In English, “The Boot,” “Beautiful Country,” and “The Peninsula” are nicknames for Italy. They translate to “Lo Stivale,” “Bel Paese,” and “La Penisole” respectively in Italian.
See how many of the nicknames for Italian cities and regions you know on our list. Or have a little fun with it and take our eleven-question quiz. Plus, leave additional nicknames for Italy in the comments at the bottom of the post to help grow the list!
Nicknames for Italy
Like many people, “The Boot” is one of the nicknames for Italy I’ve known for a while, because of its boot-like shape. Yet before moving to Italy, that would have been the only one I could have told you.
It wasn’t until I moved to Italy that I heard the nickname “Bel Paese” for Italy, which means beautiful country in English.
Now that I’ve been writing about traveling in Italy for over a decade, I’ve learned a lot of nicknames for Italian cities that are frankly downright fun.
For example, “City of the Seven Hills” is a nickname for Rome that I learned from Paolo during my first trip to Italy… while overlooking the seven hills. I’ve been collecting various nicknames for Italian cities and regions ever since.
Thus the inspiration for today’s quiz. Having fun with nicknames for Italy and Italian cities.
Nicknames for Italy Quiz
Welcome to our fourth Italy quiz! Thanks for your votes and feedback in the comment section of our last quiz! This week, our quiz is all about nicknames for Italy, Italian regions, and Italian cities.
Have a little fun. Try the quiz and see how many nicknames you know. Or use the links in the table of contents to skip straight to the list.
Nicknames for Italy Quiz
See how many nicknames you can name for Italy, Italian regions, and Italian cities.
Our followers will have an advantage with this quiz because we love to include nicknames in our articles. If you have not done it yet, subscribe to get our posts in your inbox.
List of Nicknames for Italian Cities & Regions
As always, we love your feedback. Do you know a nickname for Italy, an Italian region or city not on the list? Let us know in the comments at the end of the article.
Nicknames for Venice, Italy
“The Floating City” is perhaps Venice, Italy’s most widely known nickname. However, my favorite nickname for Venice is “City of Masks.” That’s because this nickname references the masks Venetians once wore to protect their identity from naughty ongoings during Venice Carnival festivities.
All Venice, Italy art prints are available for sale. Contact Paolo@alorconsulting.com for details.
The most romantic nickname for Venice, Italy, is “Bride of the Sea.” Come May of every year, there is a celebration in Venice to wed the city to its eternal companion, the sea. The tradition started about 1000 A.D., when Doge Pietro II Orseolo threw a ring into the water saying, “I wed thee, O Sea, in token of true and lasting dominion.”
The most complicated nickname for Venice is “La Serenissima” or the most serene in English. While you might think it reflects how silent Venice is without cars, Serenissimo was a Byzantine title that has endured as a nickname. In fact, Venice was once a sovereign state that tactfully avoided political conflict. Hence, Venice has long been one of the most peaceful and prosperous cities worldwide.
Additional nicknames for Venice, Italy include:
- City of Canals
- Bride of the Sea
- Queen of the Adriatic
- City of Water
- City of Bridges
Nicknames for Verona, Italy
In our 50 Pictures of Verona, Italy article we called Verona the “City of Love,” a nickname earned from being the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Verona also is nicknamed “Little Rome” because of the number of Roman antiquities. In fact, Verona is one of the wealthiest cities in northern Italy when it comes to historical antiquities.
Nicknames for Treviso in the Veneto Region of Italy
Looking at a photo alone, Treviso could easily be mistaken for Venice. They both have canals and similar architecture, mainly because they are only a 45-minute drive from each other. Treviso, however, earned the nickname “The Painted City” due to the countless beautiful frescoes that grace the city.
Nickname for Asolo, Italy
Nicknamed “The City of a Hundred Horizons,” Asolo is a small fortified town known for its spectacular mountain setting in the Veneto region. Its beautiful frescos, however, are what earned it a position on our list of the prettiest towns in the Italian countryside.
Nickname for Florence, Italy
Florence, the capital city of the Tuscany region, is famous for being the birthplace of the Renaissance, hence the nickname “La Culla del Rinascimento” or “The Cradle of the Renaissance” in English.
While other towns like Urbino and Asolo played a role in the Italian Renaissance, Florence is widely considered the epicenter of the Renaissance as one of the most compelling and intellectual European cities.
“The City of Lilies” is another nickname for Florence, Italy. A symbol that actually graces the flag of Florence. In 2014, graphic designer Fabio Chiantini won a contest to design the new logo for Florence.
His winning design includes the name for Florence in Latin, English, German, and Spanish, respectively “Florentia, Florence, Florenz, Florencia.” Though few have caught on as nicknames since then.
Ironically, English speakers have adopted the Firenze, the Italian name for Florence, as a nickname for Florence.
Nickname for Pienze in the Tuscan Region of Italy
Pienza is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for being a bit of a Renaissance miracle because of its near-perfect town planning. Hence, the nickname for Pienza, Italy, is “The Ideal City.”
Nicknames for Rome, Italy
During our trip to Rome, I learned that the most common nickname for Rome, Italy, is “Eternal City” because Ancient Romans believed no matter how many empires rose or fell, Rome would go on forever.
Additional nicknames for Rome include:
- City of the Seven Hills
- Capital of the World
Nicknames for Milan, Italy
Like Venice, Milan also has a few nicknames. The first is “The Fashion Capital of the World,” which originated in the 80s with the international rise of fashion houses like Armani, Moschino, Prada, Versace, and my favorite, Dolce & Gabbana.
With the success of the fashion houses in Milan came an influx of international tourism dollars. Thus, journalists nicknamed Milan “Milano da bere.” While the literal translation is Milan to be drunk in English, The Drinkable City is contextually more accurate.
