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Of all the places you have seen in Italy, which was your favorite ?

What place just blew you away ?

Where do you want to see again and again ?

What place captures your heart ?

Can’t wait to hear all your answers ?

Posted by
10265 posts

Venice (but this was years ago, it's getting more crowded, expensive, and less thrilled to be inundated by tourists)

Posted by
867 posts


But seriously; Ravello, Bellagio, Montalcino, Florence......we have visited these multiple times. Agrigento, Palermo, Taormina, Ortygia....we would go back to these in a heart beat.

Posted by
6047 posts

Not necessarily in this order:

The mosaics at Ravenna.

First view of the grand canal and piazza San Marco in Venice.

All of Sicily.

Posted by
818 posts

Pompeii! I loved it and could go back and spend more time. Rome. So much history.

Posted by
109 posts

Some tiny side street in Venice.
Some tiny piazza in Rome.

Some tiny restaurant in Florence.
The tiny city of Sienna.

A tiny building in Pompeii.

I don’t remember the macro bit rather the small details that stand out. The best picture I took was in Pisa...although Venice, and Rome...hmmm

Posted by
230 posts

Maremma (way southern Tuscany, Pitigliano way).

Posted by
4506 posts

So many beautiful places, so little time...

There hasn’t been any place I’ve visited in Italy that I didn’t like, but my favorite places are (not in any particular order):
Ravenna, Verona, Cinque Terre (before the cruise ships arrived), Florence, Venice, Stresa, Cannobio, Varenna, Lucca, Siena, Orvieto, Assisi, Montefalco, Bevagna, Spello, Rome, Palermo, Monreale, Segesta, Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, Ortigia, and Lipari.

My bucket list just keeps growing!

Happy travels! 😉

Posted by
1460 posts

What place just blew you away ?
Dinner in Catania at a tiny restaurant (edited to add: La Locanda Cerami) that uses the stairway of a tucked away church for their outdoor seating.
A glass of wine and people watching in any piazza in Italy. Oh, and Krakow - that's in Italy, right?

Favorite food memories in Italy:
my first pizza in Italy (Florence); there's never been a better pizza!
dinner in Varenna along the lake promenade

Where do you want to see again and again ?

(added) Where would I want to live?
Sicily (I'd grow lemon trees and sit on my terrace all day long and drink coffee; oh wait, I already do that in the Bay Area!)

What place captures your heart ?
Ortigia, Ravenna/Lake Como

Posted by
13972 posts

Venice, hands down. Every time I visit I find new places that charm me and food that delights me.

There's hardly a place I've been to in Italy that I wouldn't return to gladly. But there are so many more that I still haven't seen.

Posted by
5 posts

Swimming in Manarola. Climbing the tower in Pisa. Basilica Santa Croce in Florence where Galileo and Michelangelo are laid to rest. I could stare endlessly at any Bernini sculpture- especially the ones at the borghese in Rome. And Rome itself. Love Rome. Standing in front of the ancient mosaic of the Battle of Alexander at the archaeology museum in Naples.

Posted by
1722 posts

Interesting that on our first trip, we toured some of the tiny medieval villages above Taormina, Sicily--Castelmola, Savoca, Forza D'Agro--and remarked that it couldn't get any better than that. And this was before I had seen anything on the mainland!

For awhile, I thought Florence had my heart, and it still does...if it weren't for those darn throngs of tourists that, even in March, have you walking around them virtually at every turn. I'll gladly return for a 3rd time at some point, but only during the off-season during the week.

My first stay in Rome--which I had shortened to spend more time in Florence--was basically two days of running around on the Hop-on-Hop-off bus, seeing the Vatican and not much else. A pretty big meh, and I didn't really want to return. Then some Chicago acquaintances said, oh--we winter in Rome (which baffled yet intrigued me) and asked us to visit a couple of winters ago. OK, we rented an apartment for a week at the end of February, dutifully purchased a weekly bus/Metro pass at a tabacchi shop upon our arrival, and were left to our own devices. Call us when you're settled in, they said.

