It’s not a top ten of my favourite cities in Italy (I’m mentioning 11, so a top ten would anyway be out of the question), which would indicate that city number 1 is my favourite of all. That is not necessarily true. This is just a list of Italian cities I really like to visit. Unfortunately there are still a lot of places I haven’t seen yet and I would like to discover, but the ones I’ll mention below are well worth a visit. If not this year, then the next.

1. Roma
Of course Roma. It is to be expected in a list like this. This is such a wonderful place to visit. An open air museum where culture is overflowing. I’ve visited it five times, I think. I’m not even sure anymore. However, I still truly love the place and would visit it ten times more if I could, because there is still so much to see and discover. Anyway, I don’t think there’s really any need to discuss this wonderful city any further, if you haven’t been there yet, visit it now (after the coronavirus mess of course).

2. Napoli
Another big place. Very different from any other city I’ve visited and stands out in its liveliness and authenticity. And pizza. Real, delicious and cheap pizza. If you want to visit a place where culture, food and vibrancy are delightfully mixed together without too many touristic influences from abroad, this is the city to go to. (Being guided by someone from the area can be good though, not because it’s dangerous otherwise, but without a “guide”, you’re more likely to miss out on some of its beauty).

3. Bologna
Just as much a food capital as Napoli, only more expensive. The food culture here is very rich. The city is known for its delicious lasagna and tortellini (actually any kind of fresh pasta) and you certainly won’t starve. But it has something else to offer as well. It’s a student city with a very nice vibe and not too many people wandering around spoiling the view.

4. Venezia
Venezia is just a beauty. Its canals, its style, its architecture, they are impressively beautiful. Unfortunately, Venezia is also (at least usually) overcrowded. But there are certainly times of the year that you can visit this city with more ease (late autumn for example). However, never, really never set foot in that city if you’ve arrived there on a cruise ship!

5. Urbino
This relatively less known city is positioned on a hill in Le Marche. It is an old renaissance city, which hosts renaissance festivals in summer. Very beautiful, since the buildings within the walls are no younger than the renaissance period. To visit this place, you’ll need some stamina though. It’s one steep climb to the top.

6. Siena
This is one of my favourites because of the Palio, the horse race that is held twice a year. Not that this horse race is a particularly friendly one, or that I have actually seen it, but the city is drenched in its preparation for it and that makes Siena a unique place to visit. And just like Urbino its historical centre has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

7. Vicenza
If you want to enjoy some amazing architecture in quiet, you go to Vicenza. The city is a lively one, but not at all crowded by masses of tourists. The train station is closely located to the city centre, which makes it also one of the more accessible places around. One of my favourites, because of its friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

8. Perugia
This one is very special to me, because it is apparently the place where my boyfriend and I could have met, if we had known each other then. We were both 17 years old and in the lovely city centre of Perugia in the middle of a Jazz festival on the exact same day (we know this because Italy was in the World Cup final that year and it makes it easier to trace back the date). As if it was meant to be. Now you might think that it’s not that strange for an Italian to be in Perugia, but my boyfriend had not really travelled anywhere at all at that age, so Perugia was pretty far away for him and I had also never been in Umbria before. But even without this story, Perugia is a wonderfully cute city.

9. Milano
Now, I wouldn’t necessarily call this city beautiful. But it’s a very exciting place to go to and when you’re discovering the city with the right people, it’s absolutely a lot of fun. Even when it rains. Yes, I would say that this is one of the cities that is still very enjoyable in bad weather. There is loads to visit. The Pinacoteca di Brera (art gallery) alone will take you more than four hours.

10. Firenze
I have to be honest. I remember this one only vaguely, but I wanted to add it anyway to this list, because I remember I was quite impressed by this city as a 14-year-old girl. This is not the age when you’re very interested in art and architecture, but it seemed not to matter. I thought it was a wonderful city and when I have the chance I’ll go back for a visit. I’ve noticed that I’m not too far removed from it, fortunately, so I’m sure we’ll be visting Firenze as soon as possible.

11. (As an extra treat) Salerno
Very closely located to the city where my boyfriend’s parents are living, so this is one of those places where we go to quite frequently to walk along the boulevard and enjoy the smell of the sea. Combine that with the often blue skies and you’ll have a wonderful day. The boulevard is nice, but the city centre is more special than you might think. A lot of people have the tendency to just drive by Salerno and think that it hasn’t got that much to offer, but I suggest to stop and take a good look around.

There are many more cities that are worth to discuss. For example, Orvieto, Pompei, Lucca, etc. There are also many more cities I would still like to visit; Treviso, Bari, Sicilia in its entirety with all its cities, etc.
So there will certainly be more posts following that will describe Italy’s jewels.

From Italy with love,

Merel