As someone who has a personal connection to Italy, being one of my favourite countries for both its natural beauty and its cultural richness, there's no denying that Italy has a special place in my heart.

For sure, my love for Italy is not only because Bruno, my husband, is from this country, but also because the country's people, culture, and cuisine have captured my heart. 

From the picturesque rolling hills of Tuscany to the jaw-dropping coastline of the Amalfi Coast, Italy is a country that is filled with breathtaking destinations to explore. Having an Italian family has given me the opportunity to explore some lesser-known places and hidden gems in Italy. Check out my article on the most beautiful towns and villages in northern Italy for some off-the-beaten-path inspiration.

In this article, we'll be taking a closer look at some of the most beautiful cities in Italy that are sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveller. While Italy has countless charming towns and villages, these cities offer a unique blend of history, art, and architecture that make them stand out from the rest.

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The Most Beautiful Cities in Italy

1. Rome 

Rome, often referred to as the “Eternal City”, is undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, and indeed the world. Its rich history, stunning landmarks, and cultural treasures make it a destination that should be on everyone's bucket list.

Piazza Navona, Rome - Depositphotos

As one of the oldest cities in the world, Rome is steeped in history and boasts some of the most famous historical landmarks in the world. The Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps are just a few examples of the city's iconic landmarks that attract millions of tourists every year. One of the best things to do in Rome is to take a night tour of the Colosseum and Arena Floor.

But Rome is much more than just its historical sites. The city is a hub of art and culture, with countless museums and galleries showcasing priceless treasures. The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are must-visit destinations for art lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

And let's not forget about the food and drink. Rome is known for its cafes, restaurants, and bars, where visitors can enjoy delicious meals and wines. The city's culinary scene is diverse, with a range of options to suit all tastes and budgets.

2. Florence 

Florence, located in Italy's Tuscany region, is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Known as the “Cradle of the Renaissance”, Florence is home to numerous masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture, making it a must-visit destination for art lovers. 

Belfry, Cathedral and Baptistery in Florence - Depositphotos

One of the city's most iconic landmarks is the Duomo, featuring an ornate dome designed by Brunelleschi. The Baptistery, with its impressive bronze doors by Ghiberti, and the Campanile bell tower are also must-sees while in Florence. 

While in Florence, make sure to visit the Uffizi Gallery, which houses one of the world's most significant collections of Italian Renaissance art, including works by Michelangelo and Botticelli.

Despite its popularity among tourists, Florence still offers pockets of tranquillity for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle. The city's natural beauty is simply stunning, with the River Arno running through its centre and the lush Tuscan hills serving as a picturesque backdrop. 

You can escape the crowds by taking a stroll through the peaceful Boboli Gardens or enjoying a relaxing picnic in one of the city's many parks.

Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence - Depositphotos

You can visit Florence throughout the year, but it's worth noting that the high season is during the summer when it can get quite crowded. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you may want to consider visiting in late autumn or early spring.

If you're looking for a truly unforgettable stay in Florence, I highly recommend checking out Palazzo Niccolini al Duomo. With its elegant Renaissance decor and stunning views of the city's iconic cathedral, it's the perfect place to immerse yourself in Florence's rich history and culture. Alternatively, you can check out Corte Calzaiuoli Elegant Suites and 25hours Hotel Florence Piazza San Paolino offer stylish and modern accommodations in the heart of the city.

3. Venice 

Venice is an extraordinary city that stands out from any other places you have visited. Not only is it considered one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, but it is one of the prettiest places in the world. 

Prior to my visit, I had heard so much about Venice that my expectations were set high. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Venice not only met but exceeded my expectations, leaving me in awe of its remarkable beauty. With its winding canals and maze-like streets, Venice feels more like a fairytale than a real place.

