Cities, parks, amazing places between culture and nature: here are the top 10 destinations not to be missed in Italy in 2024 selected by Visit Italy

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A millennial history, unforgettable art cities, idyllic scenery; and then the warmth of the people and the countless adventures to live in every region, from one end of the country to the other. Italy is a shrine of treasures to visit and discover little by little, trip after trip.

What really matters is not to limit yourself to the most famous sites, as nice as they may be, but to discover the most authentic destinations, the ones able to preserve their identity and local traditions by operating in a sustainable way, enhancing the incredible Italian cultural and landscape heritage.

That is why we have chosen some of these enchanting places and selected 10 destinations not to be missed in 2024. Unique villages, parks and cities that, we are convinced, will manage to amaze and excite us more than others in the year that has just begun.

Tradition and sustainability: here are the top 10 destinations not to be missed in Italy in 2024

A journey through the 10 destinations not to be missed in Italy in 2024

From the sea to the mountains, from the islands to the northern regions, passing through towns, cities and natural landscapes that will leave us speechless.

The top 10 destinations not to be missed in Italy in 2024 are heterogeneous and scattered throughout the peninsula. These are destinations where a strong local community is present; a community able to understand the importance of tourist investments in accordance with traditions and by maintaining their own historical identity, thanks to the creation of sustainable projects and the development of an important and strategic digital presence.

It's only by operating in this direction, offering visitors the opportunity to live authentic and unforgettable experiences, that it’s possible to rise on the current international tourist scene. Just like they did, in a different but equally effective way, the 10 fabulous places we are about to discover together.

10. Messina: the ‘Gateway to Sicily'

10 destinations not to be missed in Italy in 2024, Messina

In recent years, Messina has followed a path of promotion of the territory particularly effective, through the development of a specific Meeting to present itself to international tour operators, and also by implementing its online presence with a portal that describes itineraries and experiences that visitors can live in the city.

In fact, the extraordinary past of Messina is a melting pot of stories and legends to be discovered. Like the myth of Cronos, father of Zeus, who threw into the sea the sickle with which he evicted his father Uranòs, thus creating the city port that, even today, has just the characteristic shape of a sickle.

Or like the legend of Scylla and Charybdis, probably the most famous one about the Strait of Messina: a nymph and a naiad transformed into two terrible sea creatures that for centuries have haunted the beautiful and wild waters of the Strait. 

But beyond the epic tales, Messina is among the 10 Italian destinations not to be missed in 2024 for all that it has to offer in historical, architectural and natural terms. 

From the splendid Piazza Duomo, with the Orion’s Fountain of the 16th century, the Messina Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and its famous Astronomical Clock, to the evocative Sacrario di Cristo Re, in the upper part of the city. Here, from the Belvedere, we can admire breathtaking views of the whole 'Gateway to Sicily' and its beautiful surroundings. 

And there’s much, much more to find out: churches, palaces, fountains and beaches scattered in an extraordinary territory to be explored. 

Start exploring Sicily from the wonderful Taormina

9. Isola di Sant’Antioco: a little piece of paradise in the south-west of Sardinia

10 destinations not to be missed, Italy 2024, Isola di Sant'Antioco

Connected to the south-western end of Sardinia by an artificial isthmus, the island of Sant'Antioco is a jewel not to be missed located outside the usual tourist routes.

The crystal clear waters of the sea, as well as the soft sandy beaches and the hidden coves, offer magical landscapes and unforgettable views; while in the inland, among the lush green of nature, stand out the fascinating and mysterious archaeological sites dating back to the Nuragic Period (Bronze Age and Iron Age).

No less enchanting is the village of Sant'Antioco, main town of the island and ideal place both to start exploring the territory, both to learn a little about its thousand-year history by visiting the interesting Parco Storico Archeologico Sant’Antioco.

However, the cultural heritage of this land is not limited to the historical aspect. The real 'gold of Sant'Antioco', in fact, is the byssus, the so-called sea silk. It’s a filament obtained from the Pinna Nobilis, or fun mussel, a mollusc present in the Mediterranean Sea, currently a protected species.

