Best places to visit in Italy for summer vacation

People around the globe come to see Italy’s beautiful sights since it is a meld of culture, tradition, and scenic beauty. To get the authentic taste of Italy, you should take advantage of the best places to see in Italy; these are where you can taste a slice of Italy, its food, culture and ancient sites. Each area tells a tale and your Italy bucket list should include some if not all of these well worth a visit locations.

Scenic picture-postcard view of famous Amalfi Coast with Gulf of Salerno from Villa Rufolo gardens in Ravello, Campania, Italy

Italy is a country blessed with incredible scenery. There is everything, from the cold peaks, covered with snow, of the Dolomites in the North to the warm beaches of Sicily in the South. If  you are into set-jetting you must head to Tropea where you can visit the areas where White Lotus was filmed. 

Italy is excellent, yet its landscapes are not the only reason that attracts those who come. Beautiful places in Italy range from streets that contain ancient ruins and modern coffee shops, and you can move from Renaissance to contemporary art galleries in the blink of an eye.

Vintage cafe on the corner of the old city in Italy

If  you are visiting Italy for the first time it’s all about letting yourself indulge in a slow-paced Italian lifestyle, be it a long and Italian slow-cooked dinner in a Tuscan farmhouse, admiring the beauty of Rome’s buildings, or just eating gelato as you stroll through a historical village’s cobblestone streets even more so if you are travelling to Italy in summer when the festivals, concerts and markets take over the streets from early morning until the late evenings.

The top places to visit in Italy reveal this country’s beauty to its fullest. There is a vast variety of things to do in Italy. From the peaceful lakes of Como to the streets of Florence filled with history to the dramatic Amalfi Coast, you can find everything in Italy. 

For those looking to explore this magnificent country thoroughly, a 12 days Italy itinerary can offer a well-rounded experience, covering significant landmarks and unknown cities and offering insights into the local lifestyle.

Best places to visit in Italy
Castle Vecchio at summer night in Verona, Italy

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Map of Italy – with a list of the best places to visit

A map showing the locations in italy.

The best places to visit in Italy

1.     Venice: The City of Canals

In Northern Italy Venice is a stunning example of the Italians’ creativity and for its sheer beauty and art it is one of the places in the world to visit. A gondola ride around the city’s canals is a great way to see its elegant structures in water, making you imagine a town as artistic as its paintings. St. Mark’s Square, with its Byzantine mosaics, is a hub of cultural and social life, while the Rialto Bridge offers picturesque views and a glimpse into the bustling market life. You can find cute bookstores and cosy coffee shops serving the best Italian coffee by exploring Venice’s charming alleys and hidden places.

Take some time to see the Libreria Acqua Alta, one of the unique bookshops in the world because all the books are piled up on shelves, bathtubs and gondolas to protect from the Venice floods.

A man in a boat on water with buildings and a boat, showcasing one of the best places to visit in Italy.

Visit Burano, Venice’s bustling neighbour, to complete the experience. The colourful fishermen’s houses and elaborate lace-making in Burano have made it famous. Burano is easily accessible from Venice to Burano by ferry, making it a perfect half-day trip to explore the more peaceful and artisanal aspects of the Venetian lagoon. This trip shows the striking contrast between Venice’s majesty and Burano’s simplicity. It also gives you a look into the traditional craftsmanship that has been kept alive over the years.

A gondola on the water, one of the best places to visit in Italy.

Where to stay in Venice

Stay at the Centauro Hotel, a fabulous location- close to the Rialto Bridge.

2.     Rome: The Eternal City

Rome is a city in Southern Italy which combines history and modernity, offering you a trip back into the ancient past and, at the same time, keeping you firmly grounded in the buzzing present. No first trip to Italy would be complete without a visit to Rome. The breathtaking Colosseum symbolises the might of ancient Rome, and a walk through the Forum can almost make one feel like one is hearing the whispers of bygone days. With a history stretching back 28 centuries, Rome stands as one of Europe’s most ancient inhabited cities, and undoubtedly one of the best places in Italy to explore.

The Pantheon, one of the best places to visit in Rome, Italy.

The Vatican City goes beyond its spiritual roots to offer a world filled with remarkable art and fascinating historical stories. The Sistine Chapel stands out, showcasing Michelangelo’s incredible ceiling that speaks volumes of artistic brilliance and heavenly muse. For an authentic slice of daily Roman culture, wander to the Trastevere neighbourhood. There, the delightful smell of fresh pizza invites you to dive deeper into the local way of life.

Night view at St. Peter's cathedral in Rome, Italy

Where to stay in Rome

Stay at the Sonder Piazza di Spagna, in the centre of Rome. Quirinal Hill, Spagna Metro Station, and Via Condotti are all popular places to visit close to the hotel. 

