Tourism in Italy

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The Colosseum in Rome, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.
The city of Venice, ranked many times as the most beautiful city in the world.[1][2]
Pantheon in Rome
Milan Cathedral is a busy tourist spot in Milan. It is the world's 4th biggest cathedral and took over five centuries to complete.[3]
Arena di Verona

With 94 million tourists per year (2019) according with ENIT, Italy is the third most visited country in international tourism arrivals, with 217.7 million foreign visitors nights spent and a total of 432.6 million visitors. According to estimates by the Bank of Italy of 2018, the tourism sector directly generates more than 5% of the national GDP (13% considering also the indirectly generated GDP) and represents over 6% of the employed.[4][5] People mainly visit Italy for its rich culture, cuisine, history, fashion and art, its beautiful coastline and beaches, its mountains, and priceless ancient monuments. Italy also contains more World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world (55).

As of 2018, the Italian places of culture (which include museums, attractions, parks, archives and libraries) amounted to 6,610. Active hotel businesses are 33,000, while non-hotel businesses are 183,000. The tourist flow in the coastal resorts is 53%; the best equipped cities are Grosseto for farmhouses (217), Vieste for campsites and tourist villages (84) and Cortina d'Ampezzo mountain huts (20). [6][7]


Islands such as Capri became popular in the late 14th century and first decade of the 19th century
The Forum with Vesuvius in the distance. Pompeii is Italy's third and the world's 48th most visited destination, with over 2.5 million tourists a year.


People have visited Italy for centuries, yet the first to visit the peninsula for touristic reasons were aristocrats during the Grand Tour, beginning in the late 17th century, and flourishing in the 18th century.

Rome, as the capital of the powerful and influential Roman Empire, attracted thousands to the city and country from all over the empire, which included most of the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, mainland Great Britain (England) and parts of Western Asia. Traders and merchants came to Italy from several different parts of the world. When the empire fell in 476 AD, Rome was no longer the epicentre of European politics and culture; on the other hand, it was the base of the papacy, which then governed the growing Christian religion, meaning that Rome remained one of Europe's major places of pilgrimage. Pilgrims, for centuries and still today, would come to the city, and that would have been the early equivalent of "tourism" or "religious tourism". The trade empires of Venice, Pisa and Genoa meant that several traders, businessmen and merchants from all over the world would also regularly come to Italy. In the 16th and early 17th century, with the height of the Renaissance, several students came to Italy to study Italian architecture, such as Inigo Jones.

Grand Tour[edit]

Real "tourism" only affected in Italy in the second half of the 17th century, with the beginning of the Grand Tour. This was a period in which European aristocrats, many of whom were British, visited parts of Europe; Italy, Greece and other Mediterranean places were amongst the most popular. This was in order to study ancient architecture and the local culture.[8] The Grand Tour was in essence triggered by the book Voyage to Italy, by Roman Catholic priest Richard Lassels, and published in 1670.[9][10] Due to the Grand Tour, tourism became even more prevalent - making Italy one of the most desired destinations for millions of people.[11] Once inside what would be modern-day Italy, these tourists would begin by visiting Turin for a short while. On the way there, Milan was also a popular stop, yet a trip to the city was not considered essential, and several passed by, or simply stayed for a short period of time. If a person came via boat, then they would remain a few days in Genoa. Yet, the main destination in Northern Italy was Venice, which was considered a vital stop,[9] as well as cities around it such as Verona, Vicenza and Padua.

As the Tour went on, Tuscan cities were also very important itinerary stops. Florence was a major attraction, and other Tuscan towns, such as Siena, Pisa, Lucca and San Gimignano, were also considered important destinations. The most prominent stop in Central Italy, however, was Rome, a major centre for the arts and culture, as well as an essential city for a Grand Tourist.[9] Later, they would go down to the Bay of Naples,[9] and after their discovery in 1710, Pompeii and Herculaneum were popular too. Sicily was considered a significant part of the trail, and several, such as Goethe, visited the island.

Mass tourism[edit]

Cathedral of L'Aquila
The Amalfi Coast seen from Villa Cimbrone, in Ravello, Campania, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy.

