The most beautiful cities in Italy to visit | Tips by locals

Nowadays we are dreaming about Italy even more. Sometimes we miss the delicious food, amazing weather and historical architecture. In this guide, we want to help you discover the most beautiful cities in Italy. We will start from the South of Italy and going through all the most beautiful places in Italy without missing the most important ones. 

When planning a trip to Italy, it’s hard to decide where you want to go. We know that there are so many places that everyone wishes to visit. For us, it’s the same. We still have a couple of cities in our Italian bucket list which soon will be crossed out. Enjoy a virtual trip to Italy thanks to our pictures and discover all the most beautiful cities of Italy.

Siena, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy
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Most beautiful cities of Italy 

This will be an alternative guide. Usually, people start their lists going from the North to the South but our guide of the most beautiful places in Italy will be the opposite. 

We will start from Sardinia, the beautiful island in Italy, followed by Sicily and then going up towards Venice. Now, let’s explore the most beautiful cities in Italy!

  • Cagliari
  • Cefalù
  • Palermo 
  • Catania
  • Matera
  • Bari
  • Brindisi
  • Ostuni
  • Naples
  • Salerno
  • Rome 
  • Perugia
  • Siena
  • Florence
  • Pisa
  • Ravenna
  • Rimini
  • Bologna
  • Parma
  • Milan
  • Bergamo
  • Trento
  • Turin
  • Verona
  • Venice

Most beautiful cities in Italy to visit 

Cagliari - beautiful places to visit in Italy
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Cagliari | Sardinia

Let’s start from the beautiful island of Sardinia. Cagliari is situated on the southern coast of the island and every year offers outstanding landscapes combined with great activities and relaxing beaches. Why is it considered one of the most beautiful cities in Italy? Have you ever seen Poetto beach? It’s one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean but what makes this city worth visiting is even the culture, the activities, the architecture and the old ancient part of the city.

Top things to visit in Cagliari

  • Poetto Beach
  • Cagliari Cathedral
  • Torre dell’Elefante 
  • Bastione Saint Remy
  • Archeological Museum 
Cefalu, Sicily one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Italy
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Cefalù | Sicily

Cefalù will be one of those cities where you want to stay as long as possible. It’s one of our favourite towns in Sicily and even one of the most beautiful places in Italy.

Located 70km east of Palermo, Cefalù is a medieval town which attracts today many tourists. You can’t leave Sicily without visiting this gorgeous town. Make sure you rent a car and enjoy an amazing road trip in Sicily.

Cefalù has some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy and amazing weather, but there are so many things worth visiting while in the city. Remember that every gem in Italy got a particular history and culture behind. Below you will find the top attractions in Cefalù which you can’t miss visiting.

Top things to do in Cefalù

  • Cefalù Cathedral
  • Rocca di Cefalù
  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Ponte Pescara
  • Diana Temple
Palermo City one of the most beautiful places in Italy
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Palermo | Sicily

In our list of the most beautiful coastal cities in Italy, we couldn’t skip Palermo, the capital of Sicily. If you love history and architecture this is the right place for you as this city has its own fascinating story. It’s true, all Italian cities are beautiful and worth visiting but Palermo will leave you speechless especially if you are visiting Palazzo Abatellis which host amazing Renaissance artwork.

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Top things to do in Palermo

  • Palermo Cathedral
  • Quattro Canti Square
  • Norman Palace
  • Cappella Palatina
  • Zisa Castle 
Catania, Mount Etna - Most beautiful places in Italy
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Mount Etna, Catania

Catania | Sicily

The second-largest city in Sicily, Catania is located on the east coast facing the Ionian Sea.

You might know this city for its nearby Mount Etna which devastated the city several times especially during 1669. If you love trekking and hiking, consider reserving a ticket here.

However, Catania is also famous for its culture, architecture, history and especially for its gastronomy. In fact, if you wish to have a real taste of Sicily, you can book a private tour of Catania with an arancino tasting.

We personally can’t say no to arancini!

The old town of Catania hosts impressive examples of baroque architecture in Italy, in fact, the historical city centre of Catania is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Top things to do in Catania

  • St. Agatha Cathedral
  • Ursino Castle
  • Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena
  • Roman Amphitheater of Catania
  • Massimo Bellini Theatre 
Most beautiful cities of Italy - Matera
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Matera | Basilicata

Matera is for sure one of the oldest towns and prettiest place in Italy. Known for the famous Sassi, Matera is today a true gem worth adding to your Italian bucket list.

