Is Northern Italy worth visiting?
Absolutely! Northern Italy is a place to overindulge you with beautiful destinations and diverse unforgettable experiences. It is stunningly scenic, from romantic coastal towns to spectacular snowy peaks! Remarkable architectural marvels from different ages and fascinating cultural encounters are also found here to give you an unforgettable journey.
With my ten reasons you’ll find in this blog post, I further explain why northern Italy is such a place so worthy of visiting. To make your reading more productive, I linked each reason to different destinations in the north of Italy.
Not only will you find out why northern Italy is really worth visiting, but you will discover attractions and cities to spark the wanderlust in you. May this also help you plan your travels to northern Italy if you decide to come!
Ever since I started traveling and discovered its benefits, I never wanted to stop.
By traveling, we make ourselves feel better, and because of that, we heal the emotional wounds we experienced from unfortunate events. Traveling gives us awe… and it changes us to become a better version of ourselves.
We also discover a lot of things when we travel. It’s funny that sometimes, we accidentally find matters more beautiful than what we were looking for in the first place. These beautiful things can be ourselves, our true love, or our peace of mind.
Ultimately, traveling allows us to create the most beautiful memories we can happily cherish for the rest of our lives… and yes, it is happiness! We live our lives by traveling.
If you have ever wondered if traveling to northern Italy can do that to you, then these ten reasons will tell:
- The Charming Coastline Towns of Northern Italy (Cinque Terre)
- Discover the works of Leonardo da Vinci in Northern Italy (Milan)
- A Throwback Experience to Northern Italy’s Medieval Town (Bergamo)
- The World’s Most Beautiful Lakes are in Northern Italy (Lake Como)
- A Romantic UNESCO Heritage City in Northern Italy (Verona)
- Northern Italy is home to the most beautiful architecture (Venice)
- The City in Northern Italy with mountains, lakes, and castles (Trento)
- Discover the Interesting Archeology in Northern Italy (Bolzano)
- Experience the Best of the Dolomites in Northern Italy (Cortina d’Ampezzo)
- Northern Italy is not too far from the Eternal City (Rome)
The ten reasons are arranged based on the destinations that correspond to each. We start from the southmost part of northern Italy (Cinque Terre), moving north and north near the borders of Italy and Austria. Let’s go:
Reason #1: The Charming Coastline Towns of Northern Italy (Cinque Terre)
What else can feel more relaxing than an afternoon spent on a beach, just watching the sunset and just listening to the sound of the gentle waves? Imagine you there during the golden hour, under the sky glowing softly with different colors.
Add a glass of wine, a pizza, and delicious Mediterranean meals to the scene… and it’s all perfect, right?!
No, it’s not only found in southern Italy.
You can also have that moment in Cinque Terre, a region tucked into the mountainous coastline of the Italian Riviera. A blissful sunset and so many beautiful things await you there, and they are a reason to choose northern Italy for your next trip.
So, what is Cinque Terre? In a nutshell, Cinque Terre is an Italian national park that became a UNESCO Heritage site in 1997. Its five primary colorful fishing villages and the landscape they were built upon “encapsulate the continuous history of human settlement in this region over the past millennium.“
Cinque Terre’s five villages, aside from having a lengthy and juicy history, are actually destinations so-Instagram worthy. Especially during clear skies and sunsets, the houses in Cinque Terre look so colorful and charming.
They’re villages straight out of a fairytale!
Go to the scenic spots, and I’m sure these villages will compel you to press your camera’s shutter and capture the view! I recommend you to see my article about Cinque Terre. You will see their pictures and their exact location on the map and the ways to get there!
If the weather favors you, the sceneries will be all awe-inspiring. But, indeed, the breathtaking views aren’t the only reason you should visit northern Italy and Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre’s five villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Monterosso al Mare, and Vernazza, also have centuries old landmarks, verdant vineyards, lively bars, restaurants, romantic balconies and more. Actually, The cuisine is one of the region’s best things to experience.
You can check the official website of Cinque Terre to see more details.
Reason #2: Discover the works of Leonardo da Vinci in Northern Italy (Milan)
Do you also believe that traveling should involve some kind of thought-bending trip and not always be about having a good time, seeing spectacular nature, eating the taste-buds-tickling local cuisine? Like, learning about history and uncovering the stories of extraordinary people?
