Table of Contents
- 1 Discover Italy’s Largest Cities
- 2 Italian Cities with more than 180,000 inhabitants sorted by resident population
- 3 Rome (p. 2,744,945)
- 3.1 Milano (p. 1,352,454)
- 3.2 Naples (p. 914,406)
- 3.3 Torino (p. 841,971)
- 3.4 Palermo (p. 630,170)
- 3.5 Genova (p. 559,072)
- 3.6 Bologna (p. 388,087)
- 3.7 Firenze (p. 361,349)
- 3.8 Bari (p. 315,966)
- 3.9 Catania (p. 298,994)
- 3.10 Verona (p. 255,744)
- 3.11 Venezia (p. 250,588)
- 3.12 Messina (p. 219,104)
- 3.13 Padova (p. 206,535)
- 3.14 Trieste (p. 198,332)
- 3.15 Parma (p. 196,580)
- 3.16 Brescia (p. 196,263)
- 3.17 Prato (p. 195.213)
- 3.18 Taranto (p. 188,308)
- 3.19 Modena (p. 184,281)
Discover Italy’s Largest Cities
Italy is renowned for its stunning scenery, extensive history, and dynamic culture. But Italy also has numerous unique and vibrant cities that go beyond these well-known traits. In this article, we’ll examine the 20 biggest cities in Italy in more detail and discover what makes them uniquely special. To offer you a thorough grasp of what makes these cities tick, we’ll look at their population, economics, culture, and more.
Italy’s estimated population at the start of 2022 was 58,9 million. Northern Italy‘s Po Valley, as well as the cities of Rome and Naples in central and southern Italy, have the highest densities of people. During the twentieth century, the population of the nation nearly doubled, but the growth pattern was incredibly uneven because of widespread internal migration from the rural South to the industrial cities of the North, a phenomenon that happened as a result of the Italian economic miracle of the 1950s to 1960s. Additionally, since the 1980s, Italy has seen significant immigration for the first time in modern history, following centuries of net emigration. On January 1, 2019, there were reportedly 5,234,000 foreign nationals living in Italy, according to the Italian government.
Italian Cities with more than 180,000 inhabitants sorted by resident population
(Data: ISTAT, 12/31/2022)
Rome (p. 2,744,945)
Rome’s past stretches across 28 centuries, with the earliest recorded history dating back to around 753 BC, although evidence suggests that the area has been inhabited for much longer. This makes Rome one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe, and a major human settlement for nearly three millennia. Its foundations are rooted in Roman mythology and the city has been shaped by its rich and diverse history. Rome, Italy’s capital, is one of the world’s most historically and culturally significant cities. Rome, sometimes known as the “Eternal City,” is home to some of the world’s most famous structures, such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Vatican, the centre of the Catholic Church. From ancient ruins to exquisite Baroque architecture, the city’s rich history is on show everywhere. Aside from its historical significance, Rome is a bustling metropolis with a population of over 2.8 million people and a flourishing food scene. The city is alive, from its bustling streets to its attractive piazzas.
Milano (p. 1,352,454)
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and one of the most important economic and cultural centers in the country. Known for its fashion and design, Milan is a city of style and elegance, home to prestigious brands such as Prada, Gucci and Armani. But beyond its reputation as a fashion capital, Milan is also a center for industry, finance, and innovation. The city is home to the Stock Exchange, the Borsa Italiana and several international headquarters of major companies. Milan is also a city of art and culture, boasting famous museums such as the Pinacoteca di Brera, which houses an extensive collection of Italian Renaissance art, and the world-renowned La Scala opera house. The city is also rich in history, with iconic landmarks like the Duomo of Milan, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Milan is a city that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity.
Naples (p. 914,406)
Naples, in southern Italy, is a city with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Naples is a city that is frequently overshadowed by the more famous towns of Rome and Florence, but it is well worth seeing. Naples’ architecture, which varies from ancient Roman ruins to Baroque cathedrals, is one of its most notable aspects. Many architectural masterpieces, like the Cathedral of San Gennaro and the Royal Palace of Naples, may be found in the ancient city center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is also well-known for its street art, which can be found around the city and adds a vivid and colorful touch to it. Naples is also well-known for its cuisine, notably its pizza. The city is regarded as the birthplace of pizza and is home to some of the world’s top pizza eateries. The smooth and chewy dough and simple, fresh toppings distinguish Neapolitan pizza. From art and architecture to cuisine and culture, Naples has something for everyone.
Torino (p. 841,971)
Turin, or Torino in Italian, is a city in northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Turin is known for its magnificent architecture, rich culture, and world-renowned automobile sector. Many large palaces and squares, like the Royal Palace of Turin and Piazza Castello, can be found in the city’s historic core, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is also home to numerous major museums, including the Egyptian Museum, one of the world’s most prominent Egyptology museums, and the National Museum of Cinema, the world’s oldest cinema museum. The city is also recognized as the “capital of the car industry” in Italy. Several automotive manufacturers, including FIAT, Lancia, and Alfa Romeo, have their headquarters in the city. The National Automobile Museum, which has a large collection of automobiles and other vehicles, is a great place to learn about the city’s industrial history. Turin is also known for its interesting cultural scene, which hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year. The rich cultural legacy of the city may also be appreciated via its delectable Piedmontese food and wines.
