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10 Must Visit spots in Italy

"These are streets where poems were written, where stories were born, where people have loved."

I would love to return to Italy. It is a dreamy place to wander and offers so much more culture and beauty than just one town. I was fortunate to see Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Venice (where I got engaged!). In this post, I have curated a list of the top 10 places to visit in Italy based on research. There are so many wonderful areas of Italy that it is difficult to pare it down, but if you are visiting this stunning country, I would recommend you spend some time in these areas.


Tuscany

Tuscany is a region in central Italy famous for its stunning landscapes, rich history, cultural heritage, and delicious cuisine. You can reach Tuscany by air, train, or car. The region has two main international airports: Florence Airport (FLR) and Pisa International Airport (PSA). Alternatively, you can take a train to cities like Florence, Pisa, or Siena, or drive from other parts of Italy or neighboring countries.

Best time to visit: Fall or Spring

Where to stay:

La Corte Dei Papi

4-Star Hotel

Located a short distance from Cortona in Tuscany, nestled in a small valley embraced by gentle hills, Relais La Corte dei Papi offers a serene and peaceful retreat, ideal for those in search of a blend of culture and heritage. The allure of the authentic Tuscan villa lies in its traditional cuisine and elegant ambiance, ensuring a comforting experience.


Relais La Corte dei Papi is a country residence dating back to the 1700’s where long-standing tradition and luxury are brought together to offer our guests the wonderful experience of wellness and relaxation.


Beautiful suites enhance the feeling of wellbeing. With an excellent restaurant and warm and genuine Tuscan hospitality, your stay will be completely unforgettable. This country residence is owned by the Papi family and has remained in the family for many generations. Most recently restored with love and respect by David and his mother Gabriella, original features have been maintained and well preserved.


Together, David and Gabriella have realized their dream of transforming the residence, rich in history and memories, into a romantic luxury hotel, where you will feel right at home and are able to delight in luxurious comfort throughout your stay. The country residence is surrounded by large grounds; rich in flora including olive and pine trees. At the center of the grounds sits a wonderful swimming pool and the glorious restaurant, from where you can truly appreciate the beauty and peace of the surrounding valleys.

Castello di Velona Resort

5-Star Hotel

Castello di Velona Resort, Thermal Spa & Winery is an historical property, a renovated fortress dating back from the XIth century, located on a hilltop overlooking the entire Val d'Orcia, in Tuscany.


Located 8 km from Montalcino, the castle overlooks the peaceful Val d’Orcia, a landscape of olive trees and vineyards which produce the world-famous wine Brunello of Montalcino. From the Castello di Velona, you will be able to visit the famous towns of Siena, Pienza, Montepulciano, San Quirico d’Orcia, Bagno Vignoni as well as the extraordinary, beautiful Abbeys of Sant’Antimo and Monte Oliveto Maggiore.


All rooms have breath-taking views over the Val d'Orcia and the Brunello of Montalcino's vineyards.


The rooms have been designed with two different concepts: Monumental Rooms (with the original Castle Tuscan style furnishing) and UNESCO View Rooms (with a contemporary style, all with hot natural thermal water in their bathtubs and a private patio with a sunset breathtaking view).

Things to do in Tuscany:

  • Explore Florence: Visit the Uffizi Gallery to see Renaissance masterpieces, marvel at the architecture of the Duomo, and wander through the charming streets of this historic city.

  • Wine tasting in Chianti: Take a tour of the picturesque vineyards and wineries in the Chianti region, known for its world-renowned wines. Enjoy tastings of Sangiovese, as well as olive oil, and learn about the wine-making process.

  • Visit Siena: Explore the medieval streets of Siena and its stunning cathedral. Don't miss the Palio, a horse race held in the city's main square, Piazza del Campo, twice a year.

  • Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa: Head to Pisa to see the iconic Leaning Tower, part of the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles). Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city.

  • Relax in the Tuscan countryside: Rent a villa or stay at an agriturismo (farmhouse) in the Tuscan countryside. Enjoy the peaceful surroundings, go for leisurely walks or bike rides, and savor delicious farm-to-table meals.

  • Visit medieval hilltop towns: Explore charming towns like San Gimignano, Volterra, and Montepulciano, known for their well-preserved medieval architecture, panoramic views, and delicious local cuisine.

  • Cooking classes: Take a cooking class to learn how to prepare authentic Tuscan dishes such as ribollita (bread and vegetable soup), pici pasta with wild boar ragu, and cantucci (almond biscuits) paired with Vin Santo.

  • Relax on the beaches of the Tuscan coast: Head to the coastal towns of Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, or Castiglione della Pescaia for sunbathing, swimming, and seafood dining.

  • Hike in the Apuan Alps: Explore the rugged beauty of the Apuan Alps, located near Carrara, famous for its marble quarries. Hike scenic trails and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

  • Attend a local festival: Experience Tuscan culture firsthand by attending one of the many festivals held throughout the region, celebrating everything from food and wine to music and history.


