Surprising Destinations In Italy

surprising destinations in italy

The idea of traveling in Italy is closely tied to a few specific places. Everyone wants to visit Rome, Venice, and Florence and places like Milan and Naples aren’t too far behind. But even beyond these highlights, Italy has more interesting places to visit than just about any country in the world.

These are a few such places that you may not think of right away when you consider Italian travel, but are still well worth the time and effort to see.

Atrani

You’ve likely heard of the Amalfi Coast as a popular vacation destination in Italy. It produces a lot of postcard imagery of beautiful seaside towns, it’s home to the town of Amalfi, and it happens to be a pretty popular celebrity hangout as well. It’s not exactly off the beaten path, though some still view it as just one of many seaside destinations in Italy.

surprising destinations in italy

But the town of Atrani isn’t usually the first one that comes up with Amalfi Coast tourism, and there’s no telling why. It’s a small, gorgeous town right on the Tyrrhenian Sea and just a short drive from Amalfi. It’s best known by the image of a winding road that curves over the sea. You can also enjoy charming churches and wonderful places to eat in town. It’s an ideal quiet getaway, as well as a terrific place to stay if you want to spend some time looking into the other cities that make up the Amalfi Coast.

Bergamo

Like Atrani, Bergamo is sometimes overlooked because of some of the other nearby attractions. It’s close to Milan, and the surrounding Lombardy region is well known for hilly expanses and serene lakes (including the famous Lake Como, where George Clooney famously keeps a hideaway). But Bergamo makes for a charming place to stay in its own right as well.

surprising destinations in italy

This is a gorgeous, walled city where red rooftops poke up at varying heights through green trees. It has winding streets, charming cafés, and excellent views of the surrounding country. Some travelers find that it’s also a nice place to stay a few nights to explore the greater Lombardy area as well. The lakes, countryside hikes, and even Milan are all worth checking out even if you’re staying in Bergamo for a time.

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Campione d’Italia

This is actually another destination that’s technically part of Lombardy, though it’s also an exclave within Swiss territory. It’s right on Lake Lugano, which makes it stunning pretty much all year round.

surprising destinations in italy

There are nice places to dine in town, and the lake makes for a great attraction (boating is an option), but Campione d’Italia is marked primarily by a 12-story casino right on the water. It’s always fun to stumble on a legitimate casino in Europe, given that we think of brick-and-mortar casinos as things of the past. Where online game was once an iffy proposition, players now have nothing to worry about thanks to increased security measures. That’s resulted in a lot of people joining online casinos. But a venue like this one, spectacular in every way, is still worth the trip.

Monte Isola

Buzzfeed wrote up an article about charming towns to visit in Italy, and mentioned that Monte Isola ranks as the largest lake island in Italy. That’s a pretty cool idea, but it’s even cooler when you realize that the island is still only five square miles!

surprising destinations in italy

This is a place you visit more for beauty and tranquility than for any particular attraction. You’ll want to duck into a few churches where some of the art makes them feel almost more like museums. And Rocca Martinengo, a medieval castle, is worth seeing up close. Mostly you’ll just enjoy being on the island, looking at the beautiful Lake Iseo, and enjoying some local restaurants.

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Treviso

Treviso is located near Venice, and in some ways it’s almost like an appetizer for folks who want to visit the bigger city. It’s filled with charming medieval architecture and even has its own canals that cross between neighborhoods and alongside city gardens. It’s a nice, tranquil place to soak up a miniature version of the Venice environment, in some ways.

surprising destinations in italy

But it’s also close enough that you can use it as a sort of home base for day trips to the bigger city. Venice is one of the most spectacular destinations in the world, and it’s great to be so nearby that you can tour it without having to find another place to stay.

Which is your favorite location from these? Comment now!

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Comments

  1. These look like incredible alternatives to some of the bigger tourist attractions in Italy. Honestly, I want to see them all! My first impulse is to start with Atrani, but each one looks delightful. And I do like the idea of using a place like Treviso as a base not only to see this lovely town, but to plan a return visit to Venice. Pinned!

  2. These are surprising as I haven’t been to any of these! I was fortunate enough to study abroad a semester in Florence when I was in college and got to travel a bit around Italy on the weekends. However, we ran out of time and between international travel and traveling throughout Italy on the weekends we still didn’t get to go to as many places as I’d like to see! I have been looking for a reason to go back, any small one will do! And now I want to go visit all of these places! Thanks for introducing me to more beautiful towns to visit!

  3. Megan Jerrard : August 10, 2017 at 6:35 am

    I’ve traveled throughout Italy pretty extensively, I thought, though have been hitting the major towns and not really ventured off the beaten path. I have however taken in the Amalfi Coast and it was stunning, so I would love to head back and make time to visit Atrani. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. I haven’t been to or heard of any of these. I still haven’t made my way to Italy and think I would enjoy all of these gorgeous destinations. Monte Isola sounds really interesting as it has the largest lake island in Italy. I imagine everyone on the island being friendly and knowing each other since it’s so small 🙂

  5. I haven’t been to or heard of any of these gorgeous cities! I’ve only been to Italy twice, but neither time did I make it to these, obviously! Atrani is the one that’s drawn my attention the most. I love the coast, mountains and GORGEOUS buildings! I may be in Italy next year, so I’m going to try to add this to the list!

  6. My dad was born in Italy and I find that all of Italy is beautiful and enchanting. You are right to say that most don’t venture outside of the popular sights and it is a shame. I have not visited some of these and would really want to go explore Bergamo and Monte Isola the most. I mean all of these location look amazing but those two call out to me the most.

  7. I looove this post so much. I can’t wait to return to Italy to explore a lot more. I think all of the buildings in Bergamo look so beautiful and unique!

  8. Sandy N Vyjay : August 19, 2017 at 8:18 am

    These are lovely towns of Italy that seem to have emerged from the pages of a fairy tale. They all look so enchanting. Italy never fails to surprise with its undiscovered treasures. There is so much to see in Italy beyond Venice, Rome and Florence. Hope to see these lovely towns too when we get to Italy next.

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