18 Most Beautiful Cities in Italy: Well Known and Hidden Gems

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What are the most beautiful cities in Italy? Italy is one of the world’s best countries to visit. It offers some of Europe’s most sunlit beaches, unrivalled cultural and architectural heritage, and delicious cuisine.

What is more, it suits not just solo travellers but also entire families, travelling to Italy with kids, with family-centred traditions of Italian hospitality, making your journey full of warmth and memories.

To sense the authentic spirit of Italy, pay a visit to the 18 Most Beautiful Cities in Italy. 

Most Beautiful Cities in Italy Map

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1. Florence

forence, beautiful cities in italy

When is the best time to visit Florence? May

Tired of the hustle and bustle of civilization? No need for a tropical escapade; buy a ticket to Florence, the cultural capital of Europe, where the spirit of art dwells.

Florence is one of the prettiest cities in Italy; 3 hours away from Rome by car, the charming city is surrounded by verdant rolling hills and features some of the most picturesque places in Italy to visit: Santa Maria del Fiore’s Cathedral, Santa Croce’s Basilica, Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Palazzo Vecchio Palace, among other Florence landmarks.

Florence was also home to great men of art and letters, such as Dante, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Giotto, and Botticelli, whose museums and dwellings will allow you to approach the illustrious past of what once was one of Europe’s most prosperous and creative cities, the centre of the Florentine Republic and a cradle of Renaissance.

It’s also the perfect city to base yourself for a day trip to Siena.

Best Things to do in Florence with Kids

  • Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral
  • Palazzo Medici Riccardi Palace
  • Dante’s Museum
  • The River Arno
  • Giardino Bardini Gardens

2. Venice

colorful, houses, canal, most beautiful cities in Italy, Venice with kids

When is the best time to visit Venice? September

Situated at the crossroads between East and West, the town of Venice has been fashioned not only by Occidental but also by Oriental influences.

Easy to reach by both train and plane, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy to visit, with canals serving as roads, architectural treasures as lodgings, and firm ground more of an exception than a rule.

This stunning city in Italy is arguably the nicest place in Italy to visit with a baby, with your little ones happy to go on a relaxing boat ride, often the only way of moving around or visiting a yummy Italian ice cream parlour.

Also, it is arguably the best city in Italy to stay to enjoy sunsets at the seaside. 

Best Things to do in Venice with Kids

  • St Mark’s Basilica 
  • Canals
  • Rialto Bridge
  • Doge’s Palace
  • Palazzo Venezia Palace

Make sure you read our guide to the best Venice hotels for families here.

3. Verona

verona river

When is the best time to visit Verona? August

Verona, known for its street performances, exquisite urbanscape, and beauteous surroundings, is one of the most scenic places in Italy to visit.

Head to Juliette’s House with your pocket Shakespeare, and immerse into the atmosphere of love, romance, and authentic charm that makes it one of the best places to visit in Italy for families.

Once you explored Verona’s architectural marvels, head to one of its many wine-making locations such as:

1) Villa Masconi Bertani

2) Cantina Valpolicella Negrar

3) Agrigola Montenigno

erona is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy to delight in urban scenery and Italy’s richness. 

Best things to do in Verona with Kids

  • Juliette’s House
  • Piazza delle Erbe Square
  • San Zeno Maggiore Basilica
  • Torre dei Lamberti Tower & Viewpoint
  • Piazza Bra Square

4. Pisa

leaning tower of pisa

When is the best time to visit Pisa? May

Even though its Leaning Tower makes Pisa one of the most famous cities in Italy, it is much more than a city of one landmark.

Pisa is an excellent place for visiting Italy with kids to take pleasure in kinetic urban life without being overwhelmed by the calming shade of its many gardens, parks and green areas, such as Parco Regionale Migliarino San Rossore, Massaciuccoli, complete with wild animals, rivers and lakes.

Moreover, relatively small Pisa hosts a vibrant community of youth, thanks to the University of Pisa and is one of Italy’s safest cities.

It also offers one-of-its-kind architectural landmarks such as Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery and is a magnet for wine-lovers because of first-class wine establishments and wine-makers such as

  • Cantina Rossore
  • Podere Pellicciani
  • Fattoria San Vito
  • Fattoria Del
  • Teso Srl

Enjoy Pisa’s vibe, architecture and climate, making it not only a pleasant spot to visit Italy with a baby or your loved ones but also to taste wine or grapes. 

Best things to do in Pisa with Kids

  • Pisa’s Leaning Tower
  • Wineries 
  • Piazza dei Miracoli Square
  • Pisa Cathedral
  • Baptistery of Pisa

5. Naples

naples harbour, things to do in naples, a view of naples from the harbour

When is the best time to visit Naples? June

See Naples and Die is a famous expression inspired by the beauty and elegance of Naples, one of the most beautiful cities on Earth.