The slime that secretes, properly worked, takes on a glittering golden color, and becomes an exceptional fiber that the skilled local artisans, forged by the experience of countless generations, transform into fabrics and products of fine quality.

In addition to weaving, wood carving and the weave of reeds and rushes (to get for example the typical Sardinian pots used for fishing) represent  traditional arts of the area: we can learn more by visiting the small and fascinating METS, the Ethnographic Museum of Sant'Antioco, the perfect destination to totally immerse ourselves in the most beautiful and authentic native folklore

8. Gaeta: between history and nature in the enchanting scenery of southern Lazio

10 destinations not to be missed, Italy 2024, Gaeta

In the province of Latina, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea in the heart of the Gulf of the same name, Gaeta is a surprising city: an ancient and complex history is combined with the simple and pure beauty of its spectacular views, from the beautiful sea of the Serapo Beach to the evocative landscapes of the legendary Montagna Spaccata.

Gaeta has lived through many historical periods: inhabited by the Aurunci even before the long Roman period, after the fall of Rome it was plundered by barbarians and Saracens, to become in the Middle Ages a fortified castrum

Today we can appreciate the medieval heritage walking through the timeless streets of Gaeta Vecchia, with the imposing Aragonese-Angevin Castle towering over us and the wonderful architecture of the Temple of San Francesco that, from above, seems to protect the oldest part of the city. 

However, it is only from the Parco Regionale Monte Orlando that we can really discover both the charm of this enchanting natural scenery, both the cultural imprint that binds Gaeta to the surrounding territory. 

In fact, here is the Sanctuary of SS.Trinità, also called Santuario della Montagna Spaccata because, according to legend, the crack in the rock where the building was built was formed at the exact moment of Christ’s death. 

Next to the Church there’s also the Grotta del Turco, an incredible natural gorge where it is said that, in ancient times, Saracen ships came to hide and ambush ships in transit along the Gulf coast.

All these stories between myth and history make it clear how important for Gaeta is the relationship with its beautiful territory; a relationship that is at the heart of the project "Blu, il clima della cultura", which sees the city candidate for Capital of Culture 2026 (decision to be taken this year in March): an idea that aims at the development of sustainable tourism thanks to the promotion of the natural beauties of this fantastic land, absolutely not to be missed.

Discover Lazio traveling from Rome Fiumicino Airport

7. Bari: valuable cultural hub on the coast of Apulia

10 destinations not to be missed in Italy 2024, Bari

Bari, capital and main city of Apulia, enters among the 10 destinations not to be missed in Italy in 2024 thanks to its extraordinary artistic heritage, starting from the magnificent district of San Nicola (also called Bari vecchia, the historic city center), where we can walk through the magical atmosphere of the alleys in search of the Basilica dedicated precisely to San Nicola, local patron saint.

In addition, how not to mention the historic Norman-Swabian Castle, for centuries set as guard of the old city; or the relaxing Lungomare Araldo di Crollalanza, with its huge Ferris wheel, the views of the Adriatic Sea and the picturesque buildings in late Art Nouveau style; or even, the tasty and unmissable recipes of a gastronomic tradition based on the use of the valuable ingredients present in the territory, for example extra virgin olive oil.

Moreover, the city is not limited to offering its visitors all these gorgeous tourist attractions; Bari is becoming a real cultural centre of excellence, with the aim of attracting both national and international tourism, and to make more and more flourishing the daily cultural life of the citizens.

For this reason, in recent years, have grown up in the city various projects for the promotion of culture that have rediscovered historical spaces, such as the former fish Market, the former theater Margherita and the Spazio Murat, a place that serves as a point of contact between the ancient soul of Bari and its modern version.

Visit Bari with a walking or bike tour

6. Rocca di Mezzo e il Parco Naturale Sirente Velino: the wildest nature of Abruzzo

10 destinations not to be missed, Italy 2024, Parco Sirente Velino

The Sirente Velino Regional Park, in the area of Rocca di Mezzo, is reachable by car, train or bus from L'Aquila (entering from the north) and from Sulmona (arriving from the south), and is a wonderful natural oasis located in the heart of Abruzzo.

