Before you plan your trip to Italy, take a moment to learn more about Italy’s cities and regions.
Italy’s Largest Cities and Map
The top 5 largest cities in Italy are, in order of population (2019 estimate):
- Rome (pop. 2,837,332)
- Milan (1,396,059)
- Naples (962,589)
- Turin (870,952)
- Palermo (657,960)
- Time between Turin and Milan: Circa 2 hours by car on the A4; around 1.5 hours by train
- Time between Milan and Rome: Circa 3.5 hours by train and 6 hours by car
- Time between Rome and Naples: Circa 2 hours by car and 1 hour by train
Check train rates and schedules:
- Trenitalia & Freccia High Speed Trains – State-run train service
- Italo Treno – High-speed rail service from private company
- Italy by Train – Eurail Passes
- Italy by Train – Interrail Passes
- Save a Train – Search and book Italian and European trains
Planning to see Italy by car?
- Learn more about driving in Italy
- Rent a car from Europcar
- Rent a car from AutoEurope
12 Most Popular Cities to Visit in Italy
- Assisi. Site of the Basilica of Saint Francis.
- Bologna. Culinary capital and regional capital of Emilia-Romagna. Home of the oldest university in Europe.
- Florence. Jewel of the Italian Renaissance and capital of the region of Tuscany.
- Genoa. Ancient harbor city.
- Milan. Financial and fashion capital of Italy.
- Naples. City in shadow of Mt. Vesuvius and birthplace of pizza.
- Palermo. Capital of Sicily.
- Pisa. Home of the Leaning Tower.
- Rome. Italian capital known for its ancient ruins like the Colosseum and the Forum.
- Siena. Tuscan city south of Florence, known for its medieval horse race.
- Turin. Home of industry and former capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
- Venice. The famous city of canals and former seat of the Venetian Republic.
Assisi, located in the region of Umbria, is a major place of pilgrimage. Here you will find the Basilica of St. Francis, named after Italy’s patron saint.
Bologna is an elegant town in Emilia-Romagna known for its gastronomy, arcaded walkways, and the University of Bologna, the oldest university in Italy, which was founded in 1088.
Florence (Firenze) is one of the most visited cities in Italy. It is known for its Renaissance art and architecture, which includes its cathedral and the Uffizi Galleries. Michelangelo’s David is located in Florence’s Accademia.
Genoa, Genova in Italian, is a port city in Liguria. Among its highlights are UNESCO-listed palaces on the Via Garibaldi and its harborside aquarium.
Milan is Italy’s financial and fashion hub. Its Gothic cathedral is the second largest church on the Italian peninsula.
Naples (Napoli) is an ancient city built in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Its archeological museum, with treasures from nearby Pompeii, is popular with tourists. But it’s biggest draw is its food, particularly pizza.
Palermo, Sicily’s capital, has long been a crossroads of many peoples, a fact that is reflected in its Arab-Norman churches and palaces. It is also a fantastic city for food.
Pisa, home of the Leaning Tower, is popular as a day trip from Florence. But it’s also a city with a rich artistic patrimony and maritime tradition.
Rome, the Italian capital, is home to the Colosseum, the Forum, and hundreds of ruins, museums, and must-see churches. Vatican City, a city-state located within the confines of Rome, is where you will find Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Pope.
Siena, located in Tuscany, is another day trip from Florence, though it merits a visit on its own because of its Duomo and medieval art and architecture. Its traditional horse race — the Palio, run twice during the summer — is a hugely popular event.
Turin (Torino) is Italy’s fourth-largest city and is known for the famous “Shroud,” which is rarely on display. But Turin has much more to offer, including its Savoy palace, Egyptian museum, and the distinctive Mole Antonelliana, from which you can see views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Venice is famous for its canals, which help give the water-borne city an otherworldly feel. In addition to its traditional sights, like Saint Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs, Venice is known for the Biennale contemporary arts festival.
Best Cities to Live in Italy
Each year, the Italian paper Il Sole 24 releases a ranking of 110 Italian cities (i.e., provincial capitals and metropolitan areas) according to a number of factors including artistic patrimony, public transportation, availability and affordability of fresh food, crime, housing prices, youth unemployment, and more. Here are some of the most recent rankings on the best places to live in Italy:
- Best Places to Live in Italy 2022: Bologna
- Best Place to Live in Italy 2021: Trieste
- Best Place to Live in Italy 2020: Bologna
- Best Place to Live in Italy 2019: Milan
- Best Place to Live in Italy 2018: Milan
- Best Place to Live in Italy 2017: Aosta