There are plenty of spots in Italy that are on the must-see lists of people who travel to this Mediterranean country. Of course, seeing the capital city of Rome, with its famous Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine, the City of Bridges, as canal laden Venice is sometimes called and the country’s provinces that are known for its wine making attributes are among the those places that often come to mind when people vacation in Italy.
Learn the Tucked Away Secrets
Did you know, though, that you can get a real feel for the lives and culture of the people who live in Italy by taking the time to step off the beaten path? There are loads of great sites that are not to be missed while you are in this historic and breathtakingly beautiful country. For a few of the most astonishing sights, read on below.
If you want to get a melding of European cultures, Bolzano is the perfect place. Located in northern Italy, this city is the capital of South Tyrol. Annexed by the Italians upon the completion of World War I, Bozen, as it is known in German, is one of only five areas of the province in which Italian is the primary spoken language. Nestled in the Dolomite mountain region, there is no shortage of stunning architecture, such as Romanesque and Gothic churches and cathedrals. Runkelstein Castle, only one of a number of castles dating as far back as the 10th century, was constructed in the 13th century on a rock cliff that skirts the Talvera River. Discover Otzi, a 5,000 year old mummy found in 1991, encased in ice along with many of his belongings, including weapons. He is housed in the Archaeology Museum of the Alto Adige.
Also called Lucania, Basilicata is a mountainous area that boasts two coastlines: one on the Tyrrhenian Sea and one bordering the Gulf of Taranto. The town of Metaponto is home to the ruins of the ancient city of Metapontum, Hera’s Temple. The Castle of Melfi, a structure that dates back to the 11th century, when the Normans were in power, is also located in the area. Drive south from Maratea for about 15 minutes to reach Castrocucco, an unspoiled beach. Powdery fine sand, rocky outcroppings and blow holes give this secluded beach an ambiance that is far from the tourist trap.
Bordering the Italian Rivera, Cinque Terre offers some of the most picturesque settings in a country known for being picture perfect. Towns cling to rocky cliffs that overhang the shimmering turquoise waters. Many of the ancient villages are only accessible via train or on foot. Hidden beaches and coves allow you to enjoy this area that has been designated as a national park and a protected marine habitat. Comprised of five, unique villages, a passenger ferry carry visitors between them, all except Corniglia.
Situated on the Adriatic Sea, in the “heel” of Italy, Puglia features areas that were heavily influenced by the nearby countries of Greece and Turkey. Ostuni, a medieval town located just outside the coast, features pristine beaches and whitewashed buildings with an obvious Greek flair. The Citadel resides atop a hill and still boasting its walls of ancient stone. Grape and olive farms dot the hillsides. Visit Alberobello, home of the trulli, small stone huts painted white and clad with thatched roofs of conical shapes. Natural trulli can be found in the Alta Murgia National Park, located in Murgia.
A Do-it-Yourself Tour
Finally, you can embark on a self-guided walking tour. Best undertaken with a companion so that the two of you can explore and enjoy hidden corners of the country with each other, these walking tours give you a well laid out itinerary. Because it is self guided, you can tailor the visit to your desires. These are a great way to visit a popular area on your own terms. Cities such as Sicily and Tuscany, for example, are famed for their wines and gastrointestinal delights, of which you can find plenty to indulge while you are visiting. To capture the true flavour of the area, though, take a walk through these historical villages, each with its own cultural twist. Byzantine mosaics, the castles of Normandy and the stucco homes of Baroque are just a few of the sights you can enjoy as you speak to the local residents.
Discover the hidden treasures of the vibrant and exciting country that is Italy. Learn about the areas that give you a real taste of what makes Italy special and gain insight into its culture. Once you have discovered the hidden secrets of Italy, you may never want to come home. Why would you not want to rent a holiday home whether it is a characteristic farmhouse or a little cottage like these at Italian View? Your trip to Italy can be whatever you want it to be; you can make it a trip of a lifetime now that you know the hidden secrets Italy has to offer.
Author: Olivia loves travelling around the world and visiting different countries. She enjoys writing blogs about her travels including tips and advice.