A trip to the best places to visit in Italy will have you saying, ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ to your bucket list.
You’ve always known Italy as the boot-shaped country renowned for its rich culture and lively people. However, this southern-European nation is widely appealing for a variety of reasons beyond these facets. No matter which region you choose to visit, trekkers find Italy to be a friendly and enriching experience complete with breathtaking views, a deeply-rooted history, and plenty of novel activities. Thus, we’ve created a list of the 12 Best Places to Visit in Italy to guide your tour through this top travel destination for 2018!
Credit: Flickr, Kevin Poh
First things first, we begin our journey in the chic and stylish Milan. The contrast of what Milan once was, and what it is now, is quite astonishing. This is due to the heavy bombing the city endured during World War II. Although nearly destroyed, modern Milan is far from its scarred past and is now one of the wealthiest European cities. As a major fashion capital of the world, Milan houses high-end designer shops and skyscrapers. Even still, those seeking to see beyond the fashion-focus will be happy to hear that the city also hosts Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, the La Scala Opera House, one of the world’s largest Gothic cathedrals, and the Castello Sforzesco. Consequently, Milan is one of Italy’s most popular destinations and you won’t want to miss it!
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Sardinia is one of the nation’s larger islands and also one of the best places to visit in Italy. Beach bums will love that this Mediterranean gem claims some of the region’s best beaches amidst its rugged landscape. Although much of the island has a secluded feel, you are never far from great restaurants and bars — perfect for trying the delicious seafood. For the more educationally-minded, the remains of Sardinia’s ancient past makes itself available for a history lesson — including Carthaginian ruins, Roman ruins, Spanish Baroque architecture, Pisan churches, and more. Hence, Sardinia reflects the diverse amalgamation of cultures that has arisen from the island’s mid-Mediterranean location. Beauty and diversity are only two reasons to add this stop to your itinerary!
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Quickly pinpointed as the “football” to the mainland “boot,” Sicily is a diamond in the rough waiting to be discovered. For starters, Sicily’s location affords it a mild climate that suits travel year-round. A two mile trip across the Straits of Messina, Sicily is a worthwhile stop along your Italian journey. Despite needing to make separate travel arrangements to get here, Sicily is one of the best places to visit in Italy. Trekkers delight to find that this top travel destination is a unique mesh of cultures, a fact highlighted by the coexistence of Greek temples, Norman churches, and Baroque palazzos. In addition to having great beaches on the Southern coast, Sicily is also home to Europe’s tallest active volcano — Mount Etna. With history and hospitality, Sicily is a prime holiday hot-spot.
4. The Italian Lake District
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Situated in Northern Italy, the Italian Lake District was quickly identified by the ancient Romans as the perfect holiday destination. The multiple lakes are characterized by their flat geography in the southernmost ends and their more mountainous terrain closer to where the lakes extend into the Alps. Additionally, the temperate weather and beautiful setting are the perfect destination for those in need of some true R&R. Lake Como proves to be one of the most popular and best places to visit in Italy. The forested slopes rise high above the water’s edge, and it’s not uncommon to see sweeping villas, hotels, and sailboats all around. Although not as popular, Lake Maggiore makes an equally as beautiful and slightly more peaceful option than Lake Como. In fact, this lake is complete with several family resorts. Whichever lake you choose, the Italian Lake District is one of the most popular places in Italy and a necessary pit-stop on your Italian tour.
5. Cinque Terre
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Cinque Terre translates to ‘Five Lands’ and is aptly named for the five villages which inhabit the locale. Specifically, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso, and Corniglia offer Italian hospitality to travelers in search of the best places to visit in Italy. Stunning scenery made of steep cliffs, wine terraces, and coastal views characterize the quaint area. Ample hiking paths wind along the coast to present the best photo-ops to trekkers. For a path that is perfect for everyone in your group, opt for the Blue Trail, a paved path that connects all five villages. Although Cinque Terre contains fewer beaches than destinations such as the Amalfi Coast, activities such as boat tours make this one of the best places to visit in Italy.
Credit: Flickr, Sam Valadi
When in Rome, do as the Romans do! That’s not terrible advice — seeing as no trip to Italy is complete without a stop in Rome. Even still, there is so much to do here that it could take years to try it all! History buffs love that Rome offers the opportunity to see key historical sites such as the Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo, plazas, cathedrals, and abundant Renaissance architecture. Additionally, Rome houses the independent Vatican City, home to Catholicism and its leader, the Pope. For a better taste of your surroundings, foodies will be pleased to learn that Rome has the most Michelin-star restaurants in Italy. As the center of the Roman empire and a beacon of culture, power, and religion for more than 2,500 years, Rome is one of the best cities in Italy to visit.
