Italy beyond the classics: Discover hidden gems for UK travelers
Italy is home to world-famous destinations like Rome, Venice, and Florence that attract millions of visitors every year. However, beyond its iconic cities lies a trove of under-the-radar gems waiting to be explored. Let’s uncover 11 such hidden gems in Italyperfect for UK travellers seeking unique and authentic experiences.
11 Hidden Gems in Italy to Explore for a Memorable Holiday
1). Civita di Bagnoregio
Civita di Bagnoregiois located on the top of a crumbling cliff in the Lazio region. It has earned nicknames like the “dying city” and “cittachemuore” (the city that dies).But this gradually eroding medieval village is very much alive as a hidden gems. It is one of the top day trips from Rome for a glimpse of Old-World Italy. Its precarious position and challenging geography have largely preserved it from modernization.
Wander the pedestrian-only lanes and cross the footbridge into town for stunning views. Don’t miss the 12th century Romanesque Duomo at Civita’s highest point!
When to Visit Civita di Bagnoregio?
- Avoid rainy days as there are chances of threatening landslides.
- Summers are the busiest, while spring and fall allow more room to travel easily.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your Italy visa appointment today to get started!
2). Take a Trip from Bari to Matera
The ports and narrow winding streets of Bari Vecchia give this often-overlooked city real charm.
As Puglia’s capital, Bari also boasts:
- A 12th century basilica
- Archaeological Museum, and
- Imposing Norman-era castle encircling the old town
When you are ready to venture onward, buses and trains conveniently connect Bari and Matera in under two hours. New fast trains cover the distance in almost an hour. With a rental car, you can stop midway at Alberobello to explore its fanciful trulli houses.
Bari is calling you out. Have you applied for an Italian Visa from UK?
The ancient city of Matera is having its fame moment after being featured in films and serving as a 2019 European Capital of Culture.
Its cave-likedwellings carved from limestone cliffs were inhabited since prehistoric times until authorities forcefully removed residents in the 1950s over poverty and disease concerns.
Now revived as shops, hotels and restaurants, Matera’s cavernous structures create a one-of-a-kind lodging experience for visitors.
Top Things to Do in Matera Italy:
- Wander the Sassi of Matera, the ancient cave network and historic centre of the city.
- Stay overnight in cave accommodation such as the Cenebio Hotel, Aquatio Cave Hotel, and Palazzo Del Duca to discover richness of Matera.
- Visit rock-cut churches with Byzantine frescoes such as Sistine Chapel, San Primo, and Sant’Egidio to uncover spiritual heritage of Matera.
All you need is a VFS Italian visa to explore this hidden gems of an attraction with your loved ones!
4). Val d’Orcia, Tuscany
Rolling green hills and cypress-lined roads make Val d’OrciaTuscany world famous as quintessential Tuscan landscape.
While its beauty draws plenty of tourists, Val d’Orcia feels more intimate and hidden compared to hotspot neighbours like Chianti or San Gimignano. Base yourself at a countryside B&B and look out for the following iconic Val d’Orcia photography spots:
- Cypress alley leading to Abbey of Sant’Antimo
- Hay bales dotting fields under Tuscan sun
- Hilltop towns of Pienza, Radicofani and Montalcino (famous for its Brunello wine)
5). Langhe Wine Region
If Tuscany is on your Italian wine region bucket list, carve out time for off-the-radar Langhe in Piedmont. Its vineyard-blanketed slopes produce world-class Barolo and Barbaresco wines.
Follow winding roads to castle-topped wineries and villages for tastings.Then relish on Langhe cuisine like handmade pasta, truffles, cheeses and hazelnuts.
Pro-Tip: Visit Langhe Italyin late October/early November during harvest season.
How to Get to Langhe Wine Region?
Langhe lies between the towns of Alba and Asti. Reach it by rental car from Turin or Milan airports.
6). Modica, Sicily
Far below Italy’s boot tip lies Modica, a standout among Sicily’s constellation of Baroque towns.
While visitors flock to Palermo or Taormina, fewer venture south to Modica Sicily Italy. You will find this place on a dramatic location on the top of rocky ravines.
