Italy is a country that has one of the richest cultures, the best foods, and the longest history in not just Europe, but the entire world. Birthplace of the pizza, origin of the Roman Empire, home to an untold number of artists, inventors, explorers, poets, philosophers, generals, kings, and religious figures that forever shaped our understanding of art, history, economy, and sciences as we know them, Italy is also home to some of the most beautiful cities you can visit.

Here are some of them.

 

  1. Verona

Most famous as the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, you can even visit the house that is purported the famous balcony where Romeo professed his love – Juliet’s House. Besides this romantic location, you can also visit the Verona Arena, a 1st century Roman amphitheater, where today concerts and operas are often performed.

Other places of note in Verona are: the top of the Torre dei Lamberti – from which you can view the entire city, and the tombs of the Scaligeri Family – who were the rulers of Verona in the 13th and 14th centuries.

 

  1. Bologna

You’ve no doubt heard about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but Bologna also boasts not one, but two leaning towers. The Two Towers (Le due torri) are the symbol of the city, having been constructed in the 12th century.

The Piazza Maggiore, Bologna’s central square, is surrounded on all sides by important historical buildings – the Pallazo d’Accursio, the Palazzo del Podesta, the Basilica di San Petronio, and the Palazzo Comunale. The Piazza del Nettuno, which houses the famous Fountain of Neptune, is also nearby.

 

  1. Naples

Close to Mount Vesuvius, the infamous volcano that destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii, Naples is filled with beautiful architecture. The Duomo di San Gennaro cathedral is full of stunning frescoes, and Castel Nuovo, erected in the 13th century, is a prominent example of medieval architecture.

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can climb Mount Vesuvius, or visit the ruins of Pompeii below.

 

  1. Florence

If you are a lover of Renaissance art, you should definitely visit Florence. Home to Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture, one of the defining sculptures of that period, the Uffizi Gallery also exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”

The Santa Maria del Fiore, which was, until new materials began to be used in modern construction, the largest dome in the world, is a Gothic-style cathedral, and it took almost six centuries for it to get completely built.

 

  1. Venice

Without a doubt, one of the unique cities in the world. Built on a series of islands which are connected by bridges and water channels, it’s home to many Renaissance and Gothic-styled palaces.

You can rent the iconic gondola boat and traverse the many canals of Venice yourself, or pay an experienced gondolier to do it instead, while you and your loved one bask in the sights of this naval city.