Italy is overflowing with beautiful cities and charming villages to call home during your dream vacation. Whether you are looking to stay in one of the larger historical cities, a lakeside village, or even an island paradise, this country has got you covered! With so many prime locations to choose from, picking where to stay in Italy isn’t always the easiest decision- that’s why we created this travel guide to help you figure out the best places to stay in Italy based on you and your family’s travel desires. Keep reading to discover the top cities, coastline towns, lakes, islands, countryside villages, and mountains in Italy to stay in during your upcoming trip!
Cities Overflowing With History & Things To Do
If an abundance of museums, restaurants, and nightlife is what you seek- look no further than Rome, Florence, Venice, or Milan!
For travelers who want to see as many sights as possible and never run out of things to do, big cities are the way to go. One city you can’t go wrong with is Rome, Italy’s capital and crown jewel. The “Eternal City” has been around for thousands of years and was once the center of the legendary Roman Empire. Today, Rome’s fantastic history shines through its many monuments such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon. If waking up to one of one of Rome’s ancient wonders isn’t enough, why not opt for a window overlooking the iconic Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, or Piazza Navona! Or, if visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and the amazing Vatican Museums is high on your list, you could also opt to stay close to Vatican City in the neighborhood of Prati. No matter where you choose to stay in the city however, you’re bound to be close to something profoundly beautiful.
Florence is another city full of history and remarkable things to see. This stunning Renaissance city located in the beautiful region of Tuscany is famous for its world renowned museums such as the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery where Michelangelo’s David is on display. Furthermore, Florence is well known for the iconic Duomo of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore that dominates the city skyline, dazzling architecture, and delicious local cuisine! One major perk of staying in Florence is that the historic city center is easily walkable so there is no need for additional transportation once you are in the city. Plus, there are tons of incredible rooftop terraces, bars and restaurants to choose from. However, venturing into the surrounding hills, wineries, and medieval villages of Tuscany does make for a great day trip if you have the chance during your stay.
You have probably seen pictures or movies featuring the floating city of Venice at least once in your life, but there is nothing like seeing this unbelievable place in person! Complete with 400+ bridges, picturesque canals, and traditional gondolas, staying in Venice really feels like you have stepped into a fairytale. There are also tons of things to do in the city such as paying a visit to St. Mark’s Square, uncovering the secrets of the Doge’s Palace, or even observing incredible Contemporary Art at the Venice Biennale. If you want to see what lies beyond the mainland, you can also take a short boat ride to the islands of Murano and Burano to watch glass blowing or lace making demonstrations.
For those with an eye for fashion and love to be the center of it all, the city of Milan located in northern Italy may be for you. This huge metropolis is well known for its tall buildings, designer clothings stores, and modern aesthetic. One of the biggest and oldest monuments in the city is the towering Milan Cathedral which took six centuries to complete. Of course, there are tons of other things to do in Milan as well such as visiting the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a historic shopping mall complete with 19th century architecture and a breathtakingly detailed ceiling. Milan is also extremely well-connected which makes getting to your next Italian destination that much easier for families and independent travelers alike.
Unique Places to Stay For a One of a Kind Experience
Venture off the beaten path by staying in one of Italy’s many fascinating historical sites such as the Trulli of Puglia
Now that we’ve covered some of the most well known cities in Italy, we can get to the places that you may not have heard as much about. First off, the Trulli of Alberobello which are located in southern Italy’s Puglia region. These unusual cylinder shaped huts are constructed with cement, conical roofs, and white stone walls which happen to be the perfect insulators. Originally, these homes were created to avoid taxes hundreds of years ago, but today their fascinating design earns them the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. While many of these buildings today are inhabited by locals or used as storefronts, some have been converted into boutique hotels and B&Bs which make for truly incredible places to stay in during your vacation to Italy.
Another unique place to stay which also made it on our list of the Best Places to Visit in Italy, is Matera. This interesting city located in the Basilicata region of southern Italy is one of the oldest settlements in all of the country and features all white buildings and ancient cave dwelling called “Sassi.” Upon stepping into this curious city, you’ll feel like you have entered another world. Besides being the home to plenty of museums and stunning churches, you can even plan to stay in one of the caves! Don’t let their old age fool you however, most of the Sassi have been converted into hip lodging complete with modern conveniences.
