20 Hidden Gems in Italy for EVERY region! (2024)

This post will cover 20 hidden gems in Italy: one town for each of the 20 regions of this wonderful country. Italy is by far my favorite country and I have explored it deeply. I am all about finding the best hidden gems and exploring the off-the-beaten-path places. There is so much unexplored beauty in this world that deserves to be found and treasured. Read on to discover the truly unique places to visit in Italy!

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Hidden Gems in Northwest Italy

1. Portovenere

hidden gems in northwest italy portovenere
Portovenere: Hidden Gems in Italy

Portovenere is a medieval fishing village in the Liguria region of Italy. It is often skipped for the more popular Cinque Terre but is a unique place to discover in Italy. Portovenere, along with the islands of Palmaria, Tino, Tinetto, and Cinque Terre is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The medieval town can be entered through the old city gate known as Porta del Borgo. Via Capellini is the main street to explore once you pass through. You will find winding streets and alleys on the way up to the beautiful Doria Castle, which is perched on a hill with views of the Bay of Poets and the Ligurian Sea. As you walk towards Doria Castle, you will see the pretty Church of San Lorenzo which was built between 1118 and 1130

While in Portovenere, you can’t miss the colorful and picturesque harbor. Grab some pasta from La Bottega del Pesto and sit and relax admiring the beauty all around. Afterward, you may want to check out another charming church, Chiesa di San Pietro. There are also some nice views nearby as well.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Liguria

✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Pisa (PSA). However, you can easily get there from Milan too as there is a direct train from Milan Central to La Spezia. Portovenere has no train station – the closest one is La Spezia which has connections to Cinque Terre. From La Spezia, you can reach Portovenere by bus, taxi, or ferry boat. The bus takes 35 minutes from La Spezia and you can check the timetables here. The ferry takes 25 minutes and the timetable is here.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Cinque Terre where you can visit the wonderful 5 villages of Manarola, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, and Monterosso. Read my full blog post on Cinque Terre here!

🏨 Where to stay: Many people opt to take a day trip to Portovenere from La Spezia or Cinque Terre so there aren’t tons of hotel options. However, Grand Hotel Portovenere is a wonderful option overlooking the port and Palmaria Island.

2. Bergamo

bergamo hidden gems in italy

italy off the beaten track

Bergamo is located in the Lombardy region of Italy near Milan. It was cited as “the most beautiful place on earth” by French writer, Stendhal. After seeing the breathtaking views and charming winding streets you will see why! One of the interesting things about Bergamo is that it is divided into two areas and the city is enclosed by Venetian walls. The Republic of Venice took over the city in 1428 and built the walls to protect it from invasion. Thankfully, the city never underwent any siege. These medieval walls stretch 6 km long and were built starting in 1561 taking 27 years to complete.

The lower city in Bergamo is called Citta Bassa and this is where the locals reside. The more historic area which you will want to explore is called Citta Alta which translates to “High City.” One of the highlights of visiting is to take the funicular that connects Citta Bassa and Citta Alta up for a spectacular view of the city. The best time to do this is at sunset to admire the orangey-red sky and see the dotted houses and panoramic views. The funicular cost is €1.30 and you can buy the tickets at the Funicolare Bergamo Alta station which is located here.

Piazza Vecchia is the main square in the city and is one of the most beautiful piazzas you will see. The Duomo di Bergamo is a gorgeous cathedral to visit. After that, continue wandering the Old City, which is full of pretty streets, amazing food, shopping, and more. Via Gombito is the famous street where you will likely end up on your walk. Once hungry, be sure to stop for lunch or dinner at Circolino Citta Alta to enjoy some of the best Italian food ever! The pasta and tiramisu are amazing and you can enjoy eating on the terrace garden outside too!

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Lombardy

✈️ How to get there: Bergamo has its own airport (BGY) so you can quickly get to the city in no time. You can take a bus from the airport and get to the city center in less than 20 minutes. You can also fly into the Milan Airport (MXP) but of course, flying into BGY would be the easiest and closest route.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Milan as it’s so nearby and you can visit the stunning Duomo which I believe is even more beautiful in person. You can also get some shopping in as Milan is known for some amazing high-end fashion.

🏨 Where to stay: The GombitHotel is ideally located between the Duomo and Piazza Vecchia.