Venice

Traveling in Venice is a unique and enchanting experience, as the city is renowned for its picturesque canals, historic architecture, and vibrant culture. Venice is a pedestrian-friendly city, and the primary mode of transportation is by foot or by boat. The iconic water buses, known as vaporetti, and water taxis navigate the city's canals, providing essential transportation for locals and visitors alike. Gondolas offer a romantic and scenic way to explore the narrower waterways, although they tend to be more expensive and are often considered a tourist attraction rather than a practical mode of transport.

Best time to visit: Fall


Where to stay:

Splended Venice

4-Star Hotel

Overlooking romantic bridges and centuries-old palazzo, Splendid Venice is one of the most beautiful hotels in one of the world's most beautiful cities. Every detail of this Venice luxury hotel exudes a sense of intimate elegance from the rich silk and velvet furnishings to the music room, tranquil library and sweeping outdoor terraces. Enjoy the rooftop garden with its spectacular views of the rooftops of Venice and the famous San Marco bell tower. Dine on exquisite local cuisine at Le Maschere, offering breathtaking views of the canal. Reachable by gondola directly to its private dock- this Venice boutique hotel is an enchanting journey into the City of Water.


St. Regis Venice

5-Star Hotel

Avant-garde in outlook and design, The St. Regis Venice merges striking, modern interiors with its historic provenance as the best address in the city. Flanked by the Grand Canal with views across iconic landmarks, the hotel has stood in this privileged position for over a century and a half. Stylish design, intelligent technology and St. Regis Butlers cultivate an environment of impeccable comfort in 130 guestrooms and 39 suites, a selection of which graced with private terrace. The preserve for relaxation and socializing, the Italianate garden presents access to a range of dining and beverage options at Gios Restaurant and Terrace, the St. Regis Bar and at Arts Bar. A choice of areas transform easily to host up to 110 guests for celebrations, weddings and meetings, while the SPA Suites and an Exercise Room provide avenues for unwinding. Behind the hotel, luxury boutiques and contemporary art galleries lead the visitor to Teatro La Fenice and the treasures of Piazza San Marco, just four minutes away.

Things to do in Venice:

  • Explore St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco): This iconic square is the heart of Venice and home to several must-see attractions, including St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, the Campanile (bell tower), and the Clock Tower. Take your time wandering around the square, soaking in the atmosphere and admiring the intricate architecture.

  • Visit St. Mark's Basilica: This magnificent cathedral is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Venice, known for its Byzantine architecture, intricate mosaics, and golden domes. Be sure to explore the interior, which is adorned with stunning artwork and relics.

  • Take a Gondola Ride: While it may be touristy, taking a gondola ride is a quintessential Venetian experience. Drift along the city's picturesque canals, passing under ancient bridges and past historic palaces, while your gondolier serenades you with traditional songs.

  • Walk Across the Rialto Bridge: The Rialto Bridge is one of Venice's most famous bridges, spanning the Grand Canal and connecting the San Marco and San Polo districts. Walk across the bridge for panoramic views of the canal and bustling activity below.

  • Explore the Grand Canal: Venice's main waterway is lined with elegant palaces, historic buildings, and bustling activity. Take a vaporetto (water bus) ride along the Grand Canal for a unique perspective of the city's architecture and daily life.

  • Visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection: Located in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal, this modern art museum houses an impressive collection of 20th-century masterpieces, including works by Picasso, Pollock, and Dalí.

  • Wander Through the Venetian Ghetto: The Venetian Ghetto is one of the oldest Jewish ghettos in the world and a fascinating area to explore. Visit the Jewish Museum and synagogues, wander through the narrow streets, and sample traditional Jewish cuisine.

  • Take a Day Trip to Murano and Burano: These colorful islands are located in the Venetian Lagoon and are famous for their glassblowing (Murano) and lace-making (Burano) traditions. Spend a day exploring the charming streets, visiting artisan workshops, and admiring the local craftsmanship.

  • Enjoy Cicchetti and Aperitivo: Cicchetti are small snacks typically served at bacari (wine bars) throughout Venice. Sample a variety of delicious bites, paired with a glass of wine or spritz, as you soak up the lively atmosphere of these local hangouts.

  • Get Lost in the Backstreets: One of the best ways to experience Venice is to wander off the beaten path and explore the city's maze-like network of narrow streets and hidden squares. You never know what hidden gems you might discover around the next corner!


Amalfi

Traveling to the Amalfi Coast is a dreamy experience, offering stunning coastal landscapes, charming villages, and delicious cuisine. The Amalfi Coast is located in southern Italy, stretching along the coastline of the Sorrentine Peninsula, near the city of Naples. The nearest major airport is Naples International Airport (NAP), which is well-connected to domestic and international destinations. From Naples, you can reach the Amalfi Coast by various means, including train, bus, car, or ferry.

Best time to visit: April to June or September to November (for fewer crowds)


Where to stay:

Ravello Art Hotel Marmorata

4-Star Hotel

Located close to Amalfi Cathedral and Amalfi Beach, Ravello Art Hotel Marmorata provides a poolside bar, a terrace, and a garden. With a private beach, beachfront dining, and sun loungers, this hotel is the perfect place to soak up some sun. The on-site seafood restaurant, L Antica Cartiera, offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and al fresco dining. Enjoy the health club, as well as activities like fishing, sailing, and water skiing. Stay connected with free in-room WiFi, and guests can find other amenities such as a library and laundry facilities.


