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14 Best Places to Visit in Southern Italy

Last updated on November 3, 2023 by Alex Schultz - 2 Comments

A remarkably rich and varied region to travel around, Southern Italy boasts some of the nation’s most beautiful cities, landscapes and scenery. As it is blessed with warm weather, crystal-clear waters and delicious food, many holiday here in the sunny summer months.

Also referred to as the Mezzogiorno or ‘Midday’ region, it consists of Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania and Molise. Surrounded by the Adriatic, Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas, its innumerable beaches are lovely to lounge on while colourful towns line its craggy cliffs and coves. Among the most picturesque places to visit in Southern Italy are Sorrento and Capri while its large cities Lecce and Naples also attract lots of visitors.

Due to its central position in the Mediterranean, the south has long been inhabited by a number of peoples and cultures. Both the Ancient Greeks and Romans, for instance, left behind loads of artistic treasures and archaeological sites. Of these, Pompeii and Paestum are undoubtedly the most famous.

With so much charming countryside and so many idyllic islands to see, not to mention the iconic Amalfi Coast, Southern Italy really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Map of Places to Visit in Southern Italy

Map of Places to Visit in Southern Italy

Commonly called the ‘White Town’, Ostuni’s gleaming houses, walls and churches immediately catch the eye as you approach. Spread across three hills surrounded by gorgeous countryside, the small city lies about an hour’s bus journey northwest of Brindisi.

Hemmed in by medieval city walls, its enchanting old town is a treat to get lost in. As you amble about its narrow alleys, you can snap some great photos amongst all its wonderful, whitewashed buildings. The highlight though is its imposing 1,000-year-old cathedral which exhibits a striking mix of Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine features. There are also some pretty palazzi and the ornate Saint Orontius’ column to admire nearby.

Thanks to the town’s prominent setting, you can also enjoy sublime views over all the rolling hills and olive groves below. If you have a car, you can easily reach both Alberobello and Lecce in an hour from Ostuni.

13. Arco Magno

Arco Magno

One of the most stunning natural sights in Southern Italy (and that’s certainly saying something!) is undoubtedly that of Arco Magno. Located in Calabria, just outside the tiny town of San Nicola Arcella, the ‘secret’ beach and breathtaking rock arch are not to be missed if you’re in the area.

Lying alongside the Tyrrhenian Sea, its soaring sea cliffs and rough, rugged headlands conceal a small swathe of sandy beach. Part of the Riviera dei Cedri, they create an astounding natural amphitheater with only the twenty-meter-high arch letting in the sea’s waves and sunshine.

Clambering down its steepish steps and seeing the beach, cliffs and arch before you really is an awe-inspiring experience. After lounging on its sands and watching the sun’s rays magically light up its crystal-clear waters, you can also wander along the path atop the arch and enjoy yet more spellbinding sea views.

Naples

The largest city in the south, Naples has an incredibly rich history, culture and cuisine for you to delve into. Although it is quite grubby and a bit run-down, its atmospheric streets boast all kinds of artistic and architectural treasures.

One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, the important port was founded back in the first millennium BC. Long a mixing pot of cultures, its diverse heritage and unique identity are clearly displayed in its enormous historic center – the largest in Europe.

See also: Where to Stay in Naples

Here you’ll come across impressive sites such as the colossal Castel Nuovo, picturesque Royal Palace and its lavish, fresco-filled cathedral. The sprawling city also has a wealth of captivating museums and churches to check out and an endless supply of delicious Neapolitan pizza to try.

Its sparkling shores and the hulking great Vesuvius in the distance hint at all the other amazing places you can visit nearby . These include not just Pompeii and Herculaneum’s extensive ruins but the sun-kissed Sorrento, Capri and Amalfi Coast too. While some people aren’t too keen on Naples, we absolutely loved everything and can’t wait to head back soon.

11. Maratea

Maratea

In contrast to the vast, gritty city, the glitzy town of Maratea is delightfully known as the ‘Pearl of the Tyrrhenian’. Set in a scenic spot along Basilicata’s west coast, it occupies a lush valley amid forest-coated hills and mountains.

While its range of landscapes, scenery and views already make it worth visiting, Maratea is not called ‘the town with 44 churches’ for nothing. Wandering about its magnificent medieval center, you’ll keep stumbling across their fine, fading facades and fetching architecture. Its main church is Santa Maria Maggiore which was built in 1505 and contains some interesting artworks. Keep an eye out too for the Statue of Christ perched high above the town atop Mount San Biagio.

Due to its popularity, Maratea is often fully booked in summer with many reserving rooms over a year in advance. It’s easy to see why as its marinas lie near to twenty or so tantalizing beaches. Add in all its fine dining options and fun watersports and the resort really is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

10. Castelmezzano

Castelmezzano

Located in a yet more spectacular setting still is the charming town of Castelmezzano. Rightfully recognized as ‘one of the most beautiful villages in Italy’, its cluster of colourful houses make for an astounding sight what with the forests and peaks looming above them.

Nestled amidst the dramatic-looking Dolomiti Lucane Mountains, the remote town is equidistant from both Bari and Naples. After around a two-hour drive inland from either, you’ll finally see the eleventh-century settlement perched high on the hillside. Established by the Normans who were fleeing the invading Saracens, its well-protected route saw brigands hide here in later years.

Aside from snapping some photos of its striking backdrop and buildings from various viewpoints, you can hike and climb around the surrounding mounts. A particularly popular one is the Seven Stones Path up to the precipitously-placed Pietrapertosa. If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, you’ll instead want to try its thrilling ‘Flight of the Angel’. Strung 100 meters in the air, the zipline shoots you between the twin towns at speeds of 120 km/h.

9. Sorrento

Sorrento

A must-visit town for many, Sorrento sprawls across steep, craggy cliffs alongside the sparkling Bay of Naples. Lying around an hour’s train journey down the coast from the bustling port city, it also acts as a gateway to the Amalfi Coast .

Due to its romantic setting, views and streetscapes, countless poets, philosophers and painters have stayed here over the years. With so much lovely architecture and arresting landscapes on show, it is no wonder Keats, Nietzsche, Goethe and Wagner were enchanted by its beauty.

Other than strolling about its sunny streets and chic marinas, there are lots of terrific restaurants to try. Along the cafe-lined Piazza Tasso, you just have to taste some of its tasty local specialties and strong limoncellos.

From its clifftops, you can also gaze out over the glittering bay and giant Mount Vesuvius before you. Sorrento is also a convenient base for visiting the volcano, Capri and Amalfi Coast as well as both the popular Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Paestum

Head just a bit further south of the Amalfi Coast in Campania and you’ll come across the hugely interesting archaeological site of Paestum. Once an important ancient Greek coastal city, it has very well-preserved temples, painted tombs and an amphitheater to explore.

Originally named Poseidonia after the lord of the sea, it was founded around about 600 BC with its three delightful Doric temples dating to roughly this time too. As all their sturdy stone columns are still standing, they form a strangely moving sight, alone amidst the ruined city.

Besides admiring their ancient architecture and ambling around the rest of the excavations, you can enter its National Archaeological Museum. This displays many terracotta figurines and large painted fragments from the buildings and temples mentioned above.

Once a common destination on the Grand Tour, Paestum’s endless ruins, temples and city walls are well worth checking out if you have the chance.

Capri

Home to lush green slopes, soaring cliffs and twinkling turquoise waters, Capri really does paint a pretty picture. Once a favored resort of Roman emperors, the isle and all its idyllic towns are now one of Southern Italy’s most popular day trip destinations.

Easily reached from both Naples and Sorrento, its rugged landscapes already appear absolutely incredible on the ferry ride there. Upon arrival, you can take a funicular up to Capri Town, check out its sophisticated shops and restaurants or hike about its hillsides. There are also some very intriguing historic sights to see such as Emperor Tiberius’ villas of Jovis and San Michele.

Although it is quite expensive and can get very crowded, Capri is still one of our favorite places in Southern Italy. Its irresistible scenery, views and ambience make the romantic island a must-visit in our view. Seeing the Blue Grotto’s magical sea caves on a boat trip was another highlight we won’t forget any time soon.

6. Alberobello

Alberobello

Yet another memorable spot to visit in the south is the adorable fairytale town of Alberobello. Set around an hour’s drive southeast of Bari, it is renowned for its unique, eye-catching collection of trullo architecture.

Meaning ‘beautiful tree’ in Italian, the small town is certainly one of Puglia’s prettiest thanks to all its traditional trulli. These distinctive dry-stone buildings are all painted bright white and topped by conical stone roofs made without mortar. Numbering about 1,500 in total, they mostly date to the nineteenth century.

While it really is tiny, we loved exploring the town’s scenic streets and snapping pictures in front of all the cute stone structures. Some also contain cozy cafes and restaurants or souvenir shops selling miniature models of trulli and local food products.

Tropea

A magnificent place to visit or vacation, Tropea’s attractive old town is perched in an improbable spot atop steep sea cliffs. Aside from seeing all its historical sites, its sweeping sands below are ideal for sunbathing or swimming in the sea.

Recently included as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy , local legend has it that Hercules himself founded the clifftop town on the way back from one of his heroic feats. Its unlikely setting alongside a dramatic drop almost makes it look as if the gods of old put it there.

Other than enjoying the atmosphere and trying dishes featuring its famous red onions, you can stop by its historic sights. While its twelfth-century cathedral contains marble sarcophagi and an important painting of the Madonna of Romania, Santa Maria dell’Isola Church stands alone atop a large rocky outcrop overlooking the sea.

Down below, you can always lounge along one of Italy’s prettiest beaches or swim and splash about in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Thankfully still a hidden gem, Tropea offers up a very alluring mix of historic sights, beaches and delicious Calabrian food.

4. Sassi di Matera

Sassi di Matera

Now recognized the world round, Matera’s popularity has exploded in recent years with tons of tourists pouring in each day. Already cool to explore, the hilltop town’s stupendous ‘sassi’ count among it and Southern Italy’s top attractions.

Thought to be among the first human settlements in Italy, these ancient cave dwellings are really fascinating to wander around. Carved out and used since as early as 7,000 BC, the extensive network riddles the cliffsides around its old town. Clustered all closely together, the atmospheric old houses make for some fabulous photos and viewing.

Getting lost too amidst its winding, narrow streets and steep staircases truly is an unforgettable experience. As you step back in time and follow in the footsteps of generations gone-by, you’ll come across spectacular viewpoints and centuries-old cave churches. Among the most unique places in Italy, the Sassi di Matera are not to be missed out on.

Lecce

Fittingly known as the ‘Florence of the South’, Lecce is home to lots of ornate Baroque buildings and interesting old churches. Set in the center of Puglia’s Salentine Peninsula, it also lies not far from some stunning beaches and coastline.

Founded over 2,000 years ago, it has long acted as an important hub for the region. At its heart is a striking second-century sunken Roman amphitheater while dozens of decadently decorated churches dot its streets. Of these, the Basilica di Santa Croce’s finely detailed facade and lovely Lecce Cathedral are by far the most impressive.

The city also has a very harmonious look and feel as almost all its buildings are made out of the light Lecce Stone. At night, this makes its lively streets even more magical as their fine facades seem to emit a warm glow. This was our favorite time of day as there was a buzz about town and the scorching sun had set.

We also had time to fit in a couple of day trips to Sant’Andrea and Gallipoli along each coastline. While the former boasts some sublime sea stacks and shimmering turquoise waters, the latter’s old town on a limestone island is amazing to explore. We couldn’t recommend both enough!

2. Pompeii & Herculaneum

Pompeii & Herculaneum

Two of the world’s most famous and fascinating archaeological sites, Pompeii and Herculaneum just have to be explored if you have the chance. Remarkably well-preserved, all their excavated streets, homes and temples offer an enthralling look into daily Roman life millennia-ago.

In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius violently erupted burying both cities in meters of ash and pumice. For centuries, they lay frozen in time until archaeologists slowly started unearthing their ancient streets lined by destroyed buildings.

With around 11,000 people believed to have been living there, Pompeii’s site is understandably much, much larger. Must-see ruins here include its enormous amphitheater, fabulous forum and the fresco-filled Villa dei Misteri. Of course, there is also the Temple of Apollo and House of the Faun to see alongside countless other parts of the city. As it is so massive, you should probably plan where to go beforehand or take a guided tour.

Lying further from Salerno and closer to Naples in the shadow of Vesuvius is the smaller, wealthier resort of Herculaneum. As it was once a seaside retreat of the Roman elite, it has tons of elegant houses containing mosaics, frescoes and courtyards to examine. In contrast to Pompeii, it is much less crowded and exhausting to explore.

1. Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

Absolutely unmissable of course is the iconic Amalfi Coast. Rightfully celebrated for its majestic Mediterranean landscapes and charming colourful towns that tumble down the cliffs, it has long been a hugely popular jet set destination.

Overlooking the sparkling Gulf of Salerno, its steep sloped mountains and small fishing villages line the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula. Coupled together, they paint an unimaginably beautiful picture with phenomenal views to be enjoyed up and down the coast.

Besides basking in its dramatic scenery, you can visit idyllic little towns like Amalfi, Positano and Minori among others. Here you amble around their quaint centers, see old churches and stop off for some seafood or shop for ceramics. Tiny paths also snake their way up the mountainsides to yet more astounding viewpoints.

As its roads are often narrow, packed and not very fun to drive along, many people take relaxing boat excursions up and down the coast. Seeing the Amalfi Coast before you in all its glory really is the perfect end to an unforgettable trip around Southern Italy.

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Reader interactions.

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December 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm

I was born in southern Italy just south of Naples , the town is just beneath the Vesuvius. We lived in a building that 600 years old , walk out front and you see the volcano and the back yard you have stunning views of the Bay of Naples , Capri , Ischia and at times you would see the tip of Sorrento. I am very lucky to have lots of family that live in southern Italy , so when we visit it is like being home again. My husband and I have also traveled to northern Italy and it is absolutely breathtaking as well.

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December 4, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Italy is fabulous. From Rome to Venice the Amazing Tuscany region, and the rest of Northern Italy takes my breath away each time we return. My family is from Tuscany. We have yet to see & spend time in the southern areas of Italy, as Tuscany calls us back time & time again. Looking forward to a leisurely trip through the southern regions of Italy.

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Home » Travel Guides » Italy » 15 Best Places to Visit in South Italy

15 Best Places to Visit in South Italy

Southern Italy is a vast region that contains the provinces of Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise and Sicily – Sardinia is also sometimes included in this region but this island has less in common with the rest of Southern Italy and has differing culture and traditions. This region of Italy has been inhabited by many different civilisations since antiquity including the Greeks, Romans, Etruscans, Arabs, Normans and Byzantines. This diverse inhabitation is mainly due to the regions accessibility from the Adriatic, Ionian and Mediterranean seas.

In terms of tourism, Southern Italy has some absolutely magnificent offerings including beautiful stretches of dramatic coastline, picture perfect beaches, charming coastal islands and a plethora of historic cities and towns. Possibly the best known region is the gorgeous Amalfi coast and La Cinque Terre; this area on the Mediterranean coast is regarded as one of the most beautiful in Europe. Furthermore, cities such as Naples, Lecce and Palermo have some iconic historical sites including the Castle Nuovo, the Basilica di Santa Croce, and Palermo Cathedral that are waiting to be explored. With so much to offer, a trip to Southern Italy can be a true adventure.

Let’s have a look at the best places to visit in South Italy :

Naples Harbour

Located on the western coast of Southern Italy, Naples is one of the largest and most productive of Italy’s metropolises and accounts for a large percent of the countries economy.

This city has a huge commercial and public port and watching the various container ships and cruise liners entering the docks is certainly impressive.

Furthermore, Naples has a myriad of historical sites such as the domineering Castle Nuovo and the San Gennaro Catacombs.

Moreover, Naples is in close proximity to the legendary ruins of both Pompeii and Herculaneum, and in the shadow of the epic volcano Mount Vesuvius – these three sites are all must see attractions when visiting this region of Italy.

Lecce

Lecce is lovingly known as the Florence of the South due to its plethora of opulent historical structures.

Located in the far south, this city is the main hub of the region and is also famed for its beautiful light Lecce Stone that has been used to create most of its structures.

Important sites include the beautiful Basilica di Santa Croce, the Cattedrale dell’Assunzione della Virgine, Lecce Castello and the ancient Roman Amphitheatre.

Furthermore, Lecce has several distinct and gorgeous squares such as the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza Sant’Oronzo.

If historical buildings are not your thing, you can always relax in the sublime Villa Comunale gardens, or see the excavations of the Faggiano Museum.

Cattedrale di San Sabino in Bari

Bari is a fantastic coastal town located half way up the Adriatic coast of the South of Italy.

This port city has an extensive harbour, some gorgeous beaches, and a delightful historic old town centre.

The old town centre can be found close to the harbour and has a myriad of narrow streets packed full with interesting structures.

Within the old town, you can find the impressive Castello Svevo, the Cathedral of San Sabino, and the Basilica of San Nicola.

Furthermore you can also find several museums here – most notably the Archaeological Museum and the Bari Civic Museum.

In the modern part of Bari, you can find a host of designer establishments and quality restaurants and bars if you prefer to shop and dine.

4. The Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

This particular region of Southern Italy is one of the most beautiful and world renowned.

Stretching from Naples to Salerno, the Amalfi coast offers dramatic scenery, gorgeous towns that hug the mountains, and some interesting historical sites.

This protected region features some idyllic coastal towns such as Amalfi, Erchie, Minori and Positano – these towns have a series of multi-coloured houses that stack up against the hillsides and provide picture perfect photo opportunities.

Furthermore, sites such as Villa Rufolo in Ravello provide unrivalled views across to the Mediterranean Sea.

This whole region is crying out to be explored and a regular train and bus service make it easy to do so.

Pescara

Pescara is one of the most northern cities in Southern Italy and lies on the western Adriatic Coast of the country.

The city has a large harbour that is a great place to walk through and admire the various fishing and sailing boats.

Furthermore, spanning part of the harbour is the impressive Ponte del Mare which is a suspension bridge that has a split cycling and walking track running its entire length.

Either side of the harbour, Pescara benefits from two long stretches of golden and pristine beaches – these beaches are packed full of amenities and are the perfect places to soak up the sun and relax.

6. Catanzaro

Catanzaro

Catanzaro is one of the most prominent cities on the dog leg of Italy and is situated in the mountains but extends down to the coast.

Once of the most impressive landmarks of Catanzaro is the Biodiversity Park – this park features an extensive botanical gardens, a military museum and a children’s playground.

If you head out of town, you can find the gorgeous Cascata Campanaro that is surrounded by hiking trails and some amazing scenery.

Spanning the Fiumaerlla torrent is the Ponte Bisantis – this huge bridge is one of the most important architectural constructs in Southern Italy and is a fine site.

Aside from parks, bridges and natural scenery, Catanzaro also offers a great beach in the form of Catanzaro Lido for those who want to kick it back a notch.

Palermo

Palermo  is actually the capital of the Island of Sicily and holds an important place in the history of this southern archipelago – it serves as the economic and cultural centre of Sicily and contains some of the islands most important landmarks.

Palermo Cathedral is simply stunning – its differing architectural styles show the various empires and nations that have conquered Sicily.

The Palermo Archaeological Museum expands on the city and islands history and contains some magnificent artefacts and relics dating back as far as the Roman era.

For more history, you can travel underground and visit the Capuchin Abbey and Catacombs – here you can find over 8000 bodies that have been preserved by the monks that live here.

Palermo also features some fantastic markets and many places to find a bargain with the locals.

8. Brindisi

Brindisi

Brindisi is located to the north west of Lecce and is an important coastal town in the region of Southern Italy.

This city has an ancient history and was supposedly founded by a the hero Diomedes.

The first thing you will notice about Brindisi is its amazing port – the two pronged body of water contains a myriad of shipping vessels and some fantastic scenery.

Secondly, if you travel to the northern part of the city you will reach the Isola Sant’Andrea – this small island sits at the opening of the harbour and contains a brilliant castle and fantastic views out to the sea.

Brindisi also features a range of superb historical structures such as the Monument to Italian Sailors and Brindisi Cathedral.

9. Barletta

Barletta, Italy

Further up the eastern coast of Italy you can find the city of Barletta .

This port is a great place to relax and enjoy the beaches and fine Adriatic climate, but also has a host of interesting sites and attractions.

The main point of interest is the immense Castello Svevo – this castle was constructed during the Norman period and has a fantastic design and impressive battlements.

If you enjoy walking, the Lungomare Pietro Mennea and the Lido provide opportunities to stretch your legs and take in the sea breeze.

This area of Barletta is well maintained and geared for tourists and those wishing to enjoy a day at the beach.

Barletta also has several interesting museums and lies in close proximity to Andria and Trani which are two other wonderful destinations.

Foggia

Foggia is a city and commune located in close proximity to the Parco Nazionale del Gargano.

This commune has been known as the granary of Italy and is surrounded by fertile farmland – it also serves as an important transport hub in this region of Italy.

Foggia has a fantastic array of attractions and one of the most famous is its cathedral; this Baroque structure has a sublime design and features some stunning architecture.

The Piazza Umberto Giordano sits close to the cathedral and has some great shopping opportunities and is surrounded by beautiful buildings.

Aside from the architecture, Foggia also has some magnificent parks such as the Parco Karol Wojtyla and the Parco San Felice.

For something different and off the beaten track, Foggia is certainly a top pick.

Capri

Capri is a small island off the western coast of Southern Italy that lies in close proximity to the Amalfi Coast and Naples.

This island is truly beautiful and is a hugely popular destination for day trips.

When you step off of the boat you will be astounded at the fantastic scenery of this mesmerizing place.

Take the funicular to the Piazzetta and perhaps site and enjoy a drink and people watch.

If you prefer to stay active, take a boat trip around the island or explore the fantastic Blue Grotto cave network.

Continuing the theme of adventure, you can hike to Monte Solaro for possibly the best views of the whole of Capri.

Finally, the nightlife in Capri is vibrant and if you enjoy partying, consider stopping here until the early hours of the morning!

12. Catania

Catania

Catania is the second largest city on the island of Sicily and can be found on it’s eastern coast.

Combined with the surrounding communes and towns, this metropolis is actually the 7th largest in Italy.

Within the confines of this busy city, you can find a range of historical sites and interesting attractions.

Ursino Castle and the Cathedral of Catania are both beautiful structures that have stood the test of time and provide insight into the history of the city.

Alternatively, if you want to travel further afield, you can see the immense Mount Etna which is active – trips are possible to see the smouldering crater and look down on the island of Sicily from up high.

Ischia

This island is much larger than Capri which and both sit at either end of the Gulf of Naples.

Ischia is a volcanic island and contains a range of mountains and rocky terrain.

One of the main sites of this island is the impressive Aragonese Castle that sits proudly on its own small island and is connected by a long footbridge over the sea.

Ischia also contains some beautiful villages, an active port and some divine natural gardens.

Finally, the island is also home to a selection of beautiful beaches and hidden bays that are a great place to relax and enjoy the Mediterranean sun.

14. Parco Nazionale del Gargano

Parco Nazionale Del Gargano

On the eastern Adriatic coast of Southern Italy there lies an immense national park – Gargano.

This park covers over 110,000 hectares and is renowned for its beautiful scenery and dramatic coastlines.

Throughout this region you can find a multitude of hiking trails, mountains, lakes and stretches of rocky cost and cliffs.

Furthermore there is a wave of delightful coastal towns such as Manfredonia and Vieste that have great beaches and some brilliant sites and hospitality.

15. Messina

Aerial view of Messina

Messina is one of the most important cities on the Island of Sicily and has an extensive history as a major port in the Mediterranean.

This city is only a short distance across the Straight of Messina to mainland Italy and has regular boats that travel to Reggio Calabria and Villa San Giovanni.

In the city itself there is a magnificent cathedral and bell tower that sit in a picturesque piazza.

Furthermore, the Messina Regional Museum contains a myriad of interesting artefacts and displays about the history of the area including archaeological excavations and artwork from Caravaggio.

In the immediate area, there is also several coastal towns such as Torre Faro that have beaches and a host of restaurants and beach bars.

15 Best Places to Visit in South Italy:

  • The Amalfi Coast
  • Parco Nazionale del Gargano

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15 Best Places To Visit In Southern Italy (Cities, Towns & Islands)!

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Home » 15 Best Places To Visit In Southern Italy (Cities, Towns & Islands)!

Have you been wondering which places to visit in Southern Italy? I’ve got you covered!

Southern Italy is a paradise for travelers.

With its ancient cities, crystal clear waters, and stunning landscapes, it offers something for everyone.

However, even this stunning region has a few highlights that shine even brighter, standing out as the best places in Southern Italy.

During our three months traveling around Italy with our three daughters, we got to experience some of the best that Southern Italy has to offer.

BEST CITIES IN SOUTHERN ITALY: Alberobello with Kids

From learning about trulli in Alberobello to hiring a boat and boating around some volcanoes in the Aeolian Islands, we were constantly amazed by what this region had to offer us.

We also had the chance to talk with other travelers who were considering visiting the area and ask them which places were worth including in their itinerary.

It turns out that some of the best spots include hopping between different islands on a boat tour or walking around the alleyways of Matera.

Here is our list of the most beautiful places in southern Italy that you should see at least once in your lifetime.

15 Best Places To Visit In Southern Italy

photo with writing: Best Destinations in South Italy, photo of an old castle ruins on the tops of the mountains

Wondering where to go in Southern Italy? If you are planning a trip, then make sure to add the following destinations to Southern Italy to your itinerary.

Southern Italy is best explored with a rental car. I can’t imagine visiting these destinations by public transport! We love renting our cars through Discover Cars .

renting a car in southern italy

BEST SOUTHERN ITALY CAR RENTAL COMPANY: DISCOVER CARS

I recommend  and use   Discover Cars . They search through all rental companies to find and offer only the best deals.

We absolutely love every region of Italy , but there is something so unique and different about these cities and towns in South Italy.

We’ve picked them as the best places to visit in Southern Italy.

Southern Italy holidays to Matera Sassi, ancient city of Matera, stone buildings grey and cream colour, church tower in the distance

Make sure to visit Matera, it is one of the best cities in southern Italy. It is such a unique destination with its cave dwellings.

Another reason you should visit Matera is that it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

At Matera, you’ll discover the magnificent Murgia Timone, a gigantic plateau made of rock.

The plateau is dotted with many caves carved into the stone by the people who lived here many, many years ago.

There are plenty of things to do in Sassi di Matera .

While the caves are truly fascinating to see and explore, just as remarkable is the views this site gives you of the nearby ravine and old town.

Top things to do in Matera - Matera with Kids

There are countless photo opportunities of this south Italy must-see destination.

Watch our video of our time in Matera with our three daughters here:

best places to visit in italy south

Book a Day Trip to Matera from any of the Following Places:

  • Click to book your day trip from Rome to Matera (If you are short on time, here is a great day trip to book from Rome. The day trip takes 12-14 hours so it is definitely a big day, but a worthwhile one too book).
  • Click to book your day trip from Bari to Matera (For those based in Puglia, this day trip is an easy 6 hour tour – and even includes wine tasting and lunch).

Tours and Passes We Recommend For Your Trip:

  • Enjoy a 2-hour walking tour of the historic center known as the Sassi – Book your tour here . This is the most popular tour, if you can only do one tour, then this is the one we recommend.
  • We also absolutely loved hopping over to Parco Murgia where you can walk, explore and get wonderful views of Matera from across the ravine. Click here to book a spot on the Parco Murgia tour .

Where to Stay In Matera:

If you stay overnight in Matera (and we suggest you do! We stayed for 3 nights and it was magical), we highly recommend you book accommodation in the Sassi (the historic part of the city).

We stayed in an incredible cave house in Matera. It can sleep 4 guests and it was just such an incredible experience, never mind that the views were to die for! Click here to check out the prices on Booking.com. We loved watching the sun set over the glorious Sassi from our balcony. However if you prefer a hotel, you can also find some adorable ones in the Sassi as well.

1. Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita

Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita

The Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita is a unique hotel located in a restored 18th-century cave dwelling and offers guests a truly immersive experience in the historic Sassi neighborhood.

The rooms (that can sleep 2-5) are beautifully designed with natural stone walls and feature modern amenities like air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.

Overall, Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita is a highly-rated and popular choice for travelers looking for an authentic and luxurious stay in Matera.

Check out pricing and availability on Booking.com

If you love a city vibe, some of the other best cities to visit in Southern Italy include Catania, Brindisi, and Bari.

2. Alberobello

Southern Italy cities - Alberobello, Man with his daughter on his shoulders walking down the path between the white buildings, shop

Alberobellow might be super touristy but it is also one of the most beautiful towns in southern Italy and one of the best places in Puglia .

Architecture doesn’t get quirkier than the buildings you’ll find in Alberobello’s city center.

The small town is packed with ‘trulli’ (whitewashed huts constructed of dry stone and topped with cone-shaped roofs).

one of the best cities of southern italy - Alberobello, white buildings with grey cone shaped roofs, some people walking around

Also take time to sample some of the scrumptious bread this region is famous for – and to taste some delicious local wines, of course!

One of the best things about this gorgeous town is that you can easily explore this town in just a few hours.

The drive from your base town to Alberobello will take you through some picturesque olive groves, so it truly makes for a great day trip from towns such as Bari or Ostuni.

After experiencing Alberobello, you’ll be certain that it’s one of the best southern Italy towns!

Puglia might be one of the most underrated regions of Southern Italy. We loved our 2 weeks exploring this gorgeous part of Italy.

See our video of Alberobello here:

best places to visit in italy south

Tours We Recommend:

  • Take a guided day tour from Bari to Alberobello and Matera (Enjoy a 6 hour day trip to both Alberobello and Matera – such a great way to see two of my favorite destinations in Southern Italy)
  • Enjoy a 2-hour walking tour from one of the locals (Learn about the history, visit both Rione Monti and Aia Piccola districts, taste some Olive Oil, and see the inside of a traditional Trullo)

Where To Stay In Alberobello:

Some people base themselves in Alberobello, but we found that a few hours of strolling around was enough for us. We much preferred basing ourselves in Ostuni. So as gorgeous and adorable as Alberobello is, I recommend you only organise it for a half-day or full day trip. However, if you do wish to stay in a trullo then this is a great place to do so.

1. Trulli Holiday Albergo Diffuso

Trulli Holiday Albergo Diffuso

Trulli Holiday Albergo Diffuso is a popular and highly rated accommodation option in Alberobello.

This unique hotel consists of a collection of traditional Apulian stone houses called trulli, which have been restored and transformed into cozy guest rooms and suites.

The hotel is located in the heart of the historic center of Alberobello, making it a convenient base for exploring the town’s attractions.

Trulli Holiday Albergo Diffuso has received excellent reviews for its friendly staff, comfortable accommodations, and authentic Italian charm.

Click here to check pricing and availability on Booking.com

3. Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare Puglia Italy, view of the beach, buildings at the tops of the cliffs, floating pier from the beach into the water

Polignano a Mare is quite literally a clifftop town (but regardless it is still a fabulous destination for those visiting Puglia with kids ); the northeastern outskirts drop away very suddenly into the waters of the Adriatic Sea.

Naturally, this placement makes it the ideal location from which to witness stunning views, making the spot a southern Italy must-see.

The town is also well-regarded as having some of Italy’s best-tasting gelato, which is the perfect snack to treat yourself to while taking in the gorgeous sights on offer.

Book yourself a romantic meal at the waterfront cave restaurant: Grotta Palazzese . What an unforgettable and unique experience that will be!

It is one of the best places to visit in South Italy if you want to sneak in some beach time as well.

Fair warning: The beach here in the town has large rocks on them. It is uncomfortable to walk on and lie down on. Our kids didn’t seem to mind them as much as we did, but if you have something like a yoga mat, it might be helpful to bring along to make it a touch more enjoyable to lie down on. I’ve even seen people bringing those inflatable camping matresses to lie down on!
  • Enjoy a local tour guide on a wonderful walking tour of Polignano a Mare

Where to Stay in Polignano a Mare

We stayed in Ostuni whilst we explored Puglia. However, I really loved Poligano a Mare. And when I return to Puglia I think I would like to base myself here.

Covo dei Saraceni

Covo dei Saraceni

Covo dei Saraceni is a luxurious 4-star hotel in a prime clifftop location above a stunning pebble beach.

Guests can enjoy the most breathtaking views of the sea from the terrace of Il Bastione Restaurant, which specializes in local fish and seafood dishes.

Come summer, it becomes an exclusive outdoor dining experience.

Add to that panoramic views and an amazing coastal setting and you’ve got yourself a magical Italian escape – all that’s left to do is book your stay!

Check here to see if Coco dei Saraceni is available for your stay.

Erice Italy, Old castle ruins at the tops of the mountains, clouds, town and lands below

For one of the best small towns in southern Italy, head to Erice.

Sitting atop the intimidating Mount Erice near Sicily’s north-western shore, this destination presents visitors with amazing views in all directions.

When you’ve finished admiring the sights of the Aegadian Islands, the port of Trapani, and San Vito Lo Capo, explore the wonders Erice itself has to show.

Two castles left over from centuries past still stand here, along with fortifications from ancient Phoenician times making it one of the best historic south Italy towns.

Erice is accessible via cable car from the outskirts of Trapani. As you ascend to town, you’ll experience sensational sweeping views.

Alternatively, if the weather is subpar, you can opt for a bus to ferry you between Erice and Trapani.

This is a very worthwhile day trip from Trapani . We based ourselves in Trapani and whilst I don’t care much for Trapani itself, it does make a great base for some of my favorite day trips in Sicily.

5. Taormina

Taormina Sicily, Italy, foot path, walking street in the old town, old two and three story buildings with shops and balconies

If you’ve heard of Sicily’s Taormina before, chances are you already know the main attraction of this south Italy town: shops and restaurants.

Delicious food fills the streets with tempting aromas while boutiques and stalls of handcrafts will happily supply you with perfect souvenirs – perhaps even a few more than you really need!

Taormina is also home to a striking Greek amphitheater, lovely gardens, and cute cafes.

There are also some gorgeous beaches that you will enjoy at Taormina.

This town is one of our favorite destinations on the island of Sicily. You can read more about what to do in Taormina in our blog post here.

  • Book a full-day Mount Etna, Wine & Alcantara Canyons Tour here (Experience a full-day excursion exploring craters, deserts, and a lava cave 2,000m above sea level. The tour includes a wine tasting and lunch among breathtaking scenery!)
  • Enjoy a 2.5-hour boat cruise along the coastline from Giardini Naxos to Isola Bella (Explore the “Pearl of the Ionian Sea” on a 2.5-hour boat cruise from Giardini Naxos to Isola Bella. Discover the Blue Grotto and enjoy a refreshing swim in the sparkling waters.)
  • Book your spot on this half-day pizza making tour (Join a pizza-making class in Taormina with a qualified chef to learn how to create an authentic Italian pizza. Experience a hands-on approach to making pizza dough and picking quality toppings.)

Where To Stay In Taormina

We stayed in Taormina for 3 nights and honestly, it was not long enough. You could easily spend 7 nights here! We personally preferred to stay close to the beach as we spent more time on the beach in comparison to exploring Taormina itself.

UNAHOTELS Capo Taormina

UNAHOTELS Capotaormina

UNAHOTELS Capo Taormina is a 4-star beachfront hotel located right next to the Azure Mediterranean Sea.

With its private beach and unique sea-water swimming pool, this luxurious hotel also offers a free shuttle bus to/from Taormina Center, making it easier for visitors to explore the city.

The balconies in all rooms provide stunning views of either the garden or the sea, depending on whether you choose classic or superior.

Come experience UNAHOTELS Capo Taormina and create lasting memories in one of the most beautiful places in Sicily.

Check here to see if UNAHotels Capo Taormina is free for your stay.

6. Procida Island

Marina Corricella on Procida Island, Italy, view of the marina from above, fishing boats and colourful buildings in the town

When planning what to see in southern Italy, make sure that you add this quaint, charming, and romantic small island to your list.

We spent 5 incredible nights on Procida Island . We loved visiting during the shoulder season when there were barely any other tourists and we could just immerse ourselves in the normal everyday life of the locals.

Most people visit Procida for a day trip as it is a really small little Island and easy to explore in one day.

Marina Corricella is the oldest village on Procida Island and it is basically where you will find the gorgeous photos that you have seen all over the internet of all the colorful buildings.

The entire space is arranged in an amphitheater on the sea and the age-old tradition of fishing in the village creates a relaxing and communal atmosphere.

Corricella is renowned for its unique architecture, so take the time to appreciate the arches, domes, terraces, and colorful facades.

You can watch our video of our trip to Procida here:

best places to visit in italy south

Day Trip From Naples:

  • Procida Island Day Trip with Lunch (Visit Procida on a day trip from Naples. Explore Procida on your own page, and enjoy an included yummy lunch at a restaurant. Ferry tickets from Naples and back are included.)

Where To Stay On Procida

Many people visit Procida on a day trip. I can’t imagine trying to explore this tiny little island with so many other tourists. We stayed for 5 nights on Procida and while you definitely don’t need 5 days, staying for at least one night will allow you to see the quieter more beautiful side of this island.

Il Borghetto Apartments & Rooms

Il Borghetto Apartments & Rooms

Il Borghetto Apartments & Rooms is the ideal guest home for your stay in Procida.

Located close to the port, restaurants, and shops, this bright, modern, and clean accommodation will ensure you get the most out of your visit to the island.

Plus, their excellent free breakfast served in a beautiful garden makes Il Borghetto an ideal spot for travelers!

See if this guest home is available for your stay in Procida.

7. Amalfi Coast Towns

Positano Amalfi Coast, Italy, view form the water of the pier, beach, restaurants and accommodation all the way up the mountains

A must-see in southern Italy, the charming coastal towns on the Amalfi Coast are unforgettable! Mountains and cliffs frame the sea, creating a wonderful sense of security within the towns.

From the pastel-colored homes in Positano to the views from Ravello, the towns along the Amalfi Coast are sure to steal your heart.

If you enjoy breaking a sweat while on holiday, be sure to go hiking in the area as it’s known to have some of the most picturesque trails (give the Path of the Gods a try)!

The Amalfi Coast is a very popular tourist destination and chances are, you’ve seen the spectacular views of the area across the internet. Now it’s your turn to get your own pictures.

Amalfi Coast Resources:

  • How to get from either Rome or Naples to Amalfi Coast
  • Which town to stay in Amalfi Coast
  • Find the best beach on Amalfi Coast

8. Sorrento

Sorrento Italy, large speed and siling boats parked at the harbour, buildings on the shoreline and high above on the cliff tops

Known as the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento has a long-standing reputation for being a must-see spot for southern Italy vacations.

The town is cloaked in literary romance, having been visited by the likes of Dickens and Tolstoy.

You can’t help but feel the enchanting atmosphere of the town from the moment you arrive.

Due to its popularity over the years, the town has built an impressive repertoire of high-pedigree hotels and first-class restaurants, all shaped by charming Italian tradition.

Take your time shopping at Piazza Torquato Tasso, visit the multiple museums, and soak in the view of the Bay of Naples.

Wondering Where to Stay?

  • Here is our post on the best hotels in Sorrento

Tours We Recommend :

  • Book your full-day boat cruise to the Island of Capri (Explore the stunning beauty of Capri on a boat cruise. Snorkel in crystal-clear waters, discover the Green and White Grottoes, Casa Malaparte, and other island highlights.)
  • Book your full-day tour to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius (Take a scenic ride from Sorrento to the stunning ruins of ancient Pompeii. Explore the arena, baths, and shopfronts on a half-day shared or private tour of this fascinating archaeological site.)
  • Book a full-day Amalfi Coast tour (Experience the stunning beauty of southern Italy with a scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast. Take in breathtaking views of Positano and Amalfi, and explore the heart of this fascinating town.)

9. Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa

Although two separate towns, Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are so small, and so close together, that many travelers visit both on a single-day trip.

These are some of the best towns to visit in southern Italy if you want to get away from the crowds.

Castelmezzano has a reputation as being one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

High up on the hills, above the Basento River, the town is magical both day and night.

South Italy Cities - Castelmezzano, colourful buildings stacked up on the side of the rocky mountain, red flowers in the foreground

A stone’s throw away, Pietrapertosa is a charming hamlet filled with history and culture.

The village is built entirely on bare rock and is full of single-family houses arranged in rows.

Cities in South Italy - Pietrapertosa, city buildings in the side of the rocky mountain, red roofs

If you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience, these two towns are a must-see.

I think it is best to visit both of those towns on a day trip, I wouldn’t recommend you stay overnight.

We visited them both from Matera. You easily r ent a car from Discover Cars for the day to make it easy for you to get to both towns. It is a wonderful drive!

It was honestly one of my favorite day trips. The towns were pretty sleepy and not much was happening, but they are just so unique and so extraordinary to see!

The best way to visit these towns is by driving. So if you have a rental car , you can easily visit them from Matera as your base town.

  • 2 Hour walking tour of Castelmezzano
  • 2 Hour walking tour of Pietrapertosa

10. Pompeii

Pompeii Italy, ancient forum, few tourists walking around

Pompeii is one of the best places to go in Southern Italy if you are a history buff.

When the famous volcanic eruption took place in 79 A.D., the ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried under a thick blanket of volcanic ash.

Today, these ancient ruins are a massive attraction for travelers worldwide.

Whether or not you are a history lover, a trip to Pompeii is incredibly enriching. A visit to  Pompeii’s archaeological ruins  highlights the most fascinating and best of southern Italy’s rich history.

Get whisked away to a time long gone as you explore the beauty of Italy’s lost city. You can read about our time  visiting Pompeii  here.

If you have extra time, you can also easily visit Herculaneum from Pompeii. Car or taxi rides will take you anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.

Book a Day Trip to Pompeii:

We personally stopped at Pompeii on our drive from Naples to Amalfi Coast.

I wouldn’t stay overnight in Pompeii, so I recommend you either do it as a day trip from Naples or perhaps as a stop on the way from Naples to Sorrento or Amalfi Coast.

  • Book a day trip to see both Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius from Naples. (This tour takes 7 hours and is incredibly popular so make sure to book ahead of time! It includes everything from your pickup to your skip-the-line ticket, a guide, as well as a yummy pizza lunch).
  • Don’t line up at Pompeii! Grab this fabulous Skip-the-Line and 2-Hour walking tour ticket here. (You can get lost in the Pompeii ruins so easily, so I recommend you book a guided tour of the sight – the history is really interesting to hear).
  • Visit both Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast on this great-value tour. (Explore the Amalfi Coast & Pompeii on this 8-hour tour! Departing Naples by bus, relish an excursion brimming with archaeological ruins & scenic vistas!)

Cefalu Italy, view of the beach side town, people swimming, people on the beach, beach umbrellas, buildings, mountain in the back

One of the best cities that southern Italy has to offer, Cefalu offers an incredible combination of experiences for holiday-goers.

On the shores of Sicily, Cefalu is home to one of the best beaches in the area, architectural masterpieces, and quaint cobble-stoned beautiful beaches.

Make sure that you take the time to visit the little port and watch the local fishermen going about their daily business.

We mostly spent our days simply strolling around the gorgeous walking streets in the old town, as well as enjoying some lazy days on the beautiful beach.

Easy-going and accommodating, Cefalu is the epitome of true Italian culture.

Book a Day Trip to Cefalu:

  • Book your half-day tour from Palermo to Monreale and Cefalù (Discover Monreale’s Norman Cathedral and Cefalù’s Greek origins on a 6-hour tour from Palermo. Explore Sicily’s rich history with stops at the Mandralisca Museum and Duomo.)
  • Enjoy a half-day wine-tasting tour in the town of Castelbuono (Discover Sicily’s finest wines on a 4-hour tour of Castelbuono, where you’ll stroll through the idyllic town center and indulge in a wine tasting at Abbazia Sant’Anastasia winery..)

Where To Stay In Cefalu:

We made the mistake of booking an Airbnb on the outskirts of Cefalu. On the map it looked like it wouldn’t take long to get from Cefalu to our accommodation, however, the roads were windy and curving around the mountain and it took longer than we wanted. Which meant that it felt like ‘too much effort’ to get to Cefalu and back again. So I highly recommend you stay close to the beach in Cefalu itself.

Hotel Kalura

Hotel Kalura

Hotel Kalura is a luxurious 4-star beachfront hotel in Cefalu, with a stunning view of the Rocca of Cefalù.

Guests can spend their days lazing around on the private beach or taking a refreshing dip in the pool. Additionally, there is a tennis court for those who are feeling active. All rooms at Hotel Kalura are Mediterranean-style and offer balconies with most overlooking the bay.

No matter what room you choose, you’ll be able to take in breathtaking views that will make your stay unforgettable.

See if Hotel Kalura is available for your stay in Cefalu here.

Ostuni Puglia Italy, white and cream colour buildings up on the hill

Known as the ‘White City”, Ostuni in Puglia , announces itself to travelers before even arriving.

The city rises high above the ocean and boldly claims its territory by boasting a labyrinth of houses, arches, and chapels. It really is quite a sight to behold.

If you are a lover of history, then Ostuni is an essential addition to your itinerary.

Ostuni Old Town Puglia

Take your time getting lost in the alleyways, climbing all of the staircases, and discovering all of the nooks!

We actually based ourselves for 2 weeks here in Ostuni, so by the time we left we almost felt like locals.

Our favorite restaurants included Porta Nova (fantastic seafood), Pizzeria Notti Bianche (for Neapolitan-style pizza), and La Pastasciutta (for pasta).

  • Book your walking tour with a gelato tasting here (Take a walking tour of Ostuni’s historic center with a local guide, visit the Cathedral, and soak in breathtaking views from the highest point. Discover hidden gems and experience Ostuni’s full flavor!)
  • Book your olive oil tasting tour here (Explore Ostuni’s hidden olive groves and rich history, while you taste three types of extra virgin olive oil during a unique one-hour tour. Don’t miss it!)

Where To Stay In Ostuni:

We personally based ourselves in Ostuni whilst we explored the Puglia region. We had a wonderful time and it is so central to some of the most popular destinations in Puglia.

