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Italy's Most Beautiful Places: From Iconic Cities to off the beaten path villages

Updated: Apr 14

italy most beautiful places

Italy is renowned for its breathtakingly beautiful places, from the iconic canals of Venice to the ancient ruins of Rome and the artistic treasures of Florence. However, these famous destinations suffer from over-tourism, making it challenging for visitors to immerse themselves fully in the experience.

With its winding waterways and historic architecture, Venice has become a victim of its own beauty. The sheer volume of tourists can detract from the authentic Venetian experience, making it difficult to wander the narrow streets and discover hidden gems without the crowds. Similarly, Rome's renowned landmarks, such as the Colosseum and Vatican City, are often swarming with tourists, diminishing the sense of awe and wonder that should accompany such historic sites. Even in Florence, home to masterpieces of Renaissance art, the throngs of visitors make it impossible to get lost in contemplation in front of a Michelangelo sculpture. 

Feast Travel takes you to beautiful Italy

At Feast Travel, we understand that Italy's true essence lies not only in its famous landmarks but also in its lesser-known towns and cities. Our mission is to help travelers identify the specific experience they seek when they think of Florence, Venice, and Rome and then guide them toward the Italian destinations where they can best realize it.

Whether you're craving a quiet retreat in a charming village nestled among the rolling hills of Tuscany or seeking the vibrant energy of a bustling local market in Sicily, we curate personalized travel experiences tailored to your preferences. By steering you away from overcrowded tourist hotspots and toward authentic Italian communities, we ensure your journey is filled with meaningful encounters and unforgettable moments.

Our expertise and insider knowledge empower travelers to explore Italy beyond the beaten path, discovering hidden treasures and forging genuine connections. Whether you're a culture enthusiast, a food lover, or an adventure seeker, let Feast Travel be your guide to the authentic heart of Italy.

Section 1: Iconic Cities – Unveiling Urban Beauty 

Rome - one of Italy's most beautiful cities

Rome: Timeless Elegance 

Rome offers a wealth of historical and cultural sites beyond the well-trodden path of its historical landmarks, such as the Colosseum and the Vatican. There was a vibrant street life around the Trevi Fountain in the 1950s when “Roman Holiday,” with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, was shot there, but today it’s for tourists only. Delving into lesser-known attractions such as the Baths of Caracalla, the Celio Underground, and the Museum of the Ara Pacis offers a more intimate and immersive experience of the city's rich heritage. These hidden gems provide insights into ancient Roman life, from the opulent baths of emperors to the sacred rituals depicted on ancient altars.

Venturing to the outskirts of Rome unveils even more treasures awaiting discovery. From the bustling city center, visitors can explore the Catacombs, wander through EUR’s pre-war vision of the future, and explore the ancient ruins of Ostia Antica, which are even more well-preserved than Pompeii. Here, amidst quieter surroundings, travelers can savor authentic cuisine at local trattorias and experience the true culture of Rome. 

Venice: Floating Splendor

Venice may be Italy's most photogenic destination. It ensorcells visitors with its romantic canals and artisan tradition of mask making. A day trip can not do it justice because Venice truly comes alive at night when the day trippers leave, and you can wander the labyrinthine streets of a city that looks like no other on earth. 

Off-season visits are optimal for those seeking a more authentic Venetian experience, especially from late February to early April. During this period, after the conclusion of Carnevale and before the influx of cruise ships, Venice temporarily regains its tranquility.

Florence: A Renaissance Jewel

Florence always ranks as one of the top ten of Italy's most beautiful places to visit in Italy because of its charm as an intact Renaissance city. However, the best reason to visit Florence is to see and learn more about art. The best experience of Florence prioritizes churches and museums, not climbing the Duomo or waiting in a long line for that famous, overrated sandwich you will find all over Instagram and TikTok. If you love art and history or are curious about it, few places are more fascinating than Florence. 

the beauty of milan

Milan: Fashion and Modernity

Milan, a unique blend of modern and historical, and the Duomo may be the most beautiful cathedral in Italy. Milan is also the capital of modern Italy with the worlds of fashion and manufacturing headquartered there and home to Italians from all parts of Italy. Some of the most delicious, authentic food from Sicily, Puglia, and Calabria can be found in Milan, as there are neighborhoods of other Italians who live in this job-rich city but like to maintain their regional traditions. 

