21 Most Beautiful Places in Italy to Add to Your Bucketlist

Italy is a country I’ve visited the most out of anywhere. I’ve truly fallen in love with it and you’ll see why in this post. There’s no short of pretty places to visit in Italy. I’ll be taking you through the most beautiful places in Italy that you have to check out for yourself. From popular cities like Rome, to unheard-of towns like Ragusa Ibla, read on for my top picks!

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Most Beautiful Places in Italy

1. Ragusa Ibla

Explored by Jackie of Jou Jou Travels

Ragusa Ibla is one of the most beautiful towns in all of Italy. It is also a hidden gem in Italy and you won’t find many tourists around. Located in Eastern Sicily, this town is set on a hill with breathtaking views of the countryside. No wonder this landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the best things to do in Ragusa Ibla is to wake up for the sunrise. It’s incredibly magical and the best place to watch it is by the famous stairway in Ragusa Ibla at the Church of St Mary of the Stairs.

Another thing to do is admire all the beautiful architecture. You’ll find many churches here all styled in Baroque architecture. The Cathedral of San Giorgio is truly impressive. After seeing it, continue your walk through the Old Town until you reach the beautiful Gardens of Ibla.

One highly recommended restaurant is Scale del Gusto. They have amazing local dishes and you can see insane views of the town from here. It’s located next to Santa Maria delle Scale.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Sicily
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is the Catania Fontanarossa Airport (CTA), located 102 km (63 miles) away. It takes 1 hour and 20 minutes to drive there.
🏨 Where to stay: La casa di Irene which has the most beautiful views of the town

2. Positano

Explored by Janice Moskoff of Gather and Go Travel Blog

Nothing quite prepares you for how pretty the Italian seaside town of Positano is. Seeing it for the first time on a sunny day, with its pastel-stacked charm framed by the glittering Tyrrhenian Sea, will take your breath away.

If your budget can bear it, this is one place where splurging on a hotel with a view is worth it. Feel like European royalty as you luxuriate in the soft Mediterranean breezes and picture-perfect vista from your terrace.

Get more views by descending the stairs and sloping paths from your hotel to the water level to stroll the postcard-perfect beach lined with striped umbrellas.

Then, step into the historic Church of Santa Maria Assunta in the heart of town to see its spectacular dome up close. Or wander the warren of streets and pedestrian paths cascading with bougainvillea and linking the boutiques, restaurants, and cafes catering to visitors.

Then, when you need to refresh, indulge in the Mediterranean cuisine at charming trattorias overlooking the sea, like Ristorante Bruno at an outdoor table. Or stop by Franco’s Bar for a cocktail and a dazzling view.

Positano also makes for a great base to explore the Amalfi Coast. Visit nearby towns like Amalfi Town or hilltop Ravello, or even go hiking along the stunning and aptly named Path of the Gods.

The only downside is during the high-season summer, Positano can feel overrun. So, consider visiting in the quieter shoulder season months and make it part of a European spring trip or come in the fall.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Campania
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is the Naples International Airport (NAP). However—the closer Salerno-Amalfi Coast Airport (QSR) is opening in summer 2024. Hire or rent a car, catch a bus, or taxi to a ferry (in season) to get to Positano.
🏨 Where to stay: Hotel L’Ancora

3. Florence

Explored by Jackie of Jou Jou Travels

The list of the most beautiful places in Italy wouldn’t be complete without Florence. It’s one of the most popular cities in Italy, for a good reason. Often referred to as “the crown jewel of Italy.”

This romantic city is located amongst picturesque Tuscan hills. It is full of things to do from the many amazing museums to the stunning Duomo and the incredible nightlife!

Be sure to visit the Uffizi Gallery, home to masterpieces by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli. In addition, the Pitti Palace is a must-visit. And you can have a wander through the lush Boboli Gardens.

As the sun sets, you have to visit the Piazzale Michelangelo for breathtaking panoramic views of Florence’s skyline.

