you’ll be met by statues, gargoyles, stained glass, and detailed spires that make the centuries of construction make sense. Once you reach the top, marvel at the sweeping views over the city and just breathe it all in. Having survived several rulers, wars, and renovations, this stunning monument is simply a privilege to walk through.

If you’re looking to bring yourself back to the modern age after visiting the iconic Duomo, why not check out Milan’s unbeatable shopping scene? For high-fashion shopping, Via Montenapoleone has got your back, but there’s also plenty to love about Via Della Spiga and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. I’ve always thought that the latter was particularly impressive, as the domed ceiling, various mosaics, and elegant 19th-century décor make shopping at Prada or Gucci feel even more bougie!

Not to miss

The Duomo and shopping streets go without saying, but I also adore the Brera Design District, Teatro alla Scala, and Castello Sforzesco

And while you are in the area, eat a traditional panzerotto at Luini. So good. I recommend the classic (mozzarella and tomato) and to get two as they’re only €3 per panzerotto. Don’t be intimidated by the queue. It usually moves pretty fast!

How long to spend in Milan

I feel that you need at least 2 full days to explore Milan properly without being rushed off your feet.

Where to stay

There are tons of hotels in Milan, but I love Speronari Suits if you want a modern Milanese experience. It’s just a few minutes away from the Duomo, and close to the train station.

33. Courmayeur, Mont Blanc

Icey Mountain of Courmayeur Resort in Mont Blanc
Icey Mountain of Courmayeur Resort in Mont Blanc

Offering excellent hiking, skiing, and shopping opportunities, Courmayeur promises to be the tiny little mountain town of your dreams. 

This region is characterized by cobblestone piazzas and charming slate-roof houses, but you’re bound to be impressed by the towering peaks and alpine meadows that serve as a breathtaking backdrop to any photograph.

There are several things that I always look for in a ski resort, and Courmayeur ticks every single box. Not only can you get an unbeatable après-ski experience at any of the local restaurants (cheap pizzas and creamy hot chocolates, anyone?!), but the terrain of the slopes is smooth and non-glacial, making them as pleasant for first-timers as they are for experienced ski-bunnies.

If you’re not a fan of skiing but want to make the most of the gorgeous scenery, you can try out anything from dogsledding to fat biking. Alternatively, you can delight the senses with a trip on the Skyway Monte Bianco that links Courmayeur with Punta Herbronner where you’ll get 360-degree panoramas of the mountainside. Oh, and it just happens to be the highest point in Italy!

Whatever you choose to do here, be sure to pay a visit to the luxurious Pré St Didier thermal spa during your visit to soothe those aching muscles. Believe me, you’ll have earned it!

Best time to visit

October to November offer beautiful fall colors and not many tourists will be around.

What to do

In addition to the glorious Skyway, I suggest checking out Val Ferret, the Alpine Botanical Garden, and Val Veny.

Where to stay

Okay, so it’s on the pricey side, but the Grand Hotel Courmayeur Mont Blanc is everything you want a ski lodge to be. Boasting modern rooms and incredible mountain views, it’s the perfect place to crash out après -ski.

34. Marmore Falls, Umbria

Beautiful Marmore Falls in Umbria
Beautiful Marmore Falls in Umbria

I’d say that I’m pretty well-traveled, but nothing has ever taken my breath away at first glance like Marmore Falls. The water plunges a remarkable 165 meters into the pool below, and the falls are comprised of 3 separate tiers that are each as impressive as the last.

Believe it or not, this hidden gem is the world’s tallest manmade waterfall, and it was created in 271BC to divert waters to the hills of Marmore. If you’re wondering why, it was done in an effort to shift some of the stagnant water from the Rieti Valley that was exacerbating the area’s malaria problem.

Although its origins are slightly grim, the waterfall is an enchanting marvel that allows visitors to trek through nearby forests, explore mineral travertines, and even take kayaks out on the water.

Best time to visit

The spring and summer months are best as you’ll get the full force of the water gushing down!

Not to miss

If you’re traveling with little ones, The Enchanted Walk is a lovely, animated tour (led by an elf called Gnefro!) that should keep them engaged.

How long to spend at Marmore Falls

You can easily cover this attraction in a few hours.

35. Palermo, Sicily

Palm trees in Villa Bonanno, near Palermo Cathedral, Sicily
Palm trees in Villa Bonanno, near Palermo Cathedral, Sicily

With its incredible street food, bustling morning markets, sprawling beaches, and impressive collection of Arab-Norman landmarks, Palermo is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy.

I advise spending time strolling through the backstreets and snacking on a selection of pastries in the many charming squares. Sure, you may have to tune out a beeping horn or two, but you can easily kill several hours exploring the Baroque fountains and striking cupolas that characterize this contemporary city.

The jewel in Palermo’s crown is the ornate Capella Palatina, which is a chapel adorned with Byzantine mosaics that depict tales from the Old Testament. Then, move onto the glorious carved marble walls and floor which would have been eye-wateringly expensive to craft by 12th-century standards.

To complete your artistic education, stop by the Galleria d’Arte Moderna or the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia. Have a particularly strong stomach? A trip to the Capuchin Catacombs to see the mummified remains of past residents is equally fascinating and disturbing.

The history and culture in Palermo are remarkable, but I’d be lying if I said that I don’t regularly visit the city for its food.

At the popular Ballarò morning market, you’ll get a taste of local life as you pass crowded butchers’ stalls, produce stands, and artisanal bakeries selling decadent cannolis that are brimming with flavor.

Steeped in history and just a short distance from the Sicilian coast, Palermo is one of the top places to visit in Italy for travelers who want it all.

How long to spend in Palermo

3 days is an ideal length of time to stay in Palermo as you’ll be able to explore the main attractions without rushing.

What to do

Check out the Norman Palace, Lido Finanza, and the 230+ churches scattered throughout the city!

Where to stay

You don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy Palermo, and I love the Palazzo Natoli for a comfortable and charming stay.

There you have it!

My shortlist of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy!

If you have any questions or want more personal recommendations, just leave a comment below.

And don’t forget to check out my list of essential Italy travel tips that’ll help you avoid being a typical tourist and allow you to enjoy each spot like a local!

My guides to Italy

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