Of the countries that I have visited to date, Italy tops my list. What I love most about the country in general are the welcoming people, plethora of history and ruins, and amazing food. Additionally, you can also find beaches, ridiculously beautiful countryside scenery, and great shopping. One “problem” with Italy is that it can be quite crowded with tourists. However, you can get around that based on when you book your trip.
I recommend traveling in September, as you will still experience nice weather, but will not have to deal with the crowds. In this article I will cover the best cities to visit in Italy in September, including tips on what to see and do in each one.
Know Before You Go | Italy
Getting Around: If you are traveling to multiple cities in Italy, the best way to see the country (by far!) is by train. This is mainly because the train system is just so efficient and affordable. Also, as I mentioned above, the Italian countryside is beautiful and you can easily observe it while on the train. What I like best about train is the fact that its just much less hassle than taking a plane. You don’t have to arrive far in advance of your departure and don’t have to worry about long security lines. If the train interests you, head over to trenitalia.com to find your ticket!
When to Go: As Italy is a really popular destination, it tends to have large crowds – especially in the summer. So as briefly touched on in the intro, it’s best to avoid the high season and visit during the shoulder season. For this post, we are focused on visiting during the month of September, which is pretty much the perfect time to visit. This will ultimately allow you to avoid massive groups of tourists, but still have great weather.
Currency Situation: Italy uses the Euro, like many European countries. The current exchange rate is €1 = $1.08. Click here for the latest exchange rate. Although credit cards are accepted in many places, I recommend that you take out some cash while there. I found that it was just easier to make many purchases with cash on hand.
Language Considerations: The language of Italy is Italian (as I’m sure you know). English is spoken by many in the larger cities, but you will often encounter those who don’t speak it, even in cities as large as Rome.
It is really helpful to know some basic phrases before your visit so that you can greet locals correctly. It never hurts to use the local language when you can! Check out my guide on Italian sayings for tourists to make sure you’re prepared!.
Map of Italy
Here is a map of all the locations listed in this travel guide, so that you can get a sense of direction as you read along:
The Best Cities to Visit in Italy in September: Lombardia Region
Lake Como, nestled in the picturesque Lombardy region of Northern Italy, is a breathtaking destination renowned for its natural beauty, charming towns, and serene ambiance. Surrounded by towering mountains and lush greenery, Lake Como offers a serene retreat and has long been a favored destination for celebrities, artists, and nature lovers alike.
The star attraction of Lake Como is undoubtedly its stunning landscape. The azure waters of the lake, framed by the majestic Alps, create a mesmerizing backdrop that enchants visitors. Picturesque villages dot the shoreline, each with its unique character and charm. Bellagio, often referred to as the “Pearl of Lake Como,” is known for its elegant villas, narrow cobbled streets, and stunning views. Varenna, another enchanting village, offers a romantic atmosphere with its colorful houses, waterfront promenade, and historic landmarks.
Exploring Lake Como allows for a range of activities and experiences. Take a leisurely boat ride across the lake to soak in the breathtaking scenery and visit the various towns and villages along the way. Admire the splendid villas and gardens that grace the lakeside, such as Villa del Balbianello and Villa Carlotta, with their lush botanical wonders. Hike along the scenic trails that meander through the surrounding hills and forests, offering panoramic vistas of the lake and its surroundings.
Lake Como also caters to those seeking tranquility and relaxation. Enjoy a leisurely lakeside stroll, savoring the peaceful atmosphere and the gentle lapping of the water. Indulge in the region’s culinary delights, including fresh fish from the lake, risotto dishes, and locally produced wines. Unwind in one of the charming lakeside cafes or immerse yourself in the luxurious spas and wellness retreats that dot the area.
Visiting Lake Como in September offers the perfect balance of pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and a vibrant atmosphere, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the lake, explore charming lakeside towns at your leisure, and indulge in the region’s culinary delights without the peak tourist rush. Additionally, September marks the beginning of the autumn season, when the surrounding landscapes transform into a stunning palette of warm hues, creating a picturesque backdrop for your Lake Como experience.
Milan, the stylish and dynamic capital of Italy’s Lombardy region, is a city that seamlessly blends historical charm with modern flair. Renowned for its fashion, design, and finance, Milan stands as a global hub of creativity and innovation. It has an interesting history as it was founded by Celts who came down to the region in the 6th century BC, but of course was eventually conquered by the Romans.
The city’s iconic landmarks, such as the majestic Duomo di Milano, speak to its rich history and architectural splendor. Milan is also home to world-class art galleries and museums, including Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper.
Beyond its cultural treasures, Milan offers unparalleled shopping experiences, from luxury boutiques in the fashion district to trendy street markets. Food enthusiasts can delight in the city’s diverse culinary scene, featuring traditional Italian trattorias and contemporary gastronomic delights. With its vibrant atmosphere, exceptional cultural offerings, and a bustling nightlife, Milan promises visitors an unforgettable experience that epitomizes the allure of modern Italy.
September is the perfect time to visit Milan, as the city boasts pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and the opportunity to witness the vibrant Milan Fashion Week, all while exploring its historic landmarks and indulging in the delectable Italian cuisine.
Like Florence, Milan is noted for its culture as the city is full of museums, art galleries, and centers for the performing arts. Some key attractions include:Interior of the Sforza Castle
- Milan Cathedral: This cathedral is the largest gothic-style cathedral in the world. It took nearly six centuries to complete, with Napoleon actually holding responsibility for finally wrapping up the construction. You can tour the building as well as the roof, where you can take in nice views of the city.
- Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie: This convent houses the original mural of The Last Supper by Leonardo di Vinci. This makes for a short visit, but I really enjoyed this – the size of the mural helps you experience the painting much differently than you typically do in textbooks or other reproductions.
- Sforza Castle: This castle was formerly the residence of lords, like Francesco Sforza in the Middle Ages. Like many other buildings in Milan, Leonardo di Vinci also decorated the interiors of this building. Today this castle houses several museums, such as the Museum of Ancient Art and the Egyptian Museum.
The Best Cities in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region
Looking for a destination that’s off the beaten path and perfect for a relaxing getaway? Trieste is the perfect option in September. Nestled away in northeastern Italy, Trieste is unique in the sense that it blends Italian and Austrian culture due to its location near the border.
The main draw to the city is its stunning architecture – though you can also find plenty of cafes, boutiques, and antique shops to explore in the city center.
Why should you consider vacationing in Trieste during September? Well, apart from the gorgeous architecture and shopping opportunities, this is when the city boasts pleasant weather and lower crowds. Say hello to exploring the city without feeling rushed or crowded.
Trieste truly is an Italian gem – there’s so much to see and do:
- Tour Grotta Gigante – This huge tourist cave is an epic day trip from Trieste. Marvel at the stalagmites and stalactites as you delve deeper into this impressive natural landmark.
- Visit Piazza Unità d’Italia – This square is the beating heart of Trieste, and is surrounded by stunning buildings, including the city hall and the historic Caffè degli Specchi.
- Explore Miramare Castle – Venture just outside of Trieste to see Miramare Castle. Take a tour of the castle’s interiors and gardens, which are filled with beautiful exotic plants and trees.
- Visit the Museo Revoltella – This modern art museum can be found in the center of Trieste and features a collection of Italian and international contemporary art.
- Explore the Roman Amphitheater – This ancient amphitheater dates back to the 1st century AD and was used for gladiatorial contests, as well as plenty of other events.
When hunger strikes, Trieste has got plenty of places to dine out at. Rustiko, a gorgeous traditional spot serving up toothsome Italian dishes, and Buffet da Pepi are highlights. Be sure to try the local seafood dishes, which are fresh, flavorful, and totally delicious.
The Best Cities in the Veneto Region
Venice is well-known for being situated in the sea, with water ways, water taxis, and gondolas featuring as the primary methods of transportation. The fact that this city is built in the water allowed it to become a very wealthy trading hub during the middle ages.
Because of this, Venice the first international financial center in that region of the world, hitting its peak in the 1300s. The city has many beautiful buildings and bridges, and has a really romantic vibe to it. Some top attractions in Venice include:Planks for walking on flooded streets – we had lots of rain on our visit!
- Piazza San Marco: This is most famous piazza in Venice, and it serves as the political, social, and religious center of the city. The primary landmark here is St. Mark’s Basilica, the church that serve’s as the city’s cathedral. The piazza also houses St. Marks Campanile, the most recognizable landmark of the city. Interesting fact: This bell tower is an exact replica of the original that was constructed in the 1100s. It collapsed in 1902 and the rebuilding was complete in 1912.
- Grand Canal: This is the main waterway of the city that runs through its center. It starts at the basin in San Marco and goes down to the lagoon near the St. Lucia rail station. You can ride down this canal to see the houses of formal nobles and the other beautiful buildings that line the passage.
Note that Venice is occasionally hit by some flooding. This is something that I experienced on my visit several years back. Just watch the weather before your trip and pack appropriately!
