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Ischia, Italy
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The 14 best places to visit in Italy

Covering cities, seaside, islands and idyllic countryside, these are the best places to visit in Italy right now

Huw Oliver
Grace Beard
Written by
Huw Oliver
Grace Beard

Despite what they say, Italy can never truly be done. How could it be? From the top to the bottom, this famous country is packed with iconic cities, gorgeous towns and villages, incredible beaches and all the rest. The food? Yeah, you know about that. Italy is the sort of place that offers idyllic beach breaks one year and rural vineyard holidays the next. To paraphrase a millennial concept, Italy is a country that does both. 

It can be overwhelming, choice often is. Put simply, these are the best places to visit in Italy right now. Safe travels, and buone vacanze! 

Discover Italy:

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น The best things to do in Italy
๐Ÿจ Stunning hotels in Italy
๐Ÿ Italy’s best islands to visit
๐Ÿ˜ The most beautiful Italian villages and towns
โ›ฑ The best beaches in Italy to visit right now

Best places to visit in Italy

Where to start with La Serenissima? Even if you’re not here for the Biennale or Carnival, this city positively hums with good vibes all year round. It has beaches, some of the world’s best art, and we don’t know if you’ve heard about the food here, but it’s properly great too. Above all, Venice calls for getting lost, so avoid the touristy gondola rides and wander aimlessly along the alluring backstreets. With regular stops for prosecco and cicchetti, of course.


Discover Venice:

๐Ÿ“ 20 best things to do in Venice
๐Ÿ• Brilliant restaurants in Venice
๐Ÿท The best bars in Venice
๐Ÿ› Amazing museums in Venice
๐Ÿ›Ž  The best hotels in Venice

Sure, there’s the Duomo and Michaelangelo’s David and the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio – Florence positively brims with headline attractions that are well worth visiting – but there’s so much more to this city than just the tourist magnets. For example, some parks that rarely feel busy, quirky museums that’ll give you the creeps, vintage shops and second-stores galore, and delicious gelato that’ll have you mumbling benissimo! under your breath all day long. Florence isn’t a Renaissance theme park: it’s a living city with plenty to seduce visitors of all tastes.

Discover Florence:

๐Ÿ“ 18 brilliant things to do in Florence
๐Ÿ•  Top restaurants in Florence
๐Ÿ›  Excellent museums in Florence
๐Ÿ› Where to go shopping in Florence
๐Ÿ›Ž The best hotels in Florence


Italy’s stupendous Amalfi Coast, overlooking the bay of Naples, is probably best known as the production hub of Limoncello, that sweetest of digestivi, made with lemon rinds, water, sugar and, of course, alcohol. There’s a generous sprinkling of beautiful towns along this 50km-long stretch of coastline, but Sorrento is the true highlight. With its sun-drenched piazzas, breathtaking hotels and winding streets that ooze olde-worlde charm, it’s a beautiful, manageably-sized town that’ll turn any trip into a seafood-filled, Aperol-soaked dream. La dolce vita? Found it, mate.

Discover Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast:

๐Ÿ“ 13 amazing things to do in Sorrento
๐Ÿ›Ž  The best hotels in Sorrento

Lake Como
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Lake Como

Italy has its fair share of dramatic scenery, but nothing can quite prepare you for the moment you first set eyes on Lake Como. An impossibly turquoise, wishbone-shaped lake, flanked by the Alps and with shores lined by palatial villas and pretty towns, this long-time escape for the well-to-do has to be seen to be believed. While a handful of Lake Como’s famous villas house luxury hotels, many are open to the public – including the exquisite Villa Balbianello, made famous by Casino Royal and Star Wars. Our tip? Pay a visit to the popular towns of Bellagio and Varenna, but stay in the city of Como for a wider range of budget-friendly accommodation. And try the missoltino.

Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Trieste

The writer Jan Morris once described this port city as the ‘capital of nowhere’. Once you’re here, you’ll see what she meant. Over the past 200 years, Trieste has been occupied by the Habsburgs, French, Italians, Yugoslavs – and was once an independent city-state. It may be Italian again, but you wouldn’t know. The architecture is oh-so ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’, while menus feature hodgepodge dishes like gnocchi al goulash. Slovenia is only seven miles away, and traditional osmiza will lay on fresh farm produce for walkers en route. Best of all, you’d be hard-pressed to spot a single other tourist.


With world-renowned art collections and a shit ton of history on pretty much every corner, Rome is a rite of passage for history buffs. But while you might come here for all the ruins, it’s also worth a trip if you’re properly into your cutting-edge food and drink (or just like a really good slice of pizza, tbh). Add to this the allure of its many verdant parks, with their beautiful panoramic terraces and a moderate climate that’s inviting during any season, and it’ll become far too easy to fall in love with the Italian capital.

