12 best cities in Italy for an amazing Italian city break

Venice Waterway

From the gorgeous green rolling hills of Tuscany to the ancient architecture of its capital cities, it’s no surprise that Italy is one of the most visited countries in Europe. Famed for its mouth-watering cuisine, world-renowned art scene and warm weather, Italy draws discerning visitors from all over the world. For many, there’s no better way to experience the welcoming Italian culture than by visiting one of the best cities in Italy.

If you’re planning a holiday to Italy, it can be a tricky task deciding which Italian cities to include on your itinerary. Perhaps you have your heart set on one of the iconic cities like Rome, Florence or Venice. Or maybe you’d like to discover some of the hidden gems, such as Bergamo, Perugia or Matera. Whether you’re looking to discover the most beautiful cities or the best food cities in Italy, this guide has you covered.

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1. Rome

Best for: Iconic landmarks and a lively city buzz

What better place to start than with the capital of Italy and the largest city in the country. Known as the “Eternal City”, Rome is an ancient city that’s bursting with history and archaeological significance. A Rome holiday enables you to wander quaint piazzas, marvel at the unforgettable Renaissance and Baroque architecture, and admire the art that’s woven throughout every crevice of the city.

Rome has an abundance of iconic landmarks. Tour the grand Colosseum, throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, visit the unforgettable Sistine Chapel and explore the Vatican City. History and culture aside, Rome is a buzzy and social city. Drawing jet-setters from across the globe, it’s no wonder that so many consider Rome to be one of the best cities in Italy. 

Whether you’re visiting for the Italian cuisine and the lively aperitivo scene or the immersive art and culture, you will love Rome. Because it’s impossible not to love Rome.

Have a read of my Rome travel guide if you’re planning a trip to this special city.


Trevi Rome Italy

Top three things to do in Rome

  • The Colosseum. The most iconic landmark in Rome and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. With a legendary 2,000 year history, it is an absolute must-visit when in Rome. Be sure to book a guided tour or ‘skip the line’ tickets and go early to beat the crowds.
  • Vatican City. An independent city state ruled by the Pope, the Vatican City is a place like no other. Wander the expansive St Peter’s Square then explore the spectacular St Peter’s Basilica. Don’t miss a visit to the Sistine Chapel with its world-famous frescoes painted onto the ceiling by Michelangelo.
  • Trastevere. A charming and popular neighbourhood that combines postcard-perfect streets with a lively social scene. Wander the cobbled streets and marvel at the medieval houses. Pause at one of the cafés or bars for a drink and a spot of people watching.

Where to stay in Rome

  • Villa Spalletti. A historical villa hotel with aristocratic origins. Discover elegant interiors, a sumptuous spa, and a peaceful garden.
  • Hassler Roma. An iconic five-star hotel located at the top of the Spanish Steps. It is a prestigious hotel complete with Michelin-starred dining.
  • Rome Cavalieri. A sophisticated luxury hotel in Rome, set within Mediterranean gardens. Expect to be treated like a Roman emperor here!

2. Milan

Best for: Fashionistas & designer shopping

The fashion capital of Italy, Milan is effortlessly trendy. Its designer stores, boutiques and outlets draw the fashionable elite from all over the world. It’s not all about fashion though. Milan brings a whole host of cultural attractions, from world-famous art and excellent museums to iconic cathedrals and opulent palaces.

With more of an international feel than other Italian cities, Milan has a markedly different vibe to Rome and Florence. It’s a metropolitan city where historical architecture sits alongside modern skyscrapers. The result is a city that is not quite as overwhelmingly touristy as the other popular Italian cities, with a far more appealing ratio of locals to visitors.

Perfect for a weekend trip, Milan has plenty of stylish bars and excellent eateries to enjoy. Just don’t forget to put your best fashion foot forward!


Milan Best City in Italy

Top three things to do in Milan

  • Duomo. One of the largest cathedrals in Italy and Europe, the Duomo has become synonymous with Milan. Marvel at the 600-year-old Gothic cathedral and be sure to climb up to the rooftop terrace for stunning views over Milan.
  • Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”. The eight-metre-wide painting by Leonardo da Vinci can be found in the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. It is one of the most famous pieces of art in the world and a must-see in this Italian city.
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. You’ve probably seen this iconic shopping gallery on Instagram, with its glass-topped tunnels. The oldest shopping centre in the world, it is enchanting, elegant and extraordinary.

Where to stay in Milan

  • Park Hyatt Milan. A sophisticated luxury hotel with classic décor and spacious suites. There is a small but sumptuous spa to enjoy too.
  • Hotel Viu. A modern hotel housed in an eco-sustainable building. Its jewel in the crown is the panoramic rooftop terrace complete with swimming pool and bar.
  • Palazzo Parigi. Discover ultimate luxury at the Palazzo Parigi, with its stylish interiors, spacious balconies and exceptional grand spa.

3. Venice

Best for: Romance and charm

Venice is an utterly enchanting city where winding streets interweave with meandering canals. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, if not the world. Venice is a city to get lost in – and enjoy the process of doing so. 

With its quaint floating houses, beautiful bridges and iconic gondolas, Venice is a hopelessly romantic city. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the reserve of loved up couples. With so many amazing things to do in Venice, it’s also one of the best Italian cities to visit as a solo traveller or with friends and family.

The downside of being a city that’s famed for its beauty the world over is that it’s overrun with tourists. But there are still quiet, hidden gems to be discovered in this city, away from the heavy crowds. You may just need a little extra patience in the most popular areas.

Be sure to sample Venetian cuisine and stop by one of the many stylish bars in Venice for a bellini.

Check out my Venice travel guide if you’re planning a trip.


Venice

Top three things to do in Venice

  • Grand Canal. The main waterway of Venice, the Grand Canal connects many of Venice’s top tourist attractions. It’s a hive of activity and best viewed from the Rialto Bridge.
  • Doge’s Palace. A visit to the breathtaking Doge’s Palace is one of the best things to do in Venice. Located on the infamous St Mark’s Square, it is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.
  • Burano & Murano. Catch a break from the beating heart of Venice and head to the charming islands of Burano and Murano. Discover colourful houses and the fascinating production of hand-blown glass.

Where to stay in Venice

  • Gritti Palace. Housed in an Italian palazzo dating from the 1400s, Gritti Palace is an opulent hotel offering exquisite rooms and a smart canalside restaurant.
  • Cima Rosa Boutique. A small luxury hotel with only five guest rooms. Enjoy an intimate atmosphere and a peaceful location not far from the Grand Canal.
  • Hotel Danieli. A palatial Italian hotel famed for its breathtaking location on Riva degli Schiavoni overlooking the lagoon. One of the best luxury hotels in Venice.

4. Florence

Best for: World-renowned art and culture

Florence (Firenze) is located in the heart of Tuscany and set on the banks of the Arno River. Surrounded by rolling green countryside, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. First and foremost, Florence is world-renowned for its art. It is home to masterpieces by some of history’s most infamous artists – from Botticelli to Michelangelo.

Florence is considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance, which is showcased in the stunning architecture, artworks and monuments throughout the city. It is therefore the best place in Italy to visit for a civilised city break with spades of culture. The arts scene embraces both the old and new, from operas and classical music to contemporary art.

For such a famous city, Florence is actually quite small and compact. Good news for those who like to get around on foot. Don’t miss out on the excellent food and drink in the city too. A visit to Florence is a great excuse to indulge in as much gelato as you can!

The city is also host to various festivals which take place throughout the year. Check before you travel if you’re interested in getting an extra dose of culture on your visit.



Top three things to do in Florence

  • Florence Cathedral. With its recognisable dome that dominates the Florence skyline, the cathedral is a breathtaking work of art and architecture. Even better, it’s completely free to visit the inside of the cathedral.
  • Uffizi Gallery. An unmissable attraction for art lovers, the Uffizi Gallery is a prominent art museum in the heart of Florence. See art and masterpieces by some of the greatest Italian artists at one of the world’s oldest art galleries.
  • Ponte Vecchio. As the oldest bridge in Florence, the symbolic Ponte Vecchio is a romantic spot with beautiful views over the river. 

Where to stay in Florence

  • Portrait Firenze. A luxury hotel offering spectacular panoramic views over the River Arno. Featuring sleek timeless design, handcrafted furniture, and a superb location.
  • Villa Cora. A five-star hotel housed in an opulent 19th-century building and surrounded by beautiful Boboli gardens. Complete with outdoor swimming pool.
  • St Regis. For the ultimate opulence, book a stay at the sumptuous St Regis. It is home to grand interiors and a decadent Winter Garden Restaurant.