For culture, art, music, history and romance, Verona should be at the top of your list of places to visit in Italy.
Verona is a beautiful UNESCO world heritage city located in Italy’s north, most famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Although this is not the only reason to visit Verona. The picturesque city is full of beautiful Roman buildings and structures, including the Verona Arena – a Roman amphitheatre dating back to 30 AD which is still in use today!
September is the perfect time to visit Verona, as the city transitions to fall and summer tourism dies down. At this time of year, you will still get the benefit of long warm days, but with average temperatures reaching around 25°C, this is a much more comfortable time to visit than in the heat of summer. And even though the summer holidays end in September, the city is still bustling with cultural activities, performances, and art at this time of year.
Some must-do activities while visiting Verona include:
- Visit Juliet’s House, stand on the famous balcony and leave a letter for Juliet. You can even expect to get a response with love advice from one of Juliet’s secretaries!
- See an opera under the stars at the Verona Arena. The Verona Opera Festival runs until September 9th at the nearly 2,000-year-old Roman arena. Although if you miss out on the opera, don’t worry as you may still be able to catch a different performance at the Arena later in the month!
- Explore the city on foot to see the city’s Roman architecture and historic sites. Key sites to visit include the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, Lamberti tower, Castelvecchio, Duomo di Verona, Ponte Pietra, Chiesa di Sant’Anastasia, Porta Borsari, and Piazza delle Erbe.
And don’t forget to eat some delicious traditional Veronese cuisine. Verona’s most famous traditional dish is “pastisada de caval” (horse meat stew). Although if this isn’t up your alley, luckily the city is also famous for its polenta, risotto, and gnocchi dishes.
The Best Cities in the Liguria Region
One of the best places to visit in Italy in September is the Cinque Terre. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not a city but a string of five idyllic villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, stitched together by a scenic coastal path. It’s like a living postcard from the Italian Riviera, with charming quaintness in each sister village.
Traveling to Cinque Terre in September is ideal in many ways. The summer crowds dwindle, and the sweltering heat mellows into a comfortable warmth, perfect for exploring the villages and their surrounding vineyards. It’s also the time for the local grape harvest, adding a unique flavor to your visit.
A vacation here is a feast for the senses – savoring the freshest seafood, locally grown pesto, and homegrown wines. One of my favorite restaurants, Belforte in Vernazza, sits perched on a cliff. It is a must-visit for food lovers, offering a delightful range of local dishes paired with Cinque Terre wines. Plus, you can’t beat the incredible view!
Here are some of the top things to do in Cinque Terre include:
- Spend time at the beach time in Monterosso
- Explore the picturesque town of Vernazza
- Watch a sunset from the rocks of Riomaggiore
- Visit the Church of San Francesco – Capuchin Friars Monastery
Don’t miss the opportunity to hike the Sentiero Azzurro, or “Blue Trail,” connecting the villages. The trail offers stunning views of the vineyards, olive groves, and the shimmering sea below. For a deeper dive into local culture, consider taking a guided trekking tour to learn the history of villages while seeing panoramic views of the Ligurian Sea. With its sublime landscapes and gastronomic delights, Cinque Terre is a unique experience you’ll long remember after you’ve left.
Situated on the Italian Riveria and the main city along the Ligurian sea, Genoa’s main draw is it’s beautiful architecture, stunning landscape and incredible seafood!
One of the main reasons to go on vacation here is because it provides a great base for visiting other places in the region. Why not take a day trip to Portofino and visit the famous little town known for its picturesque surroundings. Alternatively, hop on a train to Milan and go high end shopping at all the luxury fashion boutiques! Apart from that, Genoa is a great place to relax with some great views and amazing food.
The main reason for travelling in September in particular is the weather. The beautiful Genovian sun is present from dawn until desk and provides an amazing experience for all visitors. September has the perfect climate as it’s not too hot you can’t do anything and it’s not as busy as July or August.
Being a city in Italy, there’s always incredible pizza and pasta on the menu where ever you look. The best place for some affordable, handmade pizza and pasta is up any of the side streets in small restaurants. Being a port city, Genova also has one of the most delicious selection of seafood that’s available at most restaurants in the port front.
Genoa has some amazing lookout points over the city and Belvedere Acas teller to is no exception. In addition, the stunning buildings of Cattedrale di San Lorenzo and the Royal Palace Museum are not to be missed. You should definitely consider taking the Portofino Boat and Walking Tour with Pesto Cooking & Lunch tour which allows you to explore Portofino on boat and foot. To top it off, you’ll end the end learning how to make the perfect pesto to take back home with you.
