The 25 Best Cities You Can Find in Italy to Satisfy the Love for Pizza

25 most beautiful cities in Italy

25 Beautiful Cities in ItalyPlay Video


The main square in Bologna, Italy with its red-roofed houses and towers.

BOLOGNA

By Ben from Driftwood Journals

It may not boast the glamour of Rome or the bravado of Naples, but Bologna is unquestionably one of Italy’s most beautiful cities.

With its russet-red and burnt-mustard hues, warren of medieval streets and crumbling ramparts, Bologna looks as though it were designed especially to adorn postcards and the Insta feeds of in-the-know travellers.

But it’s not all ‘show’ and no ‘go’.

No, Bologna – famously nicknamed ‘La Grassa’ (The Fat One) – is one of Italy’s leading gastro centres. As the capital of the food-centric Emilia Romagna region (which produces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, balsamic vinegar and Prosciutto di Parma), it is one of those places where there seems to be a historic deli, market, cafe, bakery or trattoria on every corner, all calling your name and urging you to stop and scoff.

Bologna is also home to the oldest university in the world, giving it a youthful, gritty edge. It’s the sort of place Harry Potter’s beatnik older brother would have gone to study jazz and the arts while Harry was busy nerding out at Dumbledore. 

And you could learn a lot from the local student population, too. Follow their lead and spend your days loitering in the piazzas of the Ghetto Ebraico (Jewish Quarter) and sipping Lambrusco (the region’s famous sparkling wine), while admiring the graffitied walls and watching the beautiful people go by.

Oh, and don’t miss a hike to the top of the iconic Garisenda and Asinelli towers, which offer the best views in town and date back to Bologna’s medieval beginnings. But be warned, they’re even wonkier than Pisa’s more famous counterpart.

Where to stay in Bologna: For a glimpse of what it might be like to live as a local, check in to one of the gorgeous L’8 Boutique Design Apartments. Housed in a historic palazzo, and ideally situated within strolling distance of the city centre, they offer a salubrious dose of comfort and style as well as convenience.

A beautiful view of Il Duomo in Florence, with the Tuscan countryside as a backdrop.

FLORENCE, ONE OF THE PRETTIEST CITIES IN ITALY

By Kat from Wandering Bird

If you’re looking for the most beautiful city in Tuscany, you need to head to Florence.

This picturesque city is famous for culture, Renaissance art, architecture and historic monuments, including the iconic Piazza della Signoria. It’s full of art galleries and museums, among them the famous Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti.

Florence is so beautiful that UNESCO dedicated the historic centre a World Heritage site in 1982. There are plenty of churches, cathedrals – including the world-famous Duomo Cathedral – and idyllic streets to explore, as well as upmarket shops and boutiques to discover.

In addition to the art galleries mentioned above, you should also visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, which contains incredible marble sculptures by Michelangelo and others, notably David and Prisoners, and Botticelli’s Madonna and Child, and Madonna of the Sea.

Another must-see is the Ponte Vecchio, one of the most historic bridges in Florence. As well as being picturesque, shops line each side of the bridge, including jewellers, artisans and souvenir shops.

While visiting Florence, add on a day trip to San Gimignano, one of the beautiful Tuscan hill towns just beyond the city.

Where to stay in Florence: If you are visiting Florence while campervanning in Italy, there are plenty of great campsites nearby. If you’d prefer to stay in the centre, head for the Laurus Al Duomo hotel and be awestruck at the views.

Rome's colosseum lit up at night.

ROME

The Eternal City and Italy’s biggest metropolis, Rome has been the spiritual, cultural and political heart of the country for more than three millennia. One of the world’s great capitals – the inspiration behind countless novels and films – Rome is simply one of those cities you have to see with your own eyes at least once in your lifetime.

Rome’s historic centre is overrun with legendary landmarks including the Pantheon, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and Spanish Steps need no introduction – just know that they’re even more impressive in real life.