1. Hotel Monte Sarago

Hotel Monte Sarago

One popular 4-star hotel in Ostuni, Italy is Hotel Monte Sarago . It is located in the historic center of the town and offers stunning views of Ostuni.

The hotel features elegantly furnished rooms, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, a restaurant, and a spa.

The rooms are spacious, comfortable, and equipped with modern amenities.

Guests have praised the hotel for its excellent location, friendly staff, and luxurious amenities.

See if Hotel Monte Sarago is available for your stay here .

Italy Tropea, very high rocky cliff with buildings on the tops, road below with cars parked next to the beach, beach with people on it, light blue water

The secret beach town of Tropea is a hidden gem. The rugged, yet picturesque, piece of paradise is one of the best towns in southern Italy to both explore and relax in.

Although it can get crowded during July and August, a trip to the haven during May, September, and October will provide a surreal experience.

If you do manage to pull yourself away from the tranquility of the beaches, then make sure that you visit the Santa Maria dell’Isola, Centro Storico, and the Norman Cathedral for an all-around Italian experience.

  • Book the popular Coast of Gods snorkeling tour here (Join a small-group boat tour to explore beaches, bays, and grottoes. Swim, snorkel, and discover local history and culture with your knowledgeable skipper.)
  • Rent a Marinello Boat and explore the coast (Our favorite way to explore is to rent our own boat so we can do our own thing. This boat rental is for 4 hours and can fit up to 7 people).

Where To Stay in Tropea:

Wondering where to stay in Tropea? We have you covered! Here is the best hotel to stay in.

1. Hotel Rocca della Sena

Hotel Rocca della Sena

One popular hotel in Tropea, Italy is the Hotel Rocca della Sena . It is located just a short walk from the historic center of Tropea and offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding countryside.

The hotel features comfortable and spacious rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a terrace with panoramic views, and a restaurant serving traditional Calabrian cuisine.

It has received positive reviews from travelers and is known for its great location and excellent service.

Click here to see if Hotel Rocca della Sena is available for your stay .

14. Aeolian Islands

Aeolian Islands Sicily, Italy, aerial view of  an island, boats in the water, town in the distance

The Aeolian Islands in the Mediterranean Sea are worth a visit. Located on Sicily’s northeastern coast, the Aeolian Islands include the likes of Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, and Stromboli.

The largest, and arguably the most popular, of these islands is Lipari. However, each of the islands boasts uniquely beautiful features.

The seven islands offer travelers stunning waters, opportunities to dive, volcanoes to trek, and decadent wine to sip.

Regardless of which of the UNESCO-protected islands you visit, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience.

The Aeolian Islands offer the ultimate trip for those venturing off the beaten path.

You can easily take a boat to get to these islands or you could choose one of the organized tours listed below.

Aeolian Islands Travel Guide

As we were traveling as a family of 5, it was cheaper for us to rent a boat rather than take an organized tour. And I’m so glad we did as it was an incredible day exploring the islands and enjoying some swimming spots.

Book a Day Trip to the Aeolian Islands from:

  • Click here to book your day trip from Tropea (Experience the beauty of Stromboli, Lipari, and Vulcano on an 11.5-hour guided tour that takes you through black-sand beaches, pretty villages, and the awe-inspiring Stromboli volcano.)
  • Visit Lipari and Vulcano on your day trip from Milazzo & Taormina (Explore the culture and beauty of Liparian Islands, witness incredible rock formations at Lipari and Vulcano, bask in the stunning black sand beaches, and discover the enchanting Gelso.)
  • Visit an active volcano! Book your spot on the Stromboli Summit Crater Excursion (Join a guided sunset hike to witness stunning lava explosions on Stromboli. This 5-hour tour ends late at night and requires an overnight stay.).

Where To Stay In The Aeolian Islands:

There are plenty of awesome options of where to stay to explore the Aeolian Islands. We found the most lively island to stay on is Lipari Island. Saline is another great option as it has plenty of restaurants and bars but also has a beautiful nature aspect to it as well. We personally enjoy basing ourselves on Malfa. It feels quiet, and local and we love it.

Lipari Island: Hotel Borgo Eolie

Hotel Borgo Eolie

Hotel Borgo Eolie is the perfect place for travelers visiting Lipari Island to get great value for their budget. It is the most popular hotel on the island.

This 3-star hotel offers all the creature comforts of home, with an outdoor pool with hydro-massage, a buffet breakfast in the morning, and even a free shuttle service to/from the Lipari harbor.

They have double, triple, and quadruple room options. The rooms are spacious, although perhaps a bit dated.

Hotel Borgo Eolie is a great and affordable option for your stay on Lipari Island.

Check price and availability on Booking.com

15. Capri Island

Capri Island view point, Italy, boats and rocky coastline, rocky arch in the water

Capri is a must when you visit southern Italy. Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Capri is made up of three island outposts.

The beauty of the area is breathtaking, with steep cliffs descending into the turquoise water.

Be advised that the exclusivity and magnificence of Capri mean that the price of visiting is significantly higher. However, one glance at the sublime space, and every penny becomes worth it!

The best time to visit this island is definitely outside of the peak summer months (June-August).

So we highly recommend you book your day trip in May or September if you can – it’s the only way to avoid the crowds.

Or treat yourself to a few days in a villa on Capri Island.

You can read about our day trip to Capri Island from Positano here.

Book a Day Trip to Capri from:

  • Visit Capri and the Blue Grotto from Sorrento (Enjoy a spectacular 8-hour boat tour of the stunning coastline and breathtaking Blue Grotto. Includes Prosecco, soft drinks, seasonal fruit, beer, and snorkeling equipment.).
  • Sea and City sightseeing by boat from Naples (Discover the breathtaking sights of the Gulf of Naples, Mt Vesuvius, grottos, and caves on a magnificent Capri tour, complete with free time for island exploration.)
  • Enjoy a relaxing boat trip around the Isle of Capri (Enjoy a popular and affordable Sorrentine boat trip from Capri. Highlights include the Faraglioni rocks, White and Green Grottos, snorkeling, and Limoncello!).

Where To Stay In Capri:

We visited Capri on a boat tour. But we spent so long waiting at the Blue Grotto to get a turn to go inside that we didn’t have much time to spend at Capri itself. I don’t feel like I had enough time to enjoy the beaches or really even have a proper explore around. So if you want some beach time, I highly suggest you stay for a few nights on this romantic island.

1. Capri Palace Jumeirah

Capri Palace Jumeirah

This luxurious hotel is located in the town of Anacapri and offers breathtaking views of the Gulf of Naples.

The hotel features elegantly designed rooms and suites, all equipped with modern amenities.

The Capri Palace Jumeirah also offers a range of facilities including a spa, fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, and several restaurants and bars serving delicious Mediterranean cuisine.

It is a popular choice among celebrities and high-end travelers seeking a luxurious retreat on the stunning island of Capri.

Click here to check prices and availability for the hotel.

South Italy FAQs

Here are some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

San Vito Lo Capo

Late spring and early autumn: May, early-June, mid-September, and October. These months are the best as the climate is warm without being too hot and places are less crowded.

It depends on whether you want to spend your holiday in close-by cities and beaches or take a road trip across a region (or two!) My advice is to stay 10 days to soak up the wonders that Southern Italy has to offer! However, one week is already a good amount of time.

Naples if you plan to visit the Amalfi Coast and Matera (alongside all the other places that the regions of Campania and Basilicata offer). Bari if you will spend your time in Puglia and the surrounding areas. From Bari, you can easily reach the Gargano area. Besides, the city is decently connected via train to Lecce – the starting point for traveling in magical Salento. If you have a rental car , you can easily visit Puglia from north to south.

Yes, the south is the cheaper part of Italy – especially when it comes to the delicious southern cuisine! In Naples, you can eat with no more than 10€ per person (and yeah, I’m talking about the pizza in the traditional pizzeria). The rule applies to the other southern regions as well. If you travel off-season, you will also find cheap accommodations and activities. Just keep in mind that, during the summer season, prices are higher everywhere.

Matera Travel Guide

Final Thoughts On Must-See Southern Italy Cities, Towns & Islands

Pinterest photo with writing: Southern Italy Bucket List Destinations, photo of a father and three daughters in Arbellobello

There’s no question that any trip to Italy will provide you with plenty of wonderful memories (and even photographs!) to cherish for years to come.

While these 15 spots could be considered as the best South Italy cities, towns, and islands by many travelers, you should also consider your own interests and preferences.

Doing some independent research into the beautiful cities and countryside of southern Italy will help you truly get the most out of your time here.

We love Italy and we can’t wait to see more and more of what this country has to offer!

  • Are you looking for the easiest way to get around Sicily? You can save yourself a lot of heartache by simply booking a taxi .
  • We like to create our own itineraries and go where the wind takes us. But if you prefer to put your feet up and let someone else do the planning for you, check out our friends at Albatross Tours .
  • Are you traveling to Italy and want to know more about the EU visa requirements for Colombian citizens ?

_____________________

Over to you:

  • What are you most looking forward to on your Southern Italy vacation?
  • Which of these 15 best of South Italy destinations do you want to see?

Photo of author

Jolene Ejmont

4 thoughts on “15 best places to visit in southern italy (cities, towns & islands)”.

Loved most of these but some are getting better known and hence a bit busier during the season – which also seems to get longer every year. I’d add Lecce, Martina Franca and Polignano al Mare.

Thanks Gary! We are visiting Martina Franca and Polignano al Mare in the next few months, can’t wait 🙂

Want to go to Southern Italy for husband’s bday at the end of November. What is the weather going to be like? Will it ruin a 4 night vacation?

Best recommendation I have is to check the weather forecast closer to time. If you were after a HOT summer holiday, it won’t be the most ideal time to go 😉 But it could still be a pleasant holiday – just not sure what you are expecting weather-wise?

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Southern Italy Itinerary: Amalfi Coast, Matera, Alberobello & Puglia

Julie Last updated: November 19, 2023 Italy , Itinerary 8 Comments

Southern Italy Itinerary Matera Puglia

This southern Italy itinerary includes some of Italy’s most popular places to visit as well as some hidden gems.

Spend your first few days on the Amalfi Coast, visiting Sorrento, Capri, Pompeii, and several Amalfi Coast towns.

From here, visit Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. You may not have heard of these towns before, but they could be one of the most memorable places you visit on this itinerary. Thrill seekers will love ziplining from one town to the other.

From Castelmezzano, travel to photogenic Matera and then Alberobello, a town that looks like it belongs in the pages of a fairy tale. End your trip by visiting a few more towns in Puglia before heading home.

This itinerary is written as a 10-day road trip with two options to add on 3 more days to visit different areas of Puglia.

We have so many cool places to share with you. Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Places You Will Visit on This Itinerary:

  • Amalfi Coast

Castelmezzano

  • Alberolbello
  • Polignano a Mare
  • More towns in Puglia

10 Day Southern Italy Itinerary

Day 1: Getting to Sorrento & the Amalfi Coast Day 2: Pompeii and Sorrento Day 3: Amalfi Coast day trip Day 4: Capri Day 5: Paestum & Castelmezzano Day 6: Castelmezzano & Matera Day 7: Matera Day 8: Alberobello Day 9: Puglia day trip from Alberobello Day 10: Fly home

Southern Italy Itinerary Map | Southern Italy Itinerary

Southern Italy Itinerary map (map adapted from Google)

About this Southern Italy Itinerary

This itinerary can be done all year, but we think the best time to do it is in May, June, September, and October, when the weather is pleasant and crowds aren’t at peak levels.

During the summer months (July and August), southern Italy will be hot and the Amalfi Coast will be packed with tourists. Hotels and rental cars will also be more expensive during this time and you will face delays when traveling along the Amalfi Coast.

From late fall through early spring (November through mid-April), expect cloudier skies and an increased chance of rain. Many hotels and restaurants will be closed on the Amalfi Coast, in Matera, and in Puglia. You can still do this southern Italy itinerary at this time, but pack your umbrella and be prepared for slim pickings for hotels and restaurants.

For this itinerary, you will need to rent a car. It is challenging to get around Basilicata and Puglia without a car since public transportation is limited in this part of Italy.

This southern Italy itinerary is a point-to-point trip. It starts in Rome/Naples and ends in Bari. However, you can travel back to Rome/Naples if you find it is cheaper or easier to get a flight here. This travel time adds on about a half day to this itinerary.

Renting a Car for This Itinerary

The best way to get around southern Italy, with the exception of the Amalfi Coast, is by car. You can travel on your own schedule and get to towns that are difficult to get to by bus. It is possible to travel using a combination of buses and trains, but schedules are limited, and you will need to add extra travel time to this itinerary.

The best way to get around the Amalfi Coast depends on the time of year you will be doing this trip. In the summer (mid-June through late-September), the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast is by ferry. The roads on the Amalfi Coast during this time become a traffic nightmare. Plus, with the alternating license plate program, you will be limited to which days you can drive here.

If you are planning to visit the Amalfi Coast outside of the summer season, then it is much easier to get around by rental car.

In this itinerary, we will give suggestions on how to get around each day. But you will have a choice to make: pick up the rental car the first day of this itinerary (at the arrival airport) or pick it up in Sorrento just before driving to Castelmezzano.

If you pick up the rental car at your arrival airport, this is the more expensive option. You may not use the car much while on the Amalfi Coast, so you will be paying for the car to sit in a parking lot while you use the trains, ferries, buses, or private drivers.

If you pick up the car in Sorrento, you save several days of a rental car fee (which can really add up). I think this is the better option, unless you plan to fly out of your arrival airport. In this case, it could be cheaper to return the rental car to your starting point.

You will have to price out both of these options. Rental car fees change constantly so I can’t predict which one will be cheaper for your trip.

This southern Italy itinerary is written as a 10-day trip. At the end of the itinerary, we list two ways to extend your time in Puglia.

Positano Sunset | Southern Italy Itinerary

Positano | Southern Italy Itinerary

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 1

Getting to Sorrento & the Amalfi Coast

Your goal for today is to get to your hotel in Sorrento or on the Amalfi Coast.

You can fly into either Rome (Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport) or Naples (Naples International Airport).

Flying into Naples

Naples International Airport is more convenient. It is closer to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast so you will have less travel time today. However, you may not have the same number of flight options as you would from Rome, since Rome has a larger airport.

To get from Naples to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, you have a few options.

You can drive (if you pick up your rental car from the airport), hire a driver to get you to your hotel, take the ferry, or take the Campania Express or Circumvesuviana Train to Sorrento. If you plan to stay on the Amalfi Coast (for example, at Positano), the best way to get there is to drive, hire a driver, or take the train to Sorrento and from Sorrento, take the bus, hire a driver, or take the ferry.

Travel time from Naples to Sorrento is about an hour and fifteen minutes. Travel time from Naples to Positano can be as quick as an hour and fifteen minutes (by private driver or by car) or as long as two to three hours (Campania Express train + bus, ferry, or driver).

For more information about how to get from Naples to the Amalfi Coast, read our guide about How to Get to the Amalfi Coast.

Flying into Rome

From where we live in the USA, it is much easier for us to find direct flights to Rome versus Naples. However, you will have additional travel time to get to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.

From Rome, take the train to Naples. Travel time by train ranges from one to three hours, depending on the speed of the train.

Then follow our instructions above about traveling from Naples to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, or read our guide about How to Get to the Amalfi Coast.

Where to Stay in Sorrento | Southern Italy Itinerary

Where to Stay: Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast?

On this itinerary, you will spend 4 nights in this region. Towns to consider include Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi. There are many other towns to stay in on the Amalfi Coast, but they can be challenging to get to using public transportation. I personally think it is best to choose between Sorrento and Positano. We have stayed in both and both have advantages and disadvantages.

We cover where to stay in great detail in our guide Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast, but here is a quick overview.

Sorrento is the most convenient town . It’s larger size, ferry port, and train station makes it a breeze to day trip around the Amalfi Coast. Plus, when you are ready to pick up your rental car at the end of this section of the itinerary, you can do so in Sorrento.

Positano, which is located on the Amalfi Coast, is a gorgeous place to stay. We loved it here, but it is more challenging to day trip to places like Capri and Pompeii. It’s also more expensive than Sorrento. If you choose to stay in Positano, rent your car at your arrival airport (you will not be able to rent a car in Positano).

You will stay in Sorrento/Positano for four nights.

Note: We have not included any time in Naples on this itinerary. From our experiences in Naples and the towns in southern Italy, we think your time is better spent in the smaller towns than visiting Naples. However, you can easily add a day to this itinerary and use that time to explore Naples.

Information to Help You Plan Your Trip:

  • How to Travel from Rome to Naples, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast
  • Best Way to Get Around the Amalfi Coast
  • Driving the Amalfi Coast: Is it a Good Idea?
  • Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast: Best Locations & Hotels

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 2

Pompeii & Sorrento

In the morning, visit Pompeii. In the afternoon, you have the option to add on Mt. Vesuvius or you can spend the afternoon visiting Sorrento.

In 79 AD, the city of Pompeii was buried in ash following the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The city was later excavated and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Touring Pompeii is one of the most popular things to do on a visit to Italy.

Pompeii Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary

It takes 2 to 4 hours to tour Pompeii, depending on your interests. You can simply wander around on your own, but you won’t get much out of it, unless you have a guide of some sort (either a book or a person). We followed the guide in Rick Steves’ Guide Book, which was sufficient, but I think we would have gotten more out of our visit if we took a guided tour.

For pricing, hours, and to purchase your tickets in advance, visit the official Pompeii website.

How to Get to Pompeii: From Sorrento, take the Campania Express train or Circumvesuviana to Pompeii (Pompeii Scavi station), or drive here if you have a rental car. It takes about 40 minutes to travel by train from Sorrento to Pompeii. From Positano, hire a driver or use your rental car, if you have one (be aware of the alternating license plate rule in the summer).

Tours of Pompeii

Here are a few tours of Pompeii, some of which include your transportation from Sorrento.

Mount Vesuvius (Optional)

After visiting Pompeii, you have the option to add on Mount Vesuvius.

Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano on the mainland of Italy. It last erupted in 1944. In 79 AD, the eruption destroyed Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae, and Oplontis.

From the train station in Pompeii, you can take a bus or a shuttle to Mount Vesuvius and then you can walk the Great Cono trail around the crater . Plan on spending two hours on Mount Vesuvius.

To visit Mount Vesuvius, purchase your ticket online in advance (and if you will have a car, purchase your parking pass online in advance). Tickets cannot be purchased upon arrival and the cell service on Vesuvius isn’t reliable enough to purchase tickets online upon arrival. Furthermore, they only sell 50 tickets for each 10-minute time slot. While this might sound like a lot, they do sell out.

The official website provides opening times, costs, the link to purchase your entry ticket, the link to purchase your parking pass, directions to the parking areas, how to get there via a combination of train + taxi or train + bus, etc.

Spend the remainder of the day in Sorrento. Top experiences include visiting Marina Grande, spending some time at a beach club, shopping, trying limoncello, and having dinner.

Marina Grande Sorrento | Southern Italy Itinerary

Marina Grande

For dinner, we recommend Enjoy Restaurant (great local food), Fauno Bar , and our favorite spot, Ristorante Lorelei (a Michelin-starred restaurant with gorgeous sunset views of Sorrento).

Tonight, stay in Sorrento or Positano.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 3

Amalfi Coast Day Trip

Spend the day visiting the towns along the Amalfi Coast.

Ravello

Ravello | Southern Italy Itinerary

Amalfi Italy

Amalfi | Southern Italy Itinerary

There are numerous ways to plan your day trip to the Amalfi Coast towns. You can join a tour, hire a driver to take you to a few towns, cruise along the Amalfi Coast by ferry or private boat, or use the bus to hop from town to town.

For budget travelers, the bus is the most economical option. But you need to have patience, as buses rarely run on schedule, are often crowded, and get stuck in traffic jams along Amalfi Drive. It’s better to take the ferry. You’ll spend a little more money, but you’ll avoid the traffic and get to see the Amalfi Coast from the sea, which is beautiful.

Hiring a driver for the day is another popular way to visit the Amalfi Coast. This has the advantages of being able to travel on your own schedule and visit the places you want to go. However, you still run the risk of getting stuck in traffic jams on Amalfi Drive, particularly the months of July and August.

The most expensive way to day trip to the Amalfi Coast is to hire a private boat. However, it is an awesome experience. Not only do you get to avoid the traffic on the roads, but you can also relax on the boat, sip on prosecco, enjoy the views, and zip up and down the Amalfi Coast faster than any car, bus, or ferry. We rented a private boat for the day during our stay in Positano and it is one of our favorite experiences in Italy.

For more information on all of these modes of transportation, take a look at our article How to Get Around the Amalfi Coast.

Finally, taking a tour is another popular way to day trip to the Amalfi Coast. These range from small group boat tours to tours that include both a drive on the Amalfi Coast and a quick boat ride, like this very highly rated tour. Joining a tour takes out the hassle of arranging transportation and deciding where to go.

And where should you go on a day trip to the Amalfi Coast? We recommend Positano , Amalfi, and Ravello , three of the most beautiful towns on the Amalfi Coast. These can all be visited in one day by private driver or by bus.

For more information on what to do, read our article Best Things to Do on the Amalfi Coast.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 4

Capri is easily accessible from Sorrento and Positano by ferry. This is a popular day trip destination from both towns and popular things to do here include taking a boat tour around Capri, visiting the Blue Grotto , riding the chair lift to the top of Monte Solaro, and spending some time in Capri town.

Capri | Southern Italy Itinerary

The view from Monte Solaro

Blue Grotto | Southern Italy Itinerary

Blue Grotto

A trip to Capri will take a full day. We recommend booking your ferry tickets in advance or joining a tour of some sort.

It is very easy to tour Capri on your own, and we share how to do this in our article How to Plan Your Capri Day Trip and 10 Best Things to Do in Capri.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 5

Paestum & Castelmezzano

It’s time to bid farewell to the Amalfi Coast…but in my opinion, the best places are still to come.

Today, you will drive to the region of Basilicata and you have the option to add on Paestum, another important archaeological site in Italy. Tonight, you will sleep in Castelmezzano.

Morning: Paestum

Paestum is one of the best places in Italy to see Greek ruins. Home to three ancient Greek temples dating back to 450 BC, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is often an overlooked destination in Italy.

Paestum Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary

Paestum | Southern Italy Itinerary

The ancient city of Paestum sits just to the south of Salerno and the Amalfi Coast. A visit here typically lasts two to three hours. The main things to see are the Temple of Neptune, the Temple of Hera, and the Roman Forum. Purchase a guidebook that is for sale at ticket booth to get the most out of your visit. For a longer list of things to do, photos, and information on how to plan your visit, refer to our Paestum Travel Guide.

For hours and pricing, visit the official website.

How to Get to Paestum: From Sorrento and Positano, it takes about 2 hours to drive to Paestum. It’s faster to drive out to Pompeii and take E45 for a portion of the drive, rather than risk getting stick in traffic along the Amalfi Coast (even from Positano).

Before leaving Paestum, grab a bite to eat. The most convenient places are at the cafes right outside of the archaeological park. You can also drive into town to have lunch.

In the afternoon, drive from Paestum to Castelmezzano (135 km, 2 hours).

Check into your hotel and spend the evening exploring the town. Castelmezzano is tiny and it doesn’t take long to walk from one side to the other.

For dinner, we recommend Al Becco della Civetta (a Michelin-starred restaurant with great views of the town).

Castelmezzano Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary

Castelmezzano | Southern Italy Itinerary

Where to Stay in Castelmezzano

You will spend one night in Castelmezzano. Here are a few recommended hotels and B&B’s:

La Casa Nel Verde. This is where we stayed and we chose it because it was the highest rated property on Booking.com during our visit. We had the apartment with mountain view, so we had a small kitchen and plenty of space. Our apartment was spotless, quiet, and very comfortable. It is a 5-minute drive from Castelmezzano.

La Gradinata B&B. This B&B also gets exceptional reviews. It is located on Via Roma, in Castelmezzano, so it has a great location if you prefer to stay in town. Rooms can accommodate two people and breakfast is included.

Casa delle Stelle. Rent a whole house and have a beautiful view of Castelmezzano. This one bedroom home has a kitchen and a balcony with a stunning view of Castelmezzano. It is beautiful inside, with stone walls and skylights in the ceiling.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 6

Castelmezzano, Pietrapertosa & Matera

Today, spend your time exploring Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa and in the afternoon drive to Matera.

Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa

Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are two small villages that sit side by side in Basilicata, Italy. Both of them are beautiful to visit and fun to explore. But what makes them even more exciting is the fact that you can get from one to the other on a zipline.

In fact, one of the best things to do in Castelmezzano is to zipline to Pietrapertosa and then zipline back to Castelmezzano. We have been ziplining numerous times around the world and this is a good one! This zipline, also called Volo dell’Angelo (the Angel’s Flight) , is one of southern Italy’s most thrilling experiences.

The zipline experience takes about 2 hours and we cover it in detail in our Guide to Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa.

If you start the zipline experience from Castelmezzano around 10:30 am, you will finish around 12:30 pm. Have lunch at Trattoria al Vecchio Scarpone or Peperusko , spend a little more time exploring Castelmezzano, and then drive to Matera.

Volo dell Angelo Zipline

A view of the zipline between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa

Angels Flight Castelmezzano

Tim on the zipline with Castelmezzano in the background

Castelmezzano Italy Photo

Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa in the distance

Drive to Matera

From Castelmezzano, it takes an hour and fifteen minutes to drive to Matera (85 km). Check into your hotel, spend the evening strolling through Matera’s picturesque streets, have drinks with a view at Crialoss Bistrot (make your reservation in advance), and then have dinner in one of Matera’s fabulous restaurants.

Our favorite restaurants in Matera are Vitantonio Lombardo (one of the best Michelin-starred restaurants we have tried), Regiacorte (beautiful restaurant with some tables that overlook the Rock Church), and Il Rusticone (one of the best cheap eats in Matera).

Matera | Southern Italy Itinerary

Matera at sunset | Southern Italy Itinerary

Where to Stay in Matera

You will stay in Matera for two nights. Here are a few recommended hotels. You can see a longer list at the end of our article Best Things to Do in Matera.

LUXURY CAVE HOTEL: Quarry Resort. This is where we stayed in Matera. The Quarry Resort is located in Sassi di Matera and looks out over Murgia Materana Park. Some rooms are cave rooms and some rooms are traditional hotel rooms. From the Quarry Lounge Restaurant Terrace, you can have a cocktail and snacks as you look out over the ravine and the Rock Church (non-hotel guests can do this too).

UPSCALE CAVE HOTEL: La Dimora Delle 3 Zie. Getting exceptional reviews, this cave hotel is located in the heart of Sassi di Matera. Some rooms can accommodate up to four people, so this is a good choice for families.

MID-RANGE CAVE HOTEL: B&B Al Convento. This bed and breakfast gets near perfect reviews on Booking.com. Prior guests rave about the breakfast, the location, and the helpful staff. If you are a family, check out the Junior Suite with private pool.

BUDGET: Ostello dei Sassi. This property gets decent reviews but it is a good option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a hotel in Matera. It is located in the Castelnuovo district, which is just outside Sassi di Matera.

Italy Travel Guide

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 7

On this itinerary, you have one full day to explore Matera. For a full list of things to do, take a look at our article Best Things to Do in Matera.

There are many different ways to plan your time in Matera, but here is a sample itinerary that covers many of the best places to visit.

Morning: Murgia Materana Park. Hike across the ravine and explore the caves and cave churches. You get one of the best views of Matera from this park. After this short hike, visit the Rock Church (Saint Mary of Idris).

Matera Basilicata Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary

The view of Matera from Murgia Materana Park

Matera Rock Church

Matera Rock Church

Midday: Lunch. For lunch we recommend Il Rusticone (fantastic pizza and sandwiches) or Uacciardidd (amazing local food at low prices in a non-touristy setting).

Afternoon: Visit a cave house, explore the streets of Matera, and visit the Matera Cathedral. Have drinks with a view at Crialoss Bistrot or the Quarry Resort Lounge and then have dinner.

Tonight, sleep in Matera.

Best Views of Matera Italy

The Matera Cathedral and Sassi di Matera (the old town)

Crialoss | Southern Italy Itinerary

Crialoss Bistrot

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 8

Alberobello

In the morning, drive to Alberobello (70 km, just over one hour of driving). Once you get here, the best place to park is Parcheggio Via Indipendenza.

Alberobello is famous for its trulli, small round buildings with conical roofs made of stone.

This town is very small and a half of a day is really all that you need to see the highlights. You will have most of a day here, which means that you can thoroughly explore Alberobello.

Spend your time visiting the two sections of Alberobello, Rione Monti and Rione Aia Piccola , do a little shopping, visit several rooftop terraces for views of the town, and have a bite to eat.

Alberobello | Southern Italy Itinerary

Alberobello | Southern Italy Itinerary

Rooftop View Alberobello

Rooftop view of Alberobello

Alberobello at Night | Southern Italy Itinerary

Alberobello at night

Best Hotels Alberobello

Our room at Chiancole Trulli Experience

Where to Stay in Alberobello

The best place to stay in Alberobello is a trullo. It’s a very unique experience, sleeping in one of these cozy stone buildings, and there are quite a few to choose from.

We had a fantastic experience at Chiancole Trulli Experience , but we also recommend Trulli D’Angio , Romantic Trulli (located in Rione Monti and just a short walk to a lot of great restaurants), Trulli Resort Aia Piccola (a 3-bedroom apartment that is a great pick for families), and La Mandorla Luxury Trullo (a gorgeous, luxury trullo with hot tub).

You will spend two nights in Alberobello.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 9

Puglia Day Trip

Today you will day trip to towns near Alberobello. The towns in Puglia are relatively small so it is possible to visit two or three on a day trip from Alberobello.

Here are two day trip options from Alberobello.

Polignano al Mare

Polignano al Mare is located on the coast, just a 30-minute drive from Alberobello. If you have seen photos of Puglia, most likely you have seen Polignano al Mare. It is famous for its coastal cliffs and beaches.

Polignano a Mare | Southern Italy Itinerary

Grotta Palazzese

Puglia Italy

Lama Monachile beach in Polignano a Mare

Take a boat tour to see the cliffs and sea caves, stroll through the town, spend some time on the beach, and dine in a cave. Grotta Palazzese is a famous restaurant in a cave. It’s expensive and gets mixed reviews, but we loved having lunch here.

You can spend most of the day at Polignano al Mare or combine it with nearby Monopoli or Locorotondo (a short drive from Alberobello).

Locorotondo, Cisternino & Ostuni

This trio of towns makes a great day trip from Alberobello.

Start in Locorotondo, which is just a 15-minute drive from Alberobello. Spend an hour strolling through the streets of this small, white-washed town.

Locorotondo Puglia

Locorotondo | Southern Italy Itinerary

Next, drive 30 minutes to Ostuni. Spend the middle part of the day exploring this beautiful town. It is a great place to have lunch and do a little shopping. We had a wonderful lunch at Osteria Piazzetta Cattedral.

Ostuni Italy

On the drive back to Alberobello, make a stop at Cisternino to stroll through the streets here.

End the day with dinner in Alberobello. Sleep in Alberobello.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 10

Today you will fly home (or continue on to your next destination).

The most convenient airport is in Bari (the Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport). From Alberobello, it takes one hour to drive here.

If you cannot find convenient flights home from Bari, then you can return to Naples or Rome and fly home from here. From Alberobello, it takes 3 hours and fifteen minutes to drive to the Naples airport and five and a half hours to drive to the Rome airport.

If you have a morning or midday flight, consider driving to the airport on the evening of day 9 or adding an extra day to this itinerary for travel time.

Modifying this Southern Italy Itinerary

Doing this itinerary in the opposite direction.

If you want to start in Puglia and end in Naples/Rome, here’s how to do it.

Day 1: Arrive in Bari, drive to Alberobello Day 2: Puglia day trip from Alberobello Day 3: Visit Alberobello in the morning and afternoon, in the late afternoon drive to Matera Day 4: Matera Day 5: Drive to Castelmezzano, tour Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, sleep in Castelmezzano Day 6: Drive to Paestum and continue to Sorrento/Positano Day 7: Amalfi Coast Day 8: Pompeii and Sorrento Day 9: Capri day trip Day 10: Travel to Naples/Rome and fly home

With More Time

If you have more than 10 days, you can add time to places already listed on this itinerary, such as another day in Matera, Sorrento, or Positano. You can also add a day to visit Naples. At the beginning of this trip, you can add 2 days in Rome.

If you want to extend your visit in Puglia, here are two options. Each one adds 3 days to this itinerary. You will be choosing between southern Puglia and northern Puglia.

Three Days in Puglia: Lecce and the Southern Coast of Puglia

With three additional days, you can add on southern Puglia. On day 10, rather than going to the Bari airport, drive to Lecce. Here is a sample itinerary.

Day 10: Drive to Lecce (1.5 hours) and spend the remainder of the day in Lecce Day 11: Visit Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca as a day trip from Lecce Day 12: Visit Otranto, Torre Sant’Andrea, and the Cave of Poetry as a day trip from Lecce Day 13: Drive to Bari and fly home

Torre Sant Andrea Puglia | Southern Italy Itinerary

Torre Sant’Andrea

Gallipoli Beach

Three Days in Puglia: Gargano Peninsula & Vieste

Alternatively, you can visit the Gargano Peninsula, which is in northern Puglia. On day 10, rather than going to the Bari Airport, drive to Vieste. Here is a sample itinerary.

Day 10: Drive from Alberobello to Vieste, visiting Trani and Monte Sant’Angelo on the drive (250 km, 4 hours of driving time) Day 11: Vieste and a boat tour from Vieste Day 12: Day trip to the Tremiti Islands, spend some time on the Gargano Peninsula beaches, and/or visit Peschici Day 13: Drive to Bari and fly home

Trani Puglia

Gargano Peninsula

With Less Time

If you have less than 10 days, it gets very hard to shorten this itinerary. You can take a day from the Amalfi Coast to turn this into a 9 day itinerary. With even less time, skip Castelmezzano and go right to Matera.

How to Get Around Italy

For this southern Italy itinerary, you will get around by rental car and possibly by train, ferry, bus and/or private driver on the Amalfi Coast.

For information on renting a car, including rental car fees, drop fees, and things to know ahead of time, take a look at our article Important Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Europe.

To check train schedules and to book your trains online (this may only be necessary if you are taking the train from Rome to Naples), Italiarail.com is the easiest website to use. Just be aware that they charge a €5 booking fee to use their website. You can avoid the €5 fee by using Trenitalia.com , but this website is more difficult to use.

Average Trip Costs

Here are some estimated costs per person (all prices are in USD during peak travel times).

Hotel Costs:

This is going to have quite the range. The Amalfi Coast can be very expensive but Basilicata and Puglia are much cheaper.

Hotel Costs for Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

  • Budget Hotel, double room with two people: $75 to $150
  • Mid-Range Hotel, double room with two people: $150 to 600
  • Luxury Hotel, double room with two people: $600+

Note: Positano is the most expensive place to stay on this itinerary. Before making a decision to stay in Positano, check hotel prices and make sure you are OK with the increased travel times to get here and around the Amalfi Coast on the day trips.

Hotel Costs for Basilicata and Puglia

  • Budget Hotel, double room with two people: $50 – $150
  • Mid-Range Hotel, double room with two people: $150 – $300
  • Luxury Hotel, double room with two people: $300+

More Trip Costs

Train Travel: To travel from city to city, train fares range from $15 to $65, depending on the distance traveled and the speed of the train. Regional trains can take twice the length of time to cover the same distance as a high-speed train, and cost half as much, but you will be sacrificing sightseeing time.

Meals: Meals cost $10 to $30 per dish, depending on the restaurant. To save money, stay in a hotel that offers breakfast, put together picnic lunches, and skip the drinks at dinner.

Miscellaneous: Factor in approximately $50 USD per day per person for miscellaneous fees, such as a short taxi, souvenirs, etc.

Amalfi Coast Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary

The Amalfi Coast | Southern Italy Itinerary

Designing Your Own Italy Itinerary?

This Italy itinerary is a great starting point for designing your own custom itinerary. For more tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect trip, consider reading this article:

7 Things to Know When Planning Your First Trip to Europe

More Italy Itineraries:

Here are a few more itineraries for Italy:

  • 10 Days in Italy: 5 Amazing Ways to Spend 10 Days in Italy
  • 10 Days in Italy: Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre & Venice
  • 14 Days in Italy: Best Way to Spend Two Weeks in Italy
  • Northern Italy Itinerary: Venice, Dolomites, Verona & Lake Como

To see all of our articles about Italy, take a look at our Italy Travel Guide. For more great itineraries in Europe and around the world, visit our Travel Itineraries page.

The Best of Italy in One Big Trip

If you want to put together an epic trip through Italy where you visit both southern and northern Italy, including the popular spots in central Italy (Florence, Tuscany, Rome, etc.), then you can combine this southern Italy itinerary with the 10-day itinerary that includes Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and Venice.

To do this, either start with the southern itinerary, drive to Rome, and then do the Rome, Florence, Venice itinerary. Or, start in Venice, then visit the Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome (doing that itinerary in the opposite direction) and continue with the southern Italy itinerary.

If you have any questions about how to do this, let me know in the comment section below. In our Rome, Florence, and Venice Itinerary, I list how to do it in the opposite direction.

If you have any questions about this southern Italy itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Italy

BEST OF ITALY: In our guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 25 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy.

AMALFI COAST: Pick out which towns you want to visit in our article about the best towns to visit on the Amalfi Coast. If you are active and adventurous, one of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast is hike the Path of the Gods. Learn what it is like to visit Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast in October and November.

SORRENTO & CAPRI: Learn how to spend 3 days in Sorrento, get a list of the best things to do in Capri, learn how to plan your day trip to Capri,  and find out whether or not the Blue Grotto is worth it.

PUGLIA: Read about 15 beautiful places to visit in Puglia and the best things to do in Alberobello. We also have a guide to the best things to do on the Gargano Peninsula,   how to spend one day in Vieste, and about how to take a boat tour to visit the Gargano sea caves.

We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, Basilicata, and Puglia.

Southern Italy Itinerary Matera Puglia

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Related Posts

Sorrento Itinerary

Hi. Your website was recommended by a friend. We are a family of 5 with young adult children. We have 10 days this summer and would like to visit Venice, Rome and Amalfi Coast. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Is it doable or should we switch up locations?

Avatar for Julie

Hello Ashley. With 10 days, you can visit Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Venice, but Venice is out of the way so you’ll spend some extra time getting there. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you think you will return again to Italy in the future, you could save Venice for the second trip, and on this trip add on places closer to Rome and the Amalfi Coast. A good starting point is our Italy Itinerary that includes Rome, the Amalfi Coast, and Florence/Tuscany. You could follow this itinerary or swap Florence/Tuscany with Venice, but then day 7 becomes a big travel day (to get from Sorrento to Venice), but that still leaves you with 2 days in Venice, which is just enough time. Another option is to follow the first 6 days of that itinerary and then visit Matera and Castelmezzano, if that looks of interest to you. Another option is to follow that itinerary, add a day in Rome, and spend the remainder of the time on the Amalfi Coast, slowing it down a lot, which could make it easier with young children, since you aren’t hopping around so much. All are good options and which one you go with depends on how much you want to see and what places are high on your list. I hope this helps and let me know if you have more questions. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Ramy

My wife and I did this trip from Naples to Bari with driving and we absolutely loved it. We followed it almost exactly as described above with the exception of spending a night in Polignano a Mare before flying out from Bari. Thanks so much for taking the time to make this and all the details included.

You’re welcome! I’m glad you had a great trip! Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Oswin

We visited Italy in May 23 and used your itinerary with a few modifications for Rome and the Amalfi coast including the day trip to Capri . It was very helpful.

I’m glad we could help! Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Grace Hill

Please send me information and pricing on your 10 day southern Italy road trip. I would like to leave June 13. This trip with me for two.

Hello Grace. We don’t run tours. This itinerary is to be used to help people plan an independent trip to southern Italy. But you can share it with a travel agent and they could make the arrangements for you. Cheers, Julie

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Wanderlust Chloe

The Ultimate Southern Italy Road Trip: Routes, Sights, Guides, Maps And More

Polignano a Mare - a must see on your Italy road trip

From the vibrant city of Naples and the awe inspiring views of the Amalfi Coast, to the traditional Italian towns of Puglia and Sicily’s beaches, volcanoes and cuisine, it’s time to plan the ultimate southern Italy road trip!

When it comes to road trips, a journey through southern Italy offers a chance to see a combination of spectacular scenery, traditional towns and epic natural wonders. One minute you’re exploring the ancient ruins of Pompeii, the next you’re driving along the heart-stopping roads of the Amalfi Coast.

You could spend a few days exploring Puglia’s prettiest towns including Monopoli and Ostuni, before spending the rest of the week enjoying the crystal waters in Sicily .

Stand up paddle boarding in Sicily

There’s a variety of cuisines to sample too, with incredible pizza in Naples, seafood pasta in Puglia, tasty olive oil and Sicilian delicacies including arrancini and sweet cannolis.

Oh and you’ve got a mix of activities on offer too. Hike active volcano Stromboli in Sicily , take a boat trip to the glamorous island of Capri , stay in a traditional Trulli house in Alberobello or go on a pizza tour of Naples (it’s a hard life!)

And the best part about a southern Italy road trip? The fact you don’t have stick to a set route. While you could follow my southern Italy itinerary on the map below, I’d encourage you to read my travel tips and then add a few stops of your own. It’s a beautiful part of the country – you could find yourself passing fields of olive trees or winding along dramatic cliff roads. You never know what you’ll find!  

Rather than create one epic Italian road trip, I’ve divided the country in two! Read on for my southern Italy road trip or check out my route for an amazing northern Italy road trip , which includes stops in Rome, Verona, Venice, Lake Como and a few other beautiful spots. 

Southern Italy Road Trip Itinerary

This south of Italy road trip starts in Naples and ends in Sicily – both of which have plenty of flight options available. Italy self-drive holidays are growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why with routes like this one!

From eating pizza in Naples, to feeling like a movie star as you drive the Amalfi Coast, and then onto some of the prettiest towns in Italy as you explore Puglia, before finishing your enjoying Sicily’s dramatic landscapes, this route has it all! It’ll definitely show you some of the most beautiful landscapes in Italy too.

It’s also an easy one to break up – you could just concentrate on Naples and Amalfi, or spend a week exploring Puglia. These are some of my favourite parts of Italy, so I’m excited to share why they should be on your Italy road trip itinerary. I’d recommend a minimum of one week in southern Italy, but if you want to cram in everything on this blog, I’d suggest two to three weeks.

I’d also recommend taking a look at my guide to the best hidden gems in Italy too – you might find a few other stops to visit while you’re touring southern Italy.

Southern Italy Road Trip Map

I’ve used a map to plot the perfect route for your Southern Italy road trip . I recommend opening it another window to study in detail!

What to pack for your road trip

If you’re wondering what to pack for your trip, this guide to road trip essentials has you covered. From portable chargers to ways to stay entertained on long journeys, it’ll help you create your road trip packing list. I’ve also included lots of must-haves at the end of this post, to make the process much easier!

Southern Italy Road Trip: Stop 1 – Naples

Once you’ve exhausted northern Italy , it’s time to head south on your Italy road trip. The unspoilt shores of the southern coastline will appeal to travellers who like to explore off the beaten track.

First up, the bustling streets of Naples. Set on the Mediterranean coastline with active volcano Mount Vesuvius as its backdrop, this exciting city is the birthplace of Italian pizza, mysterious underground catacombs, castles and lively main squares.

Naples, Italy

If you choose to stay in Naples for a few nights, you could take day trips to the Amalfi Coast, hop on a boat to the island of Capri or tour Pompeii’s archaeological sites. There are lots of amazing southern Italy tours to choose from!

Southern Italy Road Trip: Stop 2 – Amalfi Coast

If your idea of the perfect Italy road trip is immersing yourself in glitz and glamour of old-time Italy, the Amalfi Coast is for you. With cliffside villages, colourful buildings and secluded beaches which lead to the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in Italy. It’s also known for being one of the best Italian road trips.

Brace yourself if you’re the designated driver! The coastal road is winding and not for the faint hearted, but the views are worth it. Don’t miss the picturesque towns of Praiano, Ravello, Sorrento and Positano – a classic holiday resort with an old-world grandeur and panoramic views along the coast.

Vietri Sul Mare - Amalfi Coast, Italy

If you plan to stay a few nights, Sorrento is a good choice. With museums, piazzas, shopping and reasonably priced accommodation on offer, it’s a great base from which to explore the towns along the coast and visit the island of Capri. I’d recommend reading this guide to where to stay in Sorrento during your trip planning!

Amalfi Coast - a beautiful stop on a southern Italy road trip

I did some of this road trip in reverse last summer and ended in Amalfi Coast before driving to Naples and fly home. We booked a last minute night at one of the hotels in Vietri Sul Mare, a town close to Salerno, right at the start of the coast. It was a basic hotel, but I still dream about the views regularly – looking out over that incredible blue water and the beautiful town and beach. I’d go back in a heartbeat! 

Vietri Sul Mare - Amalfi Coast, Italy

Southern Italy Road Trip: Stop 3 – Puglia

Puglia is where we chose to go on our main holiday last year. Similar to this southern Italy travel itinerary, we hired a car in Naples and drove across the country to Italy’s heel. Driving in southern Italy wasn’t too scary, although some of the smaller towns and villages have narrow roads, so I’d recommend hiring a compact car. 

Puglia is pretty, traditional, and has a great reputation for food. It’s one of my favourite parts of Italy. Home to unspoilt sandy beaches and cliffside fishing villages, Puglia is often overlooked in favour of glam places like Amalfi or Cinque Terre, but I think it offers a lot.

Alberobello - a must visit on a southern Italy road trip

You could spend a few weeks just in Puglia, and still have plenty more to go back for, as there are gorgeous beaches, pretty towns and lots of history to keep you busy!  A few places I’d recommend visiting are Alberobello, with its traditional white, cone-shaped Trulli houses (which, collectively have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site ). We spent a night staying in one and it was absolutely magical.