Throughout the 17th to 18th centuries, the Grand Tour was mainly reserved for academics or the elite. Nevertheless, circa 1840,[9] rail transport was introduced and the Grand Tour started to fall slightly out of vogue; hence, the first form of mass-tourism was introduced. The 1840s saw the period in which the Victorian middle classes toured the country. Several Americans were also able to visit Italy, and many more tourists came to the peninsula. Places such as Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples and Sicily still remained the top attractions.

Like many other Europeans, Italians rely heavily on public transport. Italy is a relatively small country and distances are reduced.[1]

As the century progressed, fewer cultural visits were made, and there was an increase of tourists coming for Italy's nature and weather. The first seaside resorts, such as those in the Ligurian coast, around Venice, coastal Tuscany and Amalfi, became popular. This vogue of summer holidays heightened in the fin-de-siècle epoch, when numerous "Grand Hotels" were built (including places such as Sanremo, Lido di Venezia, Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi). Islands such as Capri, Ischia, Procida and Elba grew in popularity, and the Northern lakes, such as Lake Como, Maggiore and Garda were more frequently visited. Tourism to Italy remained very popular until the late-1920s and early-1930s, when, with the Great Depression and economic crisis, several could no longer afford to visit the country; the increasing political instability meant that fewer tourists came. Only old touristic groups, such as the Scorpioni, remained alive.

Mass tourism, the crowd inside the Saint Peter's Basilica (Rome)

After a big slump in tourism beginning from approximately 1929 and lasting after World War II, Italy returned to its status as a popular resort, with the Italian economic miracle and raised living standards; films such as La Dolce Vita were successful abroad, and their depiction of the country's perceivedly idyllic life helped raise Italy's international profile. By this point, with higher incomes, Italians could also afford to go on holiday; coastline resorts saw a soar in visitors, especially in Romagna. Many cheap hotels and pensioni (hostels) were built in the 1960s, and with the rise of wealth, by now, even a working-class Italian family could afford a holiday somewhere along the coast. The late-1960s also brought mass-popularity to mountain holidays and skiing; in Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, numerous ski resorts and chalets started being built. The 1970s also brought a wave of foreign tourists to Italy in search of a sentimental trip Villoresi old charm -The Trip to Italy, since Mediterranean destinations saw a rise in global visitors.

Despite this, by the late-1970s and early-1980s, economic crises and political instability meant that there was a significant slump in the Italian tourist industry, as destinations in the Far East or South America rose in popularity.[12] Yet, by the late-1980s and early-1990s, tourism saw a return to popularity, with cities such as Milan becoming more popular destinations. Milan saw a rise in tourists, since it was ripening its position as a worldwide fashion capital.


The table below shows the distribution of national and international visitor nights spent in the 40 most tourist area of Italy in 2017.

Italy overall had 420.63 million visitor nights in 2017, of which 210.66 million were of foreign guests (50.08 percent). With 37.04 million nights spent in hotels, hostels or clinics, the Metropolitan City of Venice has the most visitors.[13]

