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23 of the Greatest Hidden Gems in Italy

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Planning a visit to Italy however need to escape the crowds? Listed here are 25 hidden gems to find when getting off the crushed observe within the Bel Paese.

Italy is certainly one of my favourite locations on this planet. During the last 6 years I’ve spent plenty of time exploring every part the nation has to supply. From dwelling in an unheard-of northern valley in the course of the pandemic to my stint as an English trainer in Florence. The numerous weekend journeys and metropolis breaks, the return journeys – most of my mates know that I’m fairly obsessive about Italy. So, I jumped on the alternative to make a journey down reminiscence lane and write about all my best-loved spots.

Well-known because the birthplace of the Renaissance and numerous sensible minds and artists, as we speak Italy is without doubt one of the world’s most sought-after vacationer locations and residential to lots of the greatest cities in Europe. Boasting numerous surroundings, wealthy delicacies, and distinctive tradition – it’s straightforward to see why vacationers from all around the globe flock to this Mediterranean vacation spot.

Nevertheless, when organizing a visit to Italy, most individuals head to main cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan. Though you may spend weeks in any of those locations and nonetheless not see every part, while you look extra carefully, Italy is stuffed with secluded gems with a lot to supply.

Hidden Gems in Italy

I’ve chosen 23 of the perfect less-visited places throughout Italy to present you a real style of l. a. dolce vita. I’ve tried to make it simpler by separating the hidden gems primarily based on their location within the north, central, or south of the nation.

Hidden Gems in North Italy

Identified for the majestic Alps that separate it from international locations like Austria, Switzerland, and France, many vacationers head north to lap up the distinctive great thing about Venice and expertise the numerous superior issues to do in Milan.

However there’s much more to find. If you wish to discover the perfect of northern Italy, make sure to embody a few of these hidden gems in your itinerary.


Panorama of Bergamo's skyline in Italy

Located northeast of Milan, Bergamo is a placing hilltop metropolis that’s usually ignored attributable to its shut proximity to the bustling northern capital. The town is break up into two sections: Città Alta (the outdated city on high of the hill) and Città Bassa (the newer city under).

Regardless of its small measurement, Bergamo oozes appeal and historical past with its juxtaposing medieval monuments and thriving vitality. Discover its cobbled streets, feast on mouth-watering Casoncelli Bergamaschi (a half-moon-shaped crammed ravioli), and take in the ambiance over a night aperitivo within the Piazza Vecchia (outdated sq.).

Should-see highlights embody the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the adjoining Cappella Colleoni. It’s additionally price visiting the Ex Monastero del Carmine, an architectural jewel now managed by a historic worldwide theater firm that usually hosts cultural occasions, exhibits, and concert events.

A pal of mine who has beforehand lived in Bergamo beneficial that I eat at Il Circolino Città Alta, a terraced restaurant that serves up conventional delicacies at reasonably priced costs. I’ll cross alongside that advice – it was scrumptious.

Attending to Bergamo: Bergamo could be visited as a day journey from Milan or neighboring Lake Como because it’s about an hour’s practice trip away from each. There’s additionally a global airport.

Val Camonica (​​Province of Brescia)

Retro styled film photo of Val Camonica castle in Italy.

Val Camonica was the primary place in Italy to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage standing in 1979 because of the presence of historical rock carvings dotting the valley.

I used to be fortunate sufficient to spend the perfect a part of a yr in Val Camonica, and rapidly discovered myself falling in love with its landscapes, historical past, and other people. I might write a whole article on this place, however I’ll attempt to share as a lot as I can in a couple of brief paragraphs. You’ll want a automotive to get round because the valley stretches over 90 km, however one of the simplest ways to soak up the sights and discover the countless hidden gems this place has to supply is by bike.