Florence is known for its amazing Florentine steak and the best place to try it is  Le Cappelle Medicee Restorante. Don’t miss finding those little hidden windows where you can order a wine for a unique experience.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Tuscany
✈️ How to get there: You can easily get to Florence at the main Florence airport.
🏨 Where to stay: La Terrazza Sul Duomo for amazing views of the Duomo

4. Matera

Explored by Jackie of Jou Jou Travels

Matera, Italy is the prettiest town in Italy by no doubt. This unique and magical place is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the stone-carved dwellings you’ll find. Matera dates back over 9,000 years. Once known as the “Shame of Italy” due to it’s state of poverty, it is now far from that.

The best things to do in Matera include staying in a unique cave hotel like that of the Residence La Vie del Mosto. You’ll have insane views from your doorstep here.

You should also wander the many magical streets for views all around. Some of the best spots for a view include, Belvedere Luigi Guerricchio and Piazza San Pietro Caveoso.

For the most amazing drinks and views of Matera, head over to Zipa Cafe. This bar is set within a cave and any spot is a seat whether it be a cave cubby or a cushion on the ground.

To enjoy the most amazing food, head over to La Fedda Rossa. Don’t miss the standout dish, Strascinati pasta.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Basilicata
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Bari Airport. From there it’s about an hour’s drive.
🏨 Where to stay: Residence La Vie del Mosto 

5. Rome

Explored by Josh Band of A Backpacker’s World

Rome is one of the most beautiful cities not only in Italy but in the whole world. There are so many iconic sights and landmarks in the city for you to see and admire.

Rome is a city filled with history from the times of the Ancient Roman Empire and there is evidence of this around every corner in the city. From the Colosseum to random ruins scattered through the streets, you never know what you’re going to find, which is why simply walking the streets is one of the best things to do in Rome.

Of course, there are some most dos such as taking a tour of the Colosseum, making a wish at the Trevi Fountain, and seeing the Sistine Chapel while touring the Vatican Museums. There is so much on offer in Rome that you need at least 4 days to properly experience the city and even then, you’ll still leave feeling like you missed out on some things.

A good tip to combat this is to visit Rome more than once in your life! If for no other reason, you’ll want to come back to Rome for the food. The best area to eat in is Trastevere. It has all of the best restaurants and the best bit is, they’re not even expensive.

A top tip is to eat dinner around 6 pm or even earlier, as most locals eat at 8 pm or later, so if you eat earlier, you can avoid big queues. Speaking of avoiding crowds, the best time to take photos at the Colosseum is also at dinner time while everyone is busy eating. You can get photos of no one in the background – which perfectly captures how beautiful Rome is.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Lazio
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Rome Fiumicino. You can get a train or bus easily from the airport to the city center.
🏨 Where to stay: Hotel La Pergola

6. Cinque Terre

Explored by Anne Betts of Packing Light Travel

Hugging the cliffs bordering the Ligurian Coast of Italy is the picturesque region of Cinque Terre. Pronounced ‘Chin-kweh Terra,’ meaning ‘five lands,’ Cinque Terre is recognized by UNESCO as a place of worldwide importance to cultural and natural heritage.

Closed to vehicles, one way to explore the five quaint villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare is by train. Train travel takes a few minutes from one village to the next.

A myriad of hiking paths connects the villages, offering a choice of coastal paths or hillside trails through vineyards. Both offer stunning views. Another option is to enjoy views of each village from the sea by taking the ferry service that stops in four of the five villages that have direct access to the sea.

Of all the tips on visiting Cinque Terre, staying in one of the five villages for several days might be the most important. If you fancy staying in a holiday apartment, look for one with a balcony to enjoy Cinque Terre’s stunning sunsets. Staying in one of the villages offers the opportunity to explore each one at a leisurely pace, enjoy a few hikes, and appreciate the rich variety of regional dishes. Fresh seafood is readily available. 

