Italy is famous for destinations such as Rome, Venice and Florence and rightly so – these cities are obscenely wealthy in history, culture and sights but with great riches comes an even greater number of tourists. Amongst the crowds it can be hard to feel the authentic soul of this iconic country but as soon as you step foot in these destinations, you’ll be soaked from head to toe in the unparalleled charm of Italy.
1. Porto Rotondo – Sardinia
Porto Rotondo exhibits the sophistication of Italian vacationing at its finest. Crystal clear water, refined boutiques and glamorous bars dotted around the port combine to make for the perfect luxurious getaway. Take a leisurely stroll and eye the extravagant boats or kick back in style with your afternoon spritz.
2. Lake Braies/Pragser Wildsee – Trentino-South Tyrol
A breathtaking setting for a romantic rowing boat trip or an enjoyable hike, Lake Braies, otherwise known as the Pragser Wildsee, is a majestically coloured turquoise jewel set in the stunning surrounds of the Dolomites. This fairytale location shows its colours off the most in summertime, but is also striking covered in snow and ice.
3. Procida Island – Campania
The baby sister of Capri and Ischia, Procida is a charming little fishing village defined by her pastel coloured buildings that are seemingly stacked on top of one another. After laying eyes on this unbeatable beauty, words aren’t needed to describe why the island was chosen as a setting for numerous books and movies including The Talented Mr Ripley.
4. Lecco – Lombardy
Lake Como is synonymous with luxury villas and unmatchable beauty and most visitors flock straight to it’s namesake town. The lake in fact forks in two and an alternative destination, Lecco, can be found at the tip of the eastern prong. Quieter and arguably more picturesque than its famous neighbour, Lecco also offers exceptional hiking routes and a charming town centre.
5. Val Gardena – South Tyrol
The valley of Val Gardena is set amongst a range of magnificent mountains. The region has a range of activities on offer from hiking to paragliding but, without a doubt, snow sports reign supreme. Some interesting side notes: woodcarving is the local craft and inhabitants speak Ladin.
6. Montepulciano – Tuscany
Perched on a hill, this enchanting town offers unhindered views of the picturesque Tuscan countryside. Montepulciano boasts medieval and Renaissance castles and churches and treats visitors to the typical enchanting atmosphere of the famous region. With a glass of Vino Nobile in hand, soak up the golden hues of the setting Tuscan sun.
7. Otranto – Puglia
Puglia is full to the brim with hidden surprises, especially in Salento, the heel of the boot. Otranto is a captivating, white-washed town set on the Adriatic. Get lost in the winding paths of the historic centre, discover the medieval castle and its towers and take a walk along the gorgeous promenade. With the sky and sea taking on the most brilliant shades of blue, Otranto is a relaxing gem not to be missed.
8. Agropoli – Campania
Boasting an archaeological area, medieval monuments and a bewitching old town, Agropoli is a sublime alternative destination for those heading to Campania. Perched atop a promontory, Agropoli gives visitors unsurpassable panoramas of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
9. Arona – Piedmont
Set on the picturesque Lake Maggiore, Arona is an excellent choice for ultimate relaxation. With majestic villas and perfectly manicured gardens, Arona exhibits the offerings of an ideal lakeside town.