Exploring Alberobello in Puglia, Italy

We also stayed in Monopoli – a beautiful seaside town with a small beach, medieval city walls and maze-like cobbled streets fulled with tiny wine bars and rustic restaurants.

Polignano a Mare is one of the most famous towns, and another absolutely stunning spot. With it’s cove like beach, dramatic cliffs and even a cave restaurant built into the rocks overlooking the water, I fell in love with the place! We spent a day there, eating fresh seafood pasta and gelato while meandering the pretty streets.

Polignano a Mare - a must see on your Italy road trip

Ostuni is another must-see (and one of the best hidden gems in Italy ). It’s known as the white city, and from afar has the appearance of lots of white houses stacked up on top of each other. Park somewhere outside the old city and wander up the hill, taking in the magic of the white washed buildings, cute pizzerias and architectural wonders. 

If you’re planning a trip to Italy and interested in discovering Baroque architecture as well as having lively nightlife, street food and café lined piazzas, venture to Lecce, one of Puglia’s largest cities. Or consider a trip to Bari or Gallipoli – both great stops on your Puglia road trip. If you’re having trouble choosing where to stay, check out the 11 best luxury villas in Puglia .

Ostuni, Puglia, Italy

Southern Italy Road Trip: Stop 4 – Sicily Itinerary

As you can see, the drive from Puglia to Sicily is a long one. You could do it in a day, but you might be more comfortable breaking it up over a few nights. The fastest ferry route to Sicily is from Reggio Calabria and it takes around half an hour.

This is one of the best parts of the itinerary, so there’s a chance you may want to book a dedicated holiday for your Sicily road trip, as there’s so much to see and do. Adventure lovers might want to climb Mount Etna. Over 3500m high, you can get pretty high up with minimal effort, as there’s a cable car to get you up to 2500m!

Views of Etna from Taormina, Sicily

In terms of beauty, Taormina is one of the prettiest hilltop towns in Sicily. It’s home to a theatre built by the ancient greeks, several historic churches, and pretty streets filled with colourful market stalls and restaurants.

It’s also a gorgeous region for hotels, with everything from cute boutique hotels to grand resorts. My guide to the best beach resorts in Sicily will help you pick where to stay!

Taormina coastline - a perfect place to finish your southern Italy road trip itinerary

Nature lovers will enjoy bird-spotting in the reserves, or you can spend time enjoying the sandy beaches of picturesque Cefalu or Mondello.

Taormina, Sicily

It doesn’t seem long ago that I spent a week sailing around Sicily’s Aeolian Islands – something I’d recommend in a heartbeat if you have a bit longer to spent in the region. I hiked Stromboli Volcano, took a mud bath on Vulcano island, and went wine tasting in Salina. The islands are gorgeous, varied and have a wonderful old world charm that I found very comforting.

Hiking Stromboli Volcano, Sicily

When Is The Best Time To Visit Southern Italy?

Italy has a Mediterranean climate and is a lovely destination to visit all year round.

Temperatures vary by region, but as a quick example, you can expect average temperatures of around 0°C in around Cortina (a ski resort in the mountains) in January, and as high as 37°C in July in cities such as Milan and Venice. Temperatures in the south remain mild in winter, making destinations like Puglia and Sicily great options for a winter holiday.

If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit southern Italy, I’d suggest planning a trip between April and June, or in September or October, just after the peak summer season.

The weather tends to be consistent in these months, but isn’t too hot. Plus, as you’re missing peak season, you should benefit from lower prices and fewer people.

Packing List For Southern Italy

Now you’ve got your route planned out, it’s time to decide what to pack! Here are a few quick suggestions of what to take, with some links to specific items I’d rate picking up before you travel.

Women’s packing list for Southern Italy

Women’s lightweight trousers – It’s good to have some conservative items and not flash too much skin. These are practical, lightweight but a bit cute too! Women’s sundress – Something pretty and not too short for when it’s appropriate. Women’s maxi dress – I quite liked having a longer item or two. If you pair it with a cardigan it’s more conservative too. Women’s midi skirt – I live in items like this in warm countries and have them in multiple colours and patterns. They’re comfortable and not revealing.

women packing list

Women’s shorts – I packed a few pairs. I’d recommend something loose and comfortable like these shorts , and then perhaps some classic denim shorts too. Women’s summer top – I wore a lot of things like this. Neutral colours work best as you can mix and match with shorts and skirts. Plus, you can dress them up or dress them down! Women’s zip up hooded jacket – A few places get chilly, so you’ll want to be able to layer up occasionally. A zip up hoody like this will come in handy. Women’s bikini – You’ll need to pack a couple of items of swimwear. There are so many cute bikinis out there to choose from! Women’s rash guard – Not essential, but if you burn easily (or plan to surf) I’d recommend one of these. This one is great as it has a built-in bra and comes with a pair of matching shorts. Women’s sports vest – I’d recommend one or two sweat-absorbing vests like this for adventurous activities. Women’s sports bra – Ideal for sporty or adventure activities. I prefer sports bras like this Under Armour one which has some built in padding for extra support. Women’s leggings – Leggings are great for active adventures. These Under Armour ones are great as they’re very lightweight. Sarong – A really useful item for any travels in warm countries! Use it as a towel, a cover up, to sit on, to lie on or for a cute addition to an outfit! Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself. Sunglasses – I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!

what to pack for italy for women

Men’s packing list for Southern Italy

Men’s casual shorts – I’d recommend several pairs of comfortable shorts for everyday use. Men’s chinos or jeans – I’d recommend a few pairs of chinos, jeans or cargo pants. Men’s T-shirts – Pack a few options of t-shirts too. Men’s shirts – A few shirts (long or short sleeved) are a good idea. I personally love these linen shirts . They look very cool!

men packing list

Men’s vests – If you sweat a lot, you might find vest tops more comfortable in the heat. Men’s zip up hooded jacket – You might want to layer up if it gets chilly in the evenings. Men’s jumper – A smarter option for keeping warm.   Men’s sports tops – For active days, something like this is really useful as it’s super-absorbent. Men’s sports shorts – If you’re doing some adventurous hikes or activities, you’ll want shorts you can move freely in. Swimming trunks – The more fun the pattern, the better! These ones have pockets and are quick dry too. Baseball cap – Look for one with a mesh back like this one , so it’s more breathable. Sunglasses – You can’t beat a classic pair of these Ray Bans !

what to pack for italy for men

Other general items to pack for Southern Italy

If you’re planning your trip, you should think about more than just clothing when you start packing. Here are a few items I’d recommend adding to your suitcase…

Insect repellent – There are plenty of really good insect repellents like this one . If you’re travelling with kids you might want to buy a specific children’s insect repellent too.

insect repellent

Bite relief – I usually take an after bite / anti-itch cream like this , that helps to soothe any bites. I also swear by this amazing Bite Away Pen , which sends a small electric shock to the itchy part of the bite. It takes a bit of getting used to at first (and sometimes hurts a tiny bit), but it does work. I’ve done a full review of the item (as it goes everywhere with me!!) so feel free to read more here . 

Travel towel – A fast-drying microfibre towel like this one will come in handy on your trip. These are great not only for when you fancy a swim, but also when you want to sit down on the ground or to wipe your sweaty face on a humid day!

microfibre towel

Sun cream – It’s important to apply suncream throughout the day. I’d recommend finding a brand which isn’t too heavy on chemicals, or is almost totally natural, like this one made by Sun Bum . 

sun bum sun cream

Sunglasses – It’s important to protect your eyes when you visit a holiday destination like this one. I’d recommend investing in some high-quality UV protected sunglasses. I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!

Ray Ban

Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself on all of those sunny days!

sun hat

After sun or aloe vera – Don’t forget some soothing cream incase you do burn. I really like this one made by Ultrasun . It’s lightweight and feels lovely on your skin.

Ultrasun after sun

Rain jacket – Be prepared for those sporadic rain showers. As you won’t need it for warmth, I’d recommend a lightweight waterproof jacket that packs down small. Something like this would be perfect.

lightweight womens waterproof jacket

Umbrella – I’d also recommend an umbrella for rainy season. I’d been looking for a super compact option for ages, and finally found this one which fits in my smallest handbag and is nice and sturdy.

Daypack backpack – I used a small backpack for day-to-day adventures, which could fit a water bottle, camera, sun cream and bug spray. I also took a small shoulder bag to use for going for dinner in the evenings. If you’re looking for something nice and small, lightweight, water-resistant and that will fit all your essentials, I’d recommend this daypack . It’s got some very handy zip-up pockets too!

lightweight daypack backpack

Reusable water bottle   – I always recommend packing a reusable water bottle for travel. Even if you can’t drink the tap water, it means you can top up from giant bottles or water coolers rather than buying lots of plastic bottles. Personally I’d recommend the  Chilly’s water bottles . I’ve got a few in different sizes and they are excellent quality!

Chillys water bottles are great for travel

Power bank – It depends how much you use your phone on holiday, but I used mine a lot during my trip, snapping photos and videos along the way. A portable battery pack is a great idea so you don’t have to worry about running out of charge at an important moment.

I have a few made by Anker and they’re great quality and have lasted for a long time. This is the one I’m using at the moment , which is really small (similar size to my phone) but stores lots of charge and has a fast charging capability. 

Plug adapter – I pack this universal travel adapter for all of my travels. It charges multiple items at once, using plugs or USB and can be used anywhere in the world. It’s one of my fave travel gadgets!

Dry bag – I’m really happy I invested in a dry bag like this . It’s made from a thick plastic and is totally waterproof. These dry bags are perfect for adventures on the water, visiting waterfalls, or if you think it’s going to rain heavily. I’d recommend a small one for your phone and camera gear, or a larger one if you want to use it as your main bag for an activity.

Dry bag

Waterproof phone case – Similarly, if you want to take your phone out and about in the water, I’d recommend getting a waterproof phone case. There are quite a few to choose from, but I’d recommend reading the reviews! You need this to protect your phone and be 100% watertight after all! I bought these Moko cases myself and my partner and they’ve been great. We’ve used them on several trips snorkelling and to waterfalls now, and no leaks!

waterproof phone case

I hope you’ve enjoyed my southern Italy road trip itinerary. Let me know where you decide to go and what your highlights are! As mentioned, this is probably best spread out and followed at a slower pace, so if you’re looking for a southern Italy itinerary for 14 days, it’s ideal!

Looking to explore more of the country? Check out my northern Italy road trip itinerary ! 

I honestly think this is the best south Italy itinerary as it’s got a bit of everything. If you want to save it to help with your trip planning, how about pinning it for later… 

The ultimate southern Italy road trip

Chloe Gunning

With a passion for food, fun and adventure, Chloe is the content creator behind one of the UK's top travel blogs Wanderlust Chloe. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua, to sailing around Sicily and eating her way around Japan, her travels have taken her to some of the coolest spots on the planet. Named Travel Influencer of the Year in 2022, Chloe regularly works with a number of tourism boards, producing inspirational travel content across multiple platforms. Find out more about Chloe here.

1 thought on “The Ultimate Southern Italy Road Trip: Routes, Sights, Guides, Maps And More”

I haven’t been to Italy since I was a teenager! Now I’m trying to figure out why it’s hasn’t been higher up my list?? Those pictures make me want to be there now! Thanks for the inspiration and the tips! ?

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The Gap Decaders

Southern Italy: Discover the Best 33 Places To Visit

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The Best Places to Visit in the South of Italy

One of the oldest inhabited regions in Europe, Southern Italy is awash with archaeological sites, beautiful small towns, picture perfect beaches, and local culture.

Known for its warm Mediterranean climate, diverse landscapes, history influenced by the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Normans, and its delicious cuisine, Southern Italy is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s most popular destinations.

One of our favorite places in Europe to visit, we share the very best Southern Italy destinations, from heel to toe and everything in between, including the well-known big hitters and a few lesser-known hidden gems.

best places to visit in italy south

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Where is Southern Italy?

Southern Italy, also known as Meridione or Mezzogiorno in Italian, is a macroregion of Italy made up of the regions of Abruzzo, Apulia (Puglia), Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, and Sicily.

The regions of Southern Italy form the lower part of the Italian ‘boot’, including the ankle which is Campania, the toe of Calabria, the arch of Basilicata, and Puglia which makes up the heel. Molise is located to the north of Puglia and Abruzzo is further north still.

The island of Sicily is separated from Calabria by the narrow Strait of Messina, and the heel and toe are parted by the Gulf of Taranto.

RELATED POST: The Ultimate Bucket List Italy Road Trip

Southern Italy Map

Is this your first time visiting Italy? Get all the information you need in our Italy Travel Guide , including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there, and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

The most northerly and largest region in Southern Italy, Abruzzo has a diverse landscape made up of an Adriatic coastline and the Apennine Mountains. National parks and nature reserves cover much of its rugged and forested interior and there are a number of hilltop towns dating to the medieval and Renaissance periods.

Civitella del Tronto

Civitella del Tronto, situated in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park of Italy, is a remarkable cliff-top town that boasts the largest fortress in Italy and the second largest in Europe.

The village is considered one of Italy’s most beautiful, with its striking fortress dominating the hillside above the charming village below, surrounded by high mountains.

The fortress, built in the 16th century and transformed by Philip II of Habsburg, King of Spain, was the last to fall to the armies of Emanuele I. Although largely destroyed by the locals, a major renovation project took place between 1975 and 1985, and the fortress is now open to the public.

After admiring the fortress and its views, visitors can explore the gorgeous small town with its stone buildings dating from medieval and Renaissance times, narrow stone-paved roads, and interesting architectural details on the houses.

In addition to its fortress, the town has some important religious buildings, such as the Abbey of Santa Maria in Montesanto, which has been recently restored to its 13th century state and is one of the most beautiful monuments in the area.

Hill town surrouned by green fields and woods

L’Aquila, the capital city of the Abruzzo region, is a beautiful medieval town surrounded by the stunning Apennine Mountains, with the Gran Sasso d’Italia massif to the north east.

The town is situated on a hillside in the middle of a narrow valley and is a maze of narrow streets, lined with Baroque and Renaissance buildings, churches, and elegant piazzas.

Earthquakes have marked the history of L’Aquila, as the city is situated partially on an ancient lakebed that amplifies seismic activity. Despite being less than an hour-and-a-half drive from Rome, the city is sparsely visited by tourists but is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Don’t miss the Fountain of the 99 Spouts and the Renaissance castle of Forte Spagnolo during your visit, and if you have time, the nearby Navelli plateau is worth a visit for its fields of saffron crocuses which give Abruzzo its name: ‘the land of yellow gold’.

fountain with different animal and human heads acting as spouts

Scanno is set deep in the Sagittario Valley, high in the Abruzzo mountains, and is perhaps most famous for its glistening heart-shaped lake, Lago di Scanno. If you’re visiting in summer, the lake is a busy camping spot where locals and visitors alike go to swim and paddle board in the turquoise waters, before enjoying various music festivals and hot summer night parties.

Away from the lake, Scanno appears much like any other Italian hill town rising from the mountain in a jumble of buildings and towers. Spend some time here and you’ll find a fantastically well-preserved medieval mountain town with a beguiling history. 

The women of the town in their traditional dress and distinctive headgear have been captured and preserved on camera by some of the best photographers of the 20th century, including Cartier-Bresson and Giacomelli, and were known as the most beautiful women in Italy. Visit the higgledy-piggledy, tiny Museo della Lana to understand the very special photographic history of Scanno.

Amongst the beauty of Scanno’s medieval alleys and honeyed buildings, you will find workshops making and selling traditional local crafts, such as lace and jewelry as well as a handful of good restaurants and bars.  For authentic local food, head to Ristorante Alla Fonte by the church.

jumble of beige colored houses squashed together in a village

Trabocchi Coast

Undoubtedly one of the most captivating Italian territories overlooking the Adriatic Sea is the Coast of the Trabocchi, known as ‘the pearl of Abruzzo’.

The main attraction of this coast is the trabocchi , primitive yet complex fishing platforms constructed of wood that sit over the water. The historic structures resemble giant wooden crabs, or as noted poet Gabriele D’Annunzio wrote, ‘colossal spiders’, with protruding rods and an overall unique form.

Using pulleys and ropes, the elevated arms with nets attached to them are raised and lowered to catch the day’s fish from the clear water below. Today, only 23 remain, and some have become rustic restaurants.

The Costa dei Trabocchi includes the towns of San Vito Chietino, Rocca San Giovanni, Fossacesia, and Vasto, with the trabocchi tucked in coves or on points, accompanied by pebble beaches with crystal-clear water.

sea with walkway and platform holding fishing device

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Basilicata is a region of striking landscapes, characterized by rugged mountains and virgin forests, with occasional breaks for quaint villages and picturesque towns. Located in the instep of Italy’s boot, this fertile land was a battleground for ancient empires for centuries but is now a charming coastal holiday destination.

Castelmezzano

Castelmezzano is one of the most beautiful hidden treasures of Basilicata. It is also one of the two stations for the Flight of the Angel , the highest zipline in the world, which connects with Pietrapertosa on the opposite side of the valley, surrounded by the dramatic Lucanian Dolomites.

Entering the small village is an unusual experience, as you pass through a tunnel dug into the rock after crossing a spectacular gorge. Upon exiting the tunnel, Castelmezzano appears, perched and protected by the surrounding mountains.

The urban structure of Castelmezzano is typically medieval, with a concentric cluster of houses with sandstone slab roofs set in a rocky basin. Walking through the historic center is particularly evocative due to the presence of buildings cut into the bare rock and numerous steep stairs that open up between the alleys.

Of note is Santa Maria dell’Olmo with its majestic Romanesque style façade, which stands in Piazza Caizzo at the heart of the town.

colorful houses against a rocky backdrop

A unique and unforgettable tourist destination in Basilicata, Matera is renowned for its extensive cave dwellings, the  Sassi   di Matera . Visitors can stay in caves, wander through the picturesque lanes alongside the cave-filled cliffs, and learn about the fascinating history of this place.

The caves of Matera have been inhabited for centuries, with some humble and some smarter residences. However, by the early twentieth century, the area was known for poverty. Until the 1950s, hundreds of families were still living crowded into cave houses, leading to squalor and malaria-ridden conditions.

The situation became a national scandal in Italy, and the cave residents were eventually moved by law to modern buildings on the plateau above. By the 1980s, the abandoned caves of Matera were no longer scandalous but fascinating reminders of the past.

Some of the wealthier residents moved back and renovated old cave houses and in 1993, Matera was made one of Italy’s newest UNESCO World Heritage sites for being ‘the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem’.

Since then, Matera has become increasingly popular as an off-the-beaten-track tourist destination. More and more old cave houses are being converted into comfortable modern dwellings, hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants, and visitors can take guided tours of the sassi and visit historic reconstructions of cave life.

cave houses in an Italian city

Pollino National Park

The Pollino National Park , covering 1,925 square kilometers, is the largest natural park in Italy. Its unique landscapes and complex environments earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015.

The protected area consists of the Pollino and Orsomarso massifs, home to some of the highest peaks in southern Italy, including Serra Dolcedorme, standing at 2,267 meters and offering stunning views of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas.

Make sure to seek out the oldest tree in Europe, a Loricate Pine that is around 1,230 years old, and the natural thermal pool of Grotte Delle Ninfe in Cerchiara, which is rich in minerals and mud, ideal for skin treatments.

The park’s waterways feature deep gorges and wide valleys, perfect for sports such as rafting, canyoning, and canoeing. Nature enthusiasts can indulge in trekking, hiking, and mountain biking, with some excellent trails just waiting to be explored.

large pointed rock agains woods and forests

The subject of a thousand Instagram posts, the charming village of Rotondella is easily recognizable from above, with its houses nestled closely together and its streets winding up the hill in a distinctive spiral.

Known as ‘the balcony on the Ionian Sea’ for its breathtaking views of the stunning Lucanian Sea, Rotondella remains one of Basilicata’s hidden gems despite its photogenic fame.

Rotondella has a long and rich history that dates back to ancient times when it was first inhabited by the indigenous population of the region. Over the centuries, it came under the influence of different civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans, and Aragonese.

In the medieval period, Rotondella thrived as a crucial agricultural center, renowned for its olive groves and vineyards. Its strategic location along ancient trade routes also contributed to its historical importance, and the legacy of this can be seen in the historic center which is characterized by narrow cobblestone streets, ancient buildings, and charming squares.

colourful houses built in a circular pattern aruound a conical hill

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Calabria forms the metaphorical toe of the Italian boot and is often referred to as the ‘Caribbean of Europe’ due to its unspoiled beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and rustic charm. The countryside is dotted with hillside towns, ancient Greek temples, and Byzantine churches, making it one of Italy’s best-kept secrets.

Catanzaro is known as the ‘City Between Two Seas’ because of its location on the Isthmus of Catanzaro, Italy’s narrowest point, which separates the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts and is just 35 kilometers long.

Also known as the city of the three V’s, Catanzaro is named after its three distinct features. The first ‘V’ stands for Saint Vitalian, the patron saint of the city. The second ‘V’ represents velvet, as Catanzaro has been an important silk center since Byzantine times, producing the finest silks, velvets, damasks, and brocades.

The third ‘V’ symbolizes wind, as the city experiences strong breezes from the Ionian Sea and La Sila, a nearby mountainous plateau. The “VVV” symbol was used to identify Catanzaro’s silk industry for both domestic and foreign markets and became an icon for the city’s finest fabrications.

The historic center of the city boasts several significant monuments, including the Duomo where you can admire the Madonna and Child, a 16th century statue by Antonello Gagini da Messina. The Norman Tower, which has a square and crenelated shape, is the only remaining structure of the ancient Norman castle.

large church in centre of historic old town

Cosenza, also known as the ‘City of the Bruzis’, is one of the oldest cities in Calabria. It is situated on seven hills in the valley of the Crati River, near the confluence of the Busento tributary.

The city’s origins date back to the fourth century BCE when it became strategically important for the Bruzi family. The old town, which clings to the slope of the Pancrazio Hill near the banks of the Crati, evokes its medieval atmosphere and history. Since the late 19th century, the new town has been expanding across the plain below.

In recent years, Cosenza has seen a revival of its vibrant past. The historic center is among the oldest and most beautiful in Italy, featuring monumental buildings, manor houses, churches, and narrow winding alleys that attest to its conformity.

Cosenza’s historic old town is packed with beautiful medieval and Baroque buildings including the the iconic 11th century Duomo di Cosenza on Piazza XV Marzo.

Other notable places to explore are the San Domenico Church, the Church of Sant’Agostino, and the ancient Castle of Cosenza, which dates back to the 13th century and offers panoramic views of the city and surroundings.

For more stunning views, hike to the top of Mount Pollino, located just outside of Cosenza. 

statue of a seated man in front of historic buildings

San Nicola Arcella

San Nicola Arcella is a charming coastal town located on the Tyrrhenian Sea coast that offers visitors a blend of historical heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and a relaxing Mediterranean atmosphere.

During the medieval period, San Nicola Arcella became an important coastal town due to its strategic location along the Tyrrhenian Sea. The town’s historical legacy is reflected in its ancient buildings, churches, and historical landmarks.

One of the highlights of San Nicola Arcella is the Arcomagno Beach, a stunning cove with crystal-clear waters and a natural arch formation accessible by boat or on foot through a scenic trail and nearby Dino Island, also known as Isola di Dino, is a small island known for its white cliffs and sea caves.

rock arch above turquoise water with a shingle beach in the foreground

Scilla is a captivating coastal village situated on the west coast of Calabria, known as ‘the jewel of the Costa Viola’.

This charming fishing village is reminiscent of famous spots on Italy’s Cinque Terre, with a patchwork of colored houses overlooking the calm waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Despite its beauty, Scilla remains virtually undiscovered by tourists.

Its location on the Strait of Messina, which connects Calabria to Sicily, offers a rich history with over 2,000 years of traditions in fishing for swordfish. According to ancient Greek legends, Scilla was home to the sea monster Scylla, one of the two monsters (alongside Charybdis) who guarded the Strait of Messina and terrorized Odysseus as he sailed the seas.

Today, Scilla is an enchanting town to visit, with charming streets to wander, a castle to explore, a sweeping beach, and extraordinary sunsets.

harbour of a trypical Italian fishing village and a castle perched on a rock

Tropea is a picturesque town that overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea as it juts out from the top of Italy’s toe. The stretch of land along which Tropea is located is known as the Costa degli Dei or Coast of the Gods.

Tropea’s allure is not new. Legend has it that Hercules founded the town upon return from his labors at the Pillars of Hercules, today’s Strait of Gibraltar.

Visitors will find the hero’s name gracing the main square, Piazza Ercole. However, Tropea’s history goes beyond the mythological, with discoveries of ancient Greek tombs and a Roman port in the area.

The old town perches over the sea, and Tropea’s antique palazzi are built right to the edge of the rock, which drops straight down to Tropea Beach below, providing panoramic views.

sandy beaches separated by a rocky promotary

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Campania is a region renowned for its mild climate, fertile land, and breathtaking landscapes, and is home to some of Italy’s most iconic tourist attractions. The territory is mostly characterized by gentle hills, the Matese mountains, that border Molise, and the rugged Irpinia area.

Amalfi Coast

From Sorento to Salerno, the incredible Amalfi Coast boasts several gorgeous towns, like Amalfi and Ravello. Yet, Positano is the best-known of Amalfi’s towns and arguably the most beautiful.

Positano has beautiful beaches, like Spiaggia Grande, Fornillo, and Arienzo and the town is a jumble of narrow cobbled streets and pretty squares. In one of the streets is the Santa Maria Assunta Church, a must-see, which features a beautiful, tiled dome.

Avid hikers will delight in the Path of the Gods , a scenic trail that offers stunning views of the Amalfi Coast. The trail starts in Bomerano and ends in Nocelle, with several vantage points along the way.

For a different perspective of the Jenga-like pastel-painted houses as they tumble towards the sea, take a boat trip and visit the Blue Grotto cave and nearby Capri for a taste of the high life!

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coloured houses on a hillside on the Amalfi Coast

Ischia, an island that has long been overshadowed by its fashionable neighbor Capri, is having a moment, but managing to retain its deep authenticity.

The island is part of a trio of islands known as the Phlegraeans off Naples, which also includes Capri and Procida. However, Capri’s popularity with day-trippers often makes the island a victim of over-tourism. In contrast, Procida is the smallest of the three and has never received much attention, although it is worth a visit for its pastel villages and artisan workshops.

Ischia’s charm lies in its position between being both newly fashionable and authentic. Although there is development, particularly in the hotel sector, there are still simple bars, beach clubs, and harbors that are more likely to dock fishing boats than super yachts.

The island is home to several delightful villages, such as Forio, Ischia Ponte, Sant’Angelo, and Casamicciola, and boasts natural thermal spas, lush vineyards, and deserted coves, making it easy to see why it is quickly becoming one of Italy’s up-and-coming destinations.

Island surrouned by green seas and a small bridge

Mount Vesuvius

Vesuvius is one of three live volcanoes in Italy, the other two being Mount Etna in Sicily and Stromboli, which is one of the Aeolian Islands and has produced some of the continent’s largest volcanic eruptions.

It sits in the crater of the ancient Somma volcano, overlooking the Bay and the City of Naples, and is best known for the catastrophic eruption in 79 CE, which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Despite its last eruption occurring in 1944, Vesuvius still poses a significant threat to the cities surrounding it, particularly the bustling metropolis of Naples.

Nevertheless, you can take a steady hike up Vesuvius for around 30 minutes before you plateau out onto the rim. The rim is very clearly defined with a path about 75% of the way around and much of the route is lined with wooden barriers to stop you from getting too close to the edge.

Don’t expect to see fire and brimstone spewing out of the crater, but you will see plenty of steam and can feel the heat coming off the crater in waves. The panoramic views of the Bay of Naples are spectacular.

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Mount Vesuvius with Naples in the foreground

Naples, or Napoli for Italians, is a bustling port city with a population of 4.4 million inhabitants, known as ‘Neapolitans’, and is the third largest city in Italy.

Despite its lively and chaotic nature, Naples boasts a long and rich cultural history dating back 3000 years. While the city may initially appear dilapidated and neglected, it is home to many beautiful churches, museums, and monuments and the historic center is a UNESCO site.

As the birthplace of pizza, espresso, and football legend Diego Maradona, who played for SC Napoli, Naples has been a popular destination for city trips for years and is becoming more popular every year. Despite its increasing popularity, Naples offers a more authentic and less touristy feel than Rome or Venice .

Naples is home to many Neapolitan churches in Baroque and Renaissance styles, each with its own atmosphere and identity. The Duomo di Napoli, the city’s cathedral, houses the treasures of patron saint San Gennaro. Three times a year, his clotted blood liquefies, and if it doesn’t happen, it is believed to bring disaster upon Naples.

History enthusiasts will enjoy the National Archaeological Museum, which houses ancient artifacts from the Roman Empire and the ancient Catacombs of San Gennaro beneath the city. You can also visit the Royal Palace of Naples, built in the 17th century, to see marvelous frescoes, art, and furniture.

a narrow cobbled street in Naples with washong hanging from balconies

The Archaeological Park of Pompeii is located at the foot of the Vesuvius volcano.

The original city was founded around the 8th century BCE by the Osken people. While many cities in Campania were built by Greek settlers, Pompeii was an exception due to the fertile soil around the volcano.

Pompeii was conquered several times throughout its history, first by the Etruscans in the 6th century BCE, and in the 5th century BCE, it was conquered by the Samnites, like the rest of Campania. These conquests came to an end when the Romans defeated the Samnites in the 4th century BCE.

The Romans fortified the city of Pompeii, but the inhabitants did not take kindly to the conquest and revolted. The Romans did not let this go unpunished and in 81 BCE, Pompeii, having been besieged by the Romans, became an official Roman province.

In 62 CE, a major earthquake struck, causing chaos and severe damage to the city. Some of the inhabitants of Pompeii fled, but some stayed in the city to rebuild it, not knowing that this earthquake was the prelude to a much greater disaster.

Pompeii was completely covered in a meter-high layer of ash from a huge Vesuvius eruption in 79 CE. During the eruption, around 20,000 people lived in the area and it was also a much-visited holiday destination for the Romans. Although a large number managed to flee the city, over 1,000 human remains were found in the Pompeii ruins alone.

The volcanic eruption pushed cities like Pompeii and Herculaneum into oblivion. Finally, in the year 1599, the city was found during the digging of a canal and later in the 18th century, efforts were made to remove the two cities from the ash layer.

Today, Pompeii is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions and also a thriving site for historians and archaeologists, partly because of the ash layer, meaning everything that remained in the city has been extremely well preserved.

Ruins of Pompeii with Vesuvius in the background

The smallest region in South Italy, Molise is an area rich with historical and cultural heritage, and an abundance of locally produced food and wine. This Italian hidden gem boasts a magnificent coastline with awe-inspiring cliffs, stunning natural reserves, and picturesque villages that appear to be frozen in time.

The capital of Molise, Campobasso is situated in the high basin of the Biferno River, surrounded by the stunning Sannio and Matese mountains.

The city is renowned for its skilled blade craftsmanship, including scissors and knives, a tradition that dates back to the 14th century, locally grown succulent pears, and delicious Scamorza cheese.

One of the city’s main attractions is the Castello Monforte, which was built in 1450 by the local ruler, Nicola II Monforte, on Lombard or Norman ruins. The castle has Guelph merlons, a style of crenelated parapet, and is situated on a commanding point, where traces of ancient settlements (including Samnite walls) have been discovered.

The magnificent old town of Campobasso is situated around the castle and its walls. It is renowned for its intricate network of alleys and winding stairways, resembling a labyrinth of ancient stone buildings that still maintain their distinctive characteristics. These include small courtyards or internal gardens, as well as rich decorations, friezes, and stuccoes, dating back to the noble families who once owned them.

old builsings in the historic town of Campobasso

Isernia is a small sleepy town surrounded by hills that are renowned for producing exquisite red, white, and rosé Italian DOC wines.

Despite enduring several episodes of destruction, Isernia has managed to preserve a significant number of archaeological remains and the historical center still maintains the same layout as the Roman cities, featuring a large raised market street, surrounded by numerous alleys and small squares.

The town is a photographer’s dream, with narrow atmospheric alleys capturing rays of light that bounce of buildings in every shade of terracotta from the palest putty to the deepest baked orange clay.

Don’t miss the 14th century Duomo di Isernia, a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Apostle Peter. The cathedral is situated in the Piazza Andrea in the old town and stands on the site of an Italic pagan temple of the 3rd century BCE.

Its present appearance is the result of many renovations, occasioned partly by numerous earthquakes and partly by building refurbishments.

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Originally a fishing port, Termoli is on the Adriatic coast and today is a popular holiday destination with Italian families.

The old town has been meticulously restored and is a genuine walled community that protrudes into the sea. Many of the houses have been rebuilt and painted in a range of pastel colors, adding to the town’s charm.

In the central square, visitors can find the 12th century cathedral, and nearby is the Castello Svevo of Termoli, the most prominent structure in the town.

Built by Count Robert I of Loritello during the middle ages and extensively renovated during the rule of Frederick II after being damaged in an attack by the Venetian fleet, the Castle was part of a fortification system, which included a wall surrounding the entire city, of which only a tower remains visible today.

Termoli’s resorts are renowned for their pristine beaches and the relative purity of their waters, and the town makes a great base from which to explore the hilltowns of Larino, Casacalenda, Montorio, and Montelongo, which still preserve a rural way of life that is disappearing in other, more developed, parts of Italy.

A busy beach with green a d white umberellas

Probably the best known of the regions in Southern Italy, Puglia, or Apulia , is the heel of Italy’s boot. Blessed with rolling countryside, miles of gorgeous beaches, vibrant towns, and delicious local olive oil, Puglia epitomizes the best of Italy without the crowds. Whether you’re a sun worshipper, culture vulture, or foodie, Puglia will tick all those boxes and more.

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Alberobello

For many, UNESCO Alberobello is the pinnacle of a Puglia trip, home of the famous Alberobello Trulli houses; a distinctive circular building with a conical roof. Trulli are built from local limestone stacked without using mortar and are considered one of the best examples of vernacular architecture in Europe.

The walls and openings of these round houses are generally whitewashed and the stone roof tiles often have religious, pagan or magical symbols painted on them. The origins of the Trulli are obscure although the name is also applied to ancient ground tombs found in the Roman countryside.

We found the Trulli site a little Disneyesque and overcrowded with day trippers. We much preferred the rural Trulli houses found in the Murge dei Trulli; they somehow seemed to sit better in the natural surroundings.

A walking tour is a good way of understanding the history and architecture of the Trulli houses and seeing some of the off-the-beaten-track highlights. 

Once you’ve finished admiring the trulli, head for Vino & Amore, a fabulous deli with a tasting room in the non-trulli part of town. The owner is passionate and enthusiastic about the local produce and will give you spot-on suggestions and descriptions for your lunch. Go there and eat lots of fabulous local produce and drink a glass of local wine. You won’t regret it.

Trulli houses of Alberobello

Gallipoli is a charming small port town on the west coast of the heel. Head for the small island across the Ponte Papa Giovanni II, past the medieval Gallipoli Castle, and you’ll find a vibrant and busy tangle of streets and alleys. There is an old-world feel here and you can easily imagine what it must have been like 50 years ago.

Get off the main arteries and into the mass of houses, churches, and small family-run restaurants to experience the real Gallipoli. Whitewashed walls with the plaster chipping off and washing hanging from balconies covered in bougainvillea and wisteria just add to the ambiance.

There are numerous small churches and chapels, all with extraordinary doors, often carved from one piece of wood. Gallipoli is a photographer’s dream, every alley has an angle, every corner a surprise. You could wander for hours and never get lost – just keep going and eventually, you’ll get to the sea!

Head for the Basilica Cattedrale di Sant’Agata. The cathedral sits on the highest point of the island and has an incredibly ornate exterior. The interior is also ornate but where the outside is softened by the color of the stone and natural light, the inside is dark and feels a little forbidding, but the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into such buildings never fail to impress.

A narrow street lined with tall houses leading to the sea

Lecce is often called ‘the Florence of the south’, due to the beautifully carved stone Pietra di Lecce, used in much of the 17th century Lecce Baroque style buildings.

Head for the old town, to the west of Castello Carlo V. Coming from the castle, you will arrive in the Piazza Sant’Oronzo, complete with a partially visible Roman amphitheater and a pretty dodgy 1970s clock tower which rather spoils the effect!

A central square is a great place for lunch, spending an hour or so with a tasty pizza and a glass of local wine means you can absorb the beauty of the pale Pietra di Leccastone at your leisure.  

Stroll along Via Vittorio Emanuele for shops, gelaterias, and cafés before arriving at the magnificent Piazza Duomo which not only houses the Duomo but the Palazzo Vescovile, a 70m campanile and a seminary, built by Giuseppe Zimbalo , known as Lo Zingarelli or ‘tiny gypsy’ in the 1600s.

You will have to pay and entrance fee to visit the Duomo…sometimes you can see too many churches, but the medieval crypt in this one is worth the entry fee. Studded with over 100 columns in serried ranks, the crypt is beautifully simple, the columns carved intricately and so differently to the fussy Baroque style in the cathedral above.   

Further along Via Vittorio Emanuele, you will find paper-mâché workshops, Lecce’s other claim to fame.

Other must-sees in Lecce are Porta Rudie, the 18th century city gate through which everyone who entered the city in ancient times would have passed; Santa Croce, the church built between 1549-1679 has a stunning rose window by Zimbalo and Chiesa del Rosario said to be Lo Zingarello’s finest work, with an ornate and detailed exterior.

If you’ve had enough of churches and religious buildings, wander the back streets of the old town not forgetting to look up at the fabulous architecture, and then head to one of Lecce’s beaches, like Punta Prosciutto, Torre Lapillo, or Porto Cesareo.

ancient Roman amphitheater

Built atop a hill, you’ll see Ostuni in the distance as you arrive through the lush Valle d’Itria. The so-called ‘ La Citta Bianca ‘ or ‘the white city’ (although the Italian is so much more romantic!) is a maze of alleys, stairs, dead ends, and glimpses of the Adriatic.

Head for the old town where the citadel at the top of the hill is still fortified by the ancient walls. This is where you will see the white walls and white-painted buildings that give the town its name, and from Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, the sunset over the Adriatic is one of the best we’ve seen.

Ostuni is one of the best places in Puglia for simply meandering, it’s a town just begging to be wandered! Make sure you wander in the morning or late afternoon after the long lunch break, this is when the town is at its most vibrant and lively.

Consider taking a walking tour here. Because of the maze-like nature of the citadel, it is easy to miss the best sights. Stop often for gelato and coffee to soak up and enjoy the atmosphere.

white houses of Ostuni with the contracting stone cathedral at the highest point

Santa María di Leuca

Santa Maria di Leuca, often referred to as simply Leuca, is at the southernmost point of the heel and sits on a promontory between the Ionian and Adriatic seas.

The Greeks called this place Leukos, meaning ‘brilliant sun’, and it was a prominent place in Magna Graecia , the name given by the Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy that were extensively populated by Greek settlers. Little did they know it would come to have some of the best beaches in Southern Italy and become a must-see place on any Puglia itinerary!

Leuca was a simple local fishing village until the end of the 19th century when tourists started to visit, attracted by the crystal clear waters and beautiful scenery. Many wealthy southern Italians made Leuca their summer residence and they built large and ornate villas which still decorate the seafront.

Head up to the lighthouse, which is the second most important in Italy after Genova. Next to the lighthouse sits the simple yet beautiful Basilica Sanctuary of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae (end of the land), built to commemorate the passage of St. Peter here during his journey to Italy.

The views are stunning and sunsets draw a big crowd, so go early and wait it out with a beer if you want the best spot!

Evenings on the seafront are family-orientated and busy. There are lots of food vans selling crepes, gelato, and pizza along the promenade, as well as a number of restaurants and bars. Look out for the saltwater pool, when the surf is up, the waves crashing against it are mesmerizing.  

Just above the port is the Cascata Monumentale Di Leuca, the last point of the Apulia Aqueduct, a project that was started in 1868 and was not finished until 1941. The Cascata , which is 300 steps high, is not operated often and there is no set timetable, but you may be lucky during the summer months and even luckier to see a night operation where it is spectacularly lit. Check at the local Tourist Office for information.

There are a lot of sea caves to the east of Leuca which can only be explored by boat and all along the sea-front you will see signs for boat tours. You can visit  Grotta Della Poesia , the Cave of Poetry, by car from Leuca. This dramatic swimming hole is located in Roca Vecchia and is well worth a detour with your towel and swimmers in the boot of your hire car.

The seafront of an Italian town lined with palm trees

Taranto is home to the Tarantella, Italy’s lively and graceful folk dance. It was alleged that victims of the tarantula’s bite could cure themselves by frenzied dancing which sweated out the poison.

The dance is characterized by light, quick steps, and a teasing flirt and only takes place privately in Taranto at 6am on 29th June, every year to celebrate the Feast of St Peter and St Paul.  It is the only known place where the dance has survived.

The picturesque Città Vecchia is an island dividing the Mare Grande from the Mare Piccolo and was the site of the Roman citadel, Tarentum. The old town today is still laid out as it was in 967 CE.

There are now less than 1,000 people living on Città Vecchia, in a city of some 200,000 residents. The Duomo, founded in 1071, has been the object of much subsequent rebuilding and includes a catacomb-like crypt with sarcophagi and painted frescoes. Behind the Duomo is the 11th century San Domenico Maggiore with its high, double-approach Baroque staircase.

The impressive Castello Aragonese, the huge castle built by Frederick of Aragon in the 15th century, dominates the eastern corner of Città Vecchia.

Wander the streets, soak up the atmosphere and people-watch to your heart’s content, then head for the lively fish market for lunch. Held in a magnificent Art Deco building, you can buy and eat the fabulous and abundant shellfish, for which Taranto is famous.

colourful flower filled street lined with old buildings

Sicily is a gem of an island. Rich in Greek and Roman architecture, with stunning Baroque towns dotting the landscape, incredible natural wonders, and a beguiling capital city, Sicily has a wealth of experiences for you to discover and explore.

RELATED POST: Sicily Road Trip – Itinerary, Tips & Map

South of Agrigento town, the Valley of the Temples has an incredible entrance. Perched along the top of a ridge, the temple ruins are literally lined up and waiting for you to explore.

Start early before the tour buses and day-trippers arrive and spend an idyllic morning with the UNESCO World Heritage site to yourselves. Marvel at the fact that you can walk through and around the temples and ruins and touchstone that was quarried and chiseled thousands of years ago.

The rediscovery of this ancient site began towards the end of the 18th century when the first European travelers reached Sicily and discovered an unexpected and vast archaeological heritage.

The highlights are the Temple of Concordia , built around the 5th century and located along the Via Sacra. One of the best-preserved temples, the name Concordia comes from a Latin inscription found near the temple itself.

The Temple of Heracles is the oldest. Much of the temple was destroyed by wars and natural disasters and today has only eight columns left. The Temple of Castor and Pollux, the twin brothers born to Jupiter and the Queen of Sparta, has only four columns left and has become the symbol of Agrigento.

Not far from the Valley of the Temples is Scala dei Turchi or ‘stair of the Turks’, so called because marauding Turkish pirate ships were known to find shelter in the bay.

On first inspection, the cliffs of Scala dei Turchi seem too perfect and too white to actually be real. But real they are and made of soft limestone and blinding white marl, shaped, smoothed, and buffed over millennia by the sea and wind to look like a giant meringue, rising up from an impossibly blue surrounding sea.   

ancient temple with a contemporary bronze statue of Icarus in the foreground

Cefalù, recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, is situated on the northern coast.

The town is dominated by a monumental rock rising to a height of 270 meters, which was already known to the Phoenicians as the promontory of Hercules. The Temple of Diana, a megalithic building linked to the cult of water, stands on the rock and is accompanied by a nearby cistern dating back to the 5th century BCE.

The historic quarter of Cefalù lies in the shadow of a towering bastion and is clustered around the Duomo, a colossal cathedral commissioned by Ruggero II the Norman. The outsized proportions of the Basilica are amplified by the ancient megalithic walls, of which evidence remains along the Giudecca cliffs and at the ancient Porta Terra, now Piazza Garibaldi.

Cefalù’s pretty beaches are some of the most stunning on the island, featuring sandy shores and romantic rocky coves, perfect for diving into the crystal-clear waters, and the walk through the ancient gate of Porto Pescara to Spiaggia del Porto Vecchio is a real Instagram moment.

Arhway to thr beach and old port of a Sicilian town

UNESCO listed Mount Etna is Sicily’s biggest natural wonder and Europe’s largest and most active volcano, standing a mighty 3,350m high. After Kilauea on Hawaii, Mount Etna is considered the second most active volcano in the world.  

If that doesn’t put you off, you can get to the summit of Mount Etna, look deep into her craters, and hear the rumbling magma stirring. It’s like a moonscape at the top, with sulfur swirling around the ash-covered landscape, and views that are often above the clouds.

Getting to the top of Mount Etna involves a cable car, a specially adapted bus, and hiking for the 400 meters or so of the ascent with a specialist vulcanologist guide. The sense of achievement and wonder at the top, as the guide shares a flask of local wine with you, is well worth the effort of getting there!

People wearing white helmets hiking down the slopes of Mount Etna

The most complex of all the cities in southern Italy, Palermo has been caught between West and East for millennia. With dazzling buildings, Arab-Norman architecture, hidden corners, and chaotic markets, any visit to Palermo is exhilarating.

You must visit the food market which is on every day and situated in the area around Via Porta Carini. Here you can buy street food, fish, meat, fruit, vegetables and pretty much everything else you can imagine.

You can stop for a coffee and people watch, choose your fish and meat and have it cooked in front of you, to be eaten on a ramshackle table in the open air, or simply wander and take in the colors, sounds, and smells of this fabulous market.  

