Whether you come for lake swims in the Dolomites, cycling tours of the Aosta Alps, dreamy road trips on the Amalfi Coast, foodie adventures through Tuscany, or historic romps in Rome and Florence, there’s no doubt that the fabled boot of southern Europe is a bucket list topper. But what about party destinations in Italy?
Cue this guide. It hops from north to south, Adriatic to Tyrrhenian Sea, all on the hunt for the wildest after-dark places in the country. It’s got chic seaside resorts where you’ll dance the night away to the sound of lapping waves, but also buzzy metropolises where you can party until sunup with an international crowd.
Yep, the best party destinations in Italy run the gamut from boisterous towns to happening summertime retreats. You can hit some for a glass of Barolo in a quaint piazza, others for after-hour aperitivos in cool cocktail bars, and others for ceaseless parties in underground clubs. Andiamo!
Milan is Italy’s second most populous city after Rome and a thriving hotspot for culture, art, and nightlife. It might not be the country’s capital, but it is a global capital of fashion and design and host to the prestigious bi-annual Milan Fashion Week. The Gothic Duomo di Milano Cathedral and Santa Maria Delle Gazie convent, which houses Leonard da Vinci’s The Last Supper are the sorts of amazing sights that can fill your days. There’s also a huge financial district and some of the best high-end shopping this side of Paris.
When the sun starts to fall, then you’ve got plenty of party options. Crowds of Gucci-clad fashionistas gather on the Porta Garibaldi and Corso Como come the early hours to sip Spritz drinks in stylo establishments. Later, they’ll move to Brera, a whole district replete with sidewalk drinkeries. Navigli, meanwhile, is for the hipsters, while Via Lecco is the LGBTQ+ focal point. Be sure to check out the Hollywood Ryhtmoteque, The Doping Club, Just Cavalli, and Backdoor 43 for the most unforgettable clubbing experiences in Milan.
Hangovers can be cured with some of Milan’s famous coffee, best drunk in espresso form in a bustling café. Or, head up to Lake Como, where you can dive into refreshing alpine waters under the gaze of jagged mountains – it’s less than two hours away.
Along the shores of the Tiber in the central-western portion of the Italian peninsula lies the capital of Italy: Roma. Welcome to one of the world’s most historical cities, was once the center of an ancient civilization that ruled Europe for hundreds of years.
These days, you can still come to see the remains of the ancient Roman Forum, the erstwhile epicenter of the ancient empire that’s flanked by the uber-famous Colosseum. And there’s the medieval heart of the city, where piazzas give way to 1,000-year-old churches and romantic sights like the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain meet between the wiggling alleyways.
Anyway, onto the nightlife…Rome is positively buzzing. Visitors often head to La Trastevere to begin the evening. It’s a pretty little corner of the city that buts up to the riverside with its countless aperitivo bars. About 10 minutes’ walking from there is the upcoming party hub of Testaccio, famous for its salsa discos and house clubs, particularly the Shari Vari Playhouse for its hip crowd. Piazza Navona is another choice. It’s in the Centro Storico area and pumps with clubs and pubs large and small.
Overlooking the Bay of Naples and perched atop cliffs separating the town center from the busy marinas, Sorrento is a small resort with enormous appeal. The sweeping sea views encompass the picturesque Isle of Capri and majestic Mount Vesuvius, but there’s plenty of beauty to be found in Sorrento’s historic center, a web of narrow streets and pint-sized piazzas.
Said maze of quaint alleys leads to the Chiesa di San Francesco, a 14th-century church with a white stucco facade but tranquil cloister and tons of history. The old center is also known for its workshops selling ceramics, marquetry, and lacework, and the Piazza Tasso, a cafe-lined square, is the charming heart of the town.
Sorrento might be laidback in character, but there is no shortage of seafront day lounges, outdoor discos, and smaller late-night clubs. Start off on the shoreline – bars like La Villa and Bar Villa Pompeiana offer spectacular panoramas of the Bay of Naples. Later, it’s bars and clubs like Cornelia and Fauno that will take over.
The floating “Queen of the Adriatic,” and the city of masks, bridges, and canals, Venice is surely one of the most unique cities in the world. Comprised of 120 small islands with no roads and only canals, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region is a bucket-list destination for any traveler.
