Italy is a country with a rich history and culture, and it offers a wide range of destinations for travelers looking to explore it with a road trip in a van. From the big cities, such as Rome, Florence, and Venice, to the beautiful beaches, mountains and countryside, there is something for everyone to enjoy. This guide will focus on the usual and underrated places to visit, with an emphasis on the bigger cities, seaside tourism, mountain tourism, hiking, and eco-responsible tourism, as well as atypical activities to do.
One of the most usual destinations in Italy for city tourism is Rome, the capital city, known for its rich history and culture. Visitors can explore the ancient ruins of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Pantheon, as well as the Vatican City, the smallest country in the world and home to the Pope. In addition, Rome offers a variety of museums and art galleries, as well as excellent restaurants and shopping options.
Another big city that is popular among tourists is Florence, known for its art, architecture, and culture. Visitors can explore the famous Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Ponte Vecchio, as well as the charming streets of the Oltrarno neighborhood. Florence is also an excellent destination for food and wine lovers, with a variety of restaurants and wine bars serving traditional Tuscan dishes and wines.
While Rome and Florence are certainly worth a visit for their culture, history and art, other bigger cities like Milan and Venice are also worth exploring. Milan is famous for its fashion, design, and architecture, and is home to some of the world's most renowned museums such as Pinacoteca di Brera and Museo del Novecento. Venice, is known for its romantic canals and gondolas, historic buildings and museums such as Gallerie dell'Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
When it comes to seaside tourism, Italy has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The Amalfi Coast, located in the Campania region, is known for its scenic cliffs, crystal clear waters, and charming villages such as Positano and Ravello. The Sardinia island is also a popular destination, offering a variety of beaches, coves, and bays, such as the famous beaches of Cala Goloritze and Cala Mariolu.
The Italian Alps are another must-see destination. The region offers a variety of activities such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking and rock climbing, as well as a range of charming towns and villages, such as Cervinia, Courmayeur, and Val di Fassa. The Dolomites, a mountain range located in northeastern Italy, offers a variety of hiking trails, climbing routes, and scenic viewpoints, such as the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and the Marmolada.
Italy is also a great destination for eco-responsible tourism. The country offers a wide range of options for sustainable travel, such as eco-friendly accommodations, guided tours and activities that promote sustainable practices. There are also several protected natural areas, such as the Cinque Terre National Park, Gran Paradiso National Park and the Stelvio National Park, where visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and bird watching while minimizing the impact on the environment.
When it comes to atypical activities, Italy offers a variety of options. For example, visitors can take a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Italian dishes such as pasta, pizza and gelato. They can also take a hot air balloon ride over the Tuscan countryside, or indulge in a relaxing spa treatment in a thermal bath in Tuscany, such as the famous Terme di Saturnia or the Bagni di Bormio. For adventure seekers, there are also several options for adventure sports such as paragliding, rafting, and canyoning in various regions of Italy.
Another atypical activity that is worth checking out is truffle hunting, a traditional activity that is particularly popular in the Piedmont and Umbria regions. Visitors can join a guided tour led by experienced truffle hunters and their trained dogs, and learn about the process of finding and harvesting truffles.
Do not miss out on the Tuscany region if you plan a road trip to Italy. Known for its picturesque countryside, charming hill towns, and world-famous art and architecture, Tuscany is a top destination for visitors to Italy. The region is home to several historic cities such as Siena, Pisa and Lucca and is a popular destination for wine and culinary tours. Visitors can take a guided tour of the world-famous Chianti vineyards, visit local wineries and taste the region's wines. Tuscany is also famous for its traditional dishes such as Bistecca alla Fiorentina, pasta and truffles.
Another region that is worth checking out is Puglia, located in the heel of the Italian peninsula. Known for its beautiful beaches, ancient towns, and traditional trulli houses, Puglia is an underrated destination that is often overlooked by visitors. The region offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking and birdwatching in the Parco Nazionale del Gargano or take a dip in one of its many crystal clear seas. Additionally, Puglia is known for its traditional local cuisine and wine, particularly the famous Primitivo wine, it's a must-try for any visitors to the region.
For visitors interested in art, the Veneto region is a great destination. The region is home to several historic towns such as Verona, Vicenza and Padua and is also home to one of the most famous art museums in the world, the Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia. The museum is home to several masterpieces by famous artists such as Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese, making it a must-visit destination for art lovers. Additionally, visitors to the region can take a trip to the Palladian villas, a series of villas in the Veneto region that were designed by the famous architect Andrea Palladio, who was born in Padua.
Finally, for visitors looking for a unique experience, the region of Sardinia offers the opportunity to visit the Nuraghi, the island's unique ancient structures. These mysterious structures, which date back to the Bronze Age, are scattered across the island, and offer a glimpse into the island's fascinating history and culture. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Nuraghi, and learn about their history, as well as enjoy some of the island's beautiful landscapes and beaches.
All in all, Italy offers a wide range of destinations that cater to different interests, whether it's history, art, nature, culture, and food. The country's rich history, culture, and natural beauty make it a great destination for those looking for a varied and fulfilling experience.