Italy is a popular European country to visit and it’s clear to see why. From beautiful mountain ranges, stunning landscapes, rich history, culture, and picturesque islands to idyllic coastlines, Italy has it all.
Plus the diverse selection of cuisine, from pasta and pizza to fresh Mediterranean vegetables and exquisite ice cream make Italy top of the list if you love your food.
Why not rent a car and discover the many different faces of Italy? You’ll find countless historic sites such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the ruins of Pompeii, the fashionable streets of Milan and the Tuscan vineyards.
For a trip to remember, we’ve listed some places in Italy that you may not have heard of, and that you can combine with the more popular tourist sights.
- Tropea, Calabria
Tropea is a small town located in southern Italy on the eastern side of Calabria. This coastal town is one of the less well-known destinations for foreigners and a favourite holiday spot for Italians. If you want to escape the crowds, visit outside of July and August when the Italians traditionally take their holidays.
The historic centre of Tropea is set on the edge of the breathtaking cliffs, with buildings clinging to the hillside, making this a fascinating sight. Whilst in Tropea you should visit the focal point of the city – The Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell‘Isola, a church perched high on a rock with spectacular views.
Tropea is a great beach destination and thanks to its stunning climate you’ll see the sun for at least 300 days of the year. With the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea and white sand you could be forgiven for thinking you’re on a tropical beach. Be prepared to descend the many steps down to the main beach, but when you get to the bottom it’ll be worth it!
Tropea is also famous for its unique sweet red onions, ‘Cipolle di Tropea’, which you’ll find on street vegetable stands and in many restaurant recipes.
- Portovenere, Liguria
Welcome to one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. Around an hour’s drive from Portofino, you’ll find the beautiful quaint town of Portovenere. Visiting this gem is the ideal excuse to escape the hustle and bustle of Italy’s major cities and relax in a medieval seaside town filled with narrow streets.
Take life slowly and explore the UNESCO ‘Cinque Terre’ – a set of ancient seaside villages dotted together on the Italian Riviera coastline. With its fishing ports, cliffs and colourful buildings, the ‘Cinque Terre’ is best visited by boat and you should take a day to explore all five villages.
If you love nature you should also explore the ‘Cinque Terre’ National Park. Although it’s the smallest national park in Italy, you’ll find lots of hiking trails lined with the scents of lavender, rosemary and thyme.
Another place to visit is ‘Castello Doria’ which has magnificent views of the Bay of Poets. Next to this you’ll find the ‘Santuario della Madonna Bianca’ (Church of San Lorenzo), and another iconic building is ‘Chiesa di San Pietro’ (Church of San Pietro), located high on the tip of a rocky headland.
- Madonna di Campligio
Number three on the list of the hidden gems of Italy is Italy’s biggest skiing secret – Madonna di Campiglio. Located in northern Italy, the town is surrounded by the Dolomite mountain range, glaciers, lakes and trails and is perfect for a summer or winter visit.
Madonna di Campiglio is a ski resort best suited for intermediate and beginner skiers. Thanks to its wide range of gentle runs you can take in the mountain scenery while descending the slopes.
Madonna di Campiglio is also a beautiful place to visit in the spring and summer. If you enjoy nature hikes, cycling and mountain biking, and breathing fresh mountain air, this is the place for countryside lovers.
Fishing enthusiasts can see what they can catch on the tiny lake located in the centre of Madona di Campligio, which turns into an ice-skating rink in the winter.
Explore the area by car and discover the many lakes, waterfalls and streams in the area. Are you brave enough to take a refreshing dip? You’ll find the most incredible scenery in this part of Italy, whenever you visit. Snow-capped mountains, crystal clear waterfalls, and deep blue lakes contrast with the verdant greenery and make this a journey you’ll never forget.
Visiting Italy will leave you with the desire to see more and plan your next trip. There’s no better way to see Italy’s best spots than by renting a car. You can stop when you wish and enjoy the flexibility of travelling at your own pace. Welcome to the charm of Italy!