It’s a unique and unspoiled area, offering fabulous views along the hiking trails, in summer, or the chance to practice ski touring or snowshoeing in winter.

What matters is to explore the Park slowly, departing from the picturesque village of Rocca di Mezzo to discover its secrets by moving without haste, participating in rural life and stopping to listen to the sounds of nature, amazed at the beautiful colors and gentle scents to perceive its most authentic soul.

The attractions and activities of the Park are numerous: mountains, caves, canyons, ancient villages. And, of course, the extraordinary local fauna, including bears, chamois, roe deer and griffins.

In fact, the Park protects and enhances the cultural and environmental heritage of the fantastic regional nature, promoting sustainability and safeguarding biodiversity, playing an important role also regarding the environmental education.

The 2024 calendar, with pictures of the native animals, is dedicated to the bear Amarena, tragically disappeared a few months ago; the proceeds will allow the development of the Life Bear Smart Corridor project, to increase the trophic resources available to bears on the territory. 

Why visiting the Park and Rocca di Mezzo in 2024? Because here nature is wild and protected. The real purpose of the Park is to remind us that nature represents a richness not only for the Abruzzo region but for all of us; and it’s a richness that must be absolutely celebrated and defended, today and in the future. 

5. Courmayeur: a magical and sustainable village ideal to enjoy the mountains of the Aosta Valley

10 destinations not to be missed in Italy 2024, Courmayeur

At the foot of Mont Blanc, between the wild mountains and the fascinating valleys of the Aosta Valley, lies the picturesque town of Courmayeur.

In this characteristic village, located at 1200 meters above sea level, you can breathe an high mountain atmosphere. The spectacular views that we can appreciate from the small and charming squares of the old town are the gateway to this idyllic scenery, made of hiking on the trails and excursions on the surrounding peaks.

Just a few minutes from Courmayeur we can also find the Skyway Monte Bianco, a state-of-the-art cable car which introduces us to the local ecosystem, where we can visit the Alpine Garden and access to a circular panoramic terrace that offers breathtaking views at the considerable altitude of 3466 meters!

In short, nature is the main attraction of this amazing land (together with the spa, where you can spend relaxing hours between one excursion and another); for this reason, the objective of Courmayeur for 2024 is to continue on the road of a green tourism that enhances the extraordinary environmental beauty of the region, including for example the beautiful Val Ferret and Val Vény.

The country and the whole Mont Blanc area aim to become a reference point for sustainability and for the fight against climate change thanks to the Courmayeur Climate Hub, a long-term strategic plan with heterogeneous objectives, from the preservation of water to the recovery of abandoned paths, up to the restoration of cultural sites linked to the history of the village.

The ultimate goal is to find the right a balance between tourism, economic growth and the environmental needs of a landscape which is as delicate as unique and wonderful.

4. Maranello and the Motor Valley: unique experiences in Emilia-Romagna

A special land for motor and racing enthusiasts, the Motor Valley is located in Emilia-Romagna, extending from the province of Parma to that of Rimini on the route of the ancient Via Emilia, with Maranello as iconic place and core of the area.

This is a tourist district that started to develop at the beginning of the third millennium, but it’s especially for some years now that various projects have evolved to enhance the territory, attractions and prestigious brands that populate it.  

Everything stems from the important local tradition in the mechanical and motor industry, which sees in this area the concentration of the most important companies in the sector, from Ferrari to Lamborghini, through Ducati, Dallara, Maserati and others.

They are brands that have made the history not only of motor vehicles, but also of motor racing, and for this reason they have fans coming from all over the world to know their history or to live adrenaline experiences in the different museums dedicated to them (Museum Ferrari Maranello, Enzo Ferrari Modena Museum, Lamborghini Museum in Sant'Agata Bolognese, and so on), or to see live the racetracks that served as a backdrop to their sports enterprises (Imola, Misano, Modena and Varano).