If shopping is high on your list, Milan is the best city to choose as you will find Italy's most creative contemporary fashion houses. You’ll need an appointment for high-end ateliers – this isn’t just for window shopping. The salespeople are ex-runway models who speak multiple languages and know the ins and outs of the fashion industry. There are also many industrial design galleries for those interested in seeing what’s on the cutting edge of European design. 

Section 2: Coastal Charms – Mediterranean Wonders

glorious Amalfi coast

Amalfi Coast: Cliffside Villages 

The Amalfi Coast is a contender for the prettiest place in Italy, and Instagram has made this already popular destination even busier. Most famous of all is Positano, which was nothing more than a rustic fishing village during the summer months until the 1950s, when the very first hotel, Le Sireneuse, opened. It caught the attention of Hollywood celebrities looking for an off-the-beaten-path hideaway, and its fame has grown continuously since then.

The best way to experience Positano is to stay at a luxury hotel and enjoy the amenities of a private restaurant, beach club, and docks. The smaller towns like Praiano are less expensive, but getting around by sea is imperative, so leave room in your budget for private boat tours, as the traffic on the Amalfi Coast road is bumper to bumper. If you want to see the beauty of the Amalfi Coast’s dramatic landscapes, consider Vietri-sul-Mare, right next to Salerno, where you will find a picturesque village filled with ceramic artisans and a truly local village.

Capri: Mythical Beauty

Capri is an island paradise that has been considered one of Italy’s most beautiful places ever since the Greek poet Homer set the encounter of Odysseus and the Sirens on the rocks around Capri. Consider visiting in winter, when you can traverse its stunning landscape and nestle into the village of Anacapri before the locals leave for the summer to rent their homes out on Airbnb.

Hike to the Villa Jovis to see where Emperor Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire, or visit the Villa of San Michele for the most stunning views of the Bay of Naples. 

The water is deep around Capri, which makes it a hub for the yacht scene, which arrives in late August and early September. A private boat tour around the island is a worthwhile investment, as you will have the chance to enter the coves and grottoes, including the famous Blue Grotto, and enjoy a privileged view of the famous Faraglioni rocks. 

Cinque Terre: Colorful Havens 

Cinque Terre: Colorful Havens 

The five towns of the Cinque Terre, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are all connected by train and hiking paths, as the roads are too narrow and treacherous for most cars. Rick Steves made the paths popular during the early days of his career when his core audience was people interested in hiking.

Today, hiking during the off-season is the best way to visit the five towns if you want to avoid the crowds that arrive daily at La Spezia on large cruise ships. While the Cinque Terre are often advertised as one of the most beautiful areas in Italy, it’s important to know that the colorful houses were painted in the 1970s to attract tourists. If you want to experience a more honest expression of life along the beautiful Ligurian coast, consider Moneglia, Camogli, Rapallo, or Santa Margherita Ligure.

Section 3: Countryside and Borgos – Italy’s Heart and Soul

Tuscany: Rolling Hills and Vineyards 

Tuscany: Rolling Hills and Vineyards 

When people envision Italy, the rolling hills of Tuscany first come to mind. The region has many diverse landscapes, but to experience the characteristic cypress trees and Tuscan fields of gold, focus your trip planning on the Val D’Orcia - a breathtakingly pretty place in Italy. This valley was part of the Via Francigena in the year 1,000 –a pilgrimage route connecting Spain to Rome – so the valley is filled with castles, churches, and fortresses.

You can use Volterra or Bagno Vignoni as your base for exploring the countryside, or stay at an agriturismo during the harvest season to experience Tuscany's more rustic charms. Carnivores will find many culinary delights in Tuscany, which has a heavy emphasis on steak and pork, in particular cinghiale (wild boar), which are known to eat all the wine grapes off the vines. Hunters keep the population in control, and pappardelle with a wild boar ragù is one of Tuscany’s signature dishes. 

Umbria: The Green Heart 

Umbria: The Green Heart 

Umbria has more untouched landscapes than neighboring Tuscany and is far less expensive, which is an advantage for budget-conscious travelers. The historical towns of Narni, Spello, Todi, and Bevagna are home to medieval pageants and sagre – food festivals that usually happen in the spring and fall, and celebrate the seasons.

The lush green mountains of Umbria are home to truffles, which are found in every dish during October and November. If you like medieval history, consider visiting to's underground churches of Narni. In Gubbio, you can visit the summer palace of Federico da Montefeltro, one of the most fearsome rulers of the Italian Renaissance, who loved to escape to Umbria’s rugged landscape. 