And indeed, there is something magical about this city floating on the water. As you explore Venice, you'll find plenty of photo-worthy sights, from the grand Gothic architecture of St. Mark's Basilica to the colourful houses lining the canals. But the true beauty of Venice lies in its ability to transport you to another time and place. Venice is a rare gem that remains frozen in time in a world where cities are constantly changing.

To explore the hidden sides of Venice, you can take the unusual walking tour and for a more authentic experience, you can join the street food tour

While some tourists may visit Venice on a day trip, I strongly recommend staying at least one night to fully experience this remarkable city. During our two-night stay, we were able to appreciate the unique ambience and charm of Venice at a more leisurely pace. 

Ca' Bonfadini Historic Experience, Housed in a 16th-century building, is one of the most unique places to stay in Venice, but if you are looking for something closer to the Grand Cannel, you should check out Hotel Carlton On The Grand Canal which features spacious Venetian-style rooms and a beautiful rooftop bar. 

4. Verona 

Set in the picturesque province of Veneto, Verona is mostly for being the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. But this city has much more to offer. 

Verona - Depositphotos

Verona is one of the prettiest cities in Italy with a well-preserved historic centre designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is home to a wealth of Roman ruins, medieval churches, and Renaissance palaces. Settled on the banks of the River Adige, Verona's picturesque location only adds to its irresistible charm. 

The city has a well-connected airport that links it to other major European cities, and once you arrive, you'll find that Verona is incredibly walkable. To learn more about Verona’s history, you can take the 2-hour guided Hidden Gems Walking Tour. If you prefer to explore the city at your own pace, you can purchase the Verona Card, which allows you to save time by skipping the long queue of the Verona Arena.

While Verona is widely renowned for its historical sights, it also has plenty to offer in terms of shopping, dining, and nightlife. You can also take the Verona Cooking Class, to taste the real Itay. 

Verona can be a great base to take a day trip to Lake Garda, one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy

If you are looking for a unique stay in Verona, Palazzo Monga Boutique Guesthouse, housed in an 18th-century building is your place. But if you are looking for something more modern, you should check out Boutique Hotel Touring, located in the heart of the city. 

5. Naples

This vibrant city is located on the Gulf of Naples, with stunning views of Mount Vesuvius and the Mediterranean Sea. Its colourful streets are filled with the sights and sounds of life, and its rich history can be seen in every building and monument. 

Naples is a city that has something for everyone, from the imposing walls of the Palazzo Reale to the delicate mosaics of the Chapel of SAN Severo. The historic centre of Naples is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with incredible architecture, winding streets, and lively piazzas. Visitors can explore world-famous museums like the Museo Archeologico Nazionale or take a walk through the lush gardens of the Villa Pia. 

Of course, no visit to Naples would be complete without trying some of the city's famous food. Naples is the birthplace of pizza, and the city is home to some of the best pizzerias in the world. For this reason, one of the best things to do in Naples is to take the street food tour with a local expert. 

With its rich history, culture, and cuisine, it's no wonder that Naples is one of Italy's most beloved cities.

6. Turin

Nestled amidst the snow-capped Alps, Turin is a true feast for the senses, boasting magnificent baroque architecture, charming cafes, and world-renowned museums. However, this picturesque city offers much more than just aesthetic pleasures. 

Turin - Depositphotos

As the former capital of Italy before Rome, Turin has a rich cultural and historical legacy. It has long been a hub of learning and creativity, with iconic art and architecture adorning its streets.

Turin's museums and galleries are a testament to its storied past. The Museo Egizio houses one of the world's largest collections of ancient Egyptian artefacts, while the works of renowned Renaissance painter Johann Baptist Zucchi can be seen in Turin's Galleria Sabauda. To learn more about the history and culture, you can take a guided Egyptian Museum tour.

And then there's Turin's exquisite cuisine, making it a foodie's paradise. With traditional Italian dishes served in cosy trattorias and artisanal gelato to die for, Turin's gastronomic offerings are not to be missed.