Nestled within the central Alps, this picturesque location affords idyllic landscapes, fascinating tradition, and – like all over the place in Italy – scrumptious meals. Spend your time mountaineering or snowboarding in Stelvio Nature Park, exploring the quaint villages all through the valley, and studying in regards to the area’s particular historical past.

Uncover the petroglyphs dotted all through the valley round Capo di Ponte and between Darfo and Edolo, and spend a while exploring the quaint villages of Breno – with its placing hilltop fortress ruins -, Bienno, and Lovere.

Make sure to go to Lake Iseo, which is surrounded by medieval cities and mountain vistas. Take the ferry from Sulzano throughout to Monte Isola, a particular island that emerges from the lake’s glimmering waters. It’s some of the magical locations I’ve ever visited, and someplace I discover myself returning to time and time once more.

Hike as much as the hilltop monastery, discover secret corners and quiet hamlets, and take in the gradual lifestyle. Cease for scrumptious seafood with a view at Trattoria “La Spiaggetta” di Dalmeri Elena.

Attending to Val Camonica: It’s greatest to lease a automotive if you wish to discover Val Camonica, however you may as well attain the extra distinguished cities within the space by practice or bus from cities like Brescia and Bergamo.


Fountain and church in Trento Italy's town square.

Located south of the Dolomites within the Trentino-Alto Adige area, Trento affords world-class appeal, delectable delicacies, and enchanting landscapes. A paradise for hikers and mountain bikers, Trento is without doubt one of the greatest hidden gems in Italy for nature lovers.

Discover the town’s stone castles, marvel at medieval frescoes, and take in Trento’s Austrian affect whereas having fun with the ambiance in certainly one of its many beer halls.

Attending to Trento: Trento is definitely reached by practice from bigger cities like Venice, Verona, Milan, Bergamo, and Bolzano.

Chiusa (Klausen)

Chiusa (Klausen in German) is a scenic comune situated in South Tyrol simply 20 km from Bolzano. Located on the banks of the river Eisack, this alluring city affords marvelous structure, Gothic church buildings, and picture-perfect mountain landscapes.

If you happen to’re visiting the north of Italy, make sure to pay a go to and spend the day exploring the outdated city and sampling world-class wine as you stroll by way of Chiusa’s hillside vineyards.

Attending to Chiusa: You’ll be able to attain Chiusa by practice from Trento or by driving the Klausen Go, a shocking drive operating immediately by way of the Alps.


Sunset over the shoreline in Camogli, Italy.

Well-known places like Cinque Terre and Portofino usually steal the limelight in relation to the Italian Riviera. However nestled among the many coastal cities is the hidden gem and native favourite Camogli.

With its conventional fishing village appeal, this quieter spot is house to colourful homes, endearing eateries, and several other mountaineering trails affording mesmerizing views. Take in the solar, take within the historical past, and pattern flavorsome Italian seafood fare whilst you take within the city’s laid-back vibe.

Attending to Camogli: Camogli is reachable by automotive or by practice by way of the Genoa-La Spezia railway line.


Situated in Piedmont only a brief drive from the French border, Alba is thought for its outdated city and white truffle and wine manufacturing. Nestled amongst rolling hills and vineyards that stretch on without end, this hidden gem is located alongside the Tanaro River only a brief drive from Turin.

Discover the city’s piazzas and meandering streets, taking in magnificent buildings just like the Alba Cathedral. If you happen to’re fortunate sufficient to go to throughout truffle season (October to December), make sure to time your journey to coincide with the Alba Truffle Honest.

Attending to Alba: It takes 1.5 hours to achieve Alba by automotive from Turin, or you may take a bus and a practice from Turin airport.

Bassano del Grappa

Shrouded by the formidable grandeur of the Dolomites is the small medieval city of Bassano del Grappa within the Veneto area, the hometown of potent liquor grappa.

The Ponte Vecchio (outdated bridge) which connects the city over the Brenta River dates again to 1569 and affords placing views of the Alps.

