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31 Best Places to Visit in Italy: Summer Destinations for 2024

May 17, 2024

Explore 31 top destinations in Italy for an unforgettable summer adventure! From the stunning Dolomites to the picturesque Amalfi Coast, discover the best of Italy’s landscapes, cuisine, and culture.

Italy is one of the most popular destinations in Southern Europe, visited by millions of tourists annually. Many dream of seeing the gems of the Italian Alps, strolling along the Italian coastlines, and experiencing authentic Italian life accompanied by great Italian food.

We believe Italy is an essential destination for global travelers. Few places offer such a unique atmosphere, delicious cuisine, and rich cultural experiences as Italy. Whether you seek mountain hikes, exciting city tours, or hot beaches, Italy has almost everything.

As most Italian destinations are undoubtedly most beautiful and easily accessible during the summer, this article focuses specifically on summer holiday destinations.

So in this article, we present Italy’s most beautiful places, worth visiting during your trip to the country. We list the best summer destinations in Italy, which are favorites among tourists for good reason.

But before we list them, let’s look at some general things to know if you’re planning to visit Italy’s best places.

General questions for a summer trip to Italy

Is Italy worth a visit?

Absolutely! Italy is definitely worth a visit. With its rich history, stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and vibrant culture, Italy offers something for every traveler. Whether you’re exploring the ancient ruins of Rome, soaking up the sun on the Amalfi Coast, or indulging in a gelato in Florence, Italy never fails to enchant visitors.

Who should consider visiting Italy

Italy is a country that almost everyone likes to visit for different reasons. Young people can find the vibrancy and entertainment, older people can find the relaxation, and families with young children can explore Italy while enjoying a wealth of family activities. If you are planning a family trip, you can read about the 20 best places in Italy for families by clicking on the link.

Best time to visit Italy

While Italy is great to visit all year round, the best time for a trip is from May to October. This period offers the best weather with the least rainfall, perfect for outdoor activities like hiking and beach trips. During the summer months, all hotels and restaurants are open, making it ideal for a summer vacation.

Summer weather in Italy

Italy is huge, and its weather varies accordingly.

In the north, in the Alps, you can’t expect much more than 20–25°C even in summer, and you might need a jacket in the evenings. It’s worth noting that rain and storms are much more common in the north.

The coastal areas throughout the country are warm. For beach vacations, however, regardless of which part of the country you travel to, it’s best to plan for July and August due to the water temperature.

In hot Sicily and other parts of southern Italy, temperatures of 40–45°C are not uncommon in summer. So, no matter what destination you choose from our list, always check the weather of the specific place, as it can vary greatly in different areas.

How to get around the top Italian destinations

You can easily reach major cities by plane, sometimes by ferry or high-speed train. We highly recommend using public transportation within the big cities, as many have strict restrictions on car usage (known as ZTL zones).

However, reaching rural areas without a car can be challenging. Occasionally, there are trains or buses available, but undoubtedly, the easiest way is by car.

If you prefer not to drive in Italy, we recommend taking advantage of group or private tours available on or These tours are typically organized by locals for tourists.

How long to spend in Italy

To visit all 31 places on our list, it would take more than a month, approximately 6–8 weeks.

However, if you’ve selected just one destination for yourself, then 1–2 days is usually enough for most places on our list.

Best things to do in Italy in summer

During the summer months, Italy offers numerous exciting activities and sights for travelers.

  • Explore Italy’s historic cities: Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Italian cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice. Visit iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Uffizi Gallery, and St. Mark’s Basilica.
  • Indulge in Italian cuisine: Treat your taste buds to authentic Italian cuisine. Enjoy mouthwatering pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and gelato from local cafés and trattorias.
  • Discover Italy’s beautiful coastlines: Relax on the stunning beaches of Jesolo, Sicily, or Sardinia. Enjoy the Italian summer with breathtaking sea views and explore charming coastal towns.
  • Experience Italy’s art and architecture: Marvel at world-renowned masterpieces in Italy’s art cities. Admire Michelangelo’s David in Florence, explore the Vatican Museums in Rome, and wander through the historic streets of Venice.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities: Explore Italy’s diverse landscapes through outdoor adventures. Hike in the Dolomites, cycle through Tuscany’s vineyards, or take a boat trip along the Amalfi Coast.
  • Attend festivals and events: Experience Italy’s vibrant culture by attending festivals and events. From medieval pageants to music concerts and food festivals, there’s always something happening in Italy.