The Best Cities in the Emilio-Romangna Region
If you like Italian food and wine, you’ll love Bologna. This city in Northern Italy is in the heart of Emilia-Romagna, the region that has given the world Parma ham, Parmigiano Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico di Modena.
It’s a great idea to do a food tour when you’re there. Delicious Bologna is a good option that includes food education, tastings and a city tour. You must also try a Bolognese speciality: tortellini in broth. A good place to try this dish is Hostaria San Carlino.
Bologna is wonderful to visit in September because it has mild to warm weather and it is busy and vibrant even in the shoulder season. It is not such a huge tourist destination that it has extreme highs and lows of visitors, and it is a university town, so it has a young, vibrant population year-round.
There are lots of things to do in Bologna, including admiring the landmark buildings, such as leaning medieval towers and a huge basilica. It is delightful to walk around Bologna due to its many porticoes: buildings extended over the street, creating arched covered walkways below.
In fact, there’s a long stretch of attractive portico that runs for several kilometres out of the city and up into the hills to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca. The Portico of San Luca is the world’s longest portico and it’s quite a hike! But it’s worth it because the porticos are lovely and there are stunning views over the countryside from the top – plus you’ll have thoroughly earned an aperitif afterwards!
The Best Cities in the Tuscany Region
Florence, Italy, known as the “Cradle of the Renaissance,” is a captivating city steeped in art, history, and culture. Located in the heart of Tuscany, Florence is renowned for its magnificent architecture, world-class museums, and picturesque landscapes. Home to iconic landmarks such as the Florence Cathedral, Ponte Vecchio, and the Uffizi Gallery, the city effortlessly merges the past with the present, offering visitors a rich tapestry of artistic masterpieces, charming medieval streets, and delectable cuisine.
From the captivating works of Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci to the serene beauty of the Arno River and the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside, Florence captivates the senses. An interesting fact about Florence is that the dialect spoken here is the one chosen above all others in Italy as “standard” Italian.
September is an ideal time to visit Florence, Italy, as the weather is pleasant, the tourist crowds are smaller, and the city comes alive with cultural events and festivals, offering a unique opportunity to explore its historic treasures and immerse oneself in the vibrant local atmosphere.
While visiting Florence, you should see the following main attractions:
- Florence Cathedral: This is “the” main attraction of the city, and also the 4th largest church in the world. This cathedral is a full complex, featuring the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile. The building is absolutely gorgeous inside and out and certainly worth a visit when you are in the city.
- Piazzas, Piazzas, Piazzas: Like all Italian cities, Florence has many squares throughout the city. Visit the Piazza della Repubblica to visit the center of the city, which was once the site of the ancient Roman Forum. Head over to the nearby Piazza della Signoria to see the Palazzo Vecchio (town hall) and experience a sort of outdoor museum. I’ll note that I personally love piazzas because the people-watching opportunities are great!
If you’re considering visiting Lucca, Italy, September is a fantastic time to do so. The weather is warm and comfortable, with average temperatures ranging from 58°F to 79°F. You can expect plenty of sunshine and minimal rainfall, making it an ideal season for exploring the city.
Lucca has a long list of things to do in the historic city center. Here are some of the highlights:
- One of the best things is to walk the ancient walls that surround the city. The wide paved path can be walked or cycled around, providing breathtaking views of the city’s towers and the surrounding area.
- Within the walls, you’ll discover beautiful historic buildings, charming streets, and picturesque squares.
- Don’t miss the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro a square in the shape of the ancient amphitheater that originally stood there.
- Be sure to explore the Lucca Cathedral, a magnificent building with stunning frescoes and intricate stained glass windows.
- Explore the traditional Tuscan cuisine. The ravioli-like signature dish of the city, Tordelli Lucchese is a must.
Buca di Sant’Antonio is one of the best places in the city to sample the traditional fare. L’Angolo Tondo in the Piazza Anfiteatro is another great choice.
In addition to seeing the sights and eating the delicious food, in September a number of events are held like the Lucca Film Festival and the Luminara di Santa Croce. Also, the town is the birthplace of Italian composer, Giacomo Puccini. His operas and music can be heard in venues throughout the year.
Stay within the walls at the Grand Universe Lucca in the Piazza del Giglio and you’ll be within walking distance of most of the best attractions.
The Best cities in the Umbria Region
Spello is a stunningly picturesque hill town in Umbria. Most visitors to Spello only visit on a day trip, but the town makes an excellent base to explore this region in Italy.