Rank Province/Metropolitan City # of nights
in 2017[13]
of whom
foreign visitors[13]
1 Venice 37,042,454 27,477,075  Veneto
2 Bolzano/Bozen 32,400,662 22,125,350  Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
3 Rome 29,833,225 7,046,098  Lazio
4 Trento 17,776,030 7,412,103  Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
5 Verona 17,293,792 13,388,082  Veneto
6 Rimini 15,967,490 3,808,354  Emilia-Romagna
7 Milan 15,468,199 9,291,198  Lombardy
8 Florence 14,716,466 10,780,968  Tuscany
9 Naples 13,161,395 7,247,964  Campania
10 Brescia 10,463,688 7,472,887  Lombardy
11 Livorno 8,663,572 3,491,172  Tuscany
12 Sassari 7,492,538 4,162,225  Sardinia
13 Turin 7,046,219 1,842,052  Piedmont
14 Ravenna 6,698,702 1,381,666  Emilia-Romagna
15 Salerno 6,029,649 2,098,781  Campania
16 Savona 5,717,487 1,471,811  Liguria
17 Grosseto 5,714,546 1,601,673  Tuscany
18 Padua 5,479,110 2,426,489  Veneto
19 Udine 5,371,339 3,027,318  Friuli-Venezia Giulia
20 Forlì-Cesena 5,357,398 1,027,558  Emilia-Romagna
21 Lecce 5,048,739 949,521  Apulia
22 Siena 4,928,092 2,880,531  Tuscany
23 Perugia 4,689,356 1,699,019  Umbria
24 Bologna 4,607,456 2,101,001  Emilia-Romagna
25 Foggia 4,503,604 697,073  Apulia
26 Genoa 4,082,817 1,945,743  Liguria
27 Belluno 3,806,806 1,208,331  Veneto
28 Aosta/Aoste 3,599,402 1,434,422  Aosta Valley
29 Lucca 3,546,044 1,696,020  Tuscany
30 Messina 3,493,859 2,153,932  Sicily
31 Teramo 3,419,387 523,718  Abruzzo
32 Pesaro and Urbino 3,295,759 729,067  Marche
33 Cosenza 3,290,418 369,693  Calabria
34 Imperia 3,202,619 1,324,925  Liguria
35 Verbano-Cusio-Ossola 3,095,668 2,443,754  Piedmont
36 Como 3,088,807 2,375,038  Lombardy
37 Pisa 3,032,756 1,632,412  Tuscany
38 Ferrara 3,020,136 1,142,220  Emilia-Romagna
39 Palermo 2,981,947 1,703,615  Sicily
40 Ancona 2,954,206 536,167  Marche
rest of Italy 79,247,316 42,531,760
Total 420,629,155 210,658,786

Semi-temporary data on tourist presences in 2018

According to regional data, in 2018 tourism presences in Italy amounted to 429 million (212.5 million residents and 216.5 million non-residents).[14]

With 69.23 million nights spent in hotels, hostels or clinics, Veneto has the highest number of visitors and ranks sixth in Europe.[15][16]

# Rank Region # of nights in 2018
1  Veneto 69.229.094
2  Tuscany 47.618.085
3  Lombardy 41.152.681
4  Emilia-Romagna 40.647.799
5  Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 33.300.000
6  Lazio 33.102.493
7  Campania 21.132.000
8  Apulia 15.197.186
9  Liguria 15.183.243
10  Sicily 15.135.259
11  Piedmont 15.100.768
12  Sardinia 14.940.111
13  Marche 10.000.000
14  Calabria 9.212.630
15  Friuli-Venezia Giulia 9.000.000
16  Abruzzo 6.193.473
17  Umbria 6.081.647
18  Aosta Valley 3.606.308
19  Basilicata 2.603.624
20  Molise 482.051
Total 428.844.937

Italian museums by number of visitors[edit]

DBelow is a table with the most visited museums in Italy (data as of 2018)[17]

