Julie Italy 7 Comments

If you are researching where to go in Italy, without a doubt you are finding gorgeous, vibrant photos of Italy’s top destinations. Would you like to know how to get these same gorgeous views of Italy?

In this post, find out how to get a bird’s eye view over Venice, where to get one of the best views of the Dolomites, and where to snap the best photos of the Cinque Terre. All of these spots are easy to get to and no special camera equipment is required. And whether or not you just want to take in a beautiful view or capture the moment forever in a photograph, these are very simple spots to add into your tour of Italy.

Best Views of Italy

Overlooking Rome from St. Peter’s Basilica

St Peters Square

For this iconic view over St. Mark’s Square and Rome, climb the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Where: The Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

How To Do It: Climb 551 steps to the top for €6 or take an elevator to the terrace and then climb 320 steps to the top for €8

The Colors of Vernazza


This view of Vernazza is one of the most photographed and gorgeous spots on the Cinque Terre. Getting here requires a short walk on the hiking trail but it’s worth it…this still remains one of my favorite photos of Italy.

Where: From the Cinque Terre hiking trail, GPS coordinates: 44.136594, 9.681343

How To Do It: From the harbor of Vernazza, walk past Chiesa di Santa Margherita to hiking trail. Roughly 200 meters down this trail, in the direction of Monterosso, is an overlook where you can get this same view.


The Florence Cathedral

Florence Italy

There are a LOT of places in Florence where you can get a stunning view of the Florence Cathedral (the Duomo). Our favorite view is from the top of the Arnolfo Tower, which is located on Palazzo Vecchio.

Where: Arnolfo Tower, Palazzo Vecchio

How to Do It: Palazzo Vecchio is located on Piazza della Signoria. Pay the entrance fee and climb the stairs to the top of the tower. Get pricing and hours on the official website.

The Grand Canal of Venice

Grand Canal Venice

You can get some of the best views of Venice from the small bridges that criss cross over the canals. But my favorite view of Venice is here, on Ponte dell’Accademia, overlooking the Grand Canal.

Where: Ponte dell’Accademia

How To Do It: Simply walk to the top of the bridge to get this view of Venice. Midday, this can be a very crowded spot, but in our experience, at twilight it is surprisingly quiet and uncrowded.

The Dolomites


The Dolomites don’t usually make it onto the must-see list for most travelers to Italy, especially if this is your first time in Italy. But what if I told you that you could have this view with just a tiny bit of hiking?

Simply hop on a cable car, walk a half mile, and enjoy this jaw dropping view of the Dolomites. If you are looking to add some adventure to your Italian holiday, hike the entire Puez-Odle Altopiano for a truly memorable experience.

Where:  On the Puez-Odle Altopiano trail near Selva di Val Gardena, GPS Coordinates: 46°33’27” N 11°48’47” E

How To Do It: From the town of Selva di Val Gardena, take the Dantercepies gondola up into the mountains (already the views are amazing!). From the gondola, walk east on the wide, gravel trail until you get to Rifugio Jimmy. From here, take trail No. 2 up into the mountains. You will have to hike up a rocky trail for 500 feet to get this view. If you are willing to go a little higher, the view gets even better.

Beautiful Bellagio

Bellagio Day Trips from Lugano

Called the Pearl of Lake Como, this lakeside town is one of Italy’s prettiest places to visit. Stroll the photogenic streets and enjoy the gorgeous views of Lake Como.

Where: Lake Como

How to Do It: It is easy to visit Bellagio on a day trip of Lake Como, whether you are staying in Milan, Como, or Lugano. There are photography spots throughout town but one of the best is from the viewpoint at the intersection of Via Giuseppe Garibaldi and Salita Serbelloni.

Overlooking Tuscany

San Gimigano Tuscany

The town of San Gimignano in Tuscany is famous for its fifteen medieval towers. From the top of Torri dei Salvucci, one of these towers, overlook the rolling hills of Tuscany and the stone buildings of San Gimignano.

Where: Torri dei Salvucci, San Gimignano

How To Do It: Torri dei Salvucci is located on Piazza delle Erbe. This tower is actually a B&B property in San Gimignano. When it is not rented, visitors can climb to the tower to the top for one of the best views of San Gimignano.

Sunset Views of Matera


Matera is one of the most photogenic cities in Italy. One of the best things to do in Matera is to wander the city streets and visit the viewpoints of the stone dwellings and churches that cover its hillsides.

Matera is beautiful all day long but at night this city really sparkles.

Where: The sunset photo above was taken from the terrace that sits on top of the Church of San Pietro Barisano. From this spot, you get amazing sunset views of Matera (this is our favorite view of Matera). Here are the GPS coordinates: 40°40’07.7″N 16°36’33.3″E

How to Do It: Get to this spot about 30 minutes before sunset to get set up with your tripod.

Lovely Lago di Braies

Lago di Braies

Lago di Braies is one of the most picturesque lakes in the Dolomites. Rent a rowboat and paddle around the lake, walk the short, easy trail that makes a loop around the lake, and photograph the rowboats.

Where: Lago di Braies, Dolomites

How to Do It: For the best experience, get here before 9 am, before the crowds arrive. You also have the option to rent a boat early in the morning for a sunrise photo session. Lago di Braies is best visited on a sunny day, when the sunlight brings out the colors of the lake.



Riomaggiore makes a great spot to watch the sunset in the Cinque Terre. Find a spot on the rocks in the harbor and enjoy the view as the sun sets and town lights up.

Where: Harbor of Riomaggiore, GPS Coordinates: 44°5’53” N 9°44’15” E

How To Do It: The harbor of Riomaggiore is very small. Walk out onto the rocks and do your best to find a comfortable spot to sit.

Positano from the Mediterranean Sea


If you want a unique view of Positano, see it from the Mediterranean Sea. We rented kayaks for an hour, the perfect way to cool off in the hot summer weather and get this stunning view of Positano. If you don’t feel like kayaking, you can get a similar view from the ferries that cruise up and down the coast.

Where: Positano, GPS Coordinates: 40°37’35” N 14°29’13” E

How To Do It: We rented kayaks right on the beach in Positano for a price of €30 (2 kayaks for one hour). Enjoy paddling along the coastline!

The Trulli of Alberobello


Alberobello is is famous for its trulli, small round buildings with conical roofs made of stone. Stroll the hilly maze of streets, shop for souvenirs, enjoy the view across the rooftop terraces, and fill your camera’s memory card with photos of this enchanting town

Where: Alberobello, Puglia

How to Do It: From rooftop terraces to the maze of city streets, there are a lot of great photo spots in Alberobello. One of our favorites is on Via Monte S. Michele near Ristorante L’Aratro di Domenico Laera.

Italy Travel Guide Dolomites

Rome at Sunset

Altar of the Fatherland

For one of the best sunset views of Rome, put Oro Bistrot on your list. This rooftop bar and restaurant overlooks the Trajan Forum and the Altar of the Fatherland. It’s one of our favorite viewpoints of Rome.

Where: Oro Bistrot, Rome

How to Do It: Make a reservation for the rooftop bar and/or rooftop terrace about an hour before sunset. We did this in September and had a 6 pm reservation for the cocktail lounge and a 7 pm reservation for the restaurant. To watch the sunset from this spot was magical.

The Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

As you journey down the Amalfi Coast, you will be treated to numerous views of the stunning coastline. This photo was taken on the drive between Positano and Amalfi.

Where: On Amalfi Drive in Conca dei Marini, GPS Coordinates: 40.616960, 14.575165

How To Do It: I snapped this photo while on the bus between Positano and Amalfi. This part of the road is very narrow with very few pull-offs for cars. If you have a car, you may be able to park at Hotel Le Terazze and walk the short distance to this viewpoint.

A Bird’s Eye View of Siena

Siena Italy

For the best view of Siena, climb to the top of Torre del Mangia. This is the tall, skinny tower that sits on Palazzo Pubblico. From this viewpoint, not only do you get panoramic views of Siena but you also look out over the rolling hills of Tuscany.

Where: Torre del Mangia, Siena

How to Do It: You’ll have to climb over 400 steps to the top of the tower (there is no elevator). It’s one of the biggest tower climbs listed in this guide but it is well worth it for the incredible views.


Seceda Dolomites

From the summit of Seceda, you can look out across the jagged, slanting pinnacles, making this one of the most famous viewpoints of the Dolomites.

Where: Seceda summit, Dolomites

How to Do It: Ride the cable car from Ortisei to Seceda. From the mountain station, it is 10-minute uphill walk to the Seceda viewpoint.


Castelmezzano Italy

Castelmezzano is a small, colorful, hilltop town in Basilicata, Italy. It has been called one of the prettiest villages in Italy and we have to agree. The town’s hilltop setting and backdrop of Dolomite spires make this one of the most unique towns to visit in Italy.

What makes it even more exciting is that you can zipline from Castelmezzano to the nearby town of Pietrapertosa. It’s one of southern Italy’s most thrilling experiences.

Where: Basilicata

How to Do It: The photo above was taken at Terrazza Panoramica at Piazza Emilio Caizzo in Castelmezzano. If you’re up for the zipline, you get more amazing views of the area.