5. Bologna

Best for: Foodies

Located in Northern Italy, Bologna is the capital of the Emilia Romagna region. As you probably guessed from the name, this is where Bolognese sauce originated! It follows that Bologna is one of the best foodie cities in Italy. In fact, it is widely regarded as the culinary capital of Italy. Other local cuisine to sample includes lasagna, tagliatelle, tortellini, and mortadella. I don’t know about you, but I’m already salivating at the thought!

Bologna is recognisable from the striking red colour of the buildings and rooftops. It is also home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. In many ways, Bologna has two personalities. One is of a wealthy, well-heeled disposition with exceptional fine dining, majestic opera houses, and high-tech business. The other is a more edgy character where students gather and the streets bring a gritty edge. This makes it an intriguing city that brings together a melting pot of people

The majority of the Italian city can be explored in a day, therefore it’s ideal as a stopping point on your journey through Italy.



Top three things to do in Bologna

  • Piazza Maggiore. The Piazza Maggiore is one of the oldest squares in Italy and is the beating heart of Bologna. It is recognisable by the impressive Fountain of Neptune.
  • Food tour. As the best foodie city in Italy, joining a food tour in Bologna is a must. Experience the local food scene and get insider tips on the best restaurants.
  • The Asinelli Tower. If you can muster the stamina to climb 498 steps to the top of this leaning medieval tower, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of Bologna.

Where to stay in Bologna

  • Grand Hotel Majestic gia’ Baglioni. Located in the heart of Bologna, this is the oldest and most prestigious hotel in the city with sumptuous interiors and stunning city views.
  • Aemilia Hotel. A modern four-star hotel that has been recently renovated. Expect elegant design, an inviting roof terrace, and a smart restaurant.
  • Hotel Corona d’Oro. A historic hotel in an ideal location, just down the street from the Towers. It is a peaceful and welcoming haven away from the city hustle and bustle.

6. Siena

Best for: Wine and gelato

Set amongst the rolling hills of Tuscany, Siena is recognisable for its medieval orange brick buildings and cobblestone streets. Its city centre is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is testament to its beautiful architecture and historic significance 

Siena is a small and compact city with a strong art identity. In many ways, it feels like the popular little sister to Florence. It captures the heart of many visitors with its quaint appeal.

Due to its smaller size, Siena makes the perfect day trip from Florence or Rome. The city can be explored on foot, so there’s no need to rely on public transport. If you’re visiting in the summer months, it’s worth noting that Siena is well-known for its renowned Palio horse race. It’s a popular event that takes place twice a year in July and August.

For a break from the city life, take a tour around one of the nearby vineyards. As well as wine, Siena is known for its excellent gelato. Head to Vecchia Latteria for an authentic ice cream parlour. Any city that is known for its wine and gelato gets a big seal of approval from me!



Top three things to do in Siena

  • Piazza del Campo. This shell-shaped Piazza is the beating heart of Siena. It has a lively buzz, lined with cafés, bars, restaurants and shops. Go for a stroll, soak up the atmosphere, then take a seat to do a spot of people-watching.
  • Torre del Mangia. This striking tower can be found in Piazza del Campo and boasts an 800-year history. Climb to the top for gorgeous views across the Italian city and the surrounding Tuscan landscape.
  • Biblioteca Piccolomini. A breathtaking library that’s housed inside Siena Cathedral, originally built by Pope Pius III. Although most of the books are no longer here, it’s worth a visit for the spectacular art and frescoes which adorn the walls.

Where to stay in Siena

  • Relais degli Angeli. A historic and refined hotel that’s bursting with charm. Discover luxury rooms with antique furniture and friendly, welcoming service.
  • Palazzo del Papa. Small but elegant townhouse accommodation in the heart of Siena, offering tasteful and comfortable rooms.
  • Il Battistero Siena. A chic boutique hotel located in the Piazza San Giovanni that combines ancient origins with contemporary touches.

7. Matera

Best for: Unique accommodation & fascinating history

Matera is an ancient Roman city with a dark but fascinating history. Visitors will discover a postcard-perfect city with winding alleys, pretty cave houses and stunning vistas.

The city comprises a series of caves which were inhabited for thousands of years, even until as recently as the 1950s. In fact, it is one of the oldest cities in the world in terms of how long it has been inhabited for. This therefore makes Matera a truly unique place and undoubtedly one of the best cities in Italy to visit.

For a long time, Matera was considered a place of squalor and poverty. In an astounding shift of perception, Matera was designated the ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2019. Nowadays, the city offers visitors beautiful architecture, unique accommodation and excellent restaurants.

