Looking to travel to Italy in 2021? The boot looking country can offer many wonderful places to choose from. To help you choose the best places for your visit, I asked some fellow travel bloggers and gathered this list of 15 places to visit in Italy in 2021 for you as an inspiration.
I have been to Italy 3 or 4 times already and love the country. During my trips there, I have visited Rome, Bologna, Naples, Modena, and Pompei but there are so many other places that I want to include in my next Italy itinerary.
According to the locals that I have spoken to, the top 3 must-visit places in Italy are Rome, Venice, and Florence. However, I believe that once you visit any of them or any other place in Italy, you would absolutely want to come back.
From the Italian Alps to the best landmarks of Italy, and a few off-the-beaten-path destinations, here’s what not to miss on your trip:
Heading on a luxurious holiday around Italy? Check these luxury holiday villas to rent in Italy.
Table of Contents
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Milan
One of my life missions is convincing the world that my hometown Milan is amazing. It’s Italy’s second biggest city, and many people don’t like it because it’s not as ‘pretty’ as places like Venice and Rome – it’s a busy city, and it’s located in the north of the country so the weather is not always amazing.
People often think that it’s also very expensive, but nothing could be further from the truth – there are so many things to do for free in Milan, including city parks, street art, places to ride your bike, churches to explore with beautiful works of art and even quirky sights like a bone-covered church.
If you’re on a budget, there are also many nice hostels and great street food all over the city! In the picture I’m standing next to Arco della Pace, close to Parco Sempione (Milan’s nicest park) and to one of the coolest nightlife districts!
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Cagliari
Sardinia’s capital Cagliari is a wonderful place to visit when exploring the Italian island.
Get lost in the tiny streets, walk along the seaside on the harbor and explore the unique culture and history of this place. Make sure to visit the stunning Cattedrale di Santa Maria and hike up to the Piazzetta Mercede Mundula for a wonderful panorama on Cagliari.
For a journey into the past, stop at the Roman Amphitheatre, which reminds of the ancient part of the city.
Cagliari is also the perfect base for some nice day trips along the southern coast of Sardinia with its beautiful beaches and scenery. Many places are easily available from the city center by public transport, such as the area Chia.
Cagliari offers you history, culture, great food, a harbor and excess to wonderful beaches along the coast – many good reasons to visit!
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Perugia
Perugia is the capital of the Umbria region of Italy. It’s a hilltop town that is every bit as charming as it sounds. The city is surrounded by old defensive walls and is definitely worth a few days of exploration.
Perugia is especially charming around the holidays when visitors and locals alike can stroll along the medieval paths, walk into castles and fortresses and just enjoy the general feeling of the Italian village.
It’s a must place to visit in Italy on a two-week itinerary.
The city is a maze of steps and most of the streets are cobbled and feels more like “Italy” than many of the larger tourist cities. The main part of the town overlooks the Umbra and Tiber Valleys, so make sure to sit and have a cappuccino while overlooking the incredible views.
Actually sitting and relaxing with a coffee is one of the main things I love about this sleepy town. That kind of laid-back atmosphere is not found everywhere in Italy!
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Bologna
With its beauty and atmosphere, Bologna is a destination not to be missed. The city has much to offer from amazing food, beautiful surrounding nature, and view to lovely and friendly locals.
With this in mind, there are many reasons to visit and fall in love with Bologna. Bologna, it’s a wonderful city and you definitely need to include it on your list of places to visit in Italy in 2018.
Another great thing about the city is its connection with the whole Emilia-Romagna region. You can just hop on the train and in a short time, you’ll be in Modena, Rimini, Ravena, or somewhere else. So, if you’re planning to make day trips, plan more time. Otherwise, you can easily explore the best of Bologna in two days.
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Cinque Terre
This group of picturesque fishing villages on the Italian coast has been on our to-do list for a while. Area of Cinque Terre is a popular hiking destination. You can hike between all of the villages in one long day or use them as a home base for other hikes in the area. There are all trail difficulties available.
We took the train from La Spezia to the first village Riomaggiore. It is beautiful, full of great views and Instagram worthy places. Since visiting the five villages by train is crazy popular, we were soon going crazy too.
The area was crowded, and we were there before the 1st of May when the season is supposed to start. We explored villages Manarola, Corniglia and Varnazza trough a train window and only stopped in the last one, at Monterosso al Mare. This is the flattest of them all. We loved the long seaside promenade.
I am sure all five villages were worth out visit, but waiting in long lines to go off and back on the train took some fun out of it. If you want to really enjoy the visit, come outside the main season or take the boat route through or pass the villages and enjoy the spectacular views from the sea.
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Lecce
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Amalfi Coast
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Naples
We ducked and dived through the gritty yet captivating streets of Naples Spanish Quarter, crisscrossing the Spaccanapoli (the street that splits the city). With alleyways, hidden churches and imposing five-storey terraced apartment blocks hemming you in.
Everyday life grinding away on all sides, washing strewn from balconies, the air heavy with the smell of food.
Most famous for being the home of pizza, the city has lots to offer besides some of the best Italian food and architecture.
The National Archaeological Museum with exhibits from Pompeii and Herculaneum is viewed as one of the world’s most important archaeological collections. Room after room filled with gigantic statues, mosaic art, and other Roman artifacts. Also hidden away is the Secret Cabinet Room. Home to a collection of Roman erotic art rescued from the buried towns. Not for the faint-hearted!
It is easy to see why Italy’s third largest city deserves its spot on the best 18 places to visit in 2018.
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Siena
Even in a country with as many amazing places to visit as Italy, Siena stands out.
It was one of the most powerful cities in Italy in the Middle Ages and the chief rival in Tuscany to Florence, it’s neighbor an hour up the autostrada. Siena’s power dwindled after the 14th century and it’s now a small provincial university city with one of the complete medieval cityscapes in Europe.
