Here are 15 places to visit in Italy that locals recommend, from the lovely streets of Sicily to the beaches of Sardinia, from Northern to Southern Italy.
Everyone is looking forward to a relaxing break, a holiday to regenerate body and soul. In the last couple of years, due to the extremely difficult global situation, many people are rediscovering Italian locations, preferring them, for various reasons, to destinations that are theoretically more exotic and distant.
In truth, Italy is so rich in exceptional destinations that it is really difficult to claim to have seen it all. Below is a short list of 15 locations particularly suitable for the 2022 summer holidays, from the sea to small villages, without missing a thing!
15. Island of Elba
The Island of Elba is part of the Tuscan Archipelago – indeed, it is the largest one of it – and is situated between the Piombino Channel to the east, about 10 kilometres from the coast, the Tyrrhenian Sea to the south and the Corsican Channel to the west. It is a natural oasis of rare beauty, with beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery.
Elba is an island with many souls, offering different holiday dimensions. You can choose to stay more in contact with nature – perhaps by going camping – or prefer sport, relaxation or, why not, opt for a food and wine tour. The island is also home to the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, which organises excursions and guided tours.
Gaeta, situated on the border between Lazio and Campania, lies in the same-named gulf on the Tyrrhenian Sea and is about 90 km from Naples and 130 km from Rome. The Garigliano and Volturno rivers flow into its gulf.
Gaeta is known as 'the city of a hundred churches' and thanks to its charm and historical richness, it attracts many tourists every year. Given its small size, it is a place suitable for short stays, perhaps magical weekends.
The most representative place in Gaeta is the Montagna Spaccata with the Grotta del Turco. According to legend, when Jesus Christ died on the cross, the veil of the Temple of Jerusalem was torn, causing three deep fissures in the rock, the Montagna Spaccata (literally meaning “split mountain"). The Grotta del Turco, on the other hand, is a natural cave that can be reached after descending 300 steps, although currently, for safety reasons, it is no longer possible to reach the bottom.
Ponza is an isle, part of the archdiocese of Gaeta. It is almost completely hilly, while the coast is very indented, with several beaches and coves.
Most of the beaches can only be reached by boat, with a few exceptions: there is, for example, Chiaia di Luna, a beach accessed through a 170-metre-long Roman tunnel.
In addition to its splendid seascapes – which have made it a much sought-after destination for the summer months over the years – Ponza has an incredible historical and natural heritage, with imperial villas, pools and fishponds of Roman origin and evidence of the Bourbon empire.
Positano is one of the most beautiful places on the Amalfi Coast (the part of the Sorrento peninsula not overlooking the Gulf of Naples), and belongs to the province of Salerno, with its other big gulf of Campania.
Due to the perfect climate and the incredible beauty of the landscape, Positano was a favourite holiday resort of the Roman Empire and, since 1997, the town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Positano is clearly a place for sea lovers, thanks to the presence of many beaches: the Spiaggia Grande, Fiumicello, Fornillo, la Porta, San Pietro Laurito. There are also some natural beauties, nowadays known worldwide: the breathtaking landscapes of the Sentiero degli Dei (Gods' Path) and the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto).
Not to be underestimated is a tour of the shopping streets, full of truly characteristic artefacts, including terracotta and decorated ceramics.
Merano is an Alpine town in South Tyrol. It is famous because of its spas and Art Nouveau buildings.
There are many points of interest in Merano, but let's focus on a few.
First of all the thermal baths, located next to the historic centre, are a huge area dedicated to relax.
Secondly, there are the botanical gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, with more than 80 areas with different types of gardens, 2 panoramic platforms, a palm beach and a large aviary.
Third: the Wandelhalle. The building is a shining example of Merano's Belle Epoque; inside of it, there are paintings of South Tyrolean places and landscapes, signed by 19th century painters.
Sorrento is the best-known town on the same-named coast – after all, called by its name – and is a municipality located along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the Gulf of Naples.
The charm of Sorrento is ancient, and there are many points of interest, from the historical centre to the artistic tradition, passing through its splendid citrus groves.
The seaside town of Sorrento can be reached by passing through the ancient Greek Gate, which looks like a portal leading the tourist to a place where time has stood still.
In the town you can also visit the Correale Museum, with its accurate collection of minor arts from the 17th and 18th centuries. There is also no shortage of historic buildings and the typical alleyways of local shops.
9. Praia a Mare
If you are interested in a quiet resort, suitable for everyone - from families looking for peace and quiet to youngsters - with a coastline full of fine sandy beaches, Praia a Mare is the right choice!
Originally founded as a small, densely populated fishing and farming village, Praia a Mare is located on the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria.
