You probably know that there are a million fantastic reasons why Italy makes such an amazing travel destination. It is a country with one of the best cuisines the world has to offer, its wine is second to none and its history is long and varied, making it an incredibly fascinating place to visit. However, one of the main reasons that so many people head to Italy on their vacation is that it is astoundingly beautiful. From its breathtaking coastline to imposing mountains, everywhere you go in Italy, you will see stunning landscapes and pretty city scenes. Of course, there are some places which are more beautiful than others in Italy, so if you are planning on booking your next vacation, you will want to know where exactly you can find the most gorgeous destinations. To help you out, here is a guide to some of the most beautiful places in Italy.
An increasingly popular tourist destination, Cinque Terre is a collection of five villages that hug the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. Each of these five villages – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Riomaggiore, and Manarola – boasts colorful houses, small but beautiful beaches, and pretty harbors. Once these villages were quite remote, but they have massively opened up to tourism in recent years. Despite the higher number of travelers making their way to Cinque Terre, the area has managed to retain an authentic Italian atmosphere. As well as admiring the beauty of the villages, you should also make sure you sample some of the delicious seafood Cinque Terre is famous for, as well as its iconic sauce, pesto.
But a trip to Cinque Terre is not just about visiting the villages. All five are linked by the Sentiero Azzurro cliffside hiking trails, and trekking between them is a hugely popular activity. The scenery between the villages is absolutely stunning and you may even spot a number of ancient structures such as castles along the way.
The Dolomites are primarily known as a winter destination for those keen on skiing and snowboarding, but the region makes a perfect retreat whatever the season. This incredible mountain range – forming part of the Northern Italian Alps – will take your breath away with their imposing height, but they are not the only natural landscape to see here. The Dolomites region is home to swathes of lush green forests and valleys, deep gorges, and icy glaciers, as well as a number of charming towns and villages, dotted all around, such as Belluno, considered to be the gateway to the Dolomites, and Merano, a wonderful spa town which was once a favorite of famous literary figures, including Ezra Pound and Franz Kafka.
As well as admiring the gorgeous scenery, on a vacation in Winter in the Dolomites, you can participate in a whole host of adventure activities. Skiing and snowboarding are obviously the best known, but mountaineering, hiking, and mountain biking are also on offer here. The area is also a fantastic spa destination, meaning you can easily combine adventure and relaxation.
Another Italian destination that perfectly combines relaxation and adventure, the Amalfi Coast has long been one of the most popular places for travelers venturing to Italy. Known as one of the most beautiful regions in the south of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is a collection of delightful towns, all of which overlook the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea and stretches of pristine beaches. It is particularly famous for its scenic coastal drive, and many travelers who come here choose to hire a car and spend their vacation making their way through the different villages. While this may be enough for some, there are lots of other things to do here. It is highly recommended to take a boat ride so you can see the stunning coastline from the water. Then, when you have had your fill of enjoying the scenery, you can take advantage of the many historical sites, shopping opportunities and amazing restaurants the region has to offer.
As the capital of Italy, it should come as no surprise that Rome has made it to this list. But it’s definitely on of the most beautiful places in Italy. A city with an incredible history, Rome is filled with a whole host of architectural wonders for you to marvel at and admire. Possibly the most famous of these is the Colosseum, the monumental amphitheater which was the venue for gladiator fights and battle re-enactments. However, there are countless other sights to see here, including Trevi Fountain, Vatican City, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, and the Spanish Steps. Everywhere you turn in Rome, you will discover something breathtaking and astounding.
Rome’s beauty is not just limited to what you can see outside; there is an abundance of art here housed within museums and art galleries. The most famous of these are the Vatican City Museums, whose highlights include Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and the frescoes on the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Known as one of the most beautiful places in the world, never mind just Italy, Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance and is absolute heaven for architecture and art lovers. The city’s crowning jewel is the Duomo, the magnificent cathedral with its impressive dome, a groundbreaking feat of engineering at the time of its construction. However, it is certainly not the only beautiful building in Florence. Wherever you walk in the city, you will find centuries-old buildings, ornate fountains, and cobblestone streets; it really does make you feel like you have stepped back in time.