Benefit from the relaxed ambiance, pattern unforgettable meals, and take within the historical past of this outstanding space. If you happen to can abdomen it, then don’t miss out on a grappa-tasting expertise.

Attending to Bassano del Grappa: Take a practice or bus from bigger cities like Vicenza, Venice, or Treviso.

Hidden Gems in Central Italy

Central Italy is made up of 4 areas: Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria, and Marche. Though most vacationers head to hotspots like Florence, Rome, and Pisa, there’s way more to find.

Among the many greatest locations to go to in central Italy are some beautiful hidden gems.

Civita di Bagnoregio

Panorama of Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy.

Situated within the province of Viterbo, Civita di Bagnoregio is a tiny city that’s solely accessible by a fascinating walkway that winds its approach up from the city under. This hidden gem appears like one thing out of a fairytale and is nicely well worth the go to in the event you’re exploring central Italy.

As a consequence of its hilltop location, Civita di Bagnoregio affords intoxicating views over the countryside and photograph alternatives round each nook. You’ll be able to see the city in at some point, which makes it one of many greatest day journeys from Rome.

Although solely a handful of residents reside right here year-round, a number of charming eating places serve up native fare. Take in the ambiance and silence as you wander across the city and make sure to climb to the highest of the bell tower to admire the encircling vista.

Getting there: From Rome or Florence, take a quick practice to close by Orvieto after which a bus to the city of Bagnoregio. From there, stroll up the hill.

Situated simply an hour from the teeming streets of Florence, Arezzo is a compact Italian metropolis that’s usually ignored in favor of bigger places like Siena and Lucca. However its laid-back ambiance and charming historical past make it nicely price a go to. You may also acknowledge Arezzo because the setting of the Oscar-winning movie “Life is Lovely”.

Make sure to spend a while exploring the town’s winding streets and piazzas, take a look at the artisan shops that line its alleyways, and pattern rustic Tuscan delicacies. Different highlights embody the Museo d’Arte Medievale e Moderna, Casa Vasari, and the Church of San Francesco. Arezzo is kind of small, so it’s simply visitable as a day journey from Florence.

Attending to Civita di Bagnoregio: Arezzo is well-connected by practice to numerous cities together with Florence, Rome, and Perugia.

Alongside the by way of Francigena

Bales of hay in the fields along the road of Via Francigena in Italy.

I really like gradual journey. Strolling is without doubt one of the greatest methods to find new locations, soak up your environment, and get to know the locals.

A couple of years again, I walked about 300 km of the By way of Francigena from Lucca to Rome (in August – it was scorching), and it was top-of-the-line experiences of my life to this point. Each morning I awoke at 6 am (7 am once I felt like treating myself to a lie-in) and set off on the trail. The one factor I needed to deal with was placing one foot in entrance of the opposite to achieve my vacation spot and my thoughts was free to mirror on life, breathe within the recent nation air, and admire the sights. I might dedicate a number of articles to this journey alone – however that’s a narrative for an additional day.

If you wish to get off the crushed observe in Tuscany and also you’re feeling adventurous, why not spend per week or two mountaineering the By way of Francigena? The complete pilgrimage path stretches all the best way from Canterbury to Rome, however many individuals select the Tuscan part for its rolling landscapes and comparatively flat terrain.

Wind your approach alongside dusty paths lined with cypress bushes and admire the varied panorama dotted with vineyards and olive groves. You’ll cross by way of quite a few medieval cities and hamlets together with San Miniato, Gambassi Terme, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, and extra. Pilgrims usually keep in low-cost lodging devoted to these doing the stroll, which are sometimes housed in outdated monasteries and church buildings.

So, lace up your mountaineering boots and hit the street!


Cliff side houses and buildings in Montepulciano, Italy.

Though there are many issues to do in Florence and different close by cities, taking a break from the crowds and heading to the countryside could be an effective way to wind down and expertise a distinct facet of Italy.

