Visiting Italian cities is always fun. They’re full of history, beautiful buildings and the food is amazing. These are the most beautiful cities in Italy.
Why are Italian cities so great for a visit?
Italian cities are something special. There is always a great atmosphere. Could it be because of the beautiful historic structures? Or that you get delicious food on every corner? In any case, there are plenty of reasons for a city break in Italy.
Italy has a rich history dating back to ancient Rome. You can visit iconic historical sites such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum in Rome, and ancient Pompeii, and go boating on the canals of Venice.
Each city in Italy has its own unique charm, so no matter where you go, you are bound to have a great experience.
The most beautiful cities in Italy
Fancy a fun city break in Italy? These are the perfect cities for a weekend getaway in Italy.
Do you like arts and culture? Then Florence is a perfect match. You will find one of the most famous museums in the world: the Uffizi. A must-visit, but be sure to make reservations early, or you’ll be in line for hours.
In addition, Florence has much more to offer! Other attractions include the medieval bridge Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti with its beautiful gardens, and the impressive Florence Cathedral.
- Hotel tip: Casa Botticelli is practically next door to Palazzo Pitti and has beautifully decorated rooms. Modern with a historical twist.
- Travel guide: Florence Travel Guide 2023 – The Ultimate Pocket Guide to the Art, Architecture, Food and Culture of the Renaissance City.
- Don’t forget: buy your tickets to the Uffizi in advance
One of the most beautiful small towns in Tuscany is Lucca. When you arrive you immediately see the ancient city walls, which you definitely should explore by going on a walk. From the walls, you have a beautiful view of the historic city.
The historic center of Lucca is a maze of narrow, cobbled streets dotted with beautiful churches and medieval towers, such as the famous Torre Guinigi, crowned with a roof of oak trees. Visit the San Martino Cathedral, a stunning example of the city’s religious architecture, and take a break in one of the many picturesque squares, such as Piazza Anfiteatro.
- Hotel tip: Palazzo Dipinto is an insanely beautiful hotel in the center of Lucca.
- Fun to do: discover all the beautiful places in Lucca during this 2-hour guided city tour.
Fair is fair, Pisa is not the most beautiful city in Italy, yet Pisa cannot be missing from this list. Why? As you’re walking into the city, you are inevitably drawn to the famous Piazza dei Miracoli, one of the most beautiful squares in the world.
Here you will find the world-famous leaning Tower of Pisa. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb the 294 steps of the leaning tower for an unforgettable view of the city. There is also more to see in this square, such as the cathedral and baptistery, all magnificent examples of medieval architecture.
It is also fun to take a boat trip on the Arno River and taste the local Tuscan cuisine in one of the many cozy trattorias.
- Where to stay: Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast is a cozy and beautifully decorated B&B in the center of Pisa. It is only a 10-minute walk to the Tower of Pisa.
- Skip the line and book tickets now for your visit to the Tower of Pisa and the Cathedral.
Yes, another one in Tuscany because Siena cannot be missing from this list of the most beautiful cities in Italy either. I myself was pleasantly surprised when I was visiting this gorgeous city. Here you won’t find big avenues like in Rome or Milan, the streets are very narrow and it’s quite hilly.
Walking around Siena, you really feel like you are in a medieval city which is so cool! I was there during the Palio and then the city was full of brightly colored flags. Definitely visit if you are in Siena: the beautiful Piazza del Campo and the impressive Cathedral of Siena.
Tip: visit Siena during the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. A busy, but great celebration!
- Unique place to stay: Hotel Certosa Di Maggiano is a hotel in a former monastery. Beautiful rural location just outside Siena. A perfect base for a vacation in Tuscany. There is also an outdoor pool where you can take a refreshing dip after your city break.
- Skip the line: buy your ticket now for the colorful Cathedral of Siena.
Turin, located in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, is a city that will surprise you. Walking through the wide, tree-lined boulevards and squares, you will discover a city full of grandeur and beautiful architecture. The city’s symbol, the Mole Antonelliana, offers breathtaking views of Turin.
Turin is known for its art and culture, with numerous museums and galleries, including the famous Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum), one of the most important of its kind outside of Cairo. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a traditional Bicerin, a local coffee drink, in one of the city’s historic cafes.
- Hotel tip: Oriana Homèl Torino is a hotel in an unusual building with modern rooms in the city center of Turin.
- Save money and buy the Turin City card. It allows you to use public transportation and visit museums, monuments, castles, fortresses, and royal residences in Turin and Piedmont for free or at a discount.
Genoa, located on the Italian Riviera, is a port city with a rich history and vibrant culture. Walking through the narrow alleys of the historic center, you can feel the ancient seafaring spirit that shaped this city. Visit the majestic Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, a perfect example of Genoa’s multifaceted architecture.