Featuring mind-blowing vistas from its volcano, Vesuvius, and ash-buried Pompei, a sophisticated ancient city wholly frozen in time, it is one of the most populated cities in Italy, serving as a vibrant gateway to its South.

Head to Naples to eat the famous Naples pizza, always 22cm in diameter, and take delight in its magnificent buildings.

Don’t forget to get out of the city and make a trip to the Amalfi Coast with the stunning beaches of Amalfi and Positano, possibly the two most beautiful places in Italy to visit, and picture-perfect, luxurious Capri, home to the famous Villa Rudolph Nureev.

If it is Summer-Autumn, don’t miss out on Ravello, the city of music renowned for its music festivals and one of the best places for family holidays in Italy. 

Best things to do in Naples with Kids

  • Naples’ Castel Nuovo Castle
  • Castel dell’ Ovo Castle
  • The Amalfi Coast
  • Vesuvius Volcano & Pompeii
  • Pizzerias with the world’s best pizza

6. Porto Cervo

When is the best time to visit Porto Cervo? June/September-October

The most luxurious resort on Sardinia, located on Sardinia’s 35-mile-long Costa Smeralda, this seaside town is one of the most idyllic places on Earth.

Dreamed up by Karim Aga Khan, an imam of Nizari Ismailism, world-renowned architects built it. It may well have the world’s highest Ferrari rate per capita and Europe’s most expensive residences.

It is where all those who are keen to know the exact sense of the Italian phrase “Dolce Vita” should travel.

But it is not this that makes Porto Cervo worth a visit. It acquired its fame thanks to its natural miracles, such as the white sands of its beaches and limpid waves of its coves.

Head to Porto Cervo to bask in the sun, lounge around on its pristine beaches, or eat mouth-watering food and ice cream in its restaurants and cafes to make your Italy family holiday truly sunlit lingering in your mind with the zesty Italian flavour. 

Best things to do in Porto Cervo with Kids

  • Aga Khan Villa
  • Capriccioli Beach
  • Cala Granu Beach
  • Grande Pevero Beach
  • Church Stella Maris

7. Forte Dei Marmi

forte dek marmi

When is the best time to visit For Dei Marmi? September

Forte Dei Marmi is another scenic resort located close to Genoa, one of the Big Italian Cities known for its architecture. It is known as the best place to marry in Italy and one of the best places to visit in Italy with family.

To unveil its unique seaside village charm head to its market, Mercato Sentimanale, or its stunning Forte Lorenese and Forte Milano beaches, or more secluded Bagno La Bonaccio. Forte Dei Marmi is your perfect beach spot and one of the prettiest places in Italy. 

  • Forte Lorenese Beach
  • Forte Milano Beach
  • Bagno La Bonaccio Beach
  • Mercato Sentimanale Market
  • Day-trip to Genoa

8. Turin

turin, piedmont, holiday, a square in turin, most beautiful cities in italy

What is the best time to visit Turin? March, April and May

The capital of Northern Italy, Turin, is one of the biggest cities in Italy. It is home to stunning palaces, museums and other cultural spots such as Mole Antonelliana, a gargantuan structure with its non-pareil cinema museum, La Venaria Reale, a restored palace & garden complex, Madama Palace, applied arts & antique museum, and Basilica Supergo, a hill-top located house of worship.

Such architectural and cultural bonanza makes it one of the best places to visit in Italy with family or on a gap year tour. It is also renowned for being one of Europe’s best nightlife and bar sceneries and is just a short car ride away from the Alps, making it one of the best places in Italy to go skiing.

Note that Turin inhabitants are obsessed with football, with a match between Juventus and Torino, one of the reasons to visit Italy with family. 

Best things to do in Turin with Kids

  • The Palace of Venaria
  • Madama Palace
  • Basilica Supergo
  • Juventus Stadium
  • Royal Palace

9. Palermo

palermo with kids, things to do in palermo

When is the best time to visit Palermo? May

Sicilia is not Italy, they say. The distinct culture of the island, along with its superb cuisine and wine-making traditions, make it one of the best cities in Italy to visit.

It is not just the hospitable locals and great food pampering your taste buds. It is also a lot of architectural marvels reflecting the island’s tumultuous history.

Head to Palermo, one of the most famous cities of Italy, to see Palermo Cathedral, a 12th-century royal burial place, Massimo Theatre, known for its supreme acoustics; Norman Palace, ornate 9th-century former palace converted into a museum, and Catacombe dei Cappucine, a one-of-its-kind burial chamber with actual human remains.