Aside from Rome’s famous landmarks – images of which you’ll likely have emblazoned in your imagination long before ever arriving in Italy – there’s a less obvious, more bespoke beauty to be found in the winding streets of Trastevere, often dubbed ‘Rome’s most romantic neighbourhood’.

For a postcard-fit view of Rome, head to any of the arched bridges that span the Tiber River. When viewed from the sweet spot, pretty Ponte Ponte Garibaldi frames the domed Sistine Chapel in profile.

Where to stay in Rome: Otivm Hotel is a 10-minute walk from Trevi Fountain and features a beautiful rooftop terrace with panoramic city views.

Venice, the most beautiful city in Italy, pictured from a classic angle with a full view of the canals and historic architecture.

VENICE, A CLASSICALLY BEAUTIFUL CITY IN ITALY

Oozing with romance and old-world charm, Venice is a city like no other. One of the most beautiful places in Italy and another of those bucket-list world cities whose streets every traveller dreams of getting lost down, La Serenissima is a dreamscape of bustling canals and narrow alleys.

The must-dos in Venice reads like a laundry list of Italy’s most photogenic places: The Grand Canal, plied by gondolas, the iconic Rialto Bridge and Doge’s Palace. The Basilica Di San Marco and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute are among Venice’s most beautiful churches, while the Piazza San Marco – best viewed from the top of St Mark’s Campanile – is another must-see.

Further afield, the Italian islands of Murano and Burano are both known for their colourfully painted houses and exquisite handicrafts.

Where to stay in Venice: If you’ve ever dreamt of spending the night on a private island in the Venetian Lagoon or in a grand deconsecrated chapel in Venice, check out this list of the best authentic Italy Airbnbs.

Trento, Italy by night, with lights illuminating buildings around a main square and fountain.

TRENTO

By Bella from Passport & Pixels

Trento doesn’t have the fame and glory of cities like Rome, Venice or Florence, but what it might lack in celebrity status it more than makes up for in colour, charm, and youthful vibes.

Trento is the capital of Trentino province, a mountainous region situated in the very north of Italy close to the Swiss and Austrian borders. Because of its location it has a very different feel from other Italian cities: less decadent and ancient, more Alpine and active.

That’s not to say there isn’t history here too: Trento has a picturesque, brightly-coloured medieval city centre filled with quiet piazzas and beautifully-frescoed old houses, as well as the stunning 13th-century Buonconsiglio Castle, which is definitely worth visiting for its gorgeous art and pretty gardens. There’s also a cable car to whisk you up to the top of nearby Mount Bodone for breathtaking views over the valley. 

As well as its charming streets and colourful buildings, Trento is also a gateway to Trentino’s outdoor activities: from fly fishing in the river Sarca to rock climbing or cycling in the Dolomites and skiing in the winter months.

Where to stay in Trento: Albermonaco is a pleasant and affordable hotel in an excellent location, just a 10-minute walk from the city centre and the train station.

A tram glides down a sun-speckled street in Milan, Italy.

MILAN, ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN NORTHERN ITALY

By Dymphe from Dymabroad

What makes Milan, Italy’s second-largest city, so beautiful is its monuments and buildings. The grand Porta Sempione city gate sets the scene as you travel around Milan on the city’s historic tram network.

The most famous landmark is of course the Milan Cathedral, a sight you have to see even if you only have one day in Milan. This is one of the largest churches in the world. In fact, there are only three churches that are bigger. The cathedral looks gorgeous from the outside, with its white stone and beautiful decorations.

Beyond the cathedral, Milan is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world, so a shopping spree on one of the many pedestrianised streets is in order. For the history inclined, Sforza Castle was built in the 15th century by the Duke of Milan and was expanded and renovated in the 16th and 17th centuries, becoming one of the largest citadels in Europe. Here you’ll find some rather interesting museums.