Palermo (p. 630,170)
Palermo is the capital of the island of Sicily and one of Italy’s most lively and culturally rich cities. Known for its colorful markets, stunning churches, and delicious street food, Palermo is a city that captures the essence of southern Italy. The city’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to many architectural treasures such as the Palermo Cathedral and the Palazzo dei Normanni. Palermo is also a city of art, with several museums and galleries showcasing the works of local and international artists. Palermo is also known for its street food, which is considered some of the best in Italy. The city is home to many street vendors and food markets, such as the Ballarò Market, where you can try local specialties such as arancini, panelle and sfincione. The city is also renowned for its street food tours, where you can explore the city’s culinary heritage and sample local delicacies. Palermo is a city that is full of life and energy, with a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant street culture. It’s a destination that is definitely worth visiting for anyone interested in history, art, and food.
Genova (p. 559,072)
Genoa, or Genova in Italian, is a city located in the Liguria region of Northern Italy, known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and picturesque setting. The city is home to many impressive landmarks such as the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the Palazzo Ducale, which is a former palace of the Doges of Genoa. The city’s historic center, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a maze of narrow alleys and colorful buildings that transport visitors back in time. Genoa is also known for its seafaring heritage, and the city’s port is one of the largest in Italy and the Mediterranean. The city’s maritime history can be explored through the Naval Museum and the Aquarium, one of the largest in Europe. Visitors can enjoy the city’s rich culinary heritage by trying its famous pesto sauce and other seafood delicacies.
Bologna (p. 388,087)
Bologna, in Northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, is recognized for its rich history, culture, and delectable food. Many outstanding structures, like the Two Towers (Garisenda and Degli Asinelli) and the Basilica of San Petronio, can be found in the city’s historic core, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bologna is also famous for its porticos, which are covered walkways that border the streets and offer shade from the heat and rain. Bologna is also recognized as Italy’s “food capital,” with a rich culinary legacy noted for its delectable pasta dishes and cured meats. There are several classic trattorias and osterias in the city where you may try local delicacies like tagliatelle al ragù and mortadella. Bologna is also a city of culture and education, with the oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna, founded in 1088. The city is also home to several museums and galleries, showcasing the works of local and international artists.
Firenze (p. 361,349)
Florence, or Firenze in Italian, is a city located in the Tuscany region of central Italy, known for its rich history, stunning art and architecture, and picturesque setting. The city is home to many of the world’s most famous art and architectural treasures such as the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Ponte Vecchio. The city’s historic center, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a maze of narrow alleys and colorful buildings that transport visitors back in time. Florence is also known as the birthplace of the Renaissance and is home to many of the most important works of art from that period, such as Botticelli’s “Primavera” and “The Birth of Venus.” The city is also home to several museums and galleries, showcasing the works of local and international artists. Florence is also a city of education, with the University of Florence, founded in 1321. The city is also home to several festivals and events throughout the year, including the famous “Fiera di San Giovanni” which takes place every year on June 24th.
Bari (p. 315,966)
Bari is a port city in southern Italy’s Apulia province, famed for its history, picturesque old town, and superb seafood cuisine. The historic heart of the city, which includes numerous notable structures such as the Basilica of Saint Nicholas and the Norman-Swabian Castle. Bari is also noted for its vibrant markets, which sell everything from fresh fruit to artisan pottery. Bari is also noted for its fried seafood dishes like as “panzerotti” and “frittura di paranza”. In addition, the city is well-known for its “orecchiette” pasta, a classic Apulian pasta dish. There are several religious celebrations and events held there throughout the year, such as the “Fiera di San Nicola,” which honors Saint Nicholas, the city of Bari’s patron saint, on December 6.
Catania (p. 298,994)
Catania is a city that offers a unique blend of culture, history, delicious cuisine, and art making it a destination worth visiting. Catania’s historic center, which is home to many impressive landmarks such as the Cathedral of Saint Agatha and the Ursino Castle. The city is also known for its lively markets, where you can find everything from local produce to handcrafted ceramics. Catania is also known for its delicious seafood cuisine, particularly its fish dishes such as “pasta alla Norma” and “pesce spada alla ghiotta”. The city is also famous for its unique “cannoli” pastry, a traditional Sicilian dessert. Catania is also a city of culture and art, with many art galleries and museums showcasing the works of local and international artists. The city is also home to many festivals and events throughout the year, such as the “Fiera di San Agatha” which takes place every year on February 5th and is dedicated to Saint Agatha, the patron saint of Catania.