Outside, Palermo’s facades are just as mesmerizing as the richness and opulence inside, so take your time strolling along the city’s streets and keep in mind, Palermo makes taking kids to Italy worth doing for its aesthetic grandeur fosters the best in them. 

Best things to do in Palermo with Kids

  • Palermo Cathedral
  • Massimo Theatre
  • Norman Palace
  • Cattidrale di Montreale Cathedral
  • Catacombe dei Cappucine Burial Place

10. Genoa

genoa italy

When is the best time to visit Genova? May

One of the most beautiful cities in Italy, Genova is a dynamic port city known for its bustling street life, nocturnal adventures, utmost comfort of its accommodation and great restaurants.

It is also the capital of the former sprawling Genova Republic, with all the attributes of a metropolis, such as grand architecture.

To uncover the mercantile grandeur of the city, visit Le Strade Nuove, with its majestic buildings; Lighthouse of Genova, a symbol of its entrepreneurial outward-looking spirit; Galata Museo del Mare, a museum devoted to navigation, a trade the Genoans excelled at, with Christopher Columbus being one of its sons, and Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, a cathedral where the soul of the city’s dwells.

Note that Genova is an excellent place for an Italy family holiday, with many of its parks and museums being some of the best places to visit in Italy with a toddler.   

Best things to do in Genova with Kids

  • Cattedrale di San Lorenzo Cathedral
  • Galata Museeo del Mare Museum
  • Le Strade Nuove Area
  • Lighthouse of Genoa
  • Christopher Columbus Statue

11. Milan

milan italy

What is the best time to visit Milan? September

Milan is one of the most un-Italian Italian cities. The fashion capital of the world, it is the main city in Italy when it comes down to shopping and is one of the largest cities in Europe.

Milan is not just known for its fashionable clothing and accessories. It is also one of the most beautiful European cities and is renowned for its high cuisine, excellent travel infrastructure, culture bonanza, and architectural sites such as Sforzesco Castle and Duomo Cathedral.

If on a visit to Milan, head to La Scalla, the world’s most storied opera theatres; San Siro, one of the most legendary football stadiums on Earth, and tour around the many fabulous landmarks that make Milano the architectural capital of the Italian North. 

Best things to do in Milan with Kids

  • La Scalla Opera Theatre
  • San Siro Stadium
  • Fashion Boutiques
  • Duomo di Milano Cathedral
  • Sforzesco Castle

12. Bari

bari, beautiful cities in italy

When is the best time to visit Bari? May

The eye-pleasing capital of Apulia, Bari, is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is famous for its scenic environs and a wealth of historical sites.

It is home to Basilica di San Nicola, a place of pilgrimage where the St. Nicholas relics are held; Direzione Nationale Museum, a 13th-century castle and exhibition place, Bari Cathedral, also hosting relics; Teatro Petruzzelli, with its famous opera and ballet performances, and Pinacoteca Metropolitano di Bari, with historical painting, exhibited there.

It is not just landmarks but also warm sandy beaches, great food & accommodation options and energetic night scenery that lure tourists from all over the world to Bari, one of the best spots for family holidays in Italy. 

Best things to do in Bari with Kids

  • Bari Cathedral
  • Basilica di San Nicola
  • Explore the Itria valley
  • Direzione Nationale Museum
  • Teatro Petruzzeli Theatre
  • Pinacoteca Metropolitano di Bari

13. Messina

messina italy

When is the best time to visit Messina? June

One of the most beautiful cities in Italy, Messina is a buzzing port city of the Mediterranean.

A major transport hub, it is also notable for its architectural wonders and a major university founded by Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of Jesuits.

Pay a visit to Bari on a cruise or by plane or ferry and visit its many unique cultural and architectural sites such as the Cathedral of Saint Mary; Faro Point, an eye-appealing black & white 19th-century beacon; Chiesa Santissima, a magical church beloved by locals and tourists alike, and many beaches in its vicinity.

The exquisite beauty of the surroundings makes Messina one of the best places to visit in Italy for families.

Best things to do in Messina with Kids

  • Messina’s beaches
  • University of Messina
  • Faro Point Lighthouse
  • Cathedral of Saint Mary
  • Chiesa Santissima Church

14. Porto Ottiolu

When is the best time to visit Porto Ottiolu? June

If Porto Cervo is dazzling with opulence and bling-bling, being one of the choice destinations for jaded jet-setters, the true spirit of rural Sardinia, a pristine island known for its marvellous nature and climate, can be found at Porto Ottiolu.

The fishing village is known for its white-sand beaches, calm waves-lapped coves and groves, and delicious pizza. Porto Ottiolu is arguably the best place to visit with a baby in Italy.

