BY: Viktor Vincej
For your inaugural trip to Italy, be sure to include must-visit places like Rome, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast. However, if you have already explored Italy’s renowned destinations and attractions, it might be worthwhile to venture into lesser-known places.
If you’re yearning to experience Rome yet also crave a serene island getaway, Ponza, the largest of the Pontine Islands, is worth considering. To reach Ponza from Rome, take a train and then a hydrofoil from the port of Anzio. After a few hours, you’ll be able to explore Ponza’s rugged cliffs and sea caves. Many compare Ponza to the Amalfi Coast, but without the overwhelming crowds of international tourists and the associated high prices.
In addition to indulging in culinary delights, there are numerous activities to enjoy in this compact city. Take pleasure in marveling at the UNESCO-acknowledged porticoes, which are ancient covered walkways with arched designs, some of which have origins tracing back to the Middle Ages. Moreover, the city boasts a collection of canals, primarily situated in an enchanting district known as “Little Venice.”
A convenient day trip from Milan, the Citta Alta of Bergamo is a historical haven perched on a hilltop, surrounded by a mystical mist and Venetian walls. The old town is a nostalgic journey through time, featuring charming cobblestone streets, centuries-old churches, and the iconic bell tower at Piazza Vecchia. Exploring the city aimlessly is the most delightful way to spend your time, allowing you to immerse yourself in its captivating atmosphere.
Val di Noto, Sicily
Sicily’s Val di Noto is home to a collection of enchanting Baroque towns, including Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa, and Scicli, all of which have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Exploring these towns is an absolute delight, but keep in mind that a car will be necessary to visit this area, and it may require tearing yourself away from the allure of Taormina or the captivating Arab-Norman architectural sites of Palermo.
If you are looking for the atmosphere of Tuscany but have already experienced it, Umbria should be next on your itinerary. This inland region offers the same charm as Tuscany, but with fewer tourists and lower prices. Similar to Tuscany, Umbria boasts lush greenery that is ideal for autumnal pursuits such as wine tasting and truffle hunting.
Ischia and Procida
With lower costs, fewer tourists, and an equal level of beauty to Capri, this Italian island showcases a variety of thermal pools and hot springs, along with beaches adorned with both black and white sand, all overlooked by the majestic Aragonese Castle.
This place boasts unspoiled white-sand beaches such as Costa Smeralda and numerous towns perfect for day trips (Alghero, Castelsardo, Bosa). When staying in the capital city of Cagliari, prepare for a culturally enriching experience. Explore historical gems in the Castello district, marvel at the Duomo di Cagliari, and visit the medieval San Michele Castle.
Naples stands out as a captivating Italian city to discover. Explore the vineyards near the majestic Mount Vesuvius, indulge in delicious and affordable southern Italian cuisine (the birthplace of pizza), and immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural offerings (including seven castles and over 400 churches).