Years ago, in 1950, these Sassi took the definition of “shame of Italy” as for the inhuman living conditions. But today, thanks to the restoration and renovation of the area, the Sassi of Matera were recognized in 1993 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

While strolling around Matera you will find a traditional Sassi home that you are allowed to visit inside. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Top things to do in Matera

  • Enjoy the sunset from Parco Della Murgia
  • Explore Sassi di Matera
  • Cathedral of Saint Mary
  • Casa Grotta nei Sassi
  • Palazzo Lanfranchi
Aereal view of Bari, Apulia, Italy - Most beautiful places in Italy
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Bari | Puglia Capital Region

If you are organising a road trip to Italy, after Matera you should consider exploring the beautiful region of Puglia. Bari is the capital of Puglia and it’s absolutely one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. 

A short paragraph is not enough to describe Bari but visiting Bari means breath the sea breeze, admiring the outstanding architecture and taste the delicious local food. This city is still outside the tourist radar but with its picturesque areas and great vibes, Bari will be your next favourite destination in Italy. 

Top things to do in Bari 

  • San Nicola Basilica
  • Cathedral of San Sabino
  • Visit Castello-Normanno Svevo 

READ ALSO | Best Day trips from Bari, Puglia

Brindisi | Puglia

If you are looking to visit the Salento coast, Brindisi will be the place to arrive. From Brindisi, everything starts. This city, facing the Adriatic Sea, plays an important role due to its strategic position on the Italian Peninsula and its natural port. 

Many tourists prefer to skip Brindisi and head straight to the south, towards Gallipoli but if you have at least one week in Puglia, we highly recommend you to explore this city. You will understand why we consider this town one of the most beautiful cities in Italy! 

Top things to do in Brindisi

  1. Monument to Italian Sailors
  2. Provincial Archaeological
  3. Aragonese Castle
  4. Colonne Romane
  5. Cathedral of the Visitation and Saint
Ostuni view - One of the most beautiful places in Italy to visit
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Ostuni | Puglia

The famous white town of Puglia, Ostuni is another beautiful city worth visiting in Italy.

Known as “Città Bianca” “White Town”, Ostuni became a popular place where tourists love to spend a couple of days while in Puglia. Despite being the famous white town in Puglia, Ostuni has got a lot of architecture and history. 

Built on a hilltop, Ostuni was a defensive town overlooking the valley. In fact, while strolling our Ostuni you will see that to have a great view of the city, you need to go up to the hill.

Top things to do in Ostuni

  • Ostuni Cathedral
  • Old Town
  • Piazza Libertà

READ ALSO | 10 Things to do in Ostuni, Italy

One of the most beautiful coastal cities in Italy - Naples
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The amazing Bay of Naples and the main sight of the city.

Naples | Campania Capital Region

Naples is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and not only because it’s our home city but because of its scenery which it’s unique in the world.

Between Mount Vesuvius, the gorgeous Royal Palace and the promenade, Naples offers brilliant architecture, tons of delicious places to eat and breathtaking landscapes.

Even if you have one day in Naples, you need to take this opportunity and stroll around the old town, check the beautiful lungomare and eat a delicious Babbà!

Top things to do in Naples

  • Piazza del Plebiscito
  • The Royal Palace of Naples 
  • Pompeii
  • Mt. Vesuvius
  • Umberto I Gallery 

READ ALSO | What to do in Naples in 2 days | Things to do in Naples in winter

Christmas lights in Salerno - Most beautiful cities in Italy to visit
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The magical Christmas lights in Salerno

Salerno | Campania

I bet that you have no idea where Salerno is. Usually, when visiting the Campania region the only places that tourists consider are Naples, Amalfi Coast and the famous three islands. (Capri, Ischia and Procida). 

We told you that this guide will be different from the rest. We added Salerno as one of the most beautiful cities in Italy because it’s worth visiting. This city is famous for its great Christmas lights and vibrant past dating back to prehistoric times. It’s located in a strategic port on the Mediterranean sea, in fact, yields a rich Greco-Roman heritage. Visit the nearby ruins of Paestum, which are great like the Pompeii ones but less crowded.

Top things to do in Salerno 

  • Luci D’Artista (Christmas Lights) 
  • Lungomare Trieste 
  • Ancient Aqueduct
  • Minerva Garden
  • Arechi Castle
  • Paestum Roman Ruins
Colosseum by night | Rome one of the most beautiful places in Italy
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One of the most beautiful and charming cities in Italy, Rome!

