When you think of Italy, what springs to mind? Rome, home to one of the current Seven Wonders of The World, The Colosseum. Venice, with its Plaza de San Marco, infamous canals and gondolas. Milan, the fashion capital. Pompeii, the roman city preserved by a volcanic explosion.
Each of these destinations are without doubt breathtaking, but with this reputation comes an abundance of tourists. Here’s our list of hidden gems in Italy where you’ll avoid the crowds!
1. The Dolomites - An overwhelmingly beautiful mountain range in Northern Italy; this really is a must-see. Hike to Lago Di Braies in the summer or ski the slopes of Alpe Di Siusi in winter. Although Lago Di Braies is gaining more and more attention, especially on photo sharing social media channels like Instagram, tourists are kept at bay by its isolation. The lake is a long drive from any airports, for instance it’s about 3 hours away from Venice!
2. Saturnia - A town in nestled between Florence and Rome. Tucked away on the outskirts are the most beautiful hot springs, rich in sulphur with natural pools formed on different levels. Again it’s the remoteness of the location that makes this more of a hidden gem. Although the thermal spa is the town’s main attraction, the town itself is charming with traditional rustic buildings, surrounded by tuscan landscapes and rolling hills. Be sure to visit the spa on weekdays if possible, as it is quite popular with locals on weekends!
3. Procida - An island off the coast of Southern Italy, just a short distance from Naples. If you’ve been dreaming of exploring the Amalfi Coast, or Cinque Terre, but prefer to discover less chartered territory, a trip to the village of Marina Corricella is for you! This seaside fisherman village has the colourful houses we adore in the Mediterranean, as well as a cute port, perfect for morning strolls.
4. Lake Resia - Or ‘The Sunken Town’. In 1950 Curon was flooded to make a reservoir. Come visit this artificial lake and you’ll witness the eerie (but awe-inspiring) sight of a lone bell tower rising from the water. In the winter the water freezes over and you can walk across the ice towards the tower. There is also a nearby ski resort so if a snowy winter appeals to you, you can enjoy activities such as skiing and ice skating, alongside visiting the Tower, of course.
5. San Fruttuoso and the Christ of the Abyss - Portofino is by no means unknown, it is one of the most popular towns along the Amalfi Coast, but there are still areas off the beaten path! San Fruttuoso is a 90 minute hike through the picturesque Monte di Portofino Regional Park, keeping the hordes of tourists at bay. Once you are there, discover the Christ of the Abyss, but be prepared to get wet, the bronze statue is submerged under water!
6. Civita di Bagnoregio - Also known as the dying city (due to its precarious position on a cliff, and the risk of erosion). It is a town on the border of Umbria and Lazio, and is heavily admired for its architecture and history, the town was founded over 2,500 years ago! It is only accessible by a long walkway and overlooks a stunning valley. If you’re after panoramic views and prioritise destinations with historic importance, Civita di Bagnoregio is not to be missed!
7. Burano - An island just off Venice, known for its colourful neighbourhood and even more famous for its production of lace. Check out Acanela’s Venice to Vatican expedition, which includes a trip to Burano to see how local artisans weave their lace into intricate designs. Similar to Venice it has the traditional canals, as well as sea views. It is also considered a fisherman village, so while you’re visiting, how about you try out a seafood restaurant!
8. Tuscan Vineyard & Wineries - Going to a wine tasting is always the perfect way to relax, journey away from crowds and toast to wonderful trip. Vineyards tend to be in the countryside, for instance Castiglion del Bosco, which is outside Siena. Acanela includes wine tastings in their Italy trips, take a look at their itinerary for the Bologna Expedition!
9. Cinque Terre - Increasingly more popular with tourists, but still not as well known as the major attractions like Rome, Venice and Milan, Cinque Terre is too beautiful to miss from this list. A stunning town, the colourful terraces built into the cliffside are characteristic of the Italian Riviera. If you visit before May or after Early October, you’ll find it’s much quieter, and the temperature is still around 68°F(20°C)! Best of all, plane tickets will be cheaper this time of year, so it will be a win-win!
10. Scopello Beach - In the height of summer, it’s difficult to find a beach in Italy that has not been completely taken over by tourists, but if you leave the mainland and try instead surrounding islands, for instance Sicily, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Scopello Beach has turquoise water and huge rocks jutting out of the sea, looking out to the horizon you would think you were on a beach in Thailand!
Just a thought, if you still want to experience the slightly more popular destinations, try going off-season. As previously mentioned, if you visit Italy in October it will still be warm with fewer tourists, or if you want to go in summer try waking up earlier to beat the crowds. Acanela has fantastic expeditions all over Italy, where will your next adventure be?
Post written by Jade Touron