Top 15 Must-See Places in Italy

Planning a trip to Italy and looking for some must-see places?

Italy is more than a destination; it’s an experience that stays with you long after you’ve returned home. It is a country synonymous with culture, history, and beauty and offers an array of destinations that promise an unforgettable journey. From the ancient streets of Rome to the romantic canals of Venice, each location tells a story, rich with history and alive with the spirit of Italia.

Here are the 15 stunning places that make Italy a top destination for travelers worldwide. So pack your bags, bring your appetite for adventure, and prepare to fall in love with Italy, one incredible place at a time.

Rome: The Eternal City 

15 must-see places in Italy

Rome promises an immersive journey through its rich history and culture. The heartbeat of Italy and an essential destination on any European adventure, this capital city is a mesmerizing fusion of ancient wonders, artistic masterpieces, and culinary delights.

Step back in time as you explore the remnants of the mighty Roman Empire, with the iconic Colosseum standing as a testament to its grandeur.

Tip: Maximize time spent at the Colosseum on this tour. Learn about the history of ancient Rome from your guide and finish up the tour with a walk through Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.

Marvel at Michelangelo’s divine creations within the sacred walls of the Sistine Chapel, where every brushstroke tells a story of unparalleled brilliance.

Wander through the charming streets adorned with Baroque treasures, and toss a coin into the enchanting waters of the Trevi Fountain to ensure your return to this eternal city. Delve into the heart of Catholicism at Vatican City, where St. Peter’s Basilica reigns supreme as the epitome of architectural magnificence.

Venice: The City of Canals

15 must-see places in Italy

Prepare to fall under the spell of Venice, a truly one-of-a-kind city. This city on the water defies the ordinary with its intricate network of waterways, grand palazzos, and silent gondolas. And no visit to Venice would be complete without a journey to the grandeur of St. Mark’s Basilica, where the Byzantine splendor of its architecture leaves an indelible impression on all who enter its hallowed halls.

Best Venice tours:

  1. Grand Canal by Gondola with Commentary
  2. Murano & Burano Islands Guided Small-Group Tour by Private Boat
  3. Legendary Venice St. Mark’s Basilica with Terrace Access & Doge’s Palace
  4. Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride

Florence: The Cradle of the Renaissance 

Art and architecture take center stage in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Florence isn’t just about its breathtaking scenery; it’s also a haven for art enthusiasts. Step into the world of the Renaissance as you explore museums and galleries showcasing masterpieces by the likes of Michelangelo and other iconic artists of that golden age.

The enchanting Piazza del Duomo is a must-visit spot, home to the awe-inspiring Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. Its magnificent dome is a testament to Florence’s architectural prowess and a sight not to be missed. And don’t forget to stroll along the romantic Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge that offers panoramic views of the tranquil Arno River below.

And here’s a little insider tip: Florence serves as the perfect launchpad for a day trip to the picturesque Chianti wine region. Indulge in the flavors of Tuscany as you sample world-renowned wines amidst rolling hills and vineyards.

Tuscany: A Rustic Escape 

15 must-see places in Italy

The rolling hills of Tuscany provide a rustic escape from the bustle of the cities. Picture-perfect rolling hills adorned with vineyards, olive groves, and medieval hilltop towns await you in Tuscany. Immerse yourself in the region’s rich cultural heritage by exploring charming towns like Siena, with its stunning Gothic architecture and lively piazzas, or San Gimignano, known for its iconic medieval towers that pierce the skyline.

But Tuscany isn’t just about its picturesque towns; it’s also a haven for food and wine enthusiasts. Indulge in the region’s flavors with a visit to a local winery, where you can sample world-renowned wines like Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, paired with exquisite Tuscan cuisine bursting with fresh ingredients and traditional flavors.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Tuscany offers endless opportunities for exploration. Hike through the rugged landscapes of the Apuan Alps or cycle along the picturesque paths of the Val d’Orcia, soaking in the breathtaking views at every turn.

Cinque Terre: A Colorful Coastline 

15 must-see places in Italy

The Cinque Terre, with its five picturesque villages perched on rugged cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea, is a feast for the eyes. Each town – Manarola, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Riomaggiore – is a unique gem waiting to be explored. The colorful houses, terraced vineyards, and breathtaking coastal trails make this a hiker’s paradise.

Hike along the breathtaking coastal trails that connect the villages, taking in panoramic views of the turquoise waters below. Indulge in fresh seafood and local wine at seaside trattorias, and watch the sunset paint the sky in shades of pink and gold.

