I’ve finally put together a list of places in Italy that I would like to visit this year. With such a variety of landscapes and artistic towns, it’s been a tough selection process but I’ve managed to come up with my top 15!
I hope this Italy travel list will inspire you to add a few more places to your wishlist this year. So, let’s start…
Molise is a region that even Italians often ignore, still, I strongly believe that it has lots to offer. Molise is rich in stunning landscapes and pretty beaches and boasts some fascinating traditions and artisanal activities. For example, did you know that this little Italian region is specialized in the production of bagpipes and bells for churches around the world?
Trieste is an elegant port town close to the Slovenian borders. Things to see here include the amazing Piazza Unità Italia, a huge square facing the Adriatic Sea, and the Giant Cave, one of the largest tourist caves in the world. Also, not to miss is the Bora Museum, a curious place that celebrates Bora, the wind Trieste is famous for.
3. Venice Lagoon
It’s no secret that Venice is the jewel of the lagoon, but there are some equally amazing places to visit there. I’m thinking about Torcello, which is home to some spectacular Byzantine mosaics, and the tiny island Burano with its super colorful houses. Another gem of the lagoon is Chioggia, often referred to as the ‘little Venice’ due to the picturesque canals that cross the town center.
4. Lake Braies
Seeing the Braies Lake has been on my wishlist for quite some time now and I really want to make it happen this year. This lake is a place of unbelievable beauty. Located in the Trentino-Alto Adige region, it is surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Dolomites and is part of an area included in the Unesco World Heritage list.
#5 Le Marche
This is another fantastic region still a bit out of the well-trodden tourist trails. From charming hilltop hamlets to beautiful towns and an alluring countryside, Le Marche is a truly fantastic corner of Italy. Not to mention the Conero Peninsula, a super stunning stretch of coast overlooking the Adriatic sea, with great beaches and charming villages.
6. Val di Funes
I love a good hike and this tiny, untouristy valley nestled among the Dolomite mountains makes for a fantastic, peaceful escape. Breathtaking mountain scenery and picturesque little churches … what else would I need!
7. Sacromonte of Varese
Located just about 50km north of Milan, Sacromonte is a beautiful cobblestone path on the slope of a mountain, dotted with 14 chapels. These are filled with some impressive frescoes and sculptures depicting scenes from Jesus’ life and lead to a cloistered convent. It’s a peaceful walk away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, with sweeping views over the town of Varese and the surrounding lakes.
8. Fenestrelle Fortress
I’ve discovered the Fenestrelle Fortress only recently, but I’ve immediately added it to my list. Not only is it one of Europe’s biggest fortified structures, but it also features the largest covered staircase, with about 4,000 steps. The fortress can be visited with guided tours only and the full tour takes about 7 hours… no wonder that Fenestrelle is often referred to as the Great Wall of Italy!
9. The Trabocchi Coast
Located in central Italy, Abruzzo is a region of pure wilderness, with three national parks and many charming corners. One of these is the Trabocchi coast, a stretch of coastline dotted with old wooden fishing machines called trabocchi.
10. Ferrovia Vigezzina
Ferrovia Vigezzina is a little train line winding through the enchanting Vigezzo Valley, in the Piedmont region. You hop on panoramic viewing cars and stop at picturesque mountain villages before reaching the Swiss town of Locarno. It sounds like a fascinating trip, particularly in October and November when nature reveals the beautiful colors of autumn.
With Trenitalia now connecting Milan to Perugia in just about 3.5 hours, visiting the central region of Umbria will be so much easier for me. There are lovely places to visit here, including pink-stoned Assisi, the town of St. Francis, and stunning natural beauties such as the Marmore waterfall). Oh, and here you’ll also find the oldest olive tree in Italy (about 1,700 years old!).
Often overshadowed by Venice, which is just an hour away, Padua is a fantastic town rich in art and history. The highlights here are the Scrovegni Chapel with some beautiful frescos by Giotto, and the university, one of the oldest in the world, attended by the likes of Copernicus and Galileo Galilei.
Closer to Tunisia than Italy, Pantelleria is a remote island located off the western coast of Sicily. It’s the perfect place for a stress-free holiday surrounded by the stunning Mediterranean landscape. Natural wonders include the Mirror of Venus, a stunning lake located in a volcanic crater, and a natural hot sauna in a grotto on the side of Montagna Grande, the island’s highest peak. A true corner of paradise!
I know, it’s crazy that I haven’t been to Pisa yet! I can’t wait to explore this city and find out what it offers besides the leaning tower.
It’s been ages since the last time I visited Bologna and I’m curious to see if and how it’s changed over these years. But hey, I’m not gonna lie, I want to go to Bologna mostly to eat. The local cuisine is so good and I’m already dreaming of tortellini, ragù, and mortadella!
Will I manage to see all these places? Follow the blog to find out!
In the meantime, tell me, is Italy on your travel list for 2018?
Comment below with your own wishlist!
Until next time,
Val, I believe everything happens for a reason and I can’t help but wonder if finding your beautiful blog and devouring the photos with my eyes means I AM supposed to travel to Italy. I have done some world travelling, but I’ve not been to Europe before. You have definitely planted some seeds.
Hello Dee! Your words fill my heart with joy, because the purpose of this blog is precisely to inspire people to visit my beautiful home country. A country that I’ve been ignoring for so long and now I simply can’t stop exploring!