The 6 Most Scenic Spots in Italy

La Piazzetta shows its best side after the day-trippers have left Capri town. Raffaele Capasso
Italy is so packed with attractions that it's hard to know where to start. That's where we come in. We present our personal, opinionated list of what we consider to be Italy's top highlights, in our books and here online. This will get you started and point you toward some of the possibilities for designing your own vacation. Whether this is your first trip or your 10th, you're bound to come away with your own favorites to add to the list.

Included here is what are arguably the country's six best scenic spots. Feel free to propose your own in our Italy Forum.

Photo Caption: La Piazzetta shows its best side after the day-trippers have left Capri town.
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Pope Pius II designed Pienza's historic core as the "ideal Renaissance city." Hollenbeck Productions
Olive groves, vineyards, cypresses, wine towns, and wheat fields studded with farmhouses capture the beauty and essence of Tuscany. Pienza is an especially good place to hit. Designed and created as a utopia by Pope Prius II, the hilltop town is known as "The Ideal City of the Renaissance." Plus, it's home to pecorino, a locally crafted sheep's milk cheese that is well worth the trip. 

Photo Caption: Pope Pius II designed Pienza's historic core as the "ideal Renaissance city."
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The Sant'Orso meadow outside Cogne, a former ore mining village, is the best spot to try a bit of cross-country skiing Courtesy Valle d'Aosta Tourism
The 703 sq. km (173,000 acres) of valleys, plateaus, and peaks rise and fall across the former hunting grounds of King Vittorio Emanuele II. Crystal-clear lake waters reflect the Gran Paradiso peaks, and some 4,000 ibex, along with chamois, badgers, and other mountain-dwelling creatures, roam the park.

Photo Caption: The Sant'Orso meadow outside Cogne, a former ore mining village, is the best spot to try a bit of cross-country skiing
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The coastal path--the Sentiero Azzurro, or Blue Trail--connects all five towns and is the Cinque Terre's most popular hike. Riccardo De Luca
Steep seaside cliffs have defied road builders, and a trail follows the unspoiled coastline through stunning panoramas, fragrant pine groves, and hillsides terraced with vineyards to connect the region. The name Cinque Terre originates from the five little villages that constitute it. Each village offers its own unique addition to the territory, from Monterosso's beaches to Manarola's 14th century church of San Lorenzo.
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Strike out on your own, on foot or by boat, to get a different angle on the coastline and islands. Raffaele Capasso
Rugged coastlines of staggering dimension, vertiginous views more breathtaking than any photo can convey, and the imposing cone of Mt. Vesuvius make the Amalfi Coast and the Bay of Naples, including the island of Capri, the most magnificent landscape in Italy.

Photo Caption: Strike out on your own, on foot or by boat, to get a different angle on the coastline and islands.
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Aeolian Islands-Italy Neil Beer
The shores tend to be pebbly inlets or vertical rock faces, but they are riddled with beautiful swimming coves that are best reached by renting your own motorboat.

Photo Caption: Aeolian Islands, Sicily.
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Eruptions at night on the isle of Stromboli, Sicily. Frommers.com Community
An active but sluggish volcano emits puffs of smoke and lava all the time, and a nighttime trek to the summit provides views of fiery red lava flowing toward the sea.

Photo Caption: Eruptions at night on the isle of Stromboli, Sicily. Photo by C.Mueller-Planitz/Frommers.com Community
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