There is no need to worry about driving; Spello can easily be reached by train. From the train station, it’s only a ten-minute walk into town. And with restricted parking in the town, this is the best way to get to Spello.
But be sure to wear comfortable shoes; Spello is a hill town with many steep hills. You will rarely be walking on the flat – it is always uphill or downhill., but that’s part of the town’s charm.
Visiting Spello in September is a beautiful time to enjoy the countryside’s autumn colours and wine harvests. Be sure to try the local Montefalco wines and visit the local wineries.
But one of the best things to do in Spello is simply wandering the streets and admiring the floral alleyways, the pretty churches and the stunning views overlooking the Umbrian countryside.
If you’re a fan of Renaissance art, do visit the Baglioni Chapel in the Collegiata di Santa Maria Maggiore to see artwork by Pinturicchio.
This delightful tiny town has so many excellent restaurants and wonderful delicatessens. As it caters primarily to Italian tourists, the food here is just incredible – try the local black truffles, olive oils, Chianina beef, and wild boar.
- Recommended Restaurant: La Cantina di Spello
- Recommended Hotel : Albergo Il Cacciatore
The Best Cities in the Lazio Region
When most people think of Italy, they first think of Rome, the Eternal City. Rightfully so, as this was the center of the massive Roman Empire that dominated most of Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East in ancient times. It is one of my all-time favorite cities in the world, and fun fact about me, my most visited foreign city. There is a very interesting mix of the ancient, the old, and the new throughout the city. This gives it a feel that you really won’t find anywhere else in the world.
With a history spanning over 2,500 years, Rome boasts a wealth of iconic landmarks and architectural marvels that reflect its status as a global center of power and influence. From the awe-inspiring Colosseum, the grandeur of the Roman Forum, and the majestic Pantheon to the artistic treasures of the Vatican City, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, Rome is a living museum that transports visitors back in time. Exploring its cobblestone streets, piazzas, and charming neighborhoods like Trastevere offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and authentic Italian experiences.
Beyond its historical and cultural significance, Rome offers a vibrant and cosmopolitan atmosphere. The city pulses with life, from its bustling markets, such as Campo de’ Fiori, where you can sample fresh produce and local delicacies, to its chic boutiques and trendy neighborhoods like Monti and Testaccio. Indulge in the delectable Roman cuisine, savoring traditional dishes like pasta carbonara, supplì (fried rice balls), and gelato, while enjoying a leisurely stroll through the picturesque streets or relaxing at a sidewalk café.
As Rome is a VERY popular tourist destination, if you visit in September, you are likely to avoid the massive crowds found here during peak season.
Top attractions in Rome include:
- The Colosseum: What is a visit to Rome without a stop at il Coloseo? This massive amphitheater is the largest one ever constructed – to this day! During its heyday, it was used for gladiatorial shows, dramas, animal hunts, and mock sea battles. Despite the fact that it was partially deconstructed during the middle ages, it is still one of the most impressive ancient sites you’ll find anywhere.
- The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill: This archaeological site served as the center of life in the ancient center of Rome. Here, you’ll find ruins of buildings such as the House of the Vestal Virgins, the Temple of Caesar, and the Regia. Visit here to literally walk through the streets of ancient Rome. You can see the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum together, as they are sold as one ticket. This area was the home of wealthy Roman citizens and emperors like Nero and Augustus.
- The Vatican Museums: These museums, which are connected into one very large museum, house art and other objects collected by wealthy popes over the years. The pièce de résistance of the museums is the Sistine Chapel, which is situated towards the end of the long hallways of the museum. The Vatican Museums are located right outside of St. Peter’s Basilica, which is another very well-known Roman site. These museums are the 4th most visited in the world, so I recommend booking your ticket in advance to save you a bit of stress and time waiting in line.
I get really into the details on what to see/do in Rome in this post. Check it out if you want to learn more!
Exploring Sperlonga is a welcomed escape from the hectic everyday life of cities. The small coastal town is full of relaxing sceneries with its stone streets, white houses wrapped around the coast, and rich piazza filled with various shops and places to eat.
This is especially true when visiting Sperlonga in September, which is a wonderful time to visit this Italian coastal town. As the summer crowds begin to deplete, you can enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches and local area peacefully and in a more intimate setting. The weather during September is also still warm and is perfect for outdoor activities and beachside days.