# Site City Visitors
1 Pantheon Rome 25.505.971
2 Pompeii Pompei 13.019.202
3 Royal Palace of Caserta Caserta 12.376.591
4 Galleria degli Uffizi Florence 11.986.405
5 Villa di Poggio a Caiano Florence 10.186.141
6 St. Mark's Basilica Venice 5.877.142
7 Palace of Venaria Venaria Reale 5.171.956
8 Museo delle culture (MUDEC) Milan 5.083.801
9 Lucca Cathedral Lucca 5.043.621
10 Museo e Tesoro del Duomo di Monza Monza 4.873.795
11 Cattedrale di Santa Maria Pisa 4.848.448
12 Museo di Storia Naturale del Mediterraneo Livorno 3.943.285
13 Museo dell'Opera della Metropolitana di Siena Siena 3.502.875
14 Casa Natale Santa Cabrini Sant'Angelo Lodigiano 3.318.039
15 Anfiteatro Arena Verona 2.117.800
16 Musei Civici di Padova - Arte Moderna e Medievale e Archeologica Padova 2.096.827
17 Parco Archeologico di Naxos Taormina Taormina 2.055.045
18 Miramare Castle Trieste 1.947.898
19 Museo Civico di Palazzo Chiericati Trieste 1.903.410
20 Mambo - Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna Bologna 1.530.454
21 Complesso Monumentale Palazzo Reale e Cappella Palatina Palermo 1.487.849
22 Museo Arcivescovile Ravenna 1.483.762
23 Museo delle Scienze Trento 1.346.765
24 Musei di San Domenico Forlì 1.341.415
25 Museo Civico Castello Ursino Catania 1.281.824
26 Parco Archeologico e Paesaggistico della Valle dei Templi Agrigento 1.114.375
27 Storico Giardino Garzoni e Collodi Butterfly House Pescia 1.011.500
28 Galata Museo del Mare Genova 1.002.400
29 Galleria Nazionale di Parma Parma 943.437
30 Parco E Museo del Volo - Volandia Somma Lombardo 917.331
31 Museo Ferrari Maranello 895.659
32 Scaligero Castle Sirmione 887.307
33 Area Archeo della Neapolis e Orecchio di Dioniso Siracusa 805.910
34 Statua Colossale di San Carlo Ancona 763.272
35 Musei Civici - Palazzo dei Musei Reggio Emilia 730.970
36 Complesso Monumentale del Castello e Parco di Racconigi Racconigi 705.362
37 Museo Artistico E Storico di Palazzo Borromeo Stresa 647.694
38 Museo di Palazzo Ducale Mantova 646.754
39 Museo della Città Luigi Tonini Rimini 637.482
40 Museo del Tesoro della Basilica Papale di San Francesco Assisi 629.362
41 Parco dei Mostri, Sacro Bosco di Bomarzo Bomarzo 600.684
42 Pinacoteca e Museo Civico di Palazzo Mazzetti Asti 581.550
43 Pozzo di San Patrizio Orvieto 569.990
44 Parco archeologico di Segesta Segesta 554.800
45 Casa Museo Villa Monastero Varenna 540.626
46 Pinacoteca Accademia Carrara Bergamo 527.363
47 Pinacoteca del Seminario Vescovile Rovigo 522.754
48 Villa Carlotta Tremezzina 487.406
49 Rocca demaniale di Gradara Gradara 463.110
50 Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Paestum Paestum 462.789
51 Basilica Patriarcale Aquileia 461.844
52 Gorizia Castle - Museo del Medioevo Goriziano Gorizia 458.634
53 Museo Regionale Villa Romana del Casale di Piazza Armerina Piazza Armerina 403.288
54 Area di Sosta "Plessi" Bressanone 395.431
55 Malaspina Castle Massa 363.197
56 Casa Leopardi Recanati 359.244
57 Fort Bard Bard 354.246
58 Abbazia di Fossanova Priverno 349.989
59 Museo Preistorico della Val Varatella Nino Lamboglia Toirano 321.278
60 Basilica di San Francesco Assisi 321.104
61 Castel del Monte Andria 301.911
62 Abbazia di Montecassino Montecassino 300.323
63 Sacro Monte di Crea Serralunga di Crea 299.814
64 Museo Archeologico Nazionale Reggio Calabria 299.394
65 Galleria d'Arte di Palazzo Bellini Comacchio 271.205
66 Fondazione Museo del Violino Antonio Stradivari Cremona 253.731
67 Museo del Castello. Collezioni Civiche Archeologiche U. Formentini La Spezia 249.791
68 Area Archeologica Su Nuraxi Barumini 246.296
69 Storica Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario Matera 231.694
70 Museo della Rocca Viscontea di Castell'Arquato Castell'Arquato 229.173
71 Museo Civico Summonte 224.543
72 Trullo Sovrano Alberobello 213.091
73 Parco Archeologico di Siponto Manfredonia 212.503
74 Ricetto Candelo - Ecomuseo Della Vitivinicoltura Candelo 211.638
75 Sacrario Militare di Cima Grappa Crespano del Grappa 197.883
76 Museo dell'Intreccio Mediterraneo Castelsardo 186.794
77 Museo Nazionale e Parco Archeologico Archeologico di Egnazia G. Andreassi Fasano 183.189
78 Museo Archeologico Piceno Cupra Marittima 181.398
79 Area Archeologica Tharros Oristano 159.988
80 Museo Abbazia Benedettina di Santa Maria In Silvis Sesto al Reghena 157.673
81 Sforzesco Castle Vigevano 156.724
82 Museo della Vita e delle Tradizioni Popolari Sarde / Museo del Costume Nuoro 156.660
83 Museo delle arti di Catanzaro Catanzaro 150.463
84 Cisterne Romane Fermo 146.913
85 Forte Santa Tecla Sanremo 146.278
86 Area Archeologica del Teatro Romano di Benevento Benevento 137.303
87 Area Archeologica di Nora Pula 129.589
88 Museo Archeologico Nazionale del Melfese Massimo Pallottino Melfi 129.071
89 La Castella Capo Rizzuto 128.175
90 Museo Archeologico Nazionale D'Abruzzo - Villa Frigerj Chieti 123.741
91 Parco Archeologico 'Citta' del Tufo' Sorano 123.408
92 Birthplace of Gabriele D'Annunzio Museum Pescara 120.642
93 Museo della Carta e della Filigrana Fabriano 120.219
94 Museo Provinciale Murattiano Pizzo 118.125
95 Fortezza e Museo delle Armi e Mappe Antiche Civitella del Tronto 106.715
96 Museo Archeologico Nazionale Taranto 89.456
97 Museo Naturalistico Centro Visita Cupone Spezzano della Sila 83.339
98 Area Archeologica di Cava D'Ispica Modica 80.773
99 Museo della Grande Guerra In Marmolada-Onlus Rocca Pietore 74.913
100 Museo Civico Niscemi 73.317
101 Sacro Monte di Varallo Varallo 64.819
102 Frantoi Ipogei di Palazzo Granafei Gallipoli 62.844
103 Museo dei Misteri Campobasso 60.361
104 Castello Piccolomini Celano 50.327
105 Abbazia di Farfa Fara in Sabina 44.753
106 Museo Valtellinese di Storia e Arte Sondrio 33.515
107 Santuario Italico Pietrabbondante 31.790
# Total visitors  Italy 161.015.377

Arrivals by country[edit]

Most visitors arriving in Italy in 2018 were citizens of the following countries:[18]

Rank Country Number
1  Germany 12,184,502
2  United States 5,656,740
3  France 4,737,464
4  United Kingdom 3,781,882
5  China 3,200,847
6   Switzerland 2,925,321
7  Austria 2,612,706
8  Netherlands 2,197,870
9  Spain 2,175,267
10  Russia 1,616,902
11  Poland 1,472,832
12  Belgium 1,270,802
13  Australia 1,050,585
14  Japan 1,026,369
15  Brazil 1,025,070
16  South Korea 996,346
17  Canada 886,053
18  Czech Republic 839,207
19  Sweden 739,976
20  Argentina 708,987
21  Denmark 663,581
22  Israel 605,076
23  Hungary 565,206
24  India 555,223
25  Ireland 434,888
26  Turkey 402,569
27  Norway 398,908
28  Portugal 375,391
29  Mexico 358,626
30  Greece 341,716
Total international visitors 63,195,203
Total visitors 128,100,932

Nights spent by country[edit]

Rank Country Number
1  Germany 58,645,390
2  United States 14,546,868
3  France 14,197,976
4  United Kingdom 14,043,501
5  Netherlands 11,037,222
6   Switzerland 10,679,102
7  Austria 9,519,898
8  Poland 5,743,920
9  Spain 5,684,438
10  Russia 5,382,255
11  China 5,287,714
12  Belgium 4,912,441
13  Czech Republic 3,903,499
14  Denmark 3,296,288
15  Australia 2,795,291
16  Sweden 2,566,196
17  Brazil 2,546,197
18  Romania 2,510,265
19  Canada 2,398,572
20  Japan 2,238,222
21  Hungary 2,028,427
22  Ireland 1,734,636
23  Norway 1,285,585
24  Greece 852,765
Other extra-european countries 16.625.327
Other european countries 12.048.551
Total international nights spent 216.510.546
Total nights spent 428.844.937


