Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It has everything you need for a perfect holiday: fascinating historical monuments, breathtaking mountains, picture perfect beaches and … the best food you can imagine. However, let’s forget about Florence, Rome or Milan for a while. In the first part of our guide we want to show you 10 places in Italy that deserve much more attention than they get. We are sure you will love these little gems.
Our choice of top 10 interesting places in Italy
Let’s jump right into it:
1. Bobbio – Emilia Romagna
In a valley surrounded by green hills, close to the city of Piacenza, lies this beautiful village of Roman origins. The history of Bobbio goes centuries back when it played an important political, cultural and economic role thanks to the Abbey of Saint Colombano. It’s still an important art centre visited mainly by Italian tourists. The river Trebbia running just a few metres from the town is making it even more photogenic. If you decide to have lunch or dinner in Bobbio, make sure you book in advance.
2. Porto Venere – Liguria
We guess there is no need to mention the world famous Cinque Terre. Thousands of people visit them every year and we even dedicated a whole post to this magnificent area. Its neighbour Porto Venere is less known. We don’t think that’s fair, guys. First of all, it’s inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Second of all, its colourful houses by the sea and ancient walls make it a perfect weekend getaway. If it’s still not enough, have a look at the Byron’s cave, the Doria castle or the Church of St. Peter.
3. Bardi – Emilia Romagna
This magical village with a medieval castle located in a romantic valley should be on your list of places in Italy that you need to visit. The castle is believed to be haunted by a knight: a legend says that he took his life after he discovered that his love had jumped from one of the towers. Ghost hunters visit the castle regularly as they feel a strong presence of the dead knight. There is also a big English speaking community as a result of a huge wave of emigration in the last century.
4. Assisi – Umbria
Many of you probably know the legend of Francesco d’Assisi and his ability to speak with animals. The place that bears his name is incredibly beautiful. You can simply get lost in its cobblestone streets or get a better view of the area by walking up to the fortress. There are a lot of lovely squares and nice bars where you can grab something to eat or drink.
5. Volterra – Tuscany
Tuscany is one of the most visited regions in Italy thanks to the places like Florence, Siena or San Gimignano. Many tourists skip Volterra, which is a big mistake. Volterra is one of those places in Italy that have an exceptional historical value. This town is a perfect example of how developed the Etruscan culture was. You can find out more about the Etruscan origins in the museum dedicated to this mysterious ancient civilization. Its traces are also visible in the town walls or the Acropolis. Make sure you also visit the Roman Theatre.
6. Rocchetta Nervina – Liguria
A lot of tourists visit the nearby village Dolceaqua, which is trully stunning. Only very few of them go ahead and see another incredible place called Rocchetta Nervina. We got there on a sunny spring day and the tiny square in the centre was completely empty. A short bridge connects the newer part of the village to the historical one or “borgo” in Italian. Underneath runs a stream that will hypnotize you with its light blue colour. It makes you want to jump into the water immediately.
7. Sestri Levante – Liguria
Liguria is literally packed with incredible places: nice beaches, breathtaking mountains or medieval borgos. But how about a combination of all of them? Isn’t it simply fascinating to find a place where you can walk in the streets full of historical buildings and then relax on the beach surrounded by green hills? Yep, that’s pretty much the definition of Sestri Levante. Fun fact: it looks like the life in Sestri Levante is so great that some its inhabitants live up to 100 years and more!
8. Apricale – Liguria
Another stunning village on top of a hill. Apricale is everything that a romantic tourist hating huge crowds and too many bars and restaurants could wish for. Very few people visiting Liguria knows about its existence. Don’t expect one of those places in Italy where the life goes on until late night. However, you can get a cozy dinner with a view, an aperitivo in the medieval square or a tasty Italian breakfast.
9. Elva – Piemonte
This is by far the tiniest village on the list with its 95 inhabitants. Basically it’s just a bunch of mountain houses with a small square and a church in the middle. We promise that the view that it offers is hard to find anywhere else. Situated right in the stunning Maira Valley, it offers numerous trekking options. Go check the inside of the church as it has a few beautiful frescoes. For those who like their food fresh there are a few agriturismos and cheese factories.
10. Trisobbio – Piemonte
The best period to visit the village Trisobbio is in autumn. Why? The valley around it plays with all the possible colours and makes a perfect background for the medieval castle that dominates Trisobbio. The good news is that if you’re looking for a fairy tale location for your wedding or birthday party, you can actually have it inside the castle!