Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy (Photo by canmandawe on Unsplash)

Italy is a country that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. Here, you will find yourself drowning in pasta and pizza, surrounded by the most beautiful architecture in the world, and dazzled by ancient art at every corner. Nothing compares to Italia! But where should you spend your vacation? From the coast to the charming cityscapes, we’ve broken down exactly what to see when you visit.

There are so many reasons travelers head to the country — the vibrant culture, ancient architecture, stunning landscapes, rich history, and, of course, mouth-watering food. Pizza. Pasta. Parmesan. Enough said, right? According to nine travel guides, the spots on our list are the five best places to visit in Italy. So, fasten your figurative seatbelts, and let’s explore the best of Italy. If we missed one, let us know in the comments below!

The List: Best Places To See In Italy  

1. Rome

Colosseum in Rome.
Of course, no trip to Rome is complete without a stop at the ancient Roman Colosseum. (Photo by L A L A S Z A on Unsplash)

When it comes to a trip to Italy, Rome is always a must-see. That’s why it tops the list of most travel websites. Rome. Just the name conjures images of the iconic Trevi Fountain and the awe-inspiring Colosseum. And while these landmarks are undoubtedly must-sees, there’s a whole other side to the Eternal City waiting to be explored by adventurous travelers.

Condé Nast Traveler urges you to venture beyond the typical tourist path. A hidden gem awaits just a day trip away: Ostia Antica. This remarkably well-preserved archaeological site offers a glimpse into ancient Roman life, with ruins that seem frozen in time. Imagine strolling cobbled streets and chatting with friendly archaeologists – a chance to learn about the city’s rich history directly from the experts.

U.S. News reinforces the allure of Rome, calling it a “globally renowned cultural and historical powerhouse.” Wandering through Rome is like stepping into a living museum. From the mighty Colosseum, a testament to the city’s gladiatorial past, to the Sistine Chapel adorned with Michelangelo’s masterpieces, Rome’s history unfolds around every corner. No matter your interests, Rome has something to offer everyone – ancient ruins, artistic treasures, world-class food, and of course, the Vatican City, the heart of Catholicism. So, pack your walking shoes, embrace your sense of adventure, and get ready to be dazzled by the Eternal City.

2. Florence

Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy. (Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash)

No big deal. Florence is just the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Touropia.com says this means this city is the breeding ground for artistic giants, inventors, and explorers who shaped the course of history. Here, opera was born, and the florin currency, a financial innovation that helped pull Europe out of the Dark Ages, was minted.

Art history buffs, rejoice! Earth Trekkers confirms that Florence is a must-visit. Michelangelo’s iconic David sculpture, the treasure trove of Renaissance masterpieces within the Uffizi Gallery, and the breathtaking dome frescoes by Brunelleschi adorning the Duomo – these are just a few of the artistic wonders that await you.

But Florence is more than just museums. Earth Trekkers playfully reminds us that there are enough towers to conquer (think panoramic city views from the top of Giotto’s Campanile!), enough gelato flavors to tempt your taste buds (because, let’s face it, is there anything better?), and enough charming shops to keep your credit card company happy. So, whether you’re an art aficionado or simply seeking a city that tantalizes your senses, Florence promises an unforgettable experience.

StudyFinds Associate Editor Sophia Naughton had the pleasure of living and interning for a travel agency in Florence for a summer during college:

“There is simply too much to say about Florence. I didn’t even understand how important it would be to my life while I was there. It’s a whirlwind of art, incredibly delicious food, kind people, and this not-so-subtle magic that you feel the moment you arrive. I’ll leave you with three recommendations for a day of food: banana bread for breakfast at Melaleuca, Caffe Ricasoli’s pesciaiolo panino for lunch, Trattoria Marione (anything on the menu) for dinner, and black cherry and peanut butter gelato at Cantina del Gelato for dessert! It’s like peanut butter and jelly in gelato form. Plus, it sits right next to the Arno. Enjoy your sweet treat with a view of the river. Ciao!”

3. Venice

Venice, Italy
It’s quite easy to figure out why Venice is called “The Floating City.” (Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash)

Venice isn’t your typical city. Full Suitcase says to prepare for a lot of walking. Picture yourself meandering along narrow streets, sunlight dappling through canals, and every corner revealing a hidden gem – a charming medieval building or a stunning Gothic palace whispering stories of a bygone era. And of course, no trip to Venice is complete without a gondola ride. Glide down the canals, taking in the city from a completely different perspective. This quintessential Venetian experience is a must-do for any bucket list.

