Italy is renowned as one of the most attractive countries in the world; who doesn’t love high quality coffee and food, artistic masterpieces, and top-of-the-line shopping? We all know that we can find these things in the famous cities of Rome, Florence, and Milan, but with all their popularity among tourists, these locations can get pretty crowded and sometimes even lose some charm. Why not skip the crowds of people dripping with sweat and rushing past you to get into one of the main tourist attractions and enjoy the virtues of Italy off of the beaten track. Get to know another side of what Italy has to offer and you may be surprised to find that the highlights of Italy, and perhaps some of the most memorable moments of travel you have experienced to-date will show up in these beautiful but underrated cities listed below.
Come over to Altamura for some famous bread and perhaps even a stay in a cave hotel! This is a great place to get lost and explore dynamic and historic territory. Among the most characteristic features of Altamura are its monuments, such as the Romanesque Cathedral. This picturesque Cathedral features ancient medieval walls once used as tombs adjacent to a variety of interesting tumuli (gravestones). The megalithic walls of Altamura are essential features of the area and also responsible for the city’s name, built in 500 B.C, and offering an incredible sight. Altamura has also proved to be an illustrious place for fossils, some dating the presence of human settlement around 400,000 B.C.
9. Bergamo Alta
The city of Bergamo Alta is decorated with imposing statues of intricate detail scaling the interiors and exteriors of the extravagant buildings and churches. This upper city (above the more modern Bergamo Bassa) is a historic center complete with stunning 12th century buildings such as those within the Palazzo della Ragione and Piazza Vecchia. After an authentic Italian meal in the city, sing your way into the great Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, constructed over 3 centuries and used for singing and music lessons for 800 years! When you see the dome’s frescoes you will have no doubts about why this church was deemed a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. It is hard not to fall in love with the aesthetics and vibrations of this wonderful place!
Among the most ancient of Italian cities, mystical legends of the Greeks assert that Chieti dates back to 1181 B.C. with a fascinating history! First impressions of the city may include a wonderful juxtaposition between modern and ancient architecture and a beautiful balance of nature and city-scape, depending on where you are coming from. Within the city you will find quaint authentic cafés and restaurants peppered among history-filled museums which lie at the center of gardens and bring together statues and portraits of Roman times. You will also find magnificent castles and architecture in the foreground of the Abruzzo Mountains. In addition to the local feel, Chieti offers a wealth of fine hotels and even spas to keep you refreshed as you continue to explore this lovely place!
7. Torino (Turin)
The city of Torino is among the most historically significant cities in all of Italy. Back in the mid-19th century it was home to the royal family and first capital city of Italy. Remnants of the city’s regal days can be found in unique features and monuments such as the archways over the sidewalks (so the king did not have to worry about the rain) and Piazza San Carlo. Today, the city contains some of top academic institutions of Italy and is populated by festive young adults and upholds the third strongest economy in Italy. Torino is known for its fantastic art and culture as it is rich with art galleries, piazzas, opera houses, museums, theaters and architecture of Renaissance baroque, rococo, and neo-classical styles.
Brilliantly located in the Italian Alps, Aosta offers a place of endless scenery spanning from the forests, rock, waterfalls, and lakes, through to the intricate ancient architecture, and reaching into the depths of the mighty Alps. You will need a great camera at all times to capture the beauty of the moment in this city! The breathtaking experience will not end with the outside view, as Aosta is also home to the Roman Theatre, established during the famous reign of Augustus. You will not want to miss the impressively in-tact ancient town border (2379 by 1873 feet) of Augusta Praetoria Salassorum or the Aosta Cathedral, originally built in the 4th century and replaced in the 11th, along with many more things to see and do.
Trieste is a vibrantly painted city packed with grand architecture. As a result of being located between Germanic, Latin, and Slavic cultures, the roots of Triste lie in various cultures that have left different and interesting marks on the city throughout its history. The eclectic influences on Triste have also contributed to it being one of the most important seaports in the Mediterranean. You cannot simply pass by the majestic square of Piazza Unità d’Italia which is not only breathtaking in its own right, but also known to be the largest seafront in Europe! Other must-sees include the old medieval city of Città Vecchia, the Austrian quarter, Jt. Justus Cathedral and the Serbia Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity and St. Spyridon from the 19th century.
The city of Capri is a gem of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Campania region of Italy. Though it is small in size, the city-island is full of beauty and delights. Abundant in natural splendour and a variety of sights, it is hard to imagine anyone who will not be enticed by the vibrancy of this city that has been an adored resort since the time of the Roman Republic. Capri is known to have attracted many European artists, writers and other celebrities who have left their mark in exhibitions and memoirs that you can explore across the 12 churches and 7 museums and monuments. From the grottos to the galleries, this is a great and unique place to visit while in Italy.
3. Siracusa (Syracuse)
Siracusa is an important and exciting city with very strong religious and historical roots. The history of Siracusa has its foundations in the Greek period, which the Italians have preserved through great monuments such as the Temple of Apollo – which makes it an awesome place to re-enact some of the greatest Greek stories within the espresso capital of the world. An off the charts favourite with an unmatched local atmosphere, great shopping, and unforgettable food. This city is also revered for its mention in the bible as a place visited by the Apostle Paul, and celebrates their city’s patron saint, Saint Lucy, with a feast day in mid-December. Currently, the city is a World Heritage Site of great influence, enabling economic flourish, cleanliness and comforts.
Siena is a gorgeous rustic city in the middle of the Tuscan region; the entire city is a fascinating place with a medieval vibe! Unlike some of the more popular cities of Italy, Siena offers a welcoming space with the opportunity to really delve deep into the offerings of the area. The gothic Duomo or church is a must-see, bursting with incredible colours and designs throughout the inside of the cathedral as well as the Piccolomini library. The city centers on the gigantic piazza del Campo, where a famous biannual horse race is held and broadcasted throughout all of Italy! Climb to amazing views of the city or enter into the beautiful Torre del Mangia and Civic Museum for a haven of timeless art and culture.
Positano is a natural paradise, characterized by crystal blue waters, gorgeous landscapes, and ideal weather. What is even more impressive, though, is the peaceful and safe communal ambience that has been cultivated into an unparalleled social atmosphere, where everyone is laughing with wine in hand, children play freely and everyone says hello with a bright warm smile. After a fantastic day at the beach you can also experience the more delectable pleasures of quality food and drink within one of the many restaurants along the coast or even a small boat ride away, often while being serenaded by live music and the melodic Italian language. It is also a great hub from which to travel the wondrous Amalfi Coast – a perfect Italian getaway!