27 million tourists visit Rome each year. They come for the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, and world-class cuisine.
Sure, Rome and Florence are worth a visit.
But there are so many other amazing cities in Italy worth checking out. And, some are much more affordable for tourists than the typical destinations.
Interested in planning an Italian vacation unlike anyone else’s? Keep ready for 10 of the best cities to visit in Italy.
- Amalfi Coast
If you’re looking for postcard perfection, you must visit the Amalfi Coast. Nestled along the southern edge of the Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is the epitome of a rural, seaside Italian town.
Houses and 5-star hotels sit tightly on the steep terraces, staggering down towards the water.
It’s a laid-back town, so take your time. Book tours of the local churches and galleries. Plan for lots of meandering and people-watching. Enjoy leisurely lunches and, of course, plenty of wine.
- Lake Como
For high-end resorts and luxury amenities, tourists head to Lake Como in the Lombardy province. Sitting in the foothills of the alps, expect to see sights that will make your jaw drop.
Surrounding Como are dozens of quaint and unique hamlets. Notably, Varenna provides spectacular views of the city, especially from the cliffs at Castelle di Vezio.
These unassuming villages are the perfect spots for sight-seeing, walking tours, and cable car rides.
When you think of Tuscany, you likely think of grape fields, wineries, and farmland. But, Tuscany offers much more than that.
You won’t find crowds of other tourists or long lines here. Tuscany is beloved for its quiet and secluded way of life. Careful attention is paid to the history of the land as well as the art housed here.
It’s perfect for romantic getaways and 5-star restaurants. Rent a private villa or castle and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the land.
- Cinque Terre
Sitting high in the Ligurian Coast is Cinque Terre, a collection of five seaside towns. The terrain is rough with steep cliffs and rugged coastline.
Although there aren’t many beaches, there’s an endless list of things to do. Go on a boat tour of the region or a walking tour of the towns. You can also go hiking along the steep, but stunning, ridges.
Some of the hiking trails will connect one village to another. You could spend a full day exploring the beaten and unbeaten paths. The Sentiero Vernazza a Corniglia trail provides gorgeous views of the olive groves and meadows.
When you’re ready for a true beach vacation, head to the island of Sardinia. You’ll find some of the Mediterranean’s whitest and softest sand as well as turquoise waters. Spend the day swimming, sunbathing, and marveling at the landscape behind you.
Then, meander inland for some epic seafood.
The history of Sardinia is worth investigating, especially if you want to learn more about the culture. You can visit Roman ruins, Carthaginian ruins, and Pisan churches.
Your experience of Venice might be closer to your experience of Rome, but it’s still worth checking out. Sure, tourists outnumber locals 2-1, but there’s a reason for that.
Venice is a city built on enchanting canals and bridges. At any corner you’ll find an art gallery, public square, or vibrant hangout spot.
It’s a city known for contemporary art and creativity. Everywhere you look is a picture waiting to be taken. As one of the jewels of Italy, seeing Venice is well worth it if you can bear the crowds.
Although it’s one of Italy’s largest cities, Milan has a different vibe than Rome and Florence. It’s less touristic and feels more like a living, breathing, cosmopolitan city.
There are giant skyscrapers, modern hotels, and stunning courtyards. It’s a Mecca for fashion and shopping in Europe. But, that’s not all you can do here.
Visitors enjoy the high-end restaurants as well as the Scala opera house. One of the must-see attractions in Milan is Da Vinci’s famous mural, the Last Supper.
If this name sounds familiar, it’s because you likely heard it a lot in high school English class. Verona is the legendary home and setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette.
This medieval town is bursting with history and culture. Besides visiting Juliette’s alleged balcony, you can legendary opera performances at the Verona Arena. This amphitheater was built by 1st-century Romans.
The architecture in Verona screams romance and seductive ambiance. Every corner has a piazza or stunning church straight out of a Shakespeare play.
Dated back to the 9th century BCE, Perugia is a blast from Italy’s past. Despite being a cosmopolitan city, the architecture would impress any history buff.
There are two universities here which means innovation and creativity are bursting at the city’s seams. If you want to learn English during your visit, this is the place to do so.
If possible, plan your visit during the summer months. This is when the world-renowned jazz festival occurs and it’s well worth planning your trip around.
You may not be familiar with this Italian city, but that only makes it more charming. Matera is a fascinating city that’s slightly off the beaten path in Southern Italy.
Check out the Sassi of Matera for a truly spectacular sight. Here, the houses and churches are built in the caves and walls of the dried-up ravine. Everywhere you look in Matera is brown or beige, and much of it has been abandoned.
UNESCO rightly named Matera a World Heritage Site and it’s no surprise why. It certainly deserves a stop on your itinerary.
Interested in Learning More of the Best Cities to Visit in Italy?
Italy is one of the top destinations in the world for tourism, and it’s no surprise why. You can find ancient history, a thriving culture, and some of the best food in the world.
But, some of the best cities to visit in Italy aren’t the ones that get the most attention. Don’t rule out the cities on this list when planning your trip.
For more tips on planning your Italian vacation, check out the Europe section in our Destinations List.