When it comes to dining in Sperlonga, you’ll want to venture on over to Il Porticciolo, a popular beachside restaurant. Enjoy deliciously fresh seafood entrees and stunning sea views from your terrace seat. Afterward, you can enjoy some yummy Gelato and take a stroll through the cobblestone streets as the sun sets across the sea.
There is a variety of things to do in Sperlonga when visiting during the late summer season, such as:
- Explore the Historic Center: Immerse yourself in the town’s culture and visually take in the historical beauty of the city, from its stone streets to picturesque white buildings.
- Explore the Sea with a Boat Tour: Immerse yourself in the sea’s natural beauty, explore hidden coves, and see parts of the Italian coastline only possible by boat.
- Take a Beachcation at Sperlonga’s Beach: Bask in the warm sun as you take in gorgeous sea views; don’t forget your SPF. The water is also super refreshing and is a welcome relief from the warm sun after hours of playing on the beach or sunbathing.
- Explore The Villa of Tiberius: Experience a moment from the past while you step into the ruins of Villa di Tiberio. Emperor Tiberius previously owned this ancient Roman villa.
- Visit the National Archaeological Museum: Learn about Sperlonga and Italian history by visiting this popular museum.
Whether relaxing on the beach, strolling through cobblestone streets, or enjoying fresh seafood, Sperlonga is a beautiful destination. Especially in September when it slows down due to the lowering of crowds, offering you a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of Italy’s coastal beaches without the hectic crowds.
One of the best places to visit in Italy in September is Tivoli. A charming town known for its rich history located in the Lazio region. The biggest selling point about visiting in September is that you have the warm weather of the summer months, and the tourist crowds have thinned out. It makes for the perfect combo!
The main draw to Tivoli is its remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Villa d’Este, a magnificent Renaissance villa, is a must-visit attraction. It’s so stunning that many people take day trips from Rome just to see the villa.
Tivoli’s serene atmosphere, away from the bustling city life, makes it an ideal vacation spot. There are plenty of opportunities to take leisurely walks through the town’s narrow streets, lined with quaint shops and traditional cafes. It’s the perfect Italian destination! The local cuisine is another reason to visit Tivoli, as it offers a delightful blend of traditional Italian flavours. Try local specialities like porchetta (roasted pork) and gnocchi alla romana (Roman-style gnocchi).
On top of visiting the Villa d’Este, there are lots of other things to do in Tivoli, such as…
- Villa Adriana (another Renaissance villa)
- Villa Gregoriana (beautiful parks with waterfalls and good views)
- Explore the historic centre
- See the Temple of Vesta and Temple of Hercules Victor
Tivoli is an amazing place, and there’s no better time to visit than in September.
The Best Cities in the Compania Region
I’ve listed Amalfi here as just one of the cities the make up the Amalfi Coast, but I’d recommend visiting any of them. I had always heard about the Amalfi Coast being great, but couldn’t really appreciate this until I went for myself.
The views are breathtaking and there are colorful flowers everywhere. There are mountains that appear to touch the sky full of colorful houses but also beaches for swimming. I personally which I could have stayed longer myself, so I want to head back soon. Amalfi does get a bit of flack for being touristy, but I think its still worth the visit!
If you are interested in exploring more beach towns in Italy, check out this post: The Best Beaches in Italy.
Naples, a city perched along the stunning Bay of Naples in southern Italy, exudes a raw and captivating energy that sets it apart from other Italian destinations. Steeped in history and teeming with cultural treasures, Naples is a city of contrasts. Its UNESCO-listed historic center, a labyrinth of narrow streets and bustling markets, showcases the city’s ancient past, with landmarks like the grandiose Naples Cathedral and the underground tunnels of Napoli Sotterranea.
As the birthplace of pizza, Naples boasts a vibrant culinary scene, with pizzerias serving up the most authentic and mouthwatering Neapolitan pies. Beyond its historical and gastronomic appeal, Naples is a gateway to the majestic Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and the enchanting island of Capri, making it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding natural wonders.
However, Naples is not just about landmarks and scenery—it’s also about the passionate people, the vibrant street life, and the vibrant Neapolitan spirit that permeates every corner. It’s a city that embraces its chaotic charm, leaving visitors with an indelible imprint of its unique character and undeniable allure.
September is a fantastic time to visit Naples, as the weather is still pleasantly warm, the tourist crowds are smaller, and you can fully enjoy the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine without the summer rush.
