Top 10 what to see in Italy
the beautiful country
Italy is universally defined as one of the most beautiful places, charming, full of history. For those who are coming, you can only be amazed by the wonderful coastal, the small villages, the colorful country and the beauty of the Alps.
One lifetime is not enough to see all, even for Italians like me who have the luck to travel a lot.
For you, who maybe will stay here for only a week or two, I have picked up 40 of the best places you don't have to miss if you are going close by. (Don't worry, there's a map for all the places listed below)
Before you go any further, keep in mind that the plug adapters in Italy are different than most of the plug adapters used around the world so make sure to get one. A cheaper one like this will do its work.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Lavaredo's three peaks) - Northen Italy
Dolomites' emblem and symbol of the Alps' beauty. A must go hiking destination. The perfect attraction for hikers, climbers, and ski lovers.
The three peaks are:
Cima Grande (Big Peak), 2999m
Cima Ovest (West Peak), 2973m
Cima Piccola (Little Peak), 2857m
Cima Grande offers a steep cliff of over 500m, called "La Direttissima" (the Straight"). The wall of Cima Ovest is similar to the one of Cima Grande but presents more drop-off sections. Cima Piccola is the smallest one but it's considered by climbers as the hardest to conquer.
How to get to Cime di Lavaredo
You have different choices, easier or harder.
From Val Fiscalina di Sesto - 7 / 8 hours (round-trip)
A long walk, only for in-shape people.
Stops: Val Fiscalina a Sesto, Fondo Valle shelter, up to Comici shelter, Pian di Cengia shelter, and Locatelli shelter.
From Misurina with a bus - 3 hours
The most comfortable approach!
From Val Campo di Dentro - 5 / 6 hours (round-trip)
Less known but more scenic, from Tre Scarperi shelter up on the trail n° 105, towards Torre Toblin, from here to the right towards Locatelli shelter.
From Valle di Landro - 6 hours (round-trip)
Very challenging, it requires 1000m climb! The starting point is the panoramic spot on the Three Peaks.
Burano island - Northen Italy
Among the top 10 most colorful cities in the world, Burano Burano is an island in the Northern Venetian Lagoon. Its peculiarity is the colorful houses that are reflected into the green waters of channels.
Sanctuary of Mount Lussari - Northen Italy
A place of incomparable beauty, you can admire natural landscape with high and huge peaks.
But it is also a Sanctuary, already in the 16th century, Mount Lussari was a meeting point for pilgrims.
Tarvisio is a town attracting a large flow of tourists, the ski areas and the slopes for tourists stretch over an area measuring 25 km.
You can also ski by night on the most beautiful slope of the region, OPEN on TUESDAYS and FRIDAYS
from 7pm to 11pm (last run at 10.45pm).
Stelvio National Park - Northen Italy
In the heart of the central Alps, with a network of 315 km of paths, the Trentino sector of the Stelvio National Park offers panoramic routes for walks along picturesque paths.
The Park offers excursion activities.
Fort Bard - Northen Italy
A fortified complex built in the 19th century by the House of Savoy on a rocky prominence, in 2006 it opened to tourists and it shows art exhibitions and galleries.
Fort Bard and its town were used as the fictional Eastern European country of Sokovia in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron directed by Joss Whedon.
Le Cinque Terre (The five lands) - Northen Italy
Le Cinque Terre are five little village: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore.
Monterosso al Mare is the largest village of the Cinque Terre, it's not only a beach destination but it also boasts important monuments.
Vernazza, considered by many to be the most charming of the Cinque Terre. The village is dominated by the remains of the “castrum” a series of Medieval forts dating back to the XI century, with a cylindrical castle and tower.
Corniglia, the only village of the Cinque Terre not in contact with the sea, rising on top of a rock promontory.
Manarola is a town planning jewel, founded during the XII century.
Riomaggiore boasts monuments of great interest, among which San Giovanni Battista (St. Giovanni Baptist), a church erected in 1340.
Pitigliano - Central Italy
Pitigliano is built upon a tufa ridge, giving the impression about being one with the mountain. Also known as "Little Jerusalem" after the large Jewish population settling here in the middle of the 16th century.