Some say Vernazza is the most picturesque of the five villages with its natural harbor and superb restaurants flanking the harbourside piazza. Check out Taverna del Capitano with its indoor and outdoor tables for delicious seafood or pistachio-crusted lamb while enjoying views of the sea.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Liguria
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Pisa, 93 km away, with convenient access by train
🏨 Where to stay: La Ripa is a well-located guest house with great views

7. Cala Gonone, Sardinia

Explored by Carrie Salter of The Daydream Drifters

Cala Gonone is a picturesque seaside village nestled along the coastline of Sardinia, Italy. It is famous for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, rugged cliffs, and pristine beaches. Situated in the province of Nuoro on the eastern coast of the island, Cala Gonone offers visitors a tranquil retreat amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

The area is known for limestone cliffs, hidden coves, and secluded beaches accessible only by boat or hiking trails. In addition to its natural wonders, the town of Cala Gonone has a laid-back charm and welcoming atmosphere. It’s an ideal destination for anyone seeking a combination of relaxation and outdoor adventure. Rock climbing and scuba diving are some of the most popular activities for travelers. If you’re interested in scuba diving, I highly recommend Argonauta Diving Sardinia!

The secluded beaches such as Cala Luna and Cala Mariolu, are some of the best beaches not only in Italy, but in all of Europe. Both beaches are definitely Instagram-worthy, but for the best photos you’ll need to head there on the first boat of the morning. You can find tickets for the boat at little stalls and shops throughout the town and in the port. For drone shots, I recommend flying around noon, so the sun is high and the water clarity is at its best.

For mouth-watering seafood and pasta, head to Il Nuovo Gabbiano in the port and then to Gelateria Fancello for the best gelato!

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Sardinia
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Cagliari Elmas Airport (CAG) or Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport (OLB). You can catch a flight from any of the major cities in Italy or (seasonally) from larger European cities.
🏨 Where to stay: Hotel Caramare offers comfortable rooms with gorgeous sea views.

8. Lake Como

Explored by Shweta of Zest In A Tote

Beautiful lakes, waterfront villages, stunning scenery, peace, and nature, what’s not to like about Lake Como? Lake Como is shaped like an inverted Y and there are 3 beautiful towns among many others around it: Bellagio, Como, and Varenna.

This upscale resort area is set against the foothills of the Alps. Dramatic scenery, indeed. Visitors to Lake Como can enjoy a variety of activities, including boating, hiking, and exploring the local culture and cuisine. You could easily spend 4 days in Lake Como or more!

Como is the largest city on Lake Como and many travelers base themselves here.

There are several attractions for sightseeing in Como: visit the Como Cathedral, wander around the old city center, and take the funicular from Como up the hill to Brunate.

Other fun activities include swimming in the lake during summer months, joining a cooking class to learn authentic Italian dishes and more.

Make sure you get to taste Italian food at the many restaurants in Como. I recommend Crianza restaurant, known for its great local cuisine and seafood.

Whether you base yourself in Como or any of the other Lake Como towns, you will include a trip to Bellagio. You can visit the old town, walk along the lovely waterfront promenade, make sure to have a leisurely lunch or a sundowner at one of the restaurants/cafes facing the lake and take a boat tour.

Make sure to visit one of the silk shops, silk has been one of the main industries here. You can buy a silk scarf or clothing item as a lovely Italian souvenir to remember your trip.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Lombardia
✈️ How to get there: It is easy to take a train to Como city from Milan or Florence. You can also rent a car and drive to the Lake Como area.
🏨 Where to stay: Hotel Villa Flori in Como

9. Ostuni, Puglia

Explored by Sanne Wesselman of Spend Life Traveling

Perched atop a hill in Puglia, Ostuni stands out with its striking white buildings against the backdrop of the Italian countryside. Aptly nicknamed “The White City,” it offers a genuine slice of Italian life.

Ostuni’s historic center is what makes this one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy. Narrow alleys wind past whitewashed homes decorated with colorful flowers. It’s a charming place to explore, with cafes and artisan shops adding to its character.

