Last Updated on 13/10/2021

Anyone looking forward to travelling around the world, be it a travel expert or not, would want to include Italy in their bucket list but one of their main concerns would be on what cities to visit in Italy? In this article, we address this concern, taking a look at some of the best cities that every tourist should consider including in their Italy itinerary – but before that let’s have a sneak peak on what to expect in Italy!

It is said to be one of the origins of western culture. Needless to say, Italy is known for its incredible cuisine, world heritage sites, art, roman ruins, the ever-evolving fashion industry, cobbled street towns, beautiful beaches, the lakes and mountain ranges, and many more. Even though sightseeing is every tourist’s main aim, in Italy many spend time learning about its rich culture and history, unveiling the stories behind the lives of the Romans. What Italy offers is not a day or two journey and would take years to explore each fascinating bit of the country.

Italy makes sure that visitors to the land are embraced by its welcoming vibe, making it a special destination for everyone. You will be filled with many cherishing moments to be thankful for while the iconic masterpieces inside Italy will charm you in the best ways. Now let’s dive right in to our list of best cities to visit in Italy!

Rome

Best cities to visit in Italy Number 1- Rome
Photo by David Köhler on Unsplash

Google Maps

Number one on our list of best cities to visit in Italy is Rome! Just at the mention of the name itself, it takes us back to the textbook knowledge of famous landmarks in the world. The history of Rome ages back to 2772 years ago making it one of the oldest civilizations in the world. This city is a combination of the intimacy and human dimension of a city with the cultural attractions of a historic and artistic European metropolis. Classical ruins and ancient Christian places of worship can be found next to, or sometimes below, Renaissance palaces and Baroque fountains. It is also filled with great neighbourhood restaurants, quirky shops, and a buzzy atmosphere.

City of Rome (Video Footage)

The number one rule for all tourists is not to try to cram up everything. Enjoy the slow-paced city, go for a walk embracing the entire experience and living in every second of it, take the time out to sit in a café on the pavement, and simply breathe it all in, while checking off the main cultural and historic sites of the city from your bucket list.

Below is a list of experiences you shouldn’t miss out on while at your stay in Rome:

  • The Colosseum
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Vatican Museum
  • Sistine Chapel
  • The Pantheon
  • Borghese Museum
  • Piazza Navona

Also, add dinner at Trastevere to the list. You can rent a bike and ride through the city and it’s an ideal way to spend the mornings in Rome where you can have perfect sightseeing on your bike.

It would likely take three busy days to cover up most of the main sites but if you are a tourist, attracting the pulsating energy of the city and wanting to explore every nook and cranny, we assure you, you’ll need more time.

Florence

Best cities to visit in Italy Number 2 - Florence
Photo by Giuseppe Mondì on Unsplash

Google Maps

Known for its exquisite art, Florence is the wellspring of the Renaissance. The city, often described as a colossal outdoor museum is second on our list of best cities to visit in Italy. It is filled with frescoes by artists Domenico Ghirlandaio and Giotto, sculptures, and paintings by world-renowned artist Michelangelo whose unparalleled influence on Western art’s development is no secret. Giambologna, Botticelli, and Bronzino’s work are other overwhelming art and architecture in these city walls that you’ll come around.

City of Florence (Video Footage)

Florence is also a stop for food lovers to try out the traditional staples of Florentine and Tuscan cuisine. The most famous dish, Bistecca alla Fiorentina, simply known as the Florentine steak is a huge dish, and remember when ordering, there’s a high chance you might have to share it with your friend. A note to remember when having the Florentine steak; do not offend the chef by asking him/her to cook the steak to your liking because the traditional Florentine steak is made in its only way. Usually, the uncooked beef is brought to the table before the chef starts his/her magic on it and after your approval and admiration, it will be taken to make it your dinner that will make you want more.  

The next food on the must-try list is gelato. Even though Italy is well known for gelato, Florence is famous for having its best. Our suggestion when it comes to choosing the gelato is to try to choose the small batches over the piled-up towers of gelato which are artificially coloured.

Food lovers would not be disappointed in Florence for sure, with its traditional and mouthwatering variety of foods that is up for grabs. And so, for anyone, while you are there, eat a lot of gelatos and don’t forget to watch the sunset over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo.

Milan

Best cities to visit in Italy Number 3 - Milan
Photo by Ouael Ben Salah on Unsplash

Google Maps

Third on our list of best cities to visit in Italy is Milan. The Italian capital of fashion and design offers an international cosmopolitan orientation, a lively food scene, and dozens of hotels to suit all budgets. Historic buildings stand alongside modern skyscrapers, while many of the city’s buildings have spectacular courtyards that are largely unknown.

Aerial footage of the City of Milan

However, what draws visitors most is the city’s excellent shopping: designer boutiques line the Quadrilatero D’Oro district, while shops, stores, and boutiques can be found in every corner of the city. In addition, there are cultural attractions, in particular the Cathedral, La Scala, and the Pinacoteca de Brera as well as the famous mural of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci in the monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie.

Even if you are on a tightly scheduled trip, this place is worth even a few hours, so keep in mind not to miss out on Milan. If you are travelling between Florence, Venice, and Cinque Terre, this city will make an amazing day trip.

