5 Italian Cities to Visit When You Study Abroad in Italy

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Italy is such a beautiful country with hundreds of beautiful little cities, towns, and villages just waiting to be explored! If you are lucky enough to study abroad in Italy or be close enough for a weekend trip, be sure to have as many Italian adventures as you can.

Here are my top must-see Italian cities to explore when you study abroad in Italy:

1. Cinque Terre

Okay, so Cinque Terre isn’t quite a city. It’s more like a collection of five small charming sea side towns, which are all connected by one road. To me, it looks and feels a lot like the Amalfi Coast but, in my opinion, it’s better. The houses are all painted in vibrant colors and, no matter which town you are in, the views of the ocean are incredible here. There are great beaches to sun tan on and tons of local shops with handcrafted goods that make the perfect gifts for family! I would recommend renting a bike or Vespa and riding it throughout all five towns. You can also hike the entire route!

2. Crema

Crema is a small town located in Northern Italy that recently got mainstream attention for being chosen as the set of the film “Call Me by Your Name.” This town is known for its beautiful architecture, like the Church of Santa Maria della Croce, and its rich history. It is the perfect place to escape from the traditional tourist destinations of Italy, allowing you to slow down and live like a local for a weekend.

3. Viareggio

This Italian town is known for two things, beaches and carnivals. Located in Tuscany, this city comes to life every year with the Carnevale di Viareggio, a string of five parades held each Sunday leading up to Easter. The parades are filled with immaculate floats, ornately decorated masks, and lots of confetti! When the Carnevale isn’t going on, people come to Viareggio to experience its incredible beaches, which give tourists views of the ocean and the mountains at the same time.

4. Bergamo

This quaint city, also located in Northern Italy, has quite a few underrated gems living within its walls. One of them being the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. This stunning church is covered in gold and hundreds of frescos.

When you’re not visiting the Basilica, make sure to find the Porta San Giacomo. The old city of Bergamo was surrounded by Venetian walls and had several impressive gates welcoming the residents. Porta San Giacomo is one of the gates that is still standing in near perfect condition. The views of the city and the countryside that you can see while approaching the gate will make the trip worthwhile!

5. Florence

The last place I want to highlight is, in my opinion, is the best city in Italy! Florence has so many beautiful churches and museums for tourists to visit, you could spend months here and never visit the same place twice. I personally love the Boboli Gardens, located behind the Pitti Palace. These gardens feature many different plants and trees, as well as amazing sculptures that date all the way back to the 16th century. To get the best view of the city, look no further than the Piazzale Michelangelo. This breathtaking lookout is a piazza located at the top of a very tall hill, but it is worth the climb! I recommend grabbing some good friends and food and watching the sunset here!

This post was contributed by Samantha Trippi, an AIFS Alumni Ambassador from Southern Illinois University who spent a spring semester studying abroad with AIFS in Florence, Italy.

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