These activities are sure to make your trip to Italy unforgettable, catering to a wide range of interests and preferences.

After addressing general questions, let’s explore the list of Italy’s best destinations to visit.

List of the best places to visit in Italy in summer

1. Fusine Lakes

Not far from the town of Tarvisio, near the Slovenian border, are the Fusine Lakes or Laghi di Fusine, two lakes with views of the Julian Alps, including the famous Mangart peak.

Each fantastic lake offers a different experience: the lower lake has deeper, more vibrant-colored water, surrounded by forests, restaurants, and nearby wooden houses.

The upper lake has rocky shores, is more secluded, slightly marshy, but very picturesque, reachable with a short hike.

The Fusine Lakes are easily accessible by car, though there is a small fee to enter the area.

2. Trieste

Trieste is a port city built into a mountainside in the northeastern corner of Italy, right next to the Slovenian border.

The city boasts a fascinating history, with ancient Roman ruins found in its downtown area.

Additionally, our favorite spot is the long seaside promenade in the northern part of the city, offering stunning sunsets in the area.

The city’s most famous attraction is Miramare Castle, a 19th-century castle located by the seaside, which is open to tourists.

3. Dolomites

Whether you want a dream trip to the mountains or to escape the heat, the Dolomites is the perfect summer destination for mountain lovers.

Just to mention, the Tre Cime, Lake Braies, Lake Carezza, Alpe di Siusi, Lake Sorapis or the Seceda are all breathtaking places, and there’s much more! In winter, there are ski resorts, but summer is even better, when the scenery is at its most beautiful: lush green alpine meadows with flowers, winding mountain serpentines with fantastic views, exciting and challenging hiking trails, crystal clear mountain air, and blue- or green-blue mountain lakes.

So if you like hiking, hiking in the fresh air, put the Dolomites on your bucket list, because it’s safe to say that this is one of the best places in Italy.

4. Venice

Venice, the capital of the Veneto region, is situated in the lagoon of the Adriatic Sea, spread across more than 100 small islands. The city appears untouched for centuries, with no roads for cars, only pedestrian streets and canals, including the Grand Canal lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces.

Stroll through St. Mark’s Square and, if you wish, visit the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. The square is also home to the Campanile bell tower, offering fantastic views of the city. Don’t miss the Rialto Bridge and the Academy Bridge for some of the most breathtaking vistas of Venice.

Moreover, it’s worth visiting the island of Burano, which is part of Venice. This is the most colorful little island in Italy, easily explored in a few hours and guaranteed to charm you. The easiest way to get there is by vaporetto.

5. Jesolo

Jesolo might not be as famous as some of Italy’s top destinations, but due to its summer popularity, it deserves a spot on our list.

Lido di Jesolo is one of the most popular resorts on the Adriatic coast, attracting tens of thousands of tourists in the summer for beach holidays, water sports, camping, and seaside relaxation.

In Jesolo, you’ll find long sandy beaches, a wide selection of restaurants and hotels, pleasant seaside promenades, and good infrastructure.

So if you’re traveling to Italy in the summer, consider Jesolo as a beach destination.

6. Verona

Verona is a charming city in Northern Italy, known for its rich history and romantic atmosphere. It’s famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet.” The city boasts well-preserved ancient Roman monuments, such as the Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheater that still hosts concerts and opera performances today.

One of Verona’s attractions is Juliet’s House, a 13th-century building with a balcony that is said to have inspired Shakespeare’s tragic love story. You can explore the courtyard and learn about the legend of Romeo and Juliet.