If it’s the beauty of Italian art that draws you to Milano, you must pay pilgrimage to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, which is housed inside Santa Maria Delle Grazie church. Finally, Don’t miss out on the beautiful Parco Sempione, one of the most relaxing places in the city.

Where to stay in Milan: The Park Hyatt Milano is very luxurious and central to most of Milan’s major landmarks.

The city of Naples at dusk, with the sun setting over a volcanic mountain in the background.

NAPLES

Grungy, gritty and full of character, Naples isn’t normally thought of as ‘beautiful’. But Italy’s third-largest city has its particular charms – and unearthing them isn’t a very difficult task.

A day in Naples is all the time you need to get a feel for the city’s history and sink your teeth into its culinary traditions. Start with some of the more noteworthy churches – including the fresco-laden Duomo di San Gennaro and the unusual Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo – before wandering the laundry-lined streets of Quartieri Spagnoli.

At Mercato Pignasecca, Naples’ vibrant outdoor food market, you can find photo-ready displays of fresh fruit and veg and delightful hand-painted shop signs. Stand beneath the glass roof of the Galleria Umberto I and go underground at Toledo to discover one of the world’s coolest metro stations.

Lying in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Naples is a stone’s throw from a few of Italy’s most important archaeological sites, including Herculaneum and Pompeii. The gorgeous Amalfi Coast and some of the most beautiful small towns in Italy are just a short train ride away.

Where to stay in Naples: Le Stanze di Flora offers generous apartments in a typical Italian building with flowered courtyard and a traditional elevator. Centrally located and with a cafe breakfast included, it’s a great choice for budget travellers.

The interior of a gorgeous cathedral in Palermo, Italy.

PALERMO, ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN SICILY

By Chrysoula from Travel Passionate

Palermo, capital of the island region of Sicily, has been a cultural melting pot for centuries, influenced by Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, fought over by Greeks and Phoenicians, and invaded by the Normans. Palermo did not become Italian until 1861.

There are so many things to do in Palermo, including the 12th-century cathedral and numerous squares such as Piazza Pretoria, known as the ‘Square of Shame’ because of the carvings of naked nymphs and tritons around Its fountain.

Street cafes offer good coffee and cannoli – cream-filled tubes of pastry – or you can buy a refreshing Granita al Limone from a street seller in Piazza Verdi. Palermo has three Arabic-style markets: Capo, Vuccinia, and Ballarò. Via Marqueda is the main pedestrian precinct with numerous side alleys, all filled with interesting shops and architecture.

Pasticceria Costa, down one side street, is a famous marzipan patisserie that opened in 1700. At one end of the precinct stands Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele – the third largest opera house in Europe. Take a tour as this includes the roof terrace with amazing panoramic views.

Hop on the #806 bus to the former fishing village of Mondello, 20 minutes outside of town, to visit a beautiful sandy beach with crystal waters.

Where to stay in Palermo: La Terrazza Palace is an excellent hotel located in the centre of Palermo near the cathedral, making it the perfect base to explore the city. It offers comfortable modern rooms with air conditioning and free WIFI.

The ancient city of Matera, with its stone houses and church belltowers.

MATERA, ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SMALL CITIES IN ITALY

By Ophelie from Limitless Secrets

European Capital of Culture in 2019, Matera is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on Earth, with a history that dates back to 7000 BC. It also happens be one of the prettiest places in Italy.

Located in Basilicata in the country’s south, Matera is characterised by its white-stone houses. These cave dwellings, called Sassi Di Matera, are inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Getting lost in the Sassi is a great way to discover the city and see the stone cave houses up close. If you’re curious what these typical cave dwellings look like from the inside, be sure to visit Casa Grotta, which is set up with traditional furniture and tools.

Walk to the top of Civitas Hill to admire Matera’s Cathedral. It was built in the 13th century and from up here, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city. Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli and Belvedere Luigi Guerricchio are two more excellent viewpoints in Matera for panoramic views of the Sassi.