We saw our friends about every other day, but otherwise just lived. Do as the Romans do, they say. OK, we got up, took a brisk walk along the Tiber, stopped for a caffe (the barista knew our faces the 2nd day--how cool), shopped at the market, came back to our little apartment & had breakfast while we would decide how to spend the day. Not having to worry about lines--if being offseason and also in my opinion Rome absorbs tourists better than any other Italian city--we had a blank canvas & a good map. Oh, let's go over there and see St. Peter-in-Chains. Let's visit Villa Torlonia (Mussolini's wartime residence) up near our friends by Porta Pia. All we saw riding the buses, lunching at cafes, doing laundry, were Romans living their lives. It never, ever seemed like we were among tourists. We literally ate it up.

So...if the OP's litmus test is 'where would you spend an extended period of time'--which in my eyes constitutes a 'favorite place in Italy', I'm picking Roma hands down.

Posted by
3811 posts

Venice will always have a piece of my heart - love at first sight - seriously - walked out the train stn doors and BOOM! We've been 4 times, but haven't been since 2014 (haven't been to Italy either since 2014 - it doesn't seem like it's been that long), so we are going back in Sept for another 4 nights.

I've enjoyed other places as well in Italy - Cinque Terre (before the crowds ruined it), Amalfi Coast (which we didn't spend enough time on but I'm toying with returning next year)...even Rome in all it's noisy glory, but it'll always be Venice for me.

Posted by
2298 posts
  1. Rome for the amazing layers of history.

  2. Siracusa - the island neighborhood of Ortygia for pleasant strolling and great sea views.

  3. Venice just after sunrise before anyone is up but the light is beautiful.

Posted by
1516 posts

Whereever I am at in Italy at that moment.

Two weeks ago, Tuscany; Florence, Lucca, Maremma area of Tuscany, and Civita Bagnoregio.

Today, it's Verbania on Lago Maggiore, the town we call now home.

Posted by
187 posts

Venice and Positano are the two places in Italy that when I think about them, I still get goosebumps.

Posted by
37 posts

My best travel day ever was having a private guide take me around Tuscany visiting monasteries, eating authentic food, taking me to his hometown, visiting little cities with no tourists. 20 years later, I remember every detail of that day.

Posted by
208 posts

Unfair question, too difficult: Will try my best.
To live? Siena - I just love the place - the landscape, the architecture, the history - but most of all the spirit of community.
To visit repeatedly? Rome, I never run out of things to do there.
Single favourite site? Pompeii just edges out Ravenna or the Mosaics at Piazza Armerina in Sicily.
City I liked far more than I expected? Turin

Overall, I've loved nearly everywhere I've been in Italy.

Posted by
1655 posts

What place captures your heart ?
Florence. There's a reason.

The first time I was in Europe was on a high school People to People tour of Europe. There were 8 of us from our town, 4 boys and 4 girls. Our chaperone was my best friend's mom. She was a high school science teacher.

We had several pre-trip meetings where the group go to know each other. There was a cute 14 year old girl who caught me eye. The trip started in Belgium and worked south. After a few days, she and I started hanging out together.

By the time we got to Florence, we were an item. On August 10, 1966, around 8:30 at night, we shared our first kiss. The last time I kissed her was this morning as I left for work.

We returned to Florence 50 years later and shared another kiss (or two). Six months after returning to Florence, we joined my best friend and his wife and covered the German leg of the first trip.

Posted by
9421 posts

The Alpe di Siusi still takes my breath away as it did on our first visit in 2012. We have been there 8 times now and will go again in 2020, God willing.

Venice always calls to me. 11 visits now, I think, 3 as long as a week each. Not sure when we will go back but I visit in my dreams. I’d love to spend a month.

Posted by
2393 posts

Florence is my #2 favorite of anywhere I've ever been. (Charleston is #1). It's such a great place just to walk around with lots of interesting things to see.

Posted by
3462 posts

I've been extremely fortunate to have had 15 trips to Italy, this because my daughter and granddaughter lived there. Lots of free lodging. Most trips have been three weeks to just over a month. Our excursions between 6-10 days. With "vacations" to Paris, Prague and Barcelona and many short 3-4 night trips to Tuscany and Rome.

My favorites have been more of a snapshot in time. Some years stick in my mind for various reasons.