If you are a history buff fascinated with Italian culture, you may want to consider staying near the ruins of Pompeii in Naples, Italy. The ancient city of Pompeii was instantly brought to a halt following the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Despite the tragedy, the volcanic ash was miraculously able to preserve the mold of the city and the people that once lived there making it an extremely unique place to visit. While Pompeii makes for a great day trip, we recommend you stay nearby in the city of Naples. With tons of historical landmarks, sea views, and fairly cheap prices on accommodation, Naples is a great place to stay as it is a mecca of Italian culture. Best of all, it is the birthplace of pizza!
Top Seaside Towns Along Italy’s Coast
Feel like a celebrity as you take in the amazing views from a colorful town on Italy’s coast
For a vacation full of glitz and glamor, there is no better place to go than Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Located in southern Italy in the region of Campagna, this series of colorful cliff side towns overlooking the sea couldn’t get any dreamier. When it comes to hotels in Italy, the Amalfi Coast has fantastic options to choose from so that you wake up feeling like you are in paradise. Some of the top towns to stay in include Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. Here, you can enjoy crystal clear waters, fantastic boat rides, delicious cuisine, and tons of shopping at local boutique stores. While these destinations make for the perfect star-studded beach vacations, just be prepared to pay big bucks for accommodations, especially during the high season. Be sure to check out our recent blog post on When to Visit Italy to learn the best times to travel so that you save money and avoid crowds.
Located on the northwestern coast of Italy lies Cinque Terre, a seaside landscape comprising five historical villages. Similarly to the Amalfi Coast, this area of Liguria offers prime views of the sea and brightly colored buildings that look like they are straight out of a postcard! So where do you stay in this gorgeous setting? You can take your pick between the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. While it is difficult to reach these villages by car, you can travel from one town to the other by boat or local train. For those with a passion for adventure, there is also a footpath that connects the villages that doubles as a pretty impressive hike!
Best Places for a Relaxing Lake Vacation
Looking to relax on your Italian holiday? Consider staying near one of Italy’s pristine lakes!
After traveling to the big cities of Italy and seeing the most popular tourist attractions, you’ll probably want a little bit of down time to relax and enjoy the views at one of the many Italian lakes before heading home. In my opinion, one of the best places to stay in Italy for peace and tranquility is Lake Como. This large lake in northern Italy is located at the base of the Italian alps so you can imagine that the views and surrounding nature are pretty spectacular. Besides being known for its beautiful landscape, Lake Como is also home to a variety of stunning villages by the names of Como, Varenna, Tremezzina, and Bellagio. You can take your pick of any of these towns to stay in because reaching the others by ferry or boat is fairly easy.
Another breathtaking body of water in Italy that serves as a popular tourist destination for Italians and foreigners alike is Lake Garda. This large lake was formed by glaciers during the last ice age and is situated between the cities of Milan and Venice. During the summer, this lake becomes a paradise for sailors, windsurfers, and kayakers along with people who simply want to relax at one of the surrounding resort spas. One of the most charming places to stay towards the south end of Lake Garda is the ancient town of Sirmione. Here, you’ll find a quaint village complete with restaurants, bars, spas, and even the 13th century Scaliger castle. Other popular towns that you can opt to stay in on Lake Garda are Garda, Riva, and Torbole.
Fantastic Italian Island Getaways
Enjoy the sun, lay out on sandy beaches, and swim in the crystal clear waters of Italy’s surrounding Islands
So, you’re visiting Italy and want to explore the country’s most incredible islands? The largest Italian island, Sicily, is located less than ten miles off of the southern coast and is a great place to start. This massive piece of land is full of amazing beaches, delicious foods, and most importantly, is rich with culture. Palermo is the island’s capital and serves as an amazing point of interest complete with colorful markets and beaches. Another large city in Sicily is Catania, a lively area with a prime location next to Mount Etna and the beaches of Taormina. While the whole island is overflowing with history, it is also possible to stay in locations with important archaeological sites dating back to ancient times including the towns of Agrigento, Noto, and Siracusa.