Where to stay in Matera: Thymus Residence nei Sassi is a 3-star hotel with rooms hewn from stone in typical Matera fashion.

An arched bridge over an inky-blue river leads to a row of beautiful houses in Verona, Italy.

VERONA

By Diana from The Elusive Family

Verona is a majestic Italian city, best known for attracting people who want a bit of romance in their life. The famous Juliet House in Verona is the city’s main attraction. Reachable by foot from the centre, the site includes a small courtyard with a statue of Shakespeare’s Juliet.

While the Casa di Giuletta is a great stop in Verona, the city has an array of other things to see and do. The Verona Arena, one of the best-preserved in all of Italy, continues to host concerts and artistic performances.

Heading west of the amphitheater and towards the river, a walk across Ponte Castelvecchio is worth the trek. This medieval bridge has a lot of viewpoints to take photos from plus several climbing areas to reach the upper portions of the bridge.

Castelvecchio, a castle connected to one end of the bridge, has an interesting museum that visitors can tour from the interior courtyard.

Where to stay in Verona: Il Relais is a charming hotel right next to Castelvecchio. It’s a perfect location to maintain closeness to several attractions and get a feel for Italian hospitality.

A massive volcano rises above the city of Catania on Sicily.

CATANIA

By Claudia from My Adventures Across The World

Catania is easily one of the prettiest cities in Italy, and one of the most lively in the country, with a thriving cultural life and nightlife scene. 

The second largest city in Sicily, Catania is located at the foothills of Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It was founded by the Greeks, but it’s seen a series of dominations that shaped its landscape as well as its character – most notably the Roman domination. Yet it was during the Renaissance period that Catania thrived. 

Among the things to do in Catania that you can’t miss there’s visiting the Roman Amphitheater and the Cathedral, doing a food tour of the market (Catania is a great place to try fish and seafood, and has an incredible street food scene), and exploring Mount Etna and the surrounding wineries.

You can also take a day trip to Syracuse, Noto or Ortigia from Catania.

Where to stay in Catania: If you have the budget to splurge, Duomo Suites & Spa is by far the best luxury hotel in town. If on the other hand you have a limited budget, opt to stay at Eco Hostel.

An aerial view of the whitewashed houses in Bari, Puglia with the blue ocean just beyond.

BARI

An important port city on Italy’s Adriatic Coast, Bari is the capital of southern Puglia region and a stronghold of distinct Apuglian culture and heritage. The city is a convenient departure point for travelling by ferry to Albania and Montenegro, and until recently, that’s all Bari was – a transit point. But the city’s reputation is slowly changing and Bari is becoming a destination in its own right.

The most beautiful slice of Bari is its old town. Known as Barivecchia, it occupies a tapered peninsula and when viewed from afar, the maze of whitewashed houses and church bell towers melts seamlessly into the sea beyond.

Previously considered a no-go area due to high levels of petty crime, the neighbourhood has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years and is now tourist-friendly. Bari’s two main squares, Piazza Mercantile and Piazza Ferrarese, have also undergone a facelift.

Erected in 1132, the Castello Normanno-Svevo is a must-see in Bari, as is the magnificent Teatro Petruzzelli opera house. Murat quarter is the city’s south has a distinct feel, with classical 19th-century architecture and wide pedestrian streets.

Where to stay in Bari: For a comfortable self-contained suite with balcony views of Bari, Bed & Breakfast Il Priscio is an ideal choice for budget travellers. The location is ideal for enjoying Bari’s many local restaurants and bakeries.

Washing lines strung between buff-coloured apartment buildings in the beautiful Italian city of Genoa.

GENOA, ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COASTAL CITIES IN ITALY

By Marta from Learning Escapes

Genoa is a beautiful city in the north-west of Italy with a stunning historic centre and an interesting old port. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Genoa experienced a period of great wealth thanks to the successes of its powerful fleet. Many of the city’s attractions are connected to this maritime vocation.