Don’t miss Genoa’s Aquarium, the largest in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. Genoa is also the birthplace of pesto, so be sure to sample a dish with this famous sauce at one of the local trattorias. Genoa is also a good base to explore the beautiful Ligurian coast, with colorful villages such as Portofino and Cinque Terre.
- Hotel tip: Hotel Palazzo Grillo is housed in a beautiful historic building in the center of Genoa.
- Travel Guide: Lonely Planet Pocket Genoa & Cinque Terre
- Fun to do: discover the most beautiful and lesser-known places in the city with this fun tour led by a local storyteller.
Milan is the largest city in northern Italy. Milan is the city of fashion and design, and it is bursting with extraordinary stores. Even if you don’t want to go shopping, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is a must see. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful indoor shopping street in the world.
Next door you will find the most famous landmark in Milan: the Duomo, one of the largest cathedrals in the world. Other must sees in Milan include Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper in the dining room of the convent of Santa Maria Delle Grazie and the medieval Piazza Mercanti.
- Where to stay: Moscova Luxury B&B is a luxurious and colorful Bed & Breakfast in the city center and one of the best places to stay in Milan.
- Travel guide: Lonely Planet Pocket Milan
- Skip the line: buy tickets now for your visit to the Cathedral and climb up to the roof for an amazing view of the city!
Many people know Bergamo as “the cheap airport near Milan,” but the city itself is definitely worth a visit! Città Alta, the old upper town, is an absolute must see. This part of the city are surrounded by imposing Venetian walls that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the heart of this historic core you will discover the majestic Piazza Vecchia, with its elegant Palazzo della Ragione and the magnificent Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Wander the narrow medieval streets full of quaint stores and trattorias serving delicious Italian food. Once you take the cable car to the modern lower town, Città Bassa, you’ll be greeted by a dynamic mix of stylish boutiques, art galleries and cozy cafes. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding Alps. What a wonderful city!
- Hotel tip: GombitHotel is a particularly decorated hotel in Bergamo’s old upper town.
- Fun thing to do: Sample the tastiest dishes on this traditional 3.5-hour food tour.
Read more: 15 awesome things to do in Bergamo Italy
Verona, located in northern Italy, is perhaps the most romantic city in Italy. Walking through the cobblestone streets, you will fall in love with the charm of this city, best known for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Visit Casa di Giulietta, where you can see the famous balcony that inspired the tragic love story.
But Verona is more than just romance. The city has a rich historical background with impressive structures such as the Roman Arena, where opera performances are held in the summer. Other great spots include Piazza dei Signori, Castel San Pietro (especially for the view of the city) and Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore. A wonderful city for a fun city break!
- Lodging: B&B al 19 is a cozy Bed & Breakfast with bright rooms in the historic center of Verona.
- Save now and order the Verona City Card. This allows you to travel for free on public transportation within the city and gain access to many great attractions, including the Arena.
Read more: 10 awesome things to do in Verona
Venice is perhaps the most visited city in Italy. And there’s a good reason for that. Venice is unique. For centuries, visitors from all over the world have come here to see this extraordinary city.
Known as the “city of canals,” Venice is located in a lagoon of the Adriatic Sea. It is a city that seems to float on water, with graceful gondolas gliding gently between pastel-colored palazzos. Here you will find no cars, but romantic bridges and calm waterways that form a timeless backdrop.
From the iconic St. Mark’s Square to the intricate glass art of Murano, Venice is a city full of art, culture and history. Every nook and cranny of the city exudes a unique charm that no other place on earth can match. Come and discover the magic of Venice, the city that has fascinated visitors for centuries with its unique beauty and traditions.
- Hotel tip: H10 Palazzo Canova has modern and beautiful colorful rooms. It is in a great location near the Rialto Bridge.
- Travel Guide: DK Eyewitness Venice and the Veneto
- Fun thing to do: take a boat trip to Murano and Burano Islands. Be on time, this activity fills up quickly!
Read more: A day in Venice: 14 highlights
Not far from Venice is another beautiful city: Padua. There is a very different atmosphere here. It is a pleasant university town full of beautiful sights. Walking through the old streets, you soon come to the impressive Palazzo della Ragione, a historic covered market.
But Padua is best known for Prato della Valle, Italy’s largest square. There are as many as 78 statues in this square. Also worth visiting is the Scrovegni Chapel, a masterpiece by Giotto. Here you can admire beautiful frescoes. And if you want to relax for a while, you can take a stroll through the botanical garden, the oldest of its kind in the world. Padua is a city full of surprises!
- Lodging: InChiostro Rooms&Breakfast is a beautiful accommodation in the old center of Padua. You can use bicycles free of charge.
- Fun thing to do: get to know the city better on this guided walking tour.
Read more: What to do in Padua, Italy? 11 tips!
