Are you planning a trip to Italy? If so, be prepared to fall in love with an extraordinary country. The food, the wine, the history, the art and architecture, the quaint, hillside towns in Tuscany, and the underrated Dolomites…there is something here for everyone.
Best Places to Visit in Italy
There is so much history, so much art, and so many amazing sites to visit that Rome cannot be missed.
Top Experiences: The Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, and the Borghese Museum.
How Long: You can hit the main sites in a rushed, one day tour of the city. Three to five days is ideal to see most of what Rome has to offer, as wells as exploring its nooks and crannies.
Florence is the art capital of the world. It is also a gorgeous city best seen by climbing its numerous towers.
Top Experiences: See Michelangelo’s David, climb the Duomo, tour the Uffizi Gallery, stroll across Ponte Vecchio, eat lots of gelato, and watch the sunset over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo.
How Long: You can race through the best of Florence in one day, however, two to three days allows you to slow down and visit some worthwhile off-the-beaten-path spots.
Oh, Tuscany, how we fell in love with you. With scenic, picturesque hillside towns rising up amidst vineyards and rolling hills, Tuscany is gorgeous and a joy to explore. You could easily spend one week in Tuscany, settling down in a Tuscan villa, with day trips out to the surrounding towns.
Best Experiences: Tour the hill towns, like San Gimignano, Montalcino, Montepulciano, and Pienza.
How Long: Give yourself at least two to three days, longer if you can.
Technically, Siena is a hill town in Tuscany. But it is such a great place to visit that it deserves its own mention. Siena is similar to Florence, but quieter and smaller. We actually liked Siena more than Florence. There’s just something about this town that we fell in love with. You may fall in love with it too.
Best Experiences: Wander the cobblestoned streets, overlook Siena from Torre del Mangia, visit the Siena Cathedral, and spend time in Il Campo.
How Long: It’s easy to visit Siena as a day trip from Florence or Tuscany. If you have more time, spend at least one night here to really experience Siena.
Milan is home to the Duomo, world-class museums, trendy shopping areas, and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” This city is undergoing an architectural Renaissance and it is worth even a few hours on the fastest of itineraries.
Best Experiences: Walk of the roof of the Duomo, see Da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” go shopping at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
How Long: One day or more. Milan makes a nice day trip if you are traveling between cities such as Florence, Venice, Lake Como, and the Cinque Terre.
Nestled at the foot of the Alps, Lake Como is one of Italy’s most romantic spots. Leave the hustle and bustle of Italy’s cities behind on a visit here.
Best Experiences: Explore the town of Varenna, visit classy Bellagio, tour the gardens, and ride Funicolare Como-Brunate for unforgettable views of Lake Como.
How Long: Lake Como is a very easy day trip from Milan. With more time, spend the night in Bellagio and have fun wandering the picturesque streets once all the day trippers leave for the day.
Venice is one of our favorite spots in Italy. Why? It is small and compact, perfect to be explored with just a few days time. Venice is romantic, historic, and gorgeous. The canals, the gondolas, the architecture, the colorful towns of Murano and Burano…what is not to love?
Best Experiences: Wander along the canals, take a gondola ride through the city, see St. Mark’s Square, walk across the Rialto Bridge, and visit the Doges’ Palace and Saint Mark’s Basilica.
How Long: At least one day to see the best of Venice. Two to three days is ideal.
The Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s most scenic spots. It is here that five colorful, gorgeous towns precariously sit on the hills that tumble into the Mediterranean Sea. Hike it or hop from town to town by train…this is a gorgeous spot to explore in Italy.
Best Experiences: Exploring the five towns…Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, Manarola, and Corniglia.
How long: In one day you can hike or take the train, connecting all five towns. With more time, pick one town and make this your home base. As the sun begins to set, many tourists leave, making the towns quieter and more interesting to explore.
Verona is the famed city where Romeo and Juliette takes place. It is also an overlooked destination on many itineraries. Verona is a gorgeous spot and well worth a visit.
Best Experiences: Walk across Ponte Scaligero, visit Piazza delle Erbe, visit the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, overlook Verona from Piazzale Castel San Pietro, and stroll through the town in the evening (the passieggiata).
How Long: One day to see the best of Verona and stay overnight if you can.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is world famous. But is it really worth the visit? We say yes, but only if you already have plans to be in the area. Pisa is worth a quick stop if you are traveling from Florence to the Cinque Terre. Take two hours to pose for photos (along with tons of other travelers) and maybe even climb the tower.
Best Experiences: Climb the tower if heights and vertigo is not an issue for you.
How Long: You can visit Pisa in two hours if you are traveling between cities like Florence and the Cinque Terre.