Verona’s historic center is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, with narrow cobblestone streets, elegant squares, and beautiful Renaissance architecture.

Overall, Verona is an ideal destination for a short city break in Italy.

7. Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, formed during the last ice age. Thanks to its location, diverse flora, and pleasant climate, Lake Garda is one of the most visited lakes in Europe.

The two most famous small towns on Lake Garda are the southern Sirmione and the northern Riva del Garda, but we also really like the picturesque town of Limone sul Garda.

Sirmione is the most visited, known for its castle, beaches, and bustling, narrow streets.

The area around Lake Garda can get very crowded, so it’s best to visit outside peak times.

8. Lake Como

Lake Como is one of Italy’s most popular lakes in Lombardy. It’s the third-largest lake in Italy after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore, and one of Europe’s deepest lakes. In ancient times, it was a favorite retreat for emperors. Surrounded by spectacular mountains, palm-lined shores, and colorful lakeside houses, it has a fairytale atmosphere.

The most visited cities around the lake are Como, Bellaggio, Lecco, and Varenna, with the latter perhaps being the most popular on social media.

For the best things to do at Lake Como, you can explore its charming villages, take a boat tour, visit historic villas, and enjoy the stunning natural scenery.

9. Milan

Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region in Northern Italy, and it’s renowned worldwide as the capital of fashion and design. It’s home to popular attractions like the Arco della Pace, the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, and the Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral. You can climb to the top of the cathedral for panoramic views of the city.

The city is also famous for its cultural landmarks, including the historic La Scala opera house and the impressive Castello Sforzesco, a Renaissance fortress turned museum.

Milan is a paradise for shoppers too, with luxury boutiques lining the streets of the Quadrilatero della Moda (fashion district). The city also boasts a vibrant culinary scene, with numerous cafés, trattorias, and Michelin-starred restaurants serving delicious Italian cuisine.

Milan is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city that offers something for everyone, whether you’re interested in art, fashion, food, or architecture.

10. Portofino

Portofino is one of the most picturesque fishing villages on the Italian Riviera. It’s known for its colorful buildings and scenic waterfront views.

One of the highlights of Portofino is the historic Castello Brown, a medieval fortress perched atop a high hill. From the castle, you can enjoy panoramic views of the coastline, and it’s a great spot for photography.

Portofino is also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, sailing, and diving in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the perfect destination for a relaxing seaside getaway.

11. Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is an area consisting of five fishing villages on the northwest coast of Italy. The five villages, from which it gets its name, are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Monterosso al Mare.

In each of the five stunning villages, you’ll find colorful houses built into the hillsides, vineyards, small harbors in the village centers, and some historical landmarks. The area is famous for its wines and the local cuisine, such as pesto alla genovese.

Among the five, Manarola and Vernazza are absolute must-sees, but Riomaggiore is fantastic as well. If you’re traveling to Manarola, visit the Nessun Dorma restaurant in Manarola, where you’ll find fantastic views and delicious local food, and you can even join a pesto class.

Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and attracts millions of tourists every year. Because of this, it can get very crowded, so it’s wise to plan your summer trip there carefully. Since the villages are difficult to reach by car, it’s best to take the train between them.

12. Pisa

Almost everyone has heard of Pisa because of its world-famous leaning tower. It’s undeniable that the most important landmark in Pisa is the Leaning Tower, which is a must-see in Italy.

Pisa is a medium-sized city located near the western coast of Italy. The city itself is an ideal day trip destination from either Florence or Cinque Terre, as it’s just a short drive away from both.

Entry to the square next to the Leaning Tower is free, so you can see the cathedral, the baptistery, and the tower from the outside for free, but you’ll need to buy tickets to enter the buildings. Since it’s one of the most popular tourist spots in Italy, it’s advisable to book in advance.

