Situated on the southern end of Europe, is the boot-shaped nation of Italy. This magnificent country attracts millions of travellers from around the world every year. Some come to experience its historical and cultural heritage; some to bask in this country’s mesmerising natural beauty; others to indulge in its delicious cuisine.
Regarded as the birthplace of western civilisation, Italy ranks among the top countries to visit in Europe. A cultural conundrum, Italy boasts of having the largest number of UNESCO world heritage sites in the world. With so many things to see, one might find it overwhelming to decide which places to visit in Italy.
To help you plan a perfect Italian tour, we’ve filtered through hundreds of Italian tourist attractions to list the top 10 best places to visit in Italy. Along with the list of best places to visit, you’ll find plenty of additional information that will come in handy during your Italian holiday.
What is the Best time to visit Italy?
Italy is among those places that can be visited at any time of the year. The climate of this Mediterranean country varies greatly depending on the place you are visiting. Up north the country experiences extreme weather with bone-chilling winters and scorching summers. Central Italy is much luckier with a mild climate throughout the year. Down south, Italy is warm all year round.
The summer season is considered as the best & the peak tourist season to visit Italy
The temperature starts to rise in May and reaches its peak in August. Though it’s a great time to visit Italy, during these months not only the temperatures, the hotel prices soar as well. September and October have milder weather, and as the summer crowd subsides, the prices fall as well. In November the temperatures start to drop, and winter begins and lasts till February.
12 Best places to visit in Italy in 2020
- Cinque Terre – Colourful villages hanging by the cliff
- Pompeii – Ancient city frozen in time
- Sorrento – A quaint coastal town known for its tiny shops
- Naples – The birthplace of pizza and home to stunning scenery
- Amalfi Coast – Italy’s iconic coastal town
- Lake Como – The hangout spot for the celebrities
- Rome – The city of lovers and medieval charm
- Florence – The birthplace of Renaissance
- Venice – A city on the islands
- Milan – Italian city of haute couture and future
- Pisa – Home of the fabled leaning tower
- Sicily- The largest Island in the Mediterranean sea
1. Cinque Terre
Top tourist attraction in Italy Cinque Terre is a collection of 5 timeless fishing villages situated in the northwest region of the country. These colourful villages rise seamlessly from the rugged cliffs to create a sense of drama that will leave you speechless. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, Cinque Terre’s five villages Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso are some of the most beautiful places in Italy.
How to reach Cinque Terre?
Though Cinque Terre isn’t as isolated as it used to be, it’s location does pose a few challenges with accessibility. The ideal way to travel around these villages is by train. It’s not only the easiest way to visit all the five villages; it’s also the most economical option. Take the Cinque Terre express that runs between La Spezia Centrale and Levanto and connects all the five villages of Cinque Terre.
How long to stay in Cinque Terre?
3 to 4 days is ideal to cover Cinque Terre
Read Lonely Planet’s guide to Cinque Terre villages to know more.
Did You Know: Cinque Terre villages are dominantly vertical in nature. These villages are pedestrian friendly and to explore them well, you will have to walk a lot. It’s highly recommended that you carry less luggage as you will find no assisted transportation.
Italy’s most famous tourist destination, Pompeii was once a thriving Roman city. The unexpected volcanic explosion of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, buried the whole city and its residents 12 feet deep in ash. Once the excavations began in the mid-1700s, archaeologists found one of the best-preserved treasures like Roman baths, brothels and other public spaces. Today, the city offers one of the best insights into the lives of the roman that inhabited the city.
How to reach Pompeii?
Situated in southern Italy, Pompeii is commonly visited from Naples which is a 45-minute train ride away. One can also choose to go on a day tour to Pompeii from Rome and Sorrento. The distance between Rome and Pompeii is 241 Km which take about 2 hours 35 minutes. It takes around 50 Minutes to reach Pompeii from Sorrento.
How much time do you need to visit Pompeii?