7. The Amalfi Coast
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The Amalfi Coast is a collection of 13 seasides towns and is also one of the top destinations in Italy. This southwestern region of Campania sits upon the coastline between Sorrento and Ravello, and is a must-see for travelers. 30 miles feature picturesque bays, cliffs, gardens of lemon trees, villas, and resorts. Amalfi is one of the larger towns of the area, and is best known for its many plazas and restaurants. For a romantic hot-spot, head to Positano for pebbled beaches, mountains, and pretty pastel houses. Similarly, Ravello offers beaufitul villas, gardens, and art. No matter which town you choose, the entire Amalfi Coast is one of the best places to visit in Italy!
Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Sergey Ashmarin
Long ago, Mount Vesuvius buried the Roman city of Pompeii in volcanic ash in a major eruption. For 1700 years, the remnants of Pompeii sat untouched until excavation began in 1748. Even still, the ruins have not yet been totally unearthed. Pompeii’s close proximity to Naples makes this an easy addition to your Italian adventure. The city is not only a great historical sight, but also a a reminder of what once was. Either way you call it, Pompeii is one of the best places to visit in Italy. Travelers walk the ancient streets, envisioning the hustle and bustle of Pompeii’s residents entering baths, brothels, and houses. Tours narrate the ruins and bring to life the final moments leading up to the city’s demise. For this reason, history buffs in particular will not want to miss one of the best tourist attractions in Italy!
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The Tuscan Valley is one of the most famous places to visit in Italy, and it’s not difficult to understand why! Although perhaps best known for its wine, Tuscany offers much more than simply rolling hills and vineyards. For wine tasting, travelers will want to head to Chianti before setting out for the medieval city of Siena to take in beautiful art. A great day adventure lays in Pisa where the Leaning Tower resides. However, those in search of true relaxation love Elba, the largest of the Tuscan Islands, for its lovely beaches. Regardless of your travel speed and personality, Tuscany serves up beautiful scenery, tasty vino, and art all within close proximity. Don’t forget to stop by Florence while in the area (more on that to come!).
Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Ian Furst
As we mentioned above, the Tuscan Valley is also home to the city of Florence, one of the best places to visit in Italy. Florence birthed the Renaissance and as a result, has always been a hip and popular destination for those seeking knowledge and art. Home to quirky shops, crafts, and museums, Florence boasts a small town feel in what is actually an extremely large city. The Piazza del Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, and Ponte Vecchio are notable sites of interest for those seeking to add historical context to their world-wind tour. The unique feel of Florence makes it one of the best places to visit in Italy.
Credit: Flickr, Michele Landi
Naples is, by far, one of the coolest and best cities in Italy. This top destination is one of the busiest metropolitan areas and represents some of our favorite aspects of Italian culture. To enumerate, this hub of the Campania region is noteworthy for its availability of art, historic sites, shops, restaurants, and hip nightlife. Furthermore, Naples claims the award as being the source of spaghetti, parmigiana, pizza. (Apparently Naples is the reason we love carbs!) For extra activities, the Bay of Naples and Pompeii are nearby and help complete this as one of the best places to visit in Italy.
Credit: Flickr, Shaun Dunmall
Last, but certainly not least, on our list of the best places to visit in Italy is Venice. Built on a lagoon amidst the Adriatic Sea, Venice sits in northeastern Italy. An 118-island archipelago connected by bridges and canals comprises this enchanting city. The most famous canal is the Grand Canal which divides the city into two sections. Saint Mark’s Square and Bascilica, Doge’s Palace, and the Rialto Bridge are simply a few of the must-see sights in Venice. While the city’s main areas can be extremely congested (gondola jam anyone?), a quieter atmosphere is only a bridge or boat ride away. Lucky for trekkers, a water taxi is never far away to take you to your desired Venetian hole-in-the-wall. Thereby, this romantic city is one of the most popular places in Italy.
Start 2018 the right way by booking your tickets to the best places to visit in Italy!
How long has Italy been sitting at the top of your bucket list? Because this country delivers unforgettable experiences, you won’t feel guilty for adding a few more of the of the top Italian destinations to your itinerary. The rich culture abounds with a residency of citizens passionate about everything from love to art to food, and everything in between. With tasty food, friendly locals, a beautiful landscape, and an interesting history, each region boasts at least one locale that can be considered the best place to visit in Italy. Live out your travel dreams and book your tickets today. Italy awaits!
Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to the Amalfi Coast, Italy