Located on high of a hill simply exterior Siena in southern Tuscany, Montepulciano is a medieval city and top-of-the-line hidden gems in Italy. Well-known for its elegant Renaissance palaces, historic church buildings, charming piazzas, and fruitful vineyards – Montepulciano has rather a lot to supply each form of traveler.

From the city, you may get pleasure from expansive views throughout the Tuscan countryside. Make sure to pattern finely aged wine made out of the Sangiovese grapes which might be grown within the area.

Attending to Montepulciano: I like to recommend visiting Montepulciano and different hidden cities in Tuscany by automotive. Not solely is it simpler, however you’ll be met with phenomenal views round each nook. Nevertheless, you may as well attain Montepulciano by bus from greater cities like Rome, Florence, and Siena.


White buildings and houses in Gubbio, Italy.

Gubbio is a medieval Umbrian city and top-of-the-line hidden gems in Italy. With its picture-perfect cobbled streets, colourful homes, and mountain environment – Gubbio is a sight to behold.

Take in the ambiance within the Piazza Grande and discover fresco-filled church buildings earlier than taking the (barely terrifying) bird-cage-style cable automotive as much as the Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo.

Attending to Gubbio: By way of automotive or bus from Perugia.


Okay, I do know it’s form of dishonest to categorise a whole area as a hidden gem however within the case of Marche, I believe it’s justified!

This a part of Italy has been labeled “the brand new Tuscany” and boasts unspoiled landscapes, genuine Italian tradition, and unbelievable meals. What’s extra, it’s a area that’s usually ignored, which makes it good for escaping the crowds and getting off the crushed observe.

Should-see spots in Marche embody the Furlo Gorge between Mount Pietralata and Mount Paganucci, the Frasassi Caves close to Ancona, the white-sand Seaside of the Two Sisters, and the historic city of Urbino, which was the birthplace of the artist Raphael.

Attending to Marche: One of the simplest ways to achieve the Marche area is by flying into Ancona airport or Bologna airport.

Hidden Gems in South Italy

The south of Italy is thought for its sandy seashores, turquoise waters, and delectable delicacies. Away from bigger cities like Naples, Bari, and Lecce, and vacationer hotspots just like the Amalfi Coast, there are many hidden gems ready to be explored on this a part of the nation.


Rooftops and towers with lights coming on in the evening in Matera, Italy

Situated within the Basilicata area, Matera is without doubt one of the most original cities on this planet and has a historical past courting again to 15000 BC. For over 9000 years, individuals have known as this placing place house, with many residing in cave networks up till the Nineteen Fifties when the federal government compelled them from their subterranean dwellings.

The cave-like properties of Matera are carved from limestone rocks that teeter on the sting of a ravine. The town itself is really an unforgettable sight. The very best factor to do in Matera is to easily get misplaced. Make sure to go to the rock church buildings and cave homes which have been preserved as museums. Head to Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli or Piazza San Pietro Caveoso for the perfect panoramic views at sundown.

The town’s wealthy culinary historical past has primarily consisted of grains, pulses, and greens over time because of the poverty that was rampant amongst its inhabitants previously. If you happen to’ve all the time fancied consuming fantastic Italian meals in a cave, that is your probability.

Attending to Matera: The best approach to get to Matera is to take the practice from Bari to Matera Centrale after which stroll for quarter-hour to achieve the town.

Tratturi of Molise

Molise is a area within the south of Italy that’s usually forgotten. In truth, it’s a standard joke that Molise “doesn’t exist”. However – fortuitously – it does, and it’s certainly one of Italy’s best-kept secrets and techniques.

The traditional tratturi are a important characteristic of the Molisan panorama. These historic grassy mountain paths have been historically utilized by shepherds who have been shifting their herds throughout the mountains in Abruzzo to the plain of the Apulias and again. Vacationers can hike the paths themselves to attach with the transhumance life-style.

