best cities from Italy

Best cities to visit in Italy for the first time

Best cities to visit in Italy for first timers 

Italy is a country filled with beauty and culture. Therefore, it’s no wonder it has become one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. From its stunning architecture to its vibrant cities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Among the many iconic destinations, there are three best cities to visit in Italy for the first time: Rome, Florence, and Venice. 

best cities in Italy for the first time

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Each city in Italy has something unique to offer, from art and history to delicious food and breathtaking scenery. Exploring these three iconic Italian cities will give you an unforgettable experience that will stay with you for years to come.

Read More: 6 Best Cities in Italy for Families

Let’s dive into the best cities to visit in Italy and what you can see and do in each of them!


Visiting Rome for the first time is an experience like no other. From the ancient ruins to the vibrant atmosphere, there is so much to explore and discover in this beautiful city. 

The best sites to visit in Rome include the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. Additionally, the Palatine Hill, the Borghese Gallery, and the Villa Borghese gardens are great places to explore. Finally, one cannot forget to visit the Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona – two of Rome’s most iconic squares.

Let’s take a look at what’s behind those fancy-sounding names:

The Colosseum

The Colosseum is one of the most iconic sites in Rome and a must-see for any first-time visitor. It is a testament to the power and scale of the Roman Empire. Its vast size and intricate architecture are truly awe-inspiring.

best cities to visit in Italy for the first time

Book your tickets and skip the line here:

Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Entry Tickets

Skip the line with a guide on this highlights tour of the Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum (or Forum Romanum) is a rectangular public plaza in the city’s heart. It was the center of Roman political, religious, and commercial life for centuries. Today, it is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions. The Forum contains many ancient monuments. Including the remains of temples, basilicas, triumphal arches, and other important buildings. Visitors to the Forum can explore its ruins, visit some historical sites, or simply admire its beauty. The Forum also offers a great view of Palatine Hill and other landmarks in the city.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is an ancient Roman temple built between 118 and 125 AD by the emperor Hadrian. It is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings, and its design has been much admired over the centuries. The Pantheon is a circular building with a domed roof and a porch with eight columns. Its interior is decorated with marble and reliefs featuring Greek and Roman mythology scenes. The Pantheon is now a church, Santa Maria ad Martyres, and is one of Rome’s most visited tourist attractions.

The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a famous fountain by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762. Located in the Trevi district, it is one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and is a symbol of the city.

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The fountain is a popular tourist attraction, with people throwing coins into it to make wishes. People believe that throwing three coins into the fountain guarantees a return trip to Rome.

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is a major basilica in Vatican City in Rome is the world’s largest church and one of the holiest Catholic shrines. Also, it is the burial site of Saint Peter, one of Jesus’ apostles, hosting works of art by some of the world’s greatest artists. The basilica’s interior is filled with elaborate mosaics, sculptures, and other works of art. The basilica is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists who come to admire its grandeur and marvel at its history.

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in Vatican City. It is famous for its Renaissance frescoes by Michelangelo, which include the iconic ceiling fresco of The Creation of Adam.

best cities in Italy for the first time

The chapel is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Rome. It also is one of the holiest sites in Christianity. It is also used for papal conclaves and other important ceremonies, such as the election of a new pope.

Book your tickets and skip the line here:

Join a guided tour of the Vatican with fast-track access. Explore the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Palatine Hill

The Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome. It is the most central and most ancient of the hills and is considered to be one of the birthplaces of Rome. It is located in the west-central area of the modern city and is a major tourist attraction. The hill was the location of many important ancient Roman structures. Such as the Palace of Augustus and the Temple of Apollo Palatinus. It overlooks the Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, and other important sites in the city.

The Borghese Gallery is a renowned art museum located in the Villa Borghese. It houses an impressive collection of Renaissance and Baroque art. They include works by masters such as Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, Bernini, and Rubens. The museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Italian art and culture. The gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions and special events throughout the year.

Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese is a large landscape garden. Located on Pincian Hill, it is one of the largest parks in the city. It is considered one of the most beautiful parks in Italy. The garden was designed by the Italian architect and artist Flaminio Ponzio. It is home to several museums, galleries, a zoo, and monuments. The Villa Borghese Gardens are famous for their wide variety of trees, shrubs, flowers, and sculptures. Visitors to the gardens can wander through winding lanes and admire the beauty of nature. They can also take a boat ride on its scenic lake.

The Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps is a monumental staircase. It connects the Piazza di Spagna at the base to the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. Built in 1725, the 135 steps were designed by Italian architect Francesco de Sanctis and are a popular tourist destination. The steps are lined with cafes and designer boutiques, making it a charming and romantic place to visit.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a public square. It is situated in the historic center of the city and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. The square is known for its Baroque architecture and its three fountains. Including the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi), designed by the Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1651. It is also home to several cafes and bars, as well as several art galleries.

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The best sites of interest in Florence, Italy include the Duomo di Firenze, the Uffizi Gallery, the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Ponte Vecchio bridge, the Basilica di Santa Croce, the Piazzale Michelangelo, the Boboli Gardens, and the Palazzo Pitti.

Additionally, visitors to Florence enjoy exploring its many churches and cathedrals. As well as taking a leisurely stroll along the Arno River, or visiting one of its many museums and galleries.

The Duomo di Firenze

The Duomo di Firenze is the main cathedral of Florence. It is a magnificent example of Gothic-Renaissance architecture, constructed between 1296 and 1436. The cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore. It is one of the largest churches in the world.

Inside the cathedral are numerous works of art. Including a beautiful fresco by Giorgio Vasari and a large bronze door created by Lorenzo Ghiberti. The Duomo di Firenze is an iconic landmark in Florence and a symbol of Italian culture, history, and art.