13. Bologna

Bologna is known for its historical architecture and culinary delights in the Emilia-Romagna region. The city’s historic center features medieval buildings and magnificent squares, including Piazza Maggiore, home to the iconic Neptune Fountain.

Other famous landmarks in Bologna include the Two Towers, the Sanctuary of San Luca, and the Giardini Margherita urban park.

Another major attraction of Bologna is its culinary heritage. You can taste traditional dishes at local trattorias and restaurants, such as tortellini, Bolognese sauce, and mortadella.

So if you’re looking for a destination for a short city tour in Italy, consider Bologna.

14. Florence

Florence is the capital of Tuscany in Italy, known for its rich Italian history and art. The most famous squares there are Piazza della Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza di San Giovanni with the famous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and Piazzale Michelangelo with its stunning view of Florence.

Our favorite spot is Piazzale Michelangelo, where you can see almost the entire city from above. Around the Duomo in Florence is also a must-see. Nearby, you can see the world-famous David statue by Michelangelo in the Galleria dell’Accademia museum.

Other great sights in Florence include the Ponte Vecchio (bridge) and the Palazzo Pitti (palace).

Apart from these must-see attractions, there are plenty of unique things to do in Florence, which you can find listed on the link.

15. Saturnia Hot Springs

Saturnia hot springs is a natural thermal bath located in Tuscany, renowned for its healing properties and stunning natural beauty. It’s a true hidden gem that has gained increasing popularity on social media in recent years.

The crystal-clear warm thermal water has formed beautiful small natural pools on the hillside, where numerous cascades flow from one pool to another. All of this creates a tranquil natural thermal bath environment where you can soak in the healing water and enjoy the surrounding landscape.

Visiting the Saturnia hot springs is free, with only parking and optional services (such as showers) requiring payment.

Getting there is not easy, as it’s located in a rather remote part of Tuscany, but the few hours’ drive from either Rome or Florence is well worth it.

16. Orvieto

Orvieto, situated atop a volcanic plateau in the Umbria region, is a picturesque town known for its stunning cathedral, charming medieval streets, and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

The town’s top attraction is the Orvieto Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture adorned with beautiful mosaics and sculptures.

Additionally, the Pozzo di San Patrizio is famous, a several hundred-year-old well that plunges 53 meters deep.

Orvieto is also renowned for its underground tunnels and caves, which served as warehouses, wine cellars, and even escape routes during sieges for centuries. Guided tours allow you to explore these underground passageways, uncovering the city’s fascinating history.

Whether you’re looking for a special day trip from Tuscany or Rome, consider Orvieto, as it’s definitely worth a visit.

17. Rome

Everyone knows about Rome, often from history classes. Rome is Italy’s capital and largest city.

The Colosseum in Rome is known worldwide as one of the most iconic ancient buildings. It’s a must-see, along with the Roman Forum.

Rome is also famous for Vatican City, a separate state within the city. The Vatican boasts an intriguing museum, and St. Peter’s Basilica is a top attraction.

The Trevi Fountain draws thousands of visitors daily. Legend has it that tossing a coin ensures a return to Rome, the “eternal city.”

Other notable sights include the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Castel Sant’Angelo. Exploring the catacombs, the ancient Via Appia, the Baths of Caracalla, and the Circus Maximus is also recommended.

With so much to see, plan several days to fully experience Rome’s best spots. Check out our article for more details on traveling to Rome and its attractions.

18. Naples

Naples, located in the region of Campania, is one of Italy’s liveliest and most iconic cities, making it an unforgettable destination.

One of its most famous landmarks is the Castel Nuovo, a medieval castle situated in the heart of the city. Other popular attractions include Piazza del Plebiscito, the Sant’Elmo fortress, and the Castel dell’Ovo, the latter two offering breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples.

The historic center of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a maze of narrow streets and alleys bustling with life, adorned with stunning architecture.

Naples is synonymous with pizza, and you can enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza at one of the city’s many pizzerias.

With its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious food, Naples offers a captivating experience for those looking to immerse themselves in the best of Italy.