Hotel Santa Caterina Amalfi

5-Star Hotel

The elegant Hotel Santa Caterina, a superb privately owned retreat in a stunning location, is stylish and luxurious with service to match. The hotel is situated at the summit of an extensive property, which begins along the Amalfi Drive and tumbles down to the water on a series of bougainvillea cascades with vast lemon and orange groves covering numerous natural terraces. All guest rooms have a private terrace. The suites are the most striking of all, each fully equipped with a Jacuzzi and hand-painted ceramic tiles. The restaurant, bar and lounge all offer breathtaking views over the water. Evening meals are graciously served in the main restaurant, where marble and lapis floors and panoramic vistas are the soothing complement to the featured special local and international cuisine. In peak season, lunch is served at the poolside restaurant and pizzeria. Two elevators whisk guests down to the swimming pool and bathing platform built at sea level. A gymnasium is located just above the swimming pool area. SPA and wellness center with massage sauna Turkish bath and Scottish shower are also available.

Things to do in Amalfi:

  • Explore the Coastline: The Amalfi Coast is renowned for its dramatic cliffs, turquoise waters, and colorful villages perched on steep hillsides. The coastal road, known as the Amalfi Drive (SS163), offers breathtaking views as it winds its way along the coastline, passing through picturesque towns like Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. Alternatively, you can explore the coast by ferry, which provides a unique perspective of the rugged cliffs and hidden coves.

  • Visit Amalfi Town: The town of Amalfi is the namesake of the coast and is one of its main attractions. Explore the historic center, visit the iconic Duomo di Amalfi (Amalfi Cathedral), and stroll along the waterfront promenade. Don't miss the chance to sample limoncello, a traditional lemon liqueur made from locally grown lemons.

  • Explore Positano: Positano is one of the most picturesque towns on the Amalfi Coast, with its pastel-colored houses cascading down the hillside to the sea. Spend your days wandering through narrow streets lined with boutiques and artisan shops, relaxing on the beach, or hiking along scenic coastal trails.

  • Visit Ravello: Perched high above the coastline, the town of Ravello offers stunning panoramic views and a peaceful atmosphere away from the crowds. Visit the gardens of Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, which are renowned for their lush vegetation and stunning vistas.

  • Enjoy Local Cuisine: The Amalfi Coast is famous for its delicious cuisine, which highlights fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and traditional flavors. Don't miss the chance to try local specialties like spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams), seafood risotto, and sfogliatella (a traditional pastry filled with sweet ricotta cheese).

  • Hike the Path of the Gods: The Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) is a scenic hiking trail that offers breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast and the surrounding countryside. The trail runs from the town of Agerola to Nocelle, passing through lush Mediterranean vegetation and rugged cliffs along the way.

  • Take a Boat Tour: Explore the hidden coves and secluded beaches of the Amalfi Coast by taking a boat tour. Many tour operators offer excursions that include stops for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, as well as visits to coastal caves and grottoes.


Lake Como

Lake Como is a stunning lake located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Lake Como is easily accessible from major cities in northern Italy, including Milan and Bergamo. The closest airport is Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP), which is approximately an hour's drive away from the lake. You can also reach Lake Como by train or bus from Milan or other nearby cities.

Best time to visit: April to October


Where to stay:

Villa Clementina

Villa Clementina is a three-story building equipped with an elevator where 10 modern and refined rooms are located. Every detail of them has been designed to allow guests to find tranquility and inner peace, in a modern, charming but healthy environment full of clean air.

Breathe and be lulled by the extraordinary view of the lake; stretch out along the edges of the swimming pool, let the sun’s rays kiss you in the solarium, and finally, be tempted by the imagination of the hotel Chefs in an exclusive and romantic bistro pied dans l’eau.


Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como

5-Star Hotel

Located on the shores of Lake Como and surrounded by lush botanic parkland, the resort is a landmark of historic importance - comprising 75 spacious rooms and suites housed in nine villas dating from the 19th Century. Two of the villas will be bookable in their entirety giving guests their own private retreat. Almost all accommodation has lake views that can be enjoyed from either a balcony or terrace. The resort features four restaurants and bars, including a lakeside terrace for al fresco dining, a large spa with an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor floating pool on the lake.

Things to do in Lake Como:

  • Explore the Lake: Lake Como is famous for its scenic beauty, with crystal-clear waters surrounded by lush mountains and charming villages. One of the best ways to explore the lake is by taking a ferry or boat tour, which allows you to admire the picturesque shoreline and visit different towns and attractions along the way.

  • Visit Bellagio: Often referred to as the "Pearl of Lake Como," Bellagio is one of the most popular towns on the lake. Known for its beautiful villas, colorful gardens, and narrow cobblestone streets, Bellagio is a delight to explore. Be sure to visit Villa Melzi and its stunning gardens, as well as Villa Serbelloni for panoramic views of the lake.