1 day is more than sufficient to cover this place
Know the history of Pompeii, the city that froze in time.
Fact Time: To travel back in time you can also visit the city of Herculaneum which was also a victim of the same explosion. But instead of getting covered in ash, the city saw it’s fall as lava filled it from the bottom
Sorrento is a tiny coastal town situated on the way to the famous Amalfi coast. A popular place to visit in Italy, Sorrento is known for its quaint shops selling an assortment of things starting from lemons to woodwork. Like most of the places in Italy, Sorrento is situated amidst a stunning backdrop. Often regarded as the most stunning coastline, Sorrento is an ideal holiday destination in Italy where you can explore the smaller, less crowded towns. Full of amazing possibilities, you could go shopping in its popular antique shops, sunbath or indulge in some sports by the Naples Bay, finally during the nights you can explore the pedestrian-only streets under a starry Italian sky.
How to reach Sorrento?
The nearest airport to Sorrento is Naples Airport from where you can use the bus services. The most popular means to reach Sorrento from Naples is via rail. Trains run between Sorrento and Naples every 30 minutes and the journey takes approximately 1 hour.
How much time to spend in Sorrento?
2 days is ideal for Sorrento
Watch to find out all the top countries to visit in 2019, Italy is one of the best countries to visit in 2019.
Did you Know: San Marino is the 5th smallest country in the world. Just like The Vatican, San Marino is also in a landlock with Italy. Known for its charming medieval old towns and narrow cobblestone streets, San Marino is another microstate that you can visit during your visit to Italy.
The birthplace of Pizza, Naples is yet another must-visit place in Italy. With umpteen sightseeing places and numerous things to do, Naples must definitely be a part of your Italy tour package. Best known for its historical landmarks, Naples boasts fairytale castles, majestic palaces and architecture from different eras. Naples’ historic city centre is a famous UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most popular places to see in Italy. Founded in the 7th century, Naples now serves as the capital of the Campania region. This Italian city is not only the dream destination of all the foodies around the world the third-largest metropolitan bustling with life and energy.
How to reach Naples?
The economical way to reach Naples is through railways. The distance between Rome and Naples is about 225 Km, and the journey is about 1 hour 30 minutes. Florence to Naples is about 473 Km, and the journey is 3 hours long. You can also opt to fly to this city as Naples airport is well-connected to the rest of the country.
How much time to spend in Naples?
Tourists cover Naples in 2 days
Hot Tip: Naples is the places where Pizza was born. On your trip to Italy make sure have the authentic pizzas from the pizzerias in Naples. While you are at it, don’t miss out on the delicious street food of Naples
5. Amalfi coast
One of the ultimate places to get your holiday groove on, Alamfi coast is all things fabulous. Regarded as one of the top tourist destinations in Italy, Amalfi Coast is renowned for its scenic coastline and romantic towns. Vibrant and teeming with energy, the Amalfi coast is a must-visit place in Italy for anyone looking for beaches, mountains and sheer natural beauty. Along the 30 miles long coastline you will find famous tourist places like Positano, Ravello and Furore. These coastal towns offer the most fantastic retreat from other bustling Italian cities.
Read: Best Islands in Italy
How to reach Amalfi Coast?
Situated in southern Italy, The Amalfi Coast can be reached by train from Rome in about 3.5 hours, around 5 hours from Florence and approximately 3 hours from Naples. The nearest airport to Amalfi coast is the Naples airport which is at a distance of 74 Km.
How much time to spend in Amalfi Coast?
2-3 days is necessary to spend time and experience activities at Amalfi coast
Tip: While the towns of Positano, Sorrento and the Amalfi are highly recommended towns in the Amalfi coast, do take a short drive to visit the beautiful town of Furore that is situated 8.5 km from the Amalfi town. A town that seems to be carved out of the cliffs, Furore is one of the underrated tourist destinations in Italy, that is you won’t regret visiting.