3. Courmayeur

Courmayeur is located in Aosta Valley, Italy’s smallest region in the Northwest of Italy. The official languages are both French and Italian as it closely borders France and Switzerland too. This region is famous for skiing and hiking. In fact, Courmayeur is an alpine resort destined for skiing. The skiing season is between December to April but you can also enjoy summer in this region as you admire the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. You can also take the SkyWay Monte Bianco cable car to see incredible panoramic views of the Italian Alps.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Aosta Valley

✈️ How to get there: The nearest airports include Caselle in Turin and both airports in Milan (Milano’s Linate and Malpensa). Driving time is about 2.5 hours from Milan and just under 2 hours from Turin.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Milan, the vibrant city known for fashion and design as well as it’s stunning Duomo.

🏨 Where to stay: Stay at Grand Hotel Courmayeur Mont Blanc for beautiful rooms with mountain views! It also is located with easy access to hiking trails.

4. Orta San Giulio

unique destinations in italy
Orta San Giulio: Secret places in Italy

Orta San Giulio is the smallest of the Italian lakes in Italy and is one of the most beautiful sights in Piedmont. It is also less visited than more popular lakes like Como and Maggiore making it one of the best hidden gems in Italy. The island of San Giulio is a must – legend has it that St. Julius floated to this very island on his cloak and then founded a church (Basilica di San Giulio) after defeating dragons.

The historic center is full of colorful buildings which are a delight to see. The main streets Via Bossa and Via Olina are full of many shops and restaurants. Other things to do include visiting the Piazza Motta, a beautiful square. Then you can walk towards the sacro monte, a religious complex on a hill above the lake. Here you will find 20 churches dedicated to St Francis of Assisi. For the best view, go down the hill from Sacro Monte di San Francesco and you will see the lake from atop.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Piedmont

✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Milan Malpensa (MXP) Airport which is 30 miles away. From there, the easiest way to arrive is by car and it would take 50 minutes. You can rent a car through Discover Cars here.

🧳 Perfect multi-day trip would be to book this 4 day tour of all the lakes (Stresa, Bellagio, Bergamo, Sirmione, Verona, and more) from Milan. It even includes hotel accommodation.

🏨 Where to stay: The Relais & Chateaux Villa Crespi is a 5-star hotel in a 19th-century building surrounded by gardens leading up to the lake.

Hidden Gems in Northeast Italy

5. Parma

parma off the radar places in italy
coolest places to visit in italy

You may have heard of Parma because it’s famous for producing Parma ham and Parmesan cheese but have you ever thought to visit this city over the main Italian cities most tourists are drawn to? Possibly not! But it is not to be missed especially if you’re a foodie at heart. Filled with colorful streets and amazing food, add Parma to your list of Italian cities to obsess over!

Parma is one of the most beautiful cities in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy located between Milan and Bologna. When you visit, don’t miss the main sights which include the stunning Cathedral of Parma, Teatro Regio, and the Palazzo della Pilotta.

A must-do in Parma, is booking a tour to see the Parmesan and Parma factories. Here you can learn about the process of producing these delicious delicacies. To book the tour, click here. If tours aren’t your thing you can at least visit the famous deli to purchase and take home with you from La Prosciutteria.

Also, some of the best restaurants in Italy can be found in Parma including Trattoria Corrieri and Trattoria Ai Due Platani where you can try the antipasti selection.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Emilia-Romagna

✈️ How to get there: You can fly in from Milan Malpensa (MXP) and get to Parma in 3 hours or Bologna Airport and arrive in under 2 hours. There is also a small airport that is not well connected in Parma called Milan Parma.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Bologna, another foodie city known for Bolognese sauce and ragu!

🏨 Where to stay: Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati is a restored 18th-century palace situated in the best location directly next to the Parma Cathedral on Piazza del Duomo. 

6. Trieste

Trieste is often overlooked as a hidden gem in Italy as it is not within easy reach. It is located in the corner of Italy bordering Slovenia and in close proximity to Venice. The town has strong Austrian influences. The architecture makes you feel as though you are going back in time. It even feels more Austrian than Italian in some ways which makes it even more unique to visit.

In Trieste, you won’t find a ton of tourists so if you’re looking for non touristy places in Italy then come here! When visiting be sure to go to the Piazza Unita Italia which is in the historic center and faces the Adriatic Sea.  Miramare Castle is another highlight to not miss. This castle was built by Maximilian to live there with his wife Charlotte and overlooks a small beautiful bay.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Friuli-Venezia Giulia

✈️ How to get there: The nearest airport is the small local airport Trieste (TRS). However, there are better ways of getting there including flying from Venice which is a 2 hour train journey.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Venice which is a 2 hours train away! Be sure to check out the full blog post on Venice too!

🏨 Where to stay: Savoia Excelsior Palace Trieste is the perfect place to stay with an unbeatable location overlooking the Bay of Trieste in the city center.

7. Bolzano (Dolomites)

bolzano in the dolomites beautiful places in italy
Bolzano: Off the radar towns in Italy 📸 Gian Luca Pilia

Bolzano in the Trentino-South Tyrol region is the gateway to the Dolomites making it the perfect place to base yourself as you explore the beautiful mountain range.

The Dolomites spans across 3 regions in Italy Veneto, Trentino-South Tyrol, and Friuli Venezia Giulia. This UNESCO world heritage site dates back to 200 million years ago! They form part of the Southern Limestone Alps and include 18 peaks rising higher than 3,000 meters into the sky. It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Europe characterized by its rock walls, pinnacles, and even glacial landforms.

If you love skiing, hiking, and nature, then a trip here is a no-brainer. Take the cable car to Seiser Alm (Alpe di Siusi) or Seceda to enjoy skiing or hiking. Don’t miss the fun swing at Malga Sanon where you can see the most incredible views as you swing into paradise. Tobogganing is a form of sledding and you can book this fun tour to do just that!

Lago di Carezza and Lago di Braies might be some of the best highlights of a trip to this area. These lakes are simply spectacular. Be sure to avoid peak summer when it will be full of tourists. Instead, head over in June or September.

After a long hike, enjoy a local specialty dish of the South Tyrolean region, Kaiserschmarrn. It is a sweet pancake-like dish covered in powdered sugar and served with jam.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Trentino-South Tyrol

✈️ How to get there: There is no close airport besides the local one which very few airlines serve. So it’s best to arrive by car (you can rent one through Discover Cars here) at the Venice, Verona, or Innsbruck airport which are all under 3 hours away.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Verona since you will likely fly here anyway to visit. Verona is a 1.5 hour drive away.

🏨 Where to stay: Stay at Hotel Belvedere which overlooks Bolzano and has views of Seiser Alm.

8. Burano

colorful places in italy burano
Burano: Most colorful towns in Italy

Burano is possibly one of the most colorful places in the world and one of the best hidden gems in Italy. It’s located 40 minutes by boat from Venice and is such a cheerful, vibrant town.

This beautiful fisherman’s village is famous for lace-making and you will find intricate lace being sold in all the shops. In fact, you can also visit the Lace Museum for an opportunity to learn about its history. In Burano, each house is painted a bright color so that the fishermen are able to identify how to come back to land when the weather is really foggy.

If you’re a color lover Burano is definitely for you. It’s a photographer’s dream and one of the most instagrammable destinations in Europe and in Italy.

If you have time to grab dinner when all the tourists begin to clear out as they usually just stay for the day, then head over to Trattoria da Romano and try the famous risotto – Anthony Bourdain can even attest to how delicious it is!

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Veneto

✈️ How to get there: Burano can be visited on a day trip from Venice. Just take a 45-minute vaperetto ride (line 12 from Fondamente Nove).  You only need a few hours to visit the adorable town.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Venice, a 40-minute boat ride away. Pro-tip: buy a 24-hour pass for €24. 3 rides in one day will make it worth the cost. It can also be used all over Venice. With the same pass, you can visit the nearby islands of Torcello and Murano (known for glass making). You can also consider this tour from Venice which takes you to all three islands and will teach you about the history too!

🏨 Where to stay: Casa Burano is a gorgeous boutique hotel spread throughout the village in different colorful buildings. They offer a basket in the morning for breakfast with an assortment of things to eat. Another great option is Venissa which is located a short 10 minute walk away on Mazzorbo island – you can cross the bridge from Burano to get there.

📝 Read the full blog post on what to do in Burano!

Hidden Gems in Central Italy

9. Sperlonga

Sperlonga is a quiet town with a beautiful beach overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. If you’re looking for hidden treasures of Italy then Sperlonga is worth a visit. In fact, many actors, artists, and writers come to Sperlonga especially after the Italian actor Raf Vallone fell in love with the charming town.

Start your day by walking the Old Town where you will find whitewashed houses and winding alleyways. There are many flowers decorating the buildings and the walkways lead to views of the blue sea. Speaking of which, the next best thing to do here is to visit the beach. It is one of the prettiest beaches in Italy with clean white sand and transparent waters.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Lazio

✈️ How to get there: Sperlonga can be reached by first traveling to Rome then taking a train to Fondi-Sperlonga. This takes about 1.5 hours and after you can take a bus and reach the city center in 40 more minutes.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Rome, the vibrant capital of Italy located just over 2 hours away.

🏨 Where to stay: Florenza Residence: If you want to enjoy sea views from your room, stay in this apartment-style accommodation right next to the harbor.

10. Corinaldo

Corinaldo is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy and one of the best hidden gems too! It is a medieval village with defensive walls that you can walk along. The walls were re-built in the 15th century and it is still very well intact after originally being destroyed in 1380. As you stroll across the 912-meter walls, you will also be able to gaze at the wonderful views all around.

The best thing to do in Corinaldo is to visit La Piaggia, a 109 step staircase. As you climb, you will find a famous well, known as Pozzo della Polenta. Legend has it that a man carrying a bag of flour stopped to rest and dropped the flour down the well. He went after it and never came back up so people in the village said it was because he was busy eating polenta. This is how the term “polentari” (Polenta eaters) came about in reference to those residing in Corinaldo.

Corinaldo is also a big religious pilgrimage destination as it is the birthplace of Maria Goretti, an Italian martyr who was devastatingly raped and killed at the age of 11. You can visit the shrine in her honor.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Marche

✈️ How to get there: There is a local airport nearby: Ancona (AOI) Airport. However, flying into Florence might be more widely serviced. From Florence, it is a 3 hour drive away.

🧳 Perfect to pair a trip to Corinaldo with Florence!

🏨 Where to stay: Located 8 miles from Corinaldo is this really cool hotel called Albergo Diffuso Borgo Montemaggiore. It is in a small town called Montemaggior al Metauro and sits on top of a mountain with a beautiful view.

11. Montepulciano

Montepulciano hidden gems of italy
Montepulciano: Hidden Gems in Italy

Montepulciano is a medieval town on a hilltop in the Tuscany region of Italy. Wander the streets full of Renaissance architecture and picturesque pathways. Montepulciano is known for Vino Nobile, which is the preferred wine of kings and religious figures in Italy. Contucci Winery or Cantina De’Ricci are great wineries you can go to for wine tastings. You can also book a wine tasting tour like this one. The region is also known for its olive oil and honey.

The best things to do in Montepulciano include visiting the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio, a pretty Renaissance church with a countryside view. Piazza Grande is the main square of the village and surrounding it you will find a 15th-century clock tower and the Duomo which dates back to the early 17th century. The Town Hall known as the Palazzo Comunale features a Florentine Michelozzo facade. From the top, you can admire a view. If you’re looking for secret places to visit in Tuscany, add Montepulciano to your list!

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Tuscany

✈️ How to get there: Florence and Rome are the closest airports to Montepulciano. You might want to rent a car to arrive but if that is not possible then you can take the bus but it will take longer. The drive from Florence is 1.5 hours and from Rome is 2 hours.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Florence or Siena. Siena is also wonderful and less explored than Florence.

🏨 Where to stay: If you have a car, definitely stay at I Palazzi Bed and Breakfast as you will be treated like a star from the kindest hosts. The property is located between Montepulciano and Cortona and is surrounded by vineyards.

12. Spello

spello unknown places in Italy

Spello is a medieval town in the Umbrian region of Italy and is yet to be overpopulated with tourists. The village can be entered through a Roman Gate known as the Porta Consolare (Consular Gate). Take a close look at the three sculptures adorning the entrance to this walled town.

