10 Off-the-Beaten Path Destinations in Italy

Home > Destinations > Europe > 10 Off-the-Beaten Path Destinations in Italy

10 Off-the-Beaten Path Destinations in Italy

Whether it’s your first or fifth time to Italy, this always popular European destination offers limitless rewards. This time, perhaps you’ll find a sleepy rural village where life takes on a more leisurely pace. Or, perhaps you’ll live like a local where Italians take their summer beach holidays. From the southern reaches of Lake Garda to the hillside outside Florence, there are countless gems to be found in Italy. Add these to your Italy bucket list, then come back for more. Here are 10 off-the-beaten-path destinations in Italy.
shutterstock 1177051834navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
1. Castelmezzano, Basilicata
Life slows down in Castelmezzano. This sleep village is cradled into the rocks and peaks of the Dolomiti Lucane. Just under 1,000 residents make their home here, making it a choice spot for those who want to escape the tourist crowds. Don’t miss its famous zip line, the Volo dell’Angelo. This high-flying mode of transportation connects Castelmezzano to Pietrapertosa, another stone village across the gorge. There is also a trail (the Sette Pietra) that leads down into the gorge, then up to the neighboring town. You’ll quickly see why Castelmezzano has been called one of Italy’s prettiest villages when you see its archways, secret staircases, narrow lanes and ancient churches, all fronting the brilliant Ionian Sea.
shutterstock 1452828320navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
2. Locorotondo, Puglia
Sip Locorotondo’s famous sparkling white wine, explore cute side streets and visit one of the town’s many Catholic churches during your time in this adorably small, yet largely enticing town. Locorotondo is set in the lush Valle d’Itria amidst abundant olive groves. It’s hilltop setting affords incredible vistas across the countryside. Visit the tourist office on the piazza in town for ideas about how to best spend your time here.
shutterstock 1634284237navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
3. Trento, Trentino
High in the north of Italy, overlooking the River Adige, Trento is home to a stunning 13th-century castle and imposing 11th-century cathedral. Spend your days here marveling at ancient art and religious artifacts at the Palazzo Pretorio, where some of the paintings date back to the Middle Ages. Shop and people watch along the Via Belenzani, a central street in the old town with colorful frescoes from the 15th and 16th centuries. If you’d like to see a smaller church setting than the huge Duomo, head to the Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore, full of intricate stucco details and notable Baroque altars.
shutterstock 1153418872navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
4. Matera, Basilicata
A city of caves, Matera ranks as one of the most unique places you can visit in Italy. There are cave hotels, cave restaurants, cave bars and cave artwork. The ancient neighborhoods here are known as sassi and all of them look like they’re hanging over the edge of a ravine, carved as they are out of the stone. Visit the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario to see how families lived in these caves in the 18th century (along with their mules and chickens!). At the MUSMA art museum, you can see modern sculptures juxtaposed against the backdrop of a 17th-century cave palace.
shutterstock 1134734165navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
5. Tropea, Calabria
Looking for an Italy beach vacation with a local vibe? Look no further than Tropea, which sits on the Promontorio di Tropea. In between rugged cliffs, there are sugary white-sand beaches dotted with brightly colored sun umbrellas, under which you’ll find Italians in the know. This is where they come for holiday each summer for swimming, snorkeling and pure relaxation. Go beyond the beach to explore the town attractions, especially the Benedictine Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola, one of Tropea’s most iconic attractions.
shutterstock 1718604742navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
6. Varenna, Lake Como, Lombardia
This picturesque lakeside town conjures up all the romance of Lake Como, but without the paparazzi. Visit the 14th-century Church of San Giorgio in the town center, then choose one of the many narrow, winding cobblestone streets to head toward the lake. Shop for leather gifts along the Contrada dei Sarti, then stroll beside the colorful houses of the Riva Grande, the lake promenade. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Villa Monastero, a former monastery turned sightseeing destination. Its beautiful botanical garden holds many rare plants and in the Casa Museo, you can see decorations and furnishings through four centuries of history.
shutterstock 743058916navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
7. Camogli, Liguria
The postcard-perfect village of Camogli looks like it should be a backdrop for a blockbuster film, perfectly arranged at the seafront and brimming with colorful palazzi and houses. There’s an addictively low-key ambience here, making it a wonderful place to simply relax and relish your surroundings. Chic restaurants and wine bars line the Via Giuseppe Garibaldi promenade in lieu of flashy nightclubs. Speaking of restaurants, you’ll want to dine out every night – the cuisine is divine, from the pesto made from Ligurian hills basil to the local summer fish, leccia.
shutterstock 594448145navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
8. Lugana, Trentino
Oenophiles are catching on to the appeal of white wines from the Lugana region, on Lake Garda. It’s the Trebbiano di Lugana vines that have made these wines famous and while you certainly want to indulge, there’s much more to enjoy through Lugana. Take advantage of Italy’s largest lake for swimming and water sports, then venture into the Garda Mountains for easy-access hiking. Visit Sirmione’s Jamaica Beach, where you can swim with front-row sea views of the Scaligero Castle.
shutterstock 1460891285navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
9. Lampedusa, Pelagie Islands
Take a breather at Lampedusa, a sun-dappled isle south of Sicily and part of the Pelagian Archipelago. Some of the best secret covers and beaches are Cala Greca, Cala Pisana and Cala Uccello, where you can easily hide away for the day. The snorkeling is excellent in Lampedusa, thanks to the clear sea and bright seafloor. Divers can see parrotfish at Taccio Vecchio and loggerhead sea turtles in the eastern shallows. Back on land, three peaks vie for hikers’ attention.
shutterstock 1844518129navsumo.com
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
10. Brisighella, Emilia Romagna
Live out your royal fantasies at the medieval village of Brisighella on the hillside between Florence and Ravenna. Explore the Emilia-Romagna Regional Park and its caves, take a cooking class, attend a wine or olive oil tasting or go mountain biking. Take an orchard tour in the Apennine hills and climb a medieval watchtower to survey the landscape below. Don’t miss La Rocca, the castle, from the 14th century and presiding over the town from a rocky outcropping.

Get Our Best Stuff First.

Sign up for our newsletters.

Don’t Forget
Your U.S. Passport

and Travel Visas