Matera is still a mostly well kept secret, with tourists flocking to other more well-known Italian cities. So visit soon before the secret gets out!


Matera Italy

Top three things to do in Matera

  • Casa Noha. A noble palace from the 1500s where you can learn all about the turbulent history of the city via an immersive 25-minute multimedia exhibit. 
  • Cave Hotel. Many of the previously inhabited caves have been converted into unique accommodation, as well as studios and even restaurants. Stay in a cave hotel for an unforgettable experience.
  • Sant’Agostino Church. A 16th-century baroque monastery that’s perched on a rocky spur in Matera. Although the church itself is worth a visit, the real appeal lies in the gorgeous views over the city – best enjoyed at sunset.

Where to stay in Matera

  • Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & Spa. A five-star hotel set within the Sassi cave dwellings, complete with free-standing bathtubs and a quaint spa.
  • Palazzo Gattini. A luxury hotel housed in a 15th-century stone palace with unique rooms and a rooftop terrace. It occupies an enviable location, overlooking the Sassi caves.
  • Corte San Pietro. Set within the cave dwellings of the Matera Sassi UNESCO site, Corte San Pietro is a unique hotel carved from stone around an enclosed courtyard.

8. Palermo

Best for: A chaotic but exciting melting pot of cultures

Palermo is the capital city of stunning Sicily. It’s not as refined or elegant as other popular Italian cities like Rome or Florence, but it has an awful lot to offer.

As a crossroad of civilisations in the heart of the Mediterranean, Palermo is a melting pot of different cultural influences. It’s a city where Arabic souks meet baroque facades, and graffiti covered walls meet world-renowned opera theatres. Palermo is bursting with adventure that is at times chaotic and complex.

Stroll through the city and soak up the wonderful but disorderly atmosphere. Sift through crumbling architecture in the historic centre, inhale the enticing smells at an ebullient street food market, then marvel at the grandeur of the churches and chapels.

Palermo can be overwhelming for less experienced travellers. But for those who are willing to explore its distinct charms and quirks, you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable trip. It’s Palermo’s unique personality that makes it one of the best cities in Italy to visit.



Top three things to do in Palermo

  • Street food. Palermo’s three main markets – Capo, Vucciria and Ballarò – have a distinct Arabic origin. Join a street food tour to really experience Palermo’s renowned street food scene.
  • Quattro Canti. The historic quarter of Palermo that’s named for the four baroque corners of the Piazza Vigliena. Marvel at the blend of architecture that characterises the area.
  • Go to the opera. Discerning visitors to Palermo will love a visit to Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house in Italy. See a show or simply take a tour around the stunning theatre.

Where to stay in Palermo

  • Grand Hotel et des Palmes. Set in a refined Art Nouveau building, this historic hotel brings old-world design and opulent touches for a glamorous stay.
  • Villa Igiea. For views over the Mediterranean sea, book into the opulent five-star Villa Igiea, complete with terraced gardens, an appealing outdoor pool, and elegant rooms.
  • Palazzo Natoli. A modern boutique hotel with an intimate atmosphere. It’s a relaxing haven in the heart of Palermo, with charming interiors and sumptuous rooms. 

9. Verona

Best for: Shakespeare fans

Ah, fair Verona. Famed as the setting of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Verona has subsequently earned its status as one of the most romantic cities in Italy. Where Siena is the little sister to Florence, Verona feels much like the younger sibling of Rome. It is definitely one of the more underrated Italian cities.

A medieval town in Northern Italy, Verona is a city where renaissance gardens meet gothic churches and Roman ruins. With minimal traffic and a compact centre, it’s easy to explore Verona on foot, allowing visitors to soak up the Italian lifestyle as they wander the pretty piazzas and beautiful bridges.

Discover delectable wine and food from the local region. You don’t need a long time to explore Verona, so it makes a great day trip or a one night stopover. While you’re in the area, be sure to visit nearby Lake Garda for a peaceful haven away from the city.



Top three things to do in Verona

  • Arena di Verona. It may not have the iconic status of Rome’s Colosseum, but Verona’s Roman amphitheatre is better preserved and far less crowded. If you get the chance, be sure to see a concert here.
  • Torre dei Lamberti. Located in the Piazza delle Erbe, climb to the top of the tallest tower in Verona and enjoy panoramic views across the city. Take the stairs if you’re feeling bold, or hop in the lift.
  • Juliet’s House. It’s a bit of a tourist trap but an absolute must for any Shakespeare fans. Learn all about the famous house and admire Juliet’s Balcony.