Borgo La Pietraia: Hidden Gem Fusing Old and New World Italy

Borgo La Pietraia: Hidden Gem Fusing Old and New World Italy

The word “borgo” means village, and many hotels and resorts have taken on the name borgo to describe an enclosed property that captures the spirit of an Italian village in its architecture but with modern amenities to make exploring off the beaten path still feel like a luxurious vacation.

Borgo La Pietraia in Paestum feels like the box seat to the Amalfi Coast, with an extraordinary panoramic view of the Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Cilento Coast. Within a short distance of the property are the villages of Capaccio and Trentinara, where you can experience the evening passeggiata and life in small-town Italy. With just 12 suites, there’s abundant privacy, a pool, and a fantastic restaurant telling Cilento’s food and wine heritage story. 

Le Marche: Undiscovered Beauty

Le Marche: Undiscovered Beauty

While it is unknown to American tourists, European tourists know Le Marche's beaches and coastline well, as well as the important towns of Urbino and Ascoli Piceno. Le Marche is truly a hidden treasure among the most beautiful areas in Italy.

Ascoli Piceno was constructed out of limestone to always appear glowing under moonlight. Grab a Meletti Spritz at the historic Caffe Meletti, and enjoy people-watching in the piazza for hours. Urbino is a university town with an important Renaissance heritage which you can learn about in the Ducal Palace. At Ancona or Portonovo, check into a seaside hotel and enjoy Italian summer along the Adriatic sea.

Section 4: Unique Italian Experiences – Beyond the Visual Beauty 

Italy Gastronomy Tours: A Culinary Journey 

Gastronomy Tours: A Culinary Journey 

Each of Italy’s 20 regions has unique food traditions, and a food tour is an excellent way to savor the cuisine and experience one of the many beautiful experiences. Avoid the ubiquitous “pizza and gelato” cooking classes you’ll find on the first page of Google and look for experiences led by locals. 

Streaty Food Tours is a great choice because its mission is to only hire guides who are native to the city where they work. Thus, the guest gets not just a taste of the city but also stories of what these traditions mean to the locals. 

italy Art and Culture: Living Museums

Art and Culture: Living Museums 

Italy offers the opportunity to see art in situ, which means to see a painting in the church for which it was commissioned instead of in a gallery or museum. Exploring art in Italy by wandering in and out of churches and palaces with curiosity is the way to supercharge the experience of traveling in Italy’s most beautiful places."

There are also cities that are effectively open-air museums. For those willing to let the journey be the destination, consider ancient Matera in Southern Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic center of Naples, particularly on Via Tribunali, and Rome, where ancient ruins erupt out of traffic circles. 

italy Outdoor Adventures: From Alps to Seas

Outdoor Adventures: From Alps to Seas 

If you’re more interested in hiking and cycling, outdoor adventures in Italy are an excellent way to experience the prettiest places. The Dolomites are a paradise for people who love mountains and hiking. September is the perfect time to experience local festivals (similar to Oktoberfest) and the cultural traditions of Italy along the Austrian border. 

Puglia is a haven for cyclists, especially the Otranto and Santa Maria Leuca coastline. The roads are flat and wide open, making them accessible to both expert and novice cyclists. 

In winter, the feast of Santa Agata in Catania, Sicily is a festival that is dear to the city and a point of interest for tourists seeking the deep culture of Italy. During springtime, the Easter season is full of ancient and fascinating religious festivals such as the La Madonna Che Scappa tradition in Sulmona, Abruzzo; the fall festivals or sagre in Irpinia (near Naples) are a way to celebrate the harvest with olive oil and black truffles of Bagnoli Irpino. 

Conclusion: Where are the Most Beautiful Parts of Italy?

Whether it’s lush green mountains, a rugged coastline, gentle beaches, or an urban center filled with gorgeous architecture, Italy is truly one of the most visually satisfying countries in the world

There’s beauty to be discovered in every part of Italy – you only need to choose what type of landscape appeals to you to find the "prettiest place in Italy." Whether it’s lush green mountains, a rugged coastline, gentle beaches, or an urban center filled with gorgeous architecture, Italy is one of the most visually satisfying countries in the world. Open your mind and heart to experience the people as well. 

 At Feast Travel, our specialty is uncovering these pretty places in Italy for our discerning travelers. Our Trip Consultation and Planning 

services are tailored to help you explore Italy’s beauties, ensuring a journey as beautiful as what you imagine. Pack your bags, and let us do the rest!

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