19. Procida

Procida is a small, picturesque island near Naples. Despite its smaller size and lesser-known reputation, Procida has captivating charm. The island is adorned with colorful, picturesque buildings along narrow streets, offering an authentic Italian experience.

For the best views, head to the Panoramica sulla Corricella lookout terrace or Belvedere Corricella.

Overall, Procida is an ideal destination for those seeking a truly special and peaceful place near Naples.

20. Pompeii

Pompeii is an ancient Roman city located near Naples in the Campania region of Southern Italy. It was buried under volcanic ash and pumice during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, preserving its buildings, streets, and artifacts for centuries.

Today, Pompeii stands as one of the world’s most important archaeological sites, offering a fascinating glimpse into ancient Roman life. When visiting Pompeii, you can explore the ruins of the city, including temples, the amphitheater, and numerous other landmarks.

To enter the Pompeii Archaeological Park, you need to purchase a ticket, and it’s advisable to do so online in advance, as the site is very popular.

21. Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is well-known from history lessons about Pompeii. It’s Italy’s most famous active volcano, now considered one of the most dangerous due to its proximity to millions of people.

Vesuvius is a popular tourist spot in Italy, allowing visitors to reach its crater. Accessible by bus or car, parking is available a few kilometers before the final stretch. Shuttle buses from the paid parking area can transport you to the entrance, where a ticket is required. The last kilometer involves a steep, gravel road to the entrance. Visitors can walk relatively close to the volcano’s crater, sometimes witnessing smoke emissions and enjoying a stunning view of the surrounding area.

22. Capri

Capri is a stunning island close to Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Famous for its beautiful landscapes and the Blue Grotto sea cave, Capri is a popular tourist destination.

If you’re looking for the best places in Italy, consider taking a day trip to Capri, which can be done affordably from Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento, or Naples. The travel time from most places is less than an hour.

On Capri, you can enjoy the breathtaking sea views, dine in lemon groves like at Da Paolino, or take a cable car to Monte Solaro for a breathtaking panorama of the island. Additionally, various boat companies offer tours to the Blue Grotto.

23. Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is not just one of Italy’s most beautiful places, but also an essential part of any truly good Italy itinerary.

Located just a short drive from Naples, it makes for an excellent day trip or longer destination. Amalfi and Positano are full of amazing things to do that will fill 2–3 days, but if you have more time, check out this 7-day Amalfi Coast itinerary.

Stretching for tens of kilometers along the coast, you’ll find towering mountains, stunning beaches, and colorful cliffside towns.

Visit Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, and Atrani, each offering breathtaking views and a genuine taste of Southern Italy. Sit down at some scenic spots, where you can enjoy delicious Italian food with a view. If you’re traveling in summer, try out the beaches or take a boat tour to see the towns from the sea. Sample local lemon specialties like lemon sorbet or limoncello.

The Amalfi Coast is where you can experience the best of Italy, so don’t miss it when you travel to Italy.

24. Alberobello

Alberobello is a unique destination in the Puglia region, known for its picturesque trulli houses.

These traditional houses, with their white, cone-shaped roofs, create a charming atmosphere, earning Alberobello a well-deserved spot on the list of Italy’s best places to visit.

Take a stroll through the narrow streets lined with trulli and explore the Rione Monti district, the town center, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss the Trullo Sovrano, a two-story trullo house that serves as a museum, offering insights into the region’s architecture and history.

Enjoy the local cuisine at traditional restaurants and immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere of this enchanting town.

25. Matera

Matera is a stunning city in the Basilicata region, famous for its ancient cave houses in the historic center and breathtaking landscapes.

Explore the Sassi di Matera, a complex of cave homes carved into limestone cliffs, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through narrow streets and admire Matera’s unique architecture and rich history. Visit the Caveoso and Barisano quarters to see well-preserved cave homes and churches. Don’t miss Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, a preserved cave home.

For the best views, go to Belvedere Murgia Timone or Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli.