Where to stay in Verona

  • Palazzo Monga Boutique Guesthouse. Located in a pretty 18th-century palazzo, this luxury guesthouse offers a welcoming home away from home.
  • Byblos Art Hotel. A high-end five-star hotel bursting with modern art and gorgeous gardens. Featuring luxury rooms, a sumptuous spa and a prestigious restaurant.
  • Due Torri Hotel. An elegant five-star hotel housed in a 14th-century palace. Its jewel in the crown is its large roof terrace with panoramic views of the historic centre.

10. Naples

Best for: A bit of everything

Naples is the largest city in Southern Italy and is framed by the imposing but beautiful Mount Vesuvius. The city merges old-world appeal with urban grit, and it’s the latter which has given Naples a bit of an unfair reputation as lacking the charm of other Italian cities. 

Yet its historic town centre is a UNESCO site and the city has an extraordinary cultural, historical and arts scene. From royal palaces and stately castles to archaeological museums and historic churches, Naples has a lot to offer.

While in the city, indulging in decadent Italian food is a must. It’s the place to inhale all the carbs and not feel bad about it! Keen shoppers will also love Naples. Explore small artisan workshops and family-run boutiques, or dip into the more recognisable chains.

Part of its draw is its proximity to both the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, the ancient city of Pomepii, and a couple of postcard-perfect islands. Naples is therefore a place where you can combine a buzzy city vibe, fascinating history and dreamy beach days in one trip.



Top three things to do in Naples

  • National Archaeological Museum. A fascinating museum that houses important Roman collections and displays, including remains from the digs at Pompeii and Herculaneum.
  • San Gennaro Catacombs. Explore the hidden underground world of intricate tunnels and passageways, lined with ancient crypts and detailed frescoes. An otherworldly experience but best avoided for the claustrophobic!
  • Cappella Sansevero. A beautiful baroque chapel that houses various stunning frescoes and sculptures, including the Veiled Christ – one of the most iconic marble structures in the world. 

Where to stay in Naples

  • Domus Deorum Deluxe. Occupying a convenient location right by the Naples Centrale Station, this is a delightful hotel with elegant decor and a welcoming team.
  • Grand Hotel Vesuvio. Located in a peaceful spot in the hills above the city, this hotel offers spectacular sea views and a touch of luxury.
  • The Dante House. An upscale bed & breakfast set in an 18th-century ex-noble home, offering chic contemporary interiors and an exceptional breakfast.

11. Bergamo

Best for: A historic hidden gem

Bergamo is a lesser known Italian city but one that is absolutely worthy of your attention. It’s as if the locals want to keep it all to themselves – and who can blame them!

Bergamo is a charming but vibrant hilltop city with a medieval citadel and views of the majestic Italian Alps. It’s easily accessible, being just a 15 minute drive from its own international airport or 50 minutes from neighbouring Milan.

The Upper City is steeped in history, comprising cobbled streets and immaculate piazzas. The citadel is surrounded by Venetian defensive walls which have ensured that the city remains largely untouched and exceptionally well-preserved. This is a place to discover magnificent churches and cathedrals, all framed by breathtaking views.



Top three things to do in Bergamo

  • Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A 12-century church adorned with spectacular artwork, from frescoes and artwork to tapestries and statues. The interiors are wonderfully decadent and the result is truly breathtaking.
  • Il Circolino. A restaurant quite unlike any other, Il Circolino is set in a former prison! Enjoy fresh Italian cuisine, local wine, and a unique experience.
  • Venetian Walls. Take a walk along the impressive Venetian Walls through the parks. Soak up the jaw-dropping views across the town and over to the snow-capped Alps.

Where to stay in Bergamo

  • Relais San Vigilio al Castello. A romantic hotel perched on a hilltop next to the medieval San Vigilio Castle. It’s an elegant, family-run guesthouse.
  • Hotel Petronilla. Located in the lower city, this boutique hotel offers stylish rooms with modern furniture, a fitness centre with sauna, and a welcoming bar and lounge area. 
  • GombitHotel. Housed in a carefully restored period building, the four-star GombitHotel is a design hotel that offers a refined stay and a fantastic location.

12. Perugia

Best for: A famous jazz festival

Perugia is the largest city in Umbria, sitting halfway between Florence and Rome. Its untouched medieval centre looks almost stuck in time. Wander cobbled streets and pretty piazzas, then marvel at the gothic mansions and pristine churches.