A Bird’s Eye View of Venice

Overlooking Venice

From the top of the Campanile you can have this panoramic view of Venice. An elevator whisks you to the top, so climbing stairs is not necessary.

Where: St. Mark’s Campanile

How To Do It: For €10, take the elevator to the top of the Campanile. 

Watch the Sunset in Florence

Best Views of Italy

It’s a magical experience to watch the sunset over Florence and the best spot to do so is at Piazzale Michelangelo.

Where: Piazzale Michelangelo

How To Do It: To get here it’s just a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio. We stopped at a market on the way and made a picnic dinner, which we ate as we watched the sunset. To get these sunset photos, we spent about an hour and a half here.

Sea Stacks in Puglia

Torre Sant Andrea Puglia

With its stacks of limestone pillars, coves, and arches,Torre Sant’Andrea is one of the prettiest places to visit in Puglia.

Where: Torre Sant’Andrea, Puglia

How to Do It: Park at Parcheggio dei Faraglioni and pay the small fee using the automated parking machine. From here, it is a one to two-minute walk to the best views of Torre Sant’Andrea. If you are here only to take photos, a visit will last 30 to 60 minutes. If you plan to go swimming, plan on spending a few hours here.

If you want to learn more about travel photography, check out our Photography page. Learn how to take better photos while traveling, find out what photography gear we use, and get inspired with photos from around the world.

More Information about Italy

BEST OF ITALY: In our guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 25 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy.

VENICE: We cover the top experiences in Venice in our Venice Bucket List. Learn where to get the best views of Venice in our article 12 Beautiful Views of Venice. And to help you plan your time, take a look at our one day in Venice itinerary and two days in Venice itinerary.

ROME: For a list of the top experiences in Rome, read our article Best Things to Do in Rome. Learn how to put these together in our 2 Day Rome Itinerary, where to eat in our Rome Restaurant Guide, how to visit the Colosseum, and where to stay in our Rome Hotel Guide. And don’t miss our guide to the Best Rooftop Bars in Rome.

FLORENCE: If you are planning your first visit to Florence, don’t miss our guide to the 10 Best Things to Do in Florence and how to spend two days in Florence. We also have guides about the best rooftop bars in Florence, the best viewpoints in Florence, and how to visit the Florence Cathedral.

PUGLIA: Read about 15 beautiful places to visit in Puglia and the best things to do in Alberobello. We also have a guide to the best things to do on the Gargano Peninsula and how to spend one day in Vieste.

We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, and Puglia.



Best Instagram Photography Spots Italy


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Comments 7

  1. Avatar for Jay Cooper
    Jay Cooper

    Hi Julie – these are fantastic photos. My wife and I are headed to Italy in a few months, stopping in Rome, Cinque Terre, and Florence. In your opinion, what is the widest focal length needed for this trip? I have a 16-35 f/4, 28-75 f/2.8, and 70-180 f/2.8. I had originally hoped to just take the 28-75 and 70-180, but I am now wondering if 28mm is wide enough and should bring all three lenses.

    Secondly, how do you go about carrying your equipment? Particularly when being required to leave behind a backpack for St. Peter’s Basilica, Colosseum, the Duomo, etc. Do you just make do with one lens? Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Almost all of these photos were taken with a 24-70 mm lens. The Lago di Braies photo was taken with an 16-35 and the Positano photo was taken with an iPhone. I think you would be good with the wide angle and the 28-75, and maybe leave the 70-180 at home. In my opinion, the wide angle is more useful. On our more recent trip to Portugal, I used my wide angle quite a bit, especially for some landscape photos and to capture the interior of churches. I’ve never had anything bigger than 70mm for Italy (or other places in Europe) and haven’t felt like I needed it. I usually carry two cameras with a lens on each of them. I carry a camera in a large purse (so this is allowed in most sites) and Tim carries one in a small backpack (he’ll put the bag in a locker and carry the camera in his hand). I prefer to have 2 cameras rather than switching between lenses. Have a great time in Italy! Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Ilda Hado
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for Darsh
  4. Avatar for sima mehta
    sima mehta

    Hi Julie, I love your picture of the Grand Canal from Ponte dell’Accademia at night. I am just starting out in photography and I’m still trying to get the hang of night time/low light photos. Do you know what settings you used on your camera for this shot? I have a Canon 5D Mark IV. Thanks so much.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Here are the settings for this photo (with a tripod): ISO 400, 50 mm, f/13, 15 second exposure. To give the water a blurry appearance you need a long exposure time (15 seconds is what I used) and I adjusted the aperture and ISO to correct the exposure. Cheers, Julie

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