Italy is a country that I hold near and dear to my heart. After all, it’s renowned for its blue skies, sunny weather, warm temperatures, fantastic wine, and absolutely beautiful cuisine.
If you’re anything like me, you’re likely chomping at the bit to hop on a plane or boat, and head abroad on a well-deserved holiday, and judging from the opening paragraph, and the title of this week’s article, you can probably guess where I’m thinking of jetting off to next.
Italy is home to some of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, and with cities like Rome and Venice, it’s easy to understand why it’s such a popular place to visit.
Italy, though, also provides a series of hidden gems which are largely undiscovered by tourists and holidaymakers, and it is these locations that I’m going to be talking to you about today.
Here’s a look at se7en beautiful lesser-known cities in Italy.
My first offering for you today is the stunning upper city of Bergamo known as Città Alta.
This city just oozes charm, decadence, and culture, yet it is surprisingly underrated and unknown in the grand scheme of things.
Bergamo Alta looks stunning, with extravagant churches, finely detailed buildings, quirky narrow streets, and popular attractions that pay homage to its rich history dating back to the 12th century, Bergamo Alta really is something special.
If you’re a fan of the arts and music, the great Church of Santa Maria Maggiore should be top of your ‘to-visit’ list, as it was constructed more than 8 centuries ago, and was, and still is, in fact, used for music and singing lessons because of the amazing acoustics inside.
Castel San Pietro Romano
Up next I’m taking you to Lazio, to Castel San Pietro Romano.
Okay, technically it’s a town, but it’s a quite large town, and besides, this is my list so I’m including it.
Castel San Pietro Romano is located 35km from Rome and is, therefore, the perfect base for your holiday.
In a prime spot 800 metres high above the Emerald Valle del Sacco, this town is host to narrow alleys, rustic buildings, charming shops and local businesses, statues, and extremely friendly locals.
In the centre, you’ll find a small central plaza which offers spectacular views of the valley below.
Altamura is third on my list today, and it is a beauty.
Altamura is the most unique on my list today as it is a city that features a cave hotel, and yes, you did read that right.
Altamura is the perfect place to go exploring as, amongst its many charming characteristic features, you’ll find stunning monuments including a beautiful cathedral with medieval walls which were once, creepily, used as tombs.
The city was constructed in 500 B.C and is a fantastic place to visit for those of you who enjoy fossil hunting.
You may have heard of Torino by a different name, as it is also known as Turin.
This city is one which holds a great deal of cultural significance to Italy, as back in the 19th century it was actually home to the royal family and was actually the very first capital city of Italy, which is now Rome.
Needless to say, as the city was fit for royalty, it is pretty special to behold and is certainly one for those of you who appreciate the finer things in life.
Everywhere you turn you are reminded why it was home to the royals, as there are grand archways and monuments, pristine gardens and buildings, and there are even archways over the pavements, which were built so that the king never had to worry about getting wet if it were to rain.
Torino is a city that is very cultural and artistic, so you’ll find plenty of museums, art galleries, and live entertainment throughout, as well as some of the best restaurants you could hope for.
Trieste is a city that is certainly not for those of you who like muted tones and neutral colours.
It is a bright and vibrant city complete with stunning architecture which pays homage to its Slavic, Latin, and Germanic roots.
Not only that, but there is also one of the largest and most significant seaports in all of the Med, and thanks to its beautiful coastal location, it is a fantastic place to visit with plenty to do and see.
There’s also plenty of medieval influences scattered throughout as well as a cacophony of churches and cathedrals, so be sure to have your camera ready.
If you’re looking for more of a coastal break for your next holiday, with a city close by, then you have to check out Capri.
Capri is located in the Campania region of Italy, and despite being the smallest city on my list (yes, I know Castro San Pietro Romano is a town, stop reminding me) what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in terms of natural beauty.
Capri offers spectacular coastal views, yet stroll a few metres inland and you find yourself in the midst of one of the most artistic and cultural cities in the country.
Here you’ll find se7en museums and monuments, and 12 churches, each more beautiful than the last.
Oh, and as you’re by the sea, you simply must try the seafood here, as it is reportedly amongst the finest you could ever wish for.
Last, but certainly not least, I present to you, the city of Siena.
Siena is a beautiful rustic city located in the heart of Italy’s Tuscany region.
Straight away, you get a glimpse into the city’s medieval past, which is present as clear as day in the city’s architecture
Centred upon the vast Piazza del Campo, each year, broadcast throughout all of Italy, you will find a biannual horse race that attracts viewers in their droves and is a whole lot of fun to watch.
If horse racing isn’t your thing, you’ll also find plenty of art galleries and museums, as, like many other cities on this list, this is very much a city of culture.
As mentioned before, I can’t wait for this to be all over so we can resume our normal life.
Then I will be able to say don’t stop wandering! without sounding like an idiot. Until next time!