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Top Ten Cities in Italy

Italian Cities to Visit on Your Travels

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Italy has many beautiful and historic cities worth a visit. These are our picks for the top ten Italian cities to see on our travels in Italy. Check the distances between cities with our City Map and Distance Calculator.

1. Rome - Roma

avantine-hill-view.jpg
Rome Photo by Martha Bakerjian

Rome is the capital of modern Italy. Rome is full of history everywhere you look. It has many ancient monuments, interesting medieval churches, beautiful fountains, museums, and Renaissance palaces. Modern Rome is a bustling and lively city and has some excellent restaurants and nightlife. Saint Peter's Square and the Vatican City are also easily visited when in Rome.

Rome: Where to Stay in Rome | Rome Photos

2. Venice - Venezia

venice picture, basilica san marco, saint marks, italy
Basilica San Marco © by Martha Bakerjian

Venice is a unique city built on water in the middle of a lagoon. Venice is one of Italy's most beautiful and romantic cities as well as one of the most popular for visitors to Italy. The heart of Venice is Piazza San Marco with its magnificent church. There are many museums, palaces, and churches to visit and wandering along Venice's canals is interesting. Venice is in the northeast of Italy and historically was a bridge between East and West.

Venice: Best Rated Hotels in Venice | Venice Photos

3. Florence - Firenze

florence picture, ponte vecchio
Ponte Vecchio © by Martha Bakerjian

Florence is one of the most important Renaissance architectural and art centers. Its Duomo and Baptistery are magnificent but crowded with tourists as is their large piazza. Florence has several interesting museums with many famous paintings and sculptures. There are also Medici palaces and gardens. Florence is in Tuscany.

Florence: Best Rated Hotels in Florence | Florence Photos

4. Milan - Milano

milan duomo picture, milan cathedral, italy, picture
Picture of Milan Duomo ©2006 by James Martin

Milan, one of Europe's richest cities, is known for stylish shops, galleries, and restaurants and has a faster pace of life than most Italian cities. It also has a rich artistic and cultural heritage. Its Duomo, with its beautiful marble facade, is magnificent. La Scala is one of the world's most famous opera houses.

Milan: Best Rated Milan Hotels | Milan Pictures

5. Naples - Napoli

Castel dell'Ovo © James Martin

Naples is one of Italy's most vibrant cities. It lies on the coast south of Rome and is the most important city in southern Italy. Naples has recently undergone some renovation but still retains much of its old character. It holds many historical and artistic treasures.

Naples: Best Rated Naples Hotels | A Look at Naples Historic Center

6. Verona

Roman Arena © Martha Bakerjian

Verona is known for the story of Romeo and Juliet and for its Roman Arena, the third largest in Italy and the venue for a top opera festival. Verona has a good medieval center, Roman remains, and an interesting castle complex. It's the fourth most visited city in Italy and well worth a stop on a northern Italy travel itinerary.

Verona: Verona Travel Directory | Verona Photos

7. Turin - Torino

turin, martini, vermouth, italy, picture
Turin Picture ©2006 by James Martin

Turin, host of the 2006 Winter Olympics, is a major cultural hub with excellent museums, elegant shops, and good restaurants. There are also some very nice examples of baroque architecture and historic palaces. Turin has many historic cafes, artisan workshops, and arcades. Turin is in the northwest of Italy, between the Po River and the foothills of the Alps.

Turin: Best Rated Turin Hotels | Turin Photos

8. Bologna

bologna picture, bologna italy
Bologna Picture © James Martin

Bologna is known for its beauty, wealth, cuisine, and left-wing politics. Its streets are lined with beautiful arcades, making it a good place to walk even in the rain. It has one of Europe's oldest universities and a nice medieval center. There are several attractive squares, lined with buildings with nice porticoes. Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy.

Bologna: Best Rated Bologna Hotels | Bologna Environs Itinerary

9. Perugia

perugia italy, perugia picture
View of Perugia © by James Martin

Perugia is a very cosmopolitan city and home to two universities. It hosts a world-famous jazz festival in the summer and its University for Foreigners is a great place to learn Italian. It's a walled city on a hilltop with great views over the valley and has several important monuments and a good central square. Its history goes back to the ninth century BC. Perugia is in the center of Italy and is the capital of the region of Umbria.

Perugia: Best Rated Perugia Hotels | Perugia Pictures

10. Genoa - Genova

genoa picture, duomo, san lorenzo, cathedral
Genoa Duomo © James Martin

Genoa, on the northwest coast of Italy, is Italy's principal seaport. Genoa was a 2004 European Culture Capital; money flowed into the port city made famous by Columbus and now it's a better place than ever to visit. Genoa has a fascinating aquarium, an interesting port area, and a historic center said to be the largest medieval quarter in Europe, with a wealth of churches, palaces, and museums.

Genoa: Best Rated Genoa Hotels | Genoa Pictures

11. Poll - Italy's Most Popular Travel Cities

Rome, Florence, and Venice are Italy's three top cities for visitors but each is completely different from the others. Here's a chance to vote for your favorite of the three cities or see how others voted.

12. Smaller Cities to Visit in Italy

If you've visited Italy's top cities or prefer to travel to smaller cities with fewer tourists, consider these recommendations for less-visited but interesting Italian cities.

Traveling by Train in Italy

Travel between big cities is best done by train as driving in Italian cities may be very difficult and the extensive Italian rail system is fairly inexpensive. Most city centers are well-suited to walking and parts of the city centers may be closed to transportation. Large Italian cities generally have good public transportation, too.

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