Some places you should certainly visit while in Naples include:
- Historic Center (Centro Storico): The historic center of Naples, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-visit for its rich history and charming atmosphere. Explore the narrow streets, known as “spaccanapoli,” and discover architectural gems like Naples Cathedral, with its magnificent Gothic facade, and the famous San Gregorio Armeno street, renowned for its intricate nativity scene workshops. Don’t miss the fascinating Naples Underground, a network of tunnels and chambers that reveal the city’s ancient past.
- Naples National Archaeological Museum: Immerse yourself in the archaeological wonders of Naples at this renowned museum. It houses an impressive collection of artifacts from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other ancient sites, including stunning frescoes, mosaics, sculptures, and the famous Farnese Bull.
- Castel dell’Ovo: This medieval castle is located on the picturesque island of Megaride and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Naples. Explore its ancient walls, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, and immerse yourself in the legend and history surrounding this iconic landmark.
Okay yes, Pompeii is not a currently inhabited city (although it is within the modern city of Pompei), but it is amazing! I just returned from a trip to visit these ruins, and I was in awe of the scale of the ancient city. You could spend a day exploring the streets of the city and probably still not see everything.
Visiting Pompeii allows you to step back in time and explore its remarkably preserved ruins. As you walk along the ancient streets, you’ll encounter remarkably preserved buildings, including grand villas, temples, public baths, and a theater. The Forum, the heart of Pompeii’s civic and social life, provides a sense of the city’s bustling atmosphere. The plaster casts of victims, made by pouring liquid plaster into the voids left by decomposed bodies, offer a haunting reminder of the catastrophic event that unfolded here.
As you delve deeper into Pompeii, you’ll come across fascinating details of daily life. Intricate frescoes, mosaics, and statues adorn the walls and floors of the houses, showcasing the artistic and cultural flair of the time. You can also explore the ancient thermal baths, giving insight into Roman bathing rituals and relaxation practices.
To enhance your visit, consider hiring a knowledgeable guide or joining a guided tour to gain a deeper understanding of the city’s history and significance. They can provide valuable insights into the daily routines, social structure, and cultural practices of ancient Pompeii.
It’s worth noting that Pompeii can get crowded, particularly during peak tourist seasons, but you can avoid these crowds by visiting in September. Plan to wear comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of walking involved.
For me personally, I felt as though I could really understand life in an ancient city for the first time, as the city is still amazingly intact. If you are a history buff, you cannot miss this one!
To get to Pompeii you can take a short ride from Naples. My family and I took this tour (also shown below) from Naples to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast; which is a great option if you are short on time.
The Best Cities in the Puglia Region
Otranto is one of the most beautiful towns in Puglia in the south of Italy. It’s a great place to enjoy the beach and turquoise sea in the relaxed atmosphere of an authentic and cozy Italian town. Plus it has a great advantage compared to more iconic Italian beach towns: the Puglia region is relatively cheaper compared to many other popular regions in Italy.
While it is a great place to visit at any time of the year, in September you will find the weather is perfect to enjoy the beach, and that the crowds that you might find there during July and August are gone.
There are some good restaurants in the old town and some pretty cafes on the beachfront. But if you are renting a car or don’t mind a 30-minute walk from the center, make sure to eat at Il Diavolicchio Goloso, a for a delicious meal made with fresh ingredients and surrounded by a beautiful garden. It’s the best place for lunch on a sunny day.
Things you shouldn’t miss while in Otranto:
- Relax at the beach
- Have a gelato at the lungomare (the beachfront)
- Explore the old town
- Visit the Otranto castle
- Visit the cathedral
- Swim at la Grotta della Poesia (the Cave of Poetry)
- Rent a bicycle or go on a bike tour along the coast
The Best Cities in the Sardegna Region
Sardinia is an amazing island off the coast on Italy in the middle of the Mediterranean. It’s a gorgeous island with a unique culture, and September is the best time to visit! After the summer crowds have left, visitors will be free to explore the island on their own, while still enjoying warm weather and perfect temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea.
The island of Sardinia has a land mass of 24,000 km with plenty of areas to visit. The capital city, Cagliari, is located in the south with the biggest airport and connections to other towns. It has a cute old town and many delicious and authentic Italian restaurants. In the north, you can also fly into Olbia and into Alghero.
Note: You will likely need a car if you want to explore Sardinia to the fullest.
When visiting Sardinia, you can:
- Visit world class, both sandy and rocky beaches in the Costa Rei
- Take a boat tour around the island and maybe even see dolphins!