Well, It’s because history could be really fascinating, and we all admire great talents. “Nah, history is boring,” you may say. YES, I agree – but that is only during high school history class.
But, when you start seeing the “actual” things and places involving the events that shaped the world we live in today? I believe it will change your see history as a subject/hobby/kind of travel or whatever it may be.
History travel can be mind-blowing, and sometimes it can really induce or satisfy curiosity. It’s a weird kind of fun, like the feeling when you finally figure out something, and you say, “ah! That’s how it is!!!” to yourself.
One of the most intriguing geniuses in history who can make your history travel “fun” is Leonardo da Vinci. He is a genius born in Florence, lived 17 years in Milan, and has left great works in arts and science for you to discover in northern Italy.
Being the “multi-talented” guy behind Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, Vitruvian Man, the concept of the parachute, helicopter, and else more, I think Leonardo is a reason why you’d like to visit northern Italy.
Do you know? Without him, our lives would be different, even in the simplest way, i.e., how we cut things. Believe it or not, Leonardo is the inventor of the scissors! This is just one of the many small but cool stuff you’ll uncover in northern Italy, especially Milan.
Leonardo da Vinci has a dedicated museum (and many smaller museums more) in Milan worth seeing. See his original artworks known worldwide, scientific studies, journals, etc. A day won’t be enough to see all of them!
Still, Milan is not only about Leonardo. You will also find luxurious shopping experiences, different cuisines, and eye-magnetizing architectural marvels in Milan. I recommend that you check my article about Milan to know more.
Reason #3: A Throwback Experience to Northern Italy’s Medieval Town (Bergamo)
If you haven’t had a travel experience that escapes you from “reality,” northern Italy is your chance. Traveling to the north of Italy, you also travel back in time. You will find numerous towns preserved in their medieval state, and visiting them will magically transport you to centuries in the past!
Seeing a preserved medieval town is much recommended if you feel tired of living in a modern city. You know, getting stuck in traffic and seeing nothing but just different faces of “empty” people in a world of steel and concrete… when everyday sceneries feel so numbing already.
Traveling to medieval towns where culture is still intact with the city’s buildings and streets shall bring back the enthusiasm in you.
How? It’s because culture plays a vital role in us. It allowed us to be creative, express our faith, and, most importantly, feel. Getting exposed to culture shall help us “become human again,” away from lifeless being only capable of making money.
One of the places in northern Italy with preserved medieval appearance is Bergamo. Sitting at the foot of the pre-alps, Bergamo also offers scenic views alongside its ancient but gorgeous townscape.
All that Bergamo offers are a reason to be in Northern Italy. The wonders start at the old city square (Piazza Vecchia), where all the primary attractions are located, to the surrounding Venetian city walls.
Imposing architectural marvels like the facade of Colleoni Chapel and the interior of the Basilica of St. Mary Major express deep dedication and religious devotion await you in the city square. Also, they have extensive elaboration to drop your jaws to the ground as your eyes wander in their appearance.
Go to the Venetian walls surrounding the town for epic views of the pre-alps rising gradually from the flat plains of north-central Italy. Or, actually, you can just climb the civic tower (Campanone), also located at Piazza Vecchia.
These are just 3 of the 10 things that describe why Bergamo is a beautiful place to visit in northern Italy. Check my article about Bergamo to learn more about the city. There are photos of the Basilica of St. Mary Major’s interiors and views from the Venetian walls in the post – you must see it! 😉
Reason #4: The World’s Most Beautiful Lakes are in Northern Italy (Lake Como)
Believe me, no lake shall look more enchanting than the ones located in the alps. Often crystal clear or tinted turquoise blue, these lakes are phenomenal and hard not to photograph. Sometimes, alpine lakes reflect the mountains close to them, and the view is insanely captivating.
Actually, lakes are scientifically proven generally beneficial to our well-being. They promote physical fitness and peace of mind. Visiting a lake has so much value that it seems they’re impossible not to include them on our travel bucket list.
Now that you know these, I must tell you that northern Italy has countless lakes. They’re not just ordinary lakes, but some are considered the world’s most beautiful lakes. This is why visiting northern Italy is definitely a must.