Turin is a city that has it all: stunning views, captivating architecture, rich history, and unforgettable cuisine. It's no wonder that this cultural gem of northern Italy remains a popular destination for visitors from all over the world.

Principi di Piemonte, located in the heart of the city, is one of the best places in Turin. It features an indoor swimming pool and spacious modern rooms. If you are looking for more budget-friendly accommodation, you should check out Corte Realdi Luxury Rooms Torino or B&B Via Stampatori

7.  Milan

Italy is a country that never fails to enchant visitors with its stunning countryside, picturesque villages, towering mountains, and historical cities. Among the many gems in Italy's treasure trove is the city of Milan, which holds a special place in my heart. Widely known as the "Fashion Capital of the world", Milan is a city that effortlessly blends style and sophistication.

Nestled in the northern part of Italy, Milan is home to some of the country's most iconic landmarks, such as the Duomo di Milano, an awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral that is one of the largest in the world. And then there's da Vinci's "The Last Supper," a masterpiece that is an enduring symbol of Milan's artistic legacy.

Milan's allure doesn't stop there, as it is also renowned for its fashion, food, and culture. High-end shops and designer labels beckon shoppers from all over the world, while the city's thriving culinary scene is a feast for the senses. Milan is also a city with a rich cultural heritage, offering visitors an array of museums, galleries, and historic sites to explore.

Milan has a special place in my heart, and I long to go back again and again. Its charm, beauty, and energy are truly unparalleled. Whether you're admiring the stunning architecture, indulging in some of the best shopping and dining that Italy has to offer, or simply soaking up the city's vibrant atmosphere, there's no denying that Milan is a city that leaves a lasting impression. For more information on the best things to see and do in Milan, be sure to check out my article on the topic. 

Galleria Vik Milano, Matilde Boutique Hotel, and Worldhotel Cristoforo Colombo are some of the best hotels in Milan. 

8. Bologna

Bologna is a city of captivating contrasts. Its medieval core is a labyrinth of narrow streets and towering brick buildings, while its grand Renaissance squares exude an air of refinement. But what sets Bologna apart is the warmth and charm of its people, the gentle red hue of the buildings that line the winding streets, and the homey feel of the countless cafes and bakeries. It's no wonder that visitors quickly feel right at home in this enchanting city.

Bologna is also a city steeped in history and culture. It is home to the oldest university in the world, founded in 1088, which still attracts a thriving student population. This gives the city a vibrant energy and a spirit of creativity. Bologna is also famous for its cuisine, particularly its delectable Bolognese pasta, which is enjoyed all over the world. 

But Bologna is not just a great destination in its own right. Its central location makes it the perfect base for exploring the best places in Emilia Romagna and some other cities in the north of Italy. Visitors can easily take day trips to nearby cities like Venice and Milan, or visit San Marino, one of the smallest countries in the world. All of these factors combine to make Bologna one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. 

The best way to explore the city is to walk around the city centre or take a guided walking tour. If you are a foodie, you can join a guided traditional food tour. For more inspiration, check my post about the top things to do in Bologna.

If you are looking for a luxury and unique stay in Bologna, you should check out Grand Hotel Majestic gia' Baglioni, a 5-star hotel located in an 18th-century palace. Hotel Corona d'Oro is another great place to stay in the heart of the city. 

9. Siena

Siena is one of the most beautiful Italian cities located in the heart of Tuscany that radiates medieval splendour and charm. The well-preserved buildings create a cohesive cityscape, while the sandy-hued cobbled streets and picturesque red-brick rooftops transport visitors into a fairytale.

Aerial Shot of Siena - Depositphotos

At the heart of Siena lies the Duomo, a striking cathedral that boasts one of the most distinct religious buildings in Italy. The enormous brick structure with its distinctive black and white striped exterior is just one of many reasons why Siena is often considered a top tourist destination in Tuscany, rivalled only by Florence. You can purchase the Siena Cathedral Complex Pass in advance online

Other notable attractions include the Palazzo Pubblico, an imposing government building dating back to the 13th century, and Il Campo, the charming central square, which is dominated by the elegant Campanile Tower.