Discover Rome:

๐Ÿ“ 22 brilliant things to do in Rome
๐Ÿ• Really good restaurants in Rome
๐Ÿท The best bars in Rome
๐Ÿ›  Must-visit markets in Rome
๐Ÿ›Ž The best hotels in Rome


Charming, hodgepodge, run-down Naples, once a rogue and dangerous Italian city to be avoided, is in the midst of a grand revival. Back on the map thanks to the success of Elena Ferrante’s ‘Neapolitan Novels’ and Roberto Saviano’s crime saga ‘Gomorrah’ – plus the international TV adaptations of both – travellers who once would have bypassed this rough-hewn city are flocking here in droves. And yet it’s still kept much of its character and old-world charm. Laundry laces the back alleys, markets brim with sweet-smelling local produce, and life here is lived on the streets. Oh, and that backdrop!

Discover Naples:

๐Ÿ“ 20 incredible things to do in Naples
๐Ÿ• Really good restaurants in Naples
๐Ÿ›Ž The best hotels in Naples


Sardinia ticks a lot of different holiday boxes. Beach bunnies will fall head-over-heels for the white sands and impossibly aquamarine water around Costa Smeralda and the island’s south coast. Nature lovers and hikers could wander for days around the interior, which feels like it hasn’t changed for centuries. And foodies can also spoil themselves with some of Italy’s finest produce and gorge themselves silly on seafood. Whatever kind of getaway you’re after, there are plenty of idyllic accommodation options ripe to make yours a truly perfect stay.

Discover Sardinia:

๐Ÿ›Ž  The best hotels in Sardinia


Famed for its swelteringly hot summers, radical leftwing politics, picturesque terracotta buildings and all that food, glorious food, Bologna could well be one of Europe’s most underrated city break destinations. In fact, the food here would be enough of a draw in itself: the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region is the home of mortadella, tortellini and tagliatelle al ragù, after all. Grab a gelato for dessert and make the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, just beyond the ancient city walls.

Discover Bologna:

๐Ÿ“ 10 brilliant things to do in Bologna

Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Ischia

A volcanic beauty sitting in the Bay of Naples, Ischia is an island that does both. It’s big enough to justify spending your entire vacation there, yet small enough that you could feasibly see the whole thing in a week. Spend your days exploring coves, grottos, beaches, gardens and rugged hills; spend your nights dining in upscale restaurants in the bustling areas of Forio and Ischia Porto, where boats bob on the marina and ferries offload holidaying Napolitani. Best of all? While Ischia certainly attracts summer crowds, it doesn’t yet feel overcrowded, particularly in comparison to neighbouring Capri. Do yourself a favour and visit now – and rent a moped if you want to do it right.


Thanks to a fast-expanding transport network and a host of new starchitect-designed buildings, tourism has boomed in Italy’s business capital in recent years. Far more than just an excellent place to stock up on the latest shoes, the city has undergone a renaissance of late: cool bars, cool restaurants, cool cultural centres, and so on. That all feels rather appropriate, considering Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci was responsible for the city’s crisscrossing network of canals, parts of the dazzling Castello Sforzesco, and also, y’know, just making Milan historically a very artsy and creative place to be.

Discover Milan:

๐Ÿ“ 22 incredible things to do in Milan
๐Ÿ• Amazing restaurants in Milan
๐Ÿท Brilliant bars in Milan
๐Ÿ› Where to go shopping in Milan
๐Ÿ›Ž The best hotels in Milan

Photograph: Shutterstock

12. Siena

So you’re going to Tuscany. Which gorgeous hilltop town will it be? From tiny, rustic Radicondoli to the vino rosso mecca of medieval Montepulciano, it’s an impossible choice to make – but someone has to do it. We’d opt for Siena: technically a city, it still has plenty of small-town charm (and serves up all those sweeping views over rolling hills you’re here for), while offering an inexhaustible amount of stuff for visitors to see and do. Take in the golden gothic cathedral, wander mazy backstreets lined with boutiques and galleries, taste locally-produced pecorino – or, if you have a sweet tooth, indulge it with a slice of panforte di siena (a type of chewy fruit cake made in the region).


Sun-soaked Sicily is just off the ‘tip’ of Italy’s ‘boot’: an almost-otherworldly island that has a character distinct from the rest of southern Italy. Visitors can hike the slopes of Mount Etna and sip the wine that’s made there, get lost in the maze-like Baroque towns of Noto, Modica and Ragusa, feast on fresh seafood on Ortigia island, sunbathe on the island’s countless beautiful beaches or let the hours pass eating granita and cannoli in pretty squares. There are majestic ruins and archaeological sites, many dating back to Ancient Greek times, dotted all over the island.

Discover Sicily:
๐Ÿ›Ž The best hotels in Sicily
๐Ÿ– The best beaches in Sicily

Photograph: Shutterstock

14. Verona

Consider yourself a hopeless romantic? Where better to holiday than the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet? ‘Wherefore art thou’ to your heart’s content with a visit to Juliet’s balcony, which clings to the side of a charming fourteenth-century home and overlooks a courtyard containing a statue of the lovestruck heroine herself. After you’ve rubbed her chest for luck in love, marvel at the ancient amphitheatre Arena di Verona, cross the Ponte di Castelvecchio for views over the Adige River, and dine at one of many local trattorias surrounding Piazza Bra or Piazza Delle Erbe. Bellissima. 

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