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The 10 most beautiful places in Italy

Italy's list of stunning destinations is seemingly endless. The most beautiful places in Italy? Look no further

Livia Hengel
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Livia Hengel
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Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful countries on earth, Italy is full of beautiful places to visit. With its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes and long-standing traditions, there’s a lot to uncover on a trip to Il Bel Paese.

The enduring popularity of Italy means many areas of the country suffer from over-tourism. We’ve done our best to cover the most beautiful places in Italy while highlighting some of the unique destinations you can visit within them to avoid (some of) the crowds. Next time you visit Italy, don’t miss these unique attractions showcasing the best of its nature, culture and history.

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Livia Hengel is a travel writer based in Rome. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. This guide includes affiliate links, which have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines

Most beautiful places in Italy

1. Val d’Orcia

Tuscany needs little introduction. A region beloved for its picturesque landscapes, vast vineyards and curving roads lined with cypress trees, it’s a destination everyone dreams of visiting once in a lifetime. The Val d’Orcia, located south of Siena, is one of our favourite parts of Tuscany to explore, with its charming hilltop towns and numerous wine estates. Don’t miss visiting the thermal village of Bagno Vignoni, with a large pool in its central piazza, wineries around Montalcino, which produce the area’s fabled Brunello red wine, and La Foce, a 15th-century estate with one of Italy’s most beautiful, manicured gardens.

2. Burano

Venice is more than Saint Mark’s Square. This beautiful, floating city comprises 118 islands scattered throughout the Venetian Lagoon. Hop on a vaporetto and head north in the lagoon to Burano, a small fisherman’s island with candy-coloured houses, lace workshops and tiny alleyways. Don’t miss seeing the leaning tower in the central piazza and enjoying lunch at one of Burano’s trattorias, serving local specialties, including sardines, fish risotto and bussolai (traditional cookies). You can also cross over a footbridge to reach Mazzorbo, a sleepy agricultural island where artichokes and grapes grow in a small vineyard.

📍 Check out more of the best day trips from Venice

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3. Tuscia

The glory of Rome tends to overshadow the Lazio region, which is full of fascinating places that are well worth a day trip. Tuscia, an old Etruscan stronghold located a couple of hours’ drive north, is the perfect region to escape the crowds while enjoying cultural and natural sights. Villa Farnese a Caprarola, a pentagonal 16th-century villa, houses incredible Renaissance frescoes, while the nearby Villa Lante in Bagnaia has exquisite gardens known for their water features. From Viterbo’s thermal waters to Lago di Bolsena’s lakeside towns, there’s a lot to see in the area. Don’t miss the Civita di Bagnoregio, a fairytale village sitting atop a tufa rock foundation, seemingly suspended above a vast valley.

📍 Discover the best things to do in nearby Rome

4. Costa degli Dei

If you’re looking for an alternative to the crowded streets of Positano, head further south to the Costa degli Dei – the Coast of the Gods – in Calabria. As its name suggests, this pristine coastline is an otherworldly marvel with crystal-clear turquoise water and soft, sandy beaches. The uncontested ‘pearl’ of the coastline is Tropea, a hilltop town overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, which offers mesmerizing views, Slim Aarons-style. Adventurous travellers will enjoy the Marina di Zambrone (which requires a hike to reach the beach), while Capo Vaticano has beach clubs with loungers for rent.

📍 Find more of the best beaches in Italy

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5. Alta Murgia

Once regarded as the ‘shame of Italy’ for its troglodyte caves and underdeveloped infrastructure, Matera’s lunar landscapes are quickly becoming one of southern Italy’s leading attractions. It’s worth spending a couple of nights in the city before venturing across the vast Murgia park to explore smaller towns like Altamura, famed for its local bread production, and Gravina in Puglia, with its verdant canyons. The park is ideal for nature enthusiasts who will enjoy hiking, cycling and birdwatching across its limestone plateaus, while culture hunters should pay a visit to Castel del Monte, a 13th-century octagonal castle with towering views over the surrounding landscape.

📍 Discover more of the best things to do in Italy

6. Sorrentine Peninsula

One of the world’s most popular honeymoon destinations, the Sorrentine Peninsula is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parts of Italy – if not the world. This scenic stretch of coastline, which includes the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Coast, is filled with dozens of famous seaside towns, cliffside villages, rocky bays and sandy coves that capture the essence of la dolce vita. It’s hard to beat the crowds, but you’ll find more space – and locals – if you head to towns like Cetara, known for its anchovy production, and Vietri sul Mare, famed for its ceramics.

📍 Check out more of the most romantic places in the world

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7. Villa Romana del Casale

The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily is a true microcosm of Italy – one which has seen empires rise and fall over millennia. As such, it is filled with ancient Greek and Roman relics, from temples and theatres to ornamental estates. Villa Romana del Casale, located in Piazza Armerina (a small town in central Sicily), is one of these. This large, 4th-century villa is best known for its well-preserved mosaics, the ‘Bikini Girl’, featuring young women playing sports and exercising —an extremely rare depiction that challenges gender roles and stereotypes of the time.

8. La Strada del Sagrantino

As one of the biggest global producers and consumers of wine, Italy is filled with vineyards up and down the boot. Instead of heading to more famous regions, why not explore Umbria’s rich wine heritage on your next trip? A full-bodied red wine made near Montefalco, Sagrantino pairs well with the region’s flavourful cuisine, which includes wild boar, black truffles and gingerbread with candied fruits. And with its rolling hills and fall foliage, the Sagrantino Wine Trail is every bit as beautiful as Chianti or Le Langhe. Nearby, you can visit charming medieval towns, including Todi, Spoleto and Assisi.

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9. Riviera del Conero

Situated on the eastern shore of Italy, Le Marche is blessed with a long and picturesque coastline along the Adriatic Sea – and fewer crowds. Its highlight is the Conero National Park, a nature reserve that covers 18km of nature trails and cliffs overlooking secluded beaches where you can swim in crystalline water. La Spiaggia delle Due Sorelle (‘Beach of the Two Sisters’) is the prettiest bay in the park and is named for two large rock formations that emerge from the sea. You can reach it by sea with ferries from the port of Numana.

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10. Residences of the Royal House of Savoy

A collection of 22 palaces and castles built by the House of Savoy in Piedmont, these castles in Turin are some of the most lavish residences ever built on Italian soil. The House of Savoy was a European royal dynasty that ruled from the 11th century until the monarchy was abolished in 1946. An enormously wealthy and influential family, the Savoy built several estates to house its members, enjoy recreational activities and host governmental functions. The 17th-century Venaria Reale, often referred to as the ‘Versailles of Italy’, is the most famous venue thanks to its grand hall with intricate stucco features and checkered floors.

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