However, Siena's charm lies not only in its impressive buildings but also in the subtle details, such as the vibrant flowers that adorn the windowsills and doorways. No visit to Siena would be complete without indulging in a glass of Chianti and a plate of fresh pasta, adding to the city's timeless appeal and enchanting setting.

Overall, Siena is one of Italy's most beloved cities, captivating visitors with its medieval aura, cultural richness, and natural beauty.

Grand Hotel Continental Siena, set in a 17th-century building, is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Siena. It is located only 250 yards from Piazza Campo Square. Residenza d'Epoca Palazzo Borghesi and Palazzo Lenzi are also great accommodations in Siena. 

10. Genoa

Have you ever dreamt of visiting a city straight out of a storybook? If so, Genoa is the place to be. Located on Italy's northwestern coast, this charming maritime city is bursting with character. Its faded palazzi, narrow alleyways, colourful boats, and bustling markets make it an ideal destination for all.

Genoa - Depositphotos

The city's most iconic landmark is the Palazzo Ducale, an opulent palace that was once home to the Doges of Genoa. Today, it houses a museum, and visitors can explore its grand halls and lush gardens. Another must-visit attraction is Christopher Columbus's House, which now serves as a museum dedicated to the famous explorer.

However, what truly sets Genoa apart is its vibrant port. A stroll along the waterfront presents the opportunity to witness fishermen unloading their catch while colourful boat bob in the water, creating a picturesque atmosphere. Genoa is a city where the past and present seamlessly coexist, resulting in a truly unique ambience.

But that's not all. To enhance your experience in Genoa, try a boat tour to Camogli, a charming fishing village that boasts crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the Ligurian coastline. Additionally, taking a cooking class in Genoa is a great way to learn about the city's culinary heritage and enjoy the local delicacies.

Genoa is undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, captivating visitors with its unique charm and natural beauty. With plenty of attractions to explore and experiences to enjoy, it's no wonder why Genoa is a must-visit destination for travellers to Italy.

Some of the best places to stay in Genoa are Hotel Bristol Palace, Meliá Genova, and Hotel De Ville

11. Pisa

Ah, Pisa. The city of love, art, and... leaning towers. That's right - Pisa is home to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Italy. 

Leaning tower and Pisa Cathedral - Depositphotos

But the tower is just one reason to visit this beautiful city. Pisa is also home to a wealth of other historical and cultural treasures, including the Duomo, an imposing cathedral with a stunning marble façade, and the Baptistery, a beautiful building with an intricate mosaic interior. 

Pisa's picturesque setting on the River Arno makes it the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely stroll. And, of course, no visit to Pisa would be complete without indulging in a gelato or two. With its stunning architecture and lovely river setting, it's no wonder Pisa is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.

12. Palermo

Palermo, Sicily - Depositphotos

In a country as stunning as Italy, it takes something truly special to stand out, and Palermo does just that. As the cultural, economic, and tourism capital of Sicily, Palermo is known as the "Kingdom of the Sun" and is a vibrant feast for the senses. The city's stunning architecture, vibrant markets, delicious cuisine, and friendly locals make it a must-visit destination.

While the Palermo Cathedral, with its ornate interior, is undoubtedly the city's most iconic landmark, Palermo has so much more to offer. Take a stroll through the charming Old Town, where every street and alleyway seems to have a story to tell. Explore the lively markets, where vendors peddle their wares amidst a sea of colours and sounds. And don't forget to indulge in a glass of Sicilian wine in one of the many bars and cafes scattered throughout the city.

The famous Praetorian Fountain, Palermo - Depositphotos

With its rich culture and Mediterranean charm, Palermo is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. You'll fall in love with this city the moment you arrive. 