3.     Florence: The Cradle of Renaissance

There is some truly stunning art and architecture in Florence. The city represents the Renaissance period in all its glory. The Duomo is a sight to behold when viewing the city skyline. 

A view of Florence, one of the best places to visit in Italy, from an open window.

You can learn about great artists like Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Botticelli in the Uffizi Gallery. Florence offers a sensory experience beyond just its visual beauty. Spend time in the leather markets, breathe in the scent of truffles as they pass through the busy markets, and savour the flavours of a classic Florentine steak. These are all examples of the city’s rich culinary history.

Where to stay in Florence

Stay at the Boutique Hotel del Corso, which offers a central location. This accommodation is right beside the Dante Museum, and the Uffizi Museum is located at a distance of 500 meters.

4.     Tuscany: A Rural Escape

The hills of Tuscany will take you back to a period where time stands still, and the nature around is in focus. This area, covered with grapevines and old farmhouses, is the soul of Italy’s wine region. If you have time, savour a Chianti tasting experience at a local vineyard. Some of the best food in Italy is to be found here in Tuscany, take the time to try a cooking class or tour some of the agri-tourism sites and make sure you check out some of the local markets.

A city with many buildings, trees, and some of the best places to visit in Italy.

The medieval towns of Siena and San Gimignano, with picture-perfect squares and streets, are proof of the region’s strong history. The simple pleasures of life are cherished here– who doesn’t like a wonderful meal, a gorgeous sunset and the joy of being in one of the most beautiful places on earth?

A view of a vineyard in Tuscany, one of the best places to visit in Italy.

5.     Cinque Terre: Coastal Beauty

Cinque Terre, a string of five vivid fishing villages on the Italian Riviera, is the most picturesque scene of colours and life. These slopes, full of vineyards and olive trees, almost fall into the azure of the Mediterranean Sea, as if you were watching a canvas from a distance. 

Best places to visit in Italy

A hike through the villages from one to another reveals the secret coves and beaches that are not easy to distinguish, while their food, mostly fish-based, with pesto, proves what the Ligurian sea can provide. Cinque Terre is one of trhe most remarkable spots in Italy – the land where harmony between man and nature is at its best, and it is a place you have to see for yourself to believe it. 

6.     Amalfi Coast: Mediterranean Heaven

Amalfi Coast is adorned with dazzling seas and breathtaking cliffs. The drive along the coastal road is a thriller, with 8 hairpin turns and fantastic views. With its colourful houses cascading down to the sea, Positano offers chic boutiques and seaside cafes, while Amalfi, the heart of the coast, invites guests to explore its cathedral and busy square. Ravello, located high above the water, is the ideal place to rest, where magnificent villas and gardens provide a stunning sea view.

Best places to visit in Italy

7.     Milan: Fashion and Design

Milan, where the best fashion is mixed with age-old culture, is a seat of modernity and tradition. The majestic Duomo’s gothic spires standing tall in the sky contrast the contemporary designs in Milan’s Quadrilatero d’Oro, the fashion district. Modern luxury brands and innovative design firms stand with centuries-old opera houses, including the renowned Teatro Alla Scala. 

A group of people standing in an ornately decorated shopping mall, one of the best places to visit in Italy.

Milan is not simply about fashion; it is a city where food is just as fine as clothing. From Milanese-style risotto to the newest culinary trends of Italian cuisine, eating in Milan is the perfect balance of elegance and enjoyment. On the way back from the bustling journey to art galleries and museums, the city’s exciting nightlife and savvy aperitivo bars are perfect for unwinding.

The interior of a shopping mall with a glass ceiling, regarded as one of the best places to visit in Italy.

Stay at the Mandarin Oriental a five star luxury hotel which offers a central location. The hotel entrance is on a quiet side-street in the fashionable Quadrilatero district. La Scala Opera House and the Duomo are a short walk away.

8.     Sicily: A Cultural Melting Pot

Sicily stands at the crossroads of people and civilisations. Its multicultural diversity can be seen in its architecture, which ranges from the Greek temples of Agrigento to the Norman cathedrals of Palermo. Sicily’s panoramas are equally diverse, from the rough monoliths of Mount Etna to the softness of the sand on the beaches.

A rocky cliff overlooking the ocean, one of the best places to visit in Italy.

As evidenced by the island’s food, which reflects this diversity, one finds a melange of flavours where Arab spices mingle with fresh Mediterranean products. Your trip to Sicily would only be complete once you look further into its smaller islands, such as the Aeolian Islands, where the sea and sun are part of daily life. Sicily enchants with its multifaceted heart, taking the traveller to explore history and taste.

