About 50 million tourists visit Italy each year to soak up its phenomenal food, art, history, fashion and landscapes. You can’t do it all in one trip, so deciding which places to see and which to skip is always the challenge. There are countless mountain villages, beach towns, lakeside communities, idyllic islands and rural regions to choose from, but this list is focused on the more urban areas. Chances are you’ll want a little city action peppered throughout your visit. Each one has its own personality, flavor and aesthetic appeal. Here are our picks for the 12 most beautiful cities in Italy not to miss.
The fair city of Verona would exude elegance and charm even without its Shakespearean connection. The Bard based The Two Gentlemen of Verona there and it was also the romantic setting for Romeo and Juliet. While there is a “Juliet’s balcony” tourists flock to, keep in mind that this play was a work of fiction. A more authentic attraction is Verona’s Arena, an ancient Roman amphitheater built in 30 AD. Even if you’re not an opera fan, you must take in a performance at this age-old acoustically astounding venue – even just to watch the passionate crowd. Verona has so many historically significant buildings, the entire city has been declared a World Heritage Site. Just wandering the shops, cafes and homes in the side streets of the walled historic center will be a treat for the soul.