Rome | Lazio – Italy Capital

For us, Rome is one of the most charming cities in Italy. Rome is like London or you love it or you hate it! Thanks to its amazing attractions and incredible historic sites, Rome will be your next favorite cities in Italy.

Every time we went back home, we tried to spend a couple of days in Rome first. Since the first time together, today spending even one day in Rome became our romantic getaway from family.

Don’t forget to visit the top attractions like the Vatican Museums, the Colosseums and many more.

Top things to do in Rome

  • Colosseum
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Spanish Steps
  • The Pantheon
  • St. Peter’s Basilica

More itineraries about Rome

Perugia city - Most beautifu cities in Italy to visit
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Perugia | Umbria

Perugia is a beautiful city in Umbria, in central Italy, Capital of this amazing Region. A compact old town will see you wander around through the years, back on time. Many refer to Perugia as a city with many faces, walking through the old town you will see ruins of Medieval time, but also Etrurian and Roman. However, Perugia is today a lively campus which hosts many relevant Italian and International events all year round.

One of the most famous Jazz events is in Perugia like the International Journalism Festival is resident here. The city it’s the ideal for a weekend, or an entire week in the surrounding area, well known for agriculture and a nice walk through ancient old towns. Umbria is the perfect spot if you are looking for an Italy Road Trip, passing by beautiful landscapes and incredible hidden gems of Italy.

Top things to do in Perugia

  • Palazzo Dei Priori
  • Fontana Maggiore
  • Perugia Cathedral
  • National Gallery
  • Corso Vannucci
  • Chocolate Factory
Siena cathedral - Most beautiful cities in Italy to visit
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Siena | Tuscany

With its medieval old town declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Siena is known for its beautiful gothic-style cathedrals and museums. It’s considered one the most beautiful places in Italy thanks to its ancient history, in fact, if you really love to know more about its culture and history, book here your tour of the city.

Today Siena is a great example of medieval architecture in Italy and thanks to this is not trendy within tourists. Siena is the right city if you are looking for hidden gems in Italy.

Top things to do in Siena 

  • Siena Duomo
  • Piazza Campo
  • Tower of Mangia
  • Piccolomini Library
  • Pubblico Palace 

Read Also

Most beautiful cities in Northern Italy 

Piazzale Michelangelo - Best photo spots in Florence - Best view of Florence
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Florence | Tuscany

Together with Venice, Florence is considered one of the most romantic cities in Italy and even one of the most beautiful ones.

Nothing to say against it as it’s true! With its incredible things to do and see, Florence is home to truly impressive architecture. In fact, Florence is one of the best places to visit in Tuscany thanks to its art, culture and stunning architecture.

If it’s your first time in this beautiful city, make sure that even if you have one day in Florence, you book a free walking tour. This will give you the opportunity to discover more about the history and the culture behind this stunning city.

READ ALSO | How to spend 2 days in Florence | Florence Instagram Spots

 Top things to do in Florence 

  • Florence Cathedral
  • Giotto Tower
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Piazza Della Signoria
Pisa Tower a must see in Italy
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Pisa | Tuscany

You might know Pisa for its Leaning Tower. In fact, every year, Pisa welcomes thousands and thousands of tourists coming from all over the world. Thanks to its charm, Pisa is also home to other amazing sites like the gorgeous Cathedral and the Baptistery.

You can easily visit the Leaning Tower, the Baptistery and the Cathedral in a day and if you wish to know more about it, you can easily book your private tour here.

Top things to do in Pisa 

  • Pisa Leaning Tower 
  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Baptistery
  • Piazza Dei Cavalieri
  • Pisa Cathedral 

Ravenna | Emilia Romagna

Not many know that Ravenna was an ancient Capital and important Italian city back on time. Tourists often discourage Ravenna, overshadowing Rome, Florence or Venice, however, you should know that the city has got 8 sites protected as Unesco World Heritage. Also, Italians don’t know how beautiful Ravenna is. The old town it’s pretty compact and walkable.

Still, today in Ravenna are well preserved the remains of Dante Alighieri, author of the Divina Commedia, and main Italian Poet, born in Florence. Ravenna it’s in Emilia Romagna, on the seaside, and like many other places in this region, the food it’s delicious.

You should visit Ravenna and check all the beautiful treasures this city has to offer.

