10 underrated Italian destinations: unlikely yet enchanting cities

August 8, 2022

Italy is a treasure chest full of wonders and beautiful cities to visit. In this article we’ve highlighted 10 destinations that may not be the first choice in travel guides. These places are yet to be fully discovered by tourists, making them perfect for those seeking a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience.

Gabicce, Marche

With just over five thousand inhabitants, Gabicce is a charming municipality in the Marche region, located in the province of Pesaro and Urbino. Situated on the northern border with Emilia Romagna, Gabicce boasts the scenic Baia degli Angeli on the northern slopes of Monte San Bartolo. Here you can venture beyond the tourist facilities to discover secluded beaches through trekking, unveiling the wild side of the island.

Vasto and Punta Aderci, Abruzzo

Vasto, an ancient city in the Chieti region of Abruzzo, is a dream destination. With around 42,000 inhabitants, it is located on the Adriatic Sea, not far from the stunning Punta Aderci nature reserve. Perched on a hill, Vasto offers unique sights such as Castello Caldoresco and the impressive Palazzo D'Avalos, surrounded by beautiful gardens. The nearby Punta Aderci nature reserve, just a 15-minute drive away, features spectacular bays and a breathtaking play of colors.

Punta Aderci, an underrated Italian destination

Marina di Pisciotta, Campania

Located 100 km south of Salerno in Campania, Pisciotta is a picturesque municipality within the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park. With just over two thousand inhabitants, Pisciotta amazes visitors with its pastel-colored beauty. The old town, perched on a hill near Marina di Pisciotta beach, offers narrow streets, colorful houses, hidden churches, quaint squares, and an authentic lifestyle.

Monopoli, Puglia

Situated on the Adriatic Sea in the metropolitan city of Bari, Puglia, Monopoli is a gem with 48,819 inhabitants. Easily accessible by car or train, it’ll captivate you with white houses lining crystal-clear waters, creating small bays and natural pools. While the old town can get touristy in summer, it quietens down from September, revealing charming narrow streets adorned with floral decorations. Don't miss the picturesque ancient port of Monopoli, hidden behind the old town!

Bergamo, Lombardy

Located in Lombardy, Bergamo is the capital of the province of Bergamo, with unique Venetian city walls designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. The historic old town, Bergamo Alta, is the heart of the city and is completely surrounded by original walls that have retained their appearance over the years. Highlights include Piazza Vecchia, the Duomo, the Baptistery, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Known for polenta delicacies and as the cheese capital, Bergamo is a must-visit in Lombardy.

Varenna, Lake Como, Lombardy

Varenna, on the eastern shore of Lake Como, is a picturesque haven for nature lovers seeking peace and relaxation away from the typical tourist spots to the Riva Grande lakeshore which features cafes, restaurants, local craft shops, and ice cream parlors. The colorful houses with steep stairs and the romantic Passeggiata degli innamorati (Walk of the Lovers) connecting the city with the small harbor create a South Sea feeling on one of Italy's largest lakes.

The city of Varenna, an underrated Italian destination

Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna

Ravenna, in Emilia-Romagna, is renowned for its colorful mosaics decorating central buildings such as the Basilica di San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo. The city center boasts small cafes and the characteristic flair of Emilia-Romagna, with red house facades blending into the green surroundings. Also consider a detour to the charming coastal town of Cesenatico, just half an hour away by train!

Matera, Basilicata

Matera, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, is a city with 60,400 inhabitants known for its old town, the Sassi, consisting largely of cave settlements. Matera's history, marked by guided tours and interesting museums, reveals a journey back in time to antiquity. Upgraded for tourism, the city earned the title of European Capital of Culture 2009, offering a complex and fascinating experience.

The city of Matera, an underrated Italian destination

Alghero, Sardinia

Alghero, on the northwest coast of Sardinia, stands out with its historic city wall and Catalan-Gothic style buildings, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria and Palazzo Guillot. The picturesque cityscape is completed by colorful house fronts. Located in the province of Sassari, Alghero is not far from the stunning La Pelosa beach.

Termoli, Molise

Termoli, a town in the Molise region, offers a unique experience with its old town perched on a rocky outcrop, providing a stunning view of the Adriatic coast. With a beautiful beach and a romantic harbor, Termoli is an ideal base for boat trips to the enchanting Tremiti Islands. The Borgo, built around the cathedral and the castle, only adds to the charm of this hidden gem.

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