9.     Lake Como: Serene Beauty

Lake Como is an oasis of serenity and magnificence in the Lombardy region. The milky-blue water of the lake, surrounded by the Alps, provides an unmatched landscape. With their peculiar spirit, the Lakeland towns call for slow travel. Bellagio, often called the ‘Jewel of the Lake’, has cobbled streets and majestic gardens, while Varenna has a picturesque waterfront and villas. Lake Como is an ideal spot for those wishing to slow down and enjoy the beauty of nature. This lake is filled with stillness and has become an escape for artists and writers.

A statue of a woman by a lake in one of the best places to visit in Italy.

10.  Verona: The City of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, one of the most tragic plays written by Shakespeare, had its stage here. This city is very famous for its romantic and historical value. While a reminder of the imaginary one, the balcony of Juliet’s home gives people a chance to experience the romantic mood surrounding the whole town. 

A statue in front of a building, among the best places to visit in Italy.

Apart from the Shakespearean links, Verona has monuments that survived the Roman age and have become castles – arenas and gardens of the Renaissance. The city’s culinary scene is a treat for all the senses, with classic dishes and fine wines that showcase its heritage and agro-biodiversity. 

11.  The Dolomites: Majestic Mountains

Among the top places to visit in Italy that are great for thrill seekers is the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Dolomites, which is suitable for adventure and nature lovers. This region is home to the majestic mountains with the calm of valleys and the most awesome sceneries on the earth. This is one of the realtively unknown places to go in Italy for tourists. 

A cow is grazing on a hillside near a village, considered one of the best places to visit in Italy.

During summertime, the paths of the Dolomites are for hikers and cyclists, but during the winter, they turn into a leading ski centre. The area is also culturally varied, with its Ladin communities, traditional winter sports events, and alpine cuisine. 

12.  Pompeii and Herculaneum: Ancient Cities Frozen in Time

Visit Pompeii and Herculaneum that are cities located at the foot of the Vesuvius Mountain. They were covered by ash in AD 79 by the volcano. They show us what life was like in Rome ages ago.

These areas were protected so people can wander through the old streets, go inside the houses, and see the art and everyday items from approximately 2,000 years ago.

Best places to visit in Italy

Looking at the top places to visit in Italy, you can see that the country is diverse and beautiful. The old ruins of Rome, the calm waters of Lake Como, the busy streets of Milan, and the rugged landscapes of the Dolomites are all very distinct. Other great places to visit when looking for part of Italy that may be undiscovered is Calabria and visit Capri a gorgeous island then you could also head to Procida which is another small island and a great hidden gem of a destination in Italy.

Most beautiful medieval villages (borgo) of Italy - Morano Calabro in Calabria, Italy

These best places in Italy to visit will capture your heart and imagination and help you have experiences that will last a lifetime. Whether drawn to its cultural treasures, natural wonders, or culinary delights, Italy awaits you to fill your journey with wonder and joy.

Q: What are some of the best places to visit in Italy?

A: Some of the best places to visit in Italy include Rome, Venice, Florence, Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Sicily, Milan, and more.

Q: What are some beautiful cities to visit in Italy?

A: Florence, Venice, Rome, Siena, Verona, and Positano are some of the beautiful cities to visit in Italy.

Q: What are the popular places to visit in Italy?

A: Popular places to visit in Italy include the Colosseum in Rome, the Grand Canal in Venice, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Vatican City, Sardinia and the Amalfi Coast.


Q: What are some must-see towns to visit in Italy?

A: Some must-see towns in Italy are Positano, Ravello, Taormina, Portofino, San Gimignano, and Matera.

Q: What are some travel tips for visiting Italy?

A: When visiting Italy, it’s recommended to learn some basic Italian phrases, respect local customs and traditions, be aware of pickpockets, try the local cuisine, and plan ahead to visit popular attractions. Don’t eat where the menu board is in English go to the back streets and look for an authentic cafe. Finally don’t overpack.

Q: Is it worth taking day trips while in Italy?

A: Yes, taking day trips in Italy can be very rewarding. You can explore nearby towns like Siena from Florence, Pompeii from Naples, or Capri from Sorrento for a diverse experience.

Historical city of Sienna  Italy and Cathedral. A splendid cathedral in the middle of a square, ranking among the best places to visit in Italy.

Q: Which cities in Italy should be included in a travel itinerary?

A: When planning a trip to Italy, consider including cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, and less touristy places so visit Bologna, or Puglia in your travel itinerary to experience the diverse culture and attractions each city offers.

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The best places to visit in Italy for summer vacations.


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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