  • Explore Varenna: Another charming town on Lake Como, Varenna is known for its medieval alleys, historic churches, and waterfront promenade. Don't miss the chance to visit Villa Monastero and its botanical gardens, which offer beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

  • Take the Funicular to Brunate: For panoramic views of Lake Como and the surrounding area, take the funicular from Como to the village of Brunate. From Brunate, you can enjoy stunning vistas, explore hiking trails, and visit the Faro Voltiano lighthouse.

  • Visit Como Town: The city of Como is the largest town on Lake Como and serves as a transportation hub for the region. Explore the historic center, visit the Duomo di Como (Como Cathedral), and stroll along the waterfront promenade. You can also take a boat tour or ferry to other towns on the lake from Como.

  • Enjoy Outdoor Activities: Lake Como offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, and water sports. Explore scenic hiking trails like the Greenway del Lago di Como, which connects various towns along the lake, or rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the waters at your own pace.

  • Sample Local Cuisine: Lake Como is known for its delicious cuisine, which features fresh seafood, locally sourced produce, and traditional Italian flavors. Be sure to try local specialties like risotto al pesce persico (perch risotto), lavarello al cartoccio (lake fish cooked in parchment), and gelato made with fresh ingredients.


Italian Riviera

Traveling to the Italian Riviera is a lovely experience, offering stunning coastal landscapes, picturesque villages, and delicious cuisine. The Italian Riviera is located along the Ligurian coastline in northwest Italy, stretching from the French border to Tuscany. The main gateway to the region is Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA), which is well-connected to domestic and international destinations. You can also reach the Italian Riviera by train, with major rail lines connecting cities like Genoa, La Spezia, and Ventimiglia.

Best time to visit: Summer for warmth, Spring or Fall for less crowds


Where to stay:

Grand Hotel Miramare

4-Star Hotel

Looking out on verdant gardens or sparkling sea, each of the Miramare’s 72 bedrooms and suites has a different philosophy and feeling, reinventing Art Nouveau elegance to honor the building’s history while introducing new elements of Italian design. Coffee and pastries on the terrace, long lunches by the sea, sunset and spritz and dinners all dressed up area all available at Grand Hotel Miramare. With its 1970s curves, loungers, umbrellas and terry towels, the seawater pool sits at the bottom of vegetation-laced cliffs and is surrounded by a garden of oleanders and protective pine trees. The Berceau’s shady pergola provides respite from the sun’s stare, while cocktails and summer lunches can be taken throughout the day. Or you can relax seaside on a lounger under an umbrella. An in-house spa is also available for your relaxation and wellness.



The Maybourne Riviera

5-Star Hotel

Consider a stay at The Maybourne Riviera and take advantage of a beach bar, a poolside bar, and a terrace. This hotel is a great place to bask in the sun with a nearby private beach, sun loungers, and a free beach shuttle. Indulge in a massage, a body wrap, and a manicure/pedicure at The Maybourne Riviera Spa, the onsite spa. At the 4 on-site restaurants, enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, kids' meals, and a Michelin star rated meal.

Things to do in the Italian Riviera:

  • Explore Cinque Terre: Cinque Terre is one of the most iconic destinations on the Italian Riviera, known for its colorful villages perched on rugged cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea. The five villages - Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore - are connected by scenic hiking trails and offer breathtaking views of the coastline. Be sure to explore the narrow streets, taste local specialties like pesto and focaccia, and relax on the picturesque beaches.

  • Visit Portofino: Portofino is a glamorous resort town known for its luxury yachts, pastel-colored buildings, and stunning harbor. Take a stroll along the waterfront promenade, visit the historic Castello Brown for panoramic views of the town and sea, and relax in the Piazzetta, the main square lined with cafes and boutiques.

  • Explore Genoa: Genoa is the largest city on the Italian Riviera and offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions. Explore the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visit the magnificent Palazzi dei Rolli, and wander through the narrow caruggi (alleyways). Don't miss the chance to sample local specialties like focaccia genovese, pesto alla genovese, and farinata (chickpea flatbread).

  • Visit Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino: Santa Margherita Ligure is a charming seaside town located just a short distance from Portofino. Stroll along the palm-lined promenade, visit the picturesque harbor, and explore the historic center with its pastel-colored buildings and lively atmosphere. You can also take a boat trip to nearby Portofino, known for its stunning natural beauty and upscale boutiques.

  • Explore Sanremo: Sanremo is a vibrant resort town famous for its mild climate, beautiful gardens, and lively atmosphere. Visit the historic Old Town, explore the elegant seafront promenade, and relax in the beautiful gardens of Villa Nobel. Sanremo is also known for its annual music festival, the Sanremo Music Festival, which attracts musicians and music lovers from around the world.

  • Enjoy Outdoor Activities: The Italian Riviera offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, and water sports. Explore scenic hiking trails like the Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods), which offers breathtaking views of the coastline and surrounding countryside. You can also enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and diving in the crystal-clear waters of the Ligurian Sea.

