Italy is famous for its picturesque villages and tasty food. Some of the most famous destinations are Venice, Milan, Rome and Amalfi Coast. However, if you’re looking for unique places to visit in Italy, I’m here to help you!
I’ve carefully selected some of the most incredible hidden gems in Italy. These villages and towns are among the most beautiful in Europe and they will surely steal your heart.
Buckle up and discover these stunning off-the-beaten-track destinations in Italy!
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22 Hidden Gems in Italy
One of the unknown places in Italy, the little town of Castelmezzano sits on the slope of the ancient mountains of Basilicata Region, in the southern part of the country. To reach this splendid destination, you must first pass through a wild gorge.
The first sight of these medieval houses nestled under a mountain ridge is truly astonishing. One of the most beautiful villages in Italy, the main draw of Castelmezzano is its amazing location.
The Italian Riviera has some incredible treasures, like the fabulous village of Camogli, located just north of the famous Portofino. Unlike its neighbors, this seaside resort has retained its authentic charm, with a unique combination of subdued exclusivity, beautiful architecture, stunning beaches, thrilling hiking trails and exciting sea trips.
With a picturesque castle overlooking the beach and breathtaking panoramas from the nearby cliffs, it’s the perfect example of authentic Italian towns. For the complete experience, I recommend having dinner at the unbelievable La Camogliese Restaurant. The food here is simply delicious and the views are unbelievable.
Trento is located in one of the most beautiful areas in the world, surrounded by the magnificent Dolomites and Alps mountains. The perfect base to explore the hiking trails, Trento is also a fascinating destination on its own, known for its outdoor frescoes located in the historical center, the majestic Trento Cathedral and the imposing Buonconsiglio Castle.
Nevertheless, the true draw of this destination is the opportunity to explore the mountains. In summer you can go hiking and in winter you can go skiing. Either way, the views are spectacular.
There are many unique destinations in Italy, but one of the most famous regions is Lake Garda. Not many tourists know about places like the Sirmione Peninsula, one of the secret places in Italy.
Sirmione is one of those places that look almost surreal, with its historical monuments still beautifully preserved. Among others, you can visit the Scaliger Castle with its old drawbridge or the ancient Roman villa known as Catullo’s Grotto with its fascinating atmosphere.
With so many hidden gems in Italy, it’s difficult to choose just one destination. An amazing city that is often overlooked is Mantua, located in the region of Lombardy. Surrounded by splendid artificial lakes, Mantua is known as a great cultural destination, with some of the best examples of Renaissance art in the country.
With a majestic castle, superb churches, museums and dozens of palaces, Mantua is home to many tourist attractions in a fairly compact area. The most interesting attractions include the Ducal Palace of the Gonzaga family, the San Giorgio Castle, the splendid Renaissance Te Palace and the San Pietro Cathedral.
17. Isola Bella
Located just one hour away from Milan, Isola Bella is one of the secret towns in Italy. Located on an island on Lago Maggiore, this town has only 100 inhabitants. You can reach this island by ferry from Laveno, Intra, Pallanza or Stresa.
A fascinating attraction on this small island is Borromeo Palace that occupies most of the island. With beautiful gardens and stunning architecture, this palace is a must-see!
16. Procida Island
One of the less visited places in Italy is Procida Island. Outshined by the nearby Ischia and even more by the famous Capri, the little island of Procida on the west side of Naples’ coast.
Offering a more authentic atmosphere, Procida has plenty of highlights to capture anyone’s heart, including lovely colorful houses, charming alleys, a few small idyllic beaches, beautiful harbors and the astonishing Terra Murata, an old fortress with stunning views of the island.
For a unique experience, book a seat at Caracale Restaurant. It serves delicious seafood and while eating dinner, you can admire views towards the harbor and the fortress.
Sitting at the tip of the lush Gargano Peninsula in Puglia, the seaside town of Vieste is one of the best off-the-beaten-path destinations in Italy. With its pristine beaches backed by whitewashed buildings, this town seems like an escape from the real world.
The narrow cobblestone streets are best explored on foot. Don’t miss the impressive Cathedral of the Assumption and Swabian Castle, some of the most interesting cultural sights in Vieste. The town has a charming port, yet the true highlights are the endless beaches stretching both to the north and to the south of Vieste.
Located just east of Portofino, the seaside town of Rapallo is often overlooked in favor of other elegant destinations on the Italian Riviera. However, Rapallo offers a complete and complex experience, with both cultural and leisure highlights.
The splendid villas and palaces of Rapallo rise up on the steep slopes of the surrounding hills, while the shaded alleys lead towards the charming sea promenade. Some of the top tourist attractions are the small Rapallo castle built on a rocky outcrop on the sea, the Cristoforo Colombo Monument, the picturesque Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montallegro, the beautiful churches or the lovely beaches.
Among the most beautiful secret places in Italy, the town of Bagnoregio is truly spectacular. Perched precariously on a high rock, the only way to reach this breathtaking town is via a narrow footbridge passing over a ravine.
Looking like a place out of a fairytale book, the town overlooks the surrounding valleys and features authentic medieval architecture and a romantic atmosphere. Bagnoregio is the best place to make a journey back in time, retaining most of its original buildings from many centuries ago.
12. Orta San Giulio
For those adventurers who set out to discover the less visited places in Italy, there is a town in Piedmont that few people have heard of. The Orta San Giulio is an idyllic little town on the shore of the enchanting Orta Lake.