Northern Italy has Lake Como, Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Lake Sorapis, Lago di Braies, Lake Misurina, and many more – too many to mention. Personally, I like Lago di Braies and Lake Misurina in Cortina d’Ampezzo above all the lakes in Italy. However, the most famous and notable is Lake Como.
READ: Lake Garda Italy: 10 Reasons Why Lake Garda Is Worth a Visit (Click to open in a new tab)
Lake Como is Italy’s most visited lake. Did you know that more than 1 million visitors came to Lake Como every year in the past decade? Well, with the charming lakeside villages and villas built around the lake – there is no doubt.
Many are attracted to Lake Como because they say it’s near paradise. The lake is so attractive that even the most famous celebrities and millionaires were compelled to buy their houses around lake Como. Madonna, Gianni Versace, and Richard Branson are just some of them.
Also, do you know that Lake Como has several towns that are all pleasant to see? Other towns are even perched in scenic locations, like the top of a hill overlooking the lake! You can just expect to see breathtaking sceneries, historical monuments alongside the lake’s bare natural beauty, and fantastic villas around it.
Definitely, you’ll have a lot of options in Lake Como for a fun and worthy visit. Because of that, I’ve decided to create a separate blog post showing the unmissable things to do or destinations to visit in Lake Como.
In that article, I’ve selected the most Instagrammable locations and historical attractions in Lake Como. I included links to Google Maps (an actual map is there, too) to help/guide you in planning a visit to Lake Como.
Reason #5: A Romantic UNESCO Heritage City in Northern Italy (Verona)
Another reason northern Italy is a must-visit place is because of the variety of things to experience, including romantic destinations. Although Italy has numerous romantic places, Verona is the city which I think is one of the most romantic. The world’s famous romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, is virtually set in Verona.
In Verona, you can literally visit the places mentioned in the story. For example, the balcony where Romeo courts Juliet and the tomb of Juliet. Lover or not, they shall be a reminder of how true love can be so powerful even in difficult times.
Go stroll around the city to find discoveries or attractions linked to stories that give love inspiration too. An example is Pozzo Dell’Amore. However, you do not have to look for them one by one because the views in Verona, buildings, etc., appear romantic by themselves!
The thing about visiting Verona in northern Italy is it’s a place you can spend a day on a very thoughtful date with your partner. Does it sound so lovely when both of you give each other time and full attention, creating a beautiful moment in a romantic and love-inspired city?
Frankly, it can be more than that! Verona has preserved medieval structures like the Verona Arena, Palazzo Maffei, and Castel Vecchio to make your date even more romantic.
If you want to have a romantic afternoon with your partner in a place offering panoramic views, Verona is really the place you must visit! You can either go to Ponte Pietra/Adige River or climb to Castel San Pietro for a lovely sunset.
Taste the sweet moment with a glass of wine! Verona is the center of the wine trade in the country, and most probably, you can drink Italy’s finest wines there.
Verona is pretty picturesque at its core in its most famous square, Piazza Delle Erbe. See how it looks from my blog post about Verona and learn more about all other reasons why you must visit Verona. Hint: It has an arena similar to Rome!
Reason #6: Northern Italy is home to the most beautiful architecture (Venice)
As I told you, northern Italy has many beautiful and romantic cities. Another romantic place in Italy that I’m sure you’re so aware of is Venice. For me, it’s a place that needs no explanation why it is a reason to visit northern Italy.
We all want to visit Venice. It’s a place with unique characteristics like its location and city-wide architecture. The canals, Venetian gondolas, and charming buildings are all straight out of a movie in which a couple falls in love so sweet.
Although Venice is romantic, visiting the city does not necessarily mean that you need to come to Venice as a couple. Singles and families shall enjoy the city too for the reasons mentioned below.
Aside from being romantic, Venice is just admirable for the numerous architectural marvels found all around the city. Influenced by three different cultures, Venetian architecture is like no other. Its iconic design won’t let you go out of the city without taking a single photo.
Indeed, if you’re aspiring to be a good photographer, Venice offers you countless opportunities to practice taking photographs. Elements of photography are present in these splendid buildings, like symmetry, leading lines, etc.!