There are two main areas worth exploring: the centre, and the Porto Antico (Old Port), both easy to visit even with just one day in Genoa. The city center is a mix of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Not to be missed are the Palazzi dei Rolli (a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2006), the Royal Palace, and the churches of Annunziata and San Lorenzo, a dream for art and history lovers. 

This is also the area where you find Genoa’s caruggi, medieval narrow alleys full of charm.

The Old Port is now Genoa’s trendy waterfront and cultural hub. Worth seeing here are the aquarium, the various creations by architect Renzo Piano, Genoa’s several museums, and the Bigo panoramic lift, from where you can catch sunning views of the city.

Where to stay in Genoa: For a pleasant stay, hotel NH Collection Genova Marina is a 4-star hotel at the old port, with nice views over the marina.

Perugia city at dusk.

PERUGIA

By Maggie from The World Was Here First

If you’re looking for a beautiful and underrated Italian city to visit, then you really cannot go wrong with lovely Perugia. As the capital of the Umbria region in central Italy, Perugia is located about equidistant between Florence and Rome and makes for an excellent stop on any Italy itinerary.

There is lots to do in Perugia and its ample student population gives it a vibrant and youthful energy that makes the city a joy to explore. Make sure to wander around the Piazza IV Novembre and take a leisurely break to people watch on the many steps, gaze in awe at the imposing Etruscan Arch, and take in the beautiful sunset views at the Giardini Carducci.

It’s also worth visiting Underground Perugia in order to learn more about the city’s fascinating history. If you have more time, consider taking a day trip to nearby Assisi or even go wine tasting at one of the many vineyards in the surrounding countryside.

Where to stay in Perugia: If you’re looking for a great place to stay while in Perugia, then consider booking a room at the Residenza il Punto. This centrally located hotel is situated within easy walking distance of the city’s top attractions and has a number of comfortable rooms to choose from.

A row of colourful apartment buildings in Bolzano leads to a landscape of forested mountains.

BOLZANO

By Roxanne from Faraway Worlds

On the edge of the spectacular Dolomites mountains, Bolzano, the beautiful capital of South Tyrol, is one of the highlights of northern Italy.

With a history that spans a thousand years, Bolzano encompasses German, Austrian and Italian culture. The charming town centre filled with cafes, bars and restaurants is the perfect base for exploring this beautiful region.

From Bolzano, it’s just 30 minutes to the breathtaking Dolomites for world-class skiing in the winter. In the summer months, there are a range of day hikes and multi-day treks for all levels of ability, with spectacular views of snow-studded mountains, rolling valleys and glacial lakes. For those after less strenuous pursuits, there are a number of excellent wineries in the area, along with several monasteries that are open to visitors.

Back in town, it’s easy to spend a day strolling through the delightful town centre, stopping for pastries and visiting one of Bolzano’s interesting museums. The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is especially fascinating, with an exhibit that features the world-famous ice mummy, ‘Ötzi, the Iceman’.

There are a range of delicious food options in town, including many local choices which travellers might normally associate with Germany rather than Italy, such as pretzels and strudels.

As lovely as the city is, it’s the surroundings that make Bolzano truly special. With the Dolomites as a backdrop, every moment here is magical.

Where to stay in Bolzano: For a luxurious experience in Bolzano, stay at Castel Hörtenberg, a restored Renaissance castle with beautiful grounds and easy access to all the local attractions.

An elevated view of the coastal city of Messina in Sicily, with a backdrop of mountains and ships in the foreground.

MESSINA

Located on Sicily’s far-northeastern coast, just a skip from Reggio Calabria, Messina is a classically beautiful Sicilian port city that sadly gets overlooked by many tourists. An important trading hub throughout its long history, Messina centres on a lively harbour fringed with palm trees and fronted with classically beautiful buildings.