Florence is also home to some of the world’s most famous art galleries. The Uffizi Gallery houses some of the most stunning art from the Renaissance, whereas the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze is where you can marvel at Michelangelo’s Statue of David.
A favorite of many a romantic coupling, Venice and beauty seem to be synonymous with each other. With its famous canals, iconic gondolas, splendid architecture, and numerous bridges, you could easily spend a couple of weeks just strolling around Venice and taking everything in. The biggest highlights of the city include St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, the Grand Canal, and Piazza San Marco, but one of the greatest joys about visiting Venice is just getting lost through the maze of streets and alleyways and seeing where you end up.
To see Venice at its most beautiful, you should head out to St. Mark’s Square when the sun has gone down. This is the time when all the tourists are gone and the locals have made their way home, so you will get this stunning plaza to yourself to really soak up the magical atmosphere.
Famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona is situated not too far from Venice and has become a top destination in recent years among those travelers who want to escape the crowds in Venice. The great thing about Verona is that it encompasses all the romance and elegance of Venice while also incorporating the long history of Rome and Florence. Many come here just to see Juliet’s balcony, but there are lots of other amazing sights here, such as the Arena, a 2,000-year-old amphitheater which still holds concerts and events to this day, Castelvecchio, and Verona Cathedral.
If you want to extend your trip to Verona to take in a day trip somewhere, Lake Garda is a wonderful option. This beautiful lake sits in the shadow of the Dolomites and makes a great day out from the city.
If you want a beautiful Italian destination which is also one of the most upscale in the world, you cannot go far wrong with Lake Como. After all, George Clooney is a huge fan, so it must have something going for it. The lake itself is the country’s deepest and also its most popular, with huge numbers of Italian and foreign travelers making their way there every year. And this is not a recent thing; Lake Como has been attracting tourists since Roman times. Despite this, the area has not become overrun by mass tourism and has retained its traditional charm.
Dotted around the lake are lots of pretty villages and towns for you to explore. The major towns include Como, Bellagio, and Menaggio, and each has its own worthwhile attractions, such as the Silk Museum in Como and various outdoor activities in Menaggio.
Porto Santo Stefano
Another delightful seaside town, Porto Santo Stefano is located in Monte Argentario, often described as the corner of Tuscany, Maremma region, that everyone forgot. Porto Santo Stefano is the largest town in this area and has everything you could wish for from a port town, such as a picturesque harbor, a chic marina filled with luxury yachts, and bustling streets. The town is dominated by the impressive Fortezza Spagnola, a 16th-century Spanish fort that now houses some interesting museums, including the Museum of the Masters of the Axe and Submerged Memories, an exhibit of archaeological finds from beneath the ocean.
Porto Santo Stefano is also home to some absolutely stunning beaches, perfect for lazing around in the sun and taking in the splendid views. Boat trips are also popular here, especially to the Tuscan islands of Giglio and Giannuti.
One of Italy’s best-loved secrets, Pitigliano is a wonderful village located in the gorgeous region of Tuscany which really encapsulates the Italian spirit and essence. While it has a beautiful medieval center, Pitigliano is also famous for its old Jewish quarter, so much so that the town is nicknamed Little Jerusalem. As you wander around the Jewish Quarter, you will see a restored 16th century synagogue, dye works, ritual baths, and Kosher butchers, and there is also a small museum to visit. Elsewhere in Pitigliano, you can see the Palazzo Orsini, a 14th-century fortress which now houses a museum, a 16th-century aqueduct, and a number of pretty churches. You should also head to Piazza Becherini, the best place to get great views over the surrounding valley.
Another reason why people choose to travel to Pitigliano is the Etruscan tombs and sacred ways, which are fascinating to explore.