The awe from the grandness, ingenuity, and culture ingrained in the different buildings in Venice shall make you think that you’re not on earth. Come to Piazza San Marco to see the best examples. Then enter Saint Mark’s Basilica for an unforgettable, absolutely jaw-dropping experience of your life!
If it’s more discovery you want to have during your visit to Venice, the city’s museums, which are inside the most beautiful buildings in Venice, won’t disappoint you.
They have thousands of collections and historical artifacts to show the city’s development, tell its notable personalities, and showcase the artistic talents of the Venetians. The Doge’s Palace is the best example.
Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Basilica are just two of the most beautiful buildings in Venice. Others are along the grand canal, and some are located inland. I have a separate blog post about Venice‘s most beautiful buildings, and in that post, you’ll find their exact location on the map.
The appearances of the buildings in Venice shown in the post will make you come to Venice, even though we know it’s filled with tourists (especially during peak season).
Reason #7: The City in Northern Italy with Mountains, Lakes, and Castles (Trento)
As a nature lover, I am always excited to get outdoors and spend time with trees, see spectacular views of the mountains, and enjoy the tranquility of a lake. After I visit either one of them, I can feel that I’m hundred percent restored inside and out, even though hiking can be physically tiring in some cases.
Are you like me, who wants to always feel rejuvenated after traveling? If yes, and you’re traveling to Italy, you must go north. As you go further north, the more natural beauty shall you see.
The cities in northern Italy are closest to the most spectacular natural wonders of the world, the Dolomites. You’ll be just a few-minute drive away or even a short hike away from these marvels by staying in these towns. The proximity of the cities and the natural wonders is what I think is another compelling reason to visit northern Italy.
Added to that is how fairytale-ish this northern Italy is, particularly the alps. Aside from mystic lakes and foggy forests straight from a magic-themed movie, you can find castles amplifying the magical experience. Check Google Maps and search for “castles” near Trento or Bolzano, and I think you’ll also be fascinated because there are so many!
Castles, mountains, forests, and lakes remind me of many movies and series I fantasized about when I was younger. The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Merlin are just some of them. If you have also fantasized about these movies, perhaps northern Italy shall help you imagine you’re on a medieval-set film of your own.
Trento is one of the cities in northern Italy to offer you all these experiences I mentioned. It’s just one train ride away from Verona and accessible from primary Italian cities like Venice and Milan.
You can quickly reach Lake Garda and Mount Paganella by bus or car from Trento. In the heart of this city, you’ll find Buonconsiglio Castle. Then the castles, Arco and Toblino, are just one bus ride away, as well.
Castles, mountains, and lakes aren’t the only attractions in Trento. Museo Delle Scienze, a modern and interactive museum in Trento, houses thousands of artifacts and rare exhibits on everything about the Dolomites.
I suggest you visit Museo Delle Scienze to learn more about the Dolomites if you plan to visit with kids. It will make your entire trip to the Dolomites more interesting. You’ll learn the names of the mountains, their biodiversity, and more – basically a complete insight into the whole region.
I have created another post discussion about the best 15 things to do in Trento. Check it out to see the stunning Arco Castle and Mount Paganella, the tranquil Toblino lake and castle, a unique nature-art open museum, and more!
Reason #8: Discover the Interesting Archeology in Northern Italy (Bolzano)
You know, the Dolomites aren’t just mountains. It’s a region with towns and cities, where different cultures meet and are mixed together. It’s a historical place too, with things you can discover that date back to ancient times, years before Christ was born.
This is why when I began researching the Dolomites, I developed a profound fascination with this region. Not only does it includes my favorite nature destinations. But the Dolomites, as a region in northern Italy, also have unique attractions and characteristics like no other.
As some parts of Northern Italy were occupied by different nations and kingdoms for centuries, they developed an identity dissimilar to the rest of Italy. When you come, you can notice the influence of German and Austrian cultures, especially during winter, e.g., during Christmas markets.
But, if there’s something unique you can discover in the Dolomites in Northern Italy, perhaps that would be Ötzi. He is a natural mummy found in 1991 in the Ötztal Alps at the border of Austria and Italy. He died more than 5000 years ago, so he was considered the oldest natural mummy in Europe.