The nearby Strait of Messina, the passage of water that separates Sicily from the Italian mainland, forms a picturesque backdrop. Everything in Messina is tied to the water and the city’s seafaring heritage, including the gorgeous Neptune Fountain, which is crowned with a statue of the sea god.

When it comes to sightseeing, the Cathedral of Messina and its astronomical clock – one of the largest in the world – can’t be missed. After wandering the picturesque Port of Messina, head into the hills behind town to walk amongst the wild lemon, mandarin and orange trees.

With frequent hydrofoil services, Messina is the jumping-off point for the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Linger a few days in Messina to experience one of Sicily’s most underrated cities – and to overindulge in authentic Sicilian gelato of course!

Where to stay in Messina: B&B Porta Della Sicilia offers homely rooms set back a few blocks from the waterfront.

The harbour in Trieste.

TRIESTE

Located in Italy’s far north-east, the city of Trieste is technically part of the Balkan Peninsula. Its position at the gateway to Europe makes Trieste one of the most culturally fascinating and visually distinct cities in all of Italy.

Trieste is perched on a narrow strip of territory that hugs the Bay of Trieste, very close to Croatia’s Istrian coast and the adorable Slovenian town of Piran. The city was ruled by the Habsburg Monarchy until 1918 and was, for a time, the fourth-largest city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire after Vienna, Budapest and Prague. Before that, Trieste was the final stop on the Maritime Silk Road, with connections to Turkey via the Suez Canal.

All this heritage adds up to a multilayered urban landscape of glorious architecture, open sea-facing plazas, and enough outdoor cafes to keep you buzzing for several lifetimes.

One of Europe’s literary capitals and recently voted among the best small cities in the world to live in, Trieste has no shortage of sightseeing opportunities for visitors. The Piazza della Borsa, Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi and 1st-century Roman Theatre of Trieste are all within walking distance of the harbour.

One of the prettiest spots in the city is the Ponte Rosso bridge, which spans Trieste’s narrow canal and is backed by the stunning Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Spyridon.

Where to stay in Trieste: For luxurious rooms and canal views, Forvm Boutique Hotel embodies Trieste glamour and is walking distance from all the major landmarks.

Rooftops in Cagliari, Sardinia.

CAGLIARI

By Claudia from Strictly Sardinia

The capital of Sardinia is a truly lovely city and a perfect destination for a long weekend trip, yet it remains one of the most underrated cities in Italy. 

Cagliari has an incredible ancient history. Founded by the Phoenicians, it went through several dominations – the Romans and the Aragonese to name but a few – before it became part of Italy. Each and every domination left its mark on the city. Scattered around town you will find interesting archeological sites, the most notable being the Roman Amphitheater. You should also visit Villa Tigellio and Tuvixeddu Necropolis.

Make sure to go for a walk across Cagliari’s historic districts. Castello is the one with the highest concentration of landmarks – here you will find the Cathedral, the Museum of Archeology, the two protective towers, and a few viewpoints for breathtaking views of the city.

La Marina, by the harbour, and Stampace across the street have a few beautiful churches. After dark, these are the local hotspots for nightlife. Villanova, the last historic district, is the one that has retained all of its local character.

When in Cagliari, make sure to pay a visit to Poetto Beach and the nearby Molentargius Nature Reserve, where you can spot pink flamingos.

Where to stay in Cagliari: There are a few good Airbnbs in Cagliari that are perfect for a short stay. Charming Marina is by Sant’Eulalia church, in the heart of the Marina District, and combines a stylish interior with the best customer service you can hope to get at an Airbnb.

The main square in the pretty Italian city of Parma, with sunset illuminating the stone buildings around the periphery.

PARMA

An ideal unconventional city break destination in Europe, Parma is a quaint university city in Italy’s northern Emilia Romagna region. The entire city radiates out from central Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, a beautiful Italian square surrounded by administrative buildings and palaces.