If you are looking for the most beautiful turquoise waters in Italy, look no further than Sardinia. On this large island, you’ll be able to swim, snorkel, scuba dive, and discover practically untouched beaches in an unbelievably gorgeous landscape. If you love climbing, cycling, or hiking, you’ll be able to do that too in the island’s stunning mountain range. Some of the most popular places to stay in Sardinia are the towns of Alghero, Cagliari, Olbia, and Sassari, but you can always opt to rent out a house or apartment that is in a more secluded location as well. No matter where you choose to stay on the island, make sure to sit back, relax, and enjoy your getaway to this spectacular island!
Last but not least on our island exploration is Capri, the small yet beautiful piece of land found just off of the Amalfi Coast. This luxurious island is home to some of the most beautiful natural rock formations ever discovered and the best way to see them is by boat. If you are lucky enough to stay on the island however, you’ll have the beauty of the island at your fingertips! The two largest towns on the island, Capri and Anacapri, are known for their terrific restaurants, handmade sandal shops, and delicious limoncello so you can’t go wrong without staying in either of the two. For an even more luxurious experience, you could rent out a cliff-top villa with views of the sea- it may not be the most economical, but it sure makes for a once in a lifetime experience!
Towns in the Tuscan Countryside for Food & Wine Lovers
Love wine as much as I do? Why not stay in the Tuscan countryside or a nearby medieval town known for its tasty food and delectable grapes!
Italy’s Tuscany region is famous for its gorgeous green hills, bountiful wineries, and charming villages. So, if sitting back and drinking a glass of the region’s best wines sounds like a good idea to you, you may want to consider staying in a farmhouse or villa in the countryside that even produces its own food and grapes. For a more culturally enriching experience, you can also opt to stay in the historical towns of Siena or San Gimignano. Though it is also possible to stay in Florence, the largest city in Tuscany, the smaller villages allow you to enjoy what the region has to offer without all of the crowds and chaos.
While Siena is usually packed during its annual Palio festivities, the rest of the year is relatively quiet making it easy to find a place to stay for pretty cheap. Meanwhile, the medieval town of San Gimignano offers unique accommodations that often feature awe-inspiring views of the tall towers comprising the city skyline. During your stay, you’ll also notice that food prices in these quaint Tuscan towns tend to be much lower than in some of the more popular tourist destinations in Italy- that means you can opt to try more traditional Tuscan dishes without draining your bank account!
Top Mountains to Stay Near for Adventure Seekers
If hiking, climbing, or cycling sounds like fun to you, you may want to stay in one of Italy’s fantastic mountain regions
Calling all nature lovers! The Dolomites in Italy make for the perfect outdoor escape and the views of the rugged cliffs will surely leave you breathless. This area in northern Italy has everything from hiking trails, to rivers, lakes, and waterfalls that are waiting to be discovered. Plus, there are some pretty adorable towns nearby such as Bolzano, Brixen, Bruneck, Cortina d’Ampezzo, and Klausen, that will have all of the conveniences you need to make vacation there one to remember. While summer is the perfect time for cycling and hiking, there are some great ski and snowboard resorts that thrive in the winter as well in the Dolomites.
Another part of Italy famous for its mountain ranges is the region of Abruzzo. Located just east of Rome, this massive landscape is home to various national parks and nature reserves. It also is home to the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic coastline. When you are not hiking or biking through the mountain trails, you can take in spectacular sights such as the castle of Roccascalegna which was built directly on top of a strange limestone rock formation hundreds of years ago. Looking for a place to stay in Abruzzo? Check out the villages of Scanno, Civitella del Tronto, or Sulmona. Though this region may not be as popular with tourists, it surely is a showstopper for anyone who loves to be one with nature.
Discover the Beauty of Italy on a Tour With Us!
Thanks for reading our insider’s guide on where to stay in Italy! We hope you find it helpful while you are planning your trip. We also offer top-rated tours, day trips, and experiences in various cities across Italy! For more information or to arrange a tour, check out What a Life Tours or contact us by phone +39 06 88975757/+39 334 7273299 (WhatsApp), or email at [email protected]!