Italy is a haven for travellers with its nicely balanced offering of history, culture and scenic beauty. This makes a vacation in Italy one of the most sought after things to do in every avid traveler’s list. However, some regions in Italy have more to offer than the others. Here is a list of five of the most beautiful regions of Italy, each with their own unique set of spectacular attractions.
Main Tourist Attractions in Tuscany
Major Cities: Florence, Pisa, Sienna, Lucca, Arezzo
Popular Cultural Landmarks and Sites: Leaning Tower of Pisa, Florence Cathedral, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Siena Cathedral, Basilica of Santa Croce, San Miniato al Monte, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Duomo, Palazzo Communal, Santa Maria Novella
Popular Museums and Galleries: Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Gallery, Museo Galileo, Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Museo del Bargello, Museo di San Marco
Popular Piazzas, Parks and Gardens: Piazza del Campo, Piazzale Michelangelo, Piazza del Signoria, Piazza del Duomo, Piazza dei Miracoli, Boboli Gardens
Home to Modena, Ravenna and Bologna is the small but among the most beautiful regions of Italy, Emilia-Romagna. The best part about this place is the most confusing to some. Let’s just put it in this way, the history of this region is confusing to most! The area was divided into various towns and cities during the Renaissance and the Middle Ages, and continued with that even after it came under the jurisdiction of the Pope during the sixteenth century. All these kingdoms brought with them myriad castles. In fact it’s impossible to drive a mile or two without seeing a castle around here! Many are even open to tourists for the night like the Castello di Rezzanello, Castell’Arquato and Rocca d’Olgisio.
Europe’s oldest university in Bologna happens to be in the middle of the Romagna-Emilia region. It was founded in 1088 and not so surprisingly had its hallways walked by some of the biggest names we know today including Copernicus, Dante, Pope Alexander VI, and Albrecht Durer. Its academic fervour is quite alive till date.
The Motor Valley is home to famous car makers including Maserati, Ducati, Ferrari and Lamborghini. Each of these also has their own museums open to tourist. Surely a must visit!
Emilia-Romagna brings to mind a picture of gorgeous domes, the streets full of people talking in loud Italian, graceful locations and valleys. The atmosphere is very favourable to any lover of art. The gothic churches, the Romanesque Duomo and other theatres that have stood there since Renaissance period are a treat to the eye.
Main Tourist Attractions in Emilia-Romagna
Major Cities: Bologna, Ravenna, Modena, Rimini
Popular Cultural Landmarks and Sites: Basilica San Vitale, Duomo di Modena, Santo Stefano, Castello Estense, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Modena Cathedral, Fountain of Neptune, Basilica di San Petronio, Tiberius Bridge, Towers of Bologna
Popular Museums and Galleries: Museo Ferrari, San Domenico Museum
Popular Piazzas, Parks and Gardens: Piazza Maggiore
Located in the heart of Italy and stretching from the Adriatic Sea to the Apennines, the Abruzzo is mainly a mountainous and wild area. The mountains are dotted with resorts and some fine facilities for winter sports. The high rising peaks of the Laga Mountains and the Mount Majella look splendid as they reach out towards the Adriatic coast. Many reserves here such as National Parks of Abruzzo and the Gran Sasso Park have undertaken the responsibility to maintain the pristine environment around here and keep it untouched and unharmed.
A beautiful part of the place is definitely the Adriatic coast. The sandy beaches of the coast running northwards and the pebbles found on the southern parts of the coast show a diverse amalgamation of sorts on a single coastline. Lined by monasteries and small village along with the vast stretches of green, this place is one of the most picturesque locations you can find in all of Italy.
Taking into consideration the art and culture around this place, probably the most fascinating of all is L’Aquila which is located aside the Gran Sasso Mountains. It has the artistic privilege of being the location to the amazing Basilica di San Bernardino and the ninety nine spouts fountain that has embellished stone marks for each spout. The city is famous for ‘the Celestine Pardon’ that offers citizens and tourists routes to venture out to discover the various arts, fait and history around this place. The picturesque city of Scanno, which is located close to the Sangro Valley, wins hearts with its narrow alleys as well as Pope Celestine V’s hermitage.
