Off-the-Beaten-Path Ways to Experience Italy
Italy has something to offer for everyone. Lovers of history and the arts head to Rome to see the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Sistine Chapel, while fashionistas go to Milan for the latest trends and luxurious boutiques. Foodies never miss out on pizza in Naples, while romantics relish gondola rides along the canals of Venice.
However, there’s more to Italy than these popular tourist destinations. Those who are looking for off-the-beaten-path ways to experience Italy can start with these three regions:
Diverse Experiences in Basilicata
Whether you love trekking up mountains or sunbathing on the coast, Basilicata has something for you to enjoy. Go on a boat ride with local fishermen and eat sea urchins straight from the ocean. Take epic hikes up its mountains and be mesmerized by the panoramic view of forests and national parks.
Take a detour from the main road and head up to Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. These two quaint towns make travelling between them an adventure through the Flight of the Angel, a high-speed zip wire connecting them.
Not to miss in this region is Matera. Aside from medieval buildings, the Sassi caves which served as human dwellings for millennia can be seen in this town.
The Quaint Towns of Puglia
Puglia boasts the longest coastline in the Italian peninsula. This region is interspersed with ancient monuments and is famous for its culinary traditions.
Stroll through the streets of Alberobello, a town built around the famed Trulli houses. These iconic stone buildings help you appreciate history and provide the perfect background for Instagram posts.
Sant’Agata di Puglia takes you back in time to when life was simple. Enjoy a cup of espresso with the locals while sitting on benches in the town square. Have a taste of authentic Southern Italian food in cozy restaurants. Try their traditional peasant food, Cucina Povera, which has simple ingredients but with rich flavors.
Dreamy Locorotondo makes you fall in love with its simplicity. Its streets greet you with potted flowers lined against white-washed walls, while the food here is best eaten alfresco in homely restaurants.
Other places you shouldn’t miss are the historic architecture of Castel del Monte and the limestone cave of Grotta Palazzese.
Gorging on Food and History in Sicily
Sicily is most famous for its delectable food. Palermo, its biggest city, is one of the street food capitals of the world, so make sure you try the cannoli there.
Sicily also has a rich history and is home to many architectural marvels. Head to Enna to see 4th century mosaics in Villa Romana del Casale. Greek and Roman ruins also dot the historic city of Syracuse. To see Greek ruins that rival those of Athens, take a trip to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. Would you like to see some baroque architecture? The Town of Ragusa is the place to go.
Aside from these places, there are more hidden gems scattered throughout Italy’s twenty regions. You’d find charming villages, glassy lakes set amidst alpine backdrops, and picturesque islands surrounded by crystal blue waters. It’s also a fun idea to take an Italian cruise, which allows you to stop in multiple cities along the coast for a tailored travel itineraries, whether that’s Tuscan wine country, excursions to the heart of Rome, and more must-sees.