Water sports, yachting, and swimming make it a perfect setting for family holidays in Italy. 

Best things to do in Porto Ottiolu with Kids

  • Fido Beach
  • Cozy Family Pizzerias
  • Spiaggia di Porto Ottiolu Beach
  • Spiaggia e pineta Salamaghe Beach
  • Spiaggia di Budoni Beach

15. Salerno

salerno city

When is the best time to visit Salerno? August

Located near Naples and the famous resorts of the Amalfi Coast, such as Positano, at first glance, Salerno is a typical port city with its busy scenic avenues and crowded beaches.

Look deeper, and it turns out to be one of the most under-appreciated big Italian cities, making you fall in love with the South of Italy.

Time-hallowed serene Giardino della Minerva; imposing Cattedrale di Santa Maria, and high-perched impregnable Castello di Arechi makes a stark contrast with modern Zaha-Hadid-built Stazione Marittima di Salerno and more contemporary Southern Italian cityscape.

Salerno is arguably the best city in Italy to visit to explore Campania and is one of the cheapest cities in Italy. 

Best things to do in Salerno with Kids

  • Beaches
  • Cattedrale di Santa Maria Cathedral
  • Castello di Arechi Castle
  • Stazione Marittima di Salerno by Zaha Hadid
  • Giardino della Minerva Gardens

16. Cagliari


When is the best time to visit Cagliari? June

The capital of Sardinia, Cagliari, is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is not just pretty, with its streets and buildings such as the iconic Bastione Saint Remy, making you fall in love with the insular, somewhat quaint charm of the island of Sardinia.

It is also a great place to visit in Sardinia to try its local cuisine, and wine, enjoy the colourful Italian soirees and cultural life and walk in its green parks. Also, note that Caligari is one of the cheapest cities in Italy.

Best things to do in Cagliari with Kids

  • Bastione Saint Remy Fortress
  • Parco Naturale Molentargius Saline Natural Park
  • Museo Archeologico Nationale Museum
  • Cattedrale di Santa Maria Cathedral
  • Parco di Monte Urpinu Park

17. Rome

rome italy

Best time to visit: April

Rome, the main city in Italy, is arguably the world’s greatest.

Known for the vast areas of well-preserved ancient architecture, it is home to many museums such as Borghese Gallery, places of worship such as Vatican’s St. Peter’s Cathedral, the martial Colosseum, where gladiators of yore battled to the death, and the Forum, a majestic edifice bringing to mind the glories of the ancient capital of the Roman Empire and its rulers and its poly-theistic past.

Don’t forget to enjoy other Roman magnets such as Spaghetti Carbonara, an Italian pasta originally from Rome or the pride of Lazio and Rome, their ice cream, making Rome the best place for a visit to Italy with toddlers or your older brood. 

Best things to do in Rome with Kids

Whether you’re spending 1 day in Rome, 3 days in Rome or longer, there’s plenty to do for families. Here are our top picks:

  • Spaghetti Carbonara
  • Colosseum Amphitheatre
  • Pantheon Former Roman Temple & Church
  • Forum, a Plaza Surrounded by Scenic Ruins
  • St Peter’s Cathedral

18. Sorrento

sorrento italy

When is the best time to visit Sorrento? June

One of the best Italian cities to visit is Sorento. Lying halfway between Naples and Amalfi, it is an often-overlooked jewel of the Amalfi Coast. It is worth visiting for its splendid virgin beaches, authentic South Italian food, and the calm that one can’t find in bustling Naples.

It is also a great place to visit for a family trip with good-value accommodation, especially during the low season, and a perfect location to visit the region’s paradisiac islands, such as Capri.

Pay a visit to its Piazza Tasso, a pleasant square with a church and statue, Museo Correale di Terranova, an art museum in an 18th-century villa, and Cattedrale dei Santi Filipo, a baroque church with art objects including frescoes. 

Small in size, Italy boasts almost certainly the highest rate of tourist attractions per person.

It lures young and old and has great natural treasures, such as pristine beaches, snow-blanketed mountains, and wine-producing plains.

Nevertheless, it is its cities and villages that convey its atmosphere the best.

Head to the top 18 Italian cities on your Italy trip to enjoy Beautiful Italy and make your memories last forever.

Don’t forget whether alone or with family or friends, Italy is a great place to visit to celebrate life, a frame of mind Italians made into an art.

Best things to do in Sorrento with Kids

  • Museo Correale di Terranova Museum
  • Cattedrale dei Santi Filipo Cathedral
  • Piazza Tasso Square
  • Amalfi Coast
  • Naples

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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.

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