Top things to do in Ravenna

  • Basilica di San Vitale
  • Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
  • Mausoleo di Teodorico
  • Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe
  • Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra (often Close)
  • Tomba di Dante e San Francesco
Rimini City - Discover the most beautiful cities in North Italy
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Rimini | Emila Romagna – Coast Side

Nowadays Rimini has become one of the perfect places for families to go on vacation in Italy. Located in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, Rimini has a lot to offer. If you wish to learn more about the area and this city, the City Museum is the ideal place for you. What really make this city one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, it’s the combination of city, architecture culture and beaches.

In fact, thanks to its beaches, Rimini is today a very touristic city in Italy. Below we listed a couple of things that you can’t miss while in Rimini!

Top things to do in Rimini 

  • Italia in Miniatura
  • Arch of Augustus
  • Sismondo Castle 
  • Tiberio Bridge
  • Piazza Cavour
Bologna city centre - Most beautiful cities in Italy
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Bologna | Emilia Romagna

Calling all photography lovers! Bologna will blow your mind. In fact, if you wish to enjoy a great photography tour, check this out.

Besides being a great place for photography lovers, Bologna has got incredible views which will leave you speechless.

Known for its Towers and the Ducati Museum, Bologna needs to be in your Italy bucket list. After our first time in Bologna, which was only for a couple of hours, we decided to come back and discover more about this charming city. If you are passionate about cars and motors, not so far from Bologna you can also visit Maranello, well known for the Ferrari or the Lamborghini.

If you wish to visit Bologna from a different point of view, consider reserving a bike tour around the city.

Top things to do in Bologna 

  • Two Towers
  • Piazza Maggiore
  • Neptune Fountain
  • San Petronio Basilica
  • Basilica of Santo Stefano
Parma park - Most beautiful cities in Italy
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Parma | Italian Capital of Culture 2020 and 2021

Did you know that Parma was elected Capital of Italian Culture in 2020 and confirmed for 2021? Well, this is even one of the reasons why Parma is considered one of the most beautiful cities of Italy.

After our road trip in Italy, we ended up in Parma for a couple of days. I must say we were surprisingly happy to discover this gorgeous city. What surprised us was the stunning architecture but even the beautiful surrounding places. 

Thanks to Its strategic location, Parma is perfect for any type of vacation.

Make sure you visit the narrow streets of the city centre from Piazza Duomo to Pilotta. Here are hidden the city’s most gorgeous treasures, Correggio masterpieces, renaissance palaces with a gothic-romantic style.

You can’t leave Parma without having a food tour. Remember that Parma is home of the famous Italian cheese and tasty prosciutto. Book here your free Parma food tour and enjoy the delicious dishes.

Top things to do in Parma

  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Baptistery of St. Giovanni
  • Church of Steccata of Parma
  • Piazza Della Pace
  • Palace of Pilotta
Most beautiful cities in Italy - Milan Duomo
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Milan | Lombardia Region Capital

In our itinerary of the most beautiful cities in Northern Italy, in the first place, there is Milan, the capital of fashion. As you might know, Milan is not only fashion, there are other things to do besides shopping. Considered one of the most popular destinations in Italy, Milan hosts impressive historical buildings such as Sforzesco Castle, Pinacoteca di Brera and the famous Duomo. 

This city has its own charm which not everyone will appreciate. Milan is like London, you love it or you hate it. Thanks to its Renaissance buildings, shopping streets and impressive museums, Milan will be your next favourite destination in Italy. Even if you have one day in Milan, make sure you grab your free walking tour ticket to have a chance to know more about this gorgeous city.

Top things to do in Milan 

  • Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Pinacoteca di Brera
  • Sforzesco Castle 
  • Scala Theatre
  • Sempione Park 

READ ALSO | How to spend 2 days in Milan | Instagrammable places in Milan

Bergamo City Northern Italy
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Bergamo | Lombardia

Known for having fascinating museums and incredible architecture, the city of Bergamo is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Usually, this city is not considered by tourists especially when they are landing in Milan Bergamo Airport and skipping to visit this city. 

What you don’t know is that this hidden gem in Italy has got breathtaking views of the Dolomites and that’s why for us, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Italy worth visiting.

The city of Bergamo is divided into two where both sides are connected by a funicular. In fact, by taking the funicular and reaching the upper part of the city, you will enjoy a spectacular view of the city and of the surroundings.

If you are planning to visit Milan, make sure you land at Milan Bergamo Airport and enjoy for a couple of days this city first. You won’t regret it!

