Italy is one of the world’s most fascinating countries, boasting numerous incredible things to see and do.  Its cities are some of the world’s most beautiful, boasting a rich history, centuries-old architecture, and a lively atmosphere.  But with so many beautiful towns, cities, and landmarks across the city, it can be overwhelming to decide which Italian cities are worth your time.

Below, check out our list of the best cities to visit in Italy.

1. Milan

Often overlooked in favour of other famous Italian cities like Rome and Venice, Milan is a sophisticated city with a unique blend of history and modernity.  It has a thriving art and culture, where you’ll find everything, from world-class museums to grand cathedrals and cutting-edge fashion boutiques.

The magnificent Duomo Cathedral is the top reason to visit Milan.  It’s one of the country’s most iconic landmarks, an architectural marvel with a striking facade combining the Neoclassical and Renaissance styles.  The interiors are just as impressive as the facade, with soaring columns, striking marble floors, and colourful stained glass windows.  When heading to the Duomo, climb to the rooftop. Take the lift if you’re not keen on walking all 250 steps.  When you get to the top, you’ll be in awe of the stunning panorama of Milan.

Aside from the Duomo, Milan has many other spectacular architectural marvels, from buildings dating back to the Roman times to the most spectacular modern-designed buildings.  Check out Santa Maria delle Grazie, a gorgeous Renaissance-style church. Another is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a famous shopping centre featuring 19th-century neo-Renaissance style architecture with elaborately designed iron and glass roofs.

2. Naples

Naples is one of those cities that can offer you a taste of authentic Italy, thanks to its beautiful cobblestone streets and authentic Napoli pizza.  Naples may not be as visually appealing as other Italian cities, but it offers a local experience.

As you wander around the city centre of Naples, you’ll be in awe of the marvellous attractions along the way.  The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to 470 BC and is home to majestic castles, a royal palace, and numerous cathedrals.

The Naples National Archaeological Museum is a must-visit, whether you’re into history or not.  It holds a fascinating collection of sculptures, frescoes, artefacts, and other interesting objects excavated from the nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum.  You’ll also find a section at the museum that features historical coins and a secret room dedicated to erotic art.

As you stroll around Naples, you’ll stumble upon pizzerias in almost every corner, so you can always take a break and indulge in mouth-watering Napoli pizza.  The authentic pizza is the highlight of your visit to Naples. Served fresh and delicious, they are so addicting that you’ll find yourself eating every day you’re there.

3. Rome

Despite the touristy vibe, Rome is one of those Italian cities you should see at least once.  To make the most of your visit, you can book a tour around the main cities of Italy, with Rome being a favoured spot. Established over 2,700 years ago, it has a rich history that shaped the religion and politics of the world.  Thus, expect to see some of the world’s most fascinating archaeological sites on your visit, including famous landmarks like the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain.

You cannot visit Rome without seeing the Colosseum. Built around 69 to 70 AD, it’s one of the world’s most fascinating Roman architecture.  Visiting the place gives you a sense of what gladiators see before their demise.  Right next to the Colosseum is Palatine Hill, one of Rome’s most ancient sites.  It’s one of the seven hills of Rome and home to the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus.  The Pantheon is another iconic sight worth seeing on your visit to Rome.  It’s also one of the best-preserved Roman structures, dating back to 125 AD.

Venture into the Vatican and visit the Vatican Museum, which houses some of the best art collections in the world.  You can easily spend the entire day admiring the museum’s fascinating exhibits.  Check out the Sistine Chapel and the St Peter’s Basilica as well.

4. Florence

Dubbed the Cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is one of Italy’s most beautiful cities.  The city charms visitors with its authentic charm, picturesque cobblestone streets, outstanding art pieces, Renaissance arts, and rich cultural heritage.

Visit the Oltrarno district just across the Arno River. Known as the artisan neighbourhood, it’s a thriving hub of artisan workshops with local artists painstakingly restoring antiques and sculpting jewellery pieces.

What’s great about Florence is it’s a compact city, which you can explore on foot.  Stroll through its picturesque streets brimming with culture and history, leading you towards iconic landmarks like Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery.

If you want to enjoy tranquillity far from the busy touristy neighbourhood, head to the serene gardens of Bardini or Boboli.  It’s also a great place to enjoy stunning views of Florence.  In Florence, every street boasts a tapestry of enduring beauty, offering an Italian adventure you’ll never forget.

5. Venice

Known as the City of Canals, Venice is a must-see on your trip to Italy.  Venice is one of Italy’s most unique cities, with scenic canals, beautiful bridges, and fascinating architecture.  Sure, it can get busy with tourists, but it’s definitely worth it.

Venice has over 118 islands, separated by canals and linked by bridges.  Thus, one of the best ways to explore the city is on a gondola ride.  Gondolas have been a popular way to navigate the city’s waterways since the 11th century.

Another thing that makes Venice one of Italy’s best cities is its vibrant carnival celebrations.  Taking place about three weeks before Ash Wednesday, it’s a fun celebration to witness, with locals wearing elaborate masks as they parade the city.

No trip to Venice is complete without seeing the stunning St Mark’s Square or Piazza San Marco.  It’s the city’s main public square dominated by the St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, once home to the Venetian government.