Italy has countless cities, each more beautiful than the next. Rome, Venice, Florence, Turin, Lecce… Our top 10.
Stroll between the ancient ruins of Rome or Verona, admire the Renaissance palaces in Florence or the Baroque in Lecce, sit in Piazza del Campo in Siena, smell the air of the lagoon by vaporetto in Venice or even watch the laundry dry at the windows in Naples like in a film by Vittorio de Sica… Whatever the season, the transalpine peninsula offers a promise of a change of scenery and Dolce Vita. Andiamo !
Rome, the eternal
The Italian capital fascinates with the juxtaposition of ancient monuments such as the Forum, the Pantheon or the Colosseum with sumptuous Renaissance and Baroque palaces. The best way to discover the city is to get lost in its historic center, which stretches from piazza di Spagna to Campo dei Fiori, passing through Piazza Navona to the Vatican, the smallest state in the world, governed by rules that belong to another time. By surveying the Sampietrini (the cobblestones of volcanic rock), you will have a good insight into Roman life as there are still small traders, neighborhood bars and trattoria authentic.
Florence, the Renaissance jewel
With its domes and its red tiled roofs, its famous inhabited bridge and its Renaissance palaces, the capital of Tuscany, entirely listed as a UNESCO heritage site, offers a concentration of open-air beauty. With no less than 50 museums and a quarter of the main works of art on the planet, Florence is a real destination in itself. Among the must-sees, the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery, the Piazza della Signoria… Walking through the heart of Florence, one cannot remain indifferent to such harmony of volumes. and perspectives but the other side of the river, the Oltrarno, is also worth a visit for its markets and the famous Boboli gardens.
Siena, medieval grace
Designed around Piazza del Campo, a huge cobbled shell with its Fountain of Joy, Florence’s great rival seems to have been frozen in time. Perfectly blending into the landscape of surrounding hills, Siena has retained its Gothic appearance with its typical brick facades and its towers like that of the Palazzo Pubblico or that of the Duomo, the sublime cathedral in white, green and red marble. By getting lost in the contrast (districts of Siena which clash every summer at the time of the palioage-old horse race), do not miss a trip to the Pinacoteca to admire the works of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini who influenced art in Europe.
Venice, the unclassifiable
Surrounded by water on which a changing light is reflected, the Serenissima is unique. Declared a city of lovers, with its Grand Canal, its gondolas, the Rialto Bridge, Saint Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and its pigeons, Venice never ceases to captivate us even if it borders on a tourist trap. Alongside the main thoroughfares, countless small canals bordering palaces, some inhabited others transformed into world-famous art galleries, such as the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation or the Palazzo Grassi. of a field on the other, you always end up discovering small churches, far from the crowds, housing a Tintoretto or a Tiepolo. In vaporettowe go to Murano, Burano or La Giudecca, the islands of the Venetian archipelago which have preserved their soul.
Turin, the beautiful Baroque
The Piedmont metropolis is a living city with a rich artistic heritage. First capital of reunified Italy, between 1861 and 1865, Turin is linked to the history of the House of Savoy with the development of Baroque art. The Carignano, Madama and Reale palaces are the most beautiful examples, as well as the marvelous Venaria Reale a few kilometers away. But Turin would not be what it is without the influence of the Agnelli dynasty, whose symbol is the Lingotto, the former vertical assembly line of the Fiat factory. Finally, it is in the city that the tradition of the aperitivo was born, still very much followed by Turinese seated on the terraces of cafés sipping a Martini and nibbling on antispasti.
Naples, the sensual
More than any other city in Italy, the capital of the Mezzogiorno is a sensory shock: the Neapolitans speak a voluble dialect, a mixture of Latin, Spanish, Arabic and even French, they get angry quickly and drive with honks. In Naples, the spectacle is as much in the street of the Quartieri Spagnoli and Spaccanapoli, popular heart of the city, as in the museums. If you had to choose one, choose the archaeological museum, ideal to complete the discovery of Pompeii, located a few metro stations away. To breathe the sea air, the Castel dell’Ovo, fortified citadel literally placed on the water, and its Borgo Marinaro are the best place to have a drink at sunset.
Palermo, the theatrical
Disconcerting and fascinating at the same time, Palermo does not leave you indifferent. If the dilapidation of certain districts may surprise, the Sicilian capital conceals treasures. Its churches, such as the Palatine Chapel, the Martorana or the cathedral, reflect the art of the fusion of Arab and Norman cultures, without forgetting the cathedral of Monréale, a few kilometers away, entirely lined with Byzantine mosaics. In the heart of the city, the beautiful Massimo theater was the location of the tragic final scene of Parain III. A gourmet city, Palermo has 4 large markets where sometimes violent smells mingle, the bright colors of sun-drenched fruits and the irresistible sweetness of Cassata, a fondant ricotta cake, the symbol of Sicily.
Bologna, the scholar
Nicknamed the “Dotta(the scholar), the capital of Emilia-Romagna has been home to a university for 1,000 years where many philosophers have been trained. Even today, it continues to shine in Europe. Starting from Piazza Maggiore, discover Bologna’s famous arcades forming a long ribbon through the city, its leaning towers and the impressive Basilica Santo Stefano, made up of 7 churches, chapels and a monastery, very fine examples of Roman art. You won’t leave town without eating tortellini served in chicken broth or Bolognese sauce. But forget the famous spaghetti which does not exist.
Lecce, the flamboyant
Often called the “Florence of the South”, the capital of Salento is however entirely baroque but like the Tuscan city it is full of masterpieces, refined palaces with honey-colored facades adorned with columns, statues and other fantastic animals, sculpted by virtuoso artists in the 17th century. In Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral and its incredible carved rose window form the quintessence of the Barocco Leccese. Stroll around in the late afternoon when the stone turns pink and push on to Piazza Sant’Oronzo, next to which are the remains of a 2nd-century Roman amphitheater. Also worth seeing is the castle of Charles V which houses the papier-mâché museum, a tradition of Puglia and Lecce in particular.
Verona, the romantic
Halfway between Milan and Venice, the city of Romeo and Juliet was made famous throughout the world by the Shakespearean tragedy. Even though Juliet’s balcony has hung in the Palazzo Cappello for barely a century, the myth persists and tourists flock to it. But Verona has much more to offer than two cursed lovers: extraordinary ancient sites including the famous bullring, a theater and an old forum transformed into a market, Piazza delle Erbe, charming squares surrounded by medieval palaces, ramparts, beautiful bell towers and tasty wines because the province of Verona produces some of the best wines in Italy, including the famous Valpolicella.