Northwest Italy[edit]

Regions: Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardia and Valle d'Aosta

The Fénis Castle, 13th century (Aosta)

Home of the Italian Riviera, including Portofino, Sanremo, and of Cinque Terre. There are many historic cities in this part of Italy: Turin, the manufacturing capital of Italy, Milan, the business and fashion capital of the country and the important port of Genoa are the most popular tourist destinations of the area. Other cities like Aosta, Bergamo, Brescia and Como have a rich cultural heritage, which share the region's visitors with beautiful landscapes such as the lakes Garda, Como and Maggiore. There are also important ski resorts like Sestriere, Courmayeur, Breuil-Cervinia, Livigno and Bormio.

Northeast Italy[edit]

Regions: Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto

This part of Italy also boasts several important tourist attractions, such as the canal-filled city of Venice, the cities of Verona, Vicenza, Padua, Trento, Bolzano, Cremona, Bologna, Ferrara, Mantua, Parma, Ravenna, Cesena, Rimini and Trieste. There are also several mountain ranges such as the Dolomites, the Carnic and Julian Alps and first-class ski resorts like Cortina d'Ampezzo and Madonna di Campiglio. These four regions offer much to see and do. The area has a unique cuisine, including wines and dishes such as Prosecco and Tiramisu in Veneto and Cotechino, Ragu and Parma ham in Emilia Romagna, San Daniele ham and D.O.C. wines in Valpolicella, Lake Garda, Valdobbiadene, Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Central Italy[edit]

Regions: Lazio, Marche, Tuscany and Umbria

Church of Santa Maria della Tomba (Sulmona)

This area is possibly the most visited in Italy and contains many popular attractions as well as sought-after landscapes. Rome boasts the remaining wonders of the Roman Empire and some of the world's best known landmarks such as the Colosseum. Florence, regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, is Tuscany's most visited city, whereas nearby cities like Siena, Pisa, Arezzo and Lucca also have rich cultural heritages. Umbria's population is small but it has many important cities such as Perugia and Assisi. For similar reasons, Lazio and Tuscany are some of Italy's most visited regions and the main targets for Ecotourism. This area is known for its picturesque landscapes and attracts tourists from all over the world, including Italy itself. Pristine landscapes serve as one of the primary motivators for tourists to visit central Italy, although there are others, such as a rich history of art.

Southern Italy[edit]

Regions: Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Abruzzo, and Molise.

Southern Italy (also called Mezzogiorno) is well known for the cuisine, that offers a wide choice of food at lower prices. It is also known for the pairing of Mediterranean clime with the beautiful beaches of each region, an important element for local tourism. Naples is the most visited city in the area, and the ruins of Pompeii are the most visited sights. Other important tourist destinations include the Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Benevento, Caserta, Salerno and Pozzuoli. The natural parks of Abruzzo, the greenest region in Europe,[19] include the Abruzzo National Park, the National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga the Maiella National Park and Sirente-Velino Regional Park which attract thousands of visitors due to more than 30 protected Nature Reserves and the presence of 75% of all Europe's living species.[20] Apulia, which includes the historical cities of Lecce and Bari and villages composed of trulli; like Calabria it is famous for its coasts. Basilicata is very famous for so-called Sassi di Matera. The main city of Molise are Campobasso and Isernia, the most important sight is the Basilica of Castelpetroso. Calabria coasts are very appreciated by tourists; the capital city is Catanzaro but its most populated city is Reggio Calabria.


The largest island in the country is a diverse and popular tourist island, famous for its archaeology, seascape and unique Sicilian cuisine. There are many important cities such as Palermo, Messina, Catania. An important sight is Val di Noto that offers a lot of Late Baroque cities built after the catastrophic earthquake of 1693.


