Italy is the number one destination for Australians heading to Europe, with 52% of travellers heading there soon.
And there is a new trend – to visit lesser known destinations within Italy rather than the well known big players.
The big cities like Italy and places with internationally renowned attractions have long been the most popular tourist destinations, but modern tourism is starting to take a different path. Regional travel, which creates economic benefits for towns and also leaves tourists with a better impression of a country, is the best way to experience small local towns and villages.
Visiting smaller towns and villages feel much more authentic, as life hasn’t been adapted to tourist needs. Here are six of the best lesser-known Italian towns for travellers in 2022.
Sicily, famous for it’s cathedrals, vineyards, island beaches, and amazing architecture.
Sicily’s eclectic ingredients, deep respect for tradition, and epicurean experiences transport travellers back in time. For a local stay, informal agriturismos or farm stays such as the gorgeous family run vineyard & agriturismo, Baglio Vecchio, offer authentic and affordable accommodation in Sicily.
There are also affordable studios for rent in the heart of historic old towns. For a more luxurious stay, the expansive, exclusive Rocco Forte Private Villas offer the lifestyle, leisure facilities and fine dining, while overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and Sicilian countryside.
Sicily’s ancient cuisine continues to rely on a few key island-grown ingredients: shellfish and citrus, tuna and swordfish, pistachios, almonds and ricotta.
An amazing place to stay in Sicily is the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Taormina. This hotel offers a luxurious 19th-century Hotel with its hilltop location. It offers exquisite views of Mount Etna and the sea, and the hotel is right beside the remains of a Greek amphitheatre.
Chioggia, near Venice
Chioggia is a charming town away from all the crowds, located on the southern side of the Venetian lagoon on the Adriatic Coast. Chioggia is home to charming canals, colourful historic buildings, boats and bridges galore best explored on foot, and also has a divine beach perfect for a relaxing vacation.
To have a 5-minute walk of Beach of Sottomarina and Astoria Village, Hotel Le Tegnue is the place to stay. Featured amenities include a business center, express check-in, and express check-out.
This laidback location offers plenty of authentic bars to enjoy a few beverages with friends or family, as well as local fish markets, the Mercato Ittico al Minuto, or the Mercato Ittico All’ingrosso, where some of the town’s specialties such as anchovies, cuttlefish, and eel are available for traditional local lunch.
The best time to visit The Dolomites is at the end of spring and the beginning of summer as the weather will be comfortable for outdoor activities. Hiking trails in the Dolomites typically open by mid-to-late May, after the snow has melted.
A great place to stay when visiting The Dolomites is Val Gardena, which is a valley known as a centre for mountain sports. A great place to stay in Val Gardena is Residence-Hotel Gardena, located in a quiet and sunny position in the centre of S. Cristina. It has a central location, allows pets, has a playground, a residence bar, breakfast room, laundry/laundry service, coach tours, and more.
Procida, near the northwest entrance to the Bay of Naples
Love the colour, cuisine and photogenic beauty of Capri? Procida is just as amazing. An island between Ischia and Naples, combines coastal walking trails, delectable Napoli pizza, historic buildings such as the Abbazia San Michele Arcangelo, fishing villages, and traditional bakeries.
For a luxurious stay in Procida, L’Albergo della Regina Isabella is perfect.
This property is only a few minutes from the beach, and is on the site of ancient Greek-Roman ruins, directly on the seashore in Ischia’s Lacco Ameno. It offers beautiful sea views, a wellness centre, and 3 swimming pools.
Procida can get crowded during August, so don’t forget to grab a spot on one of the sunbeds at Spiaggia della Chiaiolella to enjoy a drink and watch the beautiful sunset.
The next best location after Rome is Verona. One of the most popular travel destinations in Italy for romance, Verona is located between Milan and Venice in northern Italy’s Veneto region. This location is known as the setting for William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” but it’s also home to several historic and contemporary attractions.
One of the best paces to stay in Verona for a city break is Sogno Di Giulietta. It is a small hotel with individually themed rooms decorated with elegant romance including antique rugs, beautiful drapes, candles, art objects, and has private balconies overlooking the courtyard.
When visiting Verona, the best location to start a tour is at the main piazza as it sits on the edge of Centro Storico. Click HERE to read about the 12 best things to do in Verona.
Known as Italy’s food capital, with cafés and restaurants, as well as historic icons including Europe’s oldest university and countless buildings boasting porticos, Bologna is the perfect getaway to taste handmade tortellini e tagliatelle al ragù, or to take a tour of the Quadrilatero market district, collecting cheese and cured meats along the way.
For a stay with gorgeous views of Bologna, The Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni offers just that. The hotel is near Bologna’s cathedral on a busy shopping street, and the main square, Piazza Maggiore, is a two minute walk away. This lovely location offers beautiful interiors furnished with antiques and precious works of art, an excellent restaurant, and a hospitable atmosphere all make for a memorable stay.
The 2 hour long city centre Bologna tour is a great activity to participate in for a classic walking tour through the streets of Bologna, and for visiting the main cultural attractions of the city.
CLICK HERE for more info from Luxury Travel Agent Spencer Travel on travelling in Italy in 2022.