Five Beautiful Italian Cities to Visit (if You’ve Done Rome)

Five Beautiful Italian Cities to Visit (if You’ve Done Rome)

Done Rome and Venice? Get ready to eat your way around Bologna’s family-run trattorias and drink in Verona’s sorbet-coloured sunsets, after reading our guide to the five beautiful Italian cities to explore next.

be hard pressed to find a bad angle of Italy, a destination dotted with crumbling
piazzas, pastel-hued hamlets and rolling countryside scattered with
orchards and olive groves. But, while most make tracks for
Florence’s artistic abundance or Rome’s famous fountains, it’s the
smaller, under-appreciated cities that we’re craving. You know, the
sort of places where trattorias share centuries-old family recipes;
where squares come alive after dark with live music and dancing;
where quirky independent shops and hotels are the norm; and where
festivals bring the whole community together? Well, we’ve found
them. Read on for the lowdown on five breathtaking Italian cities ripe for discovery.

Five stunning Italian cities to fall in love with

Bologna, Italy


Italy’s unofficial culinary capital, Bologna is beloved by
foodies – the Emilia-Romagna region is the birthplace of lasagne,
tortellini, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar, to name but a
few. Start your tour of this beautiful city with a stroll beneath
the terracotta tiles of Piazza Maggiore, before swinging by the
gorgeous, 1200-built Palazzo del Podestà. From there, head to the
Quadrilatero, Italy’s oldest food market, or, alternatively, treat
yourself to a five-course feast at local favourite Banco 32
restaurant – the kitchen-facing bar is worth a visit alone. Grub
aside, this city is home to the world’s oldest university, so
expect to rub shoulders with crowds of achingly cool bright young

Where to stay: Porta San

Perugia, Italy


Bordered by Tuscany, Lazio and Marche, Perugia is exactly what
you’d imagine a traditional Italian city to look like – all tangled
olive groves, sprawling vineyards and renovated farmhouses. Despite
its relatively remote location, the Umbrian capital draws crowds
for its annual chocolate festival, in October, which offers
experimental chocolate tastings, workshops and artisan markets –
there are even chocolate-themed spa days and climbing walls. Sound
too sickly? Perugia also hosts the Umbria Jazz Festival (usually in
July), which fills the air with sounds almost as sweet as the taste
of chocolate.

Where to stay: Castello di

Matera, Italy


Bond fans will no doubt recognise Matera from its starring role
in No Time to Die – for others, kindly let us introduce you to one
of Italy’s most magical ancient sites. Situated in the country’s
south, this hilltop city is seemingly cut into two by the sparkling
Gravina River. With its clusters of limestone-cave villas, in the
Sassi area, winding dirt-track roads and great swathes of verdant
terrain, the Unesco World Heritage site has, unsurprisingly, become
a popular big-screen backdrop. To make the most of its rugged
landscape, base yourself at Le Grotte della Civita, where you can
bed down in a centuries-old cave.

Where to stay: Le Grotte della Civita

Bari, Italy


Though it’s best known as the gateway to Puglia, the coastal
city of Bari is an idyllic spot for a getaway in its own right. In
the old town, sun-drenched passageways are lined with stone-faced
villas, iron balconies and shuttered windows; in the Murat quarter,
a bevy of independent boutiques and sleek bars make for a
sophisticated set-up. History buffs should save time to check out
the 12th-century Castello Normanno-Svevo, a former palace and
prison, while those looking for a hit of sun and sea should skip
straight to the secluded sands of Cala Porto. Whatever your vibe,
be sure to snag a seafood platter from one of the eateries along
Lungomare, Bari’s waterfront promenade.

Where to stay: Palazzo Calò

Verona, Italy


Home to more than just Romeo and Juliet, Verona is undeniably
one of the most romantic of Italy’s cities. Ramble across one of
the seven bridges that span the Adige River, visit the oldest
still-operating library in Europe, Biblioteca Capitolare, and catch
an opera at the intimate Teatro Filarmonico. If you’re planning to
visit for longer, consider volunteering with the Juliet Club, a
quaint institution that sees an army of letter-writers sending love
advice to heartbroken correspondents from across the globe.

Where to stay: Palazzo Monga

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