7 Popular Cities to Visit in Italy

Italy is one of the most beautiful, as well as historic, countries in the entire world. If you are looking for a destination for your next trip with your family, Italy should definitely be a top contender. However, first-time visitors may be at a loss for what cities to include on their itinerary. So if you aren’t sure where to spend your time, here are some of the best cities to visit in Italy.

1. Rome

Trevi Fountain, Rome
Trevi Fountain, Rome

Rome, the capital of Italy, is brimming with over two and a half thousand years worth of history. From medieval churches and museums to ancient monuments, stunning fountains and breathtaking palaces, you’ll be hard-pressed to decide on which historical landmark to see first.

Ancient sites such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Forum Romanum are at the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. The combination of history and architecture has a strong pull for people. Others are interested in more modern yet religious sites, such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Of course, the Vatican is geographically surrounded by Rome. And every visitor to Rome should take in iconic sites such as the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.

Colosseum in Rome, at night
Colosseum in Rome, at night

There’s so much to Rome that you could spend months exploring its treasures, but many of us don’t have that kind of time and availability! So check this itinerary to see exactly what you can do in Rome in just 2 days.

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2. Venice

Gondolas on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy
Gondolas on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

If you’re looking for a unique place to vacation, Venice should definitely be on your itinerary. It is a beautiful city built in the middle of a lagoon at the north end of the Adriatic Sea. Venice is most well-known for having canals instead of roads, and the beautiful gondolas that traverse them. Water travel is such an ingrained part of the city that Venice’s nickname is “The Floating City”.

Attractions include St. Mark’s Basilica, which sits on the square of the same name. The Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs are famous landmarks. But when you visit Venice, you simply must take a gondola ride on the grand canal. It can be especially romantic for couples, but families and friends enjoy the famous boat rides just as much.

Foodies will delight in the fresh seafood offerings found in this seaside city.

3. Florence

Florence skyline showing the Brunelleschi Dome
Florence skyline showing the Brunelleschi Dome of Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Florence is known as a doorway to the Tuscan region, but it has also earned a name for itself as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Art lovers shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit the various art and architectural centers found here, with museums such as Galleria dell’Accademia, where you can see Michelangelo’s famous status David.

Among the architectural wonders found in Florence are the Palazzio Vechiio, the town ball; Piazza della Signoria, the square it sits on; and Il Duomo, a cathedral also known as Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

Food is not to be taken lightly in Florence, either. This city is home to some of the best gelato in the entire world! And meat lovers will delight in the Florentine steak, Florence’s signature dish.

4. Milan

Aerial view of Milan, Italy showing the Castello Sforzesc
Aerial view of Milan, Italy showing the Castello Sforzesc

Milan is one of the richest cities in all of Europe. Milan is widely known as the world’s fashion capital, and the sheer number of chic shops and boutiques found in this city will tell you why. Of course, Milan is also home to several galleries and outstanding restaurants. If you’re looking for some cultural and artistic heritage, check out La Scala, Sforza Castle and Duomo.

5. Naples

The coast in Naples, Italy
The coast in Naples, Italy

Naples is the largest city in all of southern Italy, and is one of the most vibrant. It is much more than a gateway to the Isle of Capri and Pompeii. Naples is actually the birthplace of pizza! The city is full of restaurants and cafes offering mouthwatering pizzas cooked in wood burning ovens, so make sure to grab some delicious Naples food!

If you’re an architecture and history lover, check out the Naples Cathedral and the National Archaeological Museum. For beach lovers, Naples is a great jumping-off spot for the Amalfi Coast.

6. Bologna

The Bologna, Italy skyline featuring the Two Towers
The Bologna, Italy skyline featuring the “Two Towers”

Bologna, the capital of northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, is widely known for its world-class cuisine, lavishness, and beauty. Bologna has earned a reputation as “The Stomach of Italy”, and both locals and tourists will agree that it’s always difficult to say no to more food—even when full. If you’re looking for some history, visit the city’s medieval center and some of Europe’s oldest universities.

7. Verona

Aerial view of Verona, Italy
Aerial view of Verona, Italy

Verona is known primarily as being the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. However, Italy’s third largest city has so much more to offer. Verona is home to a world-renowned opera festival, as well as an outstanding medieval center, castle complex, and Roman coliseums.

We hope this guide has helped you decide which cities in Italy you want to include in your travel plans. Of course, it may be that you want to see them all, and if so, good for you! They each have something special to offer, and are sure to make your Italian vacation one to remember.

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