From north to south, in the mountains, by the sea or in the hills, a guide for your trip to Italy in the summer of 2022.
Italy amazes with its infinite artistic, cultural and natural wonders: cities of art, ancient villages, beaches washed by crystal-clear waters, food and wine, spectacular peaks and much more. Not sure where to go? Here are our tips for an Italian summer full of beauty!
We start in the north with a first stop in Liguria in the Cinque Terre: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. These five fishing villages overlooking the sea, surrounded by vineyards, welcome us with their colourful houses, small harbours crowded with boats and the smell of their typical trattorias where you can taste seafood specialities and the famous Ligurian pesto. The Cinque Terre can be reached by train and by several paths along the coast that connect the five villages, crossing promontories and small villages and offering splