11 best places to visit in Italy

Experience culinary delights, postcard-perfect scenery and centuries of captivating history.

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There is no shortage of attractions, wine or places to visit in Italy for every type of traveler. From the top food and wine regions in the world to towering volcanoes and designer boutiques, Italy can surprise and delight art lovers, hikers, foodies, history buffs and everyone else.

11 unforgettable places to visit in Italy

venice

1. Venice: Best for architecture and seafood

View stunning Renaissance and Gothic architecture from Piazza San Marco or on a walk along cobblestone streets.

  • Closest airport: Fly into the Aeroporto di Venezia Marco Polo, and you have an eight-mile boat or bus ride away.
  • Top five things to do:
    • Ride a gondola
    • Wander around Piazza San Marco
    • Witness Venetian glass blowing
    • Walk along the Grand Canal
    • Eat like a local.
  • How long do I need? Two to four days.
  • Recommended tour: A Venice walking tour and gondola ride guides you through the narrow alleyways and floats down the Grand Canal to spots off the beaten path.

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florence

2. Florence: Best for food, wine and art

Marvel at the world-famous Duomo while nibbling on local food and sipping Tuscan wine.

  • Closest airport: Fly from Rome in 55 minutes, take a train from Milan in one hour or Venice in two hours.
  • Top five things to do:
    • Climb the Duomo and Bell Tower
    • Take in the view from Piazzale Michelangelo
    • See Michelangelo’s David
    • Admire the art in Uffizi Gallery
    • Learn about the art of making leather.
  • How long do I need? One to three days.
  • Recommended tour: Experience The Best of Florence on a walking tour and more with a super saver pass that includes a walking tour and entrance to two of the most famous galleries in the city.

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rome

3. Rome: Best for history and architecture

Experience more than 3,000 years of history at ruins like the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon.

  • Closest airport: Leonardo da Vinci International Airport is to the west and is about a 50 minutes away. The Ciampino Giovan Battista Pastine Airport is smaller, but takes the same amount of time to get to the city center.
  • Top five things to do:
    • Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
    • Visit the ruins of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum
    • Gawk at the Pantheon
    • Visit Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel
    • Eat your weight in pasta
  • How long do I need? Three to four days.
  • Recommended tour: A Best of Rome Afternoon Walking Tour has an expert lead you around the city to historic sites such as the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, finishing up with gelato.

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milan

4. Milan: Best for urban sights and shopping

Shop high-end fashion like Dolce & Gabbana and Prada, and dine at Italian 5-star cafés.

  • Closest airport: The Malpensa Airport is 50 minutes away on the Malpensa Express. Or you can take the Milan Linate Airport — one of the world’s largest — and is a quick 30 minutes distance.
  • Top five things to do:
    • Visit the Milan Cathedral (Duomo)
    • See The Last Supper up close
    • Stop by Castello Sforzesco
    • Take in the architecture of the Monumental Cemetery
    • Window shop at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • How long do I need? One to three days.
  • Recommended tour: A Best of Milan Walking Tour takes you to must-see sites such as The Last Supper and La Scala.

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amalfi

5. Amalfi Coast: Best for beach lovers and cuisine

Mediterranean paradise with steep cliffs, hiking trails and private beaches.

  • Closest airport: The Naples airport is the closest way to fly to the Amalfi Coast, at about and 1.5-hour bus ride.
  • Top five things to do:
    • Take a cruise through the turquoise waters
    • Visit Capri Island
    • Hike and drink in the coastal views
    • Relax on the beaches
    • Spend some time in Positano
  • How long do I need? Two to three days.
  • Recommended tour: Try the Sorrento Coast and Capri boat tour to travel to the best villages along the coast to marvel at architecture and relax.

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pompeii

6. Pompeii: Best for history

Wander through 79AD in this preserved ancient city.

  • Closest airport: Fly into Naples Airport and drive a quick 20 minutes to this ancient city.
  • Top five things to do:
    • Visit the Lupanar
    • See the Forum Baths
    • See the frescoes at the Villa of the Mysteries
    • Walk through the Forum
    • Visit the Garden of the Fugitives
  • How long do I need? One day.
  • Recommended tour: Experience Pompeii on a guided walking tour where you can explore the ruins and learn about Mount Vesuvius and the rich history of Pompeii.

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cinque terre

7. Cinque Terre: Best for hiking and scenery

Explore the Italian Riviera coastline with its colorful villages and fishing boats.