Must sees include Catalan-influenced Palermo Cathedral; the Palatine Chapel inside the Palazzo dei Normanni, famous for its mosaics and gold decor; the Arab-Norman churches of San Giovanni degli Eremiti and La Martorana; and Fontana Pretoria in what was one called the ‘Squate of Shame’ due to the nudity of the statues!

RELATED POST: One Day in Palermo – Itinerary, Map, Tips & Guide

Busy cobbled street in Palermo, lined with grand houses, flower filled balconies and people sitting at outside tables

Segesta is a glorious temple and Roman amphitheater, incredibly well-preserved and picturesque. Easily accessible on a day trip from Palermo less crowded than the Valley of the Temples, and set in beautiful rolling countryside, the Temple of Segesta is a must-see on any Southern Italy itinerary.

A magical place, the setting between lush rolling hills, with far distant views to the sea and mountains, is perfection. The surrounding fields, with their exact rows of silver-green olive trees and vines, are archetypal Italian and just add to the atmosphere of Segesta.

The architecture of both temple and amphitheater is breathtaking. The temple is particularly interesting due to its unfinished nature and complexity. It is impressive that it has survived as intact as it is, given that until just a few years ago, visitors were able to walk inside and around the columns. 

RELATED POST: Segesta Sicily: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know

Ancient Greek temple on a hill with flowers and grasses in the foreground

Syracuse (or Siracusa) is a city on the Ionian coast of Sicily known for its ruins. It has a vibrant and modern café culture, with lots of great bars and restaurants, and is perfect for an afternoon strolling the pretty streets, window-shopping, and admiring the architecture.

Head for the old town of Ortigia, on an island connected to the new city by the Ponte Umbertino. Cross from new to old and you’ll find yourself in another world, with magnificent ancient churches, a temple, local markets, and even a castle.  

Make sure to visit Piazza Duomo to see the Cathedral, a fascinating mix of pagan temple and Christian church. The Duomo stands on the ruins of a temple dedicated to Athena, built in 480 BCE. Behind the Baroque facade of the cathedral, Doric columns from the original temple are still visible.

Another must-see is the Fonte Aratuse, a fountain originating from a freshwater spring that creates a small semi-circular lake. Here there are fish, geese, and ducks, and the only naturally occurring Papyrus in Europe.  

Walled town surrounded by sea

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best places to visit south of Italy

The Geographical Cure

The Best 10 Days In Southern Italy Itinerary

Planning a trip to southern Italy? You’ve come to the right place. This is the ultimate 10 days in southern Italy itinerary.

Southern Italy is a captivating region known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. It boasts ancient ruins, picturesque coastal towns, and –best of all — delectable pizza.

Southern Italy offers all the pleasures of la dolce vita you’ll find elsewhere in Italy. But it has a slightly more Latin twist. For centuries, it was shaped by Arab, Greek, and Spanish domination.

At its most basic, southern Italy consists of four regions: Campania, Calabria, Puglia, and Basilicata. There are also the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, worlds apart in their own right.

view from Castle Sant'Elmo in Naples

The south boasts a rich array of art and architecture and sites that you simply won’t find in northern Italy — the whitewashed towns and olive groves of Puglia, the sensual drama of Naples, the stunningly beautiful of Capri, or the ancient eerie allure of Matera.

On top of that, you’ll find ancient Greco-Roman ruins, dazzling Baroque churches and towns, and Byzantine sites.

The food is also insanely good in southern Italy. It’s one of the great joys of visiting. Naples is the birthplace of pizza. In general, there’s a strong emphasis on fresh farm to table ingredients and seafood.

I just spent almost 3 weeks in southern Italy. So, I am ready to hand over the best 10 day southern Italy itinerary with some must know tips.

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Overview of 10 Days In Southern Italy Itinerary

Here’s a snapshot glance of what you can see with 10 days in southern Italy.

Day 1 : Naples

  • Day 2 : Pompeii & Vesuvius or Capri
  • Day 3 : Positano
  • Day 4 : Amalfi & Ravello
  • Day 5 : Matera
  • Day 6 : Matera, stop in Martina Franca on the way to Ostuni
  • Day 7 : Ostuni
  • Day 8 : Polignano a Mare & Monopoli
  • Day 9 : Alberobello
  • Day 10 : Lecce

More Time ?

If you have more than 10 days in southern Italy, you could spend more time in Naples at the outset or more time in Puglia at the end of your trip.

The towns of Trani, Brindisi, or Bari in Puglia are all well worth visiting. You could also head further south to the sizzling island of Sicily.

best places to visit in italy south

If you want to spend a bit more time on the glamorous Amalfi Coast instead, here’s a way to tweak this southern Italy itinerary:

  • Day 2 : Pompeii & Vesuvius
  • Day 3 : Capri day trip from Naples
  • Day 4 : Positano
  • Day 5 : Amalfi Town & Ravello
  • Day 6 : Matera
  • Day 7 : Matera
  • Day 8 : Polignano a Mare
  • Day 10 : Ostuni & Monopoli

Bases & Tours For A 10 Day Southern Italy Itinerary

For this southern Italy itinerary, I would recommend 4 bases. You could base for 2 days in Naples, 2 days in either Positano or Ravello, 2 days in Matera, and 4 days in Puglia.

For Puglia, I think the best bases are Ostuni, Monopoli, or Polignano al Mare. They are centrally located, have cute centro storicos , and have train stations if you need them. If you are visiting in summer and want a beach, you might opt for Monopoli.

If you don’t moving around a bit more, you could also stay in a trulli in Alberobello for a 1-2 nights just to have the experience.

Puglia is fairly easy to drive around. Just don’t plunge into the centro storico of any city or town. I would pick up a car on the way out of the Amalfi Coast. Before that, I would use trains, private transfers, buses, or ferries to get around.

Hotel Caruso in Ravello

Best Hotels:

Here are some hotel recommendations, based on hotels I’ve stayed in or checked out myself.

Naples : Eurostars Hotel Excelsior , T he Britannique , G rand Hotel Vesuvio

Positano : Palazzo Mur a ,   L a Sirenuse ,  I l San Pietro ,  H otel Poseidon

Ravello : Hotel Caruso ,  Hotel Villa Cimbrone ,  Palazzo Avino ,  V illa Maria

Matera : Sextantio Le Grotte , Aquatio Cave Hotel & Spa , Palazzo Gattini

Polignano a Mare : Hotel Grotta Palazzese , Giovi Relais

Ostuni : Hotel Relais La Sommita , Paragon 700 , Masseria Le Carrube

Masseria San Domenico

Monopoli : Hotel Don Ferrante , Palazzo Indelli

Alberobello : La Mandorla Luxury Trullo , Trullo Essenza-Trulli Anti Charme & Relax , Romantic Trulli

You might also consider staying in a “masseria” in the Puglia region. They are fortified farmhouses that have been transformed into luxury hotels with large rooms.

I stayed at Masseria Il Melograno (near Monopoli) and Masseria San Domenic o (near Ostuni) when I was touring Puglia. San Domenico is one of the world’s best small luxury hotels and was just stunning!

Il Melograno

Best Tours:

Here are some of the top tours you will want to book in advance:

  • half day tour in Naples with an archaeologist
  • Pompeii entrance ticket
  • Amalfi Coast boat tour
  • Path of the Gods guided walking tour
  • Amalfi vespa tour
  • Matera tour with cave visit
  • Alberobello walking tour with trulli visit
  • Ostuni walking tour
  • Lecce walking tour

Via Tribunali in Naples

10 Days In Southern Italy Itinerary

This south of Italy road trip starts in Naples and ends in Lecce.

Naples should be the starting point for any trip through southern Italy. From the airport, you can taxi or book a private transfer to your hotel.

Naples is the region’s capital and a vibrant, sometimes overwhelming, city. Naples lives by its own rules and has no discernible tourist gloss. It can be a a chaotic assault on the senses.

So, you’ll have to take the gritty with the pretty. But, with its long list of marvels, Naples will please those looking for culture, history, and pizza. For every dirty street, there’s a sumptuous Baroque church.

Santa Chiara Cloister

With only a day in the city, you could follow my one day in Naples itinerary .

I advise spending most of your time in the historic center around Spaccanapoli. The old center is teeming with tiny lanes, ancient palazzi, pizzerias, and ornate churches.

Some of the must see churches include Gesu Nuovo, the Cloister of Santa Chiara , Sansevero Chapel, and the Duomo di Napoli .

Sansevero is a stunning over-the-top Baroque chapel filled with exquisite Baroque sculpture. It’s a must see, but always sold out.

Caravaggio's Flagellation of Christ

Be sure to  b ook a timed entry ticket  online well in advance. Alternatively, if tickets are sold out, you can  book a walking tour  that includes a visit to the chapel.

In Capodimonte and the National Archaeological Museum , Naples has two of Europe’s greatest museums. Art lovers should go to the Capodimonte for its large cache of top rate Renaissance and Baroque art. Those going to Pompeii should get a preview of its treasures at the archaeological museum.

In high season (May to September), I advise  booking a skip the line ticket for the archaeological. museum. I took this  private tour  of the museum with an archaeologist and loved it! 

frescos in Stabian Baths

Day 2: Pompeii & Vesuvius

On day 2, visit Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius from Naples. In Pompeii, explore the well-preserved ancient city buried by Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. 

Walk through homes, baths, theaters, temples, a brothel and the forum. Don’t miss the beautifully restored frescoes in the House of Menander, the House of the Vettii, and the Villa of Mysteries.

Stroll along the historic streets, imagining life in this bustling city over two thousand years ago. 

After Pompeii, head to Mount Vesuvius. The imposing volcano overlooks the Bay of Naples.

crater of Mount Vesuvius

Embark on a hike along the trail and enjoy breathtaking views. Reach the crater’s edge and witness the power of nature that once engulfed Pompeii.

Vesuvius is also known for its wineries. And you can book a winery tour and lunch there.

At a minimum, for day 2, you’ll need to book a  P ompeii entrance ticket , a Mt. Vesuvius entrance ticket , and perhaps a  private transfer to Pompeii .

I also advise booking a  3 hour tour to Pompeii with an archaeologis t  to get the complete historical backdrop. You can also book a  f ull day tour to both Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius . 

For more information and must know tips for visiting, here’s my  complete guide to visiting Pompeii .

view of the Faraglioni rocks in Capri

Day 2 Alternative: Capri

If you’ve already been to Pompeii or just prefer a scenic island, spend day 2 in Capri. You can take the ferry from Naples or book a Capri day trip from Naples .

Capri is one of the most dazzling and seductive islands in the Mediterranean. You’ll be delighted with Capri’s soaring cliffs, shimmering emerald water, whitewashed towns, and historic landmarks.

Capri has two adorable towns, Capri Town and Anacapri. Capri Town is the more glamorous of the duo.

street in Anacapri

In Capri Town, you can go upscale shopping on Via Cammarelle. Or hike along the coastal trail or up to Villa Jovis.

In Anacapri, you can visit the beautiful Villa San Michele, hike to belvederes or tour the Blue Grotto. Capri is also beautiful as seen from the water, so a boat tour or visit to the Blue Grotto is magical.

Here are some of the tours you might consider in Capri:

  • boat tour of Capri
  • 6 hour Blue Grotto visit and walking tour
  • private boat tour with Blue Grotto
  • cooking class with wine pairing
  • tour of Capri Town, Anacapri & Blue Grotto

For more information and tips, you can check out my 2 days in Capri itinerary .

Positano

Day 3: Positano

One day 3, head to the pretty-in-punk pastel town of Positano. You can book a private transfer from Naples to get there.

Start your day in Positano with a stroll along Spiaggia Grande, Positano’s main beach. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the picturesque waterfront. 

Take in the vibrantly colored umbrellas and crystal-clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. If you’re up for it, take a refreshing dip in the sea or rent a lounge chair and relax on the sun-kissed sands.

If you enjoy hiking for views, you will want to hike the the Path of the Gods. This scenic trail offers panoramic vistas of the Amalfi Coast and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. You can do it yourself and book a private transfer to Bomerano (where the trail starts) or take a guided tour . 

After taking in the vistas from the Path of the Gods, descend back to Positano. Treat yourself to a delicious lunch at one of the local trattorias or cafes.

Positano

In the afternoon, pay a visit to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Admire its beautiful dome and stunning Byzantine-style mosaics. 

Explore the charming alleys and narrow streets of Positano. They’re lined with boutique shops, artisanal craft stores, and local art galleries.

Positano is known for its stylish clothing and beautiful ceramics. Pottery spills out on virtually every nook and cranny of the town. 

The best views of the sea-tumbling houses are from the top of Via Christoforo and Via Pasitea.

As the sun begins to set, find a spot at one of the cliffside bars or restaurants with panoramic terraces. Sip on a refreshing cocktail or sample some ice cold limoncello as you watch the sunset.

For dinner, reserve at a restaurant with cliffside views. Options include La Sponda at La Sirenuse Hotel, La Terrace in Hotel Eden Roc, Maestro’s in Villa Treville, or Il Tridente at Hotel Poseidon.

Amalfi Town

Day 4: Amalfi & Ravello

On day 4, visit the towns of Amalfi and Ravello. You can take the bus, the ferry, or go on a guided tour from Positano .

Like Positano, Amalfi Town is carved into a cliff and houses seem to tumble down to the sea.

The main attraction in Amalfi is its gorgeous cathedral. It’s a heady blend of Byzantine, Romanesque, and Moorish styles.

The exterior is covered in mosaics and has a loggia with Moorish arches. A dramatic steep staircase leads to the entrance through the Cloister of Paradise.

The cloister is lovely — filled with frescos, statuary and ancient sarcophagi from Paestum. From there, you can wade through the reliquaries and artifacts in the Diocesan Museum and inspect the cathedral itself. For more information, you can check out my complete  guide to Amalfi Cathedral .

Amalfi Cathedral

If you are interested in ancient trades, you can also check out Amalfi’s Paper Museum. Amalfi was a major producer of handmade paper in medieval times.

The museum is housed in a 13th century paper mill. Guides will demonstrate how paper was made using traditional methods and machinery.

Have a walk through the piazzas and charming back streets of Amalfi. Then, head up to Ravello.

You can hike up via the Valley dei Ferrierre trail or the ever-so-steep Ravello Challenge. Or you can take a bus or taxi.

Ravello is a tiny town. But it’s chock full of high quality ceramic shops. It has a lovely cathedral and two magnificent medieval villas.

bronze doors of Ravello Cathedral

Villa Rufolo is in the Piazza del Duomo next to the cathedral. Its main draw is its magnificent gardens. From the Wagner Terrace, you have stunning views of the Amalfi Coast.

Villa Cimbrone is even better. It’s the epitome of romance.

The grounds are filled with crumbling follies, ancient statuary, rose gardens, and wisteria pergolas. Its belvedere, the Terrace of Infinity, offers up the best panoramic vistas on the entire Amalfi Coast.

For more information on these two towns, you can check out my one day in Amalfi Town itinerary and my 2 days in Ravello itinerary .

Maatera

Day 5: Matera

On day 5, pick up your rental car and head to Matera. Matera is one of Italy’s most alluring sights, thanks to its sassi cave dwellings. It’s the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city at 9,000 years old.

The town looks and feels ancient. It was definitely one of my favorite spots in all of southern Italy.

There are approximately 3,000 cave houses and 150 cave churches. Once the “shame” of Italy, they are now renovated and a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can even stay in a cave hotel!

The best way to see it all is to book a walking tour of the sassi . You can also book a private tour or a food and wine tour .

sassi of Matera

If you want to do it on your own, the two sassi districts (Barisano and Caveoso) can be accessed from several points in town including from Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Piazza Duomo, and Piazza San Francesco. You’ll see signs. The main drag is Strada Panoramic dei Sassi.

You’ll also want to visit some cave churches. The most impressive is the 10th century Santa Maria d’Idris.

It’s perched on a hill and offers up great views of the sassi . Inside, there are some lovely medieval frescos to admire.

video of the sassi of Matera

Just south of the church is a cave museum, the Casa-Grotto di Vico Solaria. You can even see the “mangers” for the donkeys and pigs that once lived inside.

You can also check out some of Matera’s other museums: MUSMA (contemporary scupture), Muse Nazioinale Ridola (archaeology finds), or Museo d’Arte Medieval e Moderna (sacred and contemporary art).

In the evening, take a leisurely walk along Via Ridola. It’s a charming street lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Stop for dinner at a cozy trattoria and sample the local dishes like orecchiette pasta, lamb, and delicious cheeses. I had delicious meals at Baccanti and Ristorante Burro Salato.

Santa Maria d'Idris Church

Day 6: Matera To Puglia

Spend your morning in Matera. Begin your day with a visit to the Matera Cathedral. The entrance is in a side street.

Marvel at its impressive architecture, adorned with intricate details and frescoes. There’s even a cave-like nativity scene. And you can climb the bell tower for great views of the gorge.

Explore the adjacent Piazza Duomo and take in the panoramic views of the Sassi districts from the belvedere.

In the afternoon, head out to the town of Martina Franca on the way to Ostuni in the region of Puglia. It’s about a 1:15 drive from Matera to Martina Franca.

Church of St. Anthony in Martina Franca

The town is built on a hill overlooking olive groves and has an appealing historic center. It’s dominated by the Palazzo Ducale in Piazza Roma. Another main square is the Piazza Plebiscito, home to a beautiful Baroque church.

Have lunch at Trattoria Sant’Anna or Trattoria Pizzeria del Corso. Then, it’s just a 30 minute drive to Ostuni.

Ostuni is one of Puglia’s most appealing hilltop towns, known as the “White City.” It’s a historic settlement that spans three hilltops.

Settle into your accommodation and take an evening stroll through the city.

It’s a maze-like tangle of up and down streets that you’re sure to get lost in. Head to the scenic viewpoints in Ostuni, such as the Belvedere Santa Lucia or the Terrace of Sant’Oronzo, for breathtaking panoramic views.

Have dinner at Taverna della Gelosia or Osteria Ricanatti.

Ostuni

Day 7: Ostuni & Monopoli

In the morning, visit Ostuni’s Spanish-influenced Gothic cathedral. Marvel at its impressive facade and step inside to admire the beautiful interior with its ornate decorations and stunning frescoes.

You could also visit the Archaeological and Civic Museum. It’s a small museum with some interesting artifacts dating back to Paleolithic times. The must see exhibit is the pregnant “mother of the world,” from 28,000 years ago.

But the real joy of Ostuni is just wandering the whitewashed streets. There are flowers at every turn, even a few cats.

I had a delicious lunch at Cielo. it’a an atmospheric place with whitewashed vaulted ceilings.

view of Monopoli's harbor

In the afternoon, drive to the seaside town of Monopoli. It’s a fascinating seaside town with charming narrow streets, a magnificent cathedral, and some great trattorias.

It’s less touristy and has a more lived in feel than towns like Matera or Albrobello. The Monopoli Cathedral is a real must visit. I took shelter in it during a rainstorm, so got to inspect it pretty closely.

In the early evening, take a stroll along the Lungormare. Admire the classic Apulian blue and red fishing boats. There’s an old defensive tower, which you can climb for views.

Enjoy an aperol spritz in Piazza Garibaldi. Then, grab some fresh seafood at one of Monopoli’s many restaurants. I enjoyed La Locanda Sul Porto and Gaia Osteria Popolare.

READ : One Day In Monopoli Itinerary

Lama Monachile in Polignano a Mare

Day 8: Polignano a Mare

On day 8, head to Polignano a Mare, a timeless beauty. It’s a picture perfect whitewashed village that seems made entirely of limestone.

The town’s winding streets are lined with flowering plants. The town offers incredible views over the Adriatic Sea.

Via Roma is the main drag. It’s chic and chock full of chic shops, eateries, and gelato shops.

But the back streets are adorable too. You’ll see poems written on some of the walls and steps.

Polignano is best known for the inlets and coves carved into its shoreline.

Via Roma, the main drag

The most famous of these is right in the center of town, the Lama Monachile Beach. The Grotto Palazzese is a tiny masterpiece that’s home to a cave restaurant and 5 star hotel.

Taking a stroll along the Lungomare Domenico Modugno or the Longomare Cristofero Columbo makes for good viewing. The first one is where you’ll find the famous statue of Volare, the singer songwriter and a Polignano native.

You might consider taking a boat cruise through the coves, a boat cave tour , or a street food tour while in Polignano.

I was in Polignano for a few days so I was able to sample some of its fabulous restaurants. I had fine meals at Osteria dei Mulini, Restaurant Antiche Mura, and Specchie Sant’Oronzo. Even the street food cafe, at Olio su Pane, was delicious.

READ : One Day In Polignano a Mare Itinerary

Rione Monte in Alberobello

Day 9: Alberobello

Alberobello is an incredibly unique and picturesque town in Puglia, known for its iconic trulli houses. Trulli are round stone buildings with conical gray slate roofs. Alberobello has over 1500 of them.

If you can ignore the crowds, the town has a real fairytale vibe, almost like a fantasy film set. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

The trulli are spread out along the eight streets of the Rione Monte. Some of them are adorned with astrological or astronomical symbols on the roofs.

The best way to see them is from one of the town’s many belvederes. There are especially good views from Belvedere Santa Lucia and from the belvedere on the left of the Piazza del Popolo. You could also book a guided walking tour of the trulli.

best places to visit in italy south

Afterward, make your way though the labyrinth of streets of Alberobello. You’ll come across the best known trulli — Trullo Sovrano and the Trullo Siamese.

Be sure to head to the Rione Ain Piccola. It’s a more authentic and less trafficked area with nearly 400 trulli .

Alberobello is also a fun place to take a guided food tour , an e-bike tour with foccacia tasting , or a cooking class .

I had the best focaccia I’ve ever tasted at Enoteca Regionale (made with burnt flour) and learned how to make mozzarella at Mimmo’s trullo.

cityscape with trulli

If you want, you could spend half of the day 9 in Alberobello and half of the day in the cute neighboring town of Locorotondo.

The unique circular town boasts narrow streets, whitewashed houses with sloped roofs called cumerse , and intricate balconies adorned with colorful flowers.

Be sure to see Palazzo Morelli, with its eye catching carved portal. The main church is San Giorgio.

It’s a beautiful Baroque church with an elegant facade and a stunning rose window. Step inside to admire the ornate interior, with its intricate altars and Neapolitan frescoes.

In the Marziolla district, you will find another fascinating collection of trulli .

uins of a Roman amphitheater in Lecce

Day 10: Lecce

Polish off your 10 days in southern Italy with a visit to lavish Lecce. It’s Baroque jewel known as “the Florence of the South.”

It’s also called the “City of Churches” and the “City of Gardens.” To visit the city properly, you can book an architecture tour , zip around on a rickshaw tour , or go on a street food tour .

Lecce is a maze of narrow streets. Its nerve center is Piazza del Duomo.

The square is a stunning architectural ensemble with the magnificent Lecce Cathedral, Palazzo Vescovile (Bishop’s Palace), and the Seminary (which has a beautiful cloister and bell tower). It’s especially lovely in the evening when its lit by floodlights.

The Duomo has an extravagant, highly chiseled facade. It was built by the principal architect of the city’s Baroque transformation, Giuseppe Zimbalo.

Piazza del Duomo

If you proceed down Via Vitttorio Emanuele II, you will arrive at Santa Maria del Rosario. It’s Zimbalo’s last and finest work.

The other main square is Piazza Sant’Oronzo to the east. In the southern part of the square, you’ll find the sunken remains of a Roman amphitheater. it was built by Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century.

At the square’s heart is the Colonna di Sant’Oronzo. You’ll also see two other gems, the 16th century Sedile and the Church of San Marco.

From this square walk north on Via Umberto to see the magnificent Basilica of Santa Croce. It’s the apotheosis of Lecce’s frenzied Baroque architectural style.

nave of the Basilica di Santa Croce

Santa Croce showcases intricate carvings, ornate decorations, and a facade adorned with mythical creatures, dragons, angels, and other symbolic motifs. It is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Italy .

In the early evenings, join the crowds at Piazza Sant’Oronzo for an apertivo . Try a glass of Salice Salentino , a renowned and robust local wine, at Caffe Alvino. There are also some good win bars on Via Umberto.

The city brims with rustic restaurants serving up hearty southern Italian food. Check out Crianza or la Vecchia Osteria da Totu.

best places to visit in italy south

More Than 10 Days in Southern Italy?

If you have more than 10 days, you have several options.

If you are a city person, I would spend more time in Naples at the outset of your trip. The city takes awhile to get under your skin and there are just so many attractions.

You could also spend more time eating your way through Puglia. The towns of Molfetta, Trani, Brindisi, and Otranto are all well worth visiting.

best places to visit in italy south

Another idea is to head further south to Sicily. To do this, you could fly out of Bari Airport or Brindisi Airport to Palermo or Catania.

For ideas on what to do in Sicily, you can check out my blog post on five ways to spend one week in Sicily . I also have itineraries for Syracuse , Trapani , Catania , Taormina , and Palermo .

If you are feeling a bit bushed after 10 days in southern Italy trip, perhaps you just want to lounge on a beach in Cefalu or Taormina.

Alternatively, ruin lusters can explore the island’s fine Greco-Roman ruins in Segesta , the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento , Syracuse Archaeological Park , or the Villa Romano del Casale .

Ostuni

Tips For A 10 Days In Southern Italy Itinerary

Here are some other must know tips for spending 10 days in southern Italy.

1. How To Get To Southern Italy

You’ll want to fly into Naples. It has its own international airport, NAP. It’s also known as Capodichino Airport. 

From the airport, you can take a taxi or  book a private transfer  to your hotel. You can also book a  private transfer from Rome , if you fly in there.

Naples also has a major train station that’s well connected to other cities, Napoli Centrale. 

me in ravelllo9

2. When To Visit Southern Italy

The general rule to to avoid July and August. These are the hottest, most expensive, and busiest months.

This is especially true on the island of Capri and in the Amalfi Coast. I was also told Matera can get up to 120 degrees in summer.

Late April/May is a delightful time to visit. Everything is lush, festooned with flowers, and landscapes look like fresco paintings.

The weather stays good until about late October. So, a fall visit is also a good choice.

alley in Monopoli

3. How To Get Around Southern Italy

For the part of your itinerary centered on Naples and the Amalfi Coast, I wouldn’t get a car. I would use the extensive network of buses, trains, and some private transfers.

The road along the Amalfi Coast offers one of Italy’s most famous drives. But the road is difficult, with hairpin turns and heavy traffic. Plus, rental rates are high. I personally wouldn’t want to drive there.

In general, however, the train system in the south isn’t as good as the north. So, once you depart the Amalfi Coast, I think it makes sense to pick up a rental car for the rest of your trip.

Alberobello

Driving in Puglia is pretty straightforward. The roads are reasonably well maintained, except for small rural roads where you will find potholes. And the traffic is less heavy than more popular places like Tuscany.

4. What To Eat In Southern Italy

Southern Italy is a foodie paradise. The region boasts fresh ingredients, sun-ripened produce, bold flavors, and magical herbs.

Naples is the birthplace of pizza. As Julia Roberts said in the movie Eat, Pray, Love , it’s easy to have a “relationship” with it.

Neapolitan pizza has a thin, soft, and slightly chewy crust. The sauce is made from the delicious crushed San Marzano tomatoes.

In the Amalfi Coast, everything is made with lemons — limoncello liqueur, lemon cakes, lemon delight, lemon pasta, and lemon flavored pastries.

ravioli caprese

The pasta specialities are scialatielli and ravioli caprese . Scialatielli is a type of homemade pasta that is typically served with a flavorful seafood sauce.

You’ll also find an abundance of fish and seafood — mussels, clams, tuna, octopus, shrimp, etc.

In Puglia, the burrata and mozzarella is impossibly smooth and creamy. It’s usually served with fresh tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.

You’ll also find some of the freshest vegetables I’ve ever tasted. The zucchini, artichokes, and eggplant are all delicious.

The homemade pasta is to die for. In Puglia, the specialty is orecchiette . It’s a small ear-shaped pasta. It is often served with a variety of sauces, such as broccoli rabe, cherry tomatoes, and anchovies.

focaccia in Alberobello

Another thing to try is focaccia barese . It’s a delicious variation of the classic Italian flatbread. The bread is generously topped with cherry tomatoes, olives, oregano, and olive oil, creating a burst of flavors in every bite.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 10 days in southern Italy itinerary. You may enjoy these other Italy travel guides and resources.

  • 3 day itinerary for Rome
  • 5 day itinerary for Rome
  • 3 day intinerary for Naples
  • 1 day itinerary for Vatican City
  • 3 day itinerary for Florence
  • 2 day itinerary for Venice
  • 1 day itinerary for Milan
  • 1 day itinerary for Siena
  • One week in Umbria
  • 10 days in Italy itinerary
  • 10 day itinerary for Tuscany
  • 12 ways to spend 1 week in Italy
  • 2 weeks in Sicily itinerary

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Last Updated on June 20, 2023 by Leslie Livingston

Experience the Magic of Southern Italy: 12 Amazing Vacation Destinations

Located in Southern Europe, Italy (Repubblica Italiana) is the third most populated state within the European Union (EU). The shape of Italy is generally referred to as a boot. Southern Italy is known as the bottom part of the boot consisting of the ankle, toe, arch, and heel.

Southern Italy includes 8 of the 20 beautiful regions of Italy —  Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Sardinia, and Sicily. As well, the south differs from the northern and central parts as its Greek colonization heavily influenced it.

From historical and archeological sites to beaches and mountains, Southern Italy is a unique region every traveler should experience. Check out our list of must-visit travel destinations in Southern Italy.

1. Alberobello, Apulia 

Alberobello Puglia

Recommended by Chris of LooknWalk

A small town in the province of Bari in the Apulia (ita: Puglia) region of Southern Italy. Alberobello is a picturesque destination, well-known for the Trulli houses.

Known as the Capital of the Trulli, one of the city’s neighborhoods has been made a UNESCO World Heritage site because of these strange, whitewashed houses. The buildings have conical roofs and no mortar.

While many of these Trulli are still inhabited – and there is a separate neighborhood of Trullis completely residential – some houses have been turned into stores, restaurants, or lodging.

Once you get off the train or bus, follow the signs and walk to the protected area. Alberobello can easily be visited as a half-day trip from Bari . Put on some good walking shoes as that’s what you’d be doing most of the time: walk! Explore the streets and the cute houses, stop to take photos, visit the church (also a trullo), and get some souvenirs.

There is also a Trullo Living Museum that you can visit (from July to September). It features old workshops and houses furnished with original 19th-Century tools and objects brought to life by actors.

Feeling hungry? Pack some snacks and stop in the square right in front of the entrance to the protected area and refuel. Or venture away from the tourist center to get something to eat in a local restaurant.

Should you want to spend the night in a Trullo, make sure to plan and book in advance, especially if you travel during the high season (summer).

2. Capri, Campania

Capri, Italy

Recommended by Kerry of VeggTravel

The Isle of Capri is located on the Mediterranean Ocean to the south of Italy. Popular with visitors as well as locals alike, the charm of Capri draws you in with its quaint residences as well as magnificent mountainous sights. One of the most common ways to see this magnificent Italian island is by doing a Sorrento to Capri day trip , as it is fairly expensive to stay in Capri. 

Other options are to get a ferry to Capri from Naples or the Amalfi Coast or take an organized boat tour. With this option, you also get to visit the beautiful blue grotto which illuminates the small cave in a bright, alluring color. 

Another must-do is to take the chair lift to the peak of Monte Salaro. Take pleasure in the panoramic sights 583m over sea level looking across the bay of Naples, the Amalfi coast, along with the captivating Capri Town.

If you’re not acquainted with Italy, there are extremely restricted public beaches and Capri is no different. This means that the majority of the ‘coastline area’ is privately owned by beach clubs which require you to pay to enter. The price of these can be fairly expensive so just worth doing if you’re taking pleasure from the beach club all day.

Otherwise, head to the public beach early so you can get one of the limited spots available. One of the most popular beach areas of the island is the Marina Piccola. There are great places to cliff jump from as well as some of the iconic rocky backdrops that you will have undoubtedly seen in the photos.

3. Naples, Campania

Pompei Italy Naples

Recommended by Ronja of Ronja Goes Abroad

Naples, the third-largest city in Italy, is located in Southern Italy. It is known for its beautiful architecture and is one of the most important and big ports in Europe. But this city isn’t for everyone.

Arriving in Naples can be a shock. If you travel by car, the traffic changes majorly and you can feel the tension while driving. If arriving by plane and taking the train/metro to the main station, getting above ground and seeing the surroundings might shock you.

The city has had a serious problem with garbage for many years and you can see it here. The faster you get from the sea, the poorer and dirtier it gets. Therefore, the main tourist location is by the sea. But be aware of pickpockets!

The port area and its surroundings are beautiful. It’s the Naples you know from all the photos. Take a walk by the sea and stop to eat at one of the many restaurants.

You cannot visit Naples without eating pizza. There are many underground ruins in Naples worth a visit. Tickets to the catacombs are around 12€. Naples is an old city and has many castles for one to visit, for example Castel dell Ovo by the sea. 

When visiting Naples, you must take a day trip to Pompei. It is easy to get there by public transport. Jump on the MET train or metro number 1 to Pompei. Both arrive in the city center of Pompei where it’s a short walk to the ruins. If you are not one to visit ruins, take a shuttle bus up to Mt. Vesuvius. Visiting the volcano is worth it both for the views and for the sight itself.

The best time to visit Naples is in summer but be prepared for many tourists and warm weather. If you are up to visiting during the off-season, October is a great time to visit. The weather is not around 15-20°C, and there aren’t as many tourists as there are during the summer months. 

4. Positano, Campania

Church of-Santa Maria Assunta Positano, Italy

Recommended by Lori of Travelin Mad

Positano on the Amalfi Coast of southern Italy is not only one of the most beautiful and celebrated small towns in Italy, but it’s also a favorite vacation destination for Italians. Brightly-colored houses, shops, and hotels cling to the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea making for one of the most beautiful small towns in Italy .

To get to Positano, you’ll have to take a bus or a private shuttle, as no train lines serve the Amalfi Coast. A rental car is the least desirable since there are very few places to park.

When you feel like just relaxing and exploring the town, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta with its beautiful Moorish tiled dome provides an excellent reference point for getting around the town. It has great views of the sea and great photo ops.

By day, you can relax at sunny Spiaggia Grande beach or head to Da Adolfo and Laurito beach. In the evening, wander the narrow streets that wind up and down the mountainside with upscale shops, boutiques, and restaurants. You can even have leather sandals custom-made for you while you are dining.

For incredible scenery from high above the shoreline, make time to hike Il Sentiero Degli Dei, the Path of the Gods. It’s an easy hike with breathtaking views. For a different way to sightsee, take a guided boat tour of the coast and don’t forget your camera.

After dinner try a sip of limoncello, a local digestivo made from Sorrento lemons. Shops all around town sell lovely ceramic bottles of the liqueur for something special to take home.

5. Procida, Campania

Procida, Italy

Recommended by JJ of Travel Across the Borderline

Procida (pronounced pro-cheee-dah) is the smallest inhabited island in the bay of Naples, Italy. It is often overshadowed by its famous neighbor Capri, which is great news for you because whilst people are being overcharged in busy Capri you will have laid-back Procida all to yourself! 

I recommend staying in Naples or nearby Sorrento and taking the ferry to Procida for a day trip . The small island is easily covered in a day. 

Procida, Italy is famous for its pretty pastel-colored buildings that line the harbor so one of the best things to do is to hike up to the viewpoint so that you can admire Procida in all its glory. Yes, it will be very hot and sweaty, but I promise the view is worth the effort!

The best viewpoint in Procida is located on the opposite side of the island to where the ferry drops you off, but there are plenty of signs pointing the way. You can also type ‘Panorama Elsa Morante sulla Corricella e Terra Murata’ into google maps or maps.me to find your way there.

After your hike, you can cool off with a refreshing dip in the sea and then treat yourself to some delicious Italian cuisine in one of the many outdoor restaurants.

6. Sorrento, Campania

Sorrento Italy

Recommended by Sam of FindLoveAndTravel.com

A little over an hour south of Naples, Sorrento is one of the most beautiful areas in Southern Italy! Its proximity to Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Capri makes for a great starting point.

Naples also has tons to see and do! Sorrento has tons of shops and restaurants throughout the whole city, which is very walkable! Since they are located right on the water, Sorrento is known for having excellent seafood. They even have a fishing village at Marina Grande. 

Furthermore, they have some great beach clubs. The clubs are more of a boardwalk into the crystal blue water than a sandy beach. Sorrento also has a very small public sand beach as well. 

Additionally, you must add a lemon grove to your Sorrento itinerary ! You will get to see the giant lemons Sorrento is so famous for and usually also includes some complimentary shots of limoncello! 

For sunset, you can walk over to the Sorrento lift, which brings you to the edge of the cliff Sorrento is perched on. From here, you can look out and see Mt. Vesuvius across the gulf of Naples as the sunsets.

Sorrento has a large ferry port making it easy to get to Positano and Capri, both of which are a must-see! Pompeii and the Herculaneum are easy day trips to add to your southern Italy intermarry.

7. Vietri sul Mare, Campania

vietri sul mare

Recommended by Jackie of  Jou Jou Travels

Vietri Sul Mare is a hidden gem along the Amalfi Coast in the Salerno province. It is known as the ceramic capital of the world and boasts one of the most beautiful serene beaches. The town has a beautiful view of the cityscape as soon as you exit the train station.

You can easily get to Vietri Sul Mare from Salerno by taking one stopover to the town or by taking a ferry to the Marina di Vietri from Amalfi or Salerno. Then, you will be alarmed by the true uniqueness and creativity the adorable town holds. The streets are decked with ceramics and each shop one after another has handmade ceramics you can buy and take home with you as a souvenir.

Not only that, there is so much to do after wandering the cute, quaint streets full of tiled walls and paths. Start your day shopping, then head to the private beach, Spiaggia Della Crestarella. It is relaxing and much less touristic than the other beaches in popular Positano or Capri.

In the center of the town, you will also find the Cathedral of Vietri, which is worth a stop. There is also a Park and Amphitheater over the sea with a tiled staircase leading down to the Amphitheater.

This is a great photo spot and right above it, you will find a nice place to grab food in front of the sunset.  This restaurant is called Pane & Panorama and has some tasty sandwiches in front of a panoramic view of the town.

8. Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily

Castellammare del Golfo

Recommended by Marianne of Pasta Pretzels & Passports

Castellammare del Golfo is a pretty seaside town located one hour west of Sicily’s capital Palermo. Centered around their marina, the town is filled with wonderful shops, restaurants, gardens, cafes, and even a castle! This town is worth a visit if you are heading to Sicily !

For a small town, there are so many things to do to fill your days. Depending on what you are interested in, you can relax by one of several scenic beaches , do some sightseeing, shop, enjoy the nightlife, or just soak in the culture on a stroll around town!

One of the iconic things to do in Castellammare is to visit Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve. This pristine area features 7 km of windswept shores, precipitous cliffs, turquoise water, natural coves, and grottos for swimming. Enjoy the stunning natural vistas as you hike, swim, or relax in the Sicilian sun.

If you are looking to do a little shopping, head to the Quattro Canti and Corso Garibaldi. This cobblestone pedestrian-only area is very picturesque, with gorgeous views of the marina and castle from the central gardens. Here, you will find quaint little boutiques, gelaterias, restaurants, and artisanal shops filled with amazing locally-made goods.

One thing you do not want to miss is a trip to the Belvedere. Take this short drive to the top of the cliff for a jaw-dropping view of the town. Not only is it a photographer’s dream, but you will also find a nice restaurant tucked into the hillside.

9. Palermo, Sicily

Palermo, Sicily in Italy

Recommended by Caroline of VeggieWayfarer.com

The Mediterranean island Sicily in southern Italy is favored by many a traveler looking to soak up some much-needed vitamin D in the winter months and those looking for the best beaches to relax in summer. The capital of the island, Palermo, is the perfect hub to go out and explore the multitude of quaint towns in Sicily .

Visit the Norman Palace with the impressive Palatine Chapel adorned with hundreds of golden mosaics, the Church of Gesu, and the Church of San Cataldo to soak up some typical Sicilian culture.

Grab a traditional spleen sandwich or a delicious Arancini (fried riceball with ragu or à la norma for the vegetarians) for lunch, and make sure to keep some room for gelato with a big brioche.

Make your way towards the Cathedral of Palermo, for a few euros you can climb up a set of narrow stairs and onto the roof for the best views over Palermo.

The local markets (Ballaro, La Vucheria, and Il Capo) are prime locations for the famous Palermitan street food, good coffee, and people watching.

Keep a close eye on your belongings here, though, as pickpockets are notorious in the area. End the day with a delicious plate of pasta with sardines or swordfish skewers. Buon Appetito!

10. Trapani, Sicily

Trapani, Italy

Recommended by Tjasa of The Travel Momento

When visiting southern Italy cities, one of the most charming places you need to see is Trapani. Located on the West coast of Sicily, it is the perfect base to explore this site of the island and also the place with the best traditional Sicilian cuisine.

Usually not among the popular Sicilian towns, the ancient city of Trapani will find a place in your heart with its history, culture, and architecture. The best way to spend one or more days in Trapani is by exploring the narrow cobbled streets of the old center on foot. Walk through the alleys and admire the various churches, chapels, and temples that are still in existence today.

Some of the most prominent sights are the long main street Corso Vittorio Emanuele alongside which you can find the Palazzo Senatorio o Cavarretta and Cattedrale di San Lorenzo. If you continue to the seaside, you will reach Torre di Ligny, which today represents the seat of the history museum. This is a fantastic spot to finish your day and admire one of the best sunsets you have seen.

In addition to Trapani’s rich architectural heritage, there are also some beautiful surroundings to explore, reachable by bus, cable car, or rented car. Drive up to the unique village of Erice and its medieval castle overlooking Trapani and the Sicilian coastline, get blown away by the pinkish salt lakes in Matala, and jump into the turquoise sea of the Aegadi islands. 

11. Catania, Sicily

catania italy

Recommended by Lara of The Best Travel Gifts

One of the best places to visit in Southern Italy is Catania in Sicily. Catania is a beautiful World Heritage-listed city filled with historical buildings and rich culture.

One of the best things to do in Catania is a walking tour through the historic city. You can either go for one of the free walking tours that depart from Piazza Università or create your own. Some of the highlights to include in your walking tour are Ursino Castle, Palazzo Biscari, Monastero dei Benedettini, the Roman theater and Piazza del Duomo.

If you have a strong stomach and you love being around locals, then make sure you add a stop at La Pescheria (the fish market) too. It’s a great place to experience authentic Catania.

Besides the fact that Catania itself is a beautiful city to visit, it’s also a great starting point for a day trip to Mount Etna. And a visit to Mount Etna is a must when you’re in Sicily. 

To stand on the top of an active volcano (no worries, it is still safe to visit Mount Etna) and admire the view over the island, is something you don’t want to miss. There are many options for organized tours from Catania. Alternatively, you can rent a car or take the bus. 

12. Taormina, Sicily

Experience the Magic of Southern Italy: 12 Amazing Vacation Destinations

Recommended by Mariana of RoadTripEuroGuide.com

Among the many places you can visit in southern Italy, Taormina is probably one of the cutest cities in Sicily and worth a weekend trip at a minimum! There’s a debate going around on “ What is Better? Sicily or the Amalfi Coast ” and a defining point on why I pick Sicily each time is Taormina.

One of my favorite things to do in Taormina is to lay on the pebble beach of Isola Bella and just take in the views. A few other beautiful spots to visit are the park, Villa Comunale di Taormina, and the Teatro Antico di Taormina, especially at sunset.

Beyond that, the winding streets are full of Sicilian restaurants and the sea breeze, which carries the scent of flowers right to your table. I would gladly talk about top restaurants, but every restaurant is wonderfully delicious. What I will say is this – do not leave without eating a cannoli or having a granita.

A little legend I learned about in Taormina has got this city forever stuck in my mind. Way back, a beautiful Sicilian girl was taking care of flowers on her balcony when a Moorish man passing by noticed her and fell in love.

They had a love affair full of passion until she discovered he had a wife and kids waiting for him back home. She went crazy with jealousy, and one night, while he was sleeping, she cut off his head and decided to use it as a vase to grow her beautiful plants!

People walking by her balcony noticed her blooms, and they began to forge colorful clay head pots wishing to have the same magic green thumb.

Today in the streets of Taormina and all of Sicily, there are several varieties of ceramic heads, and the lesson is free for everyone to learn – Sicilian women don’t put up with foolishness.

Final Thoughts

Calabria, Sicily Italy

If you’re looking for an unforgettable travel experience, southern Italy is a great option! From the picturesque coastal towns to the rolling hills of the interior, this region is truly special. Whether you’re a history buff looking to explore ancient ruins and stunning medieval cathedrals, or a foodie in search of world-class cuisine and local delicacies, southern Italy is sure to leave a lasting impression.

And with its crystal-clear waters and stunning coastline, this beautiful part of the country is also the perfect destination for those looking to enjoy some rest and relaxation. So if you’re ready for an unforgettable adventure, add southern Italy to your travel bucket list!

This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex .

Experience the Magic of Southern Italy: 12 Amazing Vacation Destinations

Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers with trip ideas, travel guides, and news. She travels to experience, eat, explore, and escape! Alex’s mission is to help you find the perfect vacation destination.

Southern Italy

Italy's peeling, sun-bleached south is the country at its most ancient, soulful and sensual. Down here, the ruins are older, the lunches longer, and the landscapes wilder and more intense.

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Water carriers from Herculaneum, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

Museo Archeologico Nazionale

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Agrigento, Sicily, Italy - October 9, 2017: Tourists visiting Park of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento.

Valley of the Temples

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Royal Palace of Capodimonte, Naples

Museo di Capodimonte

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Cappella Sansevero

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Cattedrale di Monreale

Palermo Region

Inspired by a vision of the Virgin and determined to outdo his grandfather Roger II, who was responsible for the cathedral in Cefalù and the Cappella…

Cappella Palatina in the Palazzo dei Normanni.