6. Lake Como
Soon after being discovered by the Romans, Lake Como became the ultimate summer retreat for the rich and popular. With its dramatic landscapes and luxurious villas, Lake Como still carries its legacy forwards by being a popular holiday destination for the celebrities. Set amidst the picturesque background of Alps, this Y-shaped lake is among the most beautiful places in Italy. Though it has a reputation for being a playground for the wealthy, Lake Como is actually an affordable family holiday destination.
How to reach Lake Como?
Lake Como has situated 85 Km from Milan and can be reached in about 1 hour 40 minutes via road. The quickest way to reach Lake Como is to take the train which takes about 33 minutes. Milan Airport is one of the most connected airports in Italy.
How long to stay in Lake Como?
2-3 days is quite sufficient to visit Lake Como
Tip: With plenty of sightseeing spots and numerous fun activities to take up, Lake Como should certainly be on your list of ‘places to visit in Italy’
The land of myths and the capital of the Roman Empire, Rome is a place you just can’t miss in Italy. Regarded as the top place to see in Italy, Rome offers history, art, delectable cuisine, and a vibrant ambience to your holiday. Brimming with ancient churches, historical sites and amazing Museums, Rome promises to enchant you. Some of the top tourist spots in Italy are located right here in Rome. The iconic Colosseum, Pantheon and Roman Forum are few of the must-visit places in Italy. When in Rome, you also get to visit the seat of Christianity, the Vatican. An independent state, The Vatican is situated within Rome and houses some amazing museums that will be loved by history buffs.
How to reach Rome?
For most International travellers, Rome often serves as the first touch point in Italy. It is located 573 Km from Milan which takes around one and a half hours via Air and 6 hours via road. Florence is 274 Km from Rome, and it takes 3 hours to reach the city by road. These cities are all connected by rail as well, which is the most economical option.
How many days to spend in Rome?
2 days should be dedicated to experience the history of Rome
If you very serious about your budget, then you can visit the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chaple for free too. Plan your trip to Italy such that you are around Rome on the last Sunday of the month. Visitors are allowed to enter for free between 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM. It’s one of the best free things to do in Rome.
The cradle of the Renaissance, the city of Dante and home to the world-class Tuscan cuisine, Florence is romantic, mesmerising and captivating; all at the same time.
There are very few cities in the world that’s packed with splendid pieces of art and architectural wonders in such a small place. Situated on the banks of the Arno river, Florence still retains its medieval charm in the form of its cobbled streets, beautiful churches and world-class museums that are often listed among the top sightseeing places in Italy. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the best places to see in Italy, Earthy cuisines, fish preparations and cocktails coupled by the Florentine lifestyle will make your trip to this historic city enviably sweet.
How to reach Florence?
Florence is a well-connected city and can be reached by roads, rails or airways. Vespucci airport has flights to all the major cities of Europe. The Italian Rail Network also connects the city to the northern and southern Italy, enabling seamless movement from Florence to other parts of the country. The A1 highway that connects entire Italy passes through Florence.
How much time to spend in Florence?
2 days for Florence is sufficient
Florence is also home to the renowned fashion brands like Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo
The city of Venice stands for the boldness of human endeavour of building a city of stones right on top of a lagoon. Venice is littered with monuments of epic grandeur that reflects the best of Venetian architecture. In every alley and narrow backstreet of this ancient city lies historic and cultural sites that reverb with the glories of the renaissance era.
The seafood preparations of this city are something you won’t find elsewhere. Venice is also known for its canal-side bistros which serves the best of Venetian cuisines with equally impressive views to go with it. In a fast-paced world, Venice’s beauty and originality still stand apart.
Stay in Venice to wake-up to the song of gondoliers ‘Oooeeee’ and discover the essence of la bea vita which in local language translates to ‘the beautiful life’.
How to reach Venice?
The Marco Polo airport at Tessera is 14 km away from the city. Venice can also be accessed by Treviso Canova Airport situated nearly 40 km away. Venezia Santa Lucia railway station is connected to major cities in Italy and northern Europe. Important highways are A4 from Turin, A27 from Belluno and the A13 from Bologna.
