Italy is one of the most charming and magical countries on Earth. The whole country is full of beautiful cities, towns, and villages and choosing the top 12 prettiest cities in Italy is indeed a challenge. With so much history, unique architecture, and breathtaking landscapes, it is no wonder why Italy is one of the most sought after travel destinations in Europe.
However, there is quite a bit to see in Italy and most of us don’t have nearly enough time to see it all. So, if you are traveling to Italy and want to see some of the most diverse and prettiest cities in Italy you have come to the right place.
This list holds a wide range of cities, towns, and villages all with their own unique aspects and characteristics. Some of the cities are famous beyond belief and some may be new to you. Whatever the case you are sure to find one that piques your interest and makes you eager to visit and enjoy its beauty in real life.
Now, it’s time for you to see the top 12 prettiest cities in Italy and make your wanderlust for this stunning country even greater.
12 Prettiest Cities in Italy
In This Post
Venice is one of those classic Italian cities that everyone needs to visit at least once in their life. The city is characterized by its hundred of canals, pastel-colored buildings, authentic gondolas, and ornate churches. Venice is a romantic and historic city with architecture that will awe you.
Venice does not have any cars or busses, which makes it all the more beautiful. The main mode of transportation is by water along the hundreds of beautiful canals. In fact, the best way to see the city is with a Gondola which will take you down the little side canals and along the stunning Grand Canal.
Be sure to visit St. Marks Basilica to see a church like no other, and wander around the endless streets. Venice is one place you will most likely get lost in, however, getting lost in this magical city is something to be envied.
Visit Venice at any time of the year. All seasons offer something unique and lovely to see and all have their own specialties. This is also one of the best places to visit on an Italy road trip.
Read More: How to spend one day in Venice, Italy
Saturnia is a small ancient town located in Tuscany, Italy. The town itself is old and is full of history and well worth exploring, but the main draw to the city is the thermal hot springs. The hot springs are called Cascate di Mulino and are a unique and stunning place to visit in Italy.
Beyond its obvious beauty, the water in the hot springs is said to have healing and therapeutic properties. Many tourists and locals flock to them to help with skin conditions and heal their bodies in the cascading waterfalls and pools.
The water stays at 37°C year-round and are open 24/7 365 days a year. More so, as of now, these pools are free to enter and since they are not very well know they are not as busy as other thermal baths. However, in the on-season, you will find quite a few people soaking up the water’s beneficial minerals.
Positano is a dreamy Italian village that will enchant you from start to finish. From the houses built into the rugged mountains to the pastel-colored homes, to the colorful beach and beyond, Positano is a travel destination like no other. There truly is no place quite like Positano and its post-card perfect views.
In addition to the beautiful architecture, Positano is lined by a beautiful beach with vivid blue waters. From the beach, you can look back and see the whole city built vertically and the huge towering mountains in the distance. It truly is something from a fairytale.
Year-round Positano boasts stunning views and lovely sites to see and visiting any month of the year is suitable. However, the summer months can get extremely crowded, so if you value fewer crowds while you travel the offseason is a better time to visit.
Read More: 20 Things to do in Positano, Italy
Florence is often regarded as one of the prettiest cities in Italy due to its unique architecture, cobblestone streets, and ornate detailing. The city is well known for its buildings such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Palazzo Vecchio which you could easily stare at for hours.
These buildings are impressive not only from the outside by also from the inside. The Duomo holds artwork from renowned artists such as Michael Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and much more! Be prepared to feast your eyes while visiting Florence and take in all the beauty that radiates from the architecture.
Beyond the famous buildings, Florence has a ton of other beautiful little streets and squares waiting to be explored. It is a city that keeps on giving, and you will not be disappointed. It is also the perfect stop during a Northern Italy road trip!
Sorrento is a hidden gem of the Amalfi Coast that offers more than meets the eye. This beautiful city sits high along the cliffs and dangles dangerously close to the edges. The city is full of charm and once you get up the steep cliffs you are welcomed to colorful buildings, cobblestone streets and charming restaurants.
From the city, you are able to overlook the whole Bay of Naples and admire the water and beaches below. Walking along the cities cliff edges is exhilarating and feels almost like the set of a Shakespearian play. Enjoy a meal on the cliffs and admire a view and setting you will not find anywhere else.