Lastly, don’t forget the climb to the roof of the Duomo and see what is it like to see the view of this beautiful city through a bird’s eye.

Venice

Best cities to visit in Italy Number 4 - Venice
Photo by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash

Google Maps

This small and compact place is said to be one of the favourite spots in Italy. Venice is simply the place for the romantics and the first-time visitors put this place at the top of their list. Even though the hustle and the crowds make you go push through from the station to St. Mark’s square, Venice will not disappoint you. You will be warmly welcomed by the canal as you step out of the station, and the dome of San Simeon Piccolo will join in welcoming you just as cheerfully even if it’s not your first time coming to Venice.

Aerial footage of Venice

There’s more to Venice than the riches of art and architecture from history. It is the heart of contemporary action and the people of the city always keep its rhythm vibrant, creative and a breath of fresh air.

You may wander along the canals and take a graceful gondola ride creeping through the city in an authentic Venetian gondola. Your visit to Venice would be incomplete without this ride, so make sure to allocate time for that in your day. The usual tour takes about thirty minutes and you have the chance to get a private tour as well. Some tourists skip this iconic gondola ride and take the boat tour, so no judgements, you can make the choice but whichever mode it is, cruise through the canals of Venice.

You can visit the Doges’ Palace and Saint Mark’s Basilica by walking across the Rialto bridge. You may even rent a bike and cycle around Lido island. Anyway, to embrace all of this about Venice it would take about two to three days and you’ll be able to explore the much quieter neighbourhoods which are located a bit away from the busy touristic area. Lastly, it’s noteworthy to mention that Venice deserves a definite inclusion in your list of best cities to visit in Italy.

Siena

Photo of unique buildings in Siena.
Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

Google Maps

Stepping into Tuscany, Sienna in the heart of Tuscany is a medieval place that deserves a spot on your list of best cities to visit in Italy. Senius and Aschius, sons of Remus, are said to be the legendary founders of this city and hence explains the many statues you will come across all around the city.

Siena Cathedral Video footage

Siena is known for its exciting ‘Palio di Siena’, the most looked forward to event, that takes place twice each summer every year attracting many tourists from all around.

The first site that deserves your presence would be ‘Piazza del Campo’ in the middle of the city and it’s one of the main landmarks of Siena. Its unique shell shape and its brick pavements are known for fifty-six squares representing scenes engraved in marble. If you are visiting Siena in late August, September or October, you will be lucky enough to see the entire floor revealed.  Starting your day from here is highly recommended and you can wander to the ‘Duomo’ which is a magnificent Romanesque-Gothic church in Italy. It is a showcase of fascinating art from world-renowned artists like Michelangelo, Pisano, Donatello and Nicola. The Crypt which is situated under the Cathedral with frescoes from the thirteenth century is of scenes from the Old and New Testament. The Piccolomini Library which is dedicated to Pope Pius II, consisting of frescoes on the walls and the ceiling is another suggested place to visit.

In this city, there are some spectacular masterpieces of Sienese artists like the ‘Majesty’ by Simone Martini and the frescoes ‘Good and Bad Government’ by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

Anyway, you will find that the main tourist spots are located in between Piazza del Campo and the Cathedral.

And you might as well shop for some local handicrafts while at Siena and roaming on these paths will show you the authentic side of the city too. 

Catania

Photo of the streets in Catania
Photo by Tomas Anton Escobar on Unsplash

Google Maps

Located on the Eastern coast of Sicily in Italy, Catania is near Mount Etna, a must-visit which is the biggest volcano in Europe. The views from the top will take your breath away and there is a couple of guided tours to take tourists to the Volcano. There are special trains and metros to visit Mount Etna too.

Beautiful footage of Catania with Mount Etna in the backdrop

This is a place known for its vibrant culture with its predominant Baroque architecture and exciting nightlife. And Palazzo Biscari is the perfect example of Catanese Baroque architecture and after the earthquake in 1693 which shook the town to its foundations, it was rebuilt by Ignazio Paterno` Castello who also set up his first museum displaying his large archaeological collection.   

The giant elephant statue in ‘Piazza Del Duomo’, the main square in the heart of the city has been the symbol of Catania for the last couple of decades. The Piazza is actually a place with calming vibes where you may just sit and relax but nevertheless it is surrounded by significant monuments that are architectural wonders.

And just above the Piazza Del Duomo is the well-known fish and food market. You shall see that this place is busy most times of the day and if you are up for an experience in the local lifestyle, this market will present the most exotic items and fish food. Catania is known for its local dishes especially Tavola calda and Arancino, a dish with fried rice balls with tomato and cheese are famous dishes that you should give a try. It also possesses famous seafood dishes made from the fish from the famous Fishmarket.

Via Etnea, lined by shops with many types of not only local but also foreign merchandise is the main shopping spot in Catania, so this is a place for a nice stroll.

Another Square is Piazza Stesicoro with the ancient ruins of a Roman amphitheatre and at present, it is the lively main market and a place for local shops. Catania’s main bus stop is at this Square making it an easy access place for you.

Even though there are trains and public buses, exploring this somewhat compact city on foot is preferred. 

Enjoyed the article? You might be also interested in:

24 Amazing Places to Visit in Italy