You could wander the narrow cobbled streets and alleyways for days, with nearly every building a medieval marvel.
The place to start is the Piazza del Campo, a shell-shaped square dominated by the red-brick Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia. This is also the venue for the Palio, a famous horse race dating back to the 17th century which is held on July 2nd and August 16th each year.
Siena’s other must-see is its Duomo, or cathedral, a black-and-white-striped masterpiece on a hill a short walk from the Piazza del Campo. It’s stunning from the outside but even more so inside, with one of the most ornate church interiors you could ever hope to see.
Siena is also a great base to explore southern Tuscany, especially the Tuscan hilltowns. It’s possible to reach San Gimignano, Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano by bus for a day trip, but if you wish to explore further, you’ll need a car.
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Sardinia
Sardinia has everything you could hope for in a holiday destination. Mild weather (consider going in the off-peak season when it’s still warm but not crowded), fantastic beaches with the most amazing colored water, incredible cultural and historical sites, spine-tingling natural beauty, friendly and welcoming locals, and don’t even get me started on the scrumptious cuisine!
It’s a large Island, so unless you’re spending a lot of time there, it’s hard to see everything in one visit. Instead, I’d recommend working out which aspect of Sardinia appeals to you the most and then plan from there.
If resort life is your thing, head to the Costa Smeralda for glitz and glamour. If a more authentic experience is on the cards, then Caligari may be more to your taste. And if you just want to kick back and relax, then the beachside village of Cala Liberotto could be just the ticket.
No matter what kind of holiday you have in Sardinia, it’s bound to leave a lasting impression on you. It’s one place in the world that we can’t get enough of!
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Scopello
Situated between the famous Zingaro Nature Reserve and the Castellammare del Golfo coastline lies the ancient fishing village of Scopello (from the Greek word “Skopelos” meaning “cliff”).
This fascinating and charming village has existed since the 16th century, built around a historic “baglio” or “farmstead” on the site of a Moorish hamlet.
This rocky coastline with its crystal clear waters, beautiful hidden bays, and sandy beaches are some of the best in Italy although it is still relatively unknown to tourists. Visit Scopello and you’ll discover the old tuna fishery (“La Tonnara di Scopello”), situated in a small bay, surrounded by dramatic rocks and cactus.
Today, sunbathers can be found basking amongst the historic anchors of the tonnara whilst the main building has been transformed into a small Bed & Breakfast. It has also featured in several films in recent years including Ocean’s Twelve and Inspector Montalbano.
But there is more to Western Sicily than great beaches. Visit and discover delicious local delicacies, some of the best wine in Sicily, outstanding natural beauty and some of the oldest towns and monuments on the island.
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Florence
For many people, Florence is an obvious spot to stop in Italy and there is a good reason for it. The city is full of beautiful architecture, a rich and complicated history. It is a center of art, design, and fashion, and located in Tuscany, Florence is obviously home to a plethora of amazing food.
While there are many sites to see, one of the architectural highlights is the magnificent Cathedral, Il Duomo di Firenze (ie The Cathedral of Florence). While this cathedral is on the well-trodden tourist path it is there for good reason as it is a glorious structure worthy of appreciating.
Florence, though, is more than its museums and famous buildings. There is much to be seen by wandering through the old neighborhoods and taking in the more local sights. Such as a fantastic organic farmers market with local producers of food and other traditionally handcrafted goods on the Piazza Santo Spirito.
If you are visiting on the 3rd Sunday of the month the market is well worth a visit to add an additional local touch to your trip (and purchases to your bag!).
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Venice
Venice might be the most touristy place in the world, but it still hasn’t lost any of its magic.
It is a city like no other and the perfect backdrop for anything romantic. Those who skip the crowded summer month for a visit can enjoy quiet backstreets and canals, can walk along hidden alleyways and watch the water taxis drifting along the Grand Canal.
For those visiting in early 2018, make sure not to miss the amazing exhibition “Treasures From The Wreck of the Unbelievable” by Damien Hirst at the Palazzo Grassi. Of course, when in Venice, a gondola ride is an absolute must, while couples and romantics should head to St Mark’s Square for the beautiful sunset. No wonder everyone instantly falls in love with Venice.
Places to visit in Italy 2021: Rome
Places to visit in Italy in 2021: The Dolomites
The Italian Alps are a good choice, but the Dolomites are the best! Have you ever heard of that? The Dolomites are grey and white rocky mountains that stand hugely in the North East part of Italy.
Since 2009, Unesco has declared these fabulous mountains as a world heritage site and this is one more reason to go and visit them.
What makes Dolomites unique is a particular phenomenon – called in the local dialect “enrosadira” meaning “getting reddish” – that color the highest peaks on a pink/purple hue both at dawn and sunset. Believe me. I’ve been going there for ages, but it’s always an immense surprise to watch this show!
The Dolomites are a great location for all kind of tourists, both in winter and in summer.
Trentino is one of the best destination to go and from Fassa Valley, you can learn plenty of these peaks. Visitors can relax, have an active holiday thanks to tons of kilometers of hiking paths, climbing, paragliding, explore the best of the Dolomites by MTB and have fun in the silent woods.
Once your active day is going to an end, you can enjoy the superb food: mountain cheese with polenta and mushrooms or BBQ and a glass of red wine are the perfect solution to restore body and soul. Come and visit the Dolomites!
Now, where to next?
- Must have experiences in Rome away from the tourist attractions
- Things everyone should do in Rome
- Free things to do in Rome
If you liked this post share it with your friends and follow Owl Over The World on Facebook for more travel inspiration.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a booking after clicking. It comes at no extra cost to you but it helps me with the running of this site! As always, opinions are my own. Thank you!