My first visit to the Cinque Terre in 2004 when they were still sleepy villages.
Piazza San Marco... 2005 when daughter and 3 yr old grandaughter, both of them feeding the pigeons engulfed by birds.
2008 hiking the stairs up to the top of Gianni Franzi rooms, 129 stairs, sister had hurt her shoulder the night before, so I had my carry on and her backpack. Whew!
The views over Naples and the bay from Castel Sant'Elmo. Caserta Palace and Gardens, first views of Ostuni & Cascate Del Mulino, Castel stay in Centola overlooking the bay by Palinuro.
Our sea view apartment in Polignano a Mare, my first visit to Castellina. Then the gardens, Boboli,
La Foce and Villa D'Este.

Posted by
7735 posts

We keep going back to Rome (6th time will be next month) so that tells you something. But the one I fell in love with was Assisi during their Calendimaggio festival.

Posted by
74 posts

Rome. As I always tell my DH, there's a new adventure around every corner. Have been to Rome three times in the past 10 years, will go again in the next few, God willing. Also adore Venice, its like nowhere else I've ever been.

Posted by
936 posts

DougMac, you old romantic you, your lovely tale tugged at my heartstrings. I was also fourteen on my first trip to mainland Europe, just north of Metz with my Welsh grandparents and one of my many elder, uglier brothers, who is terribly handsome nonetheless. I have also been lucky in love, married to the same fortunate woman for over thirty years, though I don't recall the exact date of our marriage.

To the matter at hand, The Garden of Ninfa, followed closely by many others, particularly Pienza and sunset in Assisi.

Posted by
5738 posts

Italian Lakes
Umbria Tuscany

Posted by
1450 posts

hey photobearsam
good question and lots of answers
first trip to europe, spent 5 days and then boarded new cruise ship, carnival splendor for a 17 transatlantic cruise to florida (fabulous). stopped in wine shop near pantheon, first taste of lemoncello, OMG and probably tasted every bottle in that shop.
day trip from rome to ride a train. crazy and fun time there.
stayed a week in san polo area before boarding a ship to cruise the greek isles. 3rd trip two years ago.
conegliano outside venice, did a private tour on prosecco road. stunning countryside and small villages, lots of prosecco tasting, great guide and fun times.
on lago di garda. spent night at hotel nettuno to attend their annual wine festival (festa dell' uva). wine, food, music, fireworks, lake view, great people everywhere. fantastic and fun until hotel maids came to clean room at noon and we were still sleeping haha

Posted by
74 posts

Venice without a doubt.

I'll never forget walking down the front steps of the train station the first time we were there, enchanting.

Posted by
303 posts

The first place that blew us away was Paris. What a magical city! Getting off the beaten path there during a Paris Walks tour and discovering the charm of Paris on that level. Then we went to the Amalfi Coast and spent a glorious morning and early afternoon in Ravello. My husband and I looked at each other at one point and decided that it didn't get any better than this. That was true until we spent 4 days on Lake Como in Varenna. This experience has been most recent so the feeling of sheer joy is still palpable. Oh, but Venice! Picture perfect weather in late April, early May and the peace of exploring the side canals and Campos. We stumbled upon a large group of college students celebrating their graduation, and they had us join in! Lots of singing, dancing and champagne! We will never forget that experience. I think it's fair to say that we each create special memories of being anywhere in Europe.

Posted by
280 posts

What place just blew you away ?
Arriving in Roma (first time in Italy) in the evening and seeing the uplit buildings, columns & statues for the very first time!

Where do you want to see again and again ?
Venezia! We always discover something or somewhere new to explore. The Grand canal at 6:00 am can be as magical as it is at 10:00 pm.

What place captures your heart ?
Le Cinque Terre. We first visited in September of 2006 without reservations! Now we reserve far in advance for a very special apartment with a huge sea front terrace in Riomaggiore. (3 months and definitely counting)

With that said, some of our best memories have been made in small non touristed towns and villages and unexpected stops throughout our travels in Italy.

Posted by
55 posts

What place blew you away?

The Dolomites, Lago di Garda/Maggiore/Como, mosaics in Ravenna

Where do you want to see again and again?

Pretty much everywhere in Italy. Even Milan which I didn't care for on my first trip is now a place I enjoy returning to.

What place captures your heart?

The tiny village in the Veneto where my grandparents were born. It was so surprising to me to feel a connection with the place; Assisi for the sense of peace found there; the beauty of the mountains and lakes in the north

Posted by
1491 posts

Love it, Roberto! Need to put La California on my list!