Verona (p. 255,744)
Verona, a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region, is renowned for its extensive history, beautiful architecture, and romantic setting. Numerous noteworthy landmarks may be found in the city, including the medieval Castelvecchio and the Arena di Verona, a former Roman amphitheater. The city’s old core, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a maze of confined passageways and fascinating structures that take tourists back in time.
Venezia (p. 250,588)
The northern Italian city of Venice, or Venezia in Italian, is renowned for its distinctive landscape, spectacular architecture, and extensive cultural history. One of the most gorgeous cities in the world, the city is constructed on a number of tiny islands and is connected by a number of canals and bridges. The Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale are only two of the striking structures that can be seen in the city’s historic core, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Venice is also known for its art and culture, with many museums and galleries showcasing the works of local and international artists. The city is also home to several festivals and events throughout the year, such as the famous “Carnival of Venice“. People reside in the historical island city of Venice (around 55,000 people) and the rest on the mainland (terraferma).
Messina (p. 219,104)
Messina is a city located in the northeastern coast of Sicily, known for its strategic location, ancient ruins, and delicious cuisine. The city’s historic center is home to many impressive landmarks such as the Cathedral of Messina and the Bell Tower, which offers a panoramic view of the city. Messina is also known for its ancient ruins such as the Roman Theatre and the remains of the ancient city walls. Messina is also renowned for its delicious seafood cuisine, particularly its fish dishes such as “stocco alla messinese” and “pesce spada alla ghiotta”. The city is also famous for its unique pastries such as “granita” which is a typical Sicilian dessert.
Padova (p. 206,535)
Padua, or Padova in Italian, is a city located in the Veneto region of northern Italy. The city’s historic center is home to many impressive landmarks such as the Basilica of Saint Anthony and the Palazzo della Ragione. Padua is also known for its beautiful frescoes and artworks, such as Giusto de’ Menabuoi’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel, considered a masterpiece of 14th-century Italian art. Padua is also renowned for its academic excellence, as it is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Padua, founded in 1222.
Trieste (p. 198,332)
Trieste is situated at the head of the Gulf of Trieste, surrounded by beautiful hills and the sea. The city’s historic center is home to many impressive landmarks such as the Piazza Unità d’Italia and the Miramare Castle. Trieste is also known for its cultural diversity, as it was a melting pot of different cultures and languages throughout its history. The city is also renowned for its literary heritage, with famous writers such as James Joyce and Italo Svevo having lived and worked there.
Parma (p. 196,580)
Parma is a city located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. The city’s historic center is home to many impressive landmarks such as the Cathedral of Parma and the Teatro Regio. Parma is also known for its Roman ruins such as the Roman Theater and the Roman Forum. Parma is also renowned for its culinary traditions, particularly for its cured meats and cheeses, such as Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano. The city is also famous for its rich food culture and home to many traditional trattorias and osterias.
Brescia (p. 196,263)
Brescia’s historic center is home to many impressive landmarks such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria della Grazie and the Castle of Brescia. The city is also known for its Roman ruins such as the Capitolium and the Forum. Brescia is also renowned for its r industrial heritage, as it is home to many factories and workshops. The city is also home to many museums and galleries showcasing the works of local and international artists.
Prato (p. 195.213)
Prato is a city located in the Tuscany region of central Italy, known for its textile industry. Many outstanding structures may be found in the city’s historic core, including the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the Church of Santa Maria delle Carceri. Prato’s ancient walls and gates, such as the Porta al Borgo and the Porta Fiorentina, are also well-known. The city is well-known for its textile sector, notably its woolen textiles, which have been manufactured since the Middle Ages. The city is also well-known for its rich history and cultural legacy, with several museums and galleries displaying the works of local and international artists.
Taranto (p. 188,308)
Southern Italian seaside city Taranto is renowned for its strategic location and history. It is part of the Apulia region. Numerous impressive structures, like the Aragonese Castle and the San Cataldo Cathedral, may be found in the city’s historic core. Old ruins at Taranto include the remnants of the Roman Amphitheater and the ancient city walls. The seafood cuisine of Taranto is also well-known, especially its fish dishes like “cozze alla tarantina” and “calamari ripieni.” The city is also well-known for its authentic “pasticciotto” pastry and “puccia” bread.
Modena (p. 184,281)
Modena is a place steeped in history and culture, boasting a wealth of architectural and artistic treasures. One of the most notable features of the city is the Cathedral of Modena, a stunning example of Romanesque architecture that dates back to the 12th century. The city is also known for its culinary delights, particularly its balsamic vinegar and traditional pasta dishes. Visitors can explore the many museums and galleries, or take a stroll through the picturesque streets lined with charming shops and cafes. The city is also home to the Enzo Ferrari Museum, which pays tribute to the famous car designer and offers visitors a glimpse into the history of Ferrari.
Featured image: Piazza del Duomo, Milan (source)
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