You will find many colorful flower pots throughout the cobblestone streets and pathways of this charming town. In fact, there is the famous Flower Festival of Spello which attracts tourists once a year around mid-June. Thousands of people come together creating amazing pictures made of flowers to cover the streets like a carpet for at least a mile. The reason for the festival is to prepare for the passage of the Blessed Sacrament in which there is a procession each Sunday morning by the bishop.

Wander the streets of the city center where you will find many beautiful churches filled with frescos like the Cappella Baglioni. If you have more time, visit the last remains of the Amphitheatre on the outskirts of Spello or nearby Assisi, a religious town known for Saint Francis.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Umbria

✈️ How to get there: Fly into the Perugia Airport and from there the drive is about 20 minutes to Spello.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Perugia which is the capital of Umbria. 

🏨 Where to stay: If you want to be surrounded by frescos in what was once home to noble families then stay in Palazzo Bocci which is ideally located in the center of Spello.

Hidden Gems in Southern Italy

13. Procida

procida best hidden gems in italy

Procida is a colorful fisherman’s village along the Amalfi Coast and one of the best hidden gems in Italy. This unique island is often skipped for more popular places like Capri or Ischia but is so worth a visit. In fact, it was proudly named Italy’s Capital of Culture and the 10,000 inhabitants of the island are so elated by this.

⭐ The highlight of the trip here may just be the beautiful sunset with the pastel dotted houses in the backdrop. The best spot to watch this sunset is at the top of Terra Murata or alternatively you can view it while dining finely at a famous seafood restaurant called La Lampara. This is where the main tourist area is known as Marina Corricella.

Relaxing at the beach all day sounds like the perfect holiday escape. The top beaches include Chiaiolella, Spiaggia del Pozzo Vecchio, and Spiaggia Chiaia.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Campania

✈️ How to get there: the closest airport is the Naples Airport. There is a direct ferry you can take from Naples and you will arrive in just around 40 minutes. 

🧳 Perfect day trip from Ischia or Sorrento. Check out this day trip tour from Sorrento!

🏨 Where to stay in Procida: If you wish to stay overnight, there is a very beautiful boutique hotel called San Michele Procida overlooking amazing views!

📝 Read the full blog post on what to do in Procida!

14. Termoli

Termoli is a small fishing village in the Molise region with ancient walls and many pastel-colored streets. If you’re looking for unheard of towns in Italy, then Termoli is definitely that. The small region of Molise was actually deemed as non existent! There are memes going around that say “Il Molise non esiste.” Molise is the newest region of Italy. It was once a part of Abruzzo but split from it in 1970.

In Termoli, you can explore the old town known as Borgo Antico. There you will find the beautiful half Gothic & half-Roman Cathedral of Saint Mary ‘della Purificazione.’ The afternoon can be spent relaxing at the Spiaggia di Sant’Antonio, a lovely sandy beach. For more exploring, visit the castle called Svevian Castle which has easily become the symbol of the town. The name comes from Frederick II of Svevia who rebuilt the castle after it suffered from damages.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Molise

✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Pescara (PSR) Airport, which is 50 miles away. Otherwise, you can fly into either Naples (NAP) (86 miles) or Bari (BRI) (109 miles). Driving is best due to Termoli being a bit difficult to reach by public transport.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Peschici located 1.5 hours drive away. This cute town is part of the amazing Puglia region of Italy.

🏨 Where to stay: Locanda Alfieri is ideally located in the historic center with a great view of the port.

15. Matera

matera unique towns in italy

Matera is one of the best hidden gems in Italy. This historic town in the South of Italy known for its cave dwellings called sassi. It was once deemed the “shame of Italy” because the town is very unwealthy. However, it is a remarkable place to visit and admire the unique rock formations that surround the town. In fact, this is what made Matera gain its spot on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Walk around the town’s labyrinth of cobblestone walkways with no agenda in hand as you will be in awe by all the insane scenery around you. If you prefer being led by a guide then consider booking this walking tour so you can learn about the rich history as you stroll through the ancient dwellings.

🌇 For the best views of the incredible landscape in Matera, head over to Belvedere Murgia Timone. You can either drive here on your way out of the town or take a long walk into the ravine to reach this viewpoint (warning: it takes about 2 hours).