History buffs will appreciate Ostuni’s ancient roots, evident in landmarks such as the 15th-century Ostuni Cathedral and the ancient city walls.

Beyond its historical sites, Ostuni is surrounded by picturesque countryside, with rolling hills and olive groves, perfect to explore on foot or by bicycle. And when hunger strikes, the local restaurants serve up delicious Puglian cuisine, showcasing the region’s culinary heritage. A favorite is Osteria Del Tempo Perso inside the historic center.

In Ostuni, you can really feel that Italian vibe all around, from the friendly locals to the delicious food. It’s the perfect spot to truly experience what living in Puglia is like, especially when you visit outside of high season.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Puglia
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport to Ostuni is in Bari. From Bari, you can take a train, bus, or rent a car to get to Ostuni.
🏨 Where to stay: La Sommità Relais, located in the heart of Ostuni’s historic center, is a luxury boutique hotel in a beautifully restored 16th-century palazzo.

10. Sirmione, Lake Garda

Explored by Zoe Elliott of Together In Switzerland

Many are aware of how beautiful Lake Garda is, even during winter, but one destination on the lake that’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy is Sirmione. This commune is located in the province of Brescia and in the Southern area of Lake Garda.

Sirmione was once a resort for the rich, visited by the wealthy from Verona and Northern Italy. And we can see why, with Sirmione being a stunning destination with many photogenic areas in every direction you walk.

This beautiful destination is a place everyone should experience once. It’s suitable for families and solo travelers. Sirmione is also home to the historical landmark of Grottoes of Catullus (Grotte di Catullo), dating back to Roman times. This is one of the things to explore in Sirmione when visiting. You can combine this with walking back in time to the 13th-century Scaligero Castle.

For something a bit more relaxed, either take a local boat tour around Sirmione and further out onto Lake Garda. You can also enjoy a ride during sunset in the Summer months. Alternatively head to Terme Catullo thermal spa for a day by the pool, with sauna and wellness treatments.

There are lots of Italian options for food, but we suggest a table at Il Vicolo. It is the place-to-be for deliciously fresh burgers with crunchy fries. Then for dessert, head to Cremeria Bulian for Italian gelato of all the top flavors, as well as some unique options and vegan ice cream.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Lombardy
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Milan Bergamo, just 1 hour 6 minutes away by car. Best and most efficient way to visit Sirmione is with a car.
🏨 Where to stay: Hotel Meridiana (3 star hotel centrally located in Sirmione)

11. San Nicola Arcella in Calabria

Explored by Janet Cohen of Practical Travel Concepts

San Nicola Arcella is a coastal town overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea in Calabria. It has stunning views with the sea to the west and the Pollino Mountains to the east. Its pastel-painted buildings and winding alleys through the historic center create a picture-perfect scene.

With roots dating back to ancient times, San Nicola Arcella served as a strategic outpost against invaders. The Roman guard tower, now known as Torre Crawford after American writer Francis Marion Crawford, offers panoramic views of the coastline and mountains, perfect for capturing breathtaking photos. Our sunsets are magnificent and the lights along the coastline sparkle in the night.

Life in Calabria moves at a leisurely pace, observing the tradition of an afternoon siesta from 13:00 to 17:00. Dining out is an evening affair, with restaurants typically opening at 20:00, offering fresh local seafood, pasta, pizza, and Pesce Spada (swordfish).

Start your day with a freshly made cornetto and café at Caffè Le Mele before swimming in the crystal blue sea and enjoying lunch on the beach. Come evening, have a cocktail at Bar Crawford, then dinner at Ristorante La Terrazza del Principe, Fà Tu, or I Carnali.

San Nicola Arcella has beautiful beaches and is known for the ArcoMagno, an arch-shaped rock formation over the sea. You can take a mini cruise along the coast or rent a paddle boat to explore the grottos of Dino Island. Every July 2nd is the procession of the Madonna through the town, ending with a fireworks display.

If you want to relax and have an authentic Italian experience, then come to San Nicola Arcella in Calabria.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Northern Calabria
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Naples (Napoli) to the north and Lamezia to the south. The best way to get to San Nicola Arcella is by car.
🏨 Where to stay: The Hotel Villa Principe is in the center of San Nicola Arcella and has amazing views of the sea and coastline.

12. Saturnia Hot Springs

Explored by Adriana of Wanderlicious

Tuscany is famous for a lot of activities, it’s not short of beautiful attractions and incredible landscapes and that is clearly reflected in the tourists that flock to the region each year, but many people don’t know about the geothermal springs that are dotted all over the countryside!

Tuscany has delicious pasta, excellent weather, and incredible rolling hills and cypress trees which make it such a desired location.

To best experience authentic Italian country life, it’s best to rent a car and explore the nearby towns that are missed by most tourists! On your way you might notice signs with the word ‘Terme’ on it, which, as you might have guessed, translates to ‘thermal’, or geothermal springs, and you can easily stop at 2-3 ones on your journey.

But the one that stands out most is the beautiful Saturnia hot springs in the middle of the Italian countryside, surrounded by tall cypress trees, rolling hills, and of course the town of Saturnia itself.

Saturnia stands out particularly thanks to its cyan blue waters, raging hot waterfall, and unique bath-like rock formations, meaning that tourists can wallow in their own individual bath tubs.

The hot, gushing waterfall is infused with healing minerals and said to be good for the skin. Saturnia is the most instagrammable, photogenic place, but as this one is the most famous, it gets very popular throughout the day!

There are plenty of other quiet spots to choose from, have a look at Bagnon Vignoni, Bagno San Filippo or Terme Chianchiano, bask in the warm waters, and enjoy!

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Tuscany
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Perugia (PEG) Airport or Rome (FCO) and you will need to hire a car to get there, or join a tour. You can also reach Saturnia from Pisa or Florence airport.
🏨 Where to stay: Saturnia Hotel

13. Venice

Explored by Joanna of The World in My Pocket

Venice is one of the most iconic cities in Italy, famous for its romantic canals and stunning architecture in Piazza San Marco.

To experience the charm of Venice it is recommended to visit out of season, in early spring (outside of the Carnival) or late autumn. Whilst the weather might not be perfect, you will get to experience the city without too many tourists.

Stay in Dorsoduro or Cannaregio for a tourist-free experience. Dorsoduro is home to the University of Venice, so here you will find plenty of affordable bars and restaurants selling prosecco and wine for less than 4 euros a glass.

Don’t miss the best gelato in Venice, at Mela Verde or Gelateria Suso. Whilst Palazzo Ducale, Basilica San Marco, and Rialto Bridge are some of the must-see attractions in Venice, don’t miss other incredible, off-the-beaten-path ones.

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo has a unique multi-arch spiral staircase leading up to the rooftop, on the façade of the building. Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari has a unique collection of paintings and sculptures made by Italy’s most famous artists such as Titian, Canova, Tiziano, and Giovanni Bellini.

Other churches around Venice display paintings of Tintoretto – all you have to do is go inside, as most are free of charge. Another peculiar place in Venice is the flooded Crypt of San Zaccaria Church. This is where the early doges of Venice would be buried, and now it is underwater.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Veneto
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Marco Polo. It is located 20 minutes away by bus from Piazzale Roma in Venice.
🏨 Where to stay: Ca San Rocco

14. Fusine Lakes

Explored by Adrienn Csaszar of Traveltipzone

If you’re looking to visit some of the most beautiful places in Italy, it’s worth visiting the picturesque Fusine Lakes. The Fusine Lakes or Laghi di Fusine are located in Northeast Italy, in the Julian Alps, near the town of Tarvisio.

They are becoming increasingly popular destinations in Northern Italy and are easily accessible by car from both Italy and neighboring countries like Austria and Slovenia.

The two lakes are Lago di Fusine Superiore (Upper Lake) and Lago di Fusine Inferiore (Lower Lake). Both lakes offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including the famous Mangart Mountain.

Personally, one of my favorite attractions in the area, which I’ve visited almost every season, but the landscape is undoubtedly most beautiful from spring to autumn.

At the Fusine Lakes, it’s worth spending half a day or a full day, hiking around the area, and enjoying time in nature. Both lakes are walkable around, and you can also rent a boat at the lower lake.

Additionally, it’s worth trying Friulian cuisine at one of the restaurants around the lakes, such as Capanna Edelweiss Ristorante Bar.

If you like photography, you’ll find the best photo spots on the northern side of both lakes, where the beautiful waters of the lakes reflect the rocky peaks.

The Fusine Lakes make an ideal excursion destination in Italy, easily accessible from neighboring countries or from Venice and the Dolomites. So don’t miss out if you’re looking for a truly wonderful and peaceful place in Northern Italy.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Friuli-Venezia Giul
✈️ How to get there: The nearest airports are in Venice, Italy, and Ljubljana, Slovenia. From there, you can reach the Fusine Lakes only by car.
🏨 Where to stay: Hotel Rosengarten, Tarvisio, Italy

15. Castelmezzano

Explored by Chris Heckmann from Around the World with Me

One of Italy’s true hidden gems is the remote mountainside village of Castelmezzano. Castelmezzano is off the beaten path in every sense of the phrase. Nestled between Naples and Bari in a mountainous region of the country, it takes effort to get to Castelmezzano. But those who make that effort are rewarded with quite possibly the most picturesque village in all of Italy.

Castelmezzano itself dates back to the 6th century BC, though the original settlement was not where the current village sits. The village as we know it today was founded in the 10th century AD when the inhabitants settled on the mountainside. The sharp, rocky peaks to the north gave enemies only one route for invasion.

The village gets its name from the castle that was constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries. The remains of the castle walls are still partly visible at the edge of the village.

The best thing to do in Castelmezzano is walk the historic streets and take in the amazing views. The view from the Panoramic Terrace, (as seen in the photo here) is one of the best in all of Italy.

Continue from the terrace through the narrow streets of the village before ascending the stairs on the other side of the village into the mountains. You’ll eventually reach the Norman Steps, where you’ll have another amazing view of the village from above. Before heading off, stop for a meal at Trattoria da Spadino, one of the best restaurants in the village.

It only takes a few hours to explore Castelmezzano and no one leaves disappointed!

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Potenza
✈️ How to get there: Driving is the only realistic way to get to Castelmezzano since it is so isolated. The nearest airports are Naples or Bari, each at least 2 hours away.
🏨 Where to stay: La Casa nel Verde

16. Alberobello

Explored by Jared of Good Travel Days

Alberobello is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. It is located in the Puglia region of Italy, resembling that of a fairytale, thanks to its beautiful Trulli. These are not just any homes; they’re stone huts with pointy roofs that look like something out of a storybook. And yes, they really are this magical and are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Walking through the narrow streets lined with Trulli, one can’t help but feel transported to another era. For photography enthusiasts, capturing the whitewashed walls contrasted against the bright blue sky makes for stunning photos, especially during the golden hour when the light casts a magical glow over the town.

As you look for things to do in Alberobello, don’t just stick to the tourist paths. Wander off a bit, and you’ll find more Trulli and spots that feel untouched by time. You may even catch a local going about their day. Have a chat and they might point you to the best spots for some authentic Apulian food. Trattoria Terra Madre comes highly recommended, offering dishes that highlight local, organic ingredients in a charming setting.