A strong international student population has brought a modern and lively edge to the city. There is a strong nightlife and plenty of cafés to wile away the daylight hours in. It’s a particularly popular destination in July when Perguia hosts one of Europe’s best jazz festivals, Umbria Jazz.



Top three things to do in Perugia

  • Piazza IV Novembre. The beating heart of Perugia, this historic square is home to some key monuments, including Fontana Maggiore, the Palazzo dei Priori, and the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.
  • Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria. The most prestigious art gallery in Umbria can be found in the Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia. It houses more than 3,000 pieces of art, from historic paintings to gothic masterpieces.
  • Corso Vannucci. Take a stroll down this bustling vehicle-free street, dipping in and out of the various cafés, bars and shops. Soak up the atmosphere and revel in that indulgent Italian lifestyle.

Where to stay in Perugia

  • Castello di Monterone. Located 3km from Perugia in the gorgeous countryside, this ancient castle offers enchanting accommodation, an outdoor pool and lovely views.
  • Locanda della Posta. Situated on a lively street in Perugia, this well-located, high-end townhouse brings minimalist interiors and modern touches.
  • Alla Posta dei Donini. A historical residence set in a peaceful location just outside of the Umbrian capital. Enjoy a sumptuous spa, gourmet dining and beautiful gardens.

Other Italian cities worth considering:

With so many beautiful cities in Italy, it was difficult trying to narrow down the selection. Here are a few more Italian cities worth considering if you’re planning a trip around Italy. 

Bari

A historic port city located on the attractive Adriatic coast, Bari is the capital of Puglia. This Italian coastal town has an old soul with its traditional harbour and fishing boats. But its young and migrant-heavy population lend Bari a more urban and forward-thinking edge. Be sure to sample the simple but delicious cucina povera and visit one of the many beaches.

Lucca

Lucca is an endearing city situated at the foot of the Apuan Alps in Tuscany. With its Renaissance history, cobblestone streets and quaint piazzas, it’s a city that is bursting with charm. Known as the ‘town of a hundred churches’ and perfectly preserved in time, Lucca brings buckets of cultural and historical significance.

Genoa

Genoa is another Italian city that combines historic and architectural splendour with urban spirit and grit. It’s one of the best cities in Italy to visit for a more authentic travel experience. Visit Italy’s busiest sea port and discover Genoa’s maritime history. Explore the magnificent Piazza de Ferrari or wile away the days in no less than 10 art museums in the city.

Turin

The capital of the Piedmont region of northern Italy, Turin is definitely one of the least visited cities in Italy. All the more reason to visit this elegant city that is often compared to Paris and Vienna. The city comprises cobbled streets, ancient ruins and tree-lined boulevards while also boasting a strong industrial heritage. Visit for the art, music and innovative culture, along with its mesmerising architecture and refreshing lack of tourists.

Mantua

Another lesser-known Italian city, Mantua has a fascinating and colourful history that’s dominated by the daring House of Gonzaga family. It’s an ancient city with UNESCO-listed Renaissance architecture and a strong artistic and cultural presence. Surrounded by three stunning lakes, it’s a picture-perfect Italian city that’s well worth a stop.

Ragusa

Ragusa is a breathtaking city in Sicily that’s divided into two parts. The more modern and aristocratic upper town is perched on a hilltop, which overlooks the historic Ragusa Ibla below. Meander through the cobbled lanes and picturesque piazzas and admire the beautiful Baroque architecture of this unique city of two halves.

Ravenna

Located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Ravenna is a pleasant and picturesque city. Once capital of the Western Roman Empire and famous for its beautiful mosaics, Ravenna is a dream for fans of art and history. With a staggering eight world heritage sites and a location close to the enchanting Adriatic Riviera, this Italian city is definitely one to add to your Italy itinerary.

Pisa

A charming city with a wealth of impressive architecture – from Romanesque and Renaissance buildings and piazzas through to stunning Gothic churches. Although famed for its Leaning Tower, the city of Pisa has a lot more to offer than one iconic monument. Home to an elite university, Pisa draws students from across italy. The result is a vibrant city with a lively café and bar scene.


The cities of Italy have so much to offer the discerning visitor. With many of the smaller Italian cities only requiring a day to explore, it’s worth combining visits to several cities in one itinerary. Throw in a few of Italy’s coastal towns and famous lakes, and you’ve got a dreamy Italian getaway that you’ll remember for a long time to come.

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