Main Tourist Attractions in Abruzzo
Major Cities: Pescara, L’Aquila, Chieti, Teramo, Sulmona
Popular Cultural Landmarks and Sites: Rocca Calascio, Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio, Santuario della Madonna dello Splendore, Fortezza Civitella del Tronto, Palazzo dell’Annunziata, Pescara Cathedral, San Giovanni in Venere Abbey, Santa Maria Arabona, Abbey of San Clemente
Popular Museums and Galleries: Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Museo delle Genti d’Abruzzo, Museo Civico Archaeologica
Popular Piazzas, Parks and Gardens: Piazza Garibaldi
Basilicata in the southern part of Italy is a land of ancient forests and villages. The region was originally and famously known as Lucania, named after the tribal people of Lucanii tribe who first settled here. In fact, most people today refer to themselves as Lucanian, showing how the place has survived its culture in changing times.
Settlements belonging to the Greeks came up later when they invaded this place in the 7th century BC. Many a structure stands tall even today and makes you reminiscent of the Greeks, such as the Ruins of the Temple of Hera in Metaponto.
By the 2nd century the Romans had taken over the place, this was followed by the Byzantines and then the Spaniards. It remained a Spanish province for the next two hundred years to come. It was in 1860 that Basilicata became a part of Italy but was notoriously ruled by bandits, more or less. After the Second World War the Italian government brought in some reforms and since then reformation has been a continuous process.
One of the most gorgeous regions of Italy, this place has been the location for more than one Hollywood movie. The scenic beauty is absolutely breathtaking and completely untouched by the modern world, being still in its pristine form. Abounding in natural beauty, Basilicata will leave you mesmerized with its gorgeous coast dotted with sea caves, stalagmite formations and underground caverns.
Main Tourist Attractions in Basilicata
Major Cities: Potenza, Matera
Popular Cultural Landmarks and Sites: Sassi di Matera, Madonna delle Virtu, Castello Tramontano, Chiesa San Pietro Barisano
Popular Museums and Galleries: Musma
Popular Piazzas, Parks and Gardens: Pollino National Park, Gallipoli Cognato Park, National Park Val D’Agri Lagonegrese
5. Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Friuli–Venezia Giulia is one of the regions that have a large area, which itself is a good reason to travel to the place! For many European countries the place is a natural opening to the sea allowing trade routes to flourish quite easily and helping the economy in many ways. On its borders lies Austria towards the north and Slovenia on the eastern side. Almost half of the total area is covered with mountainous alpine region in the northern part and almost 20 percent is hilly mostly in the south east, while the rest make up the coastal and more central regions.
The region used to once come under the Roman Empire, and the city of Aquileia was founded all the way back in 181 BC by the Romans. After many years of wars, with the change of throne, a lot changed in the small region of Friuli. During the First World War this region was a famous centre for operations and its citizens suffered a lot at that time with explosions and army operations. During the Second World War it came upon the threshold of the Anglo-American Administration in Trieste in 1954 and when it was reunited with Italy, the Italian constitution granted Friuli the special and autonomous authority that it houses today unlike other parts of Italy.
The region’s cuisine, culture, literature, architecture and music all symbolize diversity. The different ethnic, linguistic and historical components come into the making of what the place is today, regardless of the boundaries that have now been drawn in the wake of contemporary times.
Main Tourist Attractions in Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Major Cities: Trieste, Udine
Popular Cultural Landmarks and Sites: Castello di Miramare, Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, Villa Manin, Piazza della Liberta, Borgo Castello, Udine Castle
Popular Museums and Galleries: Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Revoltella Museum
Popular Piazzas, Parks and Gardens: Piazza Maggiore, Piazza Unità d’Italia