Ways to tour Cinque Terre: 

  1. Scent of the Sea: Cinque Terre Park Full Day Trip from Florence
  2. Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence with Optional Hiking
  3. Pisa and Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence by Train

Milan: Fashion and Duomo 

Experience the vibrant energy of Milan, Italy’s fashion and culture capital. Marvel at the Gothic grandeur of the Duomo, one of the largest cathedrals in the world, and explore the historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a luxurious shopping arcade dating back to the 19th century. Discover world-class museums and galleries, indulge in gourmet cuisine, and immerse yourself in Milan’s thriving arts scene. Explore the majestic Castello Sforzesco, a medieval fortress housing nearly ten museums and exhibitions that showcase Milan’s rich cultural heritage for a dose of history and art.

Amalfi Coast: Mediterranean Splendor

15 must-see places in Italy

Lose yourself in the timeless elegance of the Amalfi Coast, where pastel-hued villages cascade down steep cliffsides to meet the sparkling Mediterranean below. Spanning over 30 miles of rugged coastline, this enchanting region is home to 13 picturesque seaside towns, each with its unique charm and story to tell.

Positano and Amalfi are two of the gems along the Amalfi Coast. You’ll be drawn in by the vibrant colors and charming streets that give these towns their unique appeal. Immerse yourself in the laid-back coastal lifestyle as you hike along scenic trails, relax on pristine beaches, and indulge in the region’s culinary delights. With multiple Michelin-starred restaurants dotting the coastline, food enthusiasts will delight in the fresh flavors and exquisite dishes that await.

For those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience, head to the hidden gem of Atrani. Nestled between cliffs and sea, this humble fishing village exudes medieval charm with its whitewashed architecture, winding alleys, and authentic Italian ambiance.

Ways to tour the Amalfi Coast: 

  1. Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi Day Trip from Naples with Pick Up.
  2. Amalfi Coast Small-Group Boat Tour From Sorrento.
  3. Pompeii, Amalfi Coast and Positano Day Trip from Rome.

Sicily – A Mediterranean Jewel

Explore the diverse landscapes and rich heritage of Sicily, Italy’s largest island. Discover ancient Greek temples in Agrigento, Roman mosaics in Piazza Armerina, and medieval villages atop rugged hillsides. Indulge in Sicilian cuisine, blending Italian, Greek, and Arab influences, and sample sweet cannoli and savory arancini.

Prepare to be spellbound by Sicily’s pristine waters and sun-kissed beaches, where relaxation and rejuvenation await at every turn. But the island offers more than just seaside bliss; it’s also home to Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano. Whether hiking its rugged slopes in the summer or skiing down its majestic peaks in the winter, Mount Etna promises an unforgettable adventure and breathtaking views.

Ways to tour Tuscany

Book these experiences for a close-up look at Sicily:

  1. Boat Tour in Mondello Bay in Sicily
  2. Palermo Original Street Food Walking Tour by Streaty
  3. Etna Morning Trip
  4. Tour of the island of Ortigia and exploration of sea caves with baths.

Pompeii – Frozen in Time

15 must-see places in Italy

Step back to the ancient city of Pompeii, frozen in time by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Wander through the remarkably well-preserved ruins, marveling at the ancient streets, villas, and temples that offer a glimpse into daily life in the Roman Empire. Don’t miss the haunting plaster casts of the volcano’s victims, preserved for eternity in their final moments.

For the more adventurous souls, a hike to the summit of Mount Vesuvius promises breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples and the Sorrento Peninsula. From the crater’s edge, you’ll witness the raw power of the volcano that forever changed the landscape of Pompeii and the surrounding region.

Ways to tour Pompeii: 

  1. Pompeii Small Group tour with an Archaeologist
  2. Pompeii Day Trip from Rome with Mount Vesuvius or Positano Option
  3. Pompeii, Amalfi Coast and Positano Day Trip from Rome
  4. Pompeii Vesuvius day trip from Naples+Italian light lunch

Lake Como – A Retreat for the Soul:

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life with a visit to Lake Como, a serene retreat nestled amidst the foothills of the Alps—cruise along the lake’s shimmering waters, viewing elegant villas and lush gardens. Explore charming lakeside towns like Bellagio, Varenna, and Como, where cobbled streets and waterfront cafes invite you to linger and soak in the tranquil ambiance.

Lake Como has been a retreat for aristocrats and the wealthy since Roman times. Here are the best tours to book:

  1. Private Boat Tour on the Lake Como
  2. Lake Como – Small Group Day Tour from Milan with Boat Cruise
  3. Lake Como, Bellagio, with Private Boat Cruise Included

Capri – Island Paradise in the Tyrrhenian Sea

15 must-see places in Italy

Escape to the enchanting island of Capri, a timeless haven off the southern coast of Italy that has long captured the hearts of emperors and celebrities alike. Nestled in the azure waters of the Mediterranean, Capri boasts a stunning natural landscape that beckons travelers from around the globe.

Sail around the island’s rugged coastline, passing by dramatic sea caves and towering cliffs. Explore the chic boutiques and upscale restaurants of Capri Town, and take a chairlift ride to the summit of Monte Solaro for panoramic views of the island and beyond. Treat yourself to a taste of local cuisine at one of the island’s acclaimed restaurants, where fresh seafood and Mediterranean flavors take center stage.