Book your tickets and skip the line here:

Duomo Cathedral Guided Tour

The Uffizi Gallery is a world-renowned art museum. Founded in 1581, the gallery contains some of the world’s most iconic artwork, including masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Raphael.

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The collection also features a vast array of sculptures and paintings from the Italian Renaissance. Situated in the Palazzo degli Uffizi, the gallery is a must-see for art lovers visiting Florence.

Book your tickets and skip the line here:

Skip-The-Line Uffizi Gallery Timed Entrance Ticket

Uffizi, Pitti Palace, & Boboli Garden Combo Ticket

Uffizi and Accademia Gallery Skip-the-Line Tickets

The Galleria dell’Accademia

The Galleria dell’Accademia is an art gallery and museum. It houses some of the world’s most famous Renaissance artworks. It is most famous for being the home of Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. The museum also houses works by other renowned Renaissance artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Andrea del Sarto, and Pontormo. It also has a collection of musical instruments, plaster casts, and other objects. 

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Ponte Vecchio bridge

The Ponte Vecchio bridge is a medieval stone bridge. It spans the Arno River and connects the old town with the rest of the city. The bridge is one of Florence’s most iconic landmarks and is renowned for its history and many shops that line its sides. It was constructed in 1345 and has been used ever since as a main thoroughfare for pedestrians and vehicles. The shops on the bridge were originally butcher shops and fishmongers but were eventually changed to jewelers and goldsmiths.

The Basilica di Santa Croce

The Basilica di Santa Croce is a late Gothic-style Roman Catholic church. It is the burial place of some of the most famous Italian artists, writers, and scientists, including Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, and Machiavelli. The basilica also contains frescoes by Giotto and other Renaissance artists. It is one of the main attractions in Florence and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is a famous square. It overlooks the city of Florence and offers stunning views of the Arno River and the surrounding countryside. The square was designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi in 1865. It is adorned with reproductions of some of Michelangelo’s most famous works, such as The David and the four allegories from the Medici Chapel. Piazzale Michelangelo is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike to take in the views, enjoy some gelato, or take a leisurely stroll along its terraces.

The Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens is a famous 16th-century Italian Renaissance garden in the heart of Florence. The gardens were designed by Niccolò Tribolo and Bartolomeo Ammannati and feature a variety of sculptures, fountains, ponds, and terraces.

The garden’s layout has been described as an “open-air museum” filled with sculptures from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Boboli Gardens are a popular tourist destination known for their beauty and historical significance.

The Palazzo Pitti

The Palazzo Pitti is a Renaissance palace. It was originally built by the Pitti family in the late 15th century. Later it was purchased by the Medici family, who used it as their main residence. The Palace is now home to several museums. They include the Palatine Gallery, the Porcelain Museum, and the Costume Gallery, as well as many courtyards and gardens. It is also a very popular tourist attraction. Many visitors are coming to admire its architecture and to explore its many galleries.


Venice is one of the most iconic and beautiful cities in the world. It is a city of canals, bridges, and unique architecture.

Visitors to Venice can explore its winding canals by boat and admire the ornate bridges that connect its many islands. From the bustling Piazza San Marco to the majestic Doge’s Palace, visitors can admire the city’s magnificent architecture from centuries past.

The Grand Canal is a must-see, with its iconic Rialto Bridge and magnificent palaces lining its banks. Other sites to explore include the Basilica di San Marco and the Galleria dell’Accademia. 

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Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) is a public square in the heart of Venice. It is the most famous and renowned public square in Venice. It is home to some of the city’s most significant landmarks, including St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and Campanile di San Marco (St. Mark’s Bell Tower). The square also includes many restaurants, cafes, and shops. It is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. Its grand architecture and waterfront setting make it one of the most iconic spots in the city.

Doge’s Palace

Doge’s Palace is a palace located on the Grand Canal. It was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice. It is one of the most important buildings in the city. The Palace was built in the 13th century and has been expanded over the centuries to its current size. Today it functions as a museum. It is open to visitors who can explore its interior and marvel at its lavish decorations, including works by renowned artists such as Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese.

Book your tickets and skip the line here:

Doge’s Palace Reserved Entry Ticket

Doge’s Palace & St. Mark’s Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is a man-made waterway that links the city’s main areas. It also serves as the main thoroughfare for Venice’s water transportation system. It is 3.8 km (2.3 miles) long and up to 30 meters (98 feet) wide. Therefore, making it one of the largest canals in the world. The Grand Canal is lined by more than 170 buildings. They include some of Venice’s most famous tourist attractions, such as the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, and Rialto Bridge.

The Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is the oldest and most famous bridge spanning the Grand Canal. It was designed by Antonio da Ponte and completed in 1591. The bridge is built of white marble and spans 49 meters. It is lined with shops on both sides and is one of the most recognizable symbols of Venice. The bridge is a popular tourist destination and offers breathtaking views of the Grand Canal.

St. Mark’s Basilica

St. Mark’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica. It is the most famous of the city’s churches. It is located in the Piazza San Marco and is the seat of the Patriarch of Venice. The basilica is dedicated to Saint Mark. The patron saint of Venice, and is known for its gold mosaics and its opulent Byzantine architecture.

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It is one of the best-known examples of Byzantine architecture in the world. It contains some of the most important religious artwork in Europe.

In conclusion, Italy is a beautiful country full of history, good food, and culture. The cities of Venice, Rome, and Florence are the perfect places to start your Italian journey. As you can see, each city has its own unique attractions to explore, providing a varied experience for first-timers and seasoned visitors.

I hope you learned a bit of history and built a perfect itinerary for your trip to the best cities to visit in Italy. 

Which are YOUR favourite cities to visit in Italy?

P.S. Remember to pack an adaptor!

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