Siena - Central Italy
The historic center of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site and it is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions.
Famous for its art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year, on 2 July and 16 August.
Pisa - Central Italy
Pisa is known worldwide for its leaning tower, but the city contains more than 20 other historic churches, several medieval palaces and various bridges across the Arno.
Cascate delle Marmore (Marmore falls) - Central Italy
It was the great hydraulic intervention (271 b.Ch.) of the Roman consul Curio Dentato who brought to life the Falls. Considered one of the most beautiful and suggestive sceneries in Italy.
Civita di Bagnoregio - Central Italy
A beautiful old town in Italy that it is also disappearing. It is located on a tufa rock hill and can be reached only by crossing a pedestrian bridge.
Called the "dying city", it risks disappearing because the tufa hill where it is located is being eroded at the base by the continuous action of the two streams in the valleys below as well as by the effect of rain and wind.
Majestic and suggestive, almost like a gateway to another dimension.
Basilica Addolorata of Castelpetroso - Central Italy
The Sanctuary is wholly carved with local stones, the layout of the Temple symbolizes a heart stabbed by seven swords.
Sant'Agata dei Goti - Southern Italy
A unique village, it rises like a rock over a tufa mountain. Full of beautiful monuments, lots of churches to visit and many events taking place at Sant'Agata.
Amalfi - Center Italy
Amalfi is a town setting below steep cliffs on Italy’s southwest coast. One of the most renowned tourist centres of the Campania's coastal.
Known for its natural and artistic country and a clear sea.
Naples - Southern Italy
Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, its historic city center is the largest in Europe. Also known for its natural beauties, Posillipo, Phlegraean Fields, Nisida, Vesuvius and the nearby Pompei.
Alberobello - Southern Italy
A small town famous for its unique trullo buildings. The Trulli of Alberobello have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage.
The history of these very particular buildings is linked to the Prammatica De Baronibus , an edict of the 15th-century Kingdom of Naples that imposed on the peasants sent in these lands they built their dwellings dry, without using mortar, so that they could be configured as precarious buildings, easily demolished.
Matera - Southern Italy
Matera is a city on a rocky outcrop in the region of Basilicata, the town lies in a small canyon carved out by the Gravina.
It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, having been inhabited since the 10th millennium BC, is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993.
Matera has gained international fame for its ancient town, the "Sassi di Matera", these dwellings are thought to be among the first ever human settlements in what is now Italy. The Sassi are habitations dug into the calcareous rock itself.
Eolie islands - Southern Italy
The Aeolian islands archipelago is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, seven islands of volcanic origin (two of them still active).
The bigger island is Lipari, followed by Salina and Panarea. Stromboli is the most famous thanks to its active Vulcan.
Then there are Vulcano, Filicudi, and Alicudi, for nature and tranquillity lovers.
A pristine and wild territory, ideal for beach holidays and trekking.
Read anything you need about Aeolian islands in this guide.
Palermo - Southern Italy
Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture, and gastronomy. Founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians, it is a city rich in history, culture, art, music, and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned gastronomy, and restaurants.
La Maddalena - Sardinia island
I couldn't help but to put La Maddalena on this list, not only because is my birthplace. It is the largest town in the Maddalena archipelago, from the northeastern shore of Sardinia.
La Maddalena now derives much of its income from tourism, thanks to its beautiful beaches and the crystal water. I highly suggest Cala Coticcio.
The only method of traveling to La Maddalena is by boat, with car ferries traveling from nearby Palau.
Milan - Northen Italy
Milan, a metropolis in Italy's northern Lombardy region, is a global capital of fashion and design. it’s a financial hub also known for its high-end restaurants and shops. With a vibrant nightlife.
Venice - Northen Italy
Venice is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs.
Florence - Central Italy
Florence is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. Its main attractions are the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The Galleria dell'Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”
Verona - Northen Italy
Verona has a medieval old town built between the meandering Adige River. It’s famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" and the Verona Arena, a huge 1st-century Roman amphitheater, which currently hosts concerts and large-scale opera performances.
Rome - Central Italy
Rome, Italy’s capital, with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. Ancient ruins, the Vatican, hundreds of churches, museums.
