Are you planning a trip and looking for the highlights of Italy? Perfect! We are here to help!
Italy is such a beautiful country and there are so many reasons why you should go to Italy!
Food is delicious. Art and culture are everywhere. Landscapes are breath-taking… Italy truly has it all.
This will be perfect if you are looking for inspiration and discover more about this European country.
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Table of Contents
Rome is the capital of Italy and it was only fair it would come first since it’s likely to be the highlight of your trip to Italy.
It’s home to the largest airport in Italy and that will most probably be the place where you first land.
Rome’s nickname is the eternal city. History and culture are everywhere, it is one of the most beautiful cities you will ever get to see in your life.
Quick fun fact: Rome has only one twin city and it is Paris. This was done on purpose. According to the Italians, Rome is so beautiful that only Paris can equal it and therefore deserve to be a twin city.
While visiting Rome, you’ll be diving into over 2,000 years of history, from the Roman Empire to the Italian Renaissance and modern times.
Here are some of the most beautiful landmarks to visit in Rome:
- Spanish steps. Located on the Piazza di Spagna, the Spanish go all the way up to the Trinità dei Monti church. They are incredibly famous. The best time of the day to visit them is early in the morning so you get a chance to see them without the crowds.
- Trevi fountain. This is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome. It’s only a few minutes walk from the Spanish Steps.
- Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel. No trip to Rome would be complete without going to the Vatican. If you have an interest for art, make sure to visit the Vatican Museums. You’ll get to discover the stunning work of Michelangelo on the ceilingof the Sistine chapel.
- Peter’s square and basilica
- Colosseum. This is the most famous landmark dating from Ancient Rome. You can visit it any day but make sure to book in advance.
In terms of food, Rome is not the most famous culinary city in Italy but there are a few specialities you should try.
The best-known ones are the Pasta Carbonara (made with eggs and pecorino, not cream!) and cacio and pepe pasta dish.
The best way to learn more about the foodie culture in Rome is to join a food tour. It’s great value for money and you’ll discover amazing local restaurants.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Check out our ultimate Rome 3-Day itinerary.
Naples is Southern Italy’s jewel. One of the best cities I got the chance to visit.
After all, they do say “See Naples and die”. Alright, I know, initially they would say that to refer to the fact that Naples was the further Greek colony and when slaves would reach Naples that would generally be the place where they’d die.
That having been said, it does work nowadays too to describe the fact that it is a beautiful city that you have to see at least once in your life!
Naples is a mix of many things. It’s often described as dirty and chaotic. The truth is: it is dirty and chaotic! But that’s part of what makes it so unique! In Naples, you get that feeling of freedom and “dolce vita” like nowhere else.
Neapolitan food is delicious! After all, it is the birthplace of pizza! You will find the best restaurants and street food at a very affordable price.
Pro tip: A pizza margarita should cost about 3 to 4 euros. Use that as an indicator to see if the restaurant you are going to is good or a total rip off. If the pizza margarita is over 5 euros, that means that the restaurant is overpriced as a general thing.
Some of the must-try Neapolitan foods are:
- Pizza fritta (fried pizza)
- All pizzas!
- Neapolitan Baba
Naples is also the perfect starting point to discover some of the best landmarks in Italy. From Naples, you can also visit:
- Amalfi Coast
- And many more!
Pompeii is located about 1 hour away from Naples. It was one of the world’s most interesting places!
Pompeii was a fairly important city during Roman times but ceased to exist about 2000 years ago after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The city was entirely covered by the ashes of Mount Vesuvius and remained a mystery for almost 1,700 years.
The buried city was discovered in 1748 and excavations have been done ever since.
Nowadays you can visit Pompeii. You just need to take the Circumvesuviana train from Naples and in less than an hour, you will get there.
Pompeii is a fantastic place to visit. It literally blew my mind. It’s a real-life version of what a roman city was like. I loved it and can’t recommend it enough. Especially if you like history. But even if you don’t it’s quite an experience.
Pompeii is a fairly big city and you will need a full day ideally to go around it.
There are so many interesting aspects and if you want to make the most of it, I’d highly recommend going a walking tour with a guide. There aren’t that many signs and having a tour guide with you will help you understand what each element is and how the Romans were living.
Pompeii can get extremely crowded so I highly recommend getting there early in the morning, when it opens and/or to take a skip the line ticket.
If you go between June and september, don’t forget to take a hat. It’s very sunny and hot. There is very little shade so better safe than sorry!
From all places, Sicily has a very special place in my heart. There is no place quite like it. It’s very unique and it definitely has it all.
Sicily, it’s a mix between tradition, natural beauty and amazing food. What is there not to like? You will find all sorts of landscapes and the best beaches in Italy.
Sicily is a land of sea and volcanoes.
