It should come as no surprise that Italy is one of the most visited countries in Europe, receiving over 46 million visitors every year.
There’s so much to see and do in Italy. It’s teeming with culture, historical architecture, and delicious food and is known for its warm climate. Here’s a list of some of the best places to visit in Italy.
1. The Colosseum
The Colosseum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, receiving 6.5 million visitors annually. There’s a reason for it; perhaps nowhere else in the world can you walk inside an ancient monument of this size (it could seat 50,000 people) that is still mostly intact.
Here’s a tip for viewing this marvel of ancient Roman architecture to help you avoid the mass of tourists: visit it at night or during the winter months. Not only will you encounter fewer people, but you’ll be much more comfortable than walking around under a hot Italian sun.
Visit The Roman Guy to book a Colosseum tour away from the crowds.
2. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
At one time the Leaning Tower of Pisa was closed to visitors who wished to climb its medieval staircase. Not because of fear of it completely tipping over, but because of renovations. But today the tower is open for business again and visitors are allowed to ascend the 297-step spiral staircase to the top.
The marble tower has been the butt of jokes and creative photographers through the years but remains one of Italy’s most iconic attractions. When you’re done admiring its lopsidedness, don’t forget to visit the other historic buildings in The Square of Miracles.
Considered one of the world’s most romantic cities, Venice is easy to get lost in both physically and emotionally. Wander away from the tourist area and you’ll never know what you’ll find. It may be the best gelato you’ve ever tasted or a heavenly seafood dish on a back street frequented by locals.
Venice is also a must-see during The Carnival of Venice, the annual festival held just before Lent. You’ll see lots of masks and celebrations in the streets.
4. The Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo’s enormous contribution to the Western art world is on full display in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. Six centuries after it was painted, the Sistine Chapel continues to awe everyone who gazes upon it.
Nearly 25,000 people visit the Chapel every day, so buying tickets ahead of time is highly advisable. Also, keep in mind that all of Vatican City has a dress code for visitors: arms and shoulders must be covered on both men and women, and shorts, miniskirts, and hats are not allowed.
If the city crowds become too much to bear, head to Tuscany for some wide open spaces, spectacular wine, and the beautiful countryside.
Autumn is one of the best times to visit when food festivals dominate the region. Come in October or November to have your fill of truffles, cheese, figs, olives, and other delicacies.
6. Lake Como
One gaze upon Lake Como and you’ll understand why celebs such as George Clooney call it home. The locals have been flocking here since Roman times during the sweltering summer months to catch some cooler mountain air and the romantic surroundings.
Gardens, shops, restaurants, and ancient architecture abounds. Don’t forget to ride the Funicolare Como Brunate (cable car ride) for aerial views of the lake.
Considered a top tourist attraction, Pompeii is actually for the most adventurous travelers who don’t mind getting lost. There are no signs in English to guide you through the various sites that were coated with Mt. Vesuvius’ ash in AD 79.
Now that the ash has been long removed by excavators, you can view the remains of residences, public buildings, theaters and of course, the preserved human remains that gave the city notoriety.
8. Amalfi Coast
This 50-kilometer stretch of coastline along southern Italy is like a postcard image brought to life. Pastel colored villages sit between tall cliffs and turquoise ocean. There’s no shortage of beaches and scenic drives; the coastal road will delight you as you wind past numerous vineyards, mansions, and fruit groves.
Italy’s second most populated city after Rome is the country’s fashion and financial mecca. Milan may not have the tourist attractions like Italy’s capital, but it does have many hidden treasures if you’re willing to look for them.
Enjoy some aperitivo (Italy’s version of happy hour), shopping, and visit the Santa Maria Delle Grazie convent to view Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” in all its glory.
10. The Dolomites
This scenic mountain range in northeastern Italy is a favorite destination for skiers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Skiers love to soak in the area’s thermal baths after a few runs, but summer is a great time to visit for mountain biking and hiking.
The region’s close proximity to Germany and Austria means the cuisine from this area is a delightful blend of Italian and German fare. If you come during the winter, take precautions to avoid getting sick while flying.
The Best Places to Visit in Italy: Which Ones Will You See?
Now you have a list of the best places to visit in Italy. Which ones are calling you? As you can see, Italy is a country for all kinds of travelers whether they’re into great food, intriguing history, or outdoor recreation.
We have plenty more travel tips and ideas where this post came from. If you’re looking for more great places to visit, read up on our latest travel content.