How much time to spend in Venice?
2 days for Venice is ideal
Milan is the Italian city of the future. It is a booming metropolis where creativity is tradition, dressing up good is necessary, and late-night drinks are an art form. The city is home to select food, historical architecture and globally renowned fashion brands.
Milan is gifted with an impressive artistic heritage that goes back to medieval times making it one of the best places to visit in Italy. Be it the majestic Duomo, the churches, palaces or museums; countless pieces of art await you – all within a short walking distance.
It’s also the city where Leonardo da Vinci achieved great things in life. From mountains to Mediterranean seas; this city will proudly introduce you to a country where centuries of history have moulded a way of life. After all, Italy is known for its attractions, cuisines and unparalleled lifestyle.
How to reach Milan?
Milan is a major city that’s connected by road, rail and air. Milan is also connected by the Milano-Venezia motorway that reduces the travel time to less than an hour. Bergamo Airport is about 45 km from Milan. Milan is connected to the rest of the country by an efficient network of railways.
How much time to spend in Milan?
Spend 2 days at Milan
Situated in the Italian region of Tuscany, Pisa is among the most frequented tourist destinations in Italy. Known all over the world for its landmark building, the leaning tower of Pisa, this city has plenty more in store for the tourists. From astonishing natural beauty to awe-inspiring architectural marvels, Pisa promises to be an entertaining stopover during your Italian holiday.
The central tourist attraction in Pisa is the Campo dei Miracoli complex. This complex is home to a cathedral, baptistry, Campo Santo and the world-renowned Leaning Tower of Pisa. Apart from this famous tourist attraction in Italy, Pisa is home to some amazing museums and quaint hidden gems. Some of the places you must visit in Pisa are Museo Nationale, Piazza Dei Cavalieri, River Arno and Santa Maria della Spina. The nearby town of Lucca is also among the best places to visit in Italy.
How to reach Pisa?
Pisa is located about 89 Km from the popular Tuscan city of Florence. Accessible by Air, road and rail, Pisa can be a short stop-over during your Italian holiday. One of the most convenient ways to reach Pisa is via Train. There are up to 3 train going to Pisa from Florence per hour. Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport is connected to both National and International airports. Travelling to Pisa from Florence via road takes about one and a half hours.
How much time to spend in Pisa?
Spend at least one day in Pisa to explore its top attractions.
Sicily is easily among the best places to visit in Italy for those looking to witness its rugged charms as well as its polished history. With several UNESCO world heritage sites and bountiful natural charms, Sicily is the best place to go to for a dreamy Island vacation. Whether you are into history, nature or architecture Sicily has something in store for any kind of traveller.
Among the top things to do in Sicily, the best one is the valley of the temples. Valley of temples stands as a testament of the island’s glorious past with the Greeks. Apart from similar astonishing architectural marvels, you can also visit natural wonders like Mount Etna and the Aeolian Islands. Mount Etna is among the most active volcanoes in the World and promises to be among the most wonderful thing you’ll see. Aeolian Island is an archipelago of 7 islands that were formed by volcanic and seismic activities.
How to reach Sicily?
The Island of Sicily is accessible by air, rail and boat. Catania and Palermo are the primary airports in Sicily. Sicily is linked to the mainland via rail through the rail network at Messina. Trains from Rome, Naples and Milan are connected to Catania and Palermo though rail ferries. To add more spice to your holiday in Italy take a luxurious cruise to Sicily and other Mediterranean Islands.
How much time to spend in Paris?
Spend two days in Sicily.
Did you know: Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterrenean Sea.
While there are numerous places to visit in Italy, a visit to each of these top 10 places will give you an insight into the Italian culture and history. And while you are at it, you will experience some of the finest natural vistas, cosmopolitan cities and mouth-watering cuisine of Italy.