10 of the Most Beautiful Cities in Italy

September 23, 2012

Italy has some of the most spectacular old cities in the world. If you want to go beyond the usual tourist routes and see them in a whole new light, have a look at some of our tours lead by passionate, expert guides

It’s not just the countryside that’s beautiful in Italy – so are many of the cities! Not only are they 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 will be a life changing experience!


Verona, home of Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet, is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.

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!


Gondolas on canals in Venice

Gondolas on canals in 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 (learn the secrets of Venetian symbolism in our blog on how to “read” Venice’s palaces!), its beautiful churches, and, of course, the 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 autumn or even in the winter, when a lovely mist hangs over the entire city. To learn more, read our guide to traveling Venice in the off-season.


Bologna, Emilia-Romagna

Beautiful Bologna

Bologna is the capital of Emilia-Romagna, one of our favorite regions in Italy (to learn we love it so much why check out our guide to Emilia-Romagna). Bologna is also utterly 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 taking fun pictures with the leaning tower of Bologna (it’s not just in Pisa!), there’s something in this buzzing city for everyone.


Rome: One of the most beautiful cities... in the world

Rome: One of the most beautiful cities… in the world

Rome is the largest city in Italy and with its 2,500 years of history and innumerable archaeological sites, art museums, churches, and ruins, it 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! For a more in depth look on what to see in Rome and what to do in Rome, check out our various guides to Rome.



Naples, overlooked by Mt. Vesuvius

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, Italy

Florence is beautiful year-round!

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!).


The cathedral of Lecce is a must-see. The Piazza del Duomo is one of Italy's most beautiful squares, a Baroque masterpiece that makes the space seem like a lovely cloister.

The cathedral of Lecce is a must-see. The Piazza del Duomo is one of Italy’s most beautiful squares, a Baroque masterpiece that makes the space seem like a lovely cloister.

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 an ancient Roman amphitheater—just to name a few. If you’re considering a trip to southern Italy check out our pictorial guide to Puglia for inspiration.


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

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. If you’re looking for great day trips from Florence, it’s hard to find a better spot that Lucca.


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

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, one of the loveliest cities in Umbria

Perugia, one of the loveliest cities in Umbria

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. History buffs won’t want to miss the National Museum of Umbrian Archaeology which includes a plethora of amazing artifacts. There also are artistic masterpieces in the National Gallery of Umbria, important churches, beautiful buildings, elegant piazzas, and much more! As one of our 6 favorite spots in Umbria, we recommend that everyone visit it at least once.

by Walks of Italy

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60 responses to “10 of the Most Beautiful Cities in Italy”

  1. Desert Fox says:

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

  2. mags says:

    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. 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 says:

    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 says:

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

  6. 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. 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 says:

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

  9. Renate says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    Wish to be there someday!!

  12. Junipero says:

    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

  13. Genesis says:

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

  14. Ajcr1 says:

    Palermo and Siena are very good too

  15. moses says:

    Nobody talked about milan..is milan not beautiful?

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

  17. Niky says:

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

  18. Jared Del Rey says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  21. Susanne Arena says:

    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

  22. Eugene Guido says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  25. Noah says:

    You have to visit Teramo very nice province.

  26. sxccal says:

    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.

  27. Jane says:

    Where is Palermo???

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Jane,

      You’re right, there are just too many beautiful places and a lot of wonderful cities didn’t make the list. Look for a follow-up post on 10 MORE of the most beautiful cities in Italy, as there truly are many!

    • Doru says:

      Only Palermo? The whole Sicily is the black pearl of the world

  28. gabriel tosin says:

    i am a nigeria , but if God should ask where to be born and live i would over and over again choose ITALY over any country in the world : ITALY is the most beautiful place in the world which no country can match’ despite his economics crisis is still the best. My favorite in ITALY are milan, venice, palermo, turin, rome and naples

  29. Athenea says:

    Visited Rome, Italy and surrounding cities last month. I used the suggestions on this site to select cities to tour. I’m so glad I found the site for every city suggested was an enchantment. It can be overwhelming to pick just a few towns when there is so much to see. Although it was expensive to hop from one place to another, I would do it again; looking forward to the next suggested cities as I plan to return in Oct.

  30. LK says:

    If you want sheer beauty and nothing less than Taormina, Sicily is it! It’s a small town set hundreds of feet above the sea with thousands of feet of mountains above it. Smoldering Mount Etna at 10k feet high is 10 miles in the distance but feels like it looms over the town. The people 2000 years ago didn’t have electricity, cars or the internet but they knew beauty and wanted to be surrounded by it. This is clearly evident in Taormina. Rather easy to get. Completely safe. A bit expensive. Advanced reservations are advised in the high summer period.

  31. Silvia says:

    Can you please make a correction in the part about Bologna: Bologna indeed has a leaning tower (the Garisenda), but it’s not the one you can climb – that’s the Asinelli (the Asinelli isn’t leaning). Together they are known as “le Due Torri”.
    Thank you.

  32. Wow all the cities seem so beautiful in pictures and wordings, if only


    its a amazing city and i like this

  34. Phil Scott says:

    I would add Santa Margherita, Portafino, and Bolzano to my personal top 10.

  35. Onimim says:

    The Amalfi Coast is my pick any day. But they are all beautiful.

  36. Camilla says:

    So glad Perugia was included in the list, since it’s where I’m from… I would have included Siena and Palermo in the list, they are on the same level than the ones listed here (I’ve visited all but Pisa). Another city that should have been included -and that is a must see – is Matera. It’s more than just beautiful, it’s unique and moving… In another country it would be on top of every must-visit list. Personally I’m also very fond of Mantova (Mantua) and Ravenna… they’re close to Verona and Bologna respectively so if you’re in the area I recommend to visit. Turin is also aesthetically very beautiful, though I didn’t like its vibe when I was there.

  37. Yazan says:

    Perugia is the mother of the cities in Italy. I lived there between 1997-1999. Perugia can offer you the best days of your life and will keep you fit all your life because of its architecture.

  38. Adi says:

    I dont know why admin dnt add “Valle di aosta” in list…
    Really in valle di aosta is a very beutfull places to see..

  39. Waqas Ahmad says:

    Transportation in Venice is quite difficult as the city lies deeply in water. But the beauty of Venice can mesmerize any one traveled or living there. Your list has given us all the good names. Keep sharing.

  40. Samuel says:

    Genova is the most beautiful state in italy

  41. Sima Soti says:

    To me Roma is Roma
    You have to read a little History than visit
    Every block every street is telling you something
    In Italy i really like Caserta and the Bourbon Era.
    Go see The oldest Church in Italia-Santa Maria Majore / Roma
    Amazing beautiful expensive Country !
    I would Borrow money to go again !

  42. Kimi Soni says:

    Really Thanks alot for this informative Post. I know Italy is most popular destination. But I have no any idea about these places but after reading this post I feel wow its amazing place just like Venice, Verona, Rome is the nice places to visit in Italy and really I will go there in these places.

  43. Grace says:

    If ure looking for a very nice country side, Asti is the place, its a very small but lovely town especially in winter. I visited D’asti, Genova, Turin, Milan etc. They re very lovely places. Milan is for shopping all the way,for very fashion conscious or designer freaks.

  44. Sumit Kumar says:

    Rome is one of my favorite city as last year i traveled for the italy with my family and it was a wonderful experience for us.Rome is the capital of italy having sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife to make your travel more beautiful.

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