Bologna is one of my personal favorites for a city break in Italy. Another pleasant university town, it is home to the oldest university in Europe. Climb the imposing medieval towers, the Due Torri, for an unforgettable view of the city. From here you can see the city’s characteristic red roofs very well.
Bologna is also known for its delicious cuisine, sample authentic lasagna or tagliatelle al ragù in one of the many local trattorias. Other beautiful sights include Sette Chiese (seven churches) in Piazza Santo Stefano and Arco Bonaccorsi, the longest portico in the world (4 kilometers long!).
- Hotel tip: Boutique Hotel Casa Faccioli is a cozy hotel with nice views of the city.
- Fun thing to do: get to know Bologna on a 3-hour secret food tour.
Of course, the Italian capital of Rome has to be included in this list of the most beautiful cities in Italy. One weekend is not enough to see all the beauty in this city, so take your time (or just come back several times). I think 4 days in Rome is best for a first visit.
This city is bursting with world-famous buildings and historical sites, not to be missed are the Colosseum one of the seven wonders of the world, the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and of course the Vatican. As you can imagine, the views are stunning. And if you toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, you’re sure to come back again.
- Hotel tip: Hotel Regno (3⭐) has beautiful rooms and is in a great location between the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.
- Travel guide: DK Eyewitness Rome
- Skip the line and buy your tickets now for the Vatican Museums and world-famous Sistine Chapel.
Naples, nestled on the beautiful coast of southern Italy, is a city with a vibrant soul and rich history. Walking through the narrow streets, you will be immersed in the colorful and lively atmosphere. A visit to the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must. Here you will find ancient churches and monuments, such as the magnificent Naples Cathedral.
Also, don’t forget to visit the National Archaeological Museum, which houses one of the most important collections of Greco-Roman art in the world. Naples is famous for its authentic pizza, so don’t miss the chance to taste a real Neapolitan pizza in one of the many pizzerias. And just a stone’s throw away you will find the breathtaking ruins of Pompeii and the beautiful Amalfi Coast. Naples is a city that will not disappoint you in both cultural and culinary terms.
- Hotel tip: Relais Della Porta (4⭐) has beautifully decorated rooms with wood floors and ceiling paintings. The hotel is in a beautiful location in the center of Naples.
- Travel guide: Lonely Planet Naples, Pompeii & the Amalfi Coast
- Best thing to do: go on a day trip to Pompeii and Vesuvius.
Matera, located in the south of Italy, is a city that transports you to another era with its unique and enchanting landscape. Walking through the narrow streets of the Sassi, the ancient cave dwellings, you get a sense of the thousands of years of history carved into these rocks. Carved into the limestone hills and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these historic districts are truly a wonder to behold.
But Matera is more than just the Sassi. The city also has beautiful churches, such as the ruggedly beautiful Duomo that overlooks the city. And don’t forget to sample the delicious local cuisine, with dishes infused with the rich flavors of Basilicata. Matera is a city like no other, a place where you can turn back time and experience a piece of humanity’s oldest history. A magical destination not to be missed.
- Unique lodging: Hotel Residence San Giorgio is housed in one of the original rock houses in Sassi.
- Fun thing to do: guided tour of Sassi di Matera with a small group.
Palermo, the sparkling capital of Sicily, is a city that treats you to a colorful mix of cultures, flavors and architecture. The magnificent Palazzo dei Normanni, the oldest royal palace in Europe, is well worth a visit. Here you can admire the Palatine Chapel, a stunning example of Arab-Norman art.
Palermo is also a paradise for foodies. Sample authentic Sicilian cuisine, from spicy arancini to sweet cannoli, at the many street stalls and restaurants. Don’t forget to take a stroll through the city’s colorful markets, such as the famous Mercato di Ballarò. From its rich history to its vibrant contemporary culture, Palermo is a city that is sure to enchant you.
- Lodging: Bellaroto Suite & SPA is an exceptional accommodation with wellness facilities in downtown Palermo.
- Fun to do: learn more about the city’s history and taste the tastiest specialties on a street food and history walking tour.
Which cities would you still like to visit for a city break in Italy?
Read more about Italy
Would you like to vacation in Italy and are looking for more tips? These are some fine travel guides full of tips.
In addition, you can find more information about a trip to Italy on this website. Check out these articles:
- Northern Italy by train: 2-week itinerary
- Bucket list: these are the most beautiful places in Italy
- Cinque Terre | Everything you need to know
And sign up for the newsletter for more travel tips, travel inspiration, and fun travel stories.
This article was published in April 2018. Last update with even more travel tips: June 2023.
Hi, and how nice of you to read this disclaimer! As you may understand, maintaining a website like this is not free. Therefore, I would love it if you use the links in this article for booking or buying something you like. If you use these links to book or buy anything, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks! Support this website.