Posted by
1018 posts

My favorite place in Italy is where I'm at that moment.

Buon viaggio,

Posted by
4506 posts

Great post! .
I’m curious... What are your answers?
[They don’t have to be in Italy] 😉

Posted by
3389 posts

What place just blew you away ? Venice - each time we have been there. It’s so special to both my husband & I that he said I couldn’t go there without him during my solo trip last year. The mosaics at Ravenna were also stunning!

Where do you want to see again and again ? Listed in order - Venice, Stresa, Arezzo, Montepulciano, Ravenna, Verona, Siena, Torino, the Dolomites, Cinque Terre as it was years ago.

What place captures your heart ? “The place” that touched my heart the most was the cathedral in Parma. The islands & surrounding area at Stresa are my favorite peaceful, “captured my heart” location.

Posted by
61 posts

Volterra just blew us away, loved that little town.

We would go to Lake Como; Bellagio, Varenna, whatever, again and again and again....! Such a beautiful and relaxing place.

Cinque Terre will capture your heart if you get over the crowds! Stealing a kiss on the beach off Monteresso al Mare beach after dinner, with the other coastal towns lights gleaming like pearls in the distance, listening to the surf, hopefully sipping some wine, no one is around then....

Posted by
1 posts

Herculaneum (1) and Pompeii (2). Blew me away AND stole my heart. I've been twice now and would go again in a second. In my dream world, I volunteer at Herculaneum for about 2 months doing whatever, see some of the things not available to tourists, and learn more indepth. What I didn't do the 2nd trip to Italy and would definitely do the next time is explore the Adriatic coast. While less dramatic, I think it's just as beautiful as the Mediterranean side without the heavy tourist load.

Posted by
1514 posts

Many, many great memories of my travels.

~ Setting foot in Sicily where my family came from. Beautiful! Walking the neighborhoods they walked.

~ Visiting my friend up North.

~ Visiting Rome. The minute I set foot in it, I felt at home.

One night, a friend was walking with me back to my hotel. We had come from the Trevi, approaching the Termini area. As we passed by the statue of the Pope, my friend pointed out the huge building behind, forget the name now and how it was decorated with Christmas lights starting from the roof. As we admired the beauty and magic of the lights, he said, "bella." The lights gave the illusion that it was "raining with glistening, golden stars."

~ Saint Peter's Basilica x 10!! I visited the Church a number of times while in Rome. I will never forget my beautiful experience witnessing the Pope officiate the Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, last year. It's free but you need a special invite ticket. I got mine by Intervention? happenstance? at the little gift shop just outside the Basilica but still on the property. Seeing the Pope and all the Priests and the ceremony was stunning. Receiving Communion in St. Peter's? Priceless memory. The music groups that night were terrific. I am so glad that it was recorded so I can watch and relive the memory from time to time.

Experiences, meeting friends or visits to attractions and discovering new will always hold special memories within its own.

Posted by
164 posts

Late to the game, but....
Is there anything more awe-inspiring than the Dolomites? " John Muir said it best, "The mountains are calling, and I must go."
But, DougMac has the best reason for choosing Florence.
Dougmac, I'm a sucker for "...and they lived happily ever after" so you also win for the best "how we met" story, even though this post is about Italy.

Posted by
5035 posts

Florence is where I'd want to live. Sicily is where I want to go back and visit.

Posted by
7 posts

Florence. As a family of 4 we stayed five nights in the Oltrarno in a cozy apartment close to the Porta di San Frediano. It was lovely leaving the hordes of people at the end of the day retreating into the back streets of the Oltranro. Safe, pleasant, and an easy walk across a bridge to all the touristy sites. Florence is best enjoyed slowly especially in the summer heat. A summer with my husband and teenage children I will never forget.

Posted by
291 posts

Holy smokes, this is a tough one! In no particular order...