  • Sample Local Cuisine: The Italian Riviera is known for its delicious cuisine, which features fresh seafood, locally sourced produce, and traditional Ligurian flavors. Be sure to try local specialties like trofie al pesto (pasta with basil pesto), acciughe al verde (anchovies in green sauce), and focaccia di Recco (cheese-filled focaccia). Don't forget to pair your meal with a glass of Ligurian wine or a refreshing spritz.



Lake Garda

Traveling to Lake Garda offers a mix of stunning landscapes, charming towns, and a variety of activities. Lake Garda is located in northern Italy, between the cities of Verona and Brescia. The closest airports are Verona Villafranca Airport (VRN) and Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport (BGY), both of which are well-connected to major cities in Europe. From the airport, you can rent a car or take a shuttle bus to Lake Garda. Alternatively, you can take a train to Desenzano del Garda, which is located on the southern shore of the lake.

Best time to visit: April - June or September


Where to stay:

Hotel Laurin

4-Star Hotel

Located close to Vittoriale degli Italiani, Hotel Laurin provides a free breakfast buffet, a terrace, and a garden. Treat yourself to a massage or other spa services. Enjoy the outdoor pool. And the on-site restaurant offers lunch and dinner. Stay connected with free in-room WiFi, and guests can find other amenities such as dry cleaning/laundry services and a bar.

Lefay Resort & Spa

5-Star Hotel

Modern sustainable design meets sheer indulgence at Lefay Resort and SPA Lago di Garda, where unadulterated pampering goes hand-in-hand with the most stunning lake views. This elegant resort in Gargnano- is nestled within 27 acres of gentle hills and natural terraces adorned with olive groves and woodland on the Riviera dei Limoni. A truly idyllic place to recuperate and de-stress from life's pressures- the spa is central to the relaxed experience with swimming pools, saunas and various treatment areas dotted around the resort.

Things to do in Lake Garda:

  • Explore Garda's Picturesque Towns: Lake Garda is surrounded by charming towns and villages, each with its own unique character. Explore the historic center of Sirmione, visit the medieval castle in Malcesine, and wander the colorful streets of Limone sul Garda. Other notable towns include Bardolino, Riva del Garda, and Gardone Riviera.

  • Visit Scaligero Castle: Located in the town of Sirmione, Scaligero Castle is one of Lake Garda's most iconic landmarks. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle is surrounded by water and offers panoramic views of the lake and surrounding countryside. Explore the castle's towers, drawbridge, and inner courtyard, and learn about its fascinating history.

  • Take a Boat Tour: Discover Lake Garda's scenic beauty from the water by taking a boat tour. Several companies offer guided tours and excursions, allowing you to explore the lake's charming towns, hidden coves, and picturesque islands. Choose from leisurely sightseeing cruises, sunset cruises, or adventurous speedboat tours.

  • Visit Gardaland: Gardaland is Italy's largest amusement park and is located near the southern shores of Lake Garda. With thrilling roller coasters, family-friendly rides, and themed attractions, Gardaland offers fun for visitors of all ages. Don't miss the chance to explore the park's themed areas, including Fantasy Kingdom, Adventure Land, and Wild West Valley.

  • Relax on Lake Garda's Beaches: Lake Garda boasts several beautiful beaches where you can relax, swim, and soak up the sun. Popular beaches include Spiaggia Lido di Lonato, Spiaggia Baia delle Sirene in Garda, and Spiaggia Porto Novo in Malcesine. Many beaches offer amenities such as sun loungers, umbrellas, and beach bars.

  • Take a Cable Car Ride: Experience breathtaking views of Lake Garda and the surrounding mountains by taking a cable car ride. In Malcesine, you can ride the Monte Baldo Cable Car to the summit of Monte Baldo, where you'll enjoy panoramic views of the lake and the Alps. The cable car ride itself is an unforgettable experience, offering stunning vistas along the way.

  • Explore Garda's Natural Beauty: Lake Garda is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards. Explore the scenic countryside on foot or by bike, following picturesque trails like the Sentiero della Ponale or the Ciclopista del Garda. Visit the Parco Natura Viva wildlife park or the Giardino Botanico Fondazione André Heller botanical garden for a closer look at the region's flora and fauna.

  • Sample Local Cuisine: Lake Garda's culinary scene is characterized by fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and delicious regional specialties. Sample traditional dishes like risotto al pesce persico (perch risotto), sarde in saor (marinated sardines), and torta delle rose (rose cake). Don't forget to pair your meal with a glass of local wine, such as Bardolino or Lugana.



Salento

Traveling to Salento offers a delightful mix of stunning coastline, rich history, and vibrant culture. Salento is located in the southernmost part of the Puglia region, in the "heel" of Italy's boot. The nearest airports are Brindisi Airport (BDS) and Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI). From there, you can rent a car or take a train or bus to reach Salento. The region is also accessible by ferry from Greece and other Mediterranean countries.

