If you've been to Italy before and have been to the big three, Rome, Florence, Venice, you might want to check some towns in Italy that are more off the beaten path. There is so much to be discovered in the small towns that can be found all over Italy. From the northern mountain and lake towns to the southern white washed cities to the stunning island of Sicily, I've created the perfect guide for you! Check out these 6 lovely underrated Italian towns.
1. Lake Iseo
Hidden in the Italian Lakes regions, Lake Iseo is a gorgeous getaway with so much to offer! Lake Iseo is located 100 kilometers east of Milan and 200 kilometers west of Venice. Drop your luggage in one of the charming villages around the lake: Sulzano, Marone, Tavernola Bergamasca to name a few, and get ready to explore. From mountain biking, trekking, sailing, kayaking to shopping, wine tasting and visiting historical sites, Lake Iseo has it all!
Located in the heart of foodie lovers Emilia-Romagna region and about an hour from Bologna is the jewel of a city, Modena. Known for it's delicious food, fast cars and Italian opera, Modena should definitely make it on your Italy bucket list. With 25 year old balsamic vinegar, parmesan, prosciutto, and the most luxurious pasta, Modena is bound to satisfy even the most discernible foodie. Make sure to take a food tour during your stay and book a table at one of the most famous restaurants in the world, Osteria Francescana where chef Massimo Bottura creates pasta masterpieces. (Plan ahead as the waitlist is over three months out.) Also worth a visit are the Enzo Ferrari Museum and Luciano Pavarotti's Home.
3. Le Marche
Le Marche is a little known region of Italy sandwiched between the Adriatic and its more popular neighbor, Tuscany. With its numerous hilltop towns, snow capped mountains, historical sites and gorgeous beaches, Le Marche is the perfect place to experience Italy without the hoards of people you find in the more popular cities and towns. If you are an art lover, then make a stop in Urbino, a major cultural centre in the 15th century and birthplace of Raphael in 1483. Feel like great seafood and ocean waves? Head to the the Conero area of Le Marche. It's one of the most popular for a beach vacation with white sand, turquoise sea, picture-perfect views, and cliffs overlooking the Adriatic sea. Port towns of Senigallia and Sirolo are great for families, as well.
Looking for an escape from the heat and crowds of Rome? Then head to Sperlonga on the Tyrrhenian Sea for some sun, sand and what the Italians call "Il bel far niente," the beauty of doing nothing. About two hours from Rome, and a world away, Sperlonga is a white-washed medieval hilltop town with cozy passageways and quaint cafes overlooking the sea and sands below. Grab a lounge chair and umbrella (about $23) for the day and have yourself a porchetta sandwich while relaxing seaside. When evening comes, enjoy seafood and pasta with a crisp glass of the local white wine while in one the outdoor restaurants in the historic center and toast to relaxation and la dolce vita.
Matera is the quintessential medieval town built on a hilltop above the many sassi, cave dwellings, that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Possibly the world's third-longest continually inhabited human settlement, the natural caves attracted inhabitants around 7000 years ago. After a cleansing of the caves in the 1950s, Matera has made a comeback with new hip restaurants and hotels that have been built inside these caves creating unique dining and accommodation experiences. Stay in Il Palazzotto to experience the sassi for yourself.
Located on the island of Sicily, Cefalù is located about an hour east of Palermo and has Arabic and medieval roots. The town's honey colored buildings face the turquoise waters of Mediterranean where fishermen haul fresh fish from their boats and deliver it to the restaurants in town. Taste the catch of the day at Ristorante Kentia al Trappitu while admiring the stunning sea views. The Duomo in town dates to the 1100s and is a popular site with its cathedral and mosaic tiles. A short climb to the La Roca de Cefalù offers stunning views of the town and Mediterranean.
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