  • Ostia Antica. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for castles, ruins, and the like. The scale and scope of Ostia Antica made it a treat, and it gives you a Pompeii-ish look in to every day life in ancient Rome, without nearly the Pompeii-ish crowds.
    • Venice. Everywhere you turn is a book cover-worthy image and postcard view. It truly is a city like no other.
    • Florence. Strolling through the narrow, medieval streets really puts you through a timewarp.
    • Cinque Terre. There's a reason likely every photo or video you've seen of the area looks so remarkable. The steep, rugged coastline; the bright, colorful buildings; the brilliantly blue water all combine for awesome views. Each of the villages are small enough to explore well, and they're easy enough to get to from one another - while each having distinct looks and feels - that you won't run out of things to get blown away by.
Posted by
333 posts

Haven't been to that many places in Italy, but Perugia stands out for me. Visited my sister there when she was studying at the University of Foreigners there in the summer of 1984, and there was something magical about it. The city itself, with its blend of locals and students, the Corso Vanucci at night with everyone out doing the evening passegiata, gelato stracchiatelli, the Umbrian surroundings. Perhaps being young and impressionable had something to do with it, but made for an incredible couple of weeks.

Posted by
111 posts

Watching the Vogalonga rowing regatta on the Grand Canal in May.
Vivaldi Concert at La Pieta church.
View from the upper loggia of St Mark's Basilica.
The natural lighting in Venice is beautiful!
Gelato and walking along the Fondamenta Zattere.

Monterosso al Mare in the Cinque Terre

Florence - seeing the Ponte Vecchio at sunset, strolling in Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza della Signori, seeing the David statue at Accademia

Sorrento - view from Bellevue Syrene Hotel, sunset over the Bay of Naples in Sorrento, strolling in the Centro Storico

Boat ride from Positano to Amalfi Town

Seeing Da Vinci's Last Supper painting in Milan

Isola Bella, Stresa - seeing the peacock and beautiful gardens of Palazzo Borromeo

Posted by
1107 posts

After something like 58 trips to Italy, places I do or would visit again and again are:
Monte Sant'Angelo.

Posted by
688 posts

What gorgeous and amazing stories, I love the kiss this awesome.

I went on a school blink you miss it drive by sites on a bus trip back in 1990 my last year of high school. nothing really stands out. It was OK.

In 2015, after many hard years (operations, delays, a death in the family) we finally went to France on a 26 day trip that I had planned for years, We invited my mom to come along.

The small village of Saint Hyppolyte just outside of Colmar as we drove through to get to Haute Koenigsburg Castle on a beautiful October day, seeing all the vines turned yellow,......rows and rows.

Walking up to the Vimy war memorial and imagining what the Canadian Soldiers at that time went through to ensure freedom.

Honfleur at sunset and the reflections of the boats and the buildings on the water. It gives me goosebumps.

Driving into the grounds of Chateau Du Bois Guy outside Fougeres France. It was the place I wanted to stay at the most and it was magical. So worth the splurge.

Visiting the abandoned castle called Chateau De la Mothe Chandeniers in France because we believe my ancestor might have paid his taxes there. It said do not trespass in French but i pretended I did not know it....LOL It was magical to think we were somewhere not many people visit. Now there has been a Crowdfunding effort that has purchased that Chateau in order to restore it. At Christmas 2017, I gave a Share of that Chateau to my husband as a gift...... and he turned around and handed me an envelope with a share of that Chateau for me as a gift. Birds of a feather. We now own a part of our french Chateau forever.

Watching my Mom' face light up as she saw the view of the Eiffel tower from her room at our Airbnb in France. She was so happy and I felt like I made that happen.

Lizzard Cornwall even in the Rain.....So cute and we loved the area but not the single lane roads.

Caernarfon Castle in October almost all to ourselves, It was so pretty and peaceful.

Seeing the Cliffs of Dover on a pretty November day. Worth the walk along the cliffs.

Watching my Mom freak out when the London Eye car she was trying to get on went to fast for her......She YELPED.....She said I forced her to get on and didn't speak to me for the duration of the experience but I caught her smiling.....

Surprising my Mom with a semi private tour and tea at Highcler Castle so she could say she went to Downton Abbey was worth every penny.

Peggy's Cove NS on any day you are fortunate enough to visit.

The Grand Canyon South Rim in February even with the snow on the ground. Only the ocean can come close to making you feel this small.

I can't wait to make more memories.

We were supposed to go to Ireland this fall but this Brexit/Riots in Derry etc are making my Mom nervous. She asked for a backup plan. So I am planning Italy and the Danube as 2 possible areas of backups.