Best time to visit: July - September


Where to stay:

Hotel Montecallini

4-Star Hotel

Located on a small hill overlooking the picturesque bay of San Gregorio Montecallini is not just a hotel, it is a path full of emotions. The building that houses the Adult Only Hotel is a stylistic wealth of shapes and colors. The large arcades of the private lodges that run around the perimeter, alternating with rectangular windows, echo the ancient masserie salentine. Even the rooms and suites are the result of a stylistic, architectural and artisanal research. Their interiors are the result of careful minimal but functional research. Each element is custom designed and handmade by local artisans. The Mirto Bianco is the restaurant of Montecallini. Here the uniqueness of Salento’s culinary culture blends with the Mediterranean tradition and the imagination of the Chef. The careful choice of raw materials, coming partly from the on-site garden and partly from local producers and suppliers, combined with the wise and meticulous processing, create a "philosophy" of taste. It’s a guided journey through scents, flavors and scents that recall history but are renewed conceptually. The pool and spa are also available for guests' enjoyment.

Grotta Palazzese

5-Star Hotel

The Grotta Palazzese Hotel is a unique and luxurious hotel located in Polignano a Mare, a picturesque town on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy, in the region of Puglia (Apulia). What sets this hotel apart is its extraordinary setting within a natural cave overlooking the sea.


The hotel's main attraction is its stunning cave restaurant, carved into the limestone cliffs overlooking the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. The restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience, with panoramic views and a romantic ambiance.


The hotel offers elegant and comfortable guest rooms and suites, many of which feature sea views or private balconies. The rooms are designed with modern amenities and stylish decor, providing a tranquil retreat for guests.


Whether you're dining in the cave restaurant, relaxing on the hotel's terrace, or lounging by the infinity pool, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and the rugged coastline of Puglia.

Things to do in Salento:

  • Explore the Coastline: Salento is famous for its stunning coastline, with crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and dramatic cliffs. Visit popular beach destinations like Porto Cesareo, Gallipoli, and Santa Maria di Leuca. Be sure to explore the hidden coves and secluded beaches along the coast, which offer opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.

  • Visit Historic Towns: Salento is dotted with charming historic towns and villages, each with its own unique architecture and cultural heritage. Explore the narrow streets of Lecce, known as the "Florence of the South," and admire its Baroque architecture and ancient Roman ruins. Visit Otranto, with its picturesque harbor and medieval old town, and Gallipoli, a charming seaside town with a rich history.

  • Explore Natural Parks: Salento is home to several natural parks and reserves, which offer opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and outdoor adventures. Visit the Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Selvaggio e Palude del Capitano, a coastal nature reserve with scenic trails and hidden beaches. Explore the Parco Naturale Regionale Bosco e Paludi di Rauccio, a wetland reserve known for its diverse flora and fauna.

  • Sample Local Cuisine: Salento is known for its delicious cuisine, which features fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and traditional Puglian flavors. Be sure to try local specialties like orecchiette con le cime di rapa (pasta with turnip greens), fritto misto di mare (mixed fried seafood), and pasticciotto (a sweet pastry filled with custard). Don't forget to pair your meal with a glass of local wine, such as Primitivo or Negroamaro.

  • Visit Historic Landmarks: Salento is home to several historic landmarks and cultural sites worth visiting. Explore the ancient city of Lecce, with its impressive Baroque architecture and well-preserved Roman amphitheater. Visit the Castello Aragonese in Otranto, a medieval fortress with panoramic views of the sea. Explore the Santuario di Santa Maria di Leuca, a pilgrimage site located at the southernmost tip of Salento.

  • Enjoy Festivals and Events: Salento is known for its vibrant festivals and events, which celebrate the region's culture, traditions, and culinary heritage. Don't miss the Festa di Sant'Oronzo in Lecce, a religious festival with parades, concerts, and fireworks. Visit the Taranta Festival, a music festival that celebrates the traditional Pizzica dance and folk music of Salento.


Sardinia

Traveling to Sardinia offers a unique blend of stunning beaches, rugged landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and is located west of the Italian peninsula. The main airports are Cagliari Elmas Airport (CAG), Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport (OLB), and Alghero-Fertilia Airport (AHO). You can reach Sardinia by plane from major cities in Italy and Europe, or by ferry from mainland Italy (Genoa, Livorno, Civitavecchia) and other Mediterranean countries.

Best time to visit: April to June


Where to stay:

Forte Village Resort

4-Star Hotel

Nestled in 116 acres of stunning gardens on Sardinia’s Southern coast, Forte Village is an award-winning resort. Explore diverse dining, pristine beach, numerous pools, and world-class Acquaforte Thalasso & Spa for ultimate relaxation. It’s the best family resort in Sardinia, offering exceptional sports facilities and activities for kids and teens. The resort consists of 8 hotels, 13 luxury villas, and 40 exclusive suites—each epitomizing the ultimate in comfort and privacy. The Forte Village offers a choice of restaurants where you can enjoy fine Italian and world cuisine prepared by our Resort Chefs: try the sublime cookery of Massimiliano Mascia, winner of 2 Michelin stars, for example, or our Belvedere restaurant, the Forte Village jewel in the crown, which serves some of the most exclusive dishes from traditional Italian and regional cuisine. Afterward, when you have satisfied your palate, the evening continues with shows and entertainment at our lounge bars, exclusive cafés and trend-setting nightclubs in the beautiful surroundings of Sardinia. And with plenty to see and do, you will get the most of your vacation at this exceptional resort.