Sorrento is also home to some unique beaches made on platforms instead of on sandy beaches. The waters surrounding them are turquoise blue and offer a vibrant beach day experience.
Read More: 20 Things to do in Sorrento, Italy
Rome is a historian’s dream travel destination! This city is full of excitement, ancient history, and beauty. Rome’s deep-rooted history is evident in the Forum Roman and the Colosseum, which is the largest amphitheater that has ever been built and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
In addition to Rome’s interesting and profound history, it is also one of the prettiest cities in Italy. The streets are all full of color and around every corner, you will find a new beautiful square and stunning building to admire.
One of the most impressive and beautiful sights to see in Rome is the Trevi fountain. The fountain is even larger and more impressive in person and viewing it is a must. However, Rome is a very popular tourist city and most major attractions are packed with people. Therefore, if you want to view things with fewer people you must arrive early in the morning.
Read More: A Guide to Rome in January
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is a colorful and vibrant seaside village located along the Italian Riveria coastline. Photos of this stunning location have made waves on social media with everyone drooling over the bright colored buildings and blue water surroundings.
There are actually a few different villages within the Cinque Terre strip all just as beautiful. The houses here are built onto the steep rugged cliffs resulting in a very unique city view. The best way to see the city is by going on one of the many hikes that take you along the coast.
Visiting Cinque Terre in the summer can become quite crowded as tourism here has exploded in recent years. However, this does not take away from the fact that it is one of the prettiest cities in Italy.
Siena is a beautiful Italian city that is full of unique medieval architecture and authentic Italian streets. The buildings here look quite different from the pastel-colored, vibrant ones in most Italian cities, which is a welcome difference when traveling around Italy. Siena has even earned itself a UNESCO title as the embodiment of a medieval city.
More so, the city is built on three hills and its high elevation offers some very unique perspectives and vantage points. Everything combined shows a different side to Italy that most cities do not have.
Procida is a small island located just off the coast of Naples. Not many people know about this stunning hidden gem of Italy, which makes it all the more exciting to visit. As Italy is a very well-traveled country and finding an off-the-beaten-path city is quite rare.
Spend some time here admiring the light-colored buildings, walking the pier and exploring the authentic Italian streets. This is a rare find in Italy and will soon become a hot tourist spot. Get here while it is still undiscovered and see the beauty it has in store.
Milan is the fashion capital of Italy and here style reaches far beyond clothing. The city itself is a must-visit while touring the country to see all the beautiful architecture and artistic pieces. The main attraction is the Piazza del Duomo which is the 5th largest church in the world. It’s sheer size and presence is not remotely capture by camera.
More so, Milan is home to Santa Maria delle Grazie which is where you can find one of Michael Angelo’s most famous paintings ” The Last Supper”.
Stunning architecture, delicious food, and well-styled people. There is no question as to why Milan is one of the prettiest cities in Italy.
Capri is the Italian travel destination for the rich and famous. The island is located just off the Amalfi Coast and the whole city is built into the huge mountain. Along the edges of the mountains, you will see mansions from famous celebrities and public figures. Surrounding the island of Capri you will find hundreds of boats and a handful of superyachts.
The water surrounding Capri is all a vivid blue and perfect for swimming, plus from a boat you can see the stunning island from a distance and admire its beauty from a unique perspective.
On the island itself, you will find beautiful streets, brightly colored buildings, and high-end shops. As mentioned, Capri is made for the rich and the level of care that goes into making this city clean and luxurious is noticeable. If you are looking for something a little bit different and want to see how the top 1% spend their vacations, Capri is for you! However, don’t be put off by the luxury, there still is affordable and mundane things to do and see.
Read More: What to do in Capri, Italy
Assisi is one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in the world and is a historical goal mine. It is so full of historical buildings, statues, and art pieces that the entire city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is full of windering cobblestone streets, stone buildings, and breathtaking views.
Assisi is quite a religious city in Italy as it is the burial site of St. Francis. However, you don’t have to be religious to visit this charming gem. There is a ton to do and see here and you will not be disappointed by visiting this monumental city in Italy.
Italy is one of the magical countries that you can visit time and time again and there is always something new and beautiful to discover. This list only holds 12 of the prettiest cities in Italy, but I know there are about 50 more that could be added.