So we might do Italy this fall and push Ireland to next fall.

I can't wait to see Positano, Venice, Pisa. Lake Como, Scaliger Castle in Sirmione, the Vatican, San many I can't wait.

We will hopefully be there for 30 days at the last half of October and the first part of November. I am just starting to plan but I can't wait.

Thank you all so much for sharing. You are all so nice.

Posted by
3811 posts

photobearsam - I'm contemplating seeing if my mom wants to come back to Italy with us next year. She came with us in 2014 to Amalfi, Rome and Venice. She fell in love with Amalfi (as much as I tried to get her to fall in love with Venice). It's not something she'd ever do on her own (dad has been gone 8 yrs now and he wouldn't have gone anyway) and she said something earlier this year when I was discussing our upcoming trip in Sept.

She said - if you ever go back to the Amalfi Coast - take me with you.

Well, that got the wheels turning. I haven't broached the subject with my husband yet. I'll wait until this year's trip is done. Mom will be 72 this year, and she's still in good shape (she walks 60-90 min almost every day with her sister). I'm toying with a return to Amalfi, then Florence and Lake Como. My husband had no issues with her coming last time so I think he'd be ok with it.

Posted by
109 posts

"Venice will always have a piece of my heart - love at first sight - seriously - walked out the train stn doors and BOOM!"

That's exactly how I felt. Wow! I had absolutely NO expectations, but I loved Venice the moment I walked out of the train station and saw the hubbub of activity in the canal. I just stood there for about five minutes to take it all in.

Also, Bernini's work in the Borghese Galleria. IMHO there is nothing made by humans on this Earth more beautiful that Apollo and Daphne or Pluto and Persephone. I had the same breathless experience when I saw them for the first time as I did when I exited the train station in Venice.

Lastly, the Pantheon. Standing under the dome and thinking that it's been continuously used as a place of worship for 2,000 years -- and it was built by engineers who had the crudest of writing instruments to calculate the dome. Wow!

Posted by
7 posts

Florence is must see! You can wander for days and enjoy the history and art. We are going back this year and 8 days of our trip will be spent in Florence and surrounding area. Everyone is understandably sad now that Notre Dame caught fire. The Duomo in Florence is even a greater feat of architecture. I am a photographer and the endless beauty of Florence was amazing.

J. Kibsey

Posted by
235 posts

Rome (all of it, especially the Vatican and the Pantheon neighborhood)
Tuscan towns

Posted by
173 posts

when I see the cliffs of Sorrento...on the drive in from Napoli...I just know I have to come back

The Pantheon in Rome blows me away every time I see it. I could sit by the fountain in the piazza and stare at it for hours. It is so amazing inside as well. Nearly 2000 years old! Wow!

Places I want to see again: Assissi, Rome, Sorrento, Pompeii, Florence, San Gimignan, Old Certaldo, Siena, Cortona and ore.

What captures my heart? All of Italy, the people and the beautiful language.

Posted by
104 posts

I ran out of time after living in Italia for 18 months, based in Orvieto. My faithful companion, Jake (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that is the best traveler in the world) joined me as I drove 320,000 kilometers in a very used Alfa Romeo station wagon on both coasts, criss crossing the country and changing my mind about how long to stay in my favorite places.

Narni - beautiful little town with the best church - relics of saints line the side aisles, including a glass casket of a saint who has never decomposed (forget her name - sorry), a crypt and stunning art work. Great pizza!

Varenna on Lake Como - beautiful and charming town with wonderful restaurants on the water.

Rimini and Sirolo - on the Adriatic. Rimini for architecture and history. Sirolo for the tiny restaurant on the sand with the Adriatic 30 feet from your feet, serving the best fresh seafood you will ever eat!

Tivoli - with Villa d'Este and Hadrian's Villa - two remarkable sites: Este with its grand palazzo and magical gardens with hundreds and hundreds of fountains. Hadrian's for the city size ancient Roman ruins that are remarkably preserved. Pompeii was a disappointment for me. Too bad the majority of its antiquities were moved to museums in other countries.

Monte Argentario - on the Mediterranean with two towns of pastel villas perched along the hills, the magic of the water and the lack of cruise ship tourists! Avoid in July and August, but May and June are spectacular!!

And of course,