Ways to tour Capri:

  1. Day Cruise to Capri Island from Sorrento
  2. Day Tour of Capri Island from Naples with Light Lunch

Lake Garda – Italy’s Largest Lake

Discover the allure of Lake Garda, nestled just 30 miles from the charming city of Verona. Explore charming lakeside towns like Sirmione, known for its thermal baths and medieval castle, and Limone sul Garda, famous for its lemon groves and colorful waterfront. Enjoy water sports like sailing and windsurfing, relax on the lake’s tranquil shores, or lace up your hiking boots and embark on scenic trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. For a truly memorable experience, ride on the funicular to the summit of Mount Baldo or book a full-day Lake Garda Tour. You can also book the Sirmione and Lake Garda Tour from Verona.

Sorrento – Gateway to the Amalfi Coast

15 must-see places in Italy

Experience the charm of Sorrento, a picturesque town perched atop cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples. Stroll through the picturesque piazzas adorned with colorful flowers and bustling cafes, or unwind by the sparkling waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Sorrento is also renowned for its prized lemons, which stand out in the region’s culinary and cultural heritage. Indulge in flavors of authentic limoncello, a lemon-infused liqueur that captures the essence of Sorrento’s sun-kissed groves.

With its unbeatable location and boundless charm, Sorrento is the perfect gateway to some of Italy’s most iconic destinations. Take a boat tour to the island of Capri or explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, all within easy reach from Sorrento.

The best things to do in Sorrento:

  1. Full-day Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, and Pompeii Day Tour from Naples
  2. Sorrento Farm and Food Experience including Olive Oil, Limoncello, Wine tasting
  3. Capri & Blue Grotto Small Group Boat Day Trip from Sorrento
  4. Day Cruise to Capri Island from Sorrento

Verona – City of Romance

Walk in the footsteps of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers in Verona, a city steeped in romance and history. Admire the ancient Roman amphitheater, where opera performances still captivate audiences today, and visit Juliet’s House to see the balcony that inspired one of literature’s most famous love scenes. Explore the charming streets lined with medieval buildings and elegant palaces, and savor the flavors of Veneto cuisine in cozy trattorias. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city is a living testament to its rich cultural heritage.

The best things to do in Verona:

  1. Verona Food & Wine Walking Tour in Small Group
  2. Discover Valpolicella Vineyards and Wine Tasting Experience
  3. Verona Highlights Walking Tour in Small-group
  4. The Amarone Chateau guided tour and tasting in Valpolicella

Sardinia – Jewel of the Mediterranean

15 must-see places in Italy

Discover the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Sardinia, Italy’s second-largest island. Relax on pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters, and explore the rugged coastline dotted with hidden coves and secluded bays.

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Su Nuraxi di Barumini, an impressive complex of ancient stone structures that testify to Sardinia’s rich archaeological heritage, and sample traditional Sardinian cuisine, including hearty stews, savory pastries, and artisanal cheeses.

The best things to do in Sardinia:

Book these experiences for a close-up look at Sardinia:

  1. Su Nuraxi of Barumini World Heritage UNESCO site Tour
  2. Catamaran tour to the Maddalena Archipelago from Cannigione
  3. Guided boat excursion “Sella del Diavolo”. Possible sighting of “Dolphins”
  4. Culurgiones Cooking Class Cagliari
  5. One-Day Guided Boat Tour along the Baunei Coast
  6. Cagliari: cultural walking tour, food and wine tasting experience
  7. Observation of Dolphins and Snorkeling in a rubber boat in Olbia
  8. Guided Electric Bicycle Tour in Cagliari

Portofino – Glamour on the Italian Riviera

15 must-see places in Italy

Experience the glamour and sophistication of Portofino, a beautiful fishing village nestled along the rugged coastline of the Italian Riviera. Marvel at the colorful buildings lining the waterfront and stroll along the scenic harbor filled with luxury yachts and sleek sailboats.

Beyond its stunning coastline, Portofino offers a wealth of cultural and historical treasures waiting to be discovered. Outside the village, you can explore the ancient military fortress of Castello Brown, where panoramic views of the Marina di Portofino await, providing a glimpse into the region’s storied past. For a truly unique experience, journey to the Abbazia di San Fruttuoso, a 10th-century monastery nestled in a secluded cove accessible only by foot or ferry. With tranquil surroundings and breathtaking scenery, you can immerse yourself in centuries of history and tradition.

Unique things to do in Portofino:

  1. Portofino Boat and Walking Tour with Pesto Cooking & Lunch
  2. Snorkel Tour in Paraggi Bay
  3. Tour of Genoa and Day Trip to Portofino from Genoa
  4. Private Boat Tour in Portofino Natural Reserve or Cinque Terre

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15 must-see places in Italy