Matera is ideal for a day trip in Southern Italy, offering a glimpse into the past in its old town.

26. Mount Etna

Mount Etna is a famous volcano located on the eastern coast of Sicily. It’s one of the most active volcanoes in the world, known for erupting frequently.

If you visit Mount Etna, you can explore its landscape on guided tours, including its craters, lava fields, and forests.

The area around Mount Etna is also famous for its vineyards, where unique wines are made due to the volcanic soil.

It’s recommended to plan at least a half or full-day trip to Mount Etna as part of your Sicily itinerary to experience its unique beauty, which is rare in Europe.

27. Taormina

Taormina is a charming hilltop town on Sicily’s east coast, boasting stunning vistas of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. Its ancient Greek theater is renowned for hosting concerts and events against scenic backdrops.

Wander its narrow streets lined by shops, restaurants, and historic sights.

Taormina is famed for its picturesque beaches like Isola Bella and Mazzaro Beach, ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

Additionally, explore the town’s vibrant culture and culinary scene, sampling Sicilian delicacies at local eateries.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the nearby Taormina Cable Car for panoramic views of the coastline and surrounding landscape.

28. Cefalú

Cefalú, on Sicily’s northern coast, is a top summer destination in Italy.

Its narrow streets lead to historical treasures, including the stunning Cefalú Cathedral, adorned with beautiful mosaics.

The town’s sandy beaches, like Spiaggia di Cefalù, provide opportunities for sunbathing and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.

For panoramic views, hike up to Rocca di Cefalù, a rocky promontory overlooking the town.

With its rich cultural heritage and natural wonders, Cefalú promises a memorable vacation experience that captures the essence of Sicily’s coastal charm.

29. Palermo

Palermo, the vibrant capital of Sicily, captivates with its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning architecture.

Explore the magnificent Palermo Cathedral, a masterpiece of Norman architecture, and marvel at its intricate details.

Wander through the winding streets of the historic city center, where Byzantine, Arab, and Norman influences intertwine, and discover hidden gems around every corner.

Visit the majestic Palazzo dei Normanni, the former royal palace, and admire its impressive mosaics and grand halls.

Don’t miss the chance to indulge in Sicilian cuisine at one of the city’s many trattorias, where you can savor traditional dishes like arancini and cannoli.

30. Agrigento

Agrigento, located on Sicily’s southern coast, is famous for its ancient Greek ruins, notably the Valley of the Temples, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Discover the remarkably preserved ancient temples, such as the renowned Temple of Concordia, and admire the architectural feats of the ancient Greeks. With its stunning seaside location and rich historical heritage, Agrigento offers a captivating glimpse into Sicily’s ancient past.

31. Beaches in Sardinia

Sardinia boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy, with its clear blue waters and sandy shores drawing visitors from all corners of the globe.

From the renowned Costa Smeralda in the northeast to the secluded coves of the southwest, Sardinia presents a variety of beach experiences.

Unwind on the soft white sands of Spiaggia della Pelosa or venture into the rugged charm of Cala Goloritzé.

Whether you seek lively beach resorts or tranquil escapes, Sardinia caters to all tastes, making it an ideal destination for an Italian summer vacation. Explore its picturesque coastlines and discover hidden gems along the way.

So, these were the top 31 places worth adding to your Italy travel itinerary. We introduced many interesting places, such as the biggest cities in Italy, medieval towns, beaches, ancient landmarks, and unique natural attractions, which attract tourists the most. We hope our list provided enough inspiration for organizing your next Italian trip.

In Italy, you’re almost guaranteed to have a perfect trip amidst the stunning local landscapes, delicious local cuisine, pleasant weather, and a wide range of outdoor activities. Italy is a fantastic travel destination, and it’s no wonder it’s a favorite among tourists.

No matter where you go, Italy promises an unforgettable experience, especially during the summer months. It’s one of the best times to visit and enjoy everything this stunning country has to offer.

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