Today his remains are kept in a museum in Bolzano, north of Trento. He is definitely a reason to visit northern Italy or Bolzano if you are interested in archeology. However, you might also want to come here to experience the country’s “oldest and biggest” Christmas markets.
Similar to Trento, Bolzano is surrounded by castles and beautiful natural attractions. However, because of easy access to public transportation and, most importantly, a location much closer to the main attractions in the region, people started calling Bolzano the “Gateway to the Dolomites.”
Actually, there is another reason to be in northern Italy or Bolzano. It’s a mind puzzling spectacle called earth pyramids, situated northeast of the city of Renon. It’s Europe’s tallest and most perfectly shaped earth pyramids, but basically, it’s a special kind of erosion that forms triangular pillars with rocks on top.
From Bolzano, you can easily reach two of the best places in the Dolomites, which are Seceda and Santa Magdalena. Both are Instagrammable and shall put you in total awe, particularly if the weather favors you. Santa Magdalena is a piece of heaven on earth – I should say!
Though the bests of the Dolomites are just minutes away from Bolzano, it does not mean you should skip the city center and proceed to each attraction. Check out my article about Bolzano.
Reason #9: Experience the Best of Dolomites in Northern Italy (Cortina d’Ampezzo)
For me, the Dolomites region is the ultimate reason to be in Northern Italy. Home to stunning natural landscapes and idyllic villages, it is a place you will never ever regret visiting. Also, being a UNESCO site, you are ensured of the worthiness of your money and time when you come.
Needless to say, the Dolomites mountains are a true masterpiece of nature. The geomorphology displayed by its spectacular rock formations (pinnacles, towers, crags, ledges) that rise abruptly on the gently rolling hills is awe-inspiring.
Hundreds of kilometers of ski routes and hiking trails await you in the Dolomites. For each path in the Dolomites you explore, you witness incredible beauty invoking immense wonder. Discover countless scenic spots, lovely alpine huts, and mirror-like lakes that seem to be a window to another dimension.
Wandering and adventurous souls delight.
If you have had enough adventure, you can just stay in the villages and towns. Have a lovely stroll along with the charming, flower-decked chalets and houses with Luftmalerei-embellished facades. Get superb comfort from accommodations and spas offering warmed pools with mountains in the backdrop.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is probably the best town in the Dolomites to find accommodation. Situated in the heart of the Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo has attractions around it you can quickly get to. These are some of the best and most iconic rock formations in the Dolomites.
Cinque Torri, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and Lago di Braies are just three of the phenomenal attractions around Cortina d’Ampezzo. Check my article about the 10 most beautiful places around Cortina d’Ampezzo to discover the rest. It also contains the maps, routes, and instructions to reach them.
The thing about the Dolomites, or mountains in general, is that they are therapeutic in various ways. They involve hiking which makes us physically fit. An abundance of fresh and pure air in the mountains makes our lungs clean.
Mountains and exposure to nature also help us improve our mental well-being. The quietness we feel during the long hikes lets us introspect and find the silver lining in us. At the same time, the spectacular views then fill us with awe which implicitly makes us humble and happier.
Not only that! When we do adventure and pass through challenging tracks, we get to conquer some of our fears. We become “stronger” as we create memories we shall remember all our lives.
Ultimately, it’s letting us grow while we have fun – that is one of the best things we get when we travel, a reason for all of us to travel once in a while.
Reason #10: Northern Italy is not too far from the Eternal City (Rome)
The last reason to be in northern Italy is simple: It’s effortless to get there from Italy’s capital, Rome. You can get to Milan, Verona, and Venice from Rome, and vice versa, in less than 4 hours via train.
Why do I mention this? Well, because Rome is a bucket list travel destination. Absolutely, Rome is a beautiful place must visit. It’s historical, many things to experience and admire, from culture to architecture, religion to cuisine, etc.
Even if northern Italy seems more compelling to visit than anywhere else in Italy from this post, you still must not miss Rome. I’ll tell you more from my post about Rome and the 10 most beautiful places to see in this renowned “Eternal City.”
But for now, I hope I have explained well why you should visit northern Italy! Be safe in your travels… and don’t forget to live every moment of your journey!
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