As far as the movies, travel guides and personal blogs tell us, Italy is one of the most beautiful places in the world and getting there should be something towards which we aim at least once in our lives. With any number of ancient sites to choose from, however, knowing where to start in the Mediterranean country can be the biggest challenge of all and with so many well documented guides already out there, it can be hard to feel like you’re seeing anything for the first time.
It turns out, however, there might be another side to the country that we simply haven’t seen before and by traveling off the beaten path, it’s possible to experience a much more authentic, less captured side of the historical country. But where should you start? These spots might not be exhaustive but, use any one of them as your starting point and you’re guaranteed to have a trip to remember.
Located a short 90 minute trip outside of Rome, Orvieto is a great way to glimpse the Italian countryside if you’re taking a longer trip in the country’s capital. Located on a picturesque hillside, the winding town offers spectacular views of the local area and surrounding countryside, showing off the wonders of the Umbrian landscape. Inside the city walls, it’s much the same story and with many of the city’s older buildings still well preserved, it’s very easy to get a glimpse of what life was like hundreds of years ago. While there are any number of picturesque spots to see, the local cathedral really takes the cake, filled with intricate mosaic tiles and stained glass windows like you might have never seen before.
Want to cool off at the beach? Rimini is the spot for you. A local favorite, Rimini is a great seaside resort off the beaten track, offering you all the benefits of Italian culture will the possibility of cooling off at the end of the day with a quick seaside dip. With a whopping 9 miles of seafront, the beach options in the town go on for days and you might be hard pressed to choose a beach that you prefer the most. It’s not just all about the water either; you can stroll the city’s promenade and sample any number of local dishes, stopping into bars and cafes as you please.
The city that gave its name to the celebrated ham, Parma is about so much more than great food. While most tourists do flock to the place for its celebrated cuisine and local delicacies, there is a great deal to see within the town. There are many walking tours on offer which give you a glimpse into Parma’s long and winding past, giving you the backstory on any number of buildings and monuments. If your tummy’s rumbling, there’s plenty for you, too; one of the most popular walking tours takes a look inside a number of cheese making shops, letting you sample the local delicacies before you settle on a choice.
If you’re looking for a quieter, calmer version of the Amalfi coast then Puglia has you well covered. Renowned for its unique cone shaped huts, the town has a rich and vibrant culture and many of its older buildings still stand today. As well as the picturesque local views and noteworthy architectural feats, the town is renowned for its great selection of local foods and produce and whether cheese, olives or bread is your thing, there’s bound to be something out there to suit your tastes.
One of the most colorful places in the country, Portofino is a real photographer’s dream. Dotted with pastel colored houses, sparkling turquoise swimming spots and any number of sailing yachts, the seaside towns is one of the prettiest places in Italy and one of the best places to unwind after a long day. While most travelers head to Portofino to kick back and relax, there are a number of great walks to be had in the town, offering great view over the local area and coastline. Try heading up Castello Brown Fortress for the best view of the region; located high up on the hillside, it takes in the place in one sweeping view.