Italy. A land of art, romance, and Mediterranean charm. With dramatic coastlines, sun-kissed beaches, and the stunning architecture of cities like Venice and Florence, it is no wonder that it is one of the most popular destinations in Europe.
The question is: which parts of Italy should you visit? What are the sights that will stay with you forever?
From cities well-known for their beauty to lesser-known locations and hidden gems that will take your breath away, we have assembled a list of the most picturesque locations the country has to offer. Read on to discover our top 10 most beautiful places in Italy.
The 10 Most Beautiful Spots in Italy
The birthplace of the Rennaissance, the beauty of Florence cannot be understated. The historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with many buildings dating back to the Middle Ages.
The famous Duomo di Firenze of Florence Cathedral is a major landmark adorned by marble panels in shades of pink, green, and white and is sure to take your breath away. The Ponte Vecchio — a bridge with shops built along its length — is almost as impressive.
Florence is also a Mecca for art — according to UNESCO, it holds 30% of the world’s most important artworks. Renaissance masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were born in the region and lived and worked for a time in the city.
The Galleria dell’Accademia art museum houses various masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s classic sculpture David.
Set between rugged mountains, the vivid blue waters of Lake Garda invite visitors to relax by its shores or sail out on a boat.
It is possible to see Lake Garda on a day trip from Verona or Milan, but you might prefer to spend a week or so here to really appreciate the beauty of Italy’s largest lake. There are plenty of places to stay, from waterside hotels to luxury spas.
Sitting outside with a glass of wine and watching the sunset over the lake is Italy at its most beautiful.
On the Italian Riviera, you can find 5 fishing villages along the sheer cliffs of the coastline with pastel-painted houses running down to the sea on steep terraces. The bright colors of the buildings, quaint harbors, and old churches make the Cinque Terre one of Italy’s hidden gems and one of the best places to visit in Italy.
Some of the houses may look precariously perched on the rocks, but don’t fear! These villages have stood the test of time.
The nearby hiking trails take you through scenic vineyards and olive groves overlooking the sea. Returning to the villages in the evening, you can enjoy some well-earned local food, from freshly caught fish to dishes with pesto sauce — a specialty in this region. Finally, wash it all down with some delicious locally-produced wine.
Nestled in the mountains overlooking the sea on the east coast of Sicily, Taormina offers stunning views of the island, the nearby Mount Etna, and the Ionian Sea. Dating back to antiquity, you will find an ancient Greek theatre at one of the peaks of the town and a Moorish castle on another.
If you have the urge to relax on the beach, a cable car will carry you down from the town center to the golden sands 250 meters (820 ft) below.
At low tide, you will be able to cross the tiny strip of sand to Isola Bella — a small island and nature reserve, where you can find peace and solitude among the trees, catch the sun on the pebble beaches, and explore enchanting sea grottoes. No wonder Taormina is one of the amazing Italian gems!
Rinella Bay, Salina, Aeolian Islands
Rinella Bay is the perfect place to appreciate the vibrant colors of the shoreline. Dark volcanic sands, turquoise waters, and the hues of pink, blue, and white of the houses in the seaside villages come together to create a work of art.
Take a walk around the bay as the sun goes down and experience the wild beauty of the Aeolian Islands.
Built on the islands in the middle of a green lagoon, Venice is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is definitely one of the most beautiful spots in Italy. Dubbed the “Queen of the Adriatic”, Venice was a cornerstone of the Renaissance and has played an important role in the history of art and music.
From the iconic Rialto Bridge to the famous tower of St. Mark’s Campanile in the Piazza San Marco, Venice is truly magnificent. Don’t forget to take a gondola ride down the city’s famous canals.
To get a feel for the “real” Venice and meet some of the locals, head for the Dorsoduro neighborhood. The quiet streets and chic cafes lend themselves a relaxed charm that is sometimes missing from the more touristic parts of the city. Venice should definitely be on anyone’s European travel plan, you can even find discounted Italy tour packages on websites like Bookmundi.
Immortalized in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, fair Verona is renowned as one of Italy’s most beautiful cities. Whether sitting with a gelato in its sunny piazzas or admiring the medieval architecture, it is hard not to be impressed by Verona.
The huge Roman amphitheater, dubbed the Arena, is still functional and regularly hosts plays, operas, public events, and fairs. Do not pass up the chance to see a performance on a summer night under the stars. That memory will stay with you forever.
The picturesque town of Spoleto lies in the foothills of the Apennines in the Umbria region. Despite being small, Spoleto is home to a number of impressive buildings dating back to the Middle Ages and some even older than that.
If you explore Spoleto, you will find a Roman theater and amphitheater, a striking 13th-century aqueduct, the imposing Rocca Albornoziana fortress, and a number of ornate churches, including the Duomo (Cathedral) of S. Maria Assunta.
Spoleto is not too far from Rome and is easy to reach from there.
Campo de’Fiori, Rome
Rome is everything a capital city should be: huge, majestic, and filled with grandiose landmarks like the Colosseum. However, sometimes when you take a step back, you can find beauty in the simpler side of things.
The bright colors and energy of the daily market in the Campo de’Fiore square are something you must experience for a snapshot of everyday life in Rome. From the whiff of freshly baked bread inviting you in to the local cheese and fresh fruit, this is a spot where you can feel like a local. There is something truly beautiful about it.
This island is a well-kept secret where Italians themselves come to relax. Pantelleria’s warm waters and volcanic mud give rise to a natural spa where visitors can let go of pent up stress and feel the rejuvenating effects of nature.
The impossibly clear waters of the sea around the island and the many secluded coves make Pantelleria the perfect place if you are looking for a quiet getaway.
Now that you know our top 10 most beautiful places in Italy, all that is left to do is decide which of them you want to visit first. Before booking your trip, make sure you have any necessary visas or other documentation, and then you are set to explore this magical country!
Susan Noel is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her valuable travel tips with the audience.