7Pines Resort Sardinia

5-Star Hotel

Located in Baja Sardinia, 7Pines Resort Sardinia sits in a tranquil cove on Sardinia’s northern coast. Overlooking the magnificent marine protected area of the Maddalena islands, its location ensures intimacy as well as some of the Mediterranean’s most spectacular sunset views. The enchanting Costa Smeralda and fabled coastal town of Porto Cervo are 10 minutes’ drive from 7Pines Resort Sardinia and Olbia airport is just 35 km. The varied room and suite categories are arranged in three distinct locations within the resort. Enjoy a seafront culinary tour of Mediterranean flavors and beyond. The hotel also houses the Pure Seven spa, a sanctuary of wellness and relaxation to reconnect body and mind.

Things to do in Sardinia:

  • Explore the Beaches: Sardinia is renowned for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. Visit popular beach destinations like Costa Smeralda, with its white sandy beaches and luxury resorts, and La Pelosa, known for its turquoise waters and picturesque setting. Other must-visit beaches include Spiaggia di Chia, Cala Mariolu, and Spiaggia di Is Arutas, famous for its unique quartz sand.

  • Explore Natural Parks: Sardinia is home to several natural parks and reserves, which offer opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and outdoor adventures. Visit the Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena, a protected marine area with pristine islands, secluded beaches, and vibrant underwater life. Explore the Gola su Gorropu, Europe's deepest canyon, located in the Supramonte mountain range.

  • Visit Historic Sites: Sardinia has a rich history dating back thousands of years, with ancient Nuragic settlements, Phoenician and Roman ruins, and medieval castles. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Su Nuraxi di Barumini, a Nuragic complex dating back to the 2nd millennium BCE. Explore the ancient Roman city of Tharros, located on the west coast of the island, and the medieval town of Alghero, with its Catalan architecture and historic walls.

  • Sample Local Cuisine: Sardinian cuisine is known for its simple yet flavorful dishes, which highlight fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and traditional flavors. Be sure to try local specialties like culurgiones (potato and cheese-filled pasta), porceddu (suckling pig roasted on a spit), and seadas (a dessert of fried pastry filled with cheese and drizzled with honey). Don't forget to pair your meal with a glass of local wine, such as Cannonau or Vermentino.

  • Explore Cultural Events: Sardinia has a rich cultural heritage, with traditional festivals, music, and dance celebrating the island's history and traditions. Don't miss the chance to attend the Sagra del Redentore in Nuoro, a festival celebrating Sardinian culture with parades, concerts, and traditional costumes. Visit the Sardinian Cavalcade in Sassari, a colorful procession with horseback riders, folk music, and dancing.

  • Enjoy Outdoor Activities: Sardinia offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and water sports. Explore scenic hiking trails like the Selvaggio Blu, a challenging coastal trek along the eastern coast of the island. Go snorkeling or diving in the crystal-clear waters of the Marine Protected Area of Capo Carbonara, home to colorful coral reefs and marine life.


Sicily

Traveling to Sicily is an adventure filled with ancient history, stunning landscapes, and mouthwatering cuisine. You can fly directly into one of the island’s international airports—Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA) or Palermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport (PMO)—or take a ferry from mainland Italy.

Best time to visit: Spring or Autumn


Where to stay:

Marina di Petrolo Hotel & Spa

4-Star Hotel

Marina di Petrolo Hotel sits in the historic center of Castellammare del Golfo, in the province of Trapani. Sea view rooms and apartments are available. The hotel boasts a panoramic outdoor swimming pool, breakfast room on the terrace, wellness center with SPA, massage area, beauty center, private parking.


Gran Hotel Timeo

5-Star Hotel

Set high in the rocky hills on the east coast of Sicily, Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo has long been known as one of Italy's most glamorous retreats. It's perfect location is directly in front of the Greek Theatre with sweeping views of the coastline and majestic Mount Etna stretching out beyond. The hotel is situated in a 20,000 square meter park – yet just steps away from buzzing high street - lined with fashionable bars, elegant boutiques and fabulous antique and local craft shops. The hotel is 500 meters from the cable car to Taormina Mare - 15 minutes from the railway station and 20 minutes from the port of Giardini Naxos. Facilities at the Hotel include two fine dining restaurants, wellness center, exercise room, four meeting rooms, outdoor swimming pool, library, piano bar, 24-hour business services and an incomparable terrace with stunning views of Mount Etna, the sea and extensive parkland. Guests have access to nearby tennis as well as a private beach located at sister hotel Belmond Villa Sant Andrea, complete with a wide selection of water sports and relaxation facilities. All 70 rooms and suites at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo are stylishly decorated with Italian flair. Most have beautiful terraces or balconies - many offering splendid sea views. The hotels suites evoke an opulent Italian Baroque style.

Things to do in Sicily:

  • Historical Sites: Sicily boasts a plethora of historical sites dating back thousands of years. From ancient Greek temples in Agrigento and Segesta to Roman amphitheaters in Syracuse, history buffs will find plenty to explore.

