You might have guessed by now, my love for Italy is deep, real and very, very meaningful. 🙂
You’ll have probably also have guessed by now that I just can’t stop speaking about Italy and to be honest, I can’t make any apologies for it! How could I when we there so much delicious gelato, beautiful scenery, stunning towns, a long (and fascinating) history and culture that is so diverse.
Anyway, before I waffle into a sonnet about my love of Italy, I wanted to share some of my very top spots that you should consider visiting on your next trip. It doesn’t matter if it’s your very first, second or fifteenth time to this beautiful country, I guarantee you’ll always find a new and stunning place to discover… or at the very least, find a yummy new gelato flavour to devour! 😝
Take a look at some of the very best places you have to visit in Italy this year! 🇮🇹
Swipe left to right to reveal the full map
1.) Explore the shores of Lake Como
The shores of Lake Como are a very special place. Imagine stunning little villages, mountains of delicious food and a vast array of boats to hop on board and tour the lake.
After visiting the stunning town of Como, take a drive up the lake towards Bellagio, here you’ll find one of the best restaurants in the region, Alle Darsene di Loppia. Make sure to try their homemade gnocchi that’s paired with some freshly caught lake fish.
2.)Discover the sites of Milan
Milan is one city that I somehow end up visiting time and time again. Usually, it’s either the starting or ending point for my travels in Northern Italy (chiefly because of the airport… but that’s not the only reason why you should visit). Make sure to visit the incredible; Gothic Milan Cathedral, The picturesque Castello Sforzesco and the area around Brera for some of the cities best foody spots and bars for the evening.
For an extra special treat, head over to Contraste for a concept restaurant that’s gained quite name for itself in the city. A little more expensive than some other restaurants but you really do get what you pay for. Their tasting menu is incredible.
3.) Admire the views of Lake Garda
It was only a few weeks ago that we arrived back from Lake Garda and I have to say that it lived up to all my expectations. Make sure you visited Sirmione but be warned, it does get pretty hectic with visitors around mid-day and early evening. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit first thing on a weekday morning.
For a taste of the local seafood, make sure to visit Ristorante L’Incontro, though be prepared, the dishes are relatively small (which isn’t bad) but if you’ve worked up an appetite, you may want to grab a gelato on your way home 🍦
4.) Enjoy Venice
Let’s be honest, Venice needs very little introduction but how could I not include one of Europe’s most iconic and unique cities. If you’re looking to stay way from the crowds, take a wander around the many winding and cobbled streets in the morning, it’s one of my favourite times to explore the city.
One thing to consider about Venice is that prices can be highly inflated due to the popularity of the city. Plan your trip wisely and if you’re wanting to keep costs lower, try staying on one of the towns just outside the city.
5.) Wander the towns of Cinque Terre
Okay, Cinque Terre is one of my very favourite places to stop in Italy. These five towns of Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore ,Corniglia, Vernazza and Manarola. You can squeeze them all into a one (pretty long and rushed) day trip but I’d definitely recommend 1 or two nights in this area. If the weather is great, take a walk between the towns, alternatively take the train that takes minutes between the town (as it cuts through the mountains).
Don’t forget, one of the very best views of Manarola is upon the coastal walkway that connects the towns. 📷
6.) Rent a farmhouse in the Tuscany Countryside
No visit to Tuscany is complete without exploring its gorgeous rolling hills. When we stayed in Tuscany last, we rented a farmhouse on an organic blueberry farm, which was idyllic as it sounded! It was perched on a sprawling estate and one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever visited.
7.) Watch the sunset over Florence
Perched in the heart of Tuscany is the gorgeous city of Florence. There’s so much to see and do when visiting the city, especially on a beautiful sunny day. One of the best spots to watch the sunset over the city is from, Piazzale Michelangelo (with an ice cream or Chianti in hand, of course) 😝
8.) Wander through San Marino
Okay, technically not Italy, but San Marino is a tiny enclave country within the Italian countryside. Make sure to make a stop at Guaita, the cities oldest and most historic forts, discover the beautiful Basilica di San Marino and discover De La Fratta, one of the peaks that overlook this impressive country.
9.) Stop off at Orvieto
Orvieto is a gorgeous little town perched in the countryside between Rome and Florence. If you’re thinking about driving your route, make sure to use Orvieto as your lunch stop off. It’s a gorgeous place that’s filled with a rich history! Perfect for an afternoon visit!
10.) Enjoy Rome
The capital city of Italy, Rome, is one heck of a city to explore. Make sure you wander to some of the amazing free sites and historical landmarks, head over to the Vatican and enjoy a quiet tipple at Baguetteria del Fico. Most visitors miss this lovely little place, it really is so charming.
11.) Enjoy pizza in Naples
I have every right to blame Naples for my ever growing waistline and unquenchable hunger for pizza – especially because they invented it! 😝 Make sure you make a stop for some local pizza whilst in the city. One of the best places to grab a slice will be at Mondo Pizza – made fresh to order, these guys know how to knead that dough!
12.) Wander through Pompeii
Just a little drive away from Naples is the ruins and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pompeii, which was largely destroyed and then abandoned after the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Wander through the many intact streets, see how life used to be and learn all about the history and fate of this historic city.
Make sure to head over here first thing in the morning to avoid the big crowds and tours.
13.) See the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast has earned itself a pretty respectable reputation as one of Italy’s most pretty areas. Make sure you wander the many clifftop towns, wake up early to catch the sunrise over the mountains and shore and enjoy a little tipple of Lemoncello, one of the local alcoholic drinks.
Make sure you stop over at Lattari Mountains Regional Park, too. It offers some incredible views over the area!
If you’re wanting to plan your Italian trip around food, take a look at our map on the regional foods you should be eating at each stop in Italy.
14.) See the Trulli of Bari Province
The province of Bari is extra special, especially to the many Trulli that are perched within Monte Pertica. These historic mud huts are pretty unique in Italy and the perfect place to see a historic slice of Italian life.
You’ll love it! ❤️
15.) Head up Mount Etna
Perched on the south-east side of Sicily, Mount Etna is a truly awesome active volcano you can visit. Don’t worry if you get too fearful to hike to the top, you can get some equally impressive views from the towns below. On our last trip to Sicily, we were meant to scale to Mount Etna but the darn fog scuppered our plans. If you do plan on visiting, have backup options due to the unpredictable weather and cloud cover that can take a turn for the worse.
16.) Discover Palermo
Palermo is a gorgeous city on the island of Sicily. The city has such a wealth of amazing museums, art galleries and even a rather morose catacomb where preserved bodies are laid to rest.
The city is a great place to explore and perfect to pair up with a trip to Mount Etna on the other side of the island. For a sumptuous bite to eat, head on over to L’Ottava Nota they make an incredible broad bean and squid soup – it really is delicious!