Italy is a place of dreams for so many, with history you can feel as you wander down the streets, incredible people and food, and geography that lets you find just about anything you are looking for. The common destinations for visitors include the classics, such as Rome, Venice and Florence. But the list of places worth visiting is never-ending.
With that in mind, here are 3 places less known to tourists, but that are definitely worth visiting.
Palermo is a Sicilian city that has been awarded the 2018 Capital of Culture title. It is becoming more popular amongst visitors, but has very well maintained its identity. You get an authentic experience in Palermo and as the mayor proudly shared, the city has a special “culture of welcome”. Palermo historically was an important trading center, still apparent in the spirit of its lively markets today. Visitors can explore the markets, visit the botanic gardens, relax along the gorgeous coastline close by, soak up the warm weather and enjoy the incredible local food and wine. It is very common for locals to rent out their second homes and by using tools like WishSicily it is possible to find villas in Palermo to stay in, instead of a traditional hotel.
Matera is a unique city located in southern Italy on the border of Basilicata and Puglia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its sassi, two neighborhoods of stone dwellings, and is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement apart from Petra, Jordan. Walking around Matera is unlike any experience you’d be able to have elsewhere, with its beauty up close sure to leave you in awe and the view of the city from a few steps back lets your imagination truly wander. Matera is not connected via the national rail system, but it is via the regional connect. The train from Bari to Matera, for example, takes around 1.5 hours.
Trieste is a northeastern port city located just under the Slovenian border. The city most recently returned to Italy in 1954, otherwise owned or occupied throughout its history as a frontier city. Along part of the city, visitors can see a mix of neoclassical buildings, the Canal Grande and Piazza Unità d’Italia. The other part that is open to the water very much so resembles Venice’s St. Mark’s. Due to its location and history, it is a special city where many cultures intermingled, such as Italian, Slavic, Germanic, Jewish and Greek culture. Travel writer Jan Morris explained that Trieste ‘offers no unforgettable landmark, no universally familiar melody, no unmistakable cuisine’. And yet, it is a special city that has and continues to draw people from all walks of life.
There are many other places to explore that are less known to the majority of foreigners. Once you have one location chosen, it is an adventure in it of itself to venture to the surrounding cities and villages. You can ask a local for a recommendation, pick a spot out on a map or just simply explore.