Surrounded by magical natural landscapes, this town is the perfect place to relax for a few days. Visit the magnificent Sacro Monte of Orta, a religious pilgrimage site featuring centuries old chapels and explore the narrow streets. Also, stop at the beautiful San Giulio Island, with the San Giulio Basilica and a Benedictine Monastery.
Often overlooked by mass tourism, the city of Vicenza is mainly known for its exquisite cultural monuments that have been preserved through the centuries. Located in the Veneto Region, between Venice and Verona, the city’s architecture is truly impressive and it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Some of the places you need to visit in Vicenza are Teatro Olimpico, Basilica Palladiana, Santa Maria Annunciata Cathedral, Chiericati Palace and other churches, palaces and museums. There are also many splendid villas, hidden on the surrounding hills.
Wandering around the country, it’s impossible not to discover some unknown places in Italy. The small town of Sorano is the perfect example, sitting next to the more famous destinations in Tuscany. Carved into a volcanic rock known as tuff, the imposing buildings cover almost entirely the small streets and alleys, creating a special atmosphere.
On a walk through the medieval town, you can uncover centuries of history, and several interesting sights such as the Orsini Fortress, the Medieval and Renaissance Museum, the Collegiate of St. Nicholas and the old town gates.
The region of Puglia is home to many off-the-beaten-track destinations in Italy. Such a magical place is Locorotondo, located just next to the more famous Alberobello and its trulli houses.
Nevertheless, the quaint little town of Locorotondo is equally beautiful, with its perfect whitewashed houses sitting on top of a hill. Easily explored on foot, this town has quaint streets with beautiful historical houses and splendid architecture.
Sitting on Calabria’s shore, the picturesque seaside town Tropea is the perfect mix of beautiful beaches and cultural sights. Blessed with perfect weather and superb seascapes, Tropea is a must-see.
You can find plenty of things to see here apart from unforgettable sunsets. Visit the old Norman cathedral of St. Mary of Romania, the stunning sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola and several other churches and palaces. To best enjoy the views, you can wait for the sunset while tasting some delicious southern Italy dishes in the Mare Grande Restaurant, right next to the beach and the rock sanctuary.
7. Bassano del Grappa
This marvelous Italian town is located in the Veneto region, a short distance away from Venice. With a splendid compact old town center that features beautiful architecture, the most interesting attractions in Bassano del Grappa include the amazing Ponte degli Alpini or Old Bridge.
This old covered wooden bridge was first built in 1569 and it was rebuilt over the centuries due to frequent flooding. Other important sights include the Grappa Museum and the Ceramic Museum, two key attractions in town, as well as other historical buildings spread around the enchanting streets.
Considered one of the most beautiful villages of Italy, the medieval settlement of Brisighella is located in an astonishing area at the foot of the Apennine Mountains, south of Bologna. The town retains most of its old architecture with an authentic medieval atmosphere, featuring narrow cobblestone alleys and some spectacular monuments.
While in Brisighella, you need to visit the medieval castle, the Clock Tower, the Madonna del Monticino Sanctuary and the Via del Borgo picturesque alley also known as Donkeys’ Road. The town is also known as “City of Olive Oil and Wine” so make sure to try a few local restaurants.
Located in Lombardy region, Cremona is famous for its violin-making heritage. If you’re passionate about music, I recommend visiting the Violin Museum. Here you’ll find an impressive collection of Stradivarius violins.
Other attractions in the city include the Bell Tower, Cattedrale di Cremona, Loggia dei Militi and Palazzo Comunale or the Town Hall. I recommend spending at least one day exploring this spectacular city.
Located near Camogli, another hidden gem in Italy, Bogliasco is a beautiful seaside town with a rich history. Some of the attractions you have to visit when planning a trip to Bogliasco are the Church of Nativita di Maria Santissima and the Church of San Bernardo.
There aren’t many things to do in this town, making it the perfect destinations for those who want to stay away from touristic places. With beautiful houses and villas perched on the surrounding hills, Bogliasco is one of the most picturesque destinations in Italy.
This medieval town is located near Cinque Terre, a famous region in Italy. Unlike the more popular Manarola or Vernazza, Portovenere is one of the hidden gems in Italy.
One of the main sights in this town is the port, with its colorful houses lined up at the seashore. Another attraction is Porta del Borgo, the old city gate. Sitting on top of a hill and offering beautiful views of the city is Doria Castle, another highlight in Portovenere.
One of the alternative places to visit in Italy is Bologna, a beautiful city with a rich history and lots of tourist attractions to discover. Did you know that Pisa is not the only city in Italy with a leaning tower? In Bologna you can visit the twin leaning towers – Garisenda and Asinelli.
Other tourist attractions in the city are Piazza Maggiore, Basilica of San Petronio and the narrow canals, similar to the ones in Venice. For the best views of the city, head to Church of San Michele in Bosco.
One of the most impressive secret places in Italy is Saturnia with its hot springs or Cascate del Mulino, as it is also known locally. The breathtaking scenery is the first thing that captures the imagination of each visitor, with the azure steaming water falling from one white travertine pool to another.
This pristine natural wonder has developed into a health and leisure destination. Many locals and travelers soak into the warm, clear waters for their healing powers. The baths are free to visit.
Apart from the main sites, Italy is home to many less touristy destinations. When I visit a new country, I visit a mix of popular spots and hidden gems and I believe that this is the best way to really experience Italy’s culture.
Do you know any other unique places in Italy? Let me know in the comments section below!
May the travel bug bite you!