Porto Venere - Northen Italy
Portovenere, a small town in Liguria, is one of the most beautiful places on the west coast of Italy, near the city of La Spezia (where I lived for almost ten years).
It is famous for its old castle, houses, churches and picturesque islands with numerous caves.
Perfect for trekking and hiking with hundreds of footpaths, which connect the villages and the beaches.
Garda Lake - Northen Italy
Lake Garda, in northern Italy, is known for its crystal clear water. There are lots of beautiful villages to visit, try not to miss these ones, Sirmione, Riva del Garda, Peschiera del Garda, Gardaland (an amusement park with roller coasters & family-friendly rides in themed areas, plus shows).
Como Lake - Northen Italy
Lake Como is an area known for its dramatic scenery, set against the foothills of the Alps. At the bottom of the southwest branch lies the city of Como, home to Renaissance architecture and a funicular that travels up to the mountain town of Brunate.
Visit at least Como, Lecco, and Cernobbio.
Etna Vulcan - Southern Italy
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, in the Metropolitan City of Catania, between the cities of Messina and Catania.
Pompei - Southern Italy
Pompei is a city in southern Italy’s Campania region overlooked by the active volcano at Vesuvius. It’s known for its ancient city, Pompeii, which was buried by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Capri island - Southern Italy
Capri, an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples, is famed for its rugged landscape, upscale hotels and shopping. One of its best-known natural sites is the Blue Grotto, a dark cavern where the sea glows electric blue.
Things to see in Capri are the Blue Grotto, the Faraglioni, Villa San Michele.
Genova - Northen Italy
Genova is a port city, known for its central role in maritime trade over many centuries.
In the old town stands the Romanesque Cathedral of San Lorenzo, with its black-and-white-striped facade and frescoed interior.
A must see is the Aquarium of Genova, the largest aquarium in Italy and the second largest in Europe. Located in the old harbor area of Genova.
Montepulciano - Center Italy
Montepulciano is a medieval hilltop town in Tuscany, Italy. Surrounded by vineyards, it’s known for its vino noble red wine. The city is full of elegant Renaissance palaces, ancient churches, charming squares.
Piazza Grande is the heart of Montepulciano.
Elba island - Central Italy
Elba is an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea’s Tuscan Archipelago National Park. It’s known for its beaches, and as Napoleon’s place of exile in 1814–15.
Crystal clear water lapped by golden beaches, granite rocks standing out from the bush.
But Elba is not only beaches! There are many things to see like, churches and sanctuaries, Etruscan fortifications, Spanish fortresses, and archaeological sites.
Rimini - Central Italy
Rimini is a city on the Adriatic coast, known for its beachside nightclubs and shallow waters. Highly recommended for young people and singles!
Taormina - Southern Italy
Taormina is a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily. It sits near Mount Etna. The town is known for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-Roman theater still used today.
Near the theater, cliffs drop to the sea forming coves with sandy beaches. A narrow stretch of sand connects to Isola Bella, a tiny island and nature reserve.
Read here about the best beaches of Sicily.
Bologna - Central Italy
Its Piazza Maggiore is a sprawling plaza lined with arched colonnades, cafes and medieval and Renaissance structures such as City Hall, the Fountain of Neptune and the Basilica di San Petronio. Among the city’s many medieval towers are the Two Towers, leaning Asinelli and Garisenda.
Vieste - Southern Italy
Vieste is a coastal town in Gargano National Park, in southeast Italy, known for its beaches, like Scialara. Nearby are the Castello Svevo, a medieval fortress, and the 11th-century Vieste Cathedral, with its baroque bell tower and painted ceiling.
Check more about Vieste here: Things to do in Vieste
Costa Smeralda - Sardinia island
Costa Smeralda is a stretch of land along the northeast coast of Sardinia, known for its turquoise water and fine-sand beaches, including Grande Pevero and Capriccioli. The main town of Porto Cervo is home to upscale hotels and shops.
The prices are very high.
Learn more about the best places in Sardinia.
Dolomiti - Northen Italy
The Dolomites are a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. They form a part of the Southern Limestone Alps and extend from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley in the east.
Leisure activities on the Dolomites are so many, walking, hiking, climbing and many other winter sports.