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What are the Best Cities to Visit in Italy?

Are you planning an Italian city break? Discover a curated list of the best cities to visit in Italy with links to deep dive and plan your itinerary.

Planning a Italian holiday? Wondering what are the best cities to visit in Italy including some choices that go beyond the usual suspects? 

In this guide to Italy's cities, I'll provide a snapshot of each destination to provide some inspiration for your Italian itinerary. 

Look at this post as your launchpad to an amazing city-focused trip to Italy with curated summaries of Italy's must-visit cities and hidden gems you may not have heard of. 

Each section of the guide links out to more detailed information about that destination to help you dive deeper as you plan your trip. Let's go!

Miramare Castle in the city of Trieste Italy

Milan

Milan is a great place to visit for fashion, shopping, architecture, and food. You can see the Duomo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade, and the Milano Stazione Centrale. 

There are also beautiful parks, like Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli and Parco Sempione. For foodies, Milan offers gourmet pizza, gelato, and traditional veal Milanese.

Facade of the Duomo in Milan

✨ Discover things to do in Milan for 2 days

Venice

Venice, of course, is a must-see for its canals and gondolas and the city heaves with tourists. Visiting in the winter is a good way to avoid crowds. You can see the Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, and the Bridge of Sighs. 

Take a vaporetto to Lido for a relaxing day at the beach. Don't miss a visit to Ca' Rezzonico, an old Venetian palazzo turned art museum. 

The city features charming neighborhoods if you know where to look: like Cannaregio, home to traditional bakeries and cozy cafes.

Venice and the Bridge of Sighs viewed from the canals

✨ Explore Venice in the winter

Rome

Rome is packed with historical attractions like the Colosseum, Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angelo, and the Trevi Fountain. 

Visitors can explore charming neighborhoods, shop for unique crafts at Mercato Rionale Monti, and enjoy traditional Italian meals at restaurants like Osteria Da Fortunata, known for its homemade pasta. 

For art and sculpture, visit the Villa Borghese and its surrounding gardens. 

The Trevi Fountain in the City of Rome

✨ Plan a weekend in Rome

Bergamo

Bergamo is a popular Ryanair destination. You'll find a charming old town, Citta Alta, accessible by funicular. The city offers stunning views of the countryside. 

Enjoy the Piazza Vecchia and its historic buildings and cafes. For a unique experience, listen to the ancient bell tower ring 100 times at 10 pm, a tradition dating back to the 13th century.

Entrance gate to Bergamo

✨ Spend a weekend in Bergamo

Trieste

Known for its coffee culture, Trieste was the main Italian trading port for coffee beans for over two centuries. This Italian city is home to Illy Coffee and many historic bakeries. 

The city boasts beautiful architecture, including ornate lampposts and jaunty sculptures if you enjoy photography like I do. Don't miss Piazza Unità d'Italia, Trieste's historic square overlooking the sea.

Fountain with an ornate facade behind it in Trieste, Italy

✨ Find out why Trieste is worth visiting

Bologna

Bologna, the capital of Italy's Emilia Romagna region, is a foodie paradise. Explore its many Mercatos, like Mercato della di Terra Bologna, Mercato delle Erbe, and Mercato di Mezzo. Take a stroll through Piazza Maggiore and visit the Basilica di San Petronio. 

Admire the Leaning Due Torri and the city's amazing doors many of which feature ornate knockers. 

Take a day trip from Bologna to Florence to get a dose of classic Italian art without being overwhelmed by tourists in the way you would if you stayed there.

Street with a view of one of the historic towers in Bologna, Italy

✨ Spend a weekend in Bologna and discover the best Italian door knockers

Ferrara

Ferrara is a charming city with a rich history. Explore the Castello Estense di Ferrara, a medieval castle with a moat and dungeons. 

Walk along the Ferrara city walls for a relaxing hike. Don't miss the Duomo, a cathedral dating back to the 12th century.

Umbrellas with a bell tower behind them in Ferrara Italy

✨ Plan a day trip to Ferrara

Modena and Parma

These two foodie cities go hand in hand and can be experienced together on a day trip from Bologna. Modena is known for its balsamic vinegar. Explore the Mercato Albinelli, a famous food hall. 

Parma is known for its Parmesan cheese and Parma ham. Admire the city's colorful facades and relax in Parco Ducale.

Sand colored stone buildings in Parma, Italy

✨ Visit Modena and Parma from Bologna

Siracusa

Located on the island of Sicily, Siracusa is renowned for its ancient Greek history and culture, being the birthplace of Archimedes. Visitors can explore the well-preserved Greek theatre, admire Baroque architecture in Ortygia, and enjoy traditional Sicilian food.

View of Siracusa from one side of the Fountain of Arethusa

✨ Start your 10 day Sicilian road trip in Siracusa

Palermo

As the capital city of Sicily, Palermo presents a blend of history, culture, and vibrant street life. Visitors can explore bustling markets like Mercato di Capo, indulge in authentic Sicilian street food, and admire architectural gems like the Palermo Cathedral and the Teatro Massimo opera house.

Marble statues in front of a building in Palermo Italy

Eat the best of Palermo on a street food tour

***
There you have it: a curated list of the best cities to visit in Italy. Which places will you choose to add to your Italian itinerary? Mix and match different vibes and experiences to plan the perfect trip.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: What are the Best Cities to Visit in Italy?
What are the Best Cities to Visit in Italy?
Are you planning an Italian city break? Discover a curated list of the best cities to visit in Italy with links to deep dive and plan your itinerary.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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