‘People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.’
Julia Roberts in ‘Eat, Pray and Love’, began her personal and spiritual journey in Rome. I would like to follow her steps but I guess, once I spend more than a week in any of the Italian cities, I couldn’t get out of Italy. I really fell in love with this country at first sight. And it’s not only cause its food, the most popular in the world, but cause its entire culture and specially its warm people.
They really love their country and they are proud of all the Italian gems, not only the most touristic but the unique ones. For this reason, they will offer you the best experience ever, no matter which region you visit. You will appreciate their passion in every meal you will taste, in every architecture monument and in every conversation with local people.
Even I have already been to some of the best Italian spots, I have realized there are still many places to explore in this beautiful country. In this article, you will find some of them recommended by local people.
LOMBARDIA & TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE
If you love shopping and fashion, Milan is your city. But beyond its glamour, you will be amazed by its Duomo and the Castello Sforzesco. You should experience a sunset on the top of Duomo. From there you will also observe the differences between the ‘Old City’ and the ‘New City’. And, in case shopping isn’t your passion, you could take a train and spend your day in Lago di Como.
*LAGO DI GARDA & LAGO ISEO MONTE ISOLA
North regions are plenty of beautiful and peaceful lakes and nature spots. Lago di Garda is the lake at the foot of The Alps where Amanda Seyfried used to have a walk in the romantic comedy ‘Letters to Juliet’. This glaciar lake is the largest Italian lake and it belongs to three different regions: Lombardia, Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige.
Lago Iseo – Monte Isola is a picturesque island in lake close to Brescia. Definitely, it’s the best place if you are looking for a spiritual retreat in the nature far from the stresses of Milan life.
* DOLOMITI & PONTE DI LEGNO
We can’t leave the north regions without mention two of the best spots for ski and hiking lovers. Dolomiti is a Unesco World Heritage Site (2009) and its ski resort counts with more than 1200 km.
VENETO & TOSCANA & LIGURIA
Piazza San Marco in Venezia is one of these places that leave you speechless. However, we should talk about Venice without ‘a mask’… Even it’s true the city of the channels has become too touristic, you should enjoy a sunset in its square and find the gondolas through the channels at least once in your life.
Under the Tuscan sun, we find the city where Renaissance was born: Firenze. This romantic Italian city is renowned for its artistic and architectural heritage. Leaving Firenze without having a walk to Duomo, visiting Galleria degli Uffizi, taking a picture of Michelangelo’s David would be unthinkable.
*CINQUE TERRE E DINTORNI
If you are on a trip through Firenze, Pisa, it highly recommended to spend some days exploring Cinque Terre in La Spezia (Monterroso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore). They are like an explosion of colours in a seaside background. You should also visit Porto Venere that is the ‘door of Cinque Terre.’
Who has never dreamt of Audrey Hepburn’s ‘Roman Holiday’? Roma has been the movie set for some of great classics of cinema. Once you are in the Colosseo you can understand the greatness of the city of love.
‘La dolce vita’ , filmed by Federico Fellini, take us to the historic park Giardino degli Acquedotti but what we will never forget is the love scene in the movie where the main caracteres are kissing inside the Fontana di Trevi, one of the Rome gems. Well, it’s understandable that Woody Allen couldn’t resist to keep an eye on this Italian city for his filmography. And thus ‘ To Rome with love’ was born.
*CIVITA DI BAGNOREGGIO & SPERLONGA
Close to Rome, in the heart of Valle dei Calanchi, there’s this city that is dying. This medieval charming town receive this name as Bagnoreggio is almost abandoned.
The region of Lazio has also beautiful seaside spots. In addition to visit the Old Centre of Sperlonga, you should drop down to its beaches and having a look to Grotta di Tiberio and Torre di Truglia.
ABRUZZO & UMBRIA & MARCHE
*PUNTA ADERCI & ASSISI
This natural reserve in the region of Abruzzo is absolutely perfect for hiking. The landscape that Punta Aderci offers and its water crystalline is really breathtaking. One of the hidden gems in Italy.
The fortified village of Assisi is the place where San Francesco di Assisi was born and it’s also a site of pilgrimage.
They welcome the spring with historical dress in the Festa di Calendimaggio.
*URBINO , GRADARA & ROCCASCALEGNA
All those picturesque places belong to the region of Marche. It is said that Urbino was the origin of the Italian Renaissance and Rafael’s treasure.
It’s the largest Italian city in terms of people. But in this ‘chaotic Napoli’ there are centuries of art and also the Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano whose last eruption was in 1944.
‘I’m in love. I’m having a relationship with my pizza.’ Like Julia Roberts some of us might think that we just need a pizza to make our day. Well, it’s well known that Neapolitan pizza is the best so, treat yourself and have dinner in L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele.
*CAPRI & POSITANO
The amazing island of Capri is located in the Gulf of Napoli. One of the main activities you could do is exploring the submarine cave, Grotta Azzurra.
Positano, in the heart of Amalfi Coast, is the ‘village of the stairs’. After more than 400 stairs, you could enjoy a swim in the Spiaggia di Fornillo. This place is also well known for its limoncello. If you have survived to all those stairs, you deserve it.
*OTRANTO & ALBEROBELLO
They could be the most beautiful places in Italy. Both of them are UNESCO World Heritage sites. In Otranto you can explore its Old Centre and the neolithic Grotta dei Cervi.
The uniqueness of Alberobello is its ‘trulli’ constructions with iconic roofs made by limestone. It seems a fairytale village.
‘Lu sule, lu mare, lu ientu’ (The sun, the sea and the wind). The south place of the famous ‘Mambo Salentino’ is in the heel of the Italian boot, in the region of Puglia. There’s only space for good vibes and really local food in Salento.
SARDEGNA & SICILIA
*SPIAGGIA DELLA PELOSA
Sardegna is full of awesome beaches and coves but we should highlight Spiaggia della Pelosa, whose waters are crystalline. It seems you are in a swimming pool.
But beside the paradise beaches, Sardegna has much more to offer us. If you are visiting the island in February, you will live the Mamuthones Carnival, a mysterious ancient sardinian carnival.
*CEFALU & SALINE DI MARSALA
Sicilia was the island that Giuseppe Tornatore chose to film ‘Cinema Paradiso‘. This Italian gem is full of hidden and different places to explore. Even its capital city is Palermo, we highly recommend you to spend a day in Cefalu, to visit the Valley of the Temples (Agrigento) and the Saline di Marsala. Sicilia will not leave you indifferent.
‘I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.’ The Italian country is full of surprises. It used to said it’s the most beautiful country. As you have seen along the other posts, there are many worthy hidden places around the world but it’s true that Italy has something special. There’s something charming in their atmosphere that makes you want to stay.
Have you ever been to Italy? Do you have any other recommendations for this country? And If you liked this ‘virtual trip’ through the Italian regions, stay tuned for the next posts to discover more unique places around the world. Meanwhile, you can read the other episodes.
Special thanks to Alice Scarrone, Sara Sanna, Silvia Fiordelmondo, Riccardo Vita, Eleonora Di Tonno for all your recommended places.
*Alice Scarrone : https://www.instagram.com/alicescarrone/
*Isa Lezcale : https://www.instagram.com/isimmisi/
*Silvia Fiordelmondo : https://www.instagram.com/silviafloweroftheworld/
*Federica Gentile: Flickr de fede_gen88 https://www.flickr.com/photos/fede_gen88/