Top things to do in Bergamo 

  • Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica
  • Torre del Campanone
  • Piazza Vecchia
  • Bergamo Cathedral
  • The fortified city of Bergamo
Best viewpoint in trento - Trentino
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Trento | Trentino Alto Adige

While attending a conference, we had the chance to explore one of the prettiest cities in Italy, Trento.

Many tourists consider Trento as a transport hub but what they don’t know is that this city is rich in fascinating arts, architecture and culture.

We spent a week in Trento and today we can say that Trento is worth visiting. Before exploring the surroundings of Trento like Val di Non and Val di Sole, make sure you give Trento a chance before. Below we listed a couple of things worth visiting in Trento which need to be on your list if you are planning a trip around Trentino.

You might want to plan a trip to the Dolomites starting in Trento. Make sure to check our 7-day Dolomites Itinerary!

Top things to do in Trento

  • Trento Old Town
  • Buonconsiglio Castle
  • Piazza Duomo
  • Visit Muse Science Museum of Trento
  • Climb the Gorges of Ponte Alto

READ ALSO | Incredible things to do in Trentino

Turin City - Most beautiful places in Northern Italy
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Turin - Beautiful places in Northen Italy
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Turin | Piemonte

Located in the northwest of Italy, in the Piemonte region, Turin is not a popular destination in Italy. Even if many don’t consider Turin when visiting Italy, there are still many great and gorgeous architectures to visit like the Royal Palace and the Mole Antoneliana. 

Together with Milan, Turin is an important centre of culture, industry and economics in Northern Italy. Turin is known as the city of cars, in fact, Fiat is the leading Italian carmaker. Planning a trip to Italy means discovering even the most underrated cities like Turin, so make sure you add Turin to your Italian bucket list.

Top things to do in Turin

  • Museo Egizio
  • Mole Antoneliana
  • Royal Palace
  • Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
  • Madama Palace
Most beautiful and romantic cities in Italy - Verona
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Verona | Veneto

Together with Florence and Venice, Verona is another romantic city in Italy worth visiting. Thanks to its many theatres, museums, attractions and historic sites, Verona is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.

You might know Verona for two reasons: the beautiful Juliet’s house and the stunning Verona Arena which every year hosts huge concerts. There are so many reasons to visit Verona and once you’ll be in this gorgeous city, you’ll understand why is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.

Top things to do in Verona 

  • Juliet’s House
  • Verona Arena
  • Piazza Delle Erbe
  • Castelvecchio Bridge
  • Piazza Bra
Ponte di Rialto - Rialto Bridge of Venice | Best photography spots in Venice
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Venice | Veneto

We’re ending our itinerary of the most beautiful cities in Italy to visit, with Venice. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire country, even more than the Capital.

We had the opportunity to spend two days in Venice and enjoy every single corner of this romantic city in Europe. Venice is the city of great architecture and even the right place if you love photography.

We woke up for sunrise to be able to visit the most important sights without anyone around. In fact, in our Instagram spots Venice guide, you will see how waking up early in the morning is absolutely worth it.

Top things to do in Venice

  • Piazza San Marco
  • Rialto Bridge
  • Palazzo Ducale
  • Acqua Alta Library 
  • Ponte Dei Sospiri

READ ALSO | How to spend a romantic weekend in Venice

Best photo spots in Florence - River Arno photography Spots Florence
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Q&A About the most beautiful cities in Italy

Which is the most beautiful city in Italy?

Without any doubt, Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. With its amazing landmarks, fascinating history and gorgeous hidden gems, Rome is the most beautiful one! However we have loved Venice and Florence, but Naples will always be the best for us!

What is the prettiest place in Italy?

There are so many pretty places in Italy and it’s hard to pick just a few. Below there is a shortlist according to our preferences.
Lake Garda
Civita di Bagnoregio
Puglia Region
Cinque Terre
Saturnia Hot Spring in Tuscany

What is the best city to live in Italy?

Top Italian cities to live in:

What is the richest city in Italy?

Milan followed by Rome. Residents in Milan earn an average of 36K per year and in Rome an average of 30K.

What is the prettiest town in Tuscany?

Tuscany has got many beautiful places and below you will find the prettiest towns worth visiting.
San Gimignano

What is the cheapest city to live in Italy?

Palermo which is one of the cheapest cities in Italy. Located on Italy’s boot, Palermo has a lot to offer. From the amazing food, great weather climate and cheap life, Palermo is a great city to spend a couple of months in.

Most beautiful cities in Italy
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Italy, Most beautiful cities
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