The Celano-Foggia Tratturo is the longest path that crosses Molise and spans nearly 80 km, crossing 16 villages. Avid hikers might think about embarking on this path to embrace the fantastic thing about this lesser-known area of Italy.

Attending to Molise: Take the practice or bus from Rome or L’Aquila to Celano.


White buildings of Ostuni, Italy during sunset.

Probably the most distinctive hidden gems in Italy, Ostuni is a hilltop city in Puglia recognized for its whitewashed metropolis partitions and buildings. This picturesque spot exudes easy magnificence. If you happen to’re planning a street journey in south Italy, Ostuni ought to positively be in your itinerary.

Issues to do in Ostuni embody getting misplaced within the historic heart, visiting the Gothic-style Cathedral of Ostuni, and slurping ice cream on the standard Cremeria La Scala. Right here, you’re additionally close to among the area’s greatest seashores together with Lido Morelli, Rosa Marina, and Quarto di Monte that are all lower than 10 km from the town heart.

Attending to Ostuni: The closest airport to Ostuni is Brindisi. The town could be reached by practice from Brindisi, Bari, and different close by cities.


Old Town Monopoli Italy.

One other hidden gem in Puglia, Monopoli is extra off the crushed observe than different standard seaside places within the south.

If you wish to expertise crystal-clear waters and sandy shores, there’s no higher approach to discover Monopoli’s seashores than by renting a motorcycle and following the coastal cycle path.

Porto Verde Seaside can’t be missed, and make sure to cool off with a stroll by way of the city. Pay a go to to the baroque cathedral, the archaeological museum, and the frescoed Palmieri Palace.

Attending to Monopoli: Take the practice from Bari Centrale.


Lights on in buildings at night in Castelmezzano, Italy

A tucked-away mountain village within the province of Potenza, Castelmezzano affords a village ambiance and loads of genuine Italian tradition. Plus, there’s assured to be no crowds!

Though it’s small, Castelmezzano has rather a lot to supply together with an enthralling historic heart, quite a few eating places and bars, and the charming Church of Santa Maria dell’Olmo.

Hikers can get pleasure from numerous mountaineering trails within the surrounding areas. Probably the most beloved routes is the Gradinata Normanna, which ends up in the Dolomite hills.

Attending to Castelmezzano: The best approach to attain Castelmezzano is by street. It’s located a 2-hour drive from each Naples and Bari.

Greatest Hidden Gems in Italy – The Islands

Italy’s island places are standard summer time vacationer locations for locals and vacationers. Individuals flock from all over the world to island locations like Sardinia and Sicily to absorb the Mediterranean summer time and benefit from the greatest Italian seashores.

For that reason, islands like Sardinia and Sicily can grow to be extraordinarily busy in the course of the summer time months. Nevertheless, it’s potential to keep away from crowds in the event you plan your itinerary accurately.

Nuoro, Sardinia

Rooftops and a pier by the shore in Nuoro, Italy.

Nestled within the mountains of the Barbagia area in central Sardinia, Nuoro is a hidden gem in Italy that’s price visiting. If you need a vacation that’s totally different from the standard beach-hopping Sardinian vacation, Nuoro ought to be in your itinerary.

Discover the oldest neighborhood in Nuoro, Santu Predu, admire the view from Belvedere La Madonnina, and go to La Solitudine church. Additionally, make sure to take a look at the nuraghe (historical megalithic edifices distinctive to Sardinia) that dot the realm.

Getting there: The best approach to discover Sardinia’s hidden gems is by automotive. We employed a automotive from Cagliari and drove all around the island. It was positively essentially the most snug approach to get round and we obtained to see plenty of Sardinia’s wild facet that merely isn’t accessible by public transport.

Sant’Antioco, Sardinia

Sant’Antioco is an island off the south coast of the island of Sardinia. Linked to the principle island by a synthetic bridge, this charming island is simply an hour’s drive from Cagliari. If you wish to get off the crushed observe and discover a few of Sardinia’s best-kept secrets and techniques, Sant’Antioco ought to be in your itinerary.

