When you travel to Italy, the top destinations on your list probably are Rome, Florence, Venice and perhaps a stop for some Tuscan sun. But there are so many beautiful cities in Italy that you probably didn’t even know about that are brimming with charm. These gorgeous cities, with rolling, green valleys, magical villages, and delicious cuisine all make for dream Europe travel. You’ll easily fall in love with the Italian culture and the old world charm. Here are some of our favorite and relatively lesser-known cities for your Italy travel wishlist:
Bergamo is a stunning city in the northeast region of Milan. A medieval city of art and architecture, Bergamo offers you unparalleled views of its Upper Town (Città Alta), its Lower Town (Città Bassa), both tangled by Venetian walls and cobblestone streets. An incredible travel site to see is the Piazza Vecchia, the heart of Upper Town, which sits on a hill above the city.
With Renaissance and Baroque art, popular museums, vast city squares, corner markets, and top-notch Italian restaurants, your travels to Bergamo will be unforgettable. If you choose to venture outside of Bergamo for a day, Milan is only an hour or so away by car or bus. Either way, this medieval city is a perfect Italy travel destination for romance and adventure. Turn back the clock at this magnificent, Europe travel gem!
Parma is a fairytale city in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna northern region of the country. Home of Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, balsamic vinegar, and Bolognese sauce, the city of Parma, although lesser known, is one of Italy’s culinary superstars. It’s the ideal travel destination for food fanatics and culinary critics. Here, in Parma, you won’t even feel guilty about putting on some pasta pounds. And, what’s amazing is that its treasures don’t stop at Italian cuisine.
Some of the most visited travel attractions are the Parma Cathedral, the Palazzo della Pilotta (a palace with a gallery, theater, and museum), the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata, and its many art museums along the way. If you travel to Parma for a day, a week, or more, there’s plenty of exciting things to do in this charming city.
Trieste is the beautiful capital, port city of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region in northeast Italy. With street-side cafés, bustling buffets, high-level restaurants, and bars that come to life at night, Trieste is a lesser known city that enchants, a place that attracts travel writers, artists, and photographers from all over the world. This European center will have you coming back for more, as you stroll through stone streets with glistening views of the water.
If you travel to Trieste, some of the most popular travel sites include the Miramare Castle, the Piazza Unita d’Italia (a public square with a landmark fountain), the Trieste Cathedral (a gorgeous stop for Roman ruins), and the Revoltella Museum (which houses furniture displays and art). Trieste also is said to have the finest coffee in the world, as the city offers strings of Viennese-style coffee houses and cafés. An Italy travel lover simply can’t miss the best coffee you’ve ever had!
Turin is the gorgeous capital city of Piedmont in northern Italy. This city gave us the first hard chocolates (thank you) and Italy’s most iconic car, the Fiat. With tree-lined boulevards, nouveau cafés, and contemporary art, Turin is a magical travel destination of culture and romance. You should definitely add Turin to your travel bucket lists, as its new world charm will give you extraordinary views and unforgettable memories for your travel scrapbooks.
Some popular attractions to see on your Europe travels are the Museo Egizio (a museum that showcases mummies and sphinxes), the Mole Antonelliana (a prominent landmark with a cinema museum), and the National Museum of Cinema. Whatever travel sites you choose to explore, Turin will give you its history and its cultural stories at its famous landmarks. Travel to Italy for an experience of a lifetime as you’re tasting chocolates and driving fancy Fiats.
Siracusa is a stunning city on the Ionian coast of Sicily, a place known for its ancient ruins and old travel wonders. More than any other city in Italy, Siracusa captures Sicily’s timeless beauty and splendor. With baroque piazzas, golden medieval lanes, and a sparkling blue sea, this city will win over your heart within minutes. There’s so much to see and explore on the edges of history at Siracusa. It’s truly a European travel marvel for all to enjoy.
Some travel attractions to visit on your journey are Ortygia (an island that represents the historical center of the city), the Ancient Theater of Taormina (remains of a Greek-Roman theater), the Ear of Dionysius (a limestone cave), and the Fountain of Arethusa (a legendary fountain with flora). Whether on vacation or on your honeymoon, your travels to Siracusa will blow you away.
Vicenza is a beautiful city in northeastern Italy that straddles the Bacchiglione River. This city is an Italian heaven, an ever-changing landscape of mountains, emerald valleys, flowing rivers, art and literary towns, and wine and food places that all offer you marvelous landscapes. Ranked among the World Heritage list, Vicenza is an ideal travel destination to go for the best of both worlds, for old and new. You’ll have so much to see and experience during your time here.
The most popular travel sites to go to are the Basilica Palladiana and the Museo Palladiano (both which highlight the artistic talents of Palladio), the Piazza dei Signori, and the Loggia del Capitano (part of Vicenza’s Town Hall). Vicenza is the perfect place for architecture enthusiasts. Experience the culture here at its most expressive – another lovely addition to your Italy travel list.
Catania is an amazing port city on Sicily’s east coast that sits on the edges of Mount Etna, an active volcano. With its beauty at first glance, this lesser known city has a magnetic pull that attracts thousands of unique visitors every single year. Also, as Sicily’s second largest city, Catania remains known for its contemporary art museums, sweeping piazzas, black-and-white towers, and soaring domes.
On your travels, you can visit Castello Ursino (artifacts on display in a castle), the Catania Cathedral, or the Palazzo degli Elefanti (a 17th-century palace and the city’s current Town Hall). Whichever travel attractions you choose, Catania is a breath of fresh air. A must for your Italy travel list!
Ragusa is a breathtaking city in southern Italy known for its grey-stone houses and bustling squares of center city. Although part of the city and the surrounding region had to be rebuilt because of a 1693 earthquake, Ragusa Superiore (New Town) and Ragusa Ibla (Old Town) now combine to form a beautiful panorama of travel views. You’ll be able to dine at some of the best restaurants in the country, as you immerse yourself into the jewels of Italian culture.
Some travel attractions to check out are the Irminio (a nature reserve), the Garden Ibleo (an adorable public park), and the Ragusa Cathedral (that houses art and relics from the 1700s). Ragusa will charm you as soon as you step foot into its piazzas, as you feel like you’re walking in the middle of a fairytale world.
Your Italy travel memories will be so much richer if it includes these relatively under-the-radar, gorgeous cities.