Italy is comprised of 20 different regions, each with its own identity and heritage yet all combined to form the Bel Paese (Beautiful Country) we know and love. While navigating these geographical divisions can be logistically challenging, travelers owe it to themselves see as much of the country as time and budget will allow.
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In the northwest of Italy is a stretch of ruggedly beautiful coast that gives the nation's other hotspots a run for their money. This is Cinque Terre, and it comprises five villages spread over two miles, all with a history as deep as the Ligurian Sea. Let this guide be your roadmap to the vast lemon groves, terraced vineyards, and colorful seaside homes that define a region.
With mountain views, sapphire waters, pine-wooded slopes, and islands brimming with botanical gardens, the Italian Lakes are in many ways Italy at its dreamy best. Here lakefronts are lined with medieval towns and grand belle époque villas, beaches for swimming and sunbathing, and promenades made for aimless strolls. Visit the Italian Lakes, and you'll happily master 'il dolce far niente': the art of doing nothing.
One of the world's most beloved cities, Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance. Today, it remains a lively cultural hotspot—this is where "masterpiece" could mean a centuries-old Botticelli painting or, just as easily, a made-from-scratch cone of stracciatella gelato. Learn when to go, what to do, and where to stay in this idea-filled guide to vibrant Florence.
Welcome to Bologna, home of the world’s oldest continually operating university, not one but two "leaning towers," and some of the best food in Italy. Many tourists overlook this historic city in favor of Italy's other highlights—but Bologna is a can't-miss for culinary hounds and anyone who appreciates the artistry of grand Italian churches. Find out what to do, see, and eat below.
Famous as the home of Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and the Turin Shroud, the capital of Italy’s Piedmont region is a fine Baroque city of grand palaces and piazzas on the River Po. Come to learn about the shroud and its royal Savoy rulers, and stay for the soaring Mole Antonelliana; the original Eataly and first Lavazza coffeehouse; its ancient Egypt museum and the local vermouth. Learn more about what to do, see, and eat in Turin below.
From its famous canals to festive Carnivale, Venice is a constant in pop culture imaginings of Italy. Long dismissed as over-touristed, this city still has some tricks up its sleeve: think historic restaurants with jaw-dropping wine lists, small islands full of master craftsmen, and lesser-known neighborhoods with nary a traveler in sight. Learn how to do Venice right with this guide.
After you've marveled at the Grand Canal and St. Mark's Square, what's next? A short boat ride from central Venice, the island of Murano has long been famous for its glass. Lace is the claim to fame of tiny Burano, and bucolic Torcello contains the huge Basilica di Santa Maria dell’Assunta. Learn more in our guide to island-hopping in Venice.
Siena is the Gothic masterpiece of sunny Tuscany. Come for the impressive Duomo cathedral and medieval museums, stay for cheerful gelato shops, quiet botanical gardens, and a leisurely glass of Chianti (or two) with a view of famous Piazza del Campo. Find out what to do, where to stay, and what to eat with this ultimate guide to the city.
If you’re coming to Sardinia for the flour-white beaches sloping into glass-clear turquoise seas, you’ll find them in abundance. But this island is more than a one-hit wonder, with a forest-cloaked mountainous interior to explore, uplifting clifftop trails to hike and Bronze Age remains to uncover. Historically, culturally and gastronomically, this wild and ravishing Italian isle is a one-off.
Ah, there's no place like Rome! The Italian capital never loses its touch, with its peerless ensemble of ancient monuments, lavish galleries, basilicas adorned with Renaissance art, streets lined with baroque palazzi, and fountain-splashed piazzas. Learn more below about where to eat, stay, and play—along with expert trip planning tips.
Often overshadowed by Tuscany, its culturally mega-rich neighbor, Umbria is brimming with treasures of its own. Think gorgeous medieval hill-towns, plenty of art, and olive-growing and wine industries that have been thriving for thousands of years.
Sicily is a cultural melting pot. Greek and Roman ruins, hilltop fortress towns, and Arab and Norman palaces are a testament to the island's legacy of foreign conquest. You'll get a vivid sense of this history as you drive Sicily's coastal roads, travel over its inland mountain ranges, sample its delectable cuisine, and stroll the cobbled streets of its historic cities—and this guide will help you make the most out of all of it.
Tuscany is a dream destination for travelers from all over the world. From the medieval towers of San Gimignano and the art galleries of Florence to the wineries of Chianti and the beaches of the Maremma, the region has something for everyone. Learn more about what to do, where to go, what to eat, and where to stay with this ultimate guide to Tuscany.
Made famous in a number of Shakespeare's masterpieces, Verona is as charming as you would expect. Come here to see Juliet's (fictional) house, and stay for an old Italian city marked by wide, photogenic piazzas and landmark bridges spanning the River Adige; pretty churches and the biggest wine exhibition in the world. Learn more about what to do, see, and eat in "fair Verona" below.
Capital of Italy's Ligurian region, the port city of Genoa seems surprisingly off the tourist trail, despite its cache of grand palaces and exceptional street food. Explore the atmospheric alleys and piazzas of the Old Town, visit its huge aquarium or just stroll its reinvigorated waterfront and become an expert on everything pesto. Learn more about what to do, see, and eat in Genoa below.
Ringed by Italy's most impressive and intact medieval walls, lovely Lucca often plays second fiddle to Florence and Siena, but opt instead for this highly cultured città and you won't be disappointed. Beyond the amphitheater-shaped piazza lies a delightfully walkable city, brimming with centuries-old towers and churches, hidden alleyways and botanical gardens, and restaurants that play up the bounty of farm-fresh Tuscan produce.