Let’s be honest. With almost 80 million visitors in 2015 alone, it seems everyone has discovered Italy. The country is the second most visited in the world (behind France) and the second highest tourist earner. The city of Rome alone welcomes anywhere between 7 and 10 million tourists every year. So it’s safe to say that Italy is incredibly popular as a holiday destination due to its delicious cuisine, incredible history and exquisite art and culture. But with so many visitors, it can seem like a daunting task to visit the country. After all, this many tourists create huge queues and crowds at popular attractions and can also hike up the prices for tourism products.
Luckily, however, there are many beautiful spots in Italy that have yet to be discovered by the masses. So if you’re in for a quiet getaway, want to get a feel for how locals really live in Italy or simply want to be the first of your friends to discover unique travel gems, check out our list of Italy’s best kept secrets:
Set in the south of Italy, this coastal town is still largely untouched by Italy’s tourists – and that’s exactly how the locals like it. This small medieval city is the pride and joy of the residents of the region of Calabria with its impressive cliffs dropping dramatically to some of the region’s most beautiful sandy beaches. This spectacular scenery of picturesque townhouses blending into the rock face just above the sun kissed beach give Tropea a timeless feel you won’t want to miss out on.
Varenna on Lake Como
Just across from the world-renowned city of Bellagio and overlooking Lake Como, Varenna is a picturesque town that is still quite undiscovered by the tourist masses. Its pretty lanes, quaint old fishermen’s houses and lovely waterfront create the ideal setting for your quiet getaway. Located just 37 miles from Milan, the town is serviced by the Tirano-Lecco train daily making it the perfect base for town hopping. Just be careful: the length of the train keeps it from stopping at the actual platform so listen carefully to the conductor and be ready to jump off at any time!
If you’re more of an island hopper but still want to enjoy a peaceful escape far from the crowds of tourists, you have plenty of options to explore in Italy. One of them is Salina, the quietest of the seven Aeolian Islands just off of Sicily’s northeastern coast. A lush and hilly island, Salina offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy a unique holiday. Hike up to the top of Fossa Delle Felci (the largest of the six volcanoes on the island), dive into the clear waters to explore the sea life in the region, explore the history in the many museums around the island, or simply lounge in the sun on one of Salina’s perfect beaches. Do this and much more without the hassle of big tourist crowds and you’ll be in for a treat!
Photo by zio paperino