  • Stunning Landscapes: The island is blessed with diverse landscapes, including dramatic coastlines, lush valleys, and towering mountains. Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes, offers breathtaking views and hiking opportunities.

  • Delicious Cuisine: Sicilian cuisine is a fusion of flavors influenced by various civilizations that have inhabited the island over the centuries. Indulge in arancini (rice balls), pasta alla norma, fresh seafood, cannoli, and granita.

  • Charming Towns: Sicily is dotted with picturesque towns and villages. Taormina, perched on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea, is famous for its ancient Greek theater and stunning views. Palermo, the capital, is a bustling city with a rich architectural heritage.

  • Cultural Events: Throughout the year, Sicily hosts numerous cultural events, including festivals, concerts, and religious processions. The most famous is the Festival of Saint Agatha in Catania, celebrated in February.

  • Island Hopping: Sicily is surrounded by smaller islands worth visiting, such as the Aeolian Islands, known for their volcanic landscapes and pristine beaches, and the tiny island of Favignana, renowned for its crystal-clear waters and seafood.



Calabria

Traveling to Calabria offers a captivating blend of stunning coastline, rugged mountains, ancient history, and delicious cuisine. Calabria is located in the southernmost part of Italy, forming the "toe" of the Italian "boot." It is bordered by the regions of Basilicata to the north and west, and by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas to the east and west respectively. To the south, Calabria is separated from the island of Sicily by the Strait of Messina. Its strategic location has historically made it a crossroads of civilizations, influencing its rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes. Calabria can be accessed by air, train, bus, or car. The region has several airports, including Lamezia Terme International Airport (SUF) and Reggio Calabria Airport (REG), with connections to major Italian cities. Alternatively, you can take a train or bus from other parts of Italy or drive to Calabria, enjoying scenic routes along the way.

Best time to visit: Spring and Autumn


Where to stay:

Capovaticano Resort Thalasso Spa

4-Star Hotel

Located close to Grotticelle Beach, Capovaticano Resort Thalasso Spa provides a free breakfast buffet, a poolside bar, and a terrace. With a private beach, sun loungers, and kayaking, this hotel is the perfect place to soak up some sun. Treat yourself to a hot stone massage, hydrotherapy, or a facial at Capovaticano Resort Thalasso Spa, the onsite spa. Be sure to enjoy breakfast and dinner at the two on-site restaurants. Enjoy the health club, as well as activities like ecotours and boat tours. Stay connected with free in-room WiFi, and guests can find other amenities such as designer stores on site and 2 coffee shops/cafes.


Villa Paola Tropea

5-Star Hotel

Suspended between the lively blue sky and the Calabrian sea, and just a few minutes from the center of Tropea, Villa Paola is a charming residence with a centuries-long history. Villa Paola has 12 rooms to offer you a pleasant stay and is always suitable for your needs, whether in the serenity of a small escape to find yourself or in the enthusiasm of a romantic weekend away from the noise of the city. The pool is the ideal place to take refuge to enjoy the villa's breathtaking view all day, between a refreshing morning swim and a relaxing afternoon, reading and lying on a shaded deckchair during the hottest afternoons.

Things to do in Calabria:

  • Explore Stunning Beaches: Calabria is known for its pristine coastline, boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. Relax on the white sands of Tropea, explore the hidden coves of Capo Vaticano, or swim in the crystal-clear waters of Scilla and Chianalea.

  • Visit Historic Towns and Villages: Wander through charming medieval villages perched on hilltops, such as Pizzo, Gerace, and Stilo. Explore the narrow streets, admire the ancient architecture, and soak in the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

  • Discover Ancient Ruins: Explore the region's rich history by visiting ancient Greek and Roman ruins. Don't miss the archaeological site of Locri Epizephiri, where you can see well-preserved remains of ancient temples, theaters, and baths.

  • Hike in National Parks: Calabria is home to several national parks and nature reserves, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and outdoor adventures. Explore the rugged landscapes of Aspromonte National Park or trek along the trails of Sila National Park, known for its dense forests and pristine lakes.

  • Sample Local Cuisine: Indulge in Calabria's delicious cuisine, which highlights fresh seafood, sun-ripened produce, and spicy 'nduja sausage. Taste regional specialties like swordfish involtini, Calabrese pizza, and pasta with sardines, and don't forget to enjoy a scoop of tartufo or gelato for dessert.

  • Experience Local Festivals: Immerse yourself in Calabria's vibrant cultural scene by attending traditional festivals and events. Witness colorful processions, lively music, and age-old rituals during celebrations like the Tarantella Festival in Caulonia or the Festa di San Rocco in Palmi.

  • Visit Historic Landmarks: Explore iconic landmarks such as the Aragonese Castle in Reggio Calabria, which houses the National Archaeological Museum with its impressive collection of ancient artifacts, including the famous Riace Bronzes.

  • Take a Boat Tour: Discover Calabria's rugged coastline and hidden gems by taking a boat tour or renting a small boat. Explore sea caves, secluded beaches, and picturesque coastal villages from the water, and enjoy snorkeling or diving in the clear Mediterranean Sea.


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