10 of the Most Beautiful Cities in Italy

It’s not just the countryside that’s beautiful in Italy—so are many of the cities! As well as stunning, Italy’s cities are incredibly fascinating, full of art, history, ancient ruins, and more.

Although it was hard for us to keep it to only 10, here are 10 of the most beautiful (and interesting!) cities in Italy. (Nota bene: For this post, we’ve considered only cities with a population of 75,000 or more!). Trust us: a visit to any one of them can make your trip spectacular!

Verona

Verona, famous for more than just Romeo and Juliet

Verona isn’t just where William Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet—it’s also a beautiful city that offers a lot to do and see! From ancient Roman ruins (including an incredibly well-preserved arena) to a medieval castle, from stunning piazzas to historic churches, Verona is bursting with sightseeing opportunities. And, oh yes, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Italy… and every bit as romantic as you’d expect!

Venice

Venice, Italy

There’s no city in the world like Venice

What makes Venice one of the most beautiful cities in, well, the world? Let us count the ways… There’s Venice’s unique, lovely architecture (find out how to “decode” Venice’s palaces!), its beautiful churches, and its show-stopping St. Mark’s Square. But what really makes Venice beautiful is the fact that it’s built entirely on canals—so there’s no traffic or bus exhaust, and along many canals, all you can hear is the lapping of the water! (To make the most of Venice’s tranquil side, consider going in the off-season, or even in the winter, when a lovely mist lays over the entire city).

Bologna

Bologna, Emilia-Romagna

Beautiful Bologna

The largest city in the region of Emilia-Romagna (and the region’s capital), Bologna is also, well, beautiful! And there’s a ton to do here. From soaking in the academic ambience (Bologna is home to Europe’s oldest university), to enjoying the region’s excellent cuisine in local trattorie, to climbing the leaning tower of Bologna (it’s not just in Pisa!), there’s something in this buzzing city for everyone.

Rome

Rome: one of the most beautiful cities… in the world!

The largest city in Italy, Rome, with its 2,500 years of history and innumerable archaeological sites, art museums, churches, and ruins, might just be the most fascinating! Despite Rome’s relatively compact (and beautiful!) historic center, you could easily spend a month exploring the city and not see everything. And, yes, there are a lot of places to see in Italy. But to come to Italy in search of its most beautiful spots and cities… and not visit Rome? Well, that would be a crime!

Naples

bella Napoli

Bella Napoli

Naples often gets a bad rap—and, yes, the city is a little “grittier,” and much more chaotic, than Italy’s other cities. But there’s a reason why people call it bella Napoli. There’s something about the decay of Naples’ elegant palaces and medieval castles that’s both bittersweet and beautiful. And there is a ton to do and see here, from enjoying the city’s world-famous food to exploring its eerie underground to seeing some of the most important art and archaeology in Italy at Naples’ top-notch museums. (Here are 9 reasons not to skip Naples!). The energy here, though, is the true core of Naples’ bellezza—and something everyone has to experience at least once in a lifetime.

Florence

Florence, Italy

Lovely Firenze

Visit Florence once, and you’ll see why it inspired so many artists and writers! With its graceful buildings, cobblestoned streets, and showstoppers like the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio, Florence is a feast for the eyes. And that’s just if you’re walking around outside! Inside those buildings, even more beauty awaits, from Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia to masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, and more in the Uffizi. (Find out more about the 10 unmissable sights of Florence!).

Lecce

Lecce

With about 100,000 residents, Lecce is one of the biggest cities in the region of Puglia. It’s also one of the prettiest! With its ornate, Baroque architecture, Lecce couldn’t look more different than Florence or Venice or Bologna. And exploring the city yields one interesting sight after another, like a 16th-century castle, one of the most important churches in Italy, and ancient Roman amphitheater—just to name a few. (Find out more about why Puglia is one of our favorite regions in Italy!).

Lucca

San Michele in Foro, one of Lucca’s many beautiful buildings

Located a short train ride outside of Florence, lovely Lucca, home to about 85,000 residents, offers up cobblestoned streets and elegant palaces, elaborate churches and a ring of Renaissance-era fortification walls that have been turned into biking and walking paths. For music aficionados, it also happens to be where the composer Giacomo Puccini was born. (Find out more about other great day trips from Florence!).

Pisa

There’s more to Pisa’s beauty than just the Leaning Tower!

If you want to get what must be the most iconic photo in Italy, Pisa’s your place. But there’s much more to Pisa than that. Yes, the Leaning Tower is spectacular—even more so in person than in pictures. But the medieval city also boasts an 11th-century Duomo chock-full of gorgeous art, the elaborate Baptistery, and beautiful palaces.

Perugia

Lovely Perugia

The largest city in Umbria (and the region’s capital), Perugia dates back to the time of the Umbrii and the Etruscans. You can still visit an Etruscan chamber tomb, well, and arch even today, or check out the National Museum of Umbrian Archaeology, with lots of amazing ancient finds. There also are artistic masterpieces in the National Gallery of Umbria, important churches, beautiful buildings, elegant piazzas, and much more! (It’s all part of why we named it one of 6 spots we love in Umbria!).

Which city in Italy do you think is the most beautiful? Tell us in the comments!

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33 Responses to 10 of the Most Beautiful Cities in Italy

  1. Desert Fox September 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    thanks for compiling this. i’m so excited to go there in Nov :)

  2. mags September 26, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Was there last October and fell in love with Italy. These pictures are so much better than I was able to get.