Read more about the best things to do in Matera, Italy in my full blog post.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Basilicata

✈️ How to get there: the closest airport is the Bari Airport. From there, you may take a bus straight to Matera or opt to rent a car so you can explore the surrounding areas. If you want to move around a lot, this is recommended as it can be difficult but not impossible to find good public transport.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Alberobello which is a 1 hour drive away and is known for the cute cone shaped homes, trulli.

🏨 Where to stay in Matera: Staying in a cave hotel is a must when you visit! Sassi Hotel is an affordable place to stay especially if you’re a solo traveler. You won’t miss out on the stunning views right out the balcony of your room either!

16. Colledimezzo

Colledimezzo, a hidden gem in Italy 📸 Graham Vulliamy

Colledimezzo is a medieval commune in the Abruzzo region of Italy. If you’re looking for unique places to visit in Italy, then add Colledimezzo to your bucketlist. The village sits on top of a hill and the beautiful pastel-colored old buildings are a sight to see! For the best view, head up to Belvedere II Colle so you can see the town as depicted here. Afterward, stroll along the charming streets of this gorgeous town.

There are 3 main churches in this small commune which include the Church of San Giovanni Apostolo, and San Rocco, and Sant´Antonio. Chiesa di San Giovanni Apostolo dates back to the 18th century and features stuccos and frescos from Carlo Piazzoli’s and Donato Teodoro.

Don’t miss the local wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which is produced with the Montepulciano grape.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Abruzzo

✈️ How to get there: The Abruzzo Airport is the closest airport located 33 miles away. It is best to drive since it can be hard to get around in smaller towns.

🧳 Pair a trip to Colledimezzo with Altino which is only a 20 minute drive away. Another picturesque little town that is worth exploring.

🏨 Where to stay: Palazzo Pulieri is a beautiful period home you can stay in on the hilltop in the small mountain village of Altino. A truly unique place with beautiful decor.

17. Locorotondo

Locorotondo road trip through puglia, italy
Locorotondo white town in southern italy

Locorotondo is in the Puglia region of Italy and is a pretty town set on a hill-top full of white-washed stone buildings. It is situated halfway between Alberobello and another lovely town called Martina Franca. The Puglia region boasts some of the best hidden gems in Italy.

It was named one of the most beautiful villages in Italy (Borghi più belli d’Italia in Italian) and you can clearly see why as soon as you step foot. The many cute pathways of white buildings and flowers adorning the homes are a sight to see!

The quaint charming town is pretty small with 14,000 inhabitants. You can easily visit in a couple of hours. It really will remind you of the white version of colorful Burano mentioned earlier in this post!

If you want to try the local specialties of Puglia, try Orecchiette, an ear shaped pasta. You can try it at Bina Ristorante di Puglia.

You won’t want to miss visiting Locorotondo during Christmas time as the town looks very festive – it is extremely magical to see the streets decked with Christmas spirit. It might be Italy’s most Christmassy towns with lights, ornaments, and Christmas tree branches covering the building walls and awning the pathways.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Apulia

✈️ How to get there: The easiest way to get there is by renting a car using Discover Cars since public transport can be limited in the area. The closest airport Is Bari Airport (1 hour away) but you can also fly into Brindisi airport if you wish and explore other amazing areas all a short distance from one another.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Polignano a Mare or Ostuni – the most stunning towns in Puglia, Italy.

🏨 Where to stay: Locorotondo is actually the perfect base if you are visiting many cities in Puglia as it’s situated within easy reach from most places. You can stay at a family-run Masseria in a trullo for the most amazing experience ever. Agriturismo Masseria Aprile is the best place to stay with the kindest hosts ever who will be greeting you each morning with wonderful cakes and savory food for breakfast. Check this post out for even more hotel options.

📝 Read the full blog post on exploring the Puglia region!

18. Tropea

Tropea off the radar places in italy

Tropea is a beautiful town off the beaten path in the Calabria region of Italy. It features a beautiful church perched on a rock overlooking the sea. This church is called Santa Maria dell Isola and was built on a Byzantine cemetery but has a more modern look due to earthquakes forcing it to be rebuilt.

When visiting Tropea, no visit would be complete without enjoying the many beautiful beaches (like  Mare Piccolo) the town has to offer. After spending the day there, you can wander the Centro Storico admiring the many old buildings and churches.

🧅 Tropea is known for its red onions where they are grown all over and can be found in any of the food markets. Much sweeter than a regular red onion too! You will find them in many of the local specialty dishes like risotto with red onion, onion jam, or even an onion omelet. Speaking of food, try out Pimm’s for the local seafood and prized red onions.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Calabria

✈️ How to get there: The closest airport to Tropea is Lamezia Terme (SUF) Airport about an hour’s drive away. You could also fly into Catania (CTA) (153 km) which is a bit further.

🧳 Perfect weekend trip from Catania, the second-largest city in Sicily.

🏨 Where to stay: Stay in the historic center overlooking the sea and the church perched on the hill. La Dolce Vita a Tropea is a wonderful bed and breakfast where you can sit on the balcony enjoying a morning coffee over with the most amazing views.

Hidden Gems on The Islands of Italy

19. Cefalu

cefalu sicily beautiful places in italy

Cefalu is a small city located in Northern Sicily just 40 miles from Palermo and is one of Italy’s best hidden gems. This cute seaside medieval town is full of postcard perfect scenery with it’s beautiful beaches, dramatic stone cliffs, and historical buildings.

During your visit stop start off by spending some time at the beautiful Cefalu Beach. After relaxing at the beach, visit the Cefalu Cathedral, the oldest church in Sicily. It was built with strong Norman and Arab influence and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next to it you will find the Piazza del Duomo, a central square bustling with people watching time fly by. Explore the town center and you will find shopping, cafes, and picturesque streets. In fact, you should stop at one of the cafes and try an amazing Sicilian granita, a specialty frozen desert.

Then make your way to the Roman Temple overlooking the town, Tempio di Diana. This will require a uphill hike but the view will be well worth it and if you continue on from there you will eventually reach La Rocca. La Rocca offers panoramic views of the city and is home to the Norman Castle.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Sicily

✈️ How to get there: The closest airport is Palermo Airport (PMO) and from there you can either drive which will take 1 hour or you can take the train (2 hours). To take the train from the Airport to Palermo Centrale, it will take 1 hour. Then, you will change trains to get to Cefalu which takes another 45 minutes.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Palermo which is the capital of the Sicilian Island.

🏨 Where to stay: PALAZZO RAHO SUITES is located in close proximity to Cefalu Beach and features a nice terrace.

20. Bosa 

bosa italy colorful places in italy

Bosa is one of the most beautiful villages in Sardinia. This secret town in Italy explodes with colorful energy – you will find the cityscape resembling a rainbow with each building painted a different bright color. It might be one of the most colorful places in the world.

One of the best things to do in Bosa is to visit the Malaspina Castle which was built in the 12th and 13th centuries by the Malaspina family. However, little remains of the original structure of this castle. Nevertheless, it is not to be missed because you can find some of the greatest views of the town from here.

There are also many pretty churches in Bosa so definitely visit them. Some of the notable ones include Cattedrale dell’Immacolata, Sant’Antonio Abate Church, and Cattedrale di San Pietro Extramuros.

Bosa Marina beach is the perfect place to watch the sunset and relax. There are also many beautiful beaches just outside the town to visit too including Cumpultittu which is a local favorite.

Bosa is known to produce a dessert wine called Malvasia so a trip wouldn’t be complete without trying this local drink.

🇮🇹 Region of Italy: Sardinia

✈️ How to get there: Alghero–Fertilia Airport (AHO) is the closest airport located 25 miles from Bosa. You can take bus line 9312 and arrive in 55 minutes. Otherwise, renting a car is a good idea.

🧳 Perfect day trip from Alghero since you will likely be flying into this city to get to Bosa.

🏨 Where to stay: Palazzo Pischedda is a great choice if you stay in Bosa because you can see amazing views from this hotel!

Map of the 20 Best Hidden Gems in Italy by Region

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the best hidden gems in Italy!

You may also like these posts:
💎 Best Hidden Gems in Europe
🎨 Dozza Imolese: The Town of Murals in Emilia-Romagna
🎀 Comacchio, Italy: Burano’s Look-alike Town
💡Northern Italy Itinerary Ideas
📸 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe
🤫Travel secrets & tips
🤎Traveling Italy Alone
🇮🇹 For more travel inspo visit my Italy section!

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