Parma is famed for its Romanesque buildings, none more iconic than the Baptistery of Parma, a distinctive octagonal-shaped pink marble structure that’s become a symbol of Parma. The city cathedral lies on the north-eastern corner of the square, juxtaposed by the many-arched facade of the Vescovado Parma on the opposite side.

There’s a world of beauty to be found in Parma’s cafes and restaurants – this city holds claim to such delicacies as Parmesan cheese and Parma ham.

Where to stay in Parma: The comfortable rooms at Niki O. Apartments feature balconies with views over Parma’s rooftops. It can’t be beat in terms of location, lying mere footsteps from the main plaza.

A beautiful cathedral in Lucca pictured against a cloudy grey sky.

LUCCA

By Hayley from A Lovely Planet

Lucca isn’t as well-known or visited as some of the other Tuscan cities on this list, and it’s for this reason that a visit to Lucca is a one of the best things to do in Tuscany.

Lucca is a walled city and the 16th-century fortifications that surround the centre are still mostly intact. In fact, you can even hire a bike and cycle around the city walls, admiring the view both in and outside the city from above.

Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a huge circular piazza in the centre that was once a Roman amphitheatre. Concerts are often held here, with a program that ranges from classical music to mainstream pop.

While exploring Lucca, you’re bound to notice Torre Guinigi, a tall tower with trees growing from the top. You can climb the tower for fantastic views of the city and the surrounding hills. As with many Italian cities, one of the best pastimes in Lucca is to indulge in delicious cuisine, and you’ll find plentiful osteriastrattorias and pizzerias across the city.

There is very minimal parking in Lucca, so if you’re driving, leave your car outside the walls. Better yet, take the train – most of the city is made up of narrow, walkable pedestrian streets, another thing that makes it so lovely.

Where to stay in Lucca: Palazzo Rocchi is a nice guesthouse inside the city walls. Breakfast comes included in the nightly rate.

The skyline of Turin, with its distinctive church tower against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

TURIN

By Megan from Megan Starr

Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region in Italy and one of the most popular cities to visit in the north of the country.  The city’s roots are extremely old as it used to be a Roman settlement, dating back to the times of Emperor Augustus. Today, Turin is renowned for its historical sights, restaurant scene, world-class museums, and the Juventus football team.

One of the most historically important places in the city is Piazza San Carlo Square, which is lined with cafes, souvenir shops, and some of Turin’s finest museums. The Galleria d’Arte Moderna definitely attracts one’s attention because it’s the home of some of the most famous modern artworks in Italy. There are approximately 45,000 pieces to admire inside.

After perusing the centre of Turin, take a walk or hire a bike to do a bit of sightseeing in San Salvario along the river. In Parco del Valentino, you can visit a model Medieval village called ‘Borgo Medievale’ as well as the beautiful 18th-century botanical garden. Both of these Turin attractions are free to visit.

Where to stay in Turin: A fantastic choice for mid-range accommodation is Best Quality Hotel Dock Milano, located right next to the train station, making it an easy place to get to if you’re arriving in Turin from Milan or any of the other cities to the east.

The beautiful Italian city of Siena lit up at night.

SIENA

By Linn from Brainy Backpackers

Jam-packed with medieval buildings and home to what might just be the most recognisable square in the country, Siena is truly one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Most travellers only spend one day in Siena, but truthfully this stunning corner of Tuscany deserves so much more.

The popular Piazza del Campo is the main attraction, with its shell shape and many restaurants and bars. At the square, you can climb more than 400 steps to the top of Torre del Mangia for spectacular city views. Make sure you visit the Civic Museum while you’re there.

Every 2nd of July and 16th of August, the square hosts a huge horse race known as the Palio of Siena. The roots of this tradition go all the way back to the 6th century, and is an important part of life for Siena locals.

