Picture yourself in Rome, eating a delicious slice of pizza from a real Italian pizzeria with the sun beaming down and a gentle breeze on your face… only to then have the moment ruined by a crowd of noisy tourists rushing by, honking cars, and a couple next to you having a dramatic argument. This probably isn’t what you had in mind when you booked your trip to Italy, but it’s unfortunately a part of the experience if you’re visiting any major city; especially Italian cities such as Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence.
Do you still want an Italian summer but without the big crowds and loud tourist spots? Our tip is from away from the big cities and to explore the more ‘under the radar’ places in Italy. We compiled a list of some of the best areas in Italy where you can have an authentic experience but with the much-needed peace and quiet you want on your vacation. Start planning your trip to Italy—find out which is the best way to get there either by train, bus or flight—and try to travel to a quieter Italian destination during November to April, during the quieter seasons.
Things don’t get much more picturesque than at Lake Como. Located a stone’s throw away from Milan, Lake Como’s crystal blue waters, beautiful green scenery, cute villas, and fashionable citizens is why everyone is flocking to this Italian destination. Although it is not quite ‘undiscovered Italy’, especially now that George Clooney and other A-list celebs have been spotted hanging out here, Lake Como is still a must-see location during the warmer months. Find a nice spot for a picnic and simply bask in the gorgeous surroundings, or take a dip in the lake itself. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet George and his friends!
Located on Italy’s coastline, not too far from Genoa, is Cinque Terre. The name translates to “Five Lands” and describes the five small yet striking villages that comprise it: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cinque Terre looks like something out of a fairy tale with cute and colorful houses overhanging jagged cliffs. This is one of the best areas of Italy for getting lost in on purpose, as the winding, ancient streets will draw you in and the hours fly by as you jump from quaint shops to classy seafood restaurants to old-fashioned cafes. Hiking trails are plentiful here and you’ll find many Instagram moments scattered throughout the area.
Although not quite an off-the-beaten-path destination, Sardinia is a quieter holiday destination in Italy. You might have to share it with a few other tourists, but unless you’ve got yourself a private island, Sardinia is the next best thing. Italy is spoilt for choice when it comes to glamorous islands, but it’s hard to beat Sardinia for its nature, beaches, watersports, fascinating historical sights, and some of the best hiking spots in the country. The island’s capital, Cagliari, is probably the best place to try out first, but Sardinia is chock-full of quieter areas. If you want to stick to Cagliari, check out the Bastione for a great view of the city and accompanying bay, plus an epic sunset if you time it right.
If you’re a lover of valleys, villages, lakes, mountains, and not to mention olive oil and wine, then you’re going to enjoy the Etruscan Coast in Tuscany. This is a great retreat from busy crowds and city life and is also spectacularly colorful in autumn. There are also the beaches and ocean views to lap up, in between all the wineries to check out and gelato and pizza to try. While it’s not exactly the best place to go if you’re on a diet, there are still plenty of biking and walking trails where you can work off the food!
Majella National Park
If you really want to feel isolated from the rest of Italy and even the world, then wander around the Majella National Park and experience a true hidden gem. This is one of the best unknown places in Italy—with camping areas, animal watching, and walking trails which are dotted throughout the park. When winter rolls around it’s a fantastic ski spot, too. A perfect destination to get away from it all at any time of the year, Majella will make you fall in love with nature and help you relax and unwind—without any screaming tourists.