There are two important villages on the island: Sant’Antioco and Calasetta. You’ll discover quite a few seashores providing white sands and extremely clear waters, in addition to a spread of museums and archeological websites to discover. The island is house to roughly 30 nuraghes, an important being the S’Ega Marteddu Nuraghe and the Sa Cipudditta Nuraghe.

We had the perfect expertise staying at Bella Calasetta Guesthouse once we visited. The hosts have been astonishingly variety and beneficiant and even took us out for dinner to neighboring Isola di San Pietro and it was a brief stroll to top-of-the-line seashores we discovered, Spiaggia Le Saline.

Attending to Sant’Antioco: One of the simplest ways to achieve Sant’Antioco is to drive over the bridge from the mainland.

Isola del Giglio (Tuscany)

A drum tower and buildings standing above the rocky shore line in Isola del Giglio, Italy.

Isola del Giglio is an arresting island within the Tuscan archipelago within the Tyrrhenian Sea. It’s the second largest of the Tuscan islands after Isola d’Elba.

Providing turquoise seas, mesmerizing pure magnificence, and a bunch of fairly villages, Isola del Giglio is certainly one of Tuscany’s greatest hidden gems. Largely wild, the island affords numerous mountaineering trails, sandy seashores, and rocky shops. Make sure to go to the port, with its colourful homes overlooking the bay.

Attending to Isola del Giglio: Take the ferry from Porto Santo Stefano. The boat trip takes about 1 hour.


Buildings and boats along the harbor in Procida, Italy.

Procida is a humble island within the Bay of Naples and is really certainly one of a sort. Below two sq. miles in whole of vividly painted homes and slender streets, Procida is without doubt one of the most genuine hidden gems in Italy.

Beforehand, the tiny island has largely flown underneath the radar as vacationers head to bigger islands like Capri and Ischia. Nevertheless, after it was awarded Italy’s Capital of Tradition for 2022, curiosity in Procida has been steadily rising.

Stroll Marina Grande, stuffed with fishing boats and bay-side eating places, and climb as much as the fortified medieval village of Terra Murata. It’s additionally price paying a go to to Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà and the lemon-yellow church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which was in-built 1679.

Meals can be a spotlight right here. Pattern recent seafood at Marina Corricella, Procida’s oldest fishing village, and make sure to strive a lingua di suocera (‘mother-in-law’s tongue’), Procida’s conventional lemon-curd puff pastry.

There are a number of seashores on Procida together with Chiaiolella on the north, Chiaia to the south, and the black sand bay of Pozzo Vecchio.

Attending to Procida: Procida is a simple 30-minute ferry trip from the port of Naples.

Ortigia, Sicily

Buildings along a small sea wall on the coastline of Ortigia, Italy.

Ortigia, additionally known as Ortygia, is a small island that’s basically the historic heart of the town of Syracuse. Though it’s not as hidden as among the different gems on this checklist, it’s usually ignored in favor of different spots in Sicily like Palermo and Taormina.

There are a number of standard spots for swimming and sunbathing, in addition to streets, church buildings, and piazzas that span over 2500 years of historical past. Don’t miss out on the Sicilian markets the place you’ll find all types of recent produce and mouth-watering plates of arancini, pasta alla norma (certainly one of my favorites), and numerous different Sicilian dishes.

Attending to Ortigia: The closest airport to Ortigia is Catania. When you arrive in Syracuse, cross the three bridges connecting Ortigia to the mainland.

Greatest Hidden Gems in Italy Wrap-up

So, there you might have it! 23 of the perfect hidden gems in Italy.

Are you prepared to flee the crowds and expertise this one-of-a-kind nation like by no means earlier than? I hope so! As all the time, joyful travels everybody!


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