Where to Go and What to See in Italy

Italy is a popular travel destination with many historic monuments and cities, beautiful scenery, and fabulous food and wine. To help you plan your Italian vacation, let's explore the top travel destinations, including the major cities and a few suggestions for getting off the beaten path.

  • 01 of 07
    Ponte Santa Trinita and the river Arno, Florence
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    Florence, a Renaissance city in the heart of Tuscany, is one of Italy's most popular travel cities. Florence has some of Italy's best museums, beautiful cathedrals and churches, and interesting streets and squares with elegant buildings and shops. 

    Your trip to Florence will not be complete without visiting renowned landmarks like the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore to see (and climb to the top of) Brunelleschi's Dome or the open-air sculpture exhibit at Piazza della Signoria.

    Florence is also a nice hub for Tuscany. It offers a number of possible day trips outside of the city. These include Siena, Pisa, and Lucca, each with their own charming sights to behold.

  • 02 of 07
    Illuminated Coliseum at dusk, Rome, Italy
    Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

    Rome is a vibrant city with reminders of its past everywhere. In Rome, you'll encounter ancient monuments, medieval and Renaissance buildings and fountains, and grand museums.

    Rome is the capital of modern Italy and boasts many fine restaurants and cafes, good nightlife, and lively streets and squares to enjoy as well.

    This city alone can keep you busy for a long vacation, especially with day trips to nearby destinations. Yet, it is also possible to take in the best of the best in just three days with the right itinerary.

  • 03 of 07
    Venice Canal Grande
    Digitaler Lumpensammler / Getty Images

    Venice is one of Italy's most beautiful and romantic cities, built on the water in a lagoon. It's small, traffic-free streets along the winding canals make for great walking. Venice has many magnificent churches and palaces, lively squares, and interesting shops. 

    While in Venice, a ride on the iconic gondolas is a must, especially for couples on a romantic getaway. You'll also want to explore its best sites, including the architectural marvels of the Basilica San Marco and Doge's Palace.

    Venturing out of the city can take you on day trips to nearby islands, the walled city of Padua, or off to Verona.

  • 04 of 07
    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, vineyards of Sangiovese grapes
    David Epperson / Getty Images

    Tuscany is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Italy. It is a large region, with the most varied landscape in the country. In Tuscany, you will find picturesque medieval hill towns, scenic countryside, vineyards, and seaside towns.

    This is the area of many famous Italian wines and you will find several opportunities for guided wine tours. It is also a place here you can experience Italian farm life and book stays at some of Tuscany's charming farm house resorts, known as agriturismo.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    View of Amalfi on Amalfi Coast, Italy at dusk
    Mick Habgood (www.mickhabgood.com) / Getty Images

    Although not as popular with tourists as central and northern Italy, southern Italy has many charming and unusual towns. 

    Seaside destinations like the Amalfi Coast are popular among tourists, as are Sicily and Naples. This is also the region where you can visit the ancient site of Pompeii. It's a nice day trip from either Naples or Sorrento.

  • 06 of 07
    Italy, Sicily, Val di Noto, view over Ragusa Ibla
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    Italy's islands of Sicily is a fascinating place to visit. Steeped in tradition, there are many places where you'll feel like you've taken a step back in time. The island has great beaches, historic sights, and wonderful food.

    In Taormina, you will find ancient ruins of the Greeks and Romans as well as medieval castles. Palermo has a number of great landmarks as well, and Agrigento is home to the Valley of the Temples, with 2500-year-old Greek sites. Yet, the island is best known for the city of Messina and the active volcano of Mt. Etna.

  • 07 of 07
    View of multicolor buildings on hillside, Bosa, Sardinia, Italy
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    If you've been to Italy's top cities, you might want to consider some off the beaten track destinations. Enjoy small villages, historic cities, the countryside, and Italian life. 

    Sardinia is not as well known as other parts of Italy, but it's a hidden island gem for tourists in the know. Beyond its beaches, Sardinia offers ancient stone towers, Barbagia Mountain villages, and the city of Alghero. It's a fantastic array of culture and island heritage.

    You will find that the region of Puglia on the "heel of the boot" offers a look at the unique stone huts known as trulli. It is a peaceful destination to get away from the crowds. And, if you'd like to hit the central part of Italy, the Marche region is filled with culture, history, and great attractions and very few tourists to contend with.