The driving force of this type of tourism has been fundamental for the growth of the whole region, and has allowed the creation of numerous quality accommodation facilities to accommodate an increasing number of visitors.

Travel comfortably from Modena station to the Ferrari Museums

3. Sorano: an authentic and timeless village in Southern Tuscany

10 destinations not to be missed, Italy 2024, Sorano

Among the top 10 Italian destinations of 2024, the village of Sorano is the most appreciated place by the community of Visit Italy, thanks to a truly impressive reel (the content with the greatest engagement overall) that leads us to the discovery of this medieval gem.

What makes this town in the heart of the Tuscan Maremma so special? 

Perhaps it’s the scenic location, right above a cliff of tuff, surrounded by an unspoiled nature that has earned it the tourist-environmental recognition of Bandiera Arancione; or maybe it’s the reputation of excellent spa, given its location within the so-called “tuff area”, on the south-eastern border of the province of Grosseto. 

Without forgetting, of course, the many attractions of the historic village: the 14th-century Orsini fortress, the fortified citadel of Masso Leopoldino, the Archaeological Park Città del Tufo and its famous Vie Cave dating back to the Etruscan period.

Yet there is something more, in addition to the beautiful tourist destinations scattered in the area, which makes Sorano a real gem not to be missed. 

Its strong sense of identity, the fabulous setting and the fairy-tale atmosphere, like we were in a place out of time, give us unique and unforgettable experiences. The authenticity of this village, able to combine history and nature, is what impresses the most as we walk through the picturesque streets and observe the wonderful views of a really enchanting scenery.

2. Mantua: cultural pearl of Lombardy ever-more green

10 destinations not to be missed in Italy 2024, Mantua

Mantua has a historic center full of beautiful squares, elegant Renaissance palaces and artworks of all kinds.

On the ancient and central Piazza Sordello, where centuries ago chivalrous tournaments were celebrated, stands the wonderful Palazzo Ducale, which contains frescoes and artistic masterpieces including the Camera degli Sposi by Andrea Mantegna. 

In the picturesque Piazza delle Erbe, instead, we can admire the charming Rotonda di San Lorenzo, flanked by the Clock Tower and the Palazzo della Ragione, while on the other side of the square stands the ancient Casa del Mercante, a perfectly preserved building of the 15th century. 

Finally, just outside the center, how not to mention the fabulous Palazzo Te, a must-see and true icon of the Renaissance?

Besides the historical sites, Mantua is also distinguished by being one of the greenest cities in Italy, according to the most recent report by Legambiente. In recent years, in fact, the public green has grown significantly and today natural spaces within the urban area are numerous and well maintained.

A really important effort, culminating with the creation of the Mantova Città Verde project: through a specific web app, both citizens and tourists can discover all the information about the city’s trees, their role in combating climate change and their importance in reducing pollution and achieving a better quality of life

Explore the outstanding Palazzo Te

1. Tropea: excellent products and breathtaking landscapes along the 'Coast of the Gods' in Calabria

10 destinations not to be missed in Italy 2024, Tropea

After traveling all over Italy to discover the 10 destinations not to be missed in 2024, let’s conclude our itinerary in Calabria, in the beautiful Tropea.

We are located on the so-called 'Costa degli Dei', a territory that offers breathtaking views of the clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Yet the sea and beaches are not the only attractions or activities available in this charming village.

The picturesque alleys of the center allow to appreciate all the atmosphere of this special land, from the architecture of the historic buildings to the scents of typical local products, such as the famous Red Onion, which worldwide is synonymous with quality, taste and sweetness.  

Thanks to the gastronomic excellence, the enchanting environment and the countless cultural attractions (from the Cathedral of Maria Santissima di Romania, built by the Normans in the 12th century, to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Isola, towering on the enchanting beach in front of the village), in recent years Tropea has become a real point of reference for the entire region, helping to promote its beauty in the national and international field. 

And finally, we can not overlook the strong sense of community that its inhabitants are able to transmit: they are truly sincere, outspoken and rightly proud to feel part of a magical place, thanks to its natural and authentic values, which stands as a true symbol of Calabria all over the world.

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