Walk past chocolatiers working busily over Modica’s famous chocolate made using an Aztec technique. This complex, grainy chocolate pairs perfectly with another regional specialty: beefy, slow-cooked ragù.
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7). Cinque Terre
Stretching along the Italian Riviera, the five seaside villages known as Cinque Terre top many travellers’ lists.
Hike coastal trails linking the beautiful villages.Take Instagram-worthy shots of colourful, stacked houses clinging impossibly to sheer cliffs right above sapphire waters.
Cinque Terre’s no longer an unknown place. And visiting it apart from summer adds back that hidden gems feeling through peaceful hikes and hotels to yourself. September is the perfect time to visit Cinque Terre Italy as it brings fewer crowds and prices are lower too.
8). Cinque Terre Towns
Explore Cinque Terre’s five villages, each with its own charm:
- Riomaggiore: Cinque Terre’s largest town, famed for its steep multi-coloured houses cascading down to the sea.
- Manarola: Possibly the most photographed village with vines growing on huge black nets over a small rocky bay.
- Corniglia: The only village not directly sea-facing, instead located on a ridge surrounded by vineyards.
- Vernazza: Often called Cinque Terre’s crown jewel, where you can admire the remains of a castle and patrol tower.
- Monterosso al Mare: The most resort-like town with a sandy beach, old and new town districts, and scenic convent perched atop.
Want to explore these fascinating places? Start off by applying for an Italy Visa London!
9). Travel from Pisa to Cinque Terre
An easy day trip from Florence, Pisa attracts hordes to photograph its famous Leaning Tower.
However, don’t forget to explore Pisa’s:
- Historic Campo deiMiracoli complex, striking black and white marble Duomo, and
- Lungarno waterfront promenades.
Bid arrivederci (good-bye) to this Tuscan treasure and in around two hours arrive amid Cinque Terre’s coastline. Direct connections from Pisa Airport takesyou conveniently to the trailhead towns dotting this rugged portion of Italian Riviera.
With regular train service, you can even stay in Pisa while exploring Cinque Terre’s villages and trails.
With jagged sawtooth peaks, lush meadows and Alpine refuges, northern Italy’s Dolomites Mountain range feels truly alpine.
Yet this UNESCO World Heritage Site sees fewer crowds and lower prices compared to better-known Alps regions. Satisfy your adventure cravings through hiking, biking, via ferrata climbing routes, paragliding and winter sports.
You can choose accommodation in laidback towns like Cortina d’Ampezzo or hipper San Cassiano in the Fassa Valley.
11). Gargano National Park
Largely overlooked by foreign tourists, the Gargano promontory in sunny Puglia extends dramatically into the Adriatic like Italy’s spur.
Under-the-radar Gargano rewards visitors to Southern Italy with:
- Whitewashed coastal towns,
- Ancient trulli dotted farms, and
- The Foresta Umbra’s green forested heart
Use seaside hub Vieste as your base for:
- Island hopping
- Coastal drives between lighthouse lookouts
- Inland walks and
- Unwinding under olive trees
Beyond Rome, Venice and Amalfi’s star power lies hidden gem destinations rich in beauty, culture and far fewer crowds.
Take the road less travelled to Italy’s Civita di Bagnoregio, Matera, Langhe wine region and more emerging must-see spots. Wander peaceful walking paths, sample local food and wine flavours, and discover why Italy feels like visiting numerous countries in one. Got your Italy Visa from UK yet? Italy’s waiting for you!
An Italian hidden gem offers just as much beauty, charm and cultural immersion as its more famous counterparts but with smaller crowds. Hidden gems allow deeper insight into authentic local culture.
The nearest international airport is in Pisa, about an hour away from Cinque Terre by direct train. Some flights also serve Genoa Airport just an hour north.
Popular mountain base towns include Cortina d’Ampezzo with its alpine chic vibe or smaller Fassa Valley towns like Vigo di Fassa for hiking access. Stay in Canazei to reach both.
Italy tops the world for the most UNESCO World Heritage sites with 58 cultural and natural gems protected including Venice, Amalfi Coast and Aeolian Islands.
The easiest way is by rental car for flexibility. Another option: small group tours mixing winery visits with medieval towns and authentic cuisine. Public transportation limits your options.