The spots you need to know about for your next Italy trip.
There are a few things in life that are universally accepted. The fact that Italy is one of the best travel destinations in the world is one of those things!
The appeal of Italy is well-documented. There’s the world-renowned food and wine, the historic sites and architecture, and the vibrant culture that has influenced many others around the globe. There is absolutely no doubt that Italy is an awesome tourist destination.
Of course, if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, there’s nothing wrong with leaving Rome or Venice behind in search of Italy’s hidden gems. While they may not be as publicized or frequently visited as the most common cultural centers and tourist epicenters, Italy has some mind-blowing sites that are lesser-known.
So, if you’re ready to embark on the trip of a lifetime, read on. We’ve compiled a list of Italy’s best-kept secrets and underrated must-sees. Trust us; there’s something in the list below that will get your imagination working overtime and your heart longing for your Italian getaway!
Italy’s 10 Hidden Gems
Italy is known for a handful of hallmark attributes. The food, wine, culture, espresso, fast cars, and unbelievable history are all integral to what makes Italy so special as a country and as a destination. However, those wonderful things are not limited to the well-known cities.
While you should, of course, visit Rome, Venice, and the other popular tourist hotspots, we recommend exploring some of the hidden gems Italy has to offer.
When you picture cities with jaw-dropping backdrops, Castelmezzano may not be the first place to pop into your mind. That’s about to change.
Castelmezzano is simply stunning thanks to its spot nestled amongst the mountains, jagged peaks rising just beyond it. It also features an exhilarating way to take in the gorgeous vista—a high-speed zipline known as “Flight of the Angel” connects Castelmezzano to a nearby mountain town, Pietrapertosa.
If you want to experience the things Italy is best known for—art, culture, food, and even architecture—Trento may be the perfect way to do so. It’s a classic Italian city that is brimming with everything that makes Italy unique, but it is small enough to enjoy at your own relaxed pace!
With architectural wonders (castles and cathedrals—really!), plenty of local watering holes, and very walkable infrastructure, Trento should be on any Italian vacation destination list.
Another fantastic location in the Basilicata region, Matera is full of diverse features that are sure to stick in your memory for a lifetime. While you may recognize Matera thanks to its achievement as Capital of Culture in 2019, it is still a hidden gem compared to the more popular destinations in Italy.
If the culture isn’t enough, don’t despair—Matera is also home to a spattering of caves that were once home to ancient inhabitants. These caves make the city of Mater one of the longest inhabited areas in all of the world!
If the idyllic getaway looks a lot like a colorful, charming town hugging a breathtaking coastline, you’ve come to the right place. Camogli has retained its quiet fishing village charisma to this day, making it an appealing hidden gem that few visitors to Italy know of.
Of course, there’s more to Camogli than its vibrant houses and seaside vistas. The town also boasts lovely hotels, mouthwatering bakeries, and the opportunity to take a break from the frenetic pace of travel and simply relax and enjoy your surroundings.
Most travelers to Italy have heard of the island Capri, but far fewer are familiar with Procida. Located in the Bay of Naples, this small island is home to a small fishing village that offers a look at true Italian life.
From the narrow streets packed with friendly locals to the unmatched authenticity of the area, Procida will give you an unforgettably quintessential Italian experience. Best of all, it’s only a short ferry ride from Naples, allowing you to spend as much or as little time there as your schedule allows!
We’re making an exception here because Cinque Terre is now a popular tourist destination. However, if you time it right, you can avoid the blitz of visitors and enjoy a transformed, hidden gem version of the area.
Composed of five distinct villages, this area is home to unbelievable ocean views thanks to the towns being built directly into the coastal rocks. You would be remiss if you missed out on the hiking, vineyards, and pristine beaches, even if you visit during the cooler offseason.
Alberobello may be famous for one thing—the collection of houses with cone-shaped roofs (called trulli)—but there’s far more to the town than these fairytale homes. While we recommend you visit and explore the trulli, be sure to give the rest of the area a proper chance, too.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the delicious local cuisine, mix of modern and traditional architecture, and overall vibe of a town that is traditionally known for one thing.
Acquafredda and Maratea, Basilicata
These two towns are in close proximity to each other, making them the ideal places to visit when you’re trying to maximize your time in Italy. In Maratea, you’ll find gorgeous coastline dining, architectural wonders in the form of churches, and even limestone caves in which you can enjoy a brief reprieve from the heat.
Many visitors make the mistake of driving through Acqufreeda without slowing down and appreciating what the small village has to offer. If you take your time and look hard enough, you may just find a quaint restaurant serving authentic Italian food and a place to stay overlooking the sea, mountainside, and village.
Lugana and Manerba del Garda, Lombardy
For stunning lake views and luxurious private homes on islands, Manerba del Garda is a must-see if you are in the Lombardy region. When you’re done hiking and sightseeing, take a moment to enjoy a dip in the lake!
Lugana, on the other hand, is home to world-class cuisine and wine, making it a food lover’s dream destination. You can take tours of small wineries, sign up for a cooking class, or indulge in a dinner you didn’t have a hand in making. No matter what you choose, it’s sure to be a hidden gem experience you’ll never forget.
Val di Non, Trentino
Imagine an epic landscape dotted with castles. Sounds like a fairytale, right?
In Val di Non, it’s reality. Of course, no castle-speckled land would be complete without apple orchards, mountain lakes, and a valley crisscrossed with rivers. It may not be a fairytale, but the beauty of Val di Non is certainly straight from a storybook!
Traveling to Italy During COVID-19: Don’t Halt Your Trip, Just be Prepared
During these challenging times, being hesitant about travel is entirely understandable. However, with the right information and preparation, fulfilling your lifelong goal of visiting Italy is not unreasonable. In fact, it’s entirely attainable.
Before embarking, familiarize yourself with new travel regulations and risks. For example, there is always the possibility of getting sick as you travel. If this were to happen, you may face a temporary setback of having to stay in one location for longer than anticipated.
Through commonsense planning and thoughtful action, you can take on the challenge of traveling to Italy during COVID-19 and check this unforgettable experience off your bucket list!
Italy’s Hidden Gems are Waiting
There you have it; the top off-the-beaten-path destinations Italy has to offer. With this list as your guide, we know that you’re bound to have the experience of a lifetime. So, get out there and explore these amazing spots—you’ll be glad you did!