If you are looking for a cosy but modern place to stay, Palermo Inn Boutique is your place. Alternatively, you can check out Bellaroto Suite & SPA, or Aquasuite

13. Bergamo

Bergamo is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Lombardy region in northern Italy. This picturesque city is a true wonderland of architectural marvels and natural beauty. Bergamo boasts an abundance of cultural treasures, making it one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. The city is conveniently located just 25 Miles northeast of Milan and only a 15-minute drive from its own tiny international airport, making it easily accessible for travellers.

Bergamo - Depositphotos

One of the best things to do in Bergamo is to take a leisurely walk along the Venetian Walls. These walls were built in the 16th century by the Republic of Venice when Bergamo was part of the Venetian state. They offer a magnificent panoramic view of the city and the surrounding landscape. You can walk or bike along the walls, and enjoy the stunning scenery and fresh air.

Another must-visit attraction in Bergamo is the church and mausoleum Cappella Colleoni, a masterpiece of Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, a local artist from Pavia. The church is located next to Piazza Vecchia and Bergamo's cathedral. The church's interior is breathtaking, with intricate frescoes, beautiful stained glass windows, and ornate sculptures.

Bergamo's old town, known as Città Alta, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it's easy to see why. The cobbled streets and historic buildings make it a charming place to explore. There are many small shops, cafes, and restaurants tucked away in the alleys, offering local delicacies and souvenirs.

When it comes to accommodation, there are plenty of options to choose from. Petronilla is a 4-star boutique hotel located in the heart of Bergamo's lower city, in the historic San Lazzaro area. Each of its unique rooms features modern art and provides a cosy and comfortable stay. Another great place to stay is the Arli Hotel, set in central Bergamo and featuring an excellent restaurant and a luxury wellness centre. If you prefer a guest house, Quarenghi16 is a fantastic option located within walking distance of Centro Congressi Bergamo and Teatro Donizetti Bergamo.

14. Rimini

Rimini is a coastal gem situated in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. This picturesque city is home to ancient Roman and Renaissance monuments, but what it’s most famous for is its 15km long stretch of sandy beach and vibrant nightlife. While some may see Rimini as a busy holiday destination, it has plenty of charm and character that make it a must-visit city in Italy.

Rimini’s popularity as a summer destination draws thousands of tourists from all over the world, especially during August when it’s one of the most crowded beach resorts in Europe.

Rimini City Centre

If you're not interested in soaking up the sun on the beach, Rimini’s city centre offers a lot to explore. The Arco d’Augusto, a 27 BC monument, is a great place to start your tour. The historic town centre is also worth a visit, with its beautiful architecture and charming narrow streets. Don't miss the Tiberio Bridge, a 2000-year-old structure with five arches, spanning over a canal that is still in use today.

Rimini is also the birthplace of Federico Fellini, one of Italy's most famous film directors. Fans of his work can visit the Federico Fellini Museum, which showcases his life and career. With its rich history, stunning coastline, and vibrant atmosphere, Rimini is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. 

Great choices for accommodations in Rimini! Erbavoglio Hotel is a stylish and modern hotel located in a quiet area just a short walk from the city centre. Ariminum Hotel is another great option for those looking to stay close to the beach. This 4-star hotel is just a stone's throw away from the sea and offers comfortable and elegantly decorated rooms. 

For those looking for a more luxurious stay, Card International Hotel is the perfect choice. This 4-star hotel is located just a few steps from Rimini Train Station and offers stylish and sophisticated rooms with modern amenities. 

Italy is a country that offers an unparalleled sensory experience, with its rich culture, history, and natural beauty. For centuries, Italy has been a hub of artistic and architectural creativity, and this can be seen in the stunning landmarks and monuments that are scattered throughout the country. 

But Italy is not just about the past. Its cities are vibrant, living places that are constantly evolving and changing. From the chic boutiques and buzzing nightlife of Milan to the rustic charm of Florence's cobbled streets, each city offers something new and exciting to discover.