Cathedral of Monreale

Sardinia is a large island some 250 kilometers west of the Italian coastline. It includes several popular tourist attractions and has several beaches and archaeological ruins. It is also known for its beaches, that are among the most beautiful in the world, and include the famous pink beaches in the archipelago of La Maddalena.

The most popular cities in Sardinia are: Cagliari, Sassari, Alghero, Olbia and Porto Cervo. Porto Cervo, located in Costa Smeralda, is a popular summer destination famous for its beaches and clubs among high-income earners.

Ancient resorts[edit]

Italy has some of the world's most ancient tourist resorts, dating back to the time of the Roman Republic, when destinations such as Pompeii, Naples, Ischia, Capri and especially Baiae were popular with the rich of Roman society. Pompeii is currently Italy's third the world's 48th most visited tourist destination, with over 2.5 million tourists a year[21]



Rome has become increasingly popular as a tourist destination globally. 45.6% from 2006 (6.03 million), Rome hosted 8.78 million international tourists in 2014, placing itself as the 14th most visited city in the world.[22] Popular tourists attractions in the city include the Colosseum, St Peter's Basilica, the Pantheon and so on, all of which are part of the World Heritage property.[23] Other main sights in the city include, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Roman Forum,[24] Castel Sant'Angelo, the Basilica of St. John Lateran,[25] the Spanish Steps, Villa Borghese park, Piazza del Popolo, the Trastevere and the Janiculum.[26]


The skyscrapers of Porta Nuova business district

Milan is one of Europe's most important tourist destinations, and Italy's second; with 6.05 million international arrivals as measured in 2014, it placed itself as the 24th most visited city in the world.[22] According to a particular source, 56% of international visitors to Milan are from Europe, whilst 44% of the city's tourists are Italian, and 56% are from abroad.[27] The most important European Union markets are the United Kingdom (16%), Germany (9%) and France (6%).[27] According to the same study, most of the visitors who come from the USA to the city go on business matters, whilst Chinese and Japanese tourists mainly take up the leisure segment.[28] The city boasts several popular tourist attractions, such as the city's Duomo and Piazza, the Teatro alla Scala, the San Siro Stadium, the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, the Sforza Castle, the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Via Monte Napoleone. Most tourists visit sights such as Milan Cathedral, the Sforza Castle and the Teatro alla Scala, however, other main sights such as the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, the Navigli and the Brera district are less visited and prove to be less popular.[28] The city also has numerous hotels, including the ultra-luxurious Town House Galleria, which is the world's first seven-star hotel, ranked officially by the Société Générale de Surveillance, and one of The Leading Hotels of the World.[29] The average stay for a tourist in the city is of 3.43 nights, whilst foreigners stay for longer periods of time, 77% of which stay for a 2-5 night average.[28] Of the 75% of visitors which stay in hotels, 4-star ones are the most popular (47%), whilst 5-stars, or less than 3-stars represent 11% and 15% of the charts respectively.


Naples is one of the oldest cities of the western world. Its historic city centre is the largest in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[30] Naples is also near the famous volcano Vesuvius and the ruins of the ancient Roman towns of Pompeii and Ercolano. Before italian unification it was the capital of Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the most important and populated city of Italy. Naples is well known for cuisine, especially for pizza. In the city there are many tourist attractions, such as the Royal Palace, the basilica of Santa Chiara, the Gesù Nuovo (New Jesus) church, Castel dell'Ovo, the Castel Nuovo, the Castel Sant'Elmo, the city's Duomo, the Real Teatro di San Carlo (the oldest continuously active opera house in the world), the Palace of Capodimonte, the Naples underground geothermal tunnels, the Via Tribunali, Spaccanapoli street, the Veiled Christ (one of the world's most remarkable sculptures), the various catacombs around the city (for example the Catacombs of San Gennaro, or the Fontanelle cemetery, or the Catacombs of Saint Gaudiosus), the Umberto I Gallery and the Via Toledo with its metro considered one of the most beautiful of Europe.[31][32][33] The Archaeological Museum of Naples is the most important in the world regarding Roman history, also include Egyptian and Greek finds. It is the home of the Federico II, the oldest public and secular university in the world, and of the L'Orientale, the oldest school of Sinology and Oriental Studies in Europe. Naples also boasts one of the most picturesque waterfront promenades, and charming locations at Gaiola Island and Marechiaro. Close to Naples there are a myriad of world-renowned tourist attractions such as the Amalfi Coast, Capri island, Ischia island, Procida island, the picturesque city of Sorrento, and the city of Salerno.