The Museo del Territorio is a must-visit to get the full scoop on the Trulli and the town’s history. And if you really want to dive deep into the local vibe, staying in a Trullo-turned B&B is the way to go. It’s one thing to see them from the outside, but sleeping in one? That’s a whole other experience.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Apulia
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Bari (BRI) Airport. Some hotels offer airport shuttles for a fee. Bus, train, taxi or hire car are all options also.
🏨 Where to stay: Trulli Holiday Albergo Diffuso
Read my full post on the best places to stay in Puglia

17. Taormina

Explored by Tamar Marder of World by Weekend

The beautiful Sicilan city of Taormina sits perched above the glittering blue waters of the Mediterranean and Strait of Messina. This popular seaside town draws visitors from around the world searching for unparalleled beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. It is much more of an affordable place to visit in Italy than places like the Amalfi Coast too!

Taormina sits on a hill 250 meters above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. This provenance creates an almost surreal backdrop.

The origins of Taormina date back to the 4th century BCE. The city flourished under the Greeks and Romans, and visitors can explore this ancient past by visiting the Greek-Roman Theatre. This well-preserved amphitheater was an important fixture in Greek and Roman societies as not just a center for entertainment but also for political speeches and town meetings.

Taormina is also a photographer’s dream. Sunrise and sunset are magical as the light casts a golden hue over the town. Some of the best views are from the Greco-Roman Theater towards Mount Etna.

The best way to explore Taormina is by foot, meandering through side streets in search of quaint boutiques, local cafes, and other hidden gems. Don’t leave without stopping for granita in brioche (with a view!) at the famous Bam Bar.

While visiting Taormina, be sure to take the cable car down the beach at Isola Bella. Another popular nearby attraction is Sicily’s Mount Etna. It’s an easy day trip from Taormina and a worthwhile experience.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Sicily
✈️ How to get there: Fly to Catania airport and drive 45-minutes north to Taormina.
🏨 Where to stay: B&B Taetro Greco

18. Varese 

Explored by Soline of On the Road Diary; Photo by Phil Beard

Varese, located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, is a dynamic city of around 80 000 inhabitants. Its rich history makes it quite a must-stop when visiting the north of the country.

Initially inhabited by the Celtic tribes, it later became a part of the Roman Empire, serving as a strategic location due to its proximity to the Alpine passes. The city’s architecture and culture bear traces of these influences.

Among the most beautiful buildings you can visit and photograph in Varese are Villa Recalcati and the UNESCO site of Sacro Monte di Varese.

Last but not least, what makes Varese even cooler is its incredible natural surroundings. You can see mountains from the city itself and enjoy the lake of Varese.

Pro tip: Varese is a great base for a trip to northern Italy, both for the town and for its location. By car, you can reach the stunning Fermona Waterfall in 30 minutes, or Switzerland and Lake Como in under 40 minutes.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Lombardy
✈️ How to get there: fly to Milan international airport, it is a one-hour drive from Varese
🏨 Where to stay: Palace Grand Hotel Varese

19. The Dolomites – Alpe di Siusi

Explored by Candice Criscione of Mom in Italy

Alpe di Siusi is one of the most spectacular settings in all of the Dolomites – and that’s saying something! The UNESCO World Heritage Site treats you to jaw-dropping scenery everywhere you look, and it’s a photographer’s dream. While you can drive up during restricted hours, the best way to arrive is by cable car from Siusi or Ortisei.

Fill your belly with the area’s mountain specialties like polenta with ragù, canederli in broth or with a side of crauti, and platters of speck and local cheeses. And, on a hot day, order a refreshing sciwasser or radler! If you’re a foodie, head to Gostner Schwaige or Rauchhütte.

Hiking reigns as the best activity on Alpe di Siusi, and you’re spoilt for choice with options – from paved paths suitable for strollers to epic trails into the Denti di Terrarossa. For a challenging but worthwhile climb, zig-zag your way up and over to Rifugio Alpe di Tires for a hearty lunch and spectacular views.

Non-hikers can soak up the views from lounge chairs, rent an e-bike and go for a spin, or take a horse carriage ride. While you can snap a gorgeous photo from anywhere, two of the most iconic shots on Alpe di Siusi are of the Sciliar from the trails just south of Compaccio, and of the Alpe and some of its famous peaks (like Sassopiatto and Sassolungo) from Bullaccia (above Compaccio to the north).