Over beautiful beaches, those wishing to discover wilder natural places can go on excursions, and special attention should be paid to Dino Island, a three-kilometre-long islet, rich in incredible caves and rocks, lying just in front of Praia a Mare.
8. Piscinas e Villasimius
Piscinas is a sandy landscape reminiscent of the desert, like a piece of Africa transported to Sardinia. An incredible landscape, included among the 21 most beautiful beaches in the world by National Geographic!
Villasimius, located in the south of Sardinia, is a real picture-postcard location: clear sea, rocks, coves, clean sand as far as the eye can see. Anyone can be dazzled by such scenery. Its coastline consists of many beaches, interspersed with small cliffs and the promontory of Capo Carbonara.
The third island in the Gulf of Naples, Capri, unlike Ischia and Procida, is of karstic origin. It was originally joined to the Sorrento peninsula.
Capri is a more elitist and expensive island than its neighbouring sisters, and many choose to visit it on day trips or through cruise traffic.
Famous on Capri is the impressive Grotta Azzurra (“blue cave"), along with the shopping street accessible only to a lucky few. But there are also many natural treasures: among the Faraglioni and gardens, you'll be spoilt for choice!
Ischia – a volcanic formation – is the largest of the islands located in the Gulf of Naples and is known as the Green Island. Its extension is also evidenced by the fact that it is divided into six municipalities: Ischia, Barano d'Ischia, Casamicciola Terme, Serrara Fontana, Forio and Lacco Ameno. So many different municipalities also correspond to a variety of landscapes, hard to find elsewhere: sandy and 'comfortable' beaches keep alternating with more rugged and fascinating landscapes, while there is no lack of food and wine and entertainment!
Ischia has been famous since ancient times for the therapeutic properties of its thermal waters, and there are many establishments, both free and for a fee.
Listing all the points of interest in Ischia would be an enormous undertaking. Not to be missed are the splendid Aragonese Castle and the Mortella Gardens, created by Lady Susana Walton and Sir William Walton.
Gallipoli is located in Apulia – province of Lecce – along the west coast of Salento. The town, an Episcopal seat since the 6th century, is very famous for its 'war history'.
Gallipoli has many characteristic and interesting features, from the old stone churches to the colourful fishing boats.
Especially in recent years Gallipoli has been a favourite destination for young people. Here, in fact, there is a large presence of clubs and discos, making the city unsuitable for those looking for a quiet seaside resort, despite the presence of beautiful beaches.
4. Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare is a small town in the province of Bari, Apulia. The oldest part of the town stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
The town is famous for being the birthplace of singer Domenico Modugno – you can admire his bronze statue right there – and of artist Pino Pascali (more precisely, born in Bari), to whom the museum of contemporary art is dedicated.
If the crystal-clear water and the marvellous old town weren't enough to go to Polignano, Alberobello is a 30-minute drive away, famous for being the only town made up entirely of “trulli” and recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
3. Vico Equense
Vico Equense stands on a rocky promontory jutting out into the sea and is the first of the towns on the Sorrento Coast. The town covers an area of 30 square kilometres and is made up of characteristic villages from the sea to the mountains that together create a unique landscape and make Vico Equense an unrivalled location for its traditions and breathtaking views.
Vico Equense is a special destination for its food, its gourmet restaurants, its pizza a metro, its beaches, its breathtaking views and its inestimable cultural wealth.
Don't miss out on Vico Equense, a pearl where the magic of Sorrento coast begins.
Cefalù is located on the northern Sicilian coast, about 70 km away from Palermo, at the foot of a rocky promontory.
Cefalù has some beautiful beaches, such as the Caldura beach or the Sette frati (“seven friars") beach. Advantages: crystal-clear water. Faults: the possible summer crowds, which of course will be regulated depending on the current situation.
Apart from the sea, Cefalù is also home to history, thanks to the presence of the Norman Cathedral, or rather the Cathedral Basilica of the Transfiguration, which since 2015 has been part of the Unesco heritage together with the Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedral of Monreale.
Next to the Cathedral is the medieval cloister. With a ridiculously cheap ticket, you can visit this marvel, boasting the title of the oldest in Sicily!
The island of Procida belongs to the group of Phlegraean islands and is similar in formation to Ischia, although much smaller. Procida can boast of being the first covid-free island, circumstance making it very attractive for a possible holiday, given the current situation.
Compared to Ischia, Procida remains wilder and is certainly more suitable for those seeking tranquillity rather than nightlife.
Its territory includes the islet of Vivara, which has become a state nature reserve since 2002.
On Procida, you can relax on the many small beaches, organise kayaking excursions or simply enjoy the many small restaurants by the sea, specialising in excellent seafood cuisine.