Think Italy and it’s easy to picture the canals of Venice, the gladiators of Rome and the shopping mecca of Milan. These great cities have helped make Italy one of the most desired holiday destinations in Europe.
But what about the Italy that you hear less about? Away from the tourist attractions and cityscapes that fill up guidebooks, Italy continues to marvel with countless off the beaten track attractions.
Before you start the search for flights and accommodation, take a look at these three places you should consider visiting.
1. Lake Iseo
Take the train an hour out of Milan into the heart of Italy’s northern Lombardy wine making region, Franciacorta. This is the gateway to the quiet, small and charming area of Lake Iseo. You will come across monasteries, castles and vineyards in this picturesque bit of countryside.
A ferry runs from Sale Marasino or Iseo to the Monte Isola, which is the largest inhabited island in southern Europe. Here you can observe the sleepy fishing village life, while taking walks along flower decorated walkways and stopping off at traditional cafes.
Head to the south of Tuscany for a glimpse into Italy’s old way of life. Maremma has strong peasant roots and has managed to avoid the tourist makeover. There are a collection of Medieval towns that remain unspoilt, filled with olive groves, chestnut forests, vineyards and historical monuments.
The warm locals are very welcoming and there are often events to get involved in. The five main zones are Metalliferous Hills, Grosseto and Coast, Amiata, Argentario Coast and Fiora Valley. Highlights include Massa Marittima, Campagnatico and Giglio Island.
For endless hills and mountains, make your way to Molise between the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea. Within this beautiful landscape you’ll find the National Park of Abruzzo, where you can spot lots of protected wildlife in their natural habitat and various plant species. Spend some time on the Flag beaches too without the hoards of tourists taking up all the sand space. Up in the mountains there are two ski resorts: Campitello Matese and Capracotta. This mix of skiing and sunbathing mean that a Molise holiday offers travelers two distinct sides of Italy.
Hopefully these few picks will inspire you to research some more idyllic Italian spots. Which off the beaten path area in Italy would you like to visit next?