Mount Etna and the Aeolian Islands are a must-do during any trip to Sicily. Seeing and walking onto active volcanoes is an experience itself but you will be amazed by the beauty of the landscapes.
In terms of beaches, you will not be disappointed. White sand and white cliffs are on the cards. Sant’Alessio, Fontane Bianche and the Scala dei Turchi are absolutely breath-taking.
In terms of history, there is nothing that beats it. Sicily has always been a melting pot. So many civilisations have come here and they all left something to remind them.
If you’d like to discover more about ancient Greece and Rome in Sicily, make sure to visit Taormina, Siracusa and Agrigento.
Finally, let’s talk about the cities for a second because these are well worth a visit as well.
There are two major cities in Sicily: Palermo and Catania. They are both historical cities that are worth visiting and a great place to discover the local cuisine.
Sardinia is the perfect destination for beach lovers.It’s very similar to Sicily but yet so different.
First of all, there are no volcanoes in Sardinia but it is still this typical Mediterranean island.
A bit of a mix between Corsica and Sicily if you wish.
You will find beaches as pretty as in the Caribbean there!If you go to the north of the Island, in the Maddalena Archipelago national park, you will even get to see the Pink beach (Budelli)!
There is no shortage of stunning beaches in Sardinia and here are some other ones you should check out: Stintino, Capo Testa and Rosse Rocce Beach.
If you love cute small villages and towns you will also be in for a treat. Make sure to visit Castelsardo and Alghero.
Finally, Sardinia is a paradise for people who love water activities. Between snorkelling, scuba diving and boat tours, you will have your feet in the water a lot.
Venice is one of the most famous cities in the world and rightfully.
Venice is a very unique city in every kind of way.
Water is everywhere, architecture is beautiful and the way it’s organised is unique.It is one of the most romantic cities in the world and many couples get married there each day.
The main landmark is St Mark’s Square and the sight bridge.
The best ways to explore Venice are by foot, as there are no cars there, but also by boat.
The vaporetti are bus boats and will bring you anywhere you need including to the colourful islands of Murano and Burano.If you want to go for the full romantic experience, get onto a gondola!
Venice can get very busy and smelly during the summer.
The heat and water create a rather horrible smell. It is more recommended to go to Venice in spring or autumn.
Florence is THE destination for culture lovers!If you love architecture, museums and art, you will absolutely love Florence. Everything about it!
Florence is located in Tuscany, one of the most cultural regions in the world.
It’s home to the Uffizi Gallery where you will get to see some very famous pieces such as David, The Birth of Venus, Medusa and many more.
The museum displays many pieces of Leonardo, Caravaggio, Michelangelo and Botticelli.
Florence is also famous for being the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. One of the best examples of Renaissance landmarks in the city is the Duomo (cathedral). It’s absolutely magnificent! You can even go to the top if you wish.
Some other famous Florence landmarks are the Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful statue of David, the Palazzo Vecchio and the Piazza della Signora.
But Florence is also famous for its food. A lot of typical dishes have originated here including the bistecca alla Fiorentina, lampredotto, papardelle al Cinghiale and tagliatelle Funghi Porcini e Tartufo.
It’s also one of the most popular destinations in Italy for cooking courses and if that’s something you’d like to do you can join a local cooking class and learn how to make your own pasta and gelato.
Puglia is known as the “heel” of Italy and gathers the best that Southern Italy has to offer.
Stunning beaches, amazing food, authentic villages… Puglia has it all!
If you decide to go there, you will probably fly to Bari, the main city in Puglia, but I’d recommend heading south to discover the true authenticity of Puglia.
Lecce, also known as the “Florence of the south” is absolutely gorgeous and a must-do.
Another place that will for sure make your Italy highlights list is Alberobello. It’s a small village famous for its trulli houses.
They are the traditional white huts with conical roofs.
Finally, for beautiful beaches, head to Polignano a Mar, Vieste or Monopoli.
When we think of beaches in Italy, the Mediterranean Sea comes to mind first but you will be impressed by how beautiful the ones on the Adriatic Sea are.
Puglia gets more than 300 days of sunshine which means that it’s a great destination at any time of the year.
It is important to note though that it will get extremely hot in summer.
Just a short two-hour drive north of Milan, you’ll find Lake Garda, one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes.
This shimmering body of water, the country’s largest, is nestled in the heart of northern Italy and makes an ideal summer destination, particularly if you’re travelling with kids.
It’s also a fabulous stopover if you’re on a Northern Italy road trip.
Lake Garda is a haven for leisurely activities. Fancy a relaxing walk? There are plenty of trails that meander along the lake’s edge, offering captivating views at every turn.
But to fully experience the lake’s grandeur, consider going on a lake cruise. It’s a fantastic way to soak up the stunning scenery from a different perspective.