While you may not have heard of the small town of Alberobello in the region of Puglia, the heel of Italy, it definitely is one of the prettiest places in the whole country due to an original architectural feature. Alberobello is known for its trulli houses, whitewashed, conical-roofed buildings that look like something straight out of a fairytale. Trulli can be found all over Puglia, but it is in Alberobello where the highest concentration is. And you do not just get to see the outsides of these unique buildings. Many of them are still used as houses by the local residents, but there are also some which have been turned into restaurants, guesthouses and boutiques.
In addition to the trulli, you can spend a pleasant day or two strolling the narrow streets and soaking up the charming atmosphere of the town. It is also possible to do a walking tour with a guide so you can learn more about the history of the trulli and how important they are to the culture of Puglia.
Not only is Matera one of the most beautiful places in Italy, it’s also one of the most unique. And if you think you have seen Matera before, you may just be right; the town has featured in many Hollywood blockbusters over the years, including Ben-Hur and Wonder Woman. There are many things which make Matera an intriguing destination. Firstly, it is one of the oldest towns in the world; it has been continuously inhabited since the Neolithic Age – so approximately 7,000 years. Secondly, the town is mostly made up of sassi, caves which have been carved out of the rock to make shelters and homes for the local people. In fact, people lived in these caves right up until the 1950s, when the government finally moved them out into new accommodation.
Of course, the sassi are still there and make up part of the spectacular scenery of Matera. While many of the caves have been converted into accommodation, shops, and restaurants, there are many which have been left as they were when they were abandoned and it is possible to visit these caves. There are also a number of cave churches in Matera with amazing frescoes, some of which are considered to be some of the best examples of rock art in the world.
When it comes to breathtaking natural beauty, Sicily comes top of the list. The island’s centerpiece is one of the world’s most famous volcanoes, Mount Etna. It is Europe’s largest and most active volcano and offers travelers a whole host of hiking opportunities. Aside from Mount Etna, Sicily is filled with natural beauty, including bright white sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and an abundance of local flora.
But Sicily’s beauty does not just come from its landscapes. If you are more interested in architectural beauty, the island’s towns and cities will not disappoint. There are many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Ragusa, Noto, and Syracuse, which display buildings from various points in history, and the capital of Palermo enchants visitors with its ancient architecture and narrow medieval streets.
For those looking for the jet-set lifestyle mixed with charming village life, Sardinia makes an excellent choice. The main draw of Sardinia is the beaches; you would be forgiven for thinking you have landed somewhere in the Indian Ocean by how the beaches look here. There is a great mix of beach resorts and smaller, hidden-away beaches, so you will definitely find something for you. Alongside the beaches, Sardinia is also home to a number of nature reserves where you can marvel at all kinds of flora and fauna; the Maddalena Nature Reserve is known for its combination of beaches and nature trails.
Like Sicily, Sardinia also has a plethora of historical sights to visit alongside its natural wonders. The island is particularly famous for its Nuraghe sites, a type of ancient structure from the Nuragic civilization. Over 7,000 structures – ranging from temples to tombs – have been discovered and while some may be in better condition than others, they are all mysterious and fascinating in their own way.
It may not be the most well-known of the Italian islands, but Lampedusa certainly has much going for it. Italy’s southernmost island and also one of the smallest, Lampedusa nevertheless has beaches and natural scenery to rival Sicily and Sardinia, deserving its place among the most beautiful places in Italy. A major advantage of traveling to Lampedusa is the peace and quiet; if you want a vacation which includes relaxing on breathtakingly beautiful beaches, swimming in crystal clear water, and not doing much else, Lampedusa is the place for you. However, there are also a large number of hiking trails and scuba diving sites if you do fancy getting a bit active.
Italy’s reputation for being one of the most beautiful countries on the planet is not unfounded. Whether you visit the country’s cities, villages, or natural areas, you can guarantee you will be spellbound.