The Grand Canal is lined with Gothic and Renaissance palaces. At the same time, the central Piazza San Marco is home to St. Mark’s Basilica, tiled with Byzantine mosaics and complete with the Campanile bell tower offering sweeping views of the red-roofed city. There’s history, celebration, and romantic churches down every street, but Venice is also one of the best party destinations in Italy…
Campo Santa Margherita is the place to go. It’s a thrumming student quarter with shot bars and beer halls spilling onto the ancient cobbles. The nightlife there starts around 9pm and doesn’t finish until the early hours. Check out El Borrachero or Piccolo Mondo for late-night dancing, or head out for a Venetian dinner cruise to enjoy glittering views of the city while sipping on craft cocktails.
The Lido, or Lido di Venezia, is an 11-kilometer barrier island in the Venetian lagoon where you’ll find a higher concentration of nightclubs and bars than the historic center. The Venice Lido is also home to stunning beaches and is the location for the annual Venice Film Festival in late August, when the nightlife really takes off.
Palermo is the capital of Italy’s sunny Sicilian Peninsula and is renowned for its history, architecture, and outstanding gastronomy. A cultural melting pot of the southern island region, you’ll find several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Old Town, Il Centro Storico, and Italy’s largest opera house to boot.
Palermo has 8th-century Arabic origins, which have shaped its unique heritage. The street market scene is also thriving – check out the bazaars to taste arancini balls and smell spices from North Africa. Enough about the daytime, though…
There’s a vibrant scene of bars and cafes about the Vuccira market and hip clubs in the lively Downtown Polieteama and Liberta areas. On top of that, the small seaside borough of Mondello has come alive in recent years, offering surfside lounges that are perfect for sundowner beers set to dynamic DJ sets.
Rimini has crowded beaches and resort-appeal in the summer months, though the seaside city’s nightlife scene is a year-round affair. It draws in a young crowd of partygoers from across Europe but also gets fueled by the town’s big resident crowd of students.
On the Adriatic Riviera in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, Rimini is a charming beachside town and arguably the liveliest resort on this eastern coast. Home to a 15th-century old town, medieval fortresses, and exciting museums, Rimini is not lacking in cultural appeal. But it is also renowned for its nightlife, which has been a talking point since at least the 1960s.
Naturally, most of the venues worth mentioning congregate along the beachfront. There’s Carnaby Club on the north side, a yellow Beatle car marking the entrance and funky dance tunes pumping around the dancefloor. 127 Long Street Bar is also there, churning out amazing cocktails and food platters. The second clutch of party places is in the old town center – think about heading to Duff Pub or Fob in those parts.
Loveable Alghero is one of the most alluring cities in Italy. Set on a small bend in the western Sardinian coast, it’s a place of winding cobbled lanes and narrow alleys, of bar-filled piazzas and marinas lined by pastel-painted mansions from way back when.
The nightlife scene might not be quite as off the hook as Rome or Florence, but it’s a buzzy mix of local pubs where you should find it easy to meet and mingle with locals and fellow travelers. We’d recommend starting on the seafront, where there are loads of open-air drinkeries that serve cocktails as the sun sets on the horizon directly out west – Cafè Latino is one of our favs.
Later, move over to L’Altra Vineria for curated wine lists of the local stuff, or hit L’Arcafè to join the town’s resident EDM buffs with live weekend DJ shows. To sizzle off the hangover the next day, you should know that there are some spectacular urban beaches in this corner o the island, including Bombarde Beach and the more cove-like Spiaggia di Las Tronas, which is within city limits.
While Rome might be the heart of Italy, they say Naples is its soul. It might be gritty and have some of the highest levels of poverty of any town on the boot, but the town really knows how to party. In fact, it’s been a R&R getaway ever since the first Roman nobles came and raised their villas on the gorgeous bay some 2,000 years back!
Naples sits on the Bay of Naples, set to the backdrop of the still-active Mount Vesuvius. From the Duomo di San Gennaro to the Royal Palace and the 13th-century Castel Nuovo, the city’s significant landmarks testify to the centuries of art and architecture that run through Naples. But the real draws here is the lived-in character of the streets. And the amazing nightlife…
The uber-chic district of Chiaia stands out. There, aperitivos and wines flow from the early evening in sleek bars with stunning views of the water. Later, options like the Bourbon Street Jazz Club, Lanificio 25, and Dejavu can offer dancing until the early hours.
Lecce is a lesson in all things Baroque. You’ll wander here between seriously handsome pieces of architecture, from the Cattedrale di Lecce to the Basilica di Santa Croce, which both sport carved marble frontispieces and grand entranceways dating back several centuries. There are also Roman theatres and ancient gates, not to mention piazzas fringed by more gelateria and coffee bars than you can shake a bottle of Apulian olive oil at.
There’s something for all ages at night in Lecce. Pubs, breweries, and clubs dot the old center by the bucket load. Start the evening in the Piazza San’Oronzo and marvel in the shadow of the bronze statue of the city’s patron saint. Then grab a slice of pizza and a cocktail and follow the sounds of the vibrant street parties that take place all over Lecce on the way to the Piazzetta Santa Chiara.
Some of the best-known bars here include Quanto Basta, a very stylish cocktail bar with mixology minded staff, and Al Baffo, an artisan joint where they can whip up pretty much any drink under the sun (lovely outdoor terrace there, too).
Partying might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you conjure images of Tuscany’s capital. It’s likely that the uber-rich collections in the Ufzzi Gallery, the artsy streets, and terracotta-tiled Duomo take center stage. But Florence has one of the most surprising underground club scenes, making it one of the best party destinations in Italy.
Spend the day perusing the world-class museums, artistic treasures, and ancient palaces before watching Florence come alive at nightfall. The Blob Club, Moyo Bar, Public House 27, and Sverso are among the best places in the city for unmissable music, welcoming crowds, and craft aperitivos. However, we’d recommend starting on one of the riverside bars along the Arno, or heading up to the lookout points of the Giardino Bardini for sundowner beers gazing at the Arezzo Mountains.
To cure the hangover, then you might want to consider renting a car and leaving the city behind. Florence is the gateway to northern Tuscany, after all. That puts some of the great gems of central Italy within striking distance, including the winelands of Chianti and the hill towns of Volterra and San Gimignano.
Wedged into a postbox-thin valley under the Piz Murtaröl and the Piz da l’Acqua on the Swiss-Italian border, Livigno is up there with the most hedonistic ski towns in the country – nay, the whole Alps! Yep, if you’re looking for somewhere to carve the pistes and hit the apres venues later on, this one should definitely be a contender.
The drinks usually start to flow on the mountain during the day. The slope-side eateries of Costaccia and Ristoro Carosello 3000 fill with winter sportsters glugging wheat beers and Spritz towards the end of a session. Down below, the apres stars of Daphne’s Pub and Miky’s Disco Club keep things rumbling until the early hours.
On top of all that, Livigno is one of Italy’s few duty-free zones. That means you can buy booze in supermarkets and shops for just a fraction of the cost you’d find it the likes of Rome and Florence.
The best party destinations in Italy – our conclusion
The best party destinations in Italy are probably the bigger cities. Rome, for example, has a huge international crowd and an after-dark scene that’s fuelled by Irish pubs, sports bars, and huge clubs that cater to thousands of people. We also love the open-air scene over in Venice and the uber-chic nightlife that’s on offer from the fashion capital of Milan. You also get loads of pretty awesome seaside party hubs on the Adriatic and around the Amalfi Coast. Then there’s the apres of the mountain resorts, which we think is topped off by Livigno, arguably the liveliest of all Italy’s ski centers.
Does Italy have good nightlife?
There are some places in Italy that are great for partying. You’ll probably want to avoid the sleepy hill towns of Umbria and Tuscany. However, bigger cities like Rome and Florence join with chic seaside resorts and alpine ski centres to give plenty of options to travellers who want to let their hair down once the sun has disappeared.
What age can you go clubbing in Italy?
In Italy, you can go to clubs and discos from 16 years old. But, like much of Europe, the legal age to buy alcohol in these establishments is 18. However, Italians can drink in most restaurants and bars from the age of 16 so long as they order food, and even younger with parental consent provided.
Where is the best party destination in Italy?
You can find the best nightlife in Italy in the thriving urban hubs of Milan, Rome, Florence, and Naples. These cities are the best party destinations in the country thanks to their diverse club scenes, evening entertainment, and lively spirits. But these cities also attract the biggest crowds, being cultural epicenters and fundamental to Italy’s rich heritage. Coastal resort towns like Palermo, Sorrento, and Rimini are also among the best party destinations in Italy for beach bars and smaller clubs.