For the thrill-seekers in the family, don’t miss a visit to Gardaland Park. It’s home to exhilarating rides, including the heart-stopping ‘Oblivion’, and also hosts a Sea Life Aquarium – a hit with kids and adults alike.
And let’s not forget the foodies! Lake Garda is surrounded by wine regions, making it an excellent spot for wine tastings. Take the opportunity to sample local varietals, and maybe even pick up a bottle or two to remember your trip by.
Tucked away in North-East Italy, the Dolomites are a breathtaking range of mountains that will for sure be the Italian highlight of all nature lovers.
Their unique, jagged peaks are unlike anything you’ve seen before – a testament to nature’s whimsical beauty.
If winter sports are your jam, the Dolomites are your paradise. The region is home to Cortina d’Ampezzo, a highly sought-after ski resort that’s perfect for slicing through fresh powder.
But the Dolomites aren’t just a winter wonderland. When the snow melts away, the region transforms into a hiker’s dream.
Summer in the Dolomites means endless hiking opportunities.
There are trails to suit all levels of fitness, from short, gentle walks to multi-day treks for the more adventurous.
It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who crave the tranquillity of nature.
When it comes to landmarks, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo is a must-visit. These iconic three peaks, set against a pristine lake, create an awe-inspiring landscape that is the perfect photo spot.
And don’t forget Lake Misurina, a stunning natural lake that perfectly complements the Dolomites’ rugged beauty.
The term Cinque Terre designates a coastal area in Liguria, about 2 hours from Genoa and 3h30 from Milan. It is one of the most incredible places to see in Italy.
Cinque Terre means “5 lands” and designates 5 villages located on cliffs.The Cinque Terre are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
They are only accessible by train and are an excellent day trip from La Spezia or Genoa.
There is no road that accesses the Cinque Terre and the only vehicles you will see belongs to locals and were brought there by sea.
To get there, buy a train ticket to Riomaggiore.
When you get off, you will find a check point where you can buy your tickets.
The Cinque Terre National Park Entrance fee is 7.50 euros and include the entrance to the park and the train ticket pass to travel between each village.
There are many things you can do in the Cinque Terre.
If you like the beach, head to Monterosso. It’s home to one of the best beaches in the area.
Hikers will also be in for a treat since all the villages are connected by walking paths. It’s a great way to explore the area. The most famous trail is called ‘via dell’amore’ which means the love path.
Get ready to discover the dazzling city of Milan, located in Northern Italy.
Known for its high fashion and remarkable art scene, this metropolis is sure to be a highlight of your Italian adventure.
Milan, the capital of Lombardy and the commercial centre of Italy, is a city that never sleeps. There’s always something to see or do, especially if you’re a lover of fashion or art.
Start by paying a visit to the city’s iconic Duomo.
This breathtaking gothic-style cathedral features an intricate façade that’s bound to leave you awestruck.
Don’t forget to climb up to the rooftop, where you can admire panoramic views of the bustling city below.
Next, head over to Santa Maria delle Grazie, where you’ll find ‘The Last Supper,’ one of the most famous paintings in the world by Leonardo da Vinci.
This exceptional masterpiece will be a definite highlight for any art enthusiast.
As the day turns into the evening, find your way to the Navigli district.
With its charming canals, a plethora of shops, and an array of restaurants, it’s the perfect spot to unwind and soak up the local vibe.
For those with a passion for fashion, a trip to the Prada Foundation is a must. Here, you’ll be able to delve into an engaging exhibition about the iconic Italian brand.
Plus, you can take a break at Bar Luce, designed by none other than Wes Anderson.
Milan is a city that effortlessly blends the old and new, offering a unique blend of experiences that will leave you longing to return.
Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Pisa is a vibrant city best known for its quirky architectural misstep, the Leaning Tower.
This iconic structure, with its unintentional tilt, is one of Italy’s most recognized landmarks and has a story as unique as its structure.
Its tilt is the result of an architectural miscalculation (the foundations are too weak), a wrong turn that ironically turned out to be a crowd-puller.
The tower is part of the Pisa Cathedral complex, a collection of beautifully designed buildings.
You can either explore it independently (remember to get a ticket) or join a guided tour to uncover the secrets and stories behind these ancient structures.
But Pisa is not just about the Leaning Tower. The city is packed with other must-see attractions. Make sure to visit the Baptistery, a remarkable example of Romanesque architecture, and the Campo Santo, known for its stunning frescoes.
Add the Santa Maria della Spina church to your list, a small Gothic gem by the river. And don’t miss the Palazzo dei Cavalieri, a grand building with a rich history.
Pisa is more than just a leaning tower. It’s a city filled with historical treasures waiting to be discovered. So, dig deeper and let Pisa surprise you!
We hope this article has helped you identified what are the highlights of Italy, now the only thing left to do is to go and visit all these beautiful spots!
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