  3. Gordon Lethbridge October 2, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Personally I would include something from Sicily. Syracuse or Taormina would be great candidates. Great selection though and inspiring me to visit the ones I haven’t already visited.

  4. Giorgio Chiappa October 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    I have been to 5 on the list and agree with those choices…..the most beautiful I think tho (if considered a city) is Santa Margherita Ligure…..

  5. Bess Lederer October 25, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    Visited Italy last year – Loved all of it, but Florence was my favorite.

  6. Texas Sunshine November 10, 2012 at 3:48 am #

    I am 100% Italian born in America and I have been to Florence, Pisa ,Seina, Tuscuny, Rome, Pinzano, The Alps, Monoply, and one of the most interesting is Orvieto, Italy. Thanks for all the beautiful photos of my Grandparents Country. I have to say that Rome is still my favorite and the Northen Alps where my grandparentws were born.

  7. Julo, Travel via Italy November 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    Italy has so many beautiful cities that it is not possible to create some list of first 10 of them. I would say that Italy can only have lists such as “100 best cities in Italy”. However my favourite one is Venice definitely!

  8. myrtle January 16, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    OH my! Such a lovely place to visit. Love your post so informative.

  9. Renate February 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Great article. I have visited Italy last year, I was only in Rome. Now I want to visit also other cities in Italy.

  10. matteo March 17, 2013 at 4:34 am #

    if you come from america and want meet a lot of american people speaking english then I advise my beautiful city: Vicenza. It has wonderful landscapes around the province also.

  11. Folakemi March 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Wish to be there someday!!

    • angel June 18, 2013 at 5:13 am #

      Yea this place is cool….wish to be there in italy someday!

  12. Junipero April 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Wow!!! Italy, such a lovely country.. I visited there last month… I stayed in Florence and later switched over to Naples. The cities are so wonderful. I think it’s more beautiful than Washington DC. Lol

    • nicky July 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

      i went everywhere in italy…

      • nicky July 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

        well i think

  13. Genesis April 28, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    For me, one or two of the best place/s in Italy is Como and Bellagio because of the amazing lake view!

  14. Ajcr1 June 3, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    Palermo and Siena are very good too

  15. moses June 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Nobody talked about milan..is milan not beautiful?

    • Walks of Italy June 27, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

      Of course it is, Moses! As are lots of other cities we left off the list :-) Look for a follow-up post on 10 MORE of the most beautiful cities in Italy! Thanks for stopping by!

  16. SHAIKH MUHAMMAD AZHAR NAFEES July 7, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Respected sir i like is very much 10 of the Most Beautiful Cities in Italy this is God gift for you all
    thankyou

  17. Niky July 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    Turin (Torino) is the most beautiful city in Italy, followed by Genoa (Genova)

  18. Jared Del Rey August 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Li Galli and Capri were breathtaking…in my opinion. Then again, I think Italy is the most magical place in the world. When you’re there you can almost feel the romance in the air.

  19. Lila August 16, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    Venice and Rome are the most beautiful cities in Italy for me because I had not have a chance to see the rest. I hope the rest could be beautiful too. However, the people are very hard on tourist. They really take advantage on you if they figure it out that you are a tourist on their country. I have been in so many place Africa, Europe, and American, but I have not seen any country like Italy that charge for using toilet. And, Italians don’t have manner and respect for black and asian people whether you are a tourist or asylum seeker. They treat you like their material.
    Despite all this problem the cities are beautiful to be visited.

  20. Andrea August 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Great post, I agree with you! Even if Ferrara is also one of my favourites city!

  21. Susanne Arena September 21, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    What about Taormina, Sicily, Positano, Capri and the southern parts of Italy? The the Aeolian Islands? Went to Taormina and it was just gorgeous, views to die for. I found Pisa a bit boring the tower unimpressive the building opposite was great glad I went there. Naples scary, but Rome, Verona, Venice, Florence yes I will give you that. Cheers

    • Walks of Italy September 25, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

      Hi Susanne,
      You’re right, there are just too many beautiful places! We focused this post on cities, though, which is why we didn’t include islands like Capri or small towns like Taormina or Positano. You might want to also check out our post on the best small towns in northern Italy, in central Italy, and in southern Italy. Thanks for stopping by!

  22. Eugene Guido April 21, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    Yeas there are to many extraordinary beautiful place /city or event small town in Italy If we could have a long list of 100s city or more I definitely would include (Lago Di Garda) Lake of Garda / Limone sul Garda , San Marino , Sorrento , Cortina dal pezzo ,
    Each town or city they have old history attached, The old small or large building the are very unique picturesque we do not build that way anymore , You need more time to relax and enjoyed to feel the beauty of those city .

  23. Angela July 1, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    When I was in Italy we went all over the country, was pretty upset that capri isn’t on the list, was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been

  24. Anthea Prince August 5, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    Oh Wow! How I long to walk the beautiful streets of Italy. Florence and Sorrento were my favourites. bellisimo!

  25. Noah October 2, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    You have to visit Teramo very nice province.

  26. sxccal October 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

    Italy, with it’s fascinating architectures and divine locations conquers my heart. In whatever I have witnessed Milan with it’s churches and being surrounded by the Alps appears to be most appealing to me.

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