- Watch the sunset and enjoy aperitivo at Marina Villasimius
The Best Cities in the Sicilia Region
Palermo, the lively and culturally rich capital city of Sicily, offers a captivating fusion of history, architecture, vibrant markets, and delicious cuisine. Located on the northern coast of the island, Palermo showcases a remarkable blend of influences from various civilizations that have shaped its character over the centuries. The city boasts an impressive array of architectural treasures, including the Palermo Cathedral with its striking Arab-Norman design, the Palazzo dei Normanni (Royal Palace) featuring the awe-inspiring Palatine Chapel adorned with Byzantine mosaics, and the Martorana Church with its exquisite mosaics. Palermo’s historic center reveals narrow streets, charming squares, and magnificent baroque palaces, while the lively street markets like Ballarò and Vucciria offer a bustling atmosphere where visitors can immerse themselves in the flavors, aromas, and colors of Sicilian cuisine.
Beyond its urban allure, Palermo offers natural beauty and diverse landscapes. The picturesque Mondello Beach, with its turquoise waters and pristine sands, is a popular spot for relaxation and sunbathing. Venturing further afield, the rugged mountains of the Madonie and the dramatic coastal cliffs of Cefalù provide opportunities for outdoor adventures, scenic hikes, and exploration of charming villages. Palermo’s culinary scene is a true delight, showcasing the unique flavors of Sicilian cuisine influenced by Arab, Spanish, and Italian traditions. From indulging in delectable street food like arancini and panelle to savoring traditional dishes like pasta alla Norma and fresh seafood specialties, visitors can embark on a culinary journey that perfectly complements the city’s vibrant atmosphere and cultural richness.
I’ll also mention, as with many of the cities listed above, if you visit in September, you will be able to avoid the tourist rush and truly soak in the local culture here.
While in Palermo you should consider the following activitites:
- Explore the historic center: Dive into the heart of Palermo by exploring its historic center. Stroll through the narrow streets, marvel at the stunning architecture, and discover the city’s rich history. Visit the magnificent Palermo Cathedral, the Palazzo dei Normanni (Royal Palace) with its Palatine Chapel adorned with exquisite mosaics, and the Martorana Church with its stunning Byzantine mosaics. Lose yourself in the vibrant markets, such as Ballarò and Vucciria, where you can experience the bustling atmosphere and savor the flavors of Sicilian cuisine.
- Visit the Palermo markets: Immerse yourself in the vibrant and lively markets of Palermo. The Ballarò Market is a bustling street market where you can find a wide range of local produce, fresh seafood, spices, and traditional Sicilian street food. Experience the vibrant atmosphere, interact with the vendors, and indulge in delicious treats like arancini (fried rice balls), panelle (chickpea fritters), and cannoli.
- Explore the Norman Palace and Palatine Chapel: Pay a visit to the magnificent Norman Palace, also known as the Palazzo dei Normanni. Marvel at the grandeur of the palace’s architecture and step inside the breathtaking Palatine Chapel, adorned with intricate Byzantine mosaics depicting biblical scenes. The chapel’s dazzling interior is a true masterpiece, showcasing a fusion of Byzantine, Arab, and Norman artistic influences.
The city of Taormina, on the eastern coast of Sicily, is a beautiful place to visit in Italy in September. With ancient Roman history, Mediterranean beaches, and luxury shopping, all under the smoking presence of Mount Etna, Taormina is the perfect spot in Italy for a fall getaway.
September is the ideal time to visit Taormina because you’ll miss the intense heat of summer while still enjoying warm beach-worthy days. If you visit during the second weekend of September, you’ll have a chance to witness the celebration of Madonna della Rocca. Locals march the statue from her sanctuary in the hills down into town, then feast on a savory lamb baked with herbs and spices.
Taormina’s top attraction is its ancient Roman Theater, one of the best preserved on the island. With its views of the coastline and Mount Etna, this ancient theater is one of Sicily’s most picturesque.
Other things to do in Taormina include:
- Visit Isola Bella
- See the duomo di Taormina
- Stroll along the Corso Umberto
From Taormina, you can also visit Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano. Whether you hike or take the cable car to the top, summiting this smoking volcano is a thrill not to be missed!
Back in Taormina, head to Granducca Restaurant for a meal with a view. Try traditional Sicilian dishes like pasta con la sarda (pasta with sardines) or pasta alla Norma (pasta with eggplant) while sipping wine and looking out over the Mediterranean.
Final Thoughts | The Best Cities to Visit in Italy in September
That wraps my list of the best cities to visit in Italy in September. Overall, I think that one thing that ties all of these cities together is the relaxed culture and delicious food (similarly to Spain). How about you? What are you favorite places to visit in Italy? Let me know below!