Before you plan your trip to Italy, take a moment to understand Italy’s cities and regions.
Popular Cities to Visit in Italy
Assisi, located in the region of Umbria, is a major place of pilgrimage. Here you will find the Basilica of St. Francis, named after Italy’s patron saint.
Bologna is an elegant town in Emilia-Romagna known for its gastronomy, arcaded walkways, and the University of Bologna, the oldest university in Italy, which was founded in 1088.
Florence (Firenze) is one of the most visited cities in Italy. It is known for its Renaissance art and architecture, which includes its cathedral and the Uffizi Galleries. Michelangelo’s David is located in Florence’s Accademia.
Genoa, Genova in Italian, is a port city in Liguria. Among its highlights are UNESCO-listed palaces on the Via Garibaldi and its harborside aquarium.
Milan is Italy’s financial and fashion hub. Its Gothic cathedral is the second largest church on the Italian peninsula.
Naples (Napoli) is an ancient city built in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Its archeological museum, with treasures from nearby Pompeii, is popular with tourists. But it’s biggest draw is its food, particularly pizza.
Palermo, Sicily’s capital, has long been a crossroads of many peoples, a fact that is reflected in its Arab-Norman churches and palaces. It is also a fantastic city for food.
Pisa, home of the Leaning Tower, is popular as a day trip from Florence. But it’s also a city with a rich artistic patrimony and maritime tradition.
Roma è Roma. That is, Rome is Rome. The Italian capital is home to the Colosseum, the Forum, and hundreds of ruins, museums, and must-see churches. Vatican City, a city-state located within the confines of Rome, is where you will find Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Pope.
Siena, located in Tuscany, is another day trip from Florence, though it merits a visit on its own because of its Duomo and medieval art and architecture. Its traditional horse race, the Palio, is a hugely popular summer event.
Turin (Torino) is Italy’s fourth largest city. Known for the famous “Shroud,” which is rarely on display, Turin has much to offer, including its royal palace, Egyptian museum, and the Mole Antonelliana, from which you can see views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Venice is famous for its canals, which help give the water-borne city an otherworldly feel. In addition to its traditional sights, like Saint Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs, Venice is known for the Biennale contemporary arts festival.
Regions in Italy
Italy is made up of 20 regions, which are listed below in alphabetical order along with their most popular cities and/or sub-regions where applicable.
- Campania – Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast, Flegrean Islands (Capri, Ischia, Procida)
- Emilia-Romagna – Bologna, Ferrara, Modena, Parma, Ravenna
- Friuli-Venezia Giulia – Trieste
- Lazio – Rome
- Le Marche – Urbino
- Liguria – Genoa, Cinque Terre
- Lombardy – Milan, Italian Lakes
- Piemonte – Torino
- Sicily – Palermo
- Trentino Alto Adige
- Tuscany – Florence, Siena, Pisa
- Umbria – Perugia, Assisi, Orvieto
- Val D’Aosta
- Veneto – Venice
Countries Within Italy
The Italian peninsula is home to not one…not two…but three countries. While you are visiting Italy, you may also want to add these two other countries to your itinerary.