  • Closest airport The closest airport is Pisa International Airport, a 1.5-hour train ride.
  • Top five things to do:
    • Hike from Manarola
    • Visit the Cinque Terre National Park
    • Enjoy a boat tour
    • See the Church of San Francesco
    • Take a cooking class
  • How long do I need? One to three days.
  • Recommended tour: Take a Cinque Terre Full Immersion Tour led by a local guide to experience all five towns.
  • Find flights to Cinque Terre (Pisa)

    sicily

    8. Sicily: Best for scenery, beaches and food

    Breathe in vistas of Mount Etna and enjoy dinner on the coast on this island “off the boot.”

    • Closest airport: Choose from one of its two international airports, depending on where you plan to visit. Catania-Fontanarossa is on the western side of the island, while Palermo Airport is on the east.
    • Top five things to do:
      • Ski down or hike up Mount Etna
      • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Valley of the Temples
      • See the mosaics in Villa Romana del Casale
      • Try the local street food
      • Visit one of Italy’s best beaches at Mondello Lido.
    • How long do I need? 10 days to two weeks.
    • Recommended tour: You can’t possibly see this large island in one day. This nine-day Treasures of Sicily takes you wine tasting and shows you Mount Etna and other must-see cities and sites.

    Find flights to Sicily (Palermo)

    naples

    9. Naples: Best for art and food

    Marvel at historical castles and palaces with centuries of architecture — and delight your taste buds in the city where pizza was born.

    • Closest airport Fly minutes from the city center into Naples Airport.
    • Top five things to do:
      • Eat pizza until you can’t walk
      • Pop across to the island of Capri
      • Climb Mount Vesuvius
      • See the ruins of Herculaneum
      • Check out underground Naples
    • How long do I need? One to two days.
    • Recommended tour: See the best of the city on a Naples Food Tasting Walking Tour to experience the culinary delights of Naples and see historic sites.
    • Find flights to Naples

      tuscany

      10. Tuscany: Best for food and wine

      Don’t miss Italy’s medieval hilltop towns overlooking hills of vineyards.

      • Closest airport Fly into Pisa’s Galileo Galilei International Airport or the smaller Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport.
      • Top five things to do:
        • Pose with the leaning tower of Pisa
        • Indulge in a wine tour
        • Eat your way through the region
        • Visit the city of Siena
        • Make a pilgrimage to La Verna
      • How long do I need? Five days to a week
      • Recommended tour: The Tuscany in One-Day Sightseeing Tour takes you through the stunning countryside, to a Gothic cathedral in Siena, to Pisa and to a wine estate for lunch.

      Find flights to Tuscany (Pisa)

      lake como

      11. Lake Como: Best for scenery

      Set against the Alps, the region’s largest lake is home to upscale resorts and picturesque Renaissance architecture.

      • Closest airport Milan Linate Airport is a 2.5-hour ride away.
      • Top five things to do:
        • Stroll the streets of Bellagio
        • Check out luxury villas such as Villa Melzi and Villa Carlotta
        • Cruise across the lake
        • Take a food tour or cooking class
        • Visit the Duomo of Como
      • How long do I need? Two to four days.
      • Recommended tour: Visit a villa, explore and boat your way around Lake Como visiting the towns of Bellagio and Varenna on a Lake Como day tour.

      Find flights to Lake Como (Milan)

      Off-the-grid places to visit in Italy

      In search of lesser-known gems — and food at half the price? Check out:

      • Castelmezzano. Nestled into a mountainside, this village is connected to nearby Pietrapertosa by the Volo dell’Angelo, a high-wire, high-speed zip line.
      • Locorotondo. Take a couple of hours to get lost and enjoy this quiet, pretty town and indulge in the city’s famous white wine.
      • Orvieto. A charming hilltop town halfway between Rome and Florence with vineyards and olive groves complete the landscape.
      • Porto Ercole. Perched on Tuscany’s seaside, this village is perhaps most famous for the mysterious death of Baroque master Caravaggio.
      • Procida. Ten miles north of Capri, you’ll find this unpretentious fishing village for seafood worth salivating over.

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      Bottom line

      Whether you’re wandering through the Duomo of Florence or gazing at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy’s particular flavor of old-world romance and new-age chic is unrivaled across the globe.

      The best way to see it? An old-school road trip: renting a car and winding from place to place.

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