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Linda (LD holland) says
It feels like it has been forever since we were last in Italy. We have visited most of the cities on your list. And have to agree these are some of the prettiest. But there were a few new ones I had to check out. We loved visiting the small towns in Tuscany but are worry we missed Saturnia. Would definitely want to check out the hot springs. We spent so much time on the Amalfi Coast. And can’t believe we missed Procida. On the list for our next visit. I just love those colourful buildings. Assissi is another one to add to our list. We do love to see well-preserved medieval towns. Thanks for some ideas for our next visit.
Jamie Italiane says
Another reason I love Venice is all the little islands surrounding it, like Murano and Burano. I also think if you can only visit one Italian city, Rome would be the one.
Samantha Karen says
So hard to pick one, but if you want history and beauty Rome is a great option.
I dont think you can go wrong in any city you visit in Italy. They all look so beautiful. I would love to go to the hot springs in Saturnia. I have never hear of this city before reading your post. I wonder if it is as crowded as the other major cities like Venice or Rome? It would be nice to get away from the crowds.
Samantha Karen says
The hot springs have become more and more busy as time goes on, two years ago they would be quite empty but now the only time to get them with few people is in the offseason or early in the morning 🙂
I have been to many of these cities–Positano, Siena, Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice–and each is just as beautiful as you say! You’ve added some new destinations to my itinerary for a return trip, the most intriguing of which is Procida! Thanks for the off-beat tip!
How can one country have so many beautiful cities? I have been to six on your list but many others in Italy that aren’t on your list. Sigh.. they all bring back wonderful memories… I would love to visit Capri and Procida, with its colourful buildings, first. Hmm.. time to plan a return trip to Italy!
You’re so right…the country is FULL of the most gorgeous cities and there isn’t enough time. I’m heading back to Italy in March. Second visit but the first time I only saw Rome. I’m going to spend some more time there only because I want to do night photography and see the Trevi Fountain (it was under renovation the first time and DRAINED!!). I plan to see Amalfi/Positano, Florence, Venice, Burano, and hopefully Milan. I’m trying to figure out how to fit Cinque Terre in even though it’s in a completely different direction. Any ideas?
Samantha Karen says
Wow sounds like you have a lot planned for this next visit! Honestly, Italy is not that large and has a very good train system! A train ride from Rome to Naples is only a few hours and Rome is only a car ride from Cinque Terre 🙂 You can fit everything in and if you drive around you’ll discover even more unique places.
I have visited five out of the 12, the rest have been on my list. But there are two that I hadn’t heard of until now, like Saturnia and Prociada. I would love to see them both and now added to the list.
Patricia Pagenel says
These cities of Saturnia and Procida are charming! Saturnia’s hot springs remind me of the water pools of Pamukkale in Turkey. And the colorful houses of Procida are a sight for sore eyes! There is always so much more to explore than the major cities like Rome or Florence, even though these are astonishing!
Italy is just stunning! I really need to make a visit especially the small ancient town of Saturnia. I love hot springs and even better if the Cascate di Mulino has healing powers. The power of nature is undeniable 🙂
Been to 3 out of list, i.e. Venice, Rome and Milan ! Love Venice and Rome, not so much of Milan. Next on my list is Positano ! You got me on Saturnia also, which I just learned from this post. Love hot springs !
Kariss Ainsworth says
I just got back from Venice and fell in love with Italy, keeping this as reference for when I can go back!
So many beautiful cities! I was supposed to go again to Italy this year to see Cinque Terre, but this will be for the next one 😀
Beautiful post! I would love to go back to Italy. I have only been to Rome and Naples before, but there is so much more to see 🙂
OMG! Thank you so much for this post! Florence is next on my list, and I will definitely stop by several of these cities, Saturnia, for instance, seems to be lovely and likely less touristy than Rome. After being in Paris, I realized that I hate tourists.
We are hoping to get to Italy this year and these places sound magical!
I have visited Italy four times, staying for several weeks each time. But I have only been to half the cities you list here. Gives me a good reason to go back again and further explore the country.
AHH <3 this makes me want to go back to Italy asap! I've been to all of these locations except for 2 and 12!