Other cities[edit]

The Mirror Gallery of the Royal Palace in Genoa.
  • Florence (Firenze)—the city of Renaissance. This city is known for its architecture and art and for the impact it has had throughout the world. Florence is also home to Michelangelo's famous statue of David. Home to many other well-known museums of art.
  • Palermo—ancient capital of the kingdom of Sicily and of the Holy Roman Empire under Frederick II. It is noted for its history, gastronomy and architecture; the particularity of the city (such as the rest of the island) is that is a meeting point of Greek, Roman, Arabian, Norman and Aragonian cultures.
  • Bologna—home of the first university in the western world. This city has a rich history, culture, and technology. Bologna is well known for its cuisine.
  • Bari—is well known as a port and university city as well as the city of Saint Nicholas. Capital of Apulia and second most important economic centre of Southern Italy after Naples.
  • Genoa (Genova)—it was one of the most important medieval maritime republic. Very wealthy and diverse city. Its port brings in tourism and trade, along with art and architecture. Genoa is birthplace of Columbus and jeans.
  • Pisa—one of the medieval maritime republics, it has many medieval palaces and squares. Home to the unmistakable image of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Very touristy city. Famous too for the University "La Normale".
  • Turin (Torino)—first capital of Italy, after being the capital of Kingdom of Sardinia (actually Piedmont-centred), what had promoted national reunification. Home of the FIAT, the most important industry in Italy, Turin is a well-known industrial city, based on the aerospace industry and, of course, automobile industry. Home of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Home of both Juventus and Torino Football Clubs.
  • Venice (Venezia)—known for its history (the most important, beside Genoa, Amalfi and Pisa, of the medieval maritime republics), art, and world-famous canals. it is home to Island of Murano, which is famous for its hand-blown glass. St. Mark's Square is where most of the tourists converge and it can get very crowded in the summertime. Due to increased tourism, in November 2016, Venetian authorities expressed their consideration on imposing a tourist limit on the city in order to prevent overcrowding and the degradation of the city's heritage sites.[34]

Other popular destinations[edit]

Apart from Rome, Milan, Naples, Venice, and Florence are the top destinations for tourism in Italy. Other major tourist locations include Turin, Verona, Bari, Padua, Bologna, Messina, Perugia, Palermo, Genoa, Sicily, Sardinia, and Salento. Two factors in each of these locations are history and geography. The Roman Empire, middle ages, and renaissance have left many cultural artifacts for the Italian tourist industry to use. Many northern cities are also able to use the Alps as an attraction for winter sports, while coastal southern cities have the Mediterranean Sea to draw tourists looking for sun.

Italy is home to fifty UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country, including many entire cities such as Verona, Siena, Vicenza, Ferrara, San Gimignano, Urbino, Matera, Pompei, Noto and Siracusa. Ravenna hosts an unprecedented eight different internationally recognized sites.

Hotel categories in Italy[edit]

The Tremezzo Grand Hotel on Lake Como.

In Italy there is a broad variety of hotels, going from 1-5 stars. In 2005, there were 33,557 hotels with 1,020,000 rooms and 2,028,000 beds.[35] The number of hotels, according to their rating, in 2005, went like this:

7-star hotels: 1 with 25 rooms (the Town House Galleria located in Milan).

5-star hotels: 232 with 20,686 rooms and 43,150 beds.

4-star hotels: nearly 3,700 with 247,000 rooms and 502,000 beds.

3-star hotels: 14,500 with 483,000 rooms and 940,000 beds.

2-star hotels: 5,000 with 116,000 beds.

1-star hotels: 2,000 with 157,000 beds.


See also[edit]


This article includes text copied from, an article from Wikivoyage whose text is published under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 licence.


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