When it comes to gorgeous destinations for an Italian holiday, we often think of Rome, Venice, and Florence. These destinations are on everyone’s bucket list. However, beyond Rome “the Eternal City,” Florence “the city of art,” and Venice “the city of love,” there are beautiful hidden gems in Italy that will steal your heart. These places boast breathtaking, narrow alleyways, mysterious beauty, magical scenery, and remarkable history. Visiting these less-known places on your trip to Italy will enable you to truly experience the diversity of the country. Here are 11 hidden gems to add to your Italian bucket list.
The Lake District
Located in northern Italy, the Lake District is a spectacularly beautiful site surrounded by breathtaking mountains, sapphire blue lakes, picturesque little towns, and colorful villas shining with beautiful gardens.
This region is home to many great lakes, including Como, Garda, Maggiore, and Lugano. It is not only ideal not only for lovers of natural beauty but also for people looking for an opportunity to learn about history. There are some ancient Roman ruins you can visit here.
Procida is the smallest island and the best-kept secret in the Bay of Naples. It is the ideal place for tourists to explore on foot. Although this island does not have plenty of beaches, it offers the sun-bleached narrow streets, lively bars, famous restaurants, and luxury hotels. August and Lido di Procida are two must-see beaches on the island. Besides the beaches, Procida is home to picturesque ports and boardwalks where you can have a drink while admiring the scenery. These include Marina Corricella, Marina Grande, and Marina di Chiaiolella.
Rapallo, located in Liguria about half an hour away from Genoa, has an iconic historic center that is best-known for its landmark Castle and free beaches. There are a lot of things to do in Rapallo, such as walking on pedestrian shopping streets, swimming, and trying fresh seafood.
Hidden along the cliffs of the Basilicata region is Matera, known as a magical city of stone. Built over 30,000 years ago during the Paleolithic period, Matera is the oldest inhabited place, followed by Petra, Jordan.
Matera’s tourism got a boost when it was recognized as A UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. If you have a chance to visit this place, you will find that this unique city is like nowhere else in the world. All of the structures and homes of Matera are carved out of limestone rocks. Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso are two districts built on natural over millennia-old caves.
You can spend hours meandering through limestone churches, palaces, monasteries, and houses balanced on the ravine’s edge. Matera is also a capital of culture as there are several museums that are worth a stop.
Alberobello became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. As one of the best-hidden gems in Italy, Alberobello is truly unique due to its remarkable drywall construction, conical-roofed homes, and ancient buildings. These features give this small town in Puglia, Italy a magical, fairytale vibe.
If you have an opportunity to discover this quirky town, don’t forget to stop at the Trullo Sovrano museum, Sant’Antonio Church, and Casa d’amore historical site. Also, be sure to enjoy a local lunch of classic traditional Southern Italian food at one of the famous family-owned restaurants.
Civita di Bagnoregio
Civita di Bagnoregio was once a dying town perched on volcanic rocks in Italy’s Lazio region. However, tourism is thriving in this tiny town nowadays thanks to smart initiatives by the town’s mayor. Civita di Bagnoregio is a well-preserved medieval village where you can enjoy uninterrupted silence, peace, and awe-inspiring surroundings.
Venturing down to alleys, you can enjoy picturesque and breathtaking views and find plenty of opportunities for photos. This is one of those places where every turn is post-card worthy.
San Fruttuoso is a must-see spot on the Italian Riviera. With crystal clear waters and a dream-like beauty, this tiny beach town looks like a mix between Camogli and Portofino. After arriving by boat, you can take a stroll along the pebbled sand, visit the church, and enjoy the sight of wooden artifacts. Without a doubt, San Fruttuoso is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy.
Cinque Terre, located on the western coast of Italy, is a colorful group of towns on the Mediterranean Sea. This area comprises of a vast terraced agricultural land and five small beautiful towns that are home to about 4,000 inhabitants.
The laid-back lifestyle, dramatic scenery, and breathtaking but rugged landscape of Italy’s Cinque Terre have made this small attraction unique and outstanding. It is not surprising that it lures millions of tourists each year, many of whom return again and again.
If you have ever cried because of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s story, you should stop in the town of Verona. As the setting of the famous story, Verona is home to the balcony where Romeo kissed the beautiful girl named Juliet one fateful night.
Verona is also home to a famous 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater where opera performances take place in the summer. After experiencing a performance of opera, be sure to head to is the historic center, Centro Storico, where you can explore the main sights of the city, like Juliette’s house, wide piazzas, and churches. Other points of interest in Verona include the Ponte Pietra Bridge, Piazzale Castel San Pietro, the Gothic church, and the Roman gate.
Ravello is an ideal destination for someone who is looking for a quiet and peaceful experience. This scenic seaside hilltop makes every tourist mesmerized with the sherbet-colored houses, colorful groves, dense vineyards, and magnificent view of the Salerno Bay. No wonder people called this place “a piece of the most beautiful paradise on earth” as it features a mix of Italian charm, great Mediterranean food, and seaside relaxation.
A visit to the medieval city of Siena will take you through a journey that mixes the past and present. It is also a place where you can enjoy the Palio horse race during the summer with beautiful bright colors, banners, and participants wearing ornate medieval costumes.
This walled hilltop city is also famous for magnificent Renaissance and Gothic palaces where you can discover well-preserved medieval history. Exploring the history and architecture of Siena will make your trip to Italy more meaningful and complete.
So do you have any ideas for your next visit to Italy? If you know any hidden gems in Italy beyond the list of attractions I have chosen, feel free to leave them in the comments.
About the author
Emily Pham was born in Vietnam – a country with many unknown beaches, historic sites, and tourist attractions. Understanding that Vietnam nowadays is a famous destination, she established the blog vina.com with the purpose of introducing the elegant beauty of Vietnam to friends around the world. If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, the blog will provide you with essential information on where to go and what to do in the country.