11 lesser-known Italian regions that should be high up on your bucket list

By MiNDFOOD

A wonderful view of Braies lake with its fantastic colours in the heart of Italian Dolomites
A wonderful view of Braies lake with its fantastic colours in the heart of Italian Dolomites

Italy, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, drawing in millions travellers every year to sample delicious food and wine, marvel at iconic architecture and soak up the sun on picturesque beaches.

While many travellers flock to places like Tuscany, Sicily and the Italian Riviera, for those looking for destinations off the tourist trail, there are plenty of stunning places to discover in Italy’s 20 regions.

Abruzzo

Panoramic view in Barrea, province of L’Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

Situated on the Adriatic coastline, Abruzzo is home to stunning national parks and nature reserves where wildlife such as wolves, eagles and brown bears inhabit. For stunning green scenery the Gran Sasso National Park is a nature-lover’s dream. Foodies can indulge in a luxurious local delicacy in Campli, known as the ‘truffle town’. The architecture here is also quite special, and the ancient villages of the Aterno Valley are a must-visit.

Basilicata

Beautiful Mountain Village In Basilicata,Italy.

The ancient cave dwellings in Sassi di Matera, one of the world’s oldest cities, are truly enchanting. Elsewhere in Basilicata you can soak up in thermal springs at Latronico and join revellers at the famous Festa Della Bruna in Matera.

Calabria

The beautiful medieval town Scilla in Calabria has fantastic beaches

If you’re dreaming of white sandy beaches, then book a trip to Tropea in Calabria. This picturesque coastal destination sits along the turquoise Tyrrhenian Sea and is famous for its vibrant parasols.

Friuli Venezia Giulia

Downtown of Trieste with canals and restaurants,

The alpine foothills of Friuli Venezia Giulia are home to some of the best wineries in all of Italy, as well as breathtaking hiking trails through 13 nature reserves. If its a beach getaway you’re after, then resort of Ligniano Sabbiadoro is a hidden gem loved by locals.

Marche

View Of Medieval City Of Urbino, Marche, Italy

Olive Ascolane, meat-filled fried olive, is the specialty dish in Marche, the region home to beautiful olive groves and vineyards. The medieval castle in Urbino is a stunning site, surrounded by charming cobbled streets and laneways.

Molise

Landscape with bell tower in Campobasso

Molise is one of the least discovered regions of Italy, but with its charming coastal towns, quirky festivals and beautiful mountain roads made from road tripping, its sure to become a new tourist hot spot.

Piedmont

Carignano square with Vincenzo Gioberti statue in the old city center of Turin city in Italy

Every spring the ‘Battle of the Oranges’ takes place in Ivrea, the largest food fight in all of Italy. If you prefer your food served on a plate, Alba is home of fantastic restaurants, providores and truffieres. Art-lovers can also marvel at the Castello di Rivoli collection.

Puglia

In Alberobello, Puglia you’ll find unique Trulli houses with conical roofs

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alberobello in Puglia is a sight to behold, a small town of whitewashed ‘trulli’ stone huts with conical roofs. The Tremiti Islands have become a popular destination for scuba divers, with networks of shipwrecks and caves to be explored.

Trentino Alto Adige

A wonderful view of Braies lake with its fantastic colours in the heart of Italian Dolomites

Trentino Alto Adige is a region that’s fantastic to visit all year round, with beautiful hiking trails in the summer and world-class skiing in the winter in the Dolomites. The region is also home to over 300 castles and almost 300 lakes, including the photogenic Lago di Braies.

Umbria

A spectacular colourful traditional Italian medieval alley in the historic centre of Spello

Known as ‘the green heart of Italy’ Umbria is filled with bucolic country scenery all year round. In spring, wildflowers around Castellucio transform the landscape into a botanic wonderland, while the charming town of Spello, Todi and Gubbio are some of the most beautiful in Italy.  

Aosta Valley

Amazing view of the Matterhorn (Cervino) reflected on the Blue Lake (Lago Blu) near Breuil-Cervinia, Aosta Valley

The snow-capped peaks of Matterhorn and Mont Blanc are the most famous of the Aosta Valley, drawing in avid skiers to the stunning slopes. Gran Paradiso National Park boasts wonderful hiking trails in the summer, while the region’s many fortresses, castles and cathedrals are architectural marvels.

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