Italy is not just Rome, Milan, Florence, Turin and Venice. The cities which most commonly come to mind when planning a dream holiday in this beautiful country. It's not just about an authentic pizza or a plate of pasta on a terrace overlooking the cityscapes. Italy reserves some surprises, hidden gems, neatly snuggled behind some of the bigger cities, revealed only to the chosen few, in the lookout to discover new and unconventional places off the beaten track.
Listed below are a few such gems in Italy one should definitely include in their Italian itinerary:
Treviso was an ancient Roman settlement and is a small town surrounded by walls. Narrow lanes from the renaissance period characterize the beautiful town and lead the traveler to the discovery of the squares, accompanied by the gentle sound of water. The four rivers flowing across the city give it a look pretty similar to the nearby city of Venice. Because of the abundance of water, Treviso is also called "City of Water".
Known as the "City of Art" because of the countless Renaissance frescoes that embellish the walls of ancient buildings. While walking through the city, it is common to come across the characteristic 'osterie', which offer hospitality to anyone who crosses their doors. Treviso is the city where Tiramisu and Prosecco originated so expect to find exceptional delicacies in this city.
Pictures of Manarola (Liguria) are famous all over the world for the vibrance and the range of colour pattern the city exudes. Manarola is a beautiful sea-side village in Cinque Terre. The highlight of this quaint village is that it is built on the cliff which faces the Ligurian Sea.Each house in this area resembles a piece of art and is painted in bright colours. The main occupation of the people of Manarola is fishing and wine-making, which is considered of high quality because of the heritage.
Walk through the city to discover the beauty of the surrounding nature. Here, you can also choose to hike along the sea. Cinque Terre National Park located in this region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit. In the village, there are also ancient churches to visit which help you traverse into the ethereal charm of the past ages.
San Gimignano is an ancient, elegant and small hill town located in the centre of Italy; in a region famous for its landscape, Tuscany. The town is known for its medieval architecture, incredibly well-preserved tower houses which are also known as medieval “skyscrapers”. Together with the surrounding hills, they create an incredible and unique skyline.
San Gimignano offers also some particular food and specialties, like the fine olive oil from Tuscany,ham, wine and saffron.
The city is an art-lover’s paradise, home to Raffaele De Grada which is a popular art gallery. It also houses the Museum of Torture,exhibiting forms of torture used in the Middle Ages
Located in the heart of Italy, Perugia is the capital of the Umbria region. It is located on the hills with a landscape not dissimilar from Tuscany. Perugia is touched on the south side by the river Tiber, the same river that cross Rome, and preserves many antiquities that survive through the centuries.
In Perugia we can find archaeological sites of the pre-Roman era, many churches, museums and palaces. In short, Perugia is home to exquisite and authentic Italian culture.
A typical food from Perugia is Bruschetta which is toasted bread, rubbed with garlic,salt, olive oil and tomato. Another typical dish of this region is Porchetta, which is roasted and flavoured pork.
The city hosts some international festivals, like the Jazz Festival, which takes place in July, or the Eurochocolate, the European chocolate festival, which in October. The tradition of chocolate is indeed important in Perugia: “Baci Perugina” which is a luxury chocolate brand is manufactured here.
Apulia is a beautiful region in the South of Italy. The little town in this region which is worth a visit is Alberobello, and it is an uncommon site: it doesn’t have normal houses. In this town every house is built according to the ethnic architecture of this place. Trullo, a conical-shaped house made of stones which is removable.It is declared World Heritage Centre by UNESCO.
It is an amazing walk through the small lanes whilst you are welcomed by the locals with popular foods like hazelnuts and pistachio liqueur or Taralli and Orecchiette (a kind of pasta). A few kilometres from Alberobello, there are some beautiful caves the Castellana Caves which are worth a visit. Discovered fairly recently in 1938, these caves are stalactites, which hang from the cave roof and resemble icicles.
We hope this list helps you plan your Italian trip filled with old-world charm and beauty of the countryside!
Written byNiharika Nandi & Filippo Pretotto
Niharika Nandi is a media trainee who loves exploring the fields of photography and baking simultaneously. She’s a self-proclaimed professional bathroom singer and believes that caffeine runs through her veins. This adrenaline junkie loves to pen down a million thoughts gushing through her mind at any instant and is very vocal about LGBTQ rights.
Filippo Pretotto is from the town of Treviso