Art and architecture enthusiasts will find themselves captivated by Venice’s grandeur. As PlanetWare points out, St. Mark’s Square serves as the heart of the city, a piazza brimming with iconic landmarks. The majestic Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica) stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Doge’s Palace, both dwarfed by the soaring Campanile bell tower. These architectural marvels are just a taste of the artistic treasures that await you in this floating city. So, lace up your walking shoes, hop on a gondola, and prepare to be enchanted by the timeless beauty of Venice.

4. Pompeii

The Pompeii Excavation Site
Pompeii excavation site. (Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash)

Take a step back in time in Pompeii. Lonely Planet describes Pompeii as your portal to the past. Here, the ruins whisper tales of a vibrant Roman city tragically frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Stroll along chariot-marked streets, marvel at the frescoes adorning lavish villas, and peek into the remnants of bathhouses, shops, and even an ancient brothel.

The haunting silence is a stark contrast to the bustling life Pompeii once knew. As you stand in the shadow of the ever-present Mount Vesuvius, ponder the chilling words of Pliny the Younger, who described the city’s final hours in a letter: “Darkness came on again, again ashes, thick and heavy. We got up repeatedly to shake these off; otherwise we would have been buried and crushed by the weight” (Lonely Planet).

The weight of history hangs heavy in Pompeii. Walking through Pompeii is a humbling experience, a reminder of the power of nature and the fragility of life. But it’s also a testament to human resilience, showcasing the remarkable civilization that thrived here for centuries.

5. Milan

Milan, Italy
Duomo di Milano (Photo credit: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images)

Commonly known as The Fashion Capital of the World, this city offers a fashionably good time, which is always in style. The city conjures images of high fashion and luxury brands. But Travellers Worldwide assures us this vibrant city offers something for everyone, even those with zero interest in the latest trends.

Imagine yourself cheering alongside passionate fans at a thrilling Serie A soccer match, or getting lost in the beauty of Milan’s architectural marvels. The Duomo, a magnificent Gothic cathedral, is just one of the many treasures waiting to be explored. And when hunger strikes, Milan promises a feast for the senses. Cozy cafes beckon with steaming cups of espresso, while bustling trattorias offer delectable Italian fare – there’s something to satisfy every craving. Of course, if you do find yourself bitten by the fashion bug, Milan welcomes you with open arms. Whether you choose to experience the electrifying energy of Milan Fashion Week or simply browse the designer boutiques at your own pace, the city caters to every fashionista’s desires.

Our Escape Clause reinforces Milan’s multifaceted appeal. They acknowledge its status as a fashion and business hub, but also highlight its architectural wonders and surprisingly modern vibe compared to other Italian cities. This doesn’t negate its rich history, though. Milan boasts a captivating past that’s woven into the very fabric of the city.

Been to Italy? Planning to go? Drop us a comment with your travel tips. 

Sources:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About Stephanie Vallette

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink

Editor-in-Chief

Chris Melore

Editor

Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor

9 Comments

  1. warren trout says:

    Go in the off season. No lines and much cheaper.

  2. Paul says:

    If you go to Pompeii then you would be well-advised to also visit Herculaneum. They are very close to each other and conveniently located near the train.

  3. Scott says:

    The town of Lucca (near Pisa) has a charming old town with an intact medieval wall with a path/road around the top. Rent a bike, explore the old town and take a loop around the top of the wall. May be the best way to spend an afternoon in Italy.

    1. Kathleen says:

      LUCCA was a wonderful place to visit..a great find 🙂

  4. Nicole Jacqueline Caron says:

    Firenze has my heart. Been there several times and each time it’s a discovery. So much art so much beauty and such good food !

  5. Gretchen Boyd says:

    Napoli and Cassino.

  6. Armand Iaia says:

    If you are an art history buff, the Scovini chapel in Padua is not to be missed. It is 13th century Giotto world heritage site. The university town is also very Charming. The university is the second oldest (Bologna is oldest ) in the world. PS….If you go. must reserve the chapel well in advance.

  7. Nenita says:

    Hi, we planned to go on a Mediterranean cruise in October, and the port is in Rome, we’ve been to Florence but didn’t really explore, so we planned to go back in Florence and stay for a few days, planned to swing by Siena and Lucca, what do you think? your suggestion is much appreciated, thank you .

  8. Manas says:

    While in Venice do go to the terrace of Dei Tedeschi, a shopping mall… Its free of cost, but tickets need to be booked a month earlier.. and the view from the top is captivating..