Siena Cathedral, Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, is another highlight. The Romanesque-Gothic church is said to be one of the most beautiful in Italy, and it is easy to see why. With multiple famous Tuscan artists including Michelangelo and Donatello immortalised in statue form within the cathedral, astonishing frescoes and stained-glass windows, it’s a true gem.

Where to stay in Siena: For a touch of Tuscan luxury, Grand Hotel Continental Siena has gorgeous rooms footsteps away from the Piazza del Campo.

People sit at an outdoor cafe in a square in Syracuse, Sicily.

SYRACUSE

By Veronika from Travel Geekery

Syracuse, or Siracusa in Italian, is a beautiful city in the southeast of Sicily. Its historical core, located on a separate island called Ortigia, draws the most crowds.

Walking from New Town Syracuse to Ortigia, you’ll come across the remnants of the Temple of Apollo – a Greek monument from about the 6th century BC. The real heart of Syracuse’s Ortygia lies in a vast Square called Piazza Duomo, which is dominated by a large Baroque cathedral – the Cathedral of Syracuse. It’s right here at the square where you can find all sorts of stunning architectural gems including the local city hall and the church of Santa Lucia, as well as a maze of underground tunnels.

Continuing to the seaside, you’ll find a small city beach. If you make it all the way to Ortigia’s southernmost point, you can admire the majestic Castello Maniace, a seaside Citadel. For a small fee, you can explore its nooks and crannies and feast your eyes on the views.

Syracuse is located just an hour away from Catania (by car or bus), so it can be easily visited on a day trip from Catania.

Where to stay in Syracuse: If you’d like to stay overnight, do so at the well-rated B&B Palazzo del Sale, located ideally just off the Piazza Duomo.

Classical architecture in the Italian city of Lecce.

LECCE

With grand baroque buildings, sculpted towers, a sunken Roman amphitheatre and a sea of buff-coloured facades, the walled city of Lecce in southern Puglia – the nail in the heel of Italy’s boot – is a sight to behold.

The most important settlement on the Salentine Peninsula, Lecce has been nicknamed ‘the Florence of the South’ for its outstanding monuments. Many are hewn from Lecce stone, a distinctive limestone that gives the city’s skyline its milk-and-honey profile.

Like all the best cities in Italy, Lecce’s epicentre is a stunning cathedral. The Church of the Holy Cross features an ornate rosette window and stone carvings that you need to see up close to fully appreciate.

Showcasing a similar brand of local craftsmanship, the nearby Colonna di Sant’Oronzo is a beautiful example of a Roman colonnade, marking one of Lecce’s grandest plazas and the entrance to the 2nd century Roman Amphitheatre, which was only discovered in recent decades and is still only partially excavated. The Giardini Pubblici Giuseppe Garibaldi is a beautiful public park that offsets the stone city with shades of green.

Where to stay in Lecce: Located strolling distance from the cathedral, the rooms at Rudiae Boutique are sun-lit and spacious.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa pictured against a sunset sky.
https://709f42138c00ac718ee3c33d4c2fd348.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

PISA

You probably know Pisa for its famous Leaning Tower. Beyond this iconic Italian landmark lies a city of monumental beauty – and you’re going to need more than just a quick day trip to see it all.

Pisa is located in the heart of Tuscany, itself one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in Italy. Aside from the famous Leaning Tower (the bell tower of the city’s main cathedral), Pisa boasts at least two dozen other historic churches, a handful of medieval palaces and some charming historic stone bridges.

Don’t miss the 16th-century Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, dressed in an unusual Mannerist facade, nor the nearby Piazza dei Cavalieri, a distinctly Italian Renaissance-style square.

Wander through the pleasant Botanical Garden to reach the waterfront, with its many cafes and restaurants. Drink in the river panorama from the Lungarni di Pisa viewpoint before heading east for more of Pisa’s beautiful churches, palazzos, and the university complex that draws students from around Europe to walk its 12th-century learned halls.