At the end of the day, you’ll lay your head on your pillow knowing you’ve seen one of Italy’s (and the planet’s) most beautiful places!

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Trentino-Alto Adige
✈️ How to get there: Innsbruck (INN) and drive to Alpe di Siusi. By public transport, you can fly into Verona (VRN) and take the train to Bolzano and then the bus to the bottom of the lift (near Siusi allo Sciliar) and then take the gondola up to Alpe di Siusi.
🏨 Where to stay: Schgaguler Hotel in nearby Castelrotto

20. Elba

Explored by Katie of Flip Flops Included

Visit the stunning island of Elba in the Tuscan Archipelago for an authentic Italian escape. Perhaps most well-known as the place Napoleon spent his exile, Elba is a real under-the-radar destination. Home to gorgeous Caribbean-style beaches, this is a pure slice of island paradise.

It’s hard to pick a favorite but the best beaches to visit in Elba are Sansone, Capo Bianco, and Padulella. If you can tear yourself away from the beaches, don’t miss a trip on the Monte Capanne cable car. The bright yellow baskets will whizz you up to the highest point on the island where you can enjoy incredible panoramic views all the way over to nearby Corsica.

Spend time exploring the main town of Portoferraio to take in the historic atmosphere of Elba. There are cobbled lanes and Medici forts to wander whilst enjoying a homemade gelato or two from Zero Gradi.

Get more of a history fix with a visit to Napoleon’s understated mansion, the Villa dei Mulini. A stroll around the garden is a particular highlight.

There are plenty of opportunities for hiking and biking is also a very popular activity on Elba. The southeast of the island has a ‘bike park’ with dedicated routes of varying degrees of difficulty. Whilst on Elba, indulge in delicious Italian cooking at the serene Teatro restaurant. The menu is small and all the better for it. The Panacotta is divine.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Tuscany
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Pisa. From Pisa, take a train to Piombino and get the ferry over to Elba.
🏨 Where to stay: Belvedere Residenza Mediterranea

21. Milan

Explored by Stephanie Rytting of The Unknown Enthusiast

Milan is one of the most beautiful places in Italy especially the historic center where you’ll find the famous Duomo. This stunning cathedral features spires and pinnacles all along the rooftop. Besides admiring the exterior and touring the interior, you can also visit the crypt and go up on the rooftop terrace.

The rooftop in particular is a must-do, as you are walking through the beams and buttresses, right up close to the many pinnacles of the church.

After the Duomo, stop in at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is a gorgeously opulent covered passageway that houses luxury boutiques. A hidden gem you can’t miss is the San Bernadino Alle Ossa Church (Aka The Bones Church). This small, tucked away church has a chapel made entirely of human bones – it’s both fascinating and creepy!

One spot you can’t miss is the Santa Maria della Grazie, a church where you can see Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “The Last Supper” painting on the wall of the monastery.

And of course, many people come to Milan for the upscale shopping opportunities – you can roam the shopping district around Via Monte Napoleon.

If you want to get off the beaten path a bit, visit the charming Brera neighborhood and stop in the Palazzo Brera, then visit the Monumental Cemetery, or head down to Naviglio Grande, a cute canal on the southern section of town. I can highly recommend the Naviglio 48 restaurant that overlooks the canal.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Lombardy
✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Milan Malpensa Airport, which is one of the busiest airports in Italy, and is very close to the city center.
🏨 Where to stay: The Corner Duomo Hotel, a beautiful hotel in a very central location

Hopefully, you enjoyed learning about the prettiest places in Italy! Let me know which your favorite is in the comments below.

For more reading, you might also like these posts!
🌊 Amalfi Coast Itinerary
🍋 What to see in Positano, Italy in One Day
♥ Things to do in Vietri sul Mare, the hidden gem of the Amalfi Coast
🌈 Procida – the most colorful island on the Amalfi Coast
👩 Solo Female Travel Guide to Italy
For more Italy travel, visit my Italy Section!

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