Photo of the last time Paolo and I were in Milan, Italy for a Litfiba concert where we heard one of the most famous Italian songs “El Diablo.”
Additional Nicknames for Milan
- La Città Meneghina or The Milanese City in English
Nickname for Bescia in the Lombardy region of Italy
Italian poets Aleardo Aleardi and Giosuè Carducci nicknamed Brescia the “Lioness of Italy” thanks to the citizens’ courage during the Ten Days of Brescia. A heroic resistance to the Austrian troops in 1848.
Nicknames for Genova, Capital of the Liguria Region of Italy
Genova was nicknamed “La Superba” or “The Superb One” in English in 1357 by the poet Renaissance poet Petrarch.
Nicknames for Naples, Capital of the Campania Region of Italy
With over 500 churches and thousands of votive shrines, Naples is one of the cities with the most places of worship worldwide. Thus, Naples is nicknamed “Five Hundred Domes’ City.”
Additional Nicknames for Naples, Italy:
- City of the sun
Nicknames for the Puglia Region of Italy
In our Guide to Puglia, Italy, we explain why the nickname for Puglia is “The Breadbasket of Italy.” For a region with such a humble nickname, many cities in Puglia ironically have much more flamboyant nicknames.
Nickname for Lecce in the Puglia Region of Italy
For example, the nickname for Lecce, Italy, the capital city of Puglia, is “The Florence of the South.” Much like Florence, Lecce is known for palaces, museums, extravagant churches, and monuments.
Nickname for Alberobello in the Puglia Region of Italy
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello is famous for its Trulli. These whitewashed buildings earned the town of Alberobello the nickname The White City. Searching for catchy titles, international travel publications nicknamed Alberobello “Smurf Village.”
Nickname for Bologna, Italy
As one of the oldest cities in Italy, Bologna has had plenty of time to rack up nicknames. While many have come and gone, two popular nicknames for Bologna are “The Red One,” for its red rooftops and “The Fat One,” for its rich cuisine.
Additional nicknames for Bologna, Italy:
- The Learned One which refers to its university, founded in 1088.
- City of Porches refering to the many covered footpaths in Bologna.
Nicknames for Sicily, Italy
Followers of ALOR Italy will likely guess I’m a bit obsessed with Sicilian cuisine after our Sicilian road trip, which crossed all nine regions of Sicily. Hence, the nickname for Sicily, “God’s Kitchen,” is one of my favorites for Italy.
Like Florence, English speakers sometimes think Sicilia is a nickname for Sicily. Sicilia is the Italian name for Sicily.
Check out 35 Colorful Pictures of Sicily Destinations or our 21 Traditional Sicilian Food Faves Not to Miss in Sicily posts to see why Sicily is one of our favorite destinations in Italy. Plus, see where there is a little confusion around the question Is Sicily a Part of Italy.
Nickname for Catania, Sicily
Catania is famous for its Baroque architecture that locals built in black lava stone from Mt. Etna. Hence the nickname for Catania is “the black city.”
Nicknames for Sicilian Volcanos
Mt. Etna has two nicknames “Montebello” which means “beautiful mountain” in English and “Mamma Etna” or “Mama” for short. While Stromboli Volcano is nicknamed the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean.”
Find out more about the volcanos in Sicily in our 21 Surprising Sicilian Volcano Facts article.
Nicknames for Other Cities in Sicily
- The nickname for Ragusa, Sicily, is “City of Bridges,” which refers to the three bridges of Ragusa.
- Invading Normans nicknamed Palermo “Kingdom of the Sun,” because it gets more than 2,500 hours of sunshine annually.
Nicknames for Turin, Italy in the Piedmont region
Torino, or Turin in English, is the city Paolo grew up in. He calls it the “Detroit of Italy” because Turin was the home of Fiat and the center of the automotive industry in the 70s in Italy.
While that nickname is not on a lot of official nickname lists, “Magic City” is because Turin, Italy is an esoteric place of great importance to those who believe in Magic.
In fact, Turin is one of the points of the white magic triangle with Prague and Lyon and the black magic triangle with San Francisco and London. Pretty cool!
Additional Nicknames for Turin:
- Savoyard City
- Capital of the Alps
- Magic City
Final Thoughts on Nicknames for Italy
To sum things up, there are a lot of nicknames for the different regions and cities in Italy that are not on this list. As we come across them, we promise to add them here to our list of nicknames for Italy.
While most people think of Italy as the boot, since moving to Italy, like most Italians, I call it my Bel Paese, my beautiful country.
So while the nickname “The Boot” quickly brings Italy to mind, “Bel Paese” paints the most accurate picture. Italy is indeed a beautiful country. Each of its 20 regions has its own unique charm and beauty.
We’re Brandy & Paolo, dual American, Italian citizens, artists, and introverts traveling in Italy together since 2012. After following our dreams of early retirement to Italy, we created ALOR Italy from our home in the Italian Alps. We’re passionate about sharing the Italy we know and love as locals. Our motto is Live Italian because the Italian lifestyle is life-changing.
Nicknames for Italy References
- Venice Nickname “La Serenissima?” – Italy Magazine
- Nickname for Milan in the 80s
- Venice Married the Sea – Smithsonian Magazine
- What Naples is famous for? 16 Reasons to visit the city – VisitItaly.eu
- Turin Esoteric Tour: The Definitive Guide to the City of Magic – VisitItaly.eu
- A Cosa Nostra Encounter On a Sicilian Vacation – LIM College
- Steeped in History, Sicily’s Central Palermo Offers Sun, Sea and Spectacular Historic Homes
- Exploring Italy’s Painted City