Cappella Palatina

Designed by Roger II in 1130, this extraordinary chapel is Palermo's top tourist attraction. Located on the middle level of Palazzo dei Normanni's three…

Carved head, Casa dei Nettuno e Anfitrite, Herculaneum.

Ruins of Herculaneum

Bay of Naples

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The Veiled Explorer

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18 Beautiful South Italian Towns That You Must Visit

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As the name suggests, south Italy is the southern region of Italy located in Europe. It is famous for its sunshine, beautiful beaches, and blue coastal waters. Thus making it a great destination for anyone seeking to relax in Europe. In this guide, I’ll be covering all the best things to do, the need to know and the must visit south Italian towns .

Contents Page

Where is south italy, south italian history and culture that you must know, foods that south italians are famous for, 18 must visit south italian towns, the veiled explorer’s takeaway.

South Italy is the southern boot region of Italy, though there are two different interpretations of what South Italy is. According to the EU parliament constituency, there are 6 regions in South Italy. This starts from Abruzzo on the East Coast and on the West, this is from Campania downwards to Calabria.

However, when referring to the old kingdom of Southern Spain otherwise known as Mezzogiorno, there are more regions included. This includes the isles of Sardinia and Sicily.

Map of South Italian Regions

You can view the Google Map of the South Italian regions here .

The South Italian regions are:

Good to Know

When in Italy, you’ll notice that there is a difference between the Northern and Southern Italians. From their looks to their culture and attitudes, it can be a very noticeable difference. To make sure that you don’t do any faux pas, here are some of the need to know historical and cultural facts.

What is the ethnic origin of south Italians?

Southern Italians are the closest to the modern Greeks. Whereas Northern Italians are the closest to the Spaniards and southern French.

What languages do south Italians speak?

Whilst Italian is the official language of Italy, today there are 34 languages and dialects spoken across Italy. Some of the most popular languages and dialects spoken in the south of Italy are Sicilian, Neapolitan and Sardinian. I’m sure that you can correlate these languages/dialects with the areas of southern Italy mentioned above.

North Vs South Divide

When visiting today, you’ll probably hear people talk about the North and South divide. This is nothing more than a political motive. Yes, there are cultural differences and yes there are some that support the divide. But Italians are Italians, and the similarities between the North and South outweighs the differences.

So in the spirit of being a mindful and polite traveller, I highly recommend respecting and embracing the cultures of both the areas. And refraining from adding any more fuel to the fire.

The Kingdom Of The Two Sicilies

Prior to the Italian reunification, the kingdom of the two Sicilies was the largest Italian state. The Kingdom was made up of the Spanish Bourbon Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples. The Kingdom was referred to as the “Two Sicilies” from 1816 until 1860 before it became The Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

  • Arancini: During the Arab rule of Sicily, this rice ball delight came into existence. It is a ball made from risotto and stuffed with cheese and sometimes meat. It is then coated in bread crumbs and deep-fried to perfection.
  • Seafood: One cannot visit the south without eating seafood, and the southern regions offer seafood in abundance. Whatever seafood option you opt for, it’s best enjoyed with Caponata. A Caponata is an aubergine side dish similar to the French’s ratatouille.
  • Pasta Alla Norma: As the name suggests, Pasta alla norma is a pasta dish that originates from Catania on the west coast of the island of Sicily. It is made from a tomato and basil marinara and features aubergine as the star of the show.
  • Pane Cunzato: This is a seasoned traditional Italian bread that is commonly referred to as a poor man’s meal. But don’t let that put you off, as this simple sandwich packs a punch of flavour. It is bread that is sliced down the middle, drizzled in olive oil, dusted with oregano and filled with cheese and tomato. And if you’re craving for more, you can also add in olives and even anchovy fillets if you like.

Desserts That South Italians Are Famous For

  • Granita: This is a cold south Italian sweet treat. It is made from water, sugar and ice and is constantly stirred so that it’s never fully frozen. Similar to a slush puppy, if you’re familiar with it. It is best enjoyed with a brioche. Sounds like an odd pairing, I know, but don’t knock it until you try it.
  • Cannoli: Originating from the island of Sicily, a cannoli is one of the most popular Italian pastries abroad. If you’re not sure what a cannoli is, It is a deep fried pastry dough that is filled with a sweet ricotta cheese filling.

Halal Travel & South Italian Foods

For the Muslim travellers out there, this is good news. Whilst we most often find that travelling in Europe means we can’t usually enjoy the local specialities. In the South Italian towns, however, you’ll find that most of the specialities above suit a Halal diet. And by extension a vegetarian’s diet.

Map of the must visit South Italian Towns. It can be accessed here .

Maratea is an Italian town in the province of Potenza, located on the West coast of Italy, and is known as the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian. It has a rocky shoreline and 20 beaches, meaning there is lots of places to soak in the sunshine here. Given the large number of churches and chapels in the area, it is also known as the town with the 44 churches.

Best Things To See And Do In Maratea , Italy

  • Statua del Cristo Redentore di Maratea – Religious point of interest with a great view of the shoreline below.
  • La Secca Beach – Great to watch the sunset at.
  • Il Mirto Solarium Bar – Popular beach club.
  • Grotta delle Meraviglie – For a tour of the caves.

2. Sorrento

Sorrento is one of the towns overlooking the beautiful bay of Naples on the western coast of southern Italy. If you thought Maratea was known for too many things, well Sorrento is famed for more. It is known as the city of lemons and oranges, the land of mermaids, colours, mysteries and legends.

Best Things To See And Do In Sorrento , Italy

  • Go shopping for ceramics, lacework and marquetry at the speciality local shops.
  • Walk through the historic quarter of the old town , and capture Instagram worthy selfies.
  • Go to a Café or people watch in Piazza Tasso .
  • Take a drive along the Amalfi coas t.
  • Watch the sunset from Bellevue Sirene .
  • Take a day trip to Pompeii .

3. Paestum 

Paestum is a historical town in the Campania region that used to be a major ancient Greek city in the day. Today, it’s still famous for its preservation of the Greek Temples, thus making it a favourite with history buffs.

There are three Greek temples that you must visit in Paestum , Italy

  • Temple of Hera II – Known as the temple of Neptune. This was built around 460 BC and is the best preserved Greek Temple in Pestum.
  •   Temple of Athena – Known as the temple of Ceres was built around 6th century BC.
  • Temple of Hera I – Known as the temple of Basilica was also built around 6th century BC.

4. Alberobello

Alberobello is a small town in the region of Apulia with 10,735 inhabitants and is famed for it’s trullo huts. If you aren’t familiar with Trullo huts, they have a corn shaped roof made from dry stone that gives it a unique look.

Best Things To See And Do In Alberobello , Italy

  • I Trulli di Alberobello – World Heritage Site – To stroll through the narrow alleys, view the architecture, shop at the local stores all whilst imagining life during the trulli-era.
  • Trullo Sovrano Museum – It’s a historical museum depicting life in the 1800s Trulli, where you’ll be able to see what everyday life was like for the farmers.
  • Arte Fredda Gelateria  – For an ice cream break.

Tropea is a seaside resort town in the region of Calabria. It is a beautiful town filled with some of the most picturesque beaches in South Italy. However, it’s not just all beaches, as one of the mains draws here is the clifftop church with great views of the landscape below.

Best Things To See And Do In Tropea , Italy

  • Beach – With over 2 and a half miles of clean pristine beach, this should be your first stop in Tropea. Here you’ll be able to swimming, canoeing, paddleboarding, snorkelling and even scuba diving to name a few.
  • Santa Maria dell’Isola – High above the dreamy beaches, sits the Santa Maria dell’Isola on the clifftop of Tropea. Not only is the cathedral picture perfect, but it also houses a painting of the Madonna of Romania. Who is considered to be the protector of the town.
  • Red Onions From The Open Air Markets – Stay with me here, I do mean THE red onions. Be sure to try some during your stay or take some home with you. As the locals are very proud of their delicately sweet purplish onions.

Located in the region of Campania is the beautiful city of Naples that is considered to be the birthplace of pizza. And that’s not just a theory. It is commonly known that the very first slice of pizza ever created was from Naples.

Beyond the pizza, Naples is also famed for its 400 plus churches and historical royal palaces, castles and ruins. With so much to do in Naples, you may want to spend a few days here.

Best Things To See And Do In Naples , Italy

  • Eat Pizza – Have a pizza from the birthplace of the very first pizza.
  • Underground Naples – Whilst most people will focus on what’s overground, the most popular activity in Napes is a visit underground. There you will find a labyrinth of tunnels, tanks and cavities that forms its own underground city.
  • Museo Cappella Sansevero – This art museum was built in the late 1500s that was influenced by Raimondo de Sangro VII, Prince of Sansevero. It is considered a true gem by the Italians, so if you’re into art, you may want to consider a visit.
  • Via San Gregorio Armeno – To buy kitsch nativity souvenirs.

7. Capri 

The island of Capri lies at the entrance of the Gulf of Naples just off the coast of Sorrento at the South Western end of Italy. It is famed for its breathtaking views, lip-smacking food, and shopping outlets. It’s no wonder that Capri is the playground of the rich and famous looking for somewhere to dock their yacht.

Best Things To See And Do In Capri, Italy

  • Boat Tour – See Capri from the waterside whilst combining your tour with a visit to the Blue Grotto.
  • Faraglioni – Considered the emblem of the island, Faraglioni is a must-visit scenic point. Here you’ll find history and nature come together to form a breathtaking view.
  • Piazzetta – Head to the Piazzetta for some good old people watching.
  • Mount Solaro – Climb up Mount Solaro using the chair lift, and enjoy the views from above.

Southeast of Naples within the Campania region lies this historical town of Pompeii at the base of Mount Vesuvius. If you’re wondering whether this is the famous Pompeii from history? Well, you’ll be correct. This is the very Pompeii that was destroyed by the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 CE.

Best Things To See And Do In Pompeii, Italy

  • Antiquarium Museum – To pay homage to the victims of the Mount Vesuvius eruption. And ofcourse, to view the artefacts that have been recovered during excavations.
  • Theaters – Visit the open aired theatres and catch a show if visiting in the summer.
  • Temples – Visit the temples of Venus, Jupiter, Isis and Apollo.

9. Herculaneum

Neighbouring Pompeii is the historical town of Herculaneum. During the eruption of Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 CE Herculaneum was buried under thick volcanic ash. However, that was actually its saving grace. This thick ash prevented the town from being looted and torn apart over the years. Meaning that if you were to visit today, you would find Herculaneum to be pretty much intact.

The best thing to do In Herculaneum, Italy, is to visit the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum . Here you’ll see,

  • Ancient Roman Spas
  • Skeleton’s house – Yuup this is where a skeleton was found intact.
  • House of Neptune and Amphitrite

10. Amalfi Coast

The famous Amalfi Coast is the beautiful stretch of coastline in the South of Italy that overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Salerno. Between the months of February and October, the Amalfi Coast draws in tourists from all over the world. Making this coastline one of the main attractions in South Italy.

Best Things To See And Do In The Amalfi Coast, Italy

  • Drive Along The Amalfi Coast – The best thing you can do along the Amalfi Coast, is to drive along its shoreline. And of course stopping and scenic sights and point of interest along the way.
  • Hike Sentiero Degli Dei – Known as the Path of The Gods, this is a fantastic hike for anyone looking to get active in the Amalfi Coast. I would highly recommend getting a guide to join you. As the extra local and historical knowledge that a guide can bring, really adds to the experience.
  • Duomo di Sant’Andrea – A visit here is a must. Even if it’s just for the view from the tops of the steps.
  • Villa Cimbrone Gardens – If there is one thing the Amalfi Coast is famous for (other than the views and beaches, of course), is its gardens. Although Villa Cimbrone may not be the most famous garden in the area, I’m sure many will agree that the views from here are the best. Not to mention, it’s beautiful flowers and plants when they are in bloom.

11. Castelmola

Castelmola is a beautiful small village on the eastern coast of the island of Sicily that is built on the ruins of a Norman castle. It is a hilltop village with dramatic views when seen from below. But the actual small town itself is definitely worth a visit. From the top, it offers panoramic views of the landscape, unmissable restaurants and of course great Sicilian hospitality.

Best Things To See And Do In Castelmola, Italy

  • Castillo de Castelmola – Whilst there isn’t much left of the castle, it’s the views from here that many comes for. Why not pack a picnic to enjoy the view? Especially if you plan on walking back down, trust me, you’ll need the energy.
  • Piazza Sant’Antonino – This piazza is a must stop when in Castelmola. From souvenir shops to quaint cafés, this is a great place to stop and watch the world go around.

TOP TIP: Take a taxi up and thank me later!

12. Matera 

In a remote corner of southern Italy, you’ll find this hidden gem Matera located in the region of Basilicata. If you aren’t familiar with Matera, well picture a beautiful city made of stone, that looks beyond stunning when the sun starts to set and the lights starts to come on.

Best Things To See And Do In Matera, Italy

  • Sassi di Matera – The best thing to do is to take a walk and get lost in this beautiful place. Enjoy the views and cafés, or simply enjoy the feeling of feeling like you’ve stepped back in time.
  • Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario – If you want to be transported to 1956 Italy and see the everyday life of the then locals, then this is the place to come. You’ll see how the community lived together with livestocks in the same room, kitchen and even the sewage system.

13. Castelmezzano

The most central town on this list is Castelmezzano which is also located within the region of Basilicata. This beautiful small town is famed for its churches, dramatic gorge, and its thrilling activities. But yet it is often branded as the most romantic small town in Italy.

Best Things To See And Do In Castelmezzano , Italy

  • Le Dolomiti Lucane – For a beautiful landscape filled with nature, this is the place to come too. It  is located in the Natural Park of Gallipoli Cognato, and is great for hikers and rock climbers alike.
  • Flight of the Angels – For an exhilarating cable car ride over the mountains, this is for you. Bear in mind, the ride up is fast and not for those with a fear of heights. Nevertheless, this is the most popular activity in Castelmezzano.

Lecce is a small university town located in the Apulia region of South Italy. Whilst the other towns are famed for their nature or architecture, Lecce is famed for its papier mâché. Yup, you read that correctly, these papier mâché were very popular in religious festivals held in the town. And when visiting today, you’ll be able to purchase your own papier mâché from one of the local shops.

Best Things To See And Do In Lecce , Italy

  • Basilica di Santa Croce – This is one of the most beautiful churches in Lecce that is famous for it’s Baroque façade architecture.
  • Centro Storico – For history and arts buffs, a walk around the city centre is a must when in Puglia. The beautiful old town will definitely char, you with its architecture, squares, cafés and restaurants.

Bari is a traditional harbour city located on the west coast of Italy and is the capital of the Puglia region. It is famed for its tourist attractions which include churches, basilica, Petruzzelli Theatre and Swabian Castle to name a few.

Best Things To See And Do In Bari , Italy

  • Basilica San Nicola – Famed for its crypt, which houses the relics of Saint Nicolas. Aka Santa Claus.
  • Citta Vecchia – Is a beautiful old town by the sea that’s filled with white buildings and narrow cobbled streets. It’s great to get lost in, people watch or even have a meal in.
  • Lungomare e Murat – If you really want to appreciate the coast, the promenade here is a great place to take a stroll.

16. Pescara

In the Abruzzo region on the Eastern coast of Italy lies the capital city of Pescara, which shares its shores with the Adriatic Sea. It is a modern city filled with life and famed for its summer jazz festival and everyday nightlife.

Best Things To See And Do In Pescara , Italy

  • Ponte del Mare – A beautiful bridge that you can walk or cycle on. It offers you great views of the city of Pescara and the Adriatic Sea.
  • Lungomare – This is the promenade, where you can go for a run, have a seafood meal at a restaurant or take an evening stroll.
  • Museo Casa Natale di Gabriele d’Annunzio – A museum to honour the poet and politician and to give tourist a glimpse into what a nobleman’s house would have looked like.

17. Catanzaro

Cantanzaro is a coastal town located in the region of Calabria overlooking the Gulf of Squillace, in the Ionian Sea. This is a top destination for domestic Italian tourists and is famed for its silk and velvet productions. During ancient Greek times, Catanzaro was a Greek settlement, and today you can still see influences of the Byzantine Empire around the town.

Best Things To See And Do In Catanzaro , Italy

  • Parco della Biodiversita Mediterranea – This biodiversity park is a great stopping point for a relaxing walk, to view the surrounding mountains and take in the modern sculptures. And of course the main attraction. There’s over 20,000 species of plants here for you to take in.
  • Cascata Campanaro – Nestled in the surrounding countryside is this hidden waterfall gem. There are many great hikes to be had here, and the waterfall will prove to be a beautiful respite from it all.

18. Palermo

Located on the northern coast of the island of Sicily is the capital city of Palermo. Palermo is considered to be a cultural melting pot. From street food vendors to an opera house, churches and palaces, there’s lots to be enjoyed here.

Best Things To See And Do In Palermo , Italy

  • Cattedrale di Palermo – This Cathedral was started in 1185 and is still open for visitation today. You’ll be to visit the Royal and Imperial tomb of Frederik the II, a medieval crown and much more.
  • Norman Palace – To visit a historical Norman palace and garden.
  • Teatro Massimo – You can take a tour of the opera house or simply time your visit with an opera show.

More Things To Do In Europe

And there we have it. The top 18 South Italian towns that you must visit, when in south Italy. Not only that, but I’ve also given you the lowdown of the South Italian history, culture and the best things to do in each town.

So which one of the towns are you looking forward to meeting the most? Leave me a comment down below to let me know.

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18 Beautiful South Italian Towns That You Must Visit

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></center></p><h2>The Top 10 Spots in Southern Italy</h2><p>Curious about Southern Italy?</p><p>If you’ve traveled through all that’s north of the boot already, you’re probably ready for something new.</p><p>Something different from the usual suspects. Venice, Florence, Milan – you’ve been there, done that.</p><p>If you want to get off the beaten track, Southern Italy is it.</p><p>It’s got nonna-cooking-in-her-apron on Sunday soul. It’s ancient and simple. More ruins, less boutiques.</p><p>We take our clients on a Southern Italy tour every chance we get, because it’s too darn pretty not to share.</p><p>But you don’t have to tag along on our tours to get the low-down on our secret sweet spots.</p><p>This list is every beginner’s guide to Southern Italy. The best ways to get around. Why it’s worth it. Where we take our people. And why we love these places so darn much.</p><h2>What you should know about Southern Italy:</h2><ul><li>You’ll do best when traveling by car. If you’re planning on hanging out in Southern Italy for a while, a car is the best way to get around (rentals or private driver). If you can’t rent a car, check out our ideas for northern Italy .</li><li>Traveling between July-August? Not all places on this list will be suitable this time of year. Some will be fantastic. More deets below.</li><li>Hotels. Book well in advance for any popular city on the Amalfi Coast. As well as anywhere in Italy on the coast in August. We’re talking 6-9 months in advance. For our tours, we book our client hotels a year or more in advance.</li></ul><h2>Top Spots in Southern Italy We Love</h2><p>Pack your toga and your cutest leather sandals, because Matera looks like it’s hardly changed since ancient times. Visiting Matera is like stepping back into Biblical times – or another planet. In fact, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ was filmed here because it still looks like what Jerusalem might have looked like thousands of years ago. Our Southern Italy tour clients call it “otherworldly.”</p><p>As far as popularity goes, it’s virtually undiscovered – it only became a real tourism destination in 2014. Matera also recently won the bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2019, so it is The Place to Be In Italy in 2019.</p><p>What we dig in Matera: Just lookin’ at it. It’s a clay-colored city made up of rock-hewn dwellings, so it’s pretty jaw-dropping. The feeling of being transported back in time. It was first occupied in the Paleolithic Era, and said to have been founded by the Romans in the 3rd century BC. And it doesn’t seem to have changed much (except the cocktails are better and the running water is a bonus). Those creamy stone laneways are so gorgeous. We take our clients cruising in a cute Ape Calessino (like an Italian tuk-tuk) for the day. Wandering into the Sassi district, which is home to 1500 prehistoric cave dwellings. These digs are old! You just gotta see Matera to believe it .</p><p>How to get here: This area is best explored by car, but if you’re driving, we recommend you be very comfortable cruising on roads less traveled. You can drive (or hire a private driver) from Bari to the east or Naples or the Amalfi Coast to the west.</p><p>If you’re flying in, you arrive at Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport (BRI). From here you can take a shuttle bus directly to Matera, or you can take a bus to Bari Centrale, and grab a train on the Ferrovie Appulo Lucane line (the FAL is outside of Bari Centrale by Piazza Aldo Moro) to Matera Centrale (travel time: 80 minutes).</p><p>You can also get to Matera by bus from many Italian cities. Bus companies to check for schedules are Flixbus, Marozzi, Liscio, Petruzzi, Miccolis and Marino.</p><h2>2. Positano</h2><p>Perched on a cliffside abloom with pastel buildings, Positano is the definition of quintessential Amalfi Coast. It’s a tiny village, where all paths run down to the sea. And it’s where your shoulders sink the second you arrive. The only hard decisions here are choosing between lounging on the beach or on a boat. This gorgeous town built around one stretch of sand is basically designed for winding down, which is why it’s the first stop on our Southern Italy tour .</p><p>What we dig in Positano: People-watching in cafés. Rooftop domes filled with sand (to keep the town cool in summer and warm in winter). The fact that there’s only one street you can drive on. 400-step staircases (to burn off Positano-lemon gelato). Hopping on a boat, ‘cause it’s the best way to drink in the Amalfi Coast. Tranquil turquoise water. Boutique shopping for fab finds. Mostly, chillin’ under an orange-and-green umbrella on Fornello Beach.</p><p>How to get here: Two ways: fly into Naples and arrange a private transfer to Positano, or take the ferry over. And if you want to drive along gorgeous windy roads, it’s easiest to do it from Rome or Naples.</p><p>Everyone pretty much agrees that The Eternal City is one of the most beautiful metropolises on the planet. It’s a mix of stylish and chic, but has a dose of grit and grime too. It’s rooted in ancient history but lives in modernity, so you have a real duality happening here. There’s something for everyone in Rome – history fans, art lovers, shopaholics and foodies included.</p><p>What we dig in Rome: Truthfully, you can spend a month in Rome and barely scratch the surface. Definitely scope out the classic must-see spots in the historic city center: The Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Villa Borghese – you know the deal. We love how walkable Rome is (bring your comfiest shoes), because it means we can eat more carbonara . Pop by the Jewish Ghetto for a small-neighborhood feel and yummy eats. See Testaccio and explore its market – it’s one of the few areas we think has retained real “Romanness”. Monti’s crooked low-rise buildings and BlackMarket Hall are our faves, too. (We’re fans of more unique things to do in Rome .)</p><p>How to get here: The easiest way to get to Rome is to fly into one of their two major airports: Fiumicino or Ciampino. Fiumcino is Rome’s largest airport, and reasonably connected to the city center (30-45 minutes away). Ciampino is on the smaller side, but no frills – so things move faster there. Though it’s closer to the city center, it’s not served by a regular transport network, so you’ll have to rely on commercial airport shuttle, taxi, private car with driver, or private car rental.</p><p>Want to save time, money and have more fun? Travel using our city guide to Rome .</p><h2>4. Palermo (Sicily)</h2><p>Palermo is on the island of Sicily, and it’s hella fascinating. Each year, just one Italian city is named the Italian capital of Culture. In 2018, that city is Palermo! Saying it’s got “culture” barely scratches the surface of the Arabesque domes here. It’s been a strategic military and trading position throughout history, and invaders have left their mark everywhere. Think architectural and foodie influences from the Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Swabians, French and Spanish Bourbons.</p><p>What we love in Palermo: Byzantine mosaics. Teatro Massimo (Italy’s biggest opera house). Tucking into street food like sfincione and arancini  at 10 pm. Taking home treasures from antique markets. Gothic-renaissance sculptures sprinkled throughout the city. 25-acre long botanical gardens. Creepy cool catacombs. The endless events in the city’s social calendar – scope them out before you go.</p><p>How to get here: Getting to Palermo is a cinch ’cause — ta da! — it has an airport. (When traveling Italy, this is something to cheer about!) So it’s simple to add a trip to Palermo to your European itinerary by using the convenient “hopper flights” within Europe. Staying 2 nights will work, and head over to the Aeolian islands next (more on these fab islands below). Oh, and we have some sweet tips on how to get to Sicily here .</p><h2>5. Aeolian Islands</h2><p>The Aeolian Islands are the Hawaii of Italy. It’s a string of islands north of Sicily, and it’s silly gorgeous. We take clients here as part of our Sicily tour . Our founder Bianca even invited a bunch of friends to enjoy Salina Island on her birthday.</p><p>And as amazing as it may be, hardly anyone knows about it. But the ones who do keep coming back. Because they know they’ll have the place all to themselves.</p><p>Insider tip: travel here between Easter-October. Book in advance if you want to visit in August.</p><p>What we dig in the Aeolian Islands: Renting scooters to zip around beautiful black beaches. Sunset aperitivi in Pollara. Boating around the surrounding islands of Stromboli, Panarea and Lipari. Gettin’ steamy with sulfur water spas in Vulcano. The Greek vibes (no surprise – the islands were named for Aeolus, god of the winds, by Greek settlers). Salt-eroded houses spilling down to the shore. And feeling like you’re in on a big secret that you only wanna share with your loved ones (like almond milk baths in copper tubs — yes, our Sicily tour clients love that too).</p><p>How to get here: The islands aren’t easy to get to, so 3-4 nights is our minimum recommendation. In a perfect world, stay for a week! The closest airport is Catania, but you can also arrive from Palermo. Once in Milazzo, you ditch your car and take the hydrofoil.</p><h2>6. Tropea (Calabria)</h2><p>Tropea is a hot spot for Italian vacationers (they call it the Coast of the Gods). It’s virtually undiscovered by foreigners, so you have lots of baby-powder-soft sand beaches to yourself. It’s located right at the toe of Italy’s boot. Legend has it that this town was founded by Hercules. (We believe it.)</p><p>What we dig in Tropea: Red onion ice cream at Gelateria Tonino – Tropea is famous for their super sweet red onions. Boating to the island of Stromboli at night to see the volcano exploding. Crystal clear water that you could float in forever. Groovy grottos. Walking 300 steps up to Santa Maria dell’Isola, a monastery perched above the beach. And sunset aperitivo featuring crunchy breaded razorfish.</p><p>How to get here: Tropea travels are reliant on a car. You’ll also need at least 3 nights. If you’re traveling in summer, stay longer and day-trip to surrounding areas. The closest airport is Lamezia Terme. And if you’re into road trips, you can also drive from the Amalfi Coast.</p><p>Lecce is the Florence of the South. This city is baroque extravagance at its best, full of spiraled columns, cute cherubs, gargoyles, and… amazing shopping. Lecce is not for “doing”. It’s for experiencing. On our Southern Italy tour we stay here a few nights.</p><p>Lecce is for lazy lunches on sandstone streets. Where you take cooking classes to learn how to make orecchiette without your phone on hand. And where you stroll, like, everywhere.</p><p>What we dig in Lecce: Dancing the pizzica , a popular folk dance here (totally normal in Lecce). Day trips to classic Puglian countryside with olive trees and vineyards for company. The workshops churning out gorgeously hand-crafted clothing, leather goods, pottery and shoes. It’s the kind of place where creativity smacks you in the face and new business ideas start flowing into your brain like good Primitivo (Lecce’s wine specialty).</p><p>How to get here: Fly into Brindisi Airport and take one of the public shuttles or trains – they operate reliably and frequently. You can also get the train to Lecce from Rome or Bari. Or travel on our Southern Italy tour and we’ll bring you.</p><h2>8. Alberobello</h2><p>If you’ve dreamed about writing a fantasy novel at any point in your life, visit Alberobello. It’s the fairytale land of trulli houses. It’s like a National Geographic cover shoot! A total UNESCO-Heritage-site kinda treat.</p><p>What we dig in Alberobello: Uh, basically being transported back in time. Cutie-pie cones atop trulli houses. Feeling like a gorgeous giant among gnomey houses. Impromptu photo shoots, ‘cause this kinda scenery only happens to your camera once in a while.</p><p>How to get here: Cars are best. Alberobello is worth a day trip from Matera (if you’re visiting). Or travel on our Southern Italy tour and we’ll bring you.</p><p>This spot is another one for Greek fans – Paestum is actually an ancient Greek city. Paestum is in Capaccio, but the two names are used interchangeably – don’t get confused. They’re in the same place. For any history buff, it’s a must-see in the area. It’s got the best-preserved Greek remains in Italy.</p><p>What we dig in Paestum: Towering temples of Hera and rocky ruins to text home about. The way rebuilt Capaccio still clings to a hill, even though it was destroyed in the Middle Ages. How it’s sandwiched between rolling fields, pine forest and the sea. Haunting homes abandoned in ancient times. Biodynamic wineries. The food, especially anything with mozzarella di bufala . Being an agricultural region, anything you consume is here is amazing.</p><p>How to get here: You can get here by car, if you’re driving in from the Amalfi Coast. If you’re anywhere else, it’s incredibly well-connected by the Trenitalia train system – just get off at Capaccio or Paestum.</p><h2>10. Syracuse / Ortigia (Sicily)</h2><p>This small city is paved with limestone and has one of the most beautiful piazza we’ve seen in Italy. It’s right on the ocean, and 30 minutes on one of the little tourist boats will take you on a tour of the town from the sea. It’s crumbling and faded, but tidy and pretty all at once.</p><p>What we dig in Syracuse / Ortigia: We love Ortigia, the most ancient part of Syracuse — it’s like a city inside a city. We love the market — go have lunch down there on the wooden tables.</p><p>How to get here: Closest airports are Catania or Palermo. You’ll need a car to get to Syracuse, but you can hire a private driver to get you there. Or travel on our Sicily tour and we’ll bring you.</p><p>Want more insider intel on Southern Italy? Here are the solutions we provide:</p><ul><li>Italian Fix Tour: Discover Southern Italy</li><li>Italian Fix Tour: Sicily and the Aeolian Islands</li><li>Gigi Guides: city guide to Rome</li></ul><p>Here’s more blog posts too:</p><ul><li>How To Get To Sicily</li><li>Matera, Italy – The Cave Town You Have To See To Believe</li></ul><p>Tempted to travel Southern Italy yet?</p><p>Tell us which spot made your brain say si immediately! And share your questions with us in the comments – we want to share our wisdom for your trip.</p><h2>8 Responses</h2><p>I have done north of Italy iam ready for the south</p><p>Hi Terry, and GRAZIE for being here.</p><p>We hope you’ve found a lot of great tips and inspiration to get you there 🙂 If you’d be interested in joining one of our small group tours in 2019, we’d love to make that happen for you! You can reach us at ciao [@] italianfix.com</p><ul><li>Pingback: Wish You Were Here: The Villages of Alberobello, Martina Franca and Locorotondo - ITALIAN FIX</li><li>Pingback: 10 Italian Coastal Cities We Love to Love (and How to Get There) - ITALIAN FIX</li></ul><p>I also enjoyed myself while I was visiting this kind of places. I hope your shared information would be useful for other travelers</p><ul><li>Pingback: 10 Best Places to Visit in Italy (and When to Go) - ITALIAN FIX</li><li>Pingback: Lecce: The Florence of The South - ITALIAN FIX</li><li>Pingback: The Top 5 Places to Visit in Italy in the Winter - ITALIAN FIX</li></ul><h2>Leave a Reply Cancel reply</h2><p>Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *</p><p>Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.</p><h2>Sign up for Italy travel content you won't find anywhere else.</h2><p>Destinations.</p><ul><li>Speak to Us</li><li>ciao@italianfix.com</li></ul><h2>We’re Italy travel experts.</h2><p>Italian Fix is a boutique travel company specializing in small groups and beautiful itineraries, all handled for you. Have connections the minute you step off the plane. For people who want fun, easy, insider travel — elevated. Founded in 2011 by Bianca Gignac.</p><p>Copyright © 2024 Travel Beautifully Media Inc. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy .</p><p><center><img style=

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Southern Italy itinerary – Best places to visit

Polignano a Mare, Bari Province, Apulia (Puglia) - Southern Italy itinerary

Southern Italy is full of history, cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes. If you only have 10 days for your visit, you can try this itinerary through the main cities to get a general overview of this area and come back in the future to further explore your favorite destinations.

Table of Contents

Best time to visit Southern Italy

Spring. The weather is warm (without being hot, like during summer months) and there are fewer tourists around, so that you can enjoy both the cities and the natural landscapes at their best. In May, you can also enjoy some “beach life” and have a swim!

Southern Italy itinerary overview

This Southern Italy itinerary includes the following places of interest: 

  • Amalfi Coast (Positano, Praiano, Amalfi and Ravello)
  • Alberobello

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.

best places to visit in italy south

Where to sleep in Southern Italy

Where to stay in naples.

Here are two great hotel recommndations for your stay in Naples.

Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo

This 4-star hotel, a member of the Marriott Group, is located centrally close to the main attractions of Naples and the ferry terminal. Rooms are comfortable and modern while the rooftop where breakfast is served has lovely views of the Bay, Castel Nuovo, and Mount Vesuvius.

Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Grand Hotel Europa – Sea Hotels Group

Located near the main station, this hotel is an excellent choice for those thinking about visiting Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast. It provides excellent 3-star value with comfortable rooms including Wi-Fi, satellite TV, air-con and safe.

Click here for more information and to book the Grand Hotel Europa.

For more hotel recommendations check out my post where to stay in Naples here .

Where to stay in Matera:

You shall definitely seize the opportunity to sleep in Sassi district (or even in a real Sasso!) to enjoy this beautiful scenery, both day and night. On my visit to Matera I stayed at the :

Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita

best places to visit in italy south

Located in the Sassi area of Matera, this luxury hotel offers rooms with stone floors and antique furnishing.  Room Amenities include Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, The hotel also offers a terrace with panoramic views of the Murgia National Park. This was one of the most unique and beautiful hotels I have stayed.

Click here for more information and to book your room. 

Another great option for your stay in Matera is the Hotel Sassi . 

Where to stay in Bari

The best districts to stay are Murat if you want to enjoy the local nightlife and some shopping. and the Old Town if you want a picturesque location.

A great hotel option in the Murat area is the Bari Oriente and in the Old Town the Palace Hotel .

Where to stay in Taranto

If you are traveling by car and you are happy to stay outside of Taranto, I recommend the Masseria Amastuola Wines and Resort . 

Masseria Amastuola Wines and Resort

It is located in Crispiano 17 km away from Taranto and 40 km away from Alberobello the Masseria dates back to the 15th century. It is surrounded by 170 hectares of olive trees and vineyards and its rooms feature hand painted tiles against a dark wood background or simple white tiled backsplash. Each room has its own private bathroom and seating area with comfy chairs. Luxurious toiletries, wifi, and exceptional service are included in the room rate.

Click here for more information and to book a room.

If you are looking to stay inside Taranto a great option is  Viale Virgilio, that is the main waterfront walk. 

In Viale Virgilio a great option is the Mercure Delfino Hotel .

A 10 day Southern Italy itinerary

Southern italy itinerary: day 1 arrive in naples.

Piazza del Plebiscito - three days in Naples itinerary

Your 10-days itinerary starts in Naples.

How to get there? The best solution is a flight arriving at Capodichino Airport. From there, you can reach the city center either by car or by bus (it will only take about 20 minutes). For more information about airport shuttles visit here. Naples is also very well connected to the main Italian cities by train in case you arrive from somewhere else. 

In the afternoon, you can start your visit from San Carlo Theater . It is the oldest Opera House in Europe which is still active today and it represents one of the most important cultural institution in Italy. Enjoy a guided tour in English to discover its neoclassical decorations and its history.

You can now head to Piazza del Plebiscito , one of the largest historical squares in Italy and visit the Royal Palace . Don’t miss its roof garden with their beautiful view of the city and the sea;

Day 2: Explore Naples 

Castel Nuovo -3 days in Naples

Start you day with a visit to Maschio Angioino Castle (also named Castel Nuovo ), which is one of the most iconic monuments of the city.

Have a walk in via Calabritto , which is the ultimate shopping destination in Naples, and reach Vittoria Square . This is one of the most important places in town, which celebrates the victory of the Christians over the Turkish during Lepanto battle (1571 A.C.). In front of the sea, you can notice the so-called “broken column”, a monument dedicated to the people who died at sea;

Sotterranea - 3 days in Naples

In the afternoon, you can have a tour of the underground city : it is a guided tour lasting 1 hour and taking you to hidden places like narrow alleys, reservoirs, archeological remains and other places located about 40 meters underground. You can find a Roman theater from Nerone’s Age, but also the shelters people used during World War II. For more information and to book a tour click here.

To breathe some fresh air, have a walk along Spaccanapoli , that is the main street going through the whole ancient city center;

You might also like my 3-day Naples itinerary.

Day 3: Day Trip to Pompeii and Sorento

best places to visit in italy south

Today, head to Pompei . How to get there? It takes 35 minutes by train and 30 minutes by car, so it’s really close to Naples city center. Pompei would require at least a whole day of visit to be fully explored, but if you only have 3 or 4 hours don’t miss the Foro, the Teatro Grande, The Terme Stabiane and Casa del Fauno. 

Tip: There will be queues in Pompeii so booking in advance allows you to get in quickly and not waste your time otherwise be there as soon as the archaeological site opens.

Here are a few options that I recommend:

  • If you want just to skip the line and see the archaeological site on your own I suggest that you buy a fast track entrance ticket .
  • If you would like to do a guided tour and also skip the lines I suggest this 2 hour skip the line guided tour .

southern Italy itinerary

You can spend the afternoon in Sorrento . It requires a 45 minutes’ drive from Pompei, but you can also reach it by train in 30 minutes. What you cannot miss: Tasso Square, Corso Italia, San Francesco Cloister, Villa Comunale, the Cathedral and, if you have enough time, the mills’ gorge. Late in the afternoon, you can go back to Naples.

Day 4: Day Trip to the Amalfi Coast

Beautiful Amalfi Coast Towns and Villages - Amalfi

Day trip to Amalfi Coast . The best solution is driving all day with a rented car and go from village to village or take a guided tour doing the same thing by bus. Amalfi coast has plenty of picturesque villages, beautiful beaches and landscapes and you cannot choose one single destination. Moreover, driving there it’s an amazing experience as well, because of the panoramic road giving you the chance to take wonderful pictures. You can choose to stop at 2 locations in the morning and 2 locations in the afternoon, to make the best of your day.

Some suggestions:

  • Positano: you need about 1h15 to get there from Naples, but you cannot miss Spiaggia Grande (Large Beach), because it’s one of the most popular locations of the entire coast and it has one of the most typical views you can think of. If you go there in summer, it’s best to skip it, because it will be too crowded!
  • Praiano : a picturesque village with the beautiful San Gennaro Church decorated with a traditional majolica floor;

Beautiful Amalfi Coast Towns and Villages - Positano

  • Amalfi: it is a real town and not just a village and it is the main location of the coast. It was once one of the Italian Maritime Republics together with Pisa, Genova and Venice. Amalfi has plenty of works of art and pieces of heritage and it would require an entire day of sightseeing. Anyway, make sure you visit the Cathedral and the Paradise Cloister;
  • Ravello: one of the most iconic places in Ravello is Villa Rufolo, which is located in the center of the village and offers a beautiful and relaxing garden;

best places to visit in italy south

In the evening, you can choose to go back to Naples or to stop at a typical restaurant along the way to experience a traditional dinner watching the sunset on the sea.

You might be interested in: The best towns to visit in the Amalfi coast

and my Amalfi Coast itinerary.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 5 : Head to Matera 

Matera - Southern Italy itinerary

Head to Matera, in Basilicata. How to get there? It takes 4 hours by train and 3 hours by car;

Start your visit from Casa Noha . It is an ancient mansion where you can see digital videos and multimedia materials explaining the story of the city. It is the best starting point of a sightseeing tour and it offers all the general information you may need;

Late in the afternoon, you can still have a look at the Maria Santissima della Bruna Cathedral , which has been recently restored and it’s definitely worth a visit for its many works of art.

Day 6: Explore Matera

Matera - Southern Italy itinerary

Today it’s time to explore Sassi, that is the ancient historical districts of the city, entirely built of local stone inside the rocks themselves. The two districts are named Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano and they are located on two slopes creating a sort of natural amphitheater.

You can either visit them alone and wander through their narrow alleys admiring the buildings or take a guided tour. There are many local guides and tour operators offering daily tours, so that you can have a look on the internet and message them before your arrival;

best places to visit in italy south

Later in the afternoon, you should also visit the Museum of Peasant Civilization, to better understand local culture and the way people used to live here.

You might be interested in this 2-hour walking tour of the Sassi. 

Day 7: Bari or Murgia Materana Natural Park 

Option 1: travel to Bari , in Puglia. How to get there? You can take a bus and arrive in Bari in just 1 hour. Flixbus Company has really cheap tickets and frequent rides ( https://global.flixbus.com/ ). Once you get there, make sure to visit San Sabino Cathedral , that is one of the most important examples of Romanic style in Southern Italy. Visit also its underground archeological remains. In the afternoon, you can either stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the beautiful scenery or relax on the beach!

Bari seafront - Southern Italy itinerary

Option 2: if you prefer to continue exploring Basilicata Region, have a trip to Murgia Materana Natural Park . It is only 20 minutes away from Matera and you can also enjoy a guided tour letting you discover its natural landscapes at sunset or dawn. This area is a natural-historic-cultural site hosting some ancient rocky churches and a wide range of local flora and fauna.

Murgia Materana Natural Park. - Southern Italy itinerary

Day 8 : Explore further Puglia 

Depending on your interests you can choose one of the below options. One of my favorite things to do in the area is a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello.

Option 1: day trip to Alberobello . You can reach this village by train from Bari (1h30) or by car (1 hour). Its main attraction consists of its typical stone houses named “Trulli”. This is a World Heritage site and you can spend the whole day here, since there are many examples of buildings, churches and shops to explore;

Alberobello - Southern Italy

Option 2: head to Bari and spend your day visiting the city. Ideal sightseeing for 1 day: San Sabino Cathedral, Aqueduct Building, Petruzzelli Theater, Old Port, Norman Castle and waterfront;

Option 3: one day on the beach in of the best beaches in the area: Lido San Francesco all’Arena, Pane & Pomodoro Beach or Lido Sun Beach;

Option 4: one day on the beach in Polignano a Mare , a seaside resort near Bari. You can reach it by train (about 35 minutes) and enjoy a relaxing day on its most popular beach named Cala Monachile. Its beautiful scenery and its transparent water make it the favorite location for both locals and tourists. Visit also the picturesque city center.

Day 9 : Explore Taranto

Taranto old Aragonese Castle - Southern Italu itinerary

Head to Taranto , another important city in Puglia. You can easily reach it by train from Bari (about 1 hour);

The most popular attraction is Aragonese Castle (also called Sant’Angelo Castle), which is an ancient fort built on the coastline to protect the city during the XVth century 

Don’t miss the swing bridge nearby: it is an iron bridge connecting the New Town with Old Town Island;

If you still have a couple of hours, visit the National Archeological Museum to better understand the history of the city and the whole Magna Grecia territory (Southern Italy in general).

Day 10 Taranto 

best places to visit in italy south

Spend you last day in Taranto on a 5-hours cruise to see dolphins and listen to a dedicated biologist explaining the local biodiversity. You can participate in the program “Researcher for a Day” at the Jonian Dolphin Conservation Center ; That was one of my absolutely favorite activities in the area.

To come back home, you can either catch a flight at Salento Airport in Brindisi (1-hour drive from Taranto) or leave by train from the main railway station. Either way, you’ll have direct connections with all the main Italian cities.

What to taste during this Southern Italy Itinerary

best places to visit in italy south

Naples: pizza, of course! If you are there during the Easter month, taste also “pastiera”, a typical tart made with ricotta and orange flower water.

Sorrento: for a typical lunch, taste “gnocchi alla sorrentina”. It’s a simple dish made of gnocchi, tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil.

Amalfi Coast: have a romantic dinner in front of the sea tasting “scialatielli allo scoglio”, that is the local pasta shape with a seafood sauce. After dinner, don’t forget to ask for a glass of Limoncello, that is the famous liqueur produced with local lemons.

Matera: local bread is one of most prized Italian gastronomic products and it’s also the perfect ingredient for local “bruschetta”. They can be tasted as a snack, a quick lunch or an appetizer before dinner.

Bari: the main local dish is pasta with turnip greens and anchovies. If you feel like a quick snack, search for the next bakery and ask for some “taralli” (savory crackers).

Taranto: for street food lovers there’s a perfect lunch consisting in “panzerotto tarantino”, that is a small fried “calzone” stuffed with mozzarella and tomato sauce.

Have you decided to stay longer in Southern Italy? You might be interested in:

  • Things to do in Puglia.
  • Thinking of extending your stay to Sicily island? Check out my 5 day Sicily itinerary and the best things to do in Palermo .
  • Explore the off- the- beaten -track  places in Puglia
  • Wondering what to pack for your Italy vacation from May to October? Check my post here . 

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Save A Train

10 Best Places To Visit In South Italy

The warm weather is not over yet. There is still time and a good reason to visit South Italy this month!  South Italy has some amazing offerings. The Best Places to visit in South Italy include; beautiful stretches of dramatic coastline, picture perfect beaches, charming coastal islands, and a plethora of historic cities and towns. It was hard to narrow our list down to just 10, but here are the 10 best places to visit in South Italy.

  • This article was written to educate about Train Travel and was made by Save A Train The Cheapest Train Tickets Website In The World .

1.  The Amalfi Coast 

Amalfi coast is awesome

This protected region features some idyllic coastal towns such as Amalfi, Erchie, Minori, and Positano – these towns have a series of multi colored houses that stack up against the hillsides and provide picture-perfect photo opportunities.

Furthermore, sites such as Villa Rufolo in Ravello provide unrivaled views across the Mediterranean Sea.

Milan to Genoa Trains

Rome to Genoa Trains

Florence to Genoa Trains

Venice to Genoa Trains

2. Sorrento

Sorrento has both the amenities that tourists find comforting as well as unique and higher-end antiquities for sale in the old town. A ferry leaves from here to the isle of Capri, and it is a great jumping off point for Pompeii. However, Sorrento is also known for its excellent gourmet cuisine , stunning cliff dwellings (though no beaches), and stunning views of Mount Vesuvius.

Bologna to Pompei Trains

Pompei to Nocera Inferiore Trains

Salerno to Nocera Inferiore Trains

Salerno to Mercato San Severino Trains

Maratea by the beach

This medieval town is positioned along the rocky coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. Its ritzy harbor is one of the top hotspots in Italy. If you want to stay here during the summer you may have to book well in advance to secure your chosen hotel as rooms book up FAST. As we are nearing the end of the warm season, you may have some luck with last-minute bookings!

Salerno to Maratea Trains

Bari to Maratea Trains

Naples to Maratea Trains

Potenza to Maratea Trains

Some cool history, Paestum is a town on Italian soil, but it was founded by the ancient Greeks when they were in control of this part of Italy! Then it was known as Poseidonia after the god of the sea.

The Greek architecture alone is worth a visit so be sure to put that into your itinerary in addition to visiting the three well-preserved Greek temples that you have to see. The oldest was built about 550BC (give or take a year) and is the Temple of Hera which is amazing.

Salerno to Paestum Trains

Naples to Paestum Trains

Pompei to Paestum Trains

Potenza to Paestum Trains

5. Best Places To Visit In South Italy: Naples

Naples is on 10 Best Places To Visit In South Italy

Naples, or Napoli, depends on what language, is the third largest city in Italy. To be honest, there are some very opposing views on this part of South Italy. To some, it is huge, filthy, crime-ridden, and falling apart, to others it is edgy and atmospheric. Whatever blows your hair back, we guess?  One thing is for sure though. This coastal Southern city has its own personality! Many favorite Italian foods originated in Naples and its surrounding areas such as pizza, and spaghetti. These dishes are taken seriously here and usually feature fresh, locally grown ingredients. Tourist attractions in Naples include a huge medieval castle , Castel Nuovo, as well as the seaside fortress of Castel del Ovo. The city is also next to Vesuvius, the only active volcano on the European continent.

Milan to Naples Trains

Florence to Naples Trains

Venice to Naples Trains

Pisa to Naples Trains

6. Best Places To Visit In South Italy: Alberobello

Alberobello houses style

The town of Alberobello is unique in that it is the best preserved example of Trulli architecture to be found in all of Italy (well, so I was told).

Homes built in the Trulli style are made with conical stone roofs without using mortar (though, I am no builder so do not quote me on that). The oldest homes date from the 14th century and totally stunning , making it one of the must-see and beautiful towns in Southern Italy to visit.

Naples to Monopoli Trains

Bari to Fasano Trains

Taranto to Fasano Trains

7. Best Places To Visit In South Italy: Tropea

Tropea is the less known place in 10 Best Places To Visit In South Italy

Look, I am warning you in advance. The photo opportunities in this place are insane. Be careful that you do not miss out on the real thing! The beautiful ancient town of Tropea is perched on top of some sheer cliffs and across the road from a narrow sandy beach , it is said to have been founded by Hercules himself.

If you are sightseeing , there are two gorgeous churches in Tropea too, the Santa Maria del Isola is a medieval church that was built on an island although years of siltation have resulted in a land bridge forming between the island and the mainland. The other is the cathedral; it has two unexploded bombs dating from WW2 sitting just outside the church door. Locals believed the building was protected by the patron saint so watch your step!

The churches alone make this one of the most beautiful towns in Southern Italy. You will love it!

Vibo Marina to Tropea Trains

Catanzaro to Tropea Trains

Cosenza to Tropea Trains

Lamezia Terme to Tropea Trains

8. Best Places To Visit In South Italy: Capri

Capri is one the list of Best Places To Visit In South Italy

Technically a small island, Capri has a gorgeous town and marina that you have to explore. The whole island is rich in history and mythology and one lovely spot you have to visit when in the region.

If you are looking for things to see, The home of Roman Emperor Tiberius (Villa Jovis) is still one of the major spots to see on the island and so is the Blue Grotto. The waterfront cave is only accessible by boat and only when there are favorable tides (so be prepared for cancellations).

Reggio Emilia to Florence Trains

Genoa to Florence Trains

Sestri Levante to Rome Trains

Parma to Florence Trains

9. Best Places To Visit In South Italy: Pompeii and Herculaneum

Pompeii and Herculaneum Historic Site

Pompeii and Herculaneum were two Roman towns and villages that were obliterated when Mount Vesuvius erupted all the way back in 79 AD.

Probably the most famous of the two is the town of Pompeii, which you can now wander around and explore when you are in the area. An awful 3,000 people perished in the town, but the hot ash immortalized the ruins into what it is today. Be warned, it can get pretty busy here, so plan accordingly and remember you might have to queue for a ticket to enter.

Oh, also the nearby town of Herculaneum is smaller and was a wealthier district and gives an example of how the wealthy Romans once lived. Make sure to visit the Herculaneum Archaeological Area if you are a history buff!

Torre Del Greco to Pompei Trains

Naples to Pompei Trains

Salerno to Pompei Trains

Bari to Pompei Trains

10. Best Places To Visit In South Italy: Aeolian Islands

Aeolian Islands Italy

Last on our list of Best Places to visit in South Italy. The Aeolian Islands! They are known as the Hawaii of Italy. It is a string of islands north of Sicily, and it is silly gorgeous. As amazing as it may be, hardly anyone knows about it. But the ones who do keep coming back. Because they know they will have the place all to themselves.

Renting scooters to zip around beautiful black beaches. Sunset aperitivo in Pollara. Boating around the surrounding islands of Stromboli, Panarea, and Lipari. Getting steamy with sulfur water spas in Vulcano. The Greek vibes (no surprise – the islands were named for Aeolus, the god of the winds, by Greek settlers). Salt eroded houses spilling down to the shore. And feeling like you are in on a big secret that you only wanna share with your loved ones!

Naples to Salerno Trains

Naples to Milan Trains

Rome to Naples Trains

Bari to Salerno Trains

Insider tip: travel here between Easter-October and Book in advance if you want to visit in August!

Ready to pack your bags for the South of Italy trip? Then book your train ticket with Save A Train within minutes. No extra fees, no fuss, just fun! 

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best places to visit in italy south

Laura Thomas

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Traveling to South Italy? Grab this list of the best places to visit in Southern Italy that you totally need to have in your South Italy travel bucket list. #SouthItaly #Italy #SouthernItaly

25 Best Places To Visit In Southern Italy

Last Updated on July 29, 2023 by Soumya

Traveling to Southern Italy and looking for the best places to visit ? Wondering if Italy’s southern coast is the perfect place to holiday? What are the top tourist destinations in South Italy that you could add to your itinerary?

Well! Well! We have just the perfect South Italy bucket list for you that will answer all your questions and some more!

Southern Italy is one of my favorite places to visit because there’s just so much to do here. Whether it is digging deeper into ancient Roman history at Pompeii and Herculaneum, strolling through the charming streets of Amalfi Coast towns, learning all about Sicilian Baroque in Ragusa Sicily , or seeing the pretty Trulli houses of Alberobello, Italy’s south has something for everyone.

With an endless list of attractive towns and cities to visit, Southern Italy makes for an amazing holiday destination. There’s no chance that you’ll ever get bored here! You’ll only want to come back again and again for more.

In this ultimate list of best places in South Italy , we talk about 25 amazing cities, UNESCO sites, coastal towns, and hidden gems. Please note that our list is divided by 5 different southern Italian regions with Campania being the most popular with the highest number of tourist attractions.

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Traveling to South Italy? Grab this list of the best places to visit in Southern Italy that you totally need to have in your South Italy travel bucket list. #SouthItaly #Italy #SouthernItaly

Table of Contents

Top places to visit in Campania, South Italy

Editor’s choice

Dionysian frieze at Villa of Mysteries

One of the most historic places to visit in Southern Italy is the UNESCO world heritage site of Pompeii. The ruins of this ancient Roman city tell a story that can move you to the core.

Once upon a time, Pompeii was a rich and prosperous trading town, set against the backdrop of Mt. Vesuvius on the Italian coast. On 24th of August, 79 CE, Vesuvius spewed fire, ash, and rock in the most fiery eruption in history engulfing the entire city of Pompeii and several others nearby.

More than 10,000 people were killed in the eruption. Houses and shops vanished under a thick layer of ash. Strangely, the ash also acted as a preserving agent and protected bodies, pottery, and even frescoes in the most unblemished form.

2000 years later, travelers can experience the life and culture of Pompeii by walking through the excavations and stepping into ancient villas, temples, marketplaces, and granaries. Some of the most iconic attractions are the public kitchens or the Thermopolia, the Garden of the Fugitives, the Villa of Mysteries, and the brothel or the Lupanar.

Getting to Pompeii : The best way to get to Pompeii is by train from Naples . Get off at the Pompeii Scavi train station, which is just 2 mins away from the main entrance of Pompeii archaeological site. With the coming of high-speed trains, Pompeii is also done as an easy day trip from Rome .

Sculpture at the House of Fawn

Herculaneum

Herculaneum (or Ercolano) is another Roman town like Pompeii that was buried during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE.

Although Pompeii was a bigger town with more people, Herculaneum was the richer one. The abundance of luxurious mansions here speaks of Herculaneum’s opulence.

Some of the best things to see in Herculaneum are the baths or the Thermae, the House of Neptune and Amphitrite, and the warehouses called Fornici. The mosaic of Neptune in the dining room of the House of Neptune and Amphitrite is absolutely breathtaking.

Do not miss the Scroll’s Villa or Villa dei Papyri which is the most magnificent villa in Herculaneum. Apparently, it was owned by the Roman senator, Lucius Calpurnius who was also Julius Caesar’s father-in-law.

Getting to Herculaneum : The best way to visit Herculaneum is by taking a train from Naples. It is the same Circumvesuviana train that stops at both Ercolano (for Herculaneum) and Pompeii Scavi (for Pompeii).

Quaint streets and alleys of Naples Italy

Naples is one of Italy’s largest cities and the capital of the Campania Region. Once an important cultural center of the ancient Greek and Roman empires, the Naples of today is filled with historical and architectural wonders.

Explore the historic center of Naples (also a UNESCO heritage site) on a walking tour . Step into one of the city’s many beautiful cathedrals and visit the unending galleries of the archaeological museum. Be sure to join a guided tour of Naples’ underground city , an unmissable attraction. And do not forget to try some authentic Neapolitan pizza and flaky sfogliatelle. There’s lots of interesting stuff to do in Naples, even if you are visiting for one day .

Naples is often just used as a thoroughfare for Pompeii and never really explored. So, the next time you are in Southern Italy, do visit Naples because this city totally deserves a visit.

Getting to Naples : The easiest way to get to Naples is by Frecciarossa or Italo high-speed trains from Rome. Once you are in Naples, you can explore the historic center and the seaside by walking around or using buses and trams. You’ll find a handy map of Naples’ public transport network here .

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Ravello Southern Italy

Be sure to add the small town of Ravello sitting atop a cliff overlooking the beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea on your Amalfi coast itinerary . With documented history dating back to the 9th century, Ravello is not only historically fascinating, but also incredibly romantic, charming, and less crowded than other popular towns in the Southern Italy region. 

Two of Ravello’s attractions that are absolutely worth your time are Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. These villas date back to the 11th century, and showcase stunning gardens, as well as breathtaking views of the sea and coastline. The walk between the two villas is only 10 minutes, and is also very scenic, making it easy to explore both in just a few hours. 

After exploring the villas, enjoy lunch under lemon trees at Mimi Ristorante Pizzeria for some of the best pizza in the Amalfi Coast. They also specialize in limoncello, so you’ll definitely want to linger for  digestivo after your meal.

Getting to Ravello : The best way to get to Ravello is either by taxi or bus from Amalfi, which will take about 30 minutes. Taxis and buses will drop you off right at the main entrance to the town. From there, it’s only a 2-minute walk to the piazza. Once in Ravello, you’ll be able to walk everywhere, as it’s very small.

Paestum Greek Temples

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Greek Temples of Paestum

The Greek temples of Paestum are one of the most underrated UNESCO treasures in Italy.

Located in the Campania region about an hour and a half drive from Naples, this magnificent archaeological complex of Paestum has a cluster of well-preserved temples and city ruins. 

There are three main temples dedicated to Neptune and the goddesses Hera and Athena along with a spectacular museum that you can visit for frescoes panels and other artifacts excavated from the site.

Surprisingly, the park grounds are not jam-packed with tourists probably because of Paestum’s isolated location and relative obscurity. If you are in the Campania region of Southern Italy, place Paestum on your must-visit list of world heritage sites to see.

Getting to Paestum : The best way to travel to Paestum from Naples or anywhere in the Amalfi Coast is by car. If you are in Naples, you can also take the regional train which takes around 1hr 15mins to get to Paestum from Naples Central station.

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Southern Italian town of Sorrento

Sorrento is a beautiful small town in Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, in the Campania region. This glamorous stretch of coastline has long been thought of as the gateway to the Amalfi coast and a playground for the rich and famous and it’s easy to see why. Balmy Mediterranean weather, a sun-soaked coastline, stunning vistas and azure waters; Sorrento is the epitome of ‘la dolce vita’. 

There are many ways that you can enjoy your time in Sorrento such as taking part in the evening passeggiata along Corsa Italia, Sorrento’s main shopping street. You could maybe stop for a glass of wine and do some people-watching outside one of the many bars that line the street. Spend time at Villa Comunale, a small park with spectacular views over the Bay of Naples. You’ll be able to spot Mt. Vesuvius and the island of Ischia, making this is an excellent spot to watch the sunset.  

Sorrento isn’t known for its beaches. However, there are a handful of small public beaches and four beach clubs in Marina Piccola. The most popular beach club is Marameo beach. Marameo has sun loungers, cabanas, a hot tub, changing cabins, a great restaurant, canoes to rent and floating sun loungers.

Getting to Sorrento : Sorrento has great transport links and is only an hour away from Naples by train. There are also daily buses to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello and regular ferries to Capri. This makes Sorrento an excellent base for exploring the Amalfi coast. 

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Minori, Italy is a quiet beach village situated in the beautiful Amalfi coast region of southern Italy. It offers visitors a quieter retreat compared to several tourist hotspots nearby, like Amalfi and Positano. The village is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Minori is located at one end of the Path of Lemons, which is a lovely stone trail that winds through the high hills of the region. The path is lined by lemon trees and provides beautiful views of the beaches and sea below. The path also connects Minori with its sister town of Maiori. 

Minori features a small but peaceful beach area lined with cafes. One of the central landmarks of the town is the sunny yellow church, Basilica di Santa Trofimena. 

For history lovers, the Villa Romana e Antiquarium is another top attraction located nearby. The well-preserved ancient Roman Villa dates from the 1st century. It is small but includes interesting historic artifacts and restored tilework. 

Getting to Minori : You can get to Minori by train, car, taxi, or bus from Naples. You can take a 37min train ride from Naples to Salerno. And, then take a 20min taxi ride from Salerno to Minori. The town is about a 50min drive by taxi or car from Naples. The bus offers the cheapest alternative, but the ride takes about 2 hours from Naples. 

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Spiaggia Grande beach in Positano

Positano is easily one of the most sought after destinations in Southern Italy. Perched atop a cliffside along the Amalfi Coast, picturesque Positano offers breathtaking scenery with its colorful buildings and dramatic seaside location.

While the charming village of Positano offers a laidback vibe, it also provides a range of activities to suit various interests. From sun-soaked beaches, to charming boutiques, to incredible hiking opportunities like the Path of the Gods, there’s more to Positano than its postcard-perfect facade.

Although the famous cliffside village isn’t necessarily known for its history, there are some historic gems to be found here too. The Byzantine-style Church of Santa Maria Assunta is one of the town jewels, dating back to the 12th century.

Getting to Positano : Determining  how to get to Positano  will take some advance planning, as this Amalfi Coast village is not serviced by any airports and there are no direct train routes. However, there are a couple of different options available, including arranging a private transfer, taking a bus, doing a bus and train combination, or traveling by boat.

Best places to visit in the Campanian archipelago

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Procida in South Italy

One charming and colorful island-town in Southern Italy is  Procida .

Enjoy the rich and uniquely wonderful Italian architecture in many of the buildings on Procida. From the Santa Maria Delle Grazie with its yellow coat of paint to the pastel-colored houses that rise just above the Mediterranean Sea, all make this town charming and special.

To view the unique residential architecture of Procida, head to the historic center, Terra Murata. You’ll find Casale Vascello which is a large courtyard surrounded by tall brightly colored terraced houses! 

Make sure to visit Abbazia di San Michele Arcangelo. It is a gorgeous Italian church with a decadent interior that is one of the best things to see in Procida.

A cultural gem on the island is Palazzo D’Avalos. There is an archaeological museum, an art gallery, and a beautiful Mediterranean garden, all on-site. Plus, those views over the distant bay of Naples are incredible. 

Whether visiting Procida as a day trip or staying on the island, there are plenty of great places to eat! From lovely cafes selling delicious coffee and pastries to restaurants where you can enjoy traditional Italian pasta and freshly grilled fish, Procida offers several options.

Getting to Procida : Visiting this stunning island is super easy with nearly 30 ferry trips a day directly from the Bay of Naples.

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Ischia in South Italy

The biggest island in the Bay of Naples, Ischia is also the most diverse. Best known for its thermal pools, this island has so much to offer the savvy visitor.

Ischia is blessed with both black and white sand beaches (as well as every other shade in between).

There are several amazing  things to do in Ischia  including hiking to the top of Monte Epomeo, exploring stunning botanical gardens, sipping on locally grown wines, visiting scintillating sunset spots, and discovering fascinating historical attractions.

Getting to Ischia : To get there, inexpensive ferries depart Naples port daily. For a little more, you can take the faster hydrofoil. In any case, the trip lasts from 50 mins to 1h 30min, so travel time doesn’t have to eat into your vacation.

Once you arrive on the island, you can get around by bus, water or regular taxis, or hire your own car or scooter. Driving in Ischia can take a little getting used to, so for a stress-free journey, perhaps choose one of the other options. 

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Restaurant in Capri

The island of Capri is located off the shores of the Amalfi Coast. It is a famous destination known for its beaches, glowing grottos, lemons, Caprese salad, and many famous visitors.

From Marina Grande, take a boat tour around the island to see the famous sights, the blue grotto, Via Krupp and the Faraglioni Rocks. Back on land, jump on the funicular up to Capri town. From there you can wander the cobblestone alleys and shop for handmade Italian leather sandals, where they make them to fit your foot.

When you get hungry, have lunch or dinner at Da Paolino . Enjoy a traditional Italian meal under a twinkling lemon grove, but be sure to book reservations several months in advance.

You can choose to stay on the mainland in a Amalfi town like Positano, and take a day trip from Positano to Capri for a wonderful day adventure. But, try to spend a few nights here as there’s so much to see and do.

The island shuts down many of its shops and restaurants during the winter, so you’ll want to visit between April and October.

Getting to Capri : It’s easy to get to by ferry from many of the Amalfi Coast towns, Sorrento or Naples.

Best places to visit in Sicily, South Italy

Val di noto.

Stunning views of Ragusa Ibla by night. Ragusa is definitely a great addition to your 5 day Sicily itinerary.

Of all the places in Southern Italy, southeastern Sicily has my heart. And that is because, here, I get to visit the beautiful Baroque towns of Val di Noto.

A devastating earthquake struck Sicily in 1693 and many towns turned into rubble. The authorities decided to resurrect these places in a combined effort. This resulted in the creation of an exceptional group of 8 towns that displayed classic Sicilian Baroque components . They are the Late Baroque Towns of Val di Noto.

Built in late 17th century, these eight towns ( Ragusa , Modica, Noto, Scicli, Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, and Palazzolo), are now a UNESCO world heritage site. If you love art and architecture, you’ll love talking a walk through their historic centers. Modica is also famous for its unique chocolate that is still made in the traditional Aztec style.

Getting to Val di Noto : Take a bus (1.5 hours) from Catania Airport to Noto. This is the fastest way to get there. You can also take a train (cheapest) which takes about 3 hours.

Greek temples of Agrigento

The majestic Valley of Temples in Agrigento Sicily

There are many wonderful things to do in Sicily and one of them is visiting the Greek Temples of Agrigento on the west coast.

Agrigento or Akragas was once an influential Greek city. A strategic location on the Sicilian coast made Agrigento a powerful place even during Roman rule.

The Greeks built a number of Doric temples in Agrigento. The ensemble, that came to be known as the Valley of Temples, is now a UNESCO site and a beautiful stop on every Sicily itinerary . Some of Agrigento’s unmissable highlights are temples of Concordia, Heracles, Juno, and Dioscuri. Don’t miss the medieval Christian necropolises located behind the Temple of Concordia.

Getting to Agrigento : The best way to get to Agrigento is by regional train from Palermo Central to Agrigento Bassa station. The journey takes around 2 hours.

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Erice Castle in Sicily

If you are looking for a beautiful town to explore in  Sicily with kids , then look no further than Erice. Pronounced EH-richay, this 12th-century medieval village sits at the top of Mount Erice and overlooks the region of Trapani.

At 750 m above sea level, the village is surrounded by defensive walls with narrow cobblestone roads running through it. With a population of only about 300 permanent residents, Erice’s historical center is largely intact, clean, and well-kept.

There are public transit buses that run from Palermo to Erice several times daily, depending on the time of the year. You can also choose to drive to Erice, but you will only find a limited number of parking spots located just outside the city walls.

Once inside the walls, be sure to stroll the streets and admire the incredible architecture. With a beautiful church, amazing doorways, and historical courtyards, there are plenty of perfect places to grab that Instagrammable shot!

If you love to shop, Erice has many interesting little shops filled with locally made handicrafts, souvenirs, and delicious sweets and pastries. Do not leave town without trying their signature marzipan fruit, almond biscuits, and pastries, or their incredible cannoli.

Getting to Erice : The easiest way to get to Erice is by car from Trapani (30 min drive). The most exciting way is to take the cable car from Trapani to Erice.

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Greek theater at Taormina

The whole island of Sicily is worth exploring but if you need to focus on a single place, let it be  Taormina . 

The small town, located in northeastern Sicily, has it all. Ancient sights, a stunning coastline, great gastronomy, and a chilled vibe – you’ll find everything in Taormina.

The Old Town of Taormina stretches mid-way in a hill, between the gates Porta Messina and Porta Catania. Near Porta Messina, you can find the Ancient Greek Theatre from the 3rd century BC. It offers not just a unique trip to far-flung history, but also stunning views of Mount Etna in the distance and the Ionian Sea below. 

Beaches in Taormina are plentiful too. Accessing them is especially fun – by taking a cable car. Mazzaro beach is beautiful but packed. Instead, opt for Isola Bella Beach a little further away. The beach boasts a unique little islet that you can walk over to and explore for a small fee.

Getting to Taormina : You can get to Taormina easily from Catania – it’s only an hour-long drive. If you’d rather not drive in Europe , then you can take the bus or train.

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The city of Messina in Southern Italy

For many travelers to Sicily, Messina is the first city that they will see. For thousands of years, Messina served as an important port city and as a gateway to the Mediterranean. It remains so to this day.

Along with that storied history comes a great number of beautiful, historic buildings for you to discover. The Duomo has stood since its construction in 1551, and was actually designed by a young protege of Michaelangelo.

Climbing up to the top of Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re near the esplanade provides panoramic views of the entire city of Messina and the gulf. More beautiful buildings to explore include Chisea del Carmine, Campostano, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III.

Messina is also known for its incredible wines, producing varietals that are rich in history and difficult to find elsewhere. You’ll find them served by the glass at nearly every little restaurant in town, but a nice option is to visit the vineyards themselves. Located just a short distance from the city limits, Cantine Maduado and Tanuta Enza La Fauci are both family-run vineyards that offer tours and tastings to the public with reservations.

Getting to Messina : As the third largest city in Sicily, Messina is easily accessible by public transit from other parts of Italy. The easiest way to get there is by flying into Catania Airport, about 100km away, and then taking a public bus.

Another more scenic option is to fly into Reggio Calabria Airport on the mainland, and then take the ferry across the Mediterranean Sea into the Port of Messina.

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Cathedral in the historic center of Palermo in Sicily

Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Palermo is a beautiful city with a mountainous backdrop and the open sea on the other side.  Wandering the streets of Palermo, visitors can feel the culture within the colorful streets. 

A visit to Teatro Massimo, Italy’s largest opera house, is a must-do when in Palermo. Still in use, the opera house hosts a variety of events and tours, many of which spectators can purchase tickets for in advance . 

The Capuchin Catacombs has over 8,000 mummified bodies and their significance in Palermo’s history make the place worthy of a visit. 

Get a real taste of Italy here because the original Sicilian Pizza originated in Palermo. Traditionally, the square-shaped Sicilian pizza did not contain mozzarella but eventually evolved into the more modern style Sicilian pizza. 

Do not miss visiting Palermo’s beautiful beaches such as Mondello or Cefalu that invite visitors to take a dip in the crystal blue waters.

Getting to Palermo : The best way to get to Palermo from mainland Italy is to fly to Palermo International Airport. You can also reach Palermo by train by using the train ferry service that crosses the strait of Messina.

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South Italy is packed with places of breathtaking beauty, but there are few places yet to be discovered. If you want a small unspoiled refuge where the beaches are still wild and the skyline is still natural, don’t miss a visit to  Favignana, the best-kept secret in Sicily .

Although quite outside the international circuit, it is well known by Italian tourists who triple the population in the summer months, so you are not going to be alone there. This is also an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture in an authentic way.

By renting a bike, in one day, you can explore most of the enchanting bays and beaches (not to be missed Cala Rossa, Cala Azzurra, and Bue Marino). However, the island is best appreciated if you dedicate a few days to it and savor its hidden beauty. Venture towards the slightly more secluded beaches such as Cala Preveto, stop for an aperitif by the sea at sunset, or visit the “giardino dell’impossibile” that recounts the history of the once great tuff quarries of the island.

Getting to Favignana : Favignana can be easily reached from Trapani by hydrofoil. About 30 minutes is all it takes. This makes it an extremely popular destination even for just a day trip.

Best places to visit in Basilicata, South Italy

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Matera

Located in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy, Matera has a long and rich history, dating back to the Paleolithic period. Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in the world. The city is known for its unique architecture, which features cave dwellings that were carved into the rock formations of the surrounding hillsides.

Matera is best explored on foot by wandering the narrow streets and exploring the unique architecture of the renovated Sassi Barisano and preserved Sassi Caveoso areas.

Start your visit by learning the history of Matera at Casa Noha. You can also visit the unique Catholic church Chiesa di Santa Maria di Idris, the Duomo of Matera, and the MUSMA Museum of Contemporary Sculpture.

Getting to Matera : Matera is serviced by public transport but it is slower than other parts of Italy. The best public transportation option is to take a 1.5-hour train ride from Bari. There are also slower bus options from major cities. If you are short on time, renting a car is your best option. 

The Greek ruins of Metaponto in Italy South

An obscure, little town in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy, Metaponto is often outshined by the more famous Matera. What everyone remains oblivious to is the fact that Metaponto was once built as a Greek city of defense. It is, therefore, home to the last remains of the famous Palatine Tables , a 6th-century BCE Greek temple dedicated to Hera and Apollo.

When in Metaponto, you can visit the Palatine Tables, explore the medieval castle, and check out the National Archaeological Museum.

Metaponto is home to only 1000 people and does not see many visitors. So, if you are looking for a quiet retreat in Italy’s south, Metaponto is the best place to be.

Getting to Metaponto : The easiest way to get to Metaponto from Matera is by driving – takes about 45 mins. You can also take a SITA SUD bus that runs 4 times during the day and gets you there in an hour or so.

Best places to visit in Apulia, South Italy

Polignano a mare.

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Polignano o Mare

Perched on the cliffs looming over the emerald waters of the Adriatic Sea, Polignano a Mare is one of the best places to visit in Southern Italy. Its compact size makes it easy to wander around its maze-like narrow streets and be seduced by the poems written all over the quaint town’s walls, doors, and stone steps.

While walking around Polignano a Mare, you will find several spots with incredible views of the city and the surrounding landscape. The most popular among them is Terazza Santo Stefano.

However, the best thing to do in Polignano a Mare is to join a boat tour of the sea caves and enjoy the views from the water.

Getting to Polignano a Mare : Polignano a Mare is situated in the northern part of Puglia near Bari. It takes about an hour to get to Polignano a Mare from Bari by train or 40 minutes by car if you’re driving.

Alberobello

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Trulli houses of Alberobello

Alberobello is a charming small town in the Puglia region of Southern Italy. It is best known for its Trulli houses, which were built without the use of mortar. Apparently, the reason behind choosing this unique building technique was to avoid paying high taxes: the locals would simply dismantle the dwellings when tax collectors came into the area. Now, that’s innovative!

Without a doubt, one of the  best things to do in Alberobello  is to stroll along the small streets while admiring the unique architecture of its Trulli homes. A guided Trulli tour is a great way to do it.

But you should also sample some of the local dishes like the popular Orecchiette pasta and the special Puglia cheese called Pallone di Gravina . Be sure to visit the unique Sant’Antonio Church with a conical roof.

Getting to Alberobello : Alberobello is a great idea for a day trip from Bari, the capital city of Puglia. It can be easily reached by car, bus, or train. However, out of these options, the train is probably the most comfortable one.

While the trains leave from Bari Central Station, you should be aware that the route is operated by Ferrovie Sud-Est and their ticket booth is not inside the actual station, but directly on the platform.

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Bari in South Italy

Bari, Italy is the capital of Puglia and is best known for its gorgeous old town. Bari was once fortified with a wall that dates back to the 4th century BC, with a restored section still standing today. The city sits along the Adriatic Sea and you can see fisherman tenderizing octopus right on the rocks. 

The best thing to do in Bari is to wander its maze of shady, winding streets. You’ll see locals congregating outside shops conversing loudly or passing chairs to be arranged in a circle for friends and family to sit and chat.  

Bari is also an excellent foodie city with a specialty in focaccia, especially from Panificio Fiore. The signature pasta of the region is orecchiette , which you’ll see at local stalls and tourist shops in all sorts of colors.  Or course, it would be a mistake to leave Bari without eating any octopus, whether grilled, in a sandwich, or chopped in a salad.

Bari is the perfect base for several day trips, including seaside Polignano a Mare or the fascinating UNESCO towns of Matera and Alberobello.  

Getting to Bari : To reach Bari, you can either fly into Bari International Airport or take the train to Bari Centrale.  If you don’t plan to do much day tripping, a rental car is not necessary. However, the charming historical towns within Puglia are a road tripper’s dream, so renting a car is still recommended for longer Italy itineraries.

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Lecce in Italy

When visiting southern Italy, most tourists keep close to the coast, looking for the most picturesque villages. However, there are treasures to be found inland too. Lecce’s nickname is the Florence of the south because of its rich Baroque architecture.

It’s a pleasure to wander its streets lined with the typical Lecce stone buildings. Lecce’s history goes back a long time, and you can still admire the Roman amphitheater in the heart of the city. The old part of the city is locked within the old city gates dating from the 16th century.

There are more  reasons to visit Lecce , besides the architecture. The city has a good vibe, with locals going out often and also an artsy feeling with boutique art shops almost everywhere. Add to that a great food scene, good weather and the proximity to not one, but both the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea and you have a great destination on your hands.

Getting to Lecce : The best way to get to Lecce is by flying into Brindisi Airport, which is just 25 miles away. From Brindisi, you can take a bus to Lecce.

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Monopoli beach in Italy's south coast

One of the best places to visit in Southern Italy is the beautiful coastal city of Monopoli, in the countryʻs Puglia region. This city does get tourists, but it is often overshadowed by other greats nearby (such as Polignano a Mare and Alberobello). However, you will find so many incredible  things to do in Monopoli  that it makes for the perfect base to explore the region!

If you are a beach lover and are visiting Monopoli during the warmer months, head to Porto Ghiacciolo. A long walk (or short drive) away from the city center, this beach sits at the foot of the Abbey of Santo Stefano, a castle that really makes for a unique setting! There is also a bar and a DJ here, making it a lively spot to spend the day. Another popular beach in Monopoli is Cala Porta Vecchia, a public beach that is located not too far from the center.

If you’re into history, be sure to check out the Monopoli Cathedral, the city’s old town, the views at Castello di Carlo, and the Il Bastione del Molino ruins right on the seafront. Before leaving Monopoli, be sure to grab dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants in the city, such as Komera, Cucina Nostra .

Getting to Monopoli : You can easily reach Monopoli by train from other places around the region and it is a short and direct train journey from Bari. The city is pretty walkable, so you will not need to rent a car or take public transportation (unless you are heading to Porto Ghiacciolo or somewhere further outside of the city).

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12 Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy That You Must Visit

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (6)

Yup, I’m hankering on about Italy again! Honestly, I just can’t help it, it’s one of my favourite countries in the world to visit. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll love how diverse Italy is. In lots of ways, the North feels so different from the south, which can actually feel like a totally different country (but somehow, still surprises me). Even the Italian language sounds so different, but that’s just one of the things that makes gorgeous cities such as Milan , regions such as Cinque Terre and places like Rome feel so different and totally special.

Best Things To Do In Matera, Italy (8)

Now, if you’re hankering for a little bit of sunshine and that gorgeous Italian charm, then you’ve gotta visit some of the beautiful towns in Southern Italy. 

The south of Italy is known in Italian as the ‘Mezzogiorno’ or ‘Midday’ region and has some of the oldest and most important historical towns in Italy as well as some of the most epic beaches (that’s perfect for a chillout day).

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (14)

Anyway, before I ramble any more about my love for Italy (and specifically, Sothern Italy), here are the most beautiful towns in Southern Italy that I hope you’ll love. 

1.) Maratea

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (1)

Maratea is positioned along the rocky coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and this medieval town with its ritzy harbour is one of the top spots in Italy.

If you want to stay here during the summer you may have to book well in advance to secure your chosen hotel as rooms book up FAST.

For a sumptuous stay, pop over to the  Santavenere Hotel  that even has its very own beach. It’s a great spot for cocktails and enjoying the lovely coast.

2.) Sorrento

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (4)

Sorrento is an almost perfect blend of little streets and stunning history – it’s one of the most beautiful towns in Southern Italy. Within easy reach of Naples by the choo-choo train, car or ferry from here to the nearby Isle of Capri, it’s a great spot to visit on your trip around Italy.

Best of all, It’s totally convenient for visiting Pompeii and has some great views of Mount Vesuvius, too. Sorrento has some yummy restaurants and is well renowned for its gourmet cuisine.

Make sure to check out Accento Restaurant which serves up some of the best seafood in the area. What else could you want from beautiful towns in southern Italy? Well, maybe gelato, eh? 

Oh, and don’t forget to book this Amalfi and Positano boat trip . It departs from Sorrento and is just beautiful. Just be sure to book your tickets in advance; places do fill up during the summer.

Plus, you can see the other tours we also love.

3.) Paestum 

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (9)

Paestum is a town on Italian soil but it was founded by the ancient Greeks when they were in control of this part of Italy, then it was known as Poseidonia after the god of the sea.

The Greek architecture alone is worth a visit so be sure to put that into your itinerary in addition to visiting the three well-preserved Greek temples that you have to see. The oldest was built about 550BC (give or take a year 🤣 )and is the Temple of Hera which is amazing.

If you’re short on time, you can also make a day trip from your lodgings or stay overnight at the gorgeous, Mec Paestum Hotel .

Just be sure to book your tours to the temples, especially if you’re departing from nearby Sorrento. There are some really great tours that take in the temple with a guide (or alone). Take a look at our favourites, below.

4.) Alberobello

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (13)

The town of Alberobello is unique in that it is the best-preserved example of Trulli architecture to be found in all of Italy (well, so I was told).

Homes built in the Trulli style are made with conical stone roofs without using mortar (though, I’m no builder so don’t quote me on that).

The oldest homes date from the 14 th century and totally stunning, making it one of the must-see and beautiful towns in Southern Italy to visit.

To make things easier, book this 2-hour walking tour of Alberobello . It’s such a great way to explore the Trulli houses and really learn more about the history and culture of this town in Southern Italy. 

Book: The best 2-hour walking tour of Alberobello

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (11)

Look, I’m warning you in advance… there are so many photo opportunities in the beautiful ancient town of Tropea.

Perched on top of some sheer cliffs and across the road from a narrow sandy beach, it’s said to have been founded by Hercules himself.

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (12)

If you’re sightseeing, there are two gorgeous churches in Tropea too, the Santa Maria del’Isola is a medieval church that was built on an island although years of siltation have resulted in a land bridge forming between the island and the mainland.

The other is the cathedral; it has two unexploded bombs dating from WW2 sitting just outside the church door. Locals believed the building was protected by the patron saint so watch your step! 

The churches alone make this one of the most beautiful towns in Southern Italy. You’ll love it!

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (7)

Okay, yes – technically a city but I had to include it!

Naples or Napoli as it is known locally is the largest city in southern Italy and is the birthplace of the original pizza, the food here is taken very seriously and the city has a strong personality of its own full of narrow winding streets with a strong African influence that makes it so unique.

Best Things To Do In Naples (17)

To be honest, It’s a city you’ll either love or hate (it always seems to foster such polarising views). If you’re in the city, you might wanna head over to the medieval castle of Castel Nuovo, it’s huge!

Best Things To Do In Naples (17)

The seafront fortress of Castel del’Ovo is another popular haunt you’ll enjoy exploring. Best of all, Naples is close to mainland Europe’s only active volcano, Mount Vesuvius.

Read more: Best things to do in Naples

7.) Capri 

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (3)

Technically a small island, Capri has a gorgeous town and marina that you have to explore. 

The whole island is rich in history and mythology and one lovely spot you have to visit when in the region.

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (5)

If you’re looking for things to see, The home of Roman Emperor Tiberius (Villa Jovis) is still one of the major spots to see on the island and so is the Blue Grotto.

The waterfront cave is only accessible by boat and only when there are favourable tides (so be prepared for cancellations).

Just be sure to book your Capri and Blue Grotto boat tickets before you arrive. Tickets go like hot cake in the summer and you really don’t want to be stuck when you arrive. 

Book: Capri and Blue Grotto boat tickets (from Sorrento)

8.) Pompeii and Herculaneum

27 Amazing Ancient Ruins Around The World That You Need To See! (18)

Pompeii and Herculaneum were two Roman towns and villages that were obliterated when Mount Vesuvius erupted all the way back in 79AD.

Probably the most famous of the two is the town of Pompeii, which you can now wander around and explore when you’re in the area.

An awful  3,000 people perished in the town, but the hot ash immortalised the ruins into what it is today. Be warned, it can get pretty busy here, so plan accordingly and remember you might have to queue for a ticket to enter. 

The Ancient City Of PompeiI (15)

Oh, also the nearby town of Herculaneum is smaller and was a wealthier district and gives an example of how the wealthy Romans once lived.

Make sure to visit the Herculaneum Archaeological Area if you’re a history buff! 

Finally, be sure to book either the guaranteed Pompeii entry ticket or the guided tour, below. This way, you’ll avoid lots of queuing for tickets and touts.

Read more: How to visit Pompeii

9.) The towns of the Amalfi Coast

Best Things To Do In The Amalfi Coast (3)

The Amalfi Coast is actually a cluster of clifftop towns and little villages along with one of southern Italy’s most beautiful coastal roads that is pretty hair-raising to drive.

I still can’t figure out if the drive is terrifying or exciting… I’ll let you decide.

Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy (8)

It’s certainly not a route for the nervous driver but a truly spectacular road and a great way to see several traditional towns in the area like; Vietri sul Mare, Positano , Minori and Cetara.

If you are too nervous to drive this route, you can take a boat tour from Sorrento to view at a less sweat-inducing pace.

Read more: Best things to do on the Amalfi Coast

10.) Castelmola

The Farmhouse... In Tuscany, Italy (12)

Perched on the island of Sicily , Castelmola is one of the most beautiful towns in southern Italy to visit. Yep, it’s a pretty small town but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing.

Best of all, it overlooks the more famous town of Taormina. Yes, Taormina is a more popular destination but Castelmoia is mostly ignored by all but Sicilians.

It is relatively unspoiled and you could be one of the first non-Italians to venture here (okay, I jest, but you get the picture).

A word of warning, it is a steep climb up to the village but you are rewarded with spectacular views, much better than those you would get from Taormina below.

Read more: Best places to visit in Sicily

11.) Matera 

Best Things To Do In Matera, Italy (11)

Perched in the countryside of Southern Italy is the stunning town of Matera – a spot you have to see.

Best Things To Do In Matera, Italy (12)

When in the town, make sure to visit the old caves (Sassi de Matera) that once used to be homes, see the stunning architecture of this hilltop settlement and gorge on all the gelato that you’ll have no problem finding.

Best Things To Do In Matera, Italy (5)

It really is a stunning place. Though, to make your trip super easy, book a guided walking tour of Matera itself. This way, you’re guaranteed not to miss any part of this incredible city; see our favourite tours, below.

Read more: Best things to do in Matera

12.) Castelmezzano

17 Beautiful Places To See In Italy (9)

Saving the best till last? I’ll let you decide!

The small town of Castelmezzano (nestled in the mountains of southern Italy) has been given the classification of one of the most beautiful towns in southern Italy.

Totally surrounded by mountains the town was a refuge for bandits in the 19 th century because of its abundance of hiding places. Thankfully, today that’s not a problem that we visitors will have to deal with.

Around 1,000 people live here permanently, and that numbers grow several times larger with the influx of summer visitors – so be prepared for busy streets in the height of summer.

Still, it makes for one of the most beautiful towns to visit in Southern Italy.

Read more: The best places to visit in Italy

17 Beautiful Places In Italy To Visit

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The best places to visit in Southern Italy

The best places to visit in Southern Italy

Southern Italy is awash with wondrous stretches of coastline; it boasts islands whose shores tell the stories of millennia gone by; cradles cities where cultures have thrived for generations. Italy's south has something for everyone, and with this guide, you can discover the best places to visit in Italy with ease. Follow us from the anfractuous roads of the Amalfi Coast to the quaint towns of Puglia, or through the long and rich history of Naples, or simply find yourself reclined on Sicily's sumptuous sands or summiting Sardinia's peaks. 

The best of Italy's southern coast

  • The Amalfi Coast

The best cities to visit in Southern Italy

The islands of southern italy.

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All along the Amalfi Coast's sheer cliffs 

best places to visit in italy south

Wind along the tortuous Strada Statale 163, hugging the precipice with each turn, from Positano to Ravello. Each twist reveals a new treasure that is awaiting exploration, whether it is a pastel-hued town that hangs from the side of the steep coastal cliffs or yet another view over the cobalt blue sea. There is something otherworldly about the Amalfi Coast and all the experiences it has to offer.

For a great day trip, take a boat to the island of Capri, where the Blue Grotto - a small cave with a submerged entrance that allows light to trickle in - awaits, its iridescent light glowing. Beaches lined with colourful parasols pepper the craggy coast, and jagged rock formations silhouette sea and sky. Take a boat to a restaurant that is cradled in a quiet cove to dine on some delectable Mediterranean and Italian cuisine alongside the lazily lapping sea. To finish, savour a Limoncello that has been crafted from the fruits of the region. The Amalfi Coast is one of the best places to visit in Southern Italy and, with our help, you can relish every moment.

Where to stay

Villa Omnia

Perched in the hills above the picture-perfect town of Positano, Villa Chiara is a plush place to spend your trip in paradise. Take your morning coffee on the spacious terrace and watch the armada of yachts and fishing boats bob silently in the bay below. 

Visit the Stunning towns of Puglia 

best places to visit in italy south

Mesmeric beaches intersperse equally hypnotic towns along the coast of Italy's heel, where some of Italy's most delicious varieties of pasta are crafted and olive from the rich and ancient farmlands are turned into oils. Puglia is one of the best places to visit in Southern Italy: it boasts a varied way of life, with spirited cities such as Bari where the young thrive, and beautiful architecture in Lecce, which has become known as the "Florence of the South", as well as quaint towns and idyllic beaches. 

Polignano a Mare is home to one of the most picturesque beaches that Italy has to offer. Enter the auditorium of this beach through the doors created by the arches of the Roman bridge; follow the aisle to where the pebbles meet the sea, spread your towel, and take your seat with the rest of the audience who have come to marvel at the spectacle of the sea lapping and shimmering in turquoise ripples against the sheer cliffs. The white pebbles on this beach are lucky enough to have seats in the stalls, while the houses on the surrounding cliffs gather in the gallery to watch the daily show unfold. 

Villa Omnia

A stone's throw from Polignano a Mare, Villa Lungomare is a sleek, lineal villa that allows the outside world to pour through its vast windows. Surrounded by fields, it's difficult to tell where nature stops and the lush garden begins. Let yourself sink into the pool before making a family feast around the pizza oven. 

Pompeii and Herculaneum on the bay of naples 

best places to visit in italy south

Naples is a city whose influence reaches far back in the history books: with Pompeii and Herculaneum with their artifacts across the bay, art galleries bulging with significant works, and a cathedral with fresco-lined walls, there is always something to do for historically and culturally curious travellers.

But Naples is far more than a footnote in the world's history books: the city's mouthwatering cuisine will entice people from everywhere with lip-smacking ease. A simple mention of the fact that Naples is the home of pizza will have a gravitational effect on foodies. This magical city, too, caters for lovers of the outdoors, with hikes up the formidable Mount Vesuvius or snorkelling trips in the clear sea, or an easy stroll around the flourishing botanical gardens. Across the bay, you will find the Sorrento peninsula, from where trips to Capri and the Amalfi Coast come with ease. The completeness of a holiday to Naples makes it one of the best places to visit in Southern Italy.

Villa Omnia

Villa Vesuvius , as the name suggests, boasts spectacular views across the bay to the looming cone of Mount Vesuvius. Life is made to be lived outdoors in this paradisiacal villa, either from the rooftop or the spacious garden's lavish swimming pool. 

Explore the Aeolian Islands from Sicily 

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Atop this Mediterranean gem, you will find everything you have come to expect from an Italian destination: history, world-class cuisine, and bounteous vistas. It's the largest island in the Mediterranean and is a great luxury holiday destination for history buffs. The Valley of Temples is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites of the classical Greek civilisation and will be bound to impress all those who visit it.

Thoughts of Sicily also elicit unbound natural beauty: poised on the eastern edge of the island you will find Mount Etna. On the island's fringes, you are likely to find soft sandy beaches. Sicily is an island worth visiting in and of itself. What makes it unmissable is the wealth of islands that are scattered along its beautiful shores. Cast off for the Aeolian Islands for a day of exploring the brilliantly blue sea around these Tyrrhenian gems.

Villa Omnia

Set on the southeastern seaside, you will easily slip into a summery daze in Villa Roman . Flit between the pool and the sea as the gentle breeze soothes skin warmed by the summer sun. Inside, you will find a modern, but homely space that allows the light to spill in. 

Discover Sardinia's picture-perfect Costa Smeralda

best places to visit in italy south

Finding beaches on which to while away summer days in Sardinia is no tall order. Along the Costa Smeralda, or Emerald Coast, aptly named by the Aga Khan, there is a bounty of fine-sand beaches that are licked by crystalline waters. Here you will find one of the most glamorous places to visit in Southern Italy, where true luxury meets natural beauty in a perfect melting pot.

There are plenty of trails for all levels that crisscross the island's mountainous interior. Or, one can simply saunter around the charming town of Port Cervo, where boutique shops discretely line the authentic streets. There is something for everyone on the idyllic island of Sardinia, which easily puts it on our list of the best places to visit in Southern Italy. 

Villa Omnia

Villa Abbondanza is set serenely on the northeastern coast of Sardinia, where the garden trickles down to the villa's very own private beach. Nature presides over this peaceful haven; the songs of the cicadas serve as a constant, but gentle, reminder of this happy fact. 

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With Le Collectionist, your luxury holidays in Italy will come with utmost ease. From one of our luxury villa rentals in Italy , you will be free to make your holidays unforgettable. 

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BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTHERN ITALY IN 2023

MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN SOUTH ITALY

Table of Contents

Are you planning to visit South Italy and wondering about the best places to visit in Southern Italy? Then read here – because here you will find out.

Italy surely is one of the most stunning, the most unique, and the most interesting countries to visit. It is so rich in sights and natural attractions that it is probably on the bucket list of any traveler. And whether you visit Northern Italy , Central Italy , or the south – there are so many places to visit that it can be overwhelming. 

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTHERN ITALY

Some of my fellow travel bloggers share their tips on where to go in Southern Italy – here are the places to visit. From the best cities in South Italy to the best beaches and more.

  • Here is a post with amazing destinations in all of Italy ).

Explore Naples

  • Katy from Untold Italy

Naples is crazy, chaotic, and cool – and a must-see in South Italy.

best places to visit in italy south

Naples is a city with a fascinating past, fun street culture, and of course, incredible food. Naples doesn’t have the dreamy, ethereal qualities you find in the cities of the north of Italy. Rather, it is a vibrant, living city of contrasts with a racing pulse.

Your first stop in Naples should be the wonderful Museo Archeologico with its collection of Roman and Greek artifacts and the remnant of the disaster at Pompeii.

For Renaissance and baroque splendor, head to the Cathedral , where the soaring vaulted ceilings and altar masterpieces are sure to impress. Next, go underground and discover the San Gennaro catacombs – a spooky network of tunnels and passageways lined with graves and crypts dating back hundreds of years. At the street level, walk with the crowds and stop at a cafe or bar and admire the city’s people, street art, and life.

Sitting in the shadow of Vesuvius , the people of Naples make each day count, and you should too.

Discover Lecce

  • Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan

Often dubbed “the Florence of the South, ” Lecce is indeed just as beautiful as the famous capital of Tuscany and yet sees only a fraction of the tourists.

best places to visit in italy south

Don’t expect a carbon copy of Florence, though; the two cities are built in very different styles. Whereas Florence embodies the Renaissance, the streets of Lecce are lined with ornate buildings from the Baroque period.

Already known as a rather flamboyant style of architecture, in Lecce, the Baroque style has been given even more embellishments in the form of wrought-iron balconies and twisting columns. In fact, the style here is so distinctive that it has its own name, Barocco Leccese (Lecce Baroque).

Sights not to miss include the Church of Santa Croce with its beautiful rose window and the ancient Roman theater and amphitheater.

But just wandering down one of the main streets, such as Via Palmieri, is equally enjoyable. Take it slowly so you can admire all the ornate details on the façades. And you’ll definitely want to linger over a few multi-course meals in the local restaurants!

The region of Puglia has a very distinctive cuisine, and you’ll come across many dishes that you’ve never seen before in any Italian restaurant. Using lots of local vegetables, grains, and legumes, Puglian cuisine is also one of Italy’s most vegan-friendly cuisines.

  • Veronika from Travel Geekery

Noto is a small picturesque town southeast of Sicily renowned for its Baroque architecture. You should visit Noto if you love exploring churches and cathedrals and if you have a sweet tooth!

Noto Sicily a must-see in Southern Italy. Veronika TravelGeekeryPinterest

You can find one of the highest concentrations of churches, palaces, and other religious buildings in Noto . They are everywhere, and they’re all amazing. The Noto Cathedral is the most grandiose one and, together with Noto’s historical center, has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002.

Stroll through the narrow streets clad in white tiles , popping into any church you feel like. Most are free to enter, with a few palaces charging for entrance.

Noto’s famous Café Sicilia is no lesser motivation to visit Noto. The Netflix-featured café makes possibly the best granita (=an ice-cream-like dessert) in Sicily. The best and most original is the Almond Granita made from Sicilian almonds.

Café Sicilia has actually worked with local farmers and contributed to reviving the traditional almond growing in Sicily!  If you come to Sicily and spend at least a week, you definitely should not leave out Noto! Gain inspiration from this weeklong Sicily itinerary .

Realx at Santa Maria di Leuca

  • Michele of A Taste for Travel 

One of the best places to visit in southern Italy is Santa Maria di Leuca , located at the very tip of the heel of the boot of Italy.

Beautiful scenic seascape at Ciolo Bridge, near Santa Maria di Leuca, Salento, Apulia, Italy

Flanked by both the Ionian and Adriatic Seas , this picturesque town is small but famous in many respects from a religious, strategic, and tourism perspective.

Some of the things to do in Santa Maria di Leuca  include kayaking or taking a guided boat tour of the grottos and sea caves carved into the rocky coastline, basking on the beach at a nearby lido or beach club, and marveling at the ancient watchtowers dating to the 15th and 16th centuries and originally intended to warn of attacks from the water by foreign armies, smugglers and pirates.

The lighthouse at Santa Maria di Leuca also happens to be the second most important lighthouse in Italy, after Genoa, and is a popular landmark for photography buffs.

The lighthouse itself is built on top of a Greek temple dedicated to Athena. A scenic promenade along the seafront connects the town with the lighthouse via a set of stairs flanking Mussolini’s Waterfall ( a monument celebrating the Apulian Aqueduct’s construction). But the biggest draw for religious pilgrims is the Sanctuary or Basilica devoted to Saint Mary and constructed in 1720-1755  to commemorate the arrival of St. Peter during his travel to Italy.

Nearby, within the Capo di Leuca region, are the famous sights such as the pilgrim’s stop of Santa Maria di Leuca de Belvedere, Ciolo Bridge , and several hiking trails and footpaths dating back centuries.

Chill at Ischia

  • Helen from Helen on her Holidays

Ischia is a small island in the Bay of Naples, just across the water from the more famous island of Capri.

Ischia in Italy

Ischia is already very popular as a holiday destination for Italian families but is a little overlooked by travelers from other countries. It shouldn’t be; Ischia is a beautiful island with stunning landscapes, amazing food, and loads of things to do.

Some of the best things to do in Ischia include: Enjoying a relaxing bath in Ischia’s natural thermal waters . Ischia is a volcanic island blessed with over 100 thermal springs . Many hotels on the island have their own thermal spas, and you can even visit a thermal bath used by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

If you love gorgeous gardens, you should visit Ischia’s two world-famous gardens. The La Mortella gardens are set in a deep rocky valley and mix lush planting in the lower areas with fragrant Mediterranean foliage as you walk up the valley side. Nearby, Giardini Ravino is a leading (and very Instagrammable) collection of cacti and succulents.

Visit Castello Aragonese, which is Ischia’s medieval castle located majestically on a rocky islet, and connected to the larger island by a long causeway bridge. Take a 20-minute ferry across to neighboring Procida, a tiny island with one of Italy’s most incredible views.

Drive Along Amalfi Coast  

  • Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

If you plan a trip to Southern Italy, you will want to put the Amalfi Coast drive on your itinerary. Considered one of the most beautiful drives on the planet , this drive will take you past some of Italy’s most spectacular coastal scenery.

best places to visit in italy south

You can do this iconic drive in one day or take a few days and really enjoy the Amalfi Coast. If you do the entire stretch, you will drive from Sorrento to Salerno or vice versa.

The distance is not very long, at about 56 km, but the road is narrow and winding, and you will want to stop often to take photos. Some folks drive from Sorrento to Ravello and back, and that is doable in one day if you are based in Sorrento and want to visit the coast as a day trip.

The towns of the Amalfi Coast are super picturesque. Positano’s beauty is legendary, but the towns of Amalfi, Praiano, and Ravello are also gorgeous. Stop for lunch at a restaurant with a water view, and enjoy a taste of limoncello, the liqueur made with local sweet lemons. Wander the little towns, browse the shops, and take in the views. If you are looking for souvenirs, the ceramics of Vietri Sul Mar are famous.

With so much to enjoy, a drive along the Amalfi Coast definitely deserves a spot in your itinerary for southern Italy!

Head to Positano

  • Samantha from Sam Sees World 

Talking about Positano – since it is such an incredible town-deserves some more space in this post.

best places to visit in italy south

It is located on Southern Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast and is built into the surrounding mountains’ cliffside.

Positano is a top-rated travel destination due to the village’s iconic views but  you will also find a pebbly beach with vivid blue waters . Pastel-colored houses built vertically into the cliffside, boutique shops, and luxurious restaurants. It truly is a traveler’s dream.

Although it is a small village, there are a plethora of things to see in Positano .  The main beach is full of colorful umbrellas and is the perfect place to view the city from a lower angle and take a swim in the beautiful waters. More so, Positano has a hike called the Path of Gods that stretches along the Amalfi Coast and offers stunning views of the coast and surrounding mountains. 

After a day of adventures, it is always nice to sit down for a delicious pizza in a restaurant with a view overlooking the city at night.

Positano is a great tourist destination year-round. In the summer months, everything is open and alive; however, there are more tourists! If you prefer fewer tourists, I suggest heading here in the shoulder seasons.

Admire Alberobello

  • Nicky from Above Us Only Skies

Travel through Puglia, southern Italy’s heel, and you can’t fail to notice quaint, white-washed dry stone huts with conical roofs dotted around the countryside.

Puglia is one of the best places to visit in South Italy

And if you visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello , you’ll discover a whole village full of them.

They’re called trulli  (singular, trullo) and are the main draw of Alberobello, attracting busloads of passengers every year to gaze at these splendid hobbit-like dwellings. Many of them are used as shops. In the main tourist area of Rione Monti, there are many trulli converted into hotels, restaurants, and artisanal shops selling everything from trullo-shaped key rings to fine Italian wines. Of course, a peek inside the shops offers a closer look at the impressive vaulted, conical roofs.

If you want to learn more about their fascinating history, including how they were allegedly developed as a tax dodge from feudal landowners, then pay a visit to the Museo del Territorio . It’s a wondrous construction of ten linked trulli housing informative descriptions of how the dwellings were made and the region’s history at that time.

And don’t miss the opportunity to stay overnight in one of these tiny pieces of history if you’re going to be touring in this area of Puglia.

See Palermo

  • Ivan from Mind the Travel

Italy’s largest island, Sicily, has an incredible capital, Palermo. The city holds an important place in the history of this southern archipelago which makes it – without a doubt – one of the best places to visit in Southern Italy.

Famous fountain of shame on baroque Piazza Pretoria, Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Palermo has been a flourishing cultural and trading center throughout   history, and scores of invading armies have left their mark everywhere.   

Think cultural and economic influences from the Carthaginians, Greeks,    Romans, Normans, French, and Spanish Bourbons. Palermo itself is like a cultural amusement park with its winding alleyways, street markets with the most delicious veggies and fruit, cathedrals with distinctive architecture, and religious street processions.   

It’s all a little weird and surreal. That’s why some of the best things to do in Palermo include engaging with culture and absorbing the architecture. The events in the city’s social calendar are endless – scope them out before you go.

The real Palermo is experienced in its streets, markets, and through its food.    No trip to Palermo is complete without visiting Vucciria, Ballarò, and Borgo Vecchio open-air markets . These offer some unbeatable experiences.

Street food in Palermo can be found all over town in little stalls selling yummy snacks like sfincione and arancini for about 1 – 2 Euros.

The pedestrian-friendly streets made it easy to wander around the impressive palaces, some of which have been turned into museums. Palermo’s cozy squares are filled with little cafes, music venues, art exhibits, and strolling visitors.

Another highlight is the  Monreale Cathedral and its thousands of square meters of golden mosaics. Even if you are not into arts, this place is gorgeous so try to squeeze in a visit during your stay in Palermo.

Go to The Aeolian Islands

  • Emily by Wander-Lush

The Aeolian Islands off the coast of northwestern Sicily offer some of the country’s most stunning landscapes.

Aeolian Islands in Sicily by Emily Lush

If you love island-hopping, lounging on black-sand beaches, and exploring sweet Sicilian towns , this off-beat gem should definitely feature on your Southern Italy bucket list.

The Aeolian archipelago is made up of seven islands – Lipari, Salina, Vulcano, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea, and Stromboli. Because they’re volcanic islands (most are now extinct, but Stromboli is still famously active), the soil is rich and perfect for growing grapes, capers, figs, and other local produce.

Each of the islands has its own unique landscape and local culture. An ideal Aeolian Islands itinerary involves basing yourself on one of the quieter villages (I prefer Malfa in Salina) and visiting the other islands on day trips by boat. Highlights include swimming, snorkeling, and exploring the quaint towns on foot.

Other must-dos include hiring a jeep and driving to some of the viewpoints around Vulcano, visiting the world-class Archaeological Museum on Lipari, and hiking to the summit of Stromboli to see the crater up close.

  • To get to the Aeolian Islands, take a hydrofoil from Sicily (Messina or Milazzo).

Visit Sorrento

  • Ashley from My Wanderlusty Life

For a great mix of everything that makes up Southern Italy’s culture, Sorrento is one of the best places to visit.

Sorronto in South Italy

Sorrento is in the perfect location to serve as a base for your travels around Southern Italy. It’s within a short drive of the enchanting Amalfi Coas t, Mt. Vesuvius’s wineries, the lively metropolis of Naples, and just a short boat ride to Capri and more of Southern Italy’s incredible and indulgent islands.

While in Sorrento, you can enjoy some of Southern Italy’s best food on specially curated food tours for all dietary preferences. You can tour olive oil production factories, organic wineries, and limoncello groves to learn all about Sorrento’s lemon-centered culture and history.

You can stroll the streets of downtown Sorrento with gelato in hand during the bustling passegiatta before watching the sunset from your cliff-side balcony. Shop for locally made items and listen to old Italian classics streaming from underground eateries.

Then you can spend the entirety of the next day swimming in the warm, emerald waters of the Mediterranean .

Explore Taormina

  • Rai from A Rai of Light

Taormina, often described as the most beautiful town in Sicily, is an old hilltop village filled with history, culture, and charm.

best places to visit in italy south

With its dramatic coastline, pretty beaches, and enticing shop s, the town offers several possibilities for a good time. It is well known for its archaeology, architecture, heritage, and history, with a whole lot to do. Don’t miss a visit to the Greek Theatre, Piazza IX Aprile, and the public garden.

The ancient theatre, a historical monument built way back in the third century BC, offers a glimpse into a primeval world.

For photo lovers, it also offers the opportunity to get some great shots of the surrounding region. The main street, Corso Umberto , crosses the whole center of the town and provides some awesome shopping.

Taormina is somewhat touristy, and it can also get jam-packed, especially during the holiday season, so a little planning is advised. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to get here, and if pressed for time, it is possible to visit for just a day from anywhere in Sicily or Malta .

Relay at Capri

  • Lori from TravlInMad

The island of Capri off the Sorrentine peninsula is one of the most unique places to visit.

Capri-Travlinmad

Capri is idyllic and reachable only by boat , and ferries from Naples, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast can whisk you away to the island several times a day.

While many tourists visit Capri for a day trip, it’s worth so much more time for those seeking a relaxing and luxurious Italian holiday.  Once the crowds go home at the end of the day, the island takes on a magical quality. It’s as if the tourists have been let in on all the local island secrets.

Capri was once home to the Roman Emperor Tiberius and later his misguided nephew Emperor Caligula. Visiting the ruins of their Villa is one of the most interesting things to do in Capri .

Hiking to Villa Jovis on the top of the island is an excellent day hike, along narrow streets accessible only by single motor carts and on foot, and you’ll be treated to some of the most amazing views over the Amalfi Coast .  

The island is also home to stunning rock formations and grottoes , so a boat trip is a must-do when you’re here. After exploring the famous Blue Grotto and a swim in the crystal clear waters, enjoy a late afternoon Aperitivo in the Piazza Umberto, then head for dinner at one of Capri’s incredible restaurants.

Whatever you choose to do in Capri, it’ll capture your heart forever.

See Gallipoli

  • Nadine from Le Long Weekend

With its crumbling façades and colorful port, Gallipoli epitomizes the old-world charm of southern Italy.  

Gallipoli, Italy is one the most beautiful places in South ITaly

It’s the place to go to experience the real Italy , the one where the art of making pasta is passed down through the generations and where groups of elderly men congregate on café terraces, Coppola caps firmly in place.

It’s worth a few days’ explorations, even if all you really want to do is laze on the picturesque beaches that surround the town. The old Gallipoli is an island attached to the mainland via a bridge and is where you’ll want to head first.  

Walk the perimeter to get your bearings and take note of which bar you want to come back to later to enjoy uninterrupted sunset views. Visit the Castello Angioino di Gallipoli , a historic building on the waterfront once used to ward off enemies that now houses a cultural center, before wandering down one of the cobbled lanes that lead into the old town.

Admire the architecture on display and pop your head into one or many of the old churches to take in different styles. Then browse the small selection of boutiques and shops selling local wares before heading back to that seaside spot for sunset!

Head to Pompeii and Vesuvius

  • Coni from Experiencing the Globe

No visit to Italy is complete without the archeological site of Pompeii . These ruins have inspired songs, movies, books, and more, and with great reason.

Pompeii - Experiencing the Globe

An entire city with houses, temples, baths, public buildings, and shops was buried, giving you a fantastic opportunity to see how daily life looked like in a Roman city.

Pompeii was founded around the 8th century BC and was completely covered in lava and ashes in 79 AD by Mount Vesuvius’s eruption. The excavation began in 1748, and it is still an ongoing process!

Don’t miss the forum, the brothel, the baths, the mysteries’ villa, the garden of the fugitives, the house of Venus in the Shell, the theater, and the amphitheater.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not start the day on top of Mt. Vesuvius? It’s still an active volcano, but it’s safe to visit. A bus will drop you at the beginning of a well-marked path, where you’ll have a comfortable walk with about 200 meters of altitude change to the crater. After walking around it, you’ll get to try wine grown on the slope of the volcano!

You can easily visit Pompeii and Vesuvius in one day from Naples independently. Just take the train from Napoli Centrale, and enjoy these amazing sights!

Admire Matera

  • Talek from Travels With Talek

Matera is a town in southern Italy, towards the end of the Italian boot-shaped peninsula.

matera in South Italy

It is a magical, otherworldly place with rock formations creating caves above ground and underground tunnels and caves running the city’s length.

The city‘s caves are called the Sassi di Matera, and the entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Matera has been inhabited since paleolithic times. Throughout the centuries, people have lived in caves . Today some caves are still used as living quarters. A city tour will take you through some large caves used as homes. They look quite cozy and habitable with all the comforts of a regular home.

The city has made excellent use of its caves, turning them into a major tourist attraction. You can stay in a cave hotel, eat in a cave restaurant and best of all, see magnificent artistic structures in an underground museum.   The statues are artistically lit and represent tango dancers, acrobats, and other forms.

Matera is so distinctive that it has been used as a movie set for films such as Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ and the most recent Ben Hur.

Rest at Tropea

  • Annabel from Smudged Postcard

The town of Tropea is located in the southern Italian region of Calabria midway between Lamezia and Reggio di Calabria.

Tropea is a particularly pretty seaside town . It is perched on a clifftop overlooking the Mediterranean. Beneath the town is a popular sandy beach and a small rocky island crowned by the medieval church Santa Maria dell’Isola  

South Italy places to visit, Arzo Travels

Tropea’s central Piazza Ercole is the perfect place for a morning coffee and a spot of people watching. The town is famed for its delicious sweet red onions, which are delicious in salads. Fiery chilies are also grown and widely used in food in this part of Italy.

Evenings are a lovely time to visit Tropea as the streets fill with people taking an evening passeggiata .

The beaches around Tropea and the nearby coastline of Capo Vaticano  are why so many Italians flock to the town in the summertime. Snorkeling is good here, and there are boat trips available to the Aeolian Islands , including the active volcanic isles of Vulcano and Stromboli.

CONCLUSION: MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN SOUTHERN ITALY TO VISIT

South Italy is a gem of the Mediterranean, offering visitors a unique mix of culture, art, history, and spectacular landscapes. From the ancient ruins of Pompeii to the lively towns on the Amalfi Coast and from the buzzing nightlife in Naples to southern Italy’s stunning beaches, there is something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot to relax or an exciting adventure, South Italy has it all. From its stunning coastline to its vibrant cities and from its romantic hilltop towns to its breathtaking mountain scenery, South Italy is a paradise for travelers and will leave you with unforgettable memories.

No matter how long your stay in South Italy may be, you will be sure to find something that suits your taste. So pack your bags and explore all that this beautiful part of the world has to offer!

As you can see, the south of Italy is full of stunning places. Hopefully, this list of the best places to visit in Southern Italy will help you create your itinerary. For more Italy travel tips, click here!

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Wanderlust Crew

The Best Places to Visit in Italy

V isiting italy for the first time and not sure where to go these are the best places to visit in italy be sure to read this before you go..

Italy is one of my very favorite countries in the world. I have visited many times to see different parts of the country and every trip I’ve taken has been completely different. Italy is around the same size as California , with just as much diversity too. The country is so big, that choosing where to go can almost be overwhelming.

I often get questions like “What is the most beautiful place in Italy?” or “What is the best town to visit in italy?” The simple answer is this: the best places in Italy will be where you leave your heart and want to return to again and again! And it’s hard to. know where that is until you go! Everywhere in Italy is unique and has something special, but I hope this will help you decide where to visit in Italy. 

If you want a prepackaged Italy itinerary, check out these 5 amazing itineraries I’ve made.

If you’re planning a trip to Italy , but don’t know where to start or where to go, take a deep breath and read this incredible list! These are the best places to visit in Italy . Some you may have heard of, but most will be new to you.

While visiting the iconic Italian cities such as Florence, Venice , and Rome is essential for your first trip to Italy, it’s great to get off the beaten path a little bit and try some new destinations that will be equally rewarding and at the same time, help with over-tourism in more popular cities. Some of the best cities in Italy may be the ones you’ve never thought to visit!

And if you’re taking a complete tour of Italy (lucky), you can hit these stops along your way. I guarantee you will fall in love with this beautiful country. The history, food, culture, architecture, and scenery will entice you to come back again and again. Italy really does have something for everyone!

The best way to learn about a country is to actually visit it, but it can be fun and helpful to do some research before you go. I thought I would give you some interesting facts about Italy to help you prepare for your trip!

Interesting Facts About Italy

  • Italy has three active Volcanos: Vesuvius, Etna, and Stromboli. They are the only active volcanos in Europe.
  • In Italy, children legally had to attend school until they were only 14. This ended in 1999.
  • Fourteen Billion espressos are consumed in Italy each year.
  • Batteries were invented in Italy.
  • Italy comes from the Greek word “Italos” meaning legendary king.
  • The first thermometer was invented in Italy.
  • Italy is a relatively new country at only 153 years old.
  • Pinocchio, written by an Italian, was originally published in a newspaper.
  • Many of Shakespeare’s plays are set in Italy.
  • Pizza was invented in Naples.
  • Pasta has been eaten in Italy since the 4th Century CE.
  • Vatican City is the smallest country in the world.
  • Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any country in the world (50).
  • Italy is the 4th most visited country in the world.

Now you know a few interesting facts about Italy to help get you started on your journey. There are so many places in Italy as well as so many things to do in Italy, that you’re going to have an amazing time no matter where you choose to go or what you choose to do! I honestly have never met anyone who hated their time in Italy. And if they did, they did it wrong!

I know this list of places to visit in Italy is long and may seem daunting. Don’t feel like you need to see all of these destinations at once.  Decide where to go in Italy…pick one city or one region and spend time getting to know it. Talk to the locals, eat the food, walk the streets, and of course, eat ALL the gelato !

Map of Italy cities

If you’re a visual learner like me, I’ve made this map of Italy with cities from this list to help you decide where to go. You can download this map for yourself if you like.

Getting Around Italy

In my opinion, the best way to get around Italy is by train. Train travel in Italy is super affordable, fast, efficient, and clean. There are even some overnight train options that are great.

Itinerary for the Best Places in Italy

If you’re wondering how long to stay when you visit Italy and how to best use your time there, you can find my complete itinerary for Italy here. 

So without further ado, here are the 70 best places to visit in Italy !

Italy Packing List and What to Wear in Italy

It’s important to be sure you’re packing the right clothes and other items for your trip to Italy. You don’t want to stand out like a tourist and you want to be sure you have the right power adapters. I’ve written a complete packing list for Italy so you won’t forget anything! 

Alberobello

Alberobello is a gorgeous little town in Puglia in the South of Italy that will have the kids’ imaginations firing on all fairy tale cylinders. The  UNESCO listed world heritage site is most  famous for its traditional houses known as trulli (the plural of trullo)  an example of prehistoric construction techniques that have survived and are functioning in the modern era.   

The 1500 snow white limestone huts dating back to the 14th century are only part of the town’s substantial charm. N arrow walking streets, gorgeous little providores stuffed to the brim with incredible local produce and exceptional kid-friendly al fresco dining add to the experience.  One of the best ways for families to enjoy the full Alberobello effect is to book a stay in one of the pretty storybook huts.

From Boy Eats World

Right in the heart of the Amalfi Coast, the town of Amalfi is one of the best places to visit in  Italy . Perfectly positioned for exploring the coastline and taking day trips to Capri, Amalfi also has unique attractions of its own. Though not as dramatic as nearby Positano, colorful houses look over the sea and there are is a labyrinth of cobbled streets to explore. Take some time to explore the magnificent cathedral with its ornate facade and Baroque interior. Afterwards, you can enjoy a coffee or spritz at one of the busy cafes surrounding the cathedral or head to one of the beach clubs for some time in the sun. But perhaps the best thing to do in Amalfi is to stroll along the cliff top towards Atrani for magnificent views of the Amalfi Coast.

From Untold Morsels

Ever heard about Apulia ? Before you keep reading this paragraph, please bear in mind that I am not saying that it is the most beautiful spot to visit in Italy just because I was born and raised there, but because it really is! Among the most incredible places you should not miss in Puglia, there are Lecce, Bari, Alberobello, Ceglie Messapica, Ostuni, Otranto, and Gallipoli.

Need a piece of advice? Rent a car and drive away! From the Itria Valley and its unique Trulli hubs to the crystal clear waters of Porto Cesario. Once is Puglia every little detail will be just amazing. Do you want another piece of advice? Try to lose some weight before coming here: you will spend so much time eating! From The Lazy Trotter

The town of Assisi sits on a hilltop in Umbria, southeast of Tuscany, and is best known as the birthplace of Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone, the future St Francis of Assisi, lover of nature and animals.

Assisi has many of the trappings of a small Italian town – churches, of course, with more frescoes than you can shake a paintbrush at, but also medieval castles (two), a Roman amphitheater, ancient winding streets, excellent food and sweeping vistas across the valleys that surround it.

Mostly it is a place of pilgrimage, with monks milling among the day-trippers who have come to visit the famous Basilica, built in the 13th century but severely damaged in 1997 by an earthquake aftershock. The vault collapsed, frescoes were destroyed and several people died, a sad memory belying the beauty of this place. It took two years to rebuild and reopen the Basilica and today the damage is barely visible.

From Women on the Road

Barbaresco is not only the “little brother“ of the wine Barolo, but it is also a unique medieval village in the southwest of Piemont. The area Langhe Roero, where Barbaresco is located was recently added to UNESCO worlds heritage list.

El Torre di Barbaresco is the breathtaking spot to enjoy a panoramic view of the landscape of Langhe-Roero.

The desecrated church San Donato houses an Enoteca, the perfect location to taste the vines of the region. In the hiking or e-cycling route “bar to bar” is an alternative for those without a car to enjoy and explore this magnificent area. A fantastic view, culture, and indulgence united in one place make Barbaresco a place worth to visit in Italy .

From Travelwoman

The food in Piedmont is unique from other regions within Italy . Italian food differs by region, and there are so many different types of cuisine depending on where in Italy you travel to. One of the reasons why the food in Piedmont is unique from other regions within Italy is because of the local ingredients. The most important local ingredients include rice, truffles, cheese, and even hazelnuts. One of the most popular Italian food products has to be Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut cream that is from Piedmont. But, there are amazing local artisan producers of hazelnut cream that are a must eat in Barolo. As for must-eat dishes in Barolo, try the Agnolotti del Plin, a stuffed pasta, or Tajarin, a flat pasta often served with a Barolo-based ragu.

From With Husband in Tow

If you are looking for a beautiful hidden gem then head to Bergamo . Bergamo blew me away by its beauty – and most of all, I had never expected it to be so charming.

If you have one day then you can explore the beautiful upper town, Citta Alta, and enjoy Bergamo´s main sights.

After strolling the Venetian Walls, consisting amongst others of 14 bastions and four gates, is over six kilometers long and walking there offer great views of the lower part of the city.

Also, make sure to head to the pretty market square, Piazza Vecchia, of the city with the Campanone Tower and just behind the square you will find the prettiest building in the city: Colleoni Chapel. You might have to enter the chapel to fully get the beauty – but the interior is stunning. 

Bergamo is such an underrated place in Italy – and yet so pretty!

From Arzo Travels

Bologna Italy

Besides its picturesque red hues and the university, the city has more than 600 porticos which are ranked in the UNESCO World Heritage sights. To get the views from above, climb the countless stairs at the Asinelli Tower.

Finally, “La Grassa” refers to Bologna’s renowned and delicious cuisine. Bologna and its region, Emilia Romagna, are the creators of the world most beloved Italian dishes like pasta al ragù (Bolognese sauce), Tortellini and lasagna, to name a few. Plus, the majority of the streets are pedestrian so get ready to walk around, take pictures and to digest all delightful pasta that you will eat! To read more about the city and its things to do check out this itinerary

From BRB Travel Blog

Bologna, Italy may be one of the most underrated cities in Italy , which is surprising given its prime location just an hour away from Venice and Florence, two of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Its nickname of La Dotta, La Grassa, and La Rossa (the educated, the fat, and the red) defines the city well. Bologna is home to the oldest university in Europe, and the iconic red rooftops of the city create a memorable landscape. But perhaps most apropos is La Grassa — the fat — as in recent years, Bologna has arguably become one of Italy ’s leading culinary cities, a perfect destination for foodies.

First time visitors to Bologna will notice is the incredible amount of well-reserved medieval architecture, making you feel as if you’ve stepped back to the Middle Ages. With nearly of 25 miles of beautiful covered porticoes, you can enjoy exploring the city, even in inclement weather. There are a million reasons to visit Bologna whether you’re looking for good food, arts, culture, wine, nature, or simply strolling one of the most beautiful cities in Italy .

From Travlinmad

Bolzano isn’t the typical Italian city that every traveler has on the bucket list. But if you plan to explore the Italian Alps and go hiking, then it must be on your trip itinerary. In fact, Bolzano is known as a hub and a getaway to many hiking trips in the Northern Dolomites. I highly suggest spending at least a whole day to visit Bolzano. It’s one of the  best places to see in Italy!

Explore the center of the city on foot and stroll to Walther Square, with its beautiful flowered fountain and admire the cathedral on the southern corner, which stands out for the Gothic architecture and its gorgeous emerald green and yellow tiled roof. From there head to the Mercato Delle Erbe, an iconic place in Bolzano, only a few hundred meters away to dive into the buzzing herbs, fruits, and veggie market. This is the best place to see old buildings and sit in pubs to enjoy the typical Italian Tyrolean food, drink a beer, and taste premium wines. While there are many more things you can do in Bolzano, it is advisable to plan a multi-day itinerary in South Tyrol to visit the northernmost city of Italy .

From Rocky Travel

The Island of Burano

Known as one of the most beautiful places in Italy, the island of Burano should not be missed! The bright and beautiful Venetian island of Burano certainly lived up to expectations when I visited it. Arriving on the crowded Vaporetto (water bus) in the early afternoon I was concerned that the island would be overrun with crowds of tourists spoiling any photo opportunities but I needn’t have worried as the tourists kept firmly to the tourist trail leaving me with the equally beautiful backstreets almost all to myself.

Burano is famed for its brightly painted yet rustic looking fisherman’s houses that line its picturesque canals, painted this way so the tale goes, so that the men could find their way back to the right house after one too many a drink! The island is also known for its leaning bell tower and its lace needlework, though sadly this does seem to be a dying art with fewer and fewer old ladies sitting outside their doorsteps working on their handicraft.

If you’re captivated by color, don’t just visit Burano for the day, stay here for a few nights to get the full effect! It has a more down-to-earth vibe than Venice being more artistic than aristocratic, poor rather than pompous but just as enchanting, and in some ways better!

From Visual Wanderers

Sardinia is one of best places to go in Italy if you’re looking for something a little different. Often overlooked for other more famous and easier to reach places in Italy , Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, the famous  island off Italy, n ever disappoints visitors. Between the Mediterranean sea and the hills, with some incredible archeological sites and easy access to nature, Cagliari is the perfect base to explore the rest of Sardinia and makes for a fantastic long weekend getaway.

Among the many things to do in Cagliari , make sure to head to Castello, the prettiest historical district, to visit the museums, churches and the two watchtowers. Once you are done, head to Bastione for a gorgeous view of the city and the bay, then head to Via Santa Croce for one of the prettiest sunsets you are going to experience in your life.

From My Adventures Across the World

Capri, Italy is one of the most unique and beautiful destinations in all of Italy . Located off the southern coastline near the Sorrentino peninsula, Capri is reached only by boat, and ferries from Naples, Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast can get you there several times a day. Many tourists visit Capri on a day trip , though spending a few days is much more fun. You’ll be able to enjoy early morning and late afternoon walks around the island with fewer crowds, and enjoy dinner in the Piazza Umberto, also known as La Piazzetta.

Capri is known for its high end, designer shops and casually elegant eateries, but there are many activities which revolve around the crystal blue waters that surround the island. Taking a boat tour to the Blue Grotto is an Auber-popular attraction but almost a requirement to see the unusual glowing blue water in the cave. Or join a small boat tour and spend the day living la dolce vita, swimming in the gorgeous water and noshing on some Italian food and wine. Whatever you choose to do in Capri, it’ll capture your heart forever.

From Travelinmad

Carrara Marble Route

We made a self-driving through the marble route. it is quite difficult to find the way without a guide. Some places are not well sign-posted. Besides, an off-road car is recommended for driving on some unpaved roads. Please read our review here.There are many guided off-road tours. The Exclusive Marble Cave Jeep Tour Adventure provides you an inside view of the marble culture and industry. It may offer the chances to visit a working quarry. If you are having a holiday in Viareggio, you can join this tour, Carrara Marble Tour Small Group from Viareggio.

From My Magic Earth

The Tuscan hill towns are justifiably famous, and I think the best one may be one you’ve never heard of: Certaldo. This beautifully preserved Medieval walled town about 35 kilometers southwest of Florence sits atop a hill with gorgeous views of the surrounding olive groves and vineyards. Ride the little funicular up into the old center, where the picture-perfect terra cotta streets are free of traffic and free from the crowds that you’ll encounter elsewhere in Tuscany.

There are a few sights that you should see, including the Palazzo Pretorio with coats of arms on its castle-like exterior and the home of the Italian poet Boccacio, and lots of amazing restaurants serving dishes made with the famous local Cipollo onion. But the real highlight of Certaldo is simply wandering the peaceful maze of streets and soaking in that la dolce vita.

From Because Germany

Cinque Terre

If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Italy you have to add Cinque Terre to your travel bucket list. The Italian name Cinque Terre translates to “Five Lands” in English and refers to the five coastal towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The area is a National Park and there are other small towns dotted around it, but the five towns along the coast are the most famous and visited.

The five coastal towns are connected by a cliffside hiking trail known as the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path). Hiking along the Sentiero Azzurro and visiting the five towns of Cinque Terre is one of the most popular activities in Italy, and it’s easy to see why! With their iconic colorful houses perched on top of steeps cliffs, which drop off into the turquoise sea, the towns of Cinque Terre have marveled travelers for years.

The total Sentiero Azzurro hike is 12km long, with lots of ups and downs amongst vineyards and olive groves. The trail isn’t always well beaten, with rocks and roots jutting out so make sure to wear comfortable trainers for the hike! If you don’t want to hike 12km you can get a hop-on-hop-off train ticket, that allows you to travel between the towns by train. Entry to the National Park is 8 EUR just for walking access to the park, or 15 EUR for entry to the park with the hop-on-hop-off train option too. Read more about using train travel in Italy .

From Greta’s Travels

READ NEXT: Complete Guide to Cinque Terre With Kids (or without)

Cortona is surrounded by exquisite countryside, exactly what you think of when you think of Tuscany: rolling hills, sunflower fields, farmland, and a peacefulness and beauty not quite found anywhere else. We rented a villa in the Cortona valley on both trips, spending our time there as well as jaunting off on day trips to other villages. Cortona is a special place for my family, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a third trip pops up again in the future!

From Fifi + Hop

Courmayeur , nestled in the Italian Alps, is the perfect town to visit if you are passionate about the great outdoors. Often overlooked in favor of it’s bigger neighbor, Chamonix, in France I prefer it’s more quiet, more traditional vibe. Alongside the abundance of hiking, cycling and climbing on offer, there are plenty more relaxing options too.

Visit the QC Terme Spa in nearby village Pre Saint Didier. There are over 40 different spa experiences and the highlight is relaxing with the spectacular mountain views in the outdoor pools that are filled with warm water from natural thermal springs.

If you are not big on walking but would still like to get some elevated mountain views you could take a trip up the impressive Skyway Monte Bianco Cable Car. It has a unique revolving cabin that gives you 360-degree views. At the first platform, wander over the to the beautiful Saussurea Alpine Botanical Garden.

Or you could hike, or take the cable car, up to Europes highest swimming pool at the outdoor Lido at Plan Checrouit. Not to forget the many great bars and restaurant the town has allowing you to sit back and enjoy an Aperol Spritz after a day out.

From A Girl and Her Dog on the Road

One of the most scenic mountains in the world is the Dolomites. It is an amazing place to visit. The hike in the area is very accessible. The trails are clearly marked. The Tre Cime hike is one of the most iconic views in the Dolomites. This day hike can be done in 3 to 5 hours depending on the route. It can be quite busy in the summertime. Another great hike is Lago Sorapis . This gorgeous turquoise lake is a full day hike, but worth the effort. The best part is that on many of the hikes small Rifugios are dotted through the mountains. These mountain huts provide dorm rooms and have restaurants. In the middle of the hike, you can stop for an ice cold draft beer and some delicious food. Another famous and picture-perfect place in the Dolomites with great hiking is Alpe di Siusi , also known as Seiser Alm. The Dolomites are one of the best places to travel in Italy and should not be missed if you love nature! 

From Beard & Curly

Elba Island

Did you know that Tuscany has an island? It is called Elba island and it is situated 10km away from the coast of Italy . The island is famous because it once was the exile of Napoleon but more than that it is great because of its amazing turquoise waters and cute villages. Elba really has famous beaches. The most famous one is Capo Bianco because of it’s clear water that is perfect for snorkeling. But every beach on the island really are super cute and have something charming on their own. For aperitivo don’t miss the cute towns of Capoliveri and Porto Azuro! What I liked the most about Elba is it’s laid back atmosphere. Perfect for a relaxing holiday with kids (or not)!

From Les Berlinettes

Etruscan Coast

Tuscany ‘s Etruscan Coast boasts the beautiful rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, and charming villages that you probably associate with Tuscany . But the sunny, sandy beaches and ocean vistas make it even more spectacular. Though vacationers flock to the beach towns for the summer sun, and bicycle tours cycle through on a regular basis, the area still feels relatively undiscovered and uncrowded.

Not everyone knows that this area is also home to world-class wineries like Sassicaia. From the town of Bolgheri heading toward Castagneto, a road lined with cypress trees has been declared a national monument and continues through olive groves and fertile vineyards. This Wine and Olive Road is the perfect place to do a few tastings and admire the scenery.

Whether you prefer easy bike rides to the beach or hopping from town to town, walking to the village gelato shop or tasting wines and olive oils, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful Italian countryside.

From Intentional Travelers

They are everywhere, on the streets, locked up on racks, lean up on walls, in backyards —— they are just all over the place. Bicycles that is. Cars may not enter the old town Ferrara so everyone uses bikes for their shopping, for their commute, for their recreation and well just about everything. There are 50+ miles of cycle paths and over 100,000 bicycles for about 130,000 people.

One of the best bike rides in the City of Bicycles is the 5.5-mile route along the wall that encompasses the historical old city. These walls defended the city in ancient times and now form the demarcation for the bicycles only area of Ferrara.

Other suggestions for your visit to Ferrara are:

  • Visit the Botanical Gardens with 1300 plant species in the greenhouses and 700 species in the outdoor gardens. After the gardens stop by the nearby Pasticceria Naturale for a coffee and pastry.
  • Tour of Castle Estense located in the center of old town. Also known as the Castle of Saint Michael, it was built in the 14th Century and is an impressive example of medieval architecture. This photogenic castle sits on an island surrounded by a moat.
  • See Ferrara from the water. Take a boat trip on the longest river in Italy , the River Po. Canals link Ferrara to the River Po. The boats leave from the southern edge of the city.

From Travel Boldly

Fiesole is a little town in the hills above Florence. During the time of the Medicis, it was a retreat from the city, a place to get away from it all. Fiesole still feels like a bit of a getaway from the business of Florence, though it is just a short bus ride or drive away.

We took a 2.5 km loop walk on our trip to Fiesole. This  day hike near Florence  wanders through the butter-colored town, past the hill where Leonardo Da Vinci did his human-powered flying experiments, and alongside several stone quarries.

After walking the loop, there is still more to explore in Fiesole. Visit the chapel and museum at the Monastery of San Francesco and drool over the art at the Bandini Museum. Entrance to the Bandini also allows you access to the Civic Archeology Museum and the 2nd Century BC amphitheater. Finish the day with a leisurely late lunch and a glass of wine at Il Fiesolano.

From  TravelingMel.com

Known the world over as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is an absolute must for any first-time traveler to Italy . Between the huge wealth of artistic and historical attractions as well as the fantastic day trips you can take in the region, you can easily spend a week in Florence and do every day something different.

Some of the places you can’t miss in Florence if it’s your first trip are the complex of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Baptistery and Bell Tower, San Lorenzo Basilica and the nearby mausoleum of the Medici family, Santa Maria Novella Basilica and cloister, the gorgeous Uffizi art gallery, Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens, and the important Palazzo Vecchio. Florence is home to the best museums in Italy, and honestly, in the world, where you can see famous works of art such as Michaelangelo’s David and much much more!

For a great day trip, some of the best places to visit from Florence are the medieval towns of Siena and Lucca and Pisa, most famous for its Leaning Tower. Florence is one of the most  major cities in Italy and very popular with tourists, but still definitely worth visiting in your lifetime.

From Chasing the Unexpected

Garfagnana, Tuscany

But there is one place that is constantly on my mind, and I must return to each time I visit home. It’s the less visited Garfagnana, the mountainous northwestern spike of Tuscany. Closer to the Cinque Terre in Liguria than Florence, Garfagnana is blessed by the fresh climate and the breath-taking scenery of the Appennini, and largely remains off the tourist radar. You would barely find another foreigner when browsing the streets of Piazza al Serchio, Garfagnana’s main village and railway link. Pisa, with its tower and tourists, is just about an hour away — but in Garfagnana, especially if you decide to hike up to the Passo dell’Orecchiella through a national park, you’ll see more wild deer and mushrooms than fellow foreign travelers. Go visit before it’s too late.

From Penang Insider

Lago d’Iseo

Having traveled to Italy several times and falling in love with this country, we began a search to purchase a second home in Italy. We love the Italian lakes and our exploring led us to the 4 th largest lake in Italy, Lago d’Iseo. One and half hours from Milan and two and half hours from Venice, the location is perfect. Some may remember when the Floating Piers were located here.

Our experience of seeing Lago d’Iseo for the first time was love at first sight. Not as touristy as the other lakes, surrounded by the Franciacorta wine region and with views that are spectacular! In the middle of the lake sits an island called Mont Isola, Europe’s largest lake island. Mont Isola is only accessible by boat but filled with fun villages to explore. Lago d’Iseo has relaxing restaurants and shopping that surround the island in several different villages. The drive around the entire lake is fun with winding roads and tunnels through mountains. Hikers will love the challenge of hiking by using the old Roman pathway and seeing magnificent views. Lago d’ Iseo is often referred to as the pearl of Italy and we discovered and love its beauty.

From Travel by a Sherrie Affair

Lago Maggiore

A road trip through the Italian lake district is a must-have experience in Italy , but not all people visit Lago Maggiore, the smallest of the three main lakes. On Lago Maggiore, you can find some really charming towns to wander like Stresa and Cannobio, but the crowning glory is the Borromean Islands. They are a group of islands near Stresa owned by the Borromeo family since the 16th century. On two of them, you can find beautiful historic palaces and gardens which are the Islands’ main attractions. You can get to the islands by ferry from Stresa, and you’ll need the whole day to explore all of them comfortably.

From My Path in the World

No doubt, Como has been a favorite haunt among celebrities of the world. An idyllic atmosphere, gorgeous views, and delicious food and wine make the place a heaven on earth. Lake Como’s legendary villas such as the Villa del Balbianello and Villa Carlotta also provide tourists with an exceptional opportunity to step into the rich history of medieval Italy.

The lake has been a popular tourist destination ever since the time of Romans and continues to evoke the same emotions today. A sip of limoncello, a backdrop of mist-covered mountains, and luxury villas glistening with Italian history – the appealing combination that defines Lake Como.

From Stories by Soumya

Lake Garda definitely deserves to be on everyone’s Italy list. It’s the largest lake in the country, and (in my opinion) the most beautiful of all Italian lakes. There are so many things to do around Lake Garda , and the lake changes so much from North to South that it is worth visiting more than once. For example, the southern part of the lake is hilly and has a Mediterranean atmosphere, making it perfect for holidays dedicated to relax, food, and wine. Bardolino is an excellent choice for wine tasting, Sirmione and Peschiera have beautiful castles and scenery, while Lazise should be the destination of choice for all those that want to relax, thanks to its thermal waters. Yet, my favorite part of Lake Garda is the north, where the lake meets the Alps and you can enjoy great adventures like hiking, mountain biking, sailing, and windsurfing. Places like Riva del Garda and Torbole are ideal for adventure lovers, and provide the ideal base to explore more of the surrounding Alps.

From The Crowded Planet

There is one thing that makes Levanto unique from the other villages of Cinque Terre and that’s the old rail line that’s been converted to a paved pathway for walking or biking. This fun biking path from Levanto to Framura passes through several tunnels and offers some stunning views. The path is flat and not that long, but with sea views and towns to explore along the way, you can make it a full day outing.

If you have extra time, hike the trail back from Levanto to Monterosso, which is also quieter than some of the more popular hiking trails in the area. It’s worth spending an extra day in the area to explore Levanto, if only for the lesser crowds!

From Family Can Travel

If the weather isn’t up to par, a visit to the Acquario di Livorno is a great way to spend quality time with the family while experiencing a reconstructed Mediterranean Sea environment that showcases the creatures inhabiting the local sea. And no visit to Livorno is complete without a taste of the local seafood. If you have never experienced Italy’s seafood or Tuscan entrees, Livorno’s food selection will excite even the most critical foodie.

From The Elusive Family

Lucca is a small city in Tuscany not far north of Pisa and easily accessible from Florence, making it a great addition to any Italy itinerary . It is one of the best cities to visit in Italy if you want to experience a Medieval city. It is one of the few cities left in the world with intact medieval city walls.

The old town is a short walk from the train station, and as you pass through the walls, you find a vibrant city with a cathedral from the 1100s, winding streets, and not one but two towers worth climbing. The Ore Tower gives a great view of town including the second tower, Tower Guinigi, which has trees growing at the top. The walls themselves are quite wide and grassy on top offering a nice place to run, ride a bike, or just sit to the sun.

A handful of museums, churches, plenty of restaurants, and a medieval plaza built over the Roman amphitheater mean there is something here for any interest. Lucca is certainly known by the tourist trail, but in fall when we visited it wasn’t overly crowded and yet still had nice weather. Definitely worth a visit in any season, Lucca is also the host to a large Comic convention in November.

From Travel Made Simple

Try My Itinerary for the Best Places in Italy

Make your trip to Italy stress-free with this complete Italy Itinerary that includes all of my favorite places in Italy!

Majella National Park

Majella National Park is located in the heart of Italy and one of the popular things to do in Abruzzo region .

The Majella National park is a great destination for hiking, camping and just about anything to enjoy nature. It is one of the most visited attractions close to Rome for nature lovers. Due to its altitude, it is a famous ski destination in Italy and when summer comes, the flora and fauna of the national park are blooming. Making this area of Abruzzo worth visiting and a great day trip destination from Rome.

From Everything Zany

Maratea is a relatively unknown gem in Italy ‘s Basilicata region. The town sits above a gorgeous stretch of Italian coastline and is known as the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian. With few transportation links, Maratea’s beaches aren’t crowded even in the midst of summer. And with plenty of sea caves dotting the coast, you can easily even find a romantic hideaway perfect just for two. This part of the country isn’t very developed making it one of the  best places to vacation in Italy .

And as you’d expect with Italy , the food in the Basilicata region is excellent too. Expect lots of fresh fish and seafood from the Tyrrhenian, rustic dishes and a lot more spiciness thanks to Arabic, Spanish and even French influences from Maratea’s colorful history.

From Luxe Adventure Traveler

Marettimo is a tiny island off the coast of Sicily, and one of Italy’s absolute hidden getaways. Only a few tourists get to the island, however, it offers something for everyone. On the island, you can discover ancient Roman ruins, chill on the beach or explore the many hiking trails.

There are a few diving operators offering excellent snorkeling and scuba diving around the island. The operators also offer boat trips around the island for those who don’t want to dive. The little amount of tourists makes it easier to get in touch with the locals and learn more about their culture and customs.

You can easily get to Marettimo by boat from Trapani in Sicily, and the ride only takes about an hour.

From Pack Up and Wander

Matera is one of Southern Italy ’s most sublime and primeval-looking places. It’s most celebrated for its ancient town of cave dwellings, known as the Sassi. In 1993, the Sassi districts were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being “the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region” Today, many of the ancient cave dwellings have been regenerated and are currently occupied by booming businesses, hotels, and restaurants. During your visit, you can dine, shop and sleep in caves.

You’ve probably seen Matera without knowing it, as it’s is a favorite destination among Hollywood filmmakers. Scenes from Wonder Woman (2017), The Passion of the Christ (2004), and The Nativity Story (2006) were filmed in this ancient city. I highly recommend staying at least 2 nights here. As you plan your Italy trip

, consider exploring the coastal region of Puglia, before heading inland to Matera.

From Moon & Honey Travel

The hilltop city of Matera in Basilicata, Southern Italy , is the most extraordinary place we’ve ever visited. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world and virtually all the buildings are in caves first lived in 9,000 years ago.

You’ll feel as if you’re on a film set as you walk down its narrow lanes and into its underground tunnels. Matera looks so much like the Jerusalem of Biblical times that it’s been used in countless films.

Every day in Matera is an adventure. There aren’t that many places in the world where you really feel as if you’ve been transported back in time. It’s no surprise that Matera has been named as a European Capital of Culture for 2019.

Kids will love exploring here – especially when they find out that they can stay in one of the amazing cave hotels. It’s such fun wandering around the massive underground caverns and seeing the unique cave churches.

Matera is still relatively unknown to foreign tourists which gives it all the more charm. It has that delightfully laidback feel of a small Italian town. Go now before everyone finds out about it.

From Suitcases and Sandcastles

There are many beautiful spots around the city, such as the canals around Navigli which are perfect for an Aperitivo or a pizza for sunset. Of course, you also shouldn’t miss Milan’s main attraction, the stunning Duomo cathedral. I highly recommend going on the roof of the Duomo, where you can see its incredible architecture and enjoy the beautiful view. If you have an extra day in Milan and want to escape the city for a bit, you could do a day trip to Lake Como, easily reachable by train. One of my best Italy travel tips is not to skip over Milan!

From German Backpacker

Modica is one of a cluster of Baroque cities in the southeast of Sicily. Along with Ragusa and Scicli, it was rebuilt after an earthquake hit the region at the end of the 17th century. Modica is set in a gorge with narrow lanes winding their way up the steep slopes on either side of the valley floor. It’s worth the hike to the top to take in the views over the surviving medieval stone houses punctuated by majestic Baroque buildings.

If I was going to shoot a movie full of drama, I’d set the opening scenes on the steps of Duomo di San Giorgio. I first visited Modica during an evening rainstorm when the Duomo was lit up against the dark narrow streets surrounding it.

By day, of course, Modica is charming. When I visited the city several years later with my family we enjoyed lunch at the famous Osteria dei Sapori Perduti (meaning “lost flavors”) where the menu includes ancient recipes next to the list of dishes. We visited the city’s oldest chocolate shop, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, for a kitchen tour and a history lesson on how Modica’s chocolate gained its unique (but delicious) grainy texture.

From Smudged Postcard

Monte Argentario

Located just a scenic 90-minute drive north of Rome is this absolutely stunning comune called Monte Argentario.  It’s basically a little island off the coast of Tuscany, and is one of the most idyllic and best places to visit in Italy!  My cousin has been living there for over 12 years now, and every time I visit her I fall in love with it more and more!  While there are a couple major places to visit on the island, I’d recommend staying in the charming town of Porto Ercole.  Just make sure you rent a car and drive around the entire island along the Via Panoramica Road!  It’s such a remarkable experience, and you’ll be blessed with jaw-dropping views, lovely wineries, and stunning beaches. It’s actually known to Italians as being where the rich Romans vacation, but can also be a fine budget travel destination as well!  It may not be a famous place in Italy, but it’s my favorite hidden gem in the country!  Buon viaggia!!

If you’re looking for a stunning hill town to visit in Italy , consider Orvieto. This charming Umbrian hill town is just an hour away from Rome by train, so you can explore Orvieto in just one day ! Orvieto’s location, on the top of a big volcanic rock, affords awesome views over the surrounding countryside. For even better views, climb to the top of the Clock Tower in the center of town. And Orvieto’s magnificent Duomo is a must visit. With a surprisingly glitzy and ornate façade for a small town, Orvieto’s Duomo is also known for Luca Signorelli’s amazing frescoes inside.

Wandering Orvieto’s charming streets is a pleasure, as is browsing the numerous ceramics shops all over town. And to get a glimpse of life in Orvieto’s vast underground, join a guided tour and learn about its Etruscan past. If that is not enough, go down into the depths of St. Patrick’s well, an engineering marvel that will leave you awe-struck. With its amazing sights and charming small town vibe, Orvieto makes for a memorable addition to your itinerary for Italy !

Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

The most important things to visit in Padua are the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua and the Scrovegni Chapel with fascinating frescoes from Giotto in its interior. Padua is also a city of beautiful squares: Prato del Valle, with its lovely canals and statues, is actually one of the largest squares in Europe. If you are in Padua, you can’t miss out on some of the old-school coffee places, and in Café Pedrocchi you can drink espresso in one of the most antique cafés in Italy.

From Surfing the Planet

Situated in the North of Italy , somewhere between the Lombardy capital of Milan and the seaside city of Genoa, the beautiful university city of Pavia is characterized by its countless churches and many cobbled lanes. Easy to visit all year ’round thanks to its transport links with the rest of Italy , highlights of Pavia include a Duomo that Da Vinci had a hand in designing and the many buildings of the second oldest university in Italy . If you have a little extra time while visiting Pavia, be sure to take the train ride to the nearby Certosa di Pavia. This monastery dates back to the 14th-century and is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in the entire country

From Solo Sophie

Perugia is a classic Umbrian medieval hill town, complete with a long flat pedestrian street Corso Vannucci, which makes Perugia one of the best places in all of Italy to experience a passeggiata (evening stroll). Grab a gelato or down an espresso, then join the locals for a leisurely stroll up and down the street, taking in the sights, enjoying buskers singing and playing music, and watching everyone else do the same thing. Then head to one of the many restaurants for classic local pasta and truffles or Umbrian sausages with torta al testo (Umbrian flatbread). For dessert, try some Perugina chocolates – they come from Perugia, so what better place to eat them.

Historic Perugia is beautiful, with steep, narrow cobbled streets; a large Etruscan gate; and the. The main square Piazza IV Novembre has the gothic Cattedrale de San Lorenzo and the Fontana Maggiore, a beautiful fountain. Nearby is Via Appia, a narrow street that actually goes along the top of a raised aqueduct, cutting right through a local neighborhood. Don’t miss seeing the Etruscan stone cistern discovered underneath a palazzo in town.

From Travel Collecting

If you’re looking for a quaint and beautiful Tuscan town where you can relax for a few days, Pienza would be an excellent pick. The historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason – it was built as an ideal Renaissance city and is immaculately preserved. It’s small enough that even little legs will have no problem traversing the town center but big enough that you’ll find some charming hotels and Airbnbs. It has breathtaking vistas and stunning architecture – not to mention a long-standing history of Pecorino cheese-making!

Pienza makes a great base for venturing out to other small towns in the Val d’Orcia and beyond. Midday can get busy with tourist groups, but they usually flee by mid-afternoon so you can drink deeply of some authentic Tuscan magic

From Local Passport Family

The ruins of Pompeii have fascinated me since I learned about them in high school, so visiting the archaeological site was a must-do on my trip to Italy. Visitors can explore the massive park via a guided tour or on their own and can easily spend a whole day at the site. Some of the top things to do in Pompeii include visiting sites like the amphitheater (which can still host performances), Temple of Jupiter, Forum, Basilica, and many private residences.

Though most of the famed frescoes and other artifacts have been relocated to museums, some originals remain and others have been recreated. You can also view the heart-breaking plaster casts that were made of the people buried in the ash who left human-shaped voids as their bodies decomposed. The ruins can be reached via train from Naples and make a perfect day trip whether you’re staying in the city or just stopping in the cruise port.

From Nomad by Trade

Ponte di Legno

When I think about a mountain resort in Italy, immediately the name of Ponte di Legno comes to my mind. This is where I learned how to snowboard and where I fell many times on its white covered slopes. I loved to spend my winter there when I lived in Italy and I felt so lucky that my parents bought a small cabin in the small town so that I could go all the time I wanted to. Its variety of ski slopes makes everybody happy, from kids on their first attempt, to expert skiers. And, most important, there is almost always snow even when it’s not snowing. But you cannot ignore the spectacular hikes you can do during the summer.

Amazing and well-marked trails will take you to explore the entire mountain range and you can go on forever and sleep in the free mountain shack that are scattered around the peaks and well equipped and taken care of by the local mountain associations. The little town of Ponte di Legno is also a gem, for an evening stroll, rich in local restaurants where you can try the regional specialties or browse around the fancy clothing shops. It’s definitely a complete destination that makes everybody happy whether you are a lover of outdoor activities or you just want to enjoy the views and the culinary scene.

From Boundless Roads

As the main protagonist of southern Italy ‘s lemon-scented Amalfi Coast, Positano is the epitome of ‘la dolce vita’. This tangle of pastel-hued facades tumbles down a near-vertical cliffside, colliding with an aquamarine sea and soul-stirring scenes the good life. Families flutter from pizzerias to gelato stands, while couples sip Prosecco and twirl seafood pasta onto their forks on restaurant terraces draped in blushing canopies of wisteria.

Take a stroll and explore the little delis, cafes and gift stores or hop on a boat and bounce across the bay to the Isle of Capri. And whatever you do, don’t leave without tipping back a few glasses of limoncello, an uplifting liqueur made with the area’s emblematic lemons. This really is the good life.

From Driftwood Journals

Pragser Wildsee

Traveling in November is great if you would like to avoid the tourists, as it’s just after the hiking season and just before the skiing season. Even though it was quite cold in places, the sun was out, making it perfect weather for hiking. Out of the different places my girlfriend and I visited, the Prager Wildsee stood out majestically. We had the painting-like landscape practically to ourselves, partially because there had been a terrible storm just the week before we arrived, which caused a lot of canceled itineraries.

It’s a sight well worth seeing for yourself, with its cyan-colored water (which was a bit murky because of the storm), vast snow-capped mountains, wooden boats and brownish green conifers. It reminded me somewhat of the rugged nature in Alaska

. I recommend following the trail around the lake to experience its ever-changing views.

From Victoria’s Travels

The Island of Procida Italy

From Dianamiaus

The little towns and villages on the Amalfi coast are heavenly. They are picture perfect gorgeous villages, perched above the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean. There are many stunning hikes in the steep mountains towering over the Amalfi coast. I could spend months on the Amalfi coast visiting every village and walking every hike.

Ravello is one of my favorite towns ever. It’s located up high in the mountains further up from the coastal towns of Amalfi and Atrani. We took the local bus from Amalfi up to Ravello. On the way back we walked all the way down, through unbelievable views, lemon orchards, olive groves, and many stairs. Later we felt every strand of muscle in our legs but the walk was worth it. For a small town, Ravello has a lot of history, attractions and amazing Italian food.

My favorite memory is from the visit to Villa Rufolo, one of the two famous villas in Ravello, now revived for patrons of music, arts, gardens, food, and photography. It’s beautiful buildings, towers and gardens from the 13th century was remodeled in the 19th century, making it popular for visitors around the world. It’s gardens overlooking the blue waters are probably the most photographed for its vibrant colors and perfectly manicured flower beds. But the most unique attraction in Villa Rufolo is the outdoor concert setting, with a backdrop of the Mediterranean down below. I can only imagine how gorgeous concert music would sound in this setting.

From Story at Every Corner

Ravello is a beautiful town above the Amalfi Coast whose scenic beauty has earned its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its high vantage point means there are breathtaking views of neighboring towns and the blue sea down below. Its the perfect place to go for a slow holiday and part of the beauty of this town is simply exploring its (steep!) winding Italian passages.

There are beautiful churches and sanctuaries to admire but the best thing to do in Ravello is to visit Villa Cimbrone, a stunning villa that dates back over one thousand years! Walking through the architecture and grounds here gives you the impression that you’ve been transported back centuries.

The Terrazzo dell’lnfinito (the Terrace of Infinity) is one of the most romantic spots in Italy with pink sunsets and classic Italian architecture. It’s like nothing you’ll have ever seen before!

From What’s Hot Blog

Roccascalegna Castle

Roccascalegna Castle is a medieval castle located 3-hour east of Rome in the region called Abruzzo. This castle holds a war history but not is one of the most popular destinations in the province of Chieti. Located at the cliff, from this castle, you can overlook the snowcapped mountain called Majelletta which is also a known ski resort. The little town of Roccascalegna is known for producing world-class wine. Many tourists are arriving in Pescara which has a direct bus and train from Rome, from here, you can take another local bus or rent a car and drive yourself around to explore the town and the vineyards surrounding the castle. From the town proper, Roccascalegna castle is only a few minutes hike, however, the steps can be very steep while the view from the top is truly magical. If you are looking for a fairytale-like experience with an outdoor adventure, here’s a place for you to explore without spending too much and having to brave a large crowd – it is definitely one of the hidden gems of Italy .

From Mary of A Mary Road

There is nowhere like Rome. It is without a doubt one of the  best places to go in Italy.  Home to absolutely iconic world treasures (the Colosseum, the Pantheon), beautiful, awe-inspiring neighborhoods (Trastevere and Centro Storico to start), some of the world’s best pasta (bring on the carbonara), and even an entirely separate country enclosed within its borders (hello Vatican City), Rome is a world unto itself. You will literally never run out of things to do in Rome: once you work your way through all the world-renowned attractions, there is still so much to discover beneath the surface (sometimes literally).

Stand among the ruins of public baths, wander through immaculately maintained gardens, take a break from pasta to devour artichokes in the Jewish Ghetto, step inside impressive catacombs, and admire world-class art, all within the truly Eternal City. The sheer breadth and depth to what Rome offers make it an unforgettable and unmissable destination not only in Italy  but across the globe.

From Our Escape Clause

Discover Where to Stay in Rome

Read next: things to do in rome in one day.

Salerno Cathedral: If you only tour one historical monument in the city, make it this one. This Romanesque church features stunning, ornate architecture and plentiful religious artifacts. A bell tower sits at the rear of the cathedral, under a classic top dome. This is Medieval architectural and history at its finest.

Minerva’s Garden: Nestled into Salerno’s historic district, this oasis serves as both a public park and a botanical garden. With over 200 varieties of plants, herbs, and greenery, it’s a stunning place to walk through, marked by stone archways.

Salerno Harbor: Always bustling, the city’s main harbor is far from a tourist trap. It’s a fantastic spot to watch the port activity, where fishing boats are always coming and going. A scenic stretch of pier lets you view the cityscape in full, which makes for a breathtaking view.

Forte La Carnale: A castle with strong historical roots in Salerno, this fort is perched atop a hill, meaning you can see the entire city from its highest point, as well as learn about Salerno’s military history. When you’re finished exploring, enjoy a glass of wine and classic Italian cuisine at the on-site restaurant.

In Salerno, the rugged Mediterranean coastline, classic architecture and authentic Italian cuisine will have you wondering why you’ve never heard of this place before. It’s southern Italian culture at its best, but with all the perks of a hidden gem!

From Coastlines to Skylines

San Fruttuoso

San Fruttuoso on the Italian Riviera is the site of a tenth-century abbey that nestles in a tiny cove, surrounded by steep forested hills on three sides and a pebbly beach on the other. The Mediterranean is bright green here and sparkles in the sun like an emerald. The abbey and beach are accessible only by boat or foot. There are daily boats from Rapallo via Santa Margerita Liguna and Portofino in one direction and Camogli in the other direction.

A recommended option is to take the boat to Portofino and then hike from Portofino across to San Fruttuoso . The hike is steep at the start and end, with steps in Portofino and switchbacks at San Fruttuosso, but most of the trail is fairly flat with gorgeous views of the Mediterranean below. When you get to San Fruttuoso, you can rent beach chairs and take a dip to cool off. There is also a small café in front of the abbey. A few hundred meters offshore, there is a famous sunken statue of Jesus, Christ of the Abyss, that is a great dive site. Dive trips leave from Santa Margherita.

San Gimignano Italy

San Gimignano is located halfway between Florence and Siena. As you approach the city, you will notice the distinct and well preserved medieval towers rising out of the town. Once you arrive at the hilltop city, the picturesque surrounding landscape of rolling hills is breathtaking. We sat there looking for miles hardly believing our eyes. It’s hard to believe this tiny little town was once a major city in medieval times. The city has several great restaurants where you can enjoy delicious Italian meals and delicious gelato.

During our visit, we stayed in Fattoria Voltrona, a lovely bed and breakfast on the hillside outside the city center of San Gimignano. We had breakfast each morning and one day we enjoyed a horseback ride through the vineyards and olive trees seeing the town in the distance. There are so many great places to visit in Italy , but San Gimignano was our favorite.

From Honeymoon Always

While San Marino isn’t politically in Italy, since it is its own Microstate nation, it is a stone’s throw from Rimini and geographically it is seen to be  or combined with Italy for those who travel to the region. Castle fortresses seated up high on mountaintops mark this tiny 61 Kilometre square Republic.

Many visit on a day trip to stroll the old town streets and alleyway, the First and Second defense Towers, the Palace (seat of Government) and the old guarding post. Many visitors even opt to get a special passport stamp, since this is technically it’s own country after all! For those with longer time to visit San Marino , you can explore further with short hikes up Mount Titano upon which San Marino stands, or attend the annual Medieval Festival, for which it is renowned.

From Borders of Adventure

Santa Marinella

Rome is a natural fan favorite for Italy . But, due to its positioning on the globe, Italy can get quite hot in the summer. On those days, escaping Rome for a beach, to cool off and sneak in some tranquility, is everything. Luckily, there is a prime beach an easy day-trip away!

We highly recommend Santa Marinella, as from Rome Central it’s only a short thirty-minute train ride. We found their beach to be clean, relaxing, and just the break we needed from the city. Once in Santa Marinella, it’s merely a five-minute walk from the train station to find ample amenities, food options, and a beach that is attended but not packed to the gills.

From Travel for Days

Saturnia Hot Springs

Saturnia hot springs are one of the best hidden gems in Italy. It’s a little challenging to find these thermal baths in the Tuscan countryside, but the journey is well worth it! You can discover how to find the Saturnia hot springs here.  

One of the best places to visit in Italy has to be the island of Sicily. Steeped in history, and the largest island in the Mediterranean, it has everything from the aforementioned history, to stunning beaches, great food and one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Mount Etna.

There are some great places to stay in Sicily including the capital Palermo, but along the coast to the east is another great base for exploring Sicily called Cefalu. Other people holiday in the southern town of Catania, in the plains below Mount Etna.

As for history, take your pick. Must-see places on Sicily include the Roman hunting lodge near the town of Piazza Armerina and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are an additional five UNESCO sites on Sicily.

And the best way to experience Mount Etna from all sides is on the back of a motorbike. My hubby and I rode from Cefalu to Catania and rode up the Catania side of Mount Etna and back down the Taormina side (another amazing town on the island), before riding the less-traveled roads at the rear back to Cefalu. It was an unforgettable ride with the volcano in the background. And the day ended perfectly with an amazing calzone pizza and a bottle of Chianti.

From Passports and Adventures

Not only is Sicily gorgeous, it has miles of coastline! Check out the best beaches in Sicily . 

Siena  is a small city in Tuscany , Italy. In 1995, the historic center of  Siena  was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Perched on top of a hill and based around the central Piazza del Campo,  Siena  is a picturesque Italian town. It is well known for its beautiful black and white cathedral, the Duomo. Taking over 200 years to build, it was intended to be the biggest in the world but by the time it was finished others had surpassed it.

Siena  is also famous or it’s horse race, the Palio. The first race was run in the seventeenth century and it is still held twice a year. The Contrade (or wards) of  Siena  compete fiercely as the horses charge around the Piazza del Campo.

While there is plenty to do in  Siena , my favorite way to pass the time was taking a seat in one of the bars or restaurants around the Piazza del Campo, enjoying an Aperol Spritz and watching the world pass by. Some of the places offer seats on the second-floor balcony, for an even better view. Don’t forget to try some of the delicious local gelato while in  Siena  too.

From Josie Wanders

Syracuse, or Siracusa in Italian , is an ancient town that was originally founded by the Greeks. Many of its impressive archaeological sites, such as the Greek theater and the Necropolis, were built several centuries before the Roman Empire.

Many of the buildings standing in Syracuse today are from later periods, particularly the Baroque period. The historic center is known as Ortigia and is actually on a different island, separated from the rest of Sicily by a narrow water channel. Wandering through the narrow alleyways of Ortigia, and getting lost on purpose, is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Siracusa.

In the morning, you’ll want to head to one of the city’s fruit and vegetable markets, filled with Tarocco blood oranges, wild fennel and many different kinds of nuts, all grown in the neighboring countryside.

Siracusa is also the perfect base for some day trips to other famous Baroque towns in the area, like Noto, Ragusa and Modica. The latter is famous for its chocolate, which is made using the same technique that the Aztecs used at the time of the Spanish conquest. It’s just one of the many dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan specialties of Sicily .

From The Nomadic Vegan

From Renee the Wanderess

Trentino is located in the north of Italy and has some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country, with imposing mountains, majestic lakes, and countless numbers of quaint valleys and cute villages.

It’s a destination that you can visit all year round and it will feel different every time. In autumn the colors come out setting fire to the region’s palette, in spring the apple orchards turn it into a blossom lover’s paradise, in summer the mountains are the perfect cool retreat from the heat, and in winter it offers some of the best skiing in Europe.

I particularly love the winter in Trentino , when the valleys and mountains turn in to a winter wonderland. Even if you are not a skier, there is plenty of awesome things to do. Hiking in the snow will bring up surprises like frozen waterfalls and suspension bridges, the cold crispy air will call for a day in a cozy farmhouse learning how to cook local traditional dishes, or spend a day in a spa with breathtaking views over the Dolomites Mountains. But no matter what time of the year you go, Trentino is guaranteed to make you fall in love with it.

From Brogan Abroad

Trieste, an Italian outpost on the North East Adriatic coast, is often overlooked by travelers to the Italian peninsula! But as I recently discovered whilst traveling to Slovenia, this often windswept city is a gem not to be missed.

As you wander around, especially in the Old Town area, you can see influences from the Venetians, the Romans, as well as the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The magnificent main square, Piazza dell’Unita’ d’Italia, is said to be the largest sea facing square in Europe. It is as stunning as it sounds. If Roman ruins is what you’re looking for, then a short walk from the main square you will find the ruins of a Roman theatre too.

Another great feature of this seaport city is its Canal Grande. The canal is flanked by churches and squares, and historical buildings housing cafes and museums. It’s the perfect spot for a sunset stroll to take in the melancholic charm of the place.

Being the birthplace of Illy, Trieste is also known for its cafe culture, though don’t expect the typical lively, down-your-espresso-shot at the counter kind of bar that is ubiquitous in Italy . Think more sophisticated with fancy cakes and coffees that wouldn’t be out of place in Vienna.

From the grand architecture, like Castello Miramare just north of the city, and the numerous palaces, to the rich literary and cultural heritage, Trieste has much to offer. It’s a must add to your Italian itinerary when visiting the northeast of Italy or Slovenia.

From Teacake Travels

I discovered one of my favorite cities in Italy by accident… Turin was merely the closest city with an airport from Alba, where I had spent a week exploring the Piedmont wine region. It’s generally somewhere you end when trying to decide between Milan or Turin . And this is where I picked.

But, Italy’s fourth-largest city stole my heart the moment I stepped off the train. Its beautiful architecture, history, and variety of things to see and do – not to mention the food and wine – make it a great spot to soak in Italy when you’re in the Piedmont region.

A few things I suggest you do when you visit include, visiting the Cathedral of Turin in Piazza San Giovanni where you can see The Shroud of Turin – believed to be the burial shroud of Christ. Take in the Roman ruins, they’re everywhere. Visit the Egyptian Museum, the largest Egyptian collection in the world outside of the Cairo Museum. And ride the historic tram – Linea 7 Tram Storici, which takes visitors on a circular tour of the city and many of its sites. If you can steal away to the river for a stroll, then make it happen! 

From Carpe Travel

Turin , or Torino , is often overlooked as one of the best places to visit in Italy . But if you fail to stop by, then you’ll be missing out. Turin is a stunning place, thanks to the Italian Alps acting as a beautiful backdrop to the northwest of the city. A trip up the Mole Antonelliana will give you 360-degree panoramic views and it’s truly breathtaking.

There is also an awesome cinema museum there too. Turin is a city famous for its chocolate making, and you’ll find authentic Italian restaurants, delicious gelato, and jugs of sparkling wine for a lot less money than you’d find in other parts of Italy . Turin is also home to the biggest archaeological collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt and it’s a fascinating museum.

There are also lots of beautiful gardens and bridges, perfect for packing an Italian style picnic and simply relaxing in the sunshine. Turin is a small city with a unique and authentic Italian charm. It’s one of my favorite spots in Italy and definitely one of the best places to visit; which is probably why I spent my 24th birthday there!

From Dream Big, Travel Far

With Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan all competing for attention in Italy , Turin, or Torino is often overlooked by foreign tourists.

And that’s precisely why we love it. The wide streets are free from overcrowded tour buses, long queues, and hordes of people flocking from one must-see sight to the next.

While Torino doesn’t have The Coliseum or canals, it does have plenty of noteworthy attractions.

View the Mole Antonelliana, Torino’s famous spire, from the outside, then head indoors to ride the glass elevator all the way to the top — if you dare! Film buffs should not miss the National Cinema Museum, while foodies should pick up some locally sourced Italian products at Eataly. And, of course, viewing the famous Shroud of Turin might be on your bucket list.

By far our favorite thing to do in Torino is to wander the glorious colonnades and porticoes until it’s time to take a seat in Piazza Vittorio. Here, you can order Torino’s signature drink, the impossibly rich, chocolate-infused coffee known as Bicerin. Then sit back alongside the locals and simply watch the world go by.

You can comfortably visit Torino on a day trip from Milan but we suggest you spend a few nights to re-learn the meaning of slow travel in our favorite Italian city.

From My Five Acres

Tuscany: Al Gelso Bianco

What is Italy without food! The best way to learn about Italian food is to make it yourself. That is why you won’t want to miss a family cooking class at Al Gelso Bianco in Tuscany. (I really mean family friendly – we took two four-year-olds, two two-year-olds, and a newborn!)

The class is run just like your grandma would run a kitchen. You are welcome to help with anything you want or just sit back and watch. The older boys favorite part was making the pasta! While things are in the oven explore the property with a pool, wine tasting (with kid-friendly grape juice) and animals. The class culminates in a family style meal which you just made. This was truly one of the best family events we’ve ever booked and the kids would say the same.

From Dutch Dutch Goose

Umbria is the perfect place to visit in Italy . It’s easily as beautiful as Tuscany, with half the tourists, full of stunning hilltop towns, gorgeous churches, and picturesque countryside. Though there is plenty to see and do, it’s compact enough that you can enjoy a long weekend in Umbria and manage to take in a couple of towns and sights.

The food isn’t bad either! In Umbria, you can find delicious truffles, amazing wines including eleven DOC and two DOCG wines! Don’t miss the beautiful town of Spello, with narrow lanes full of flowers, still contained within ancient Roman walls, or the impressive castle and Roman aqueduct in Spoleto. End your trip enjoying the views of the Valle Umbra from Montefalco

 while sipping a glass of Sagrantino de Montefalco!

From A Lovely Planet

Vatican City

As the smallest sovereign state in the world, Vatican City is probably one of the richest countries, monetarily-speaking, as well as in its significance and history. There are simply so many things to see inside the fortification boundaries of Vatican City!

Most visitors are more than happy to visit Vatican City by touring St. Peter’s Basilica or purchasing general admission to the Vatican Museum. Both of these popular attractions offer an overwhelming collection of priceless art, history, and architecture. They can easily occupy you for the whole day

Travelers who’ve done their research know that there are even more unusual Vatican City tours , like exploring the necropolis Scavi tour underneath the Basilica. Qualified researchers and scholars may visit the Vatican Library. These relatively unknown activities require planning, but are definitely worth doing!

From The Round the World Guys

Mention you’re visiting Venice and you’ll likely be told that it’s so overcrowded, one of the most popular places in Italy, and it’s no longer worth visiting. It is one of the top places in Italy for tourists! No-one can deny this small city is incredibly popular with tourists. But Venice is a must see in Italy! However, the magic of Venice remains intact, especially for travelers willing to explore beyond the main tourist sites.

Of course, you must see the magnificence of the Piazza San Marco and its incredible Basilica, Campanile and Doge’s Palace. And you don’t want to miss the beautiful Grand Canal, lined by grand mansions and palaces, plied by water-buses, gondolas and delivery boats. The Rialto Bridge and nearby Mercato (food market) are not the calmest places to shop, but fascinating nonetheless.

But the further away you meander from these big attractions, the more you will discover quieter lanes and waterways, with homely residential dwellings. Here you will find the fruit and vegetable markets where locals shop, and quieter cafes, restaurants, and bars. Also give yourself time to visit the islands of Murano (for its glass production), Burano (for its brightly colored house), and peaceful San Michele (the city’s cemetery).

Don’t believe those who say you can’t eat well in Venice. Eating out is more expensive than most of Italy, given the need to bring everything in by boat, but it is definitely possible to find great food in Venice : Look for restaurants and bacarai (bars) offering Venetian dishes and Cicchetti, research travel blogs in advance, and ask your hosts for personal recommendations. Avoid the peak months of summer when tourists are at their most numerous, and can still discover for yourself the charms Venice!

From Kavey Eats

READ NEXT: Things to do in Venice

Ventimiglia.

Located in the Gulf of Genoa, the small seaside town of Ventimiglia is the perfect place to enjoy the Italian Riviera. It has the distinction of being the last town of Italy as the French border is just seven kilometers away. Nevertheless, there are quite a few ways to enjoy the city. You can walk along narrow and winding roads in the old quarter that is located over a hill or explore the new town that runs along the coastline.

Apart from the medieval Old Town, other attractions in Ventimiglia include the Roman baths and theatre, Romanesque cathedral, San Michele Archangel church, Hanbury Gardens and the quiet promenade with hardly any tourist infrastructure. The wild experience of just you and the sea alone makes this a place worth visiting in my opinion. On Fridays, there is a huge flea market where you can also sample authentic Italian fare. It is also the perfect venue to interact with the lively locals .

And of course, once you’re done and in the mood for some culture shock, breezing into Menton in France or Monte Carlo in Monaco is just a short hop away.

From Constant Traveller

Verona 

No list of the best places to visit in Italy would be complete without mentioning fair Verona . This town made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, has a rich cultural past and was founded in the 1st century BC. Verona is also known as “Little Rome.” Located in Northern Italy, it’s a perfect place for a day trip. 

From Outside Suburbia 

Villa Cimbrone

Ravello, Italy sits perched on a cliff over the town of Amalfi, overlooking the beautiful Amalfi Coast. Because of its towering location, which can be reached by a harrowing bus ride, expensive taxi fare, or strenuous hike, Ravello doesn’t see the same number of visitors as other popular towns along the coast like Positano. This quieter atmosphere, combined with picturesque piazzas and cobblestone streets, along with stunning views, make Ravello a must-visit destination when in Southern Italy .

Ravello is known for being a city of music, with classical open-air concert performances throughout the summer. The town is also popular for the gardens at Villa Rufalo and Villa Cimbrone. Villa Cimbrone dates back to the 11th century and is a popular destinations for weddings. While it is also home to a five-star hotel, the gardens are open to the public (for fee) and is one of the most memorable destinations on the Amalfi Coast.

You cannot miss taking in the view from the Terrace of Infinity. The terrace is lined with marble busts and it seems as if you can see forever out over the beautiful blue water and terraced hills below.

From We 3 Travel

Villa Romana del Casale

Villa Romana del Casale lies about two hours from Agrigento coming from the northeast, in the culturally fascinating island of Sicily. It sits in a quiet, unassuming spot on a dry plain that belies its stature as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In fact, Villa Romana houses the best preserved and most outstanding collection of Roman mosaics in the world.

Dating from the beginning of 4th Century CE, the villa resembles more a palace than a mere villa. It was a splendid, shining structure for almost two centuries before falling victim to vandals. Further deterioration occurred during the Byzantine and successive periods. In the 12th Century CE, the graceful villa with its soaring columns and vivid, vibrant mosaics was buried in a landslide and forgotten.

In the early 1900s pieces of mosaics were unearthed piquing the interest of archeologists who investigated further. Little by little the area was excavated until the full scope and magnificence of the Villa were discovered.

The villa is an extraordinary achievement and worthy of a visit as Agrigento.

From Travels with Talek

Viterbo is one of the most underrated places in Italy and almost always entirely overlooked. Located in the Lazio region just one hour north of Rome, the tiny towns and lesser-known attractions of the region are often cast aside for a trip to Italy ‘s most famous city. But head to Viterbo and you’ll find yourself completely alone as you wander the Parco dei Mostri di Bomarzo , a fantastical park built by Price Pier Francesco Orsini in the 16th century. The park filled with larger than life sculptures of monstrous faces and exotic creatures fell into disrepair and was nearly lost as vegetation took it over. It was rediscovered in the 1970s and is an absolute gem to wander through.

One of our favorite places to visit in Italy is the town of Volterra. This picturesque village is about an hour from both Florence and Siena, and is best reached by car. Public transportation is available but is not the most efficient.

Volterra’s foundations date to Etruscan times (4th to 1st centuries BC), and visitors should spend time exploring the remnants of the 4th century city walls, wandering the cobblestone streets, visiting the Etruscan Museum and Porta all’Arco (one of the main gates built by the Etruscans). Consider spending some time at the Roman Theater ruins, one of the best preserved in Italy . The site dates to the 1st century and includes the ruins of an amphitheater, forum, and baths.

After a walk through the ruins, be sure to wander the through the charming town of Volterra. Stop at one of the many alabaster shops for a souvenir, and spend time people watching at Piazza dei Priori, the main square. If you have time, don’t miss the Guarnacci Museum, one of the oldest public museums in Europe that features Etruscan urns and Roman mosaics.

From Kids Are a Trip

I hope this list of the best places to visit in Italy has helped you to decide where you want to go and which cities you want to prioritize during your time in this amazing country. I’m confident that wherever you choose will be full of magic and memories! I’d love to know where you end up visiting and I’d love to hear from you and see pictures. You can connect with me on Facebook or Instagram . Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I love helping you plan your vacations!

The post The Best Places to Visit in Italy appeared first on Wanderlust Crew .

Visiting Italy for the first time and not sure where to go? These are the best places to visit in Italy! Be sure to read this before you go. The Best Places to Visit in Italy Italy is one of my very favorite countries in the world. I have visited many times to see different [...]

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    Long a mixing pot of cultures, its diverse heritage and unique identity are clearly displayed in its enormous historic center - the largest in Europe. See also: Where to Stay in Naples Here you'll come across impressive sites such as the colossal Castel Nuovo, picturesque Royal Palace and its lavish, fresco-filled cathedral.

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    Make sure to visit Matera, it is one of the best cities in southern Italy. It is such a unique destination with its cave dwellings. Another reason you should visit Matera is that it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. At Matera, you'll discover the magnificent Murgia Timone, a gigantic plateau made of rock.

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    Oh and you've got a mix of activities on offer too. Hike active volcano Stromboli in Sicily, take a boat trip to the glamorous island of Capri, stay in a traditional Trulli house in Alberobello or go on a pizza tour of Naples (it's a hard life!) And the best part about a southern Italy road trip? The fact you don't have stick to a set route.

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    Here's a snapshot glance of what you can see with 10 days in southern Italy. Day 1: Naples. Day 2: Pompeii & Vesuvius or Capri. Day 3: Positano. Day 4: Amalfi & Ravello. Day 5: Matera. Day 6: Matera, stop in Martina Franca on the way to Ostuni. Day 7: Ostuni. Day 8: Polignano a Mare & Monopoli.

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    Cattedrale di Monreale Palermo Region Inspired by a vision of the Virgin and determined to outdo his grandfather Roger II, who was responsible for the cathedral in Cefalù and the Cappella… Cappella Palatina Palermo Designed by Roger II in 1130, this extraordinary chapel is Palermo's top tourist attraction.

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    Curious about Southern Italy? If you've traveled through all that's north of the boot already, you're probably ready for something new. Something different from the usual suspects. Venice, Florence, Milan - you've been there, done that. If you want to get off the beaten track, Southern Italy is it.

  14. Southern Italy itinerary

    Day 2: Explore Naples. Castel Nuovo. Start you day with a visit to Maschio Angioino Castle (also named Castel Nuovo ), which is one of the most iconic monuments of the city. Have a walk in via Calabritto, which is the ultimate shopping destination in Naples, and reach Vittoria Square.

  15. 10 Best Places To Visit In South Italy

    The Amalfi Coast What is a trip to Italy without visiting the Amalfi Coast? This particular region of Southern Italy is one of the most beautiful and world renowned! Stretching from Naples to Salerno, the Amalfi coast offers dramatic scenery, gorgeous towns that hug the mountains, and some interesting historical sites.

  16. 25 Best Places To Visit In Southern Italy

    Frescoes and plaster casts make Pompeii one of the best places to go in Southern Italy. One of the most historic places to visit in Southern Italy is the UNESCO world heritage site of Pompeii. The ruins of this ancient Roman city tell a story that can move you to the core.

  17. 40 Things Nobody Tells You About Southern Italy Travel

    During our 10 day trip to the south of Italy, we spent several days exploring Calabria - where my mom's BFF lives - and also took a road trip down the coast all the way into Sicily. We stopped in Pizzo, Tropea, and Taormina, all of which are gorgeous little towns that I definitely recommend visiting.

  18. 12 Beautiful Towns In Southern Italy That You Must Visit

    Sorrento Sorrento is an almost perfect blend of little streets and stunning history - it's one of the most beautiful towns in Southern Italy. Within easy reach of Naples by the choo-choo train, car or ferry from here to the nearby Isle of Capri, it's a great spot to visit on your trip around Italy.

  19. Best Places to visit in Southern Italy

    The best places to visit in Southern Italy include the bustling centres of Naples and Palermo, and the iconic views of Positano and the Amalfi coast. You can visit ancient temples in Sicily, drop into the jewel-like town of Matera, and soak up the delights of Lecce, Otranto or Maratea. While you're at it don't forget to savour the cuisine.

  20. Best places to visit in Southern Italy

    The completeness of a holiday to Naples makes it one of the best places to visit in Southern Italy. Where to stay. Villa Vesuvius, as the name suggests, boasts spectacular views across the bay to the looming cone of Mount Vesuvius. Life is made to be lived outdoors in this paradisiacal villa, either from the rooftop or the spacious garden's ...

  21. 10 Best Places to Visit in Southern Italy

    Are you dreaming about coming to Italy and want to know which are the best places to visit in southern Italy?. Southern Italy is a vast region that includes Abruzzo, Puglia, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise and Sicily. Sardinia may also belong to this region, but the island has less in common with the rest of Southern Italy and has different characteristics, culture and tradition.

  22. 20 Best Places to Visit in Italy

    Rome Florence Amalfi Coast Cinque Terre Sorrento Milan Lake Garda Tuscany, Italy Assisi Sicily Pompeii Verona Sardinia Lake Como Portofino Matera Bologna Turin View 85 Photos Belongs on List?

  23. BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTHERN ITALY IN 2023

    Michele of A Taste for Travel. One of the best places to visit in southern Italy is Santa Maria di Leuca, located at the very tip of the heel of the boot of Italy. @A Taste for Travel. Flanked by both the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, this picturesque town is small but famous in many respects from a religious, strategic, and tourism perspective.

  24. The Best Places to Visit in Italy

    For a great day trip, some of the best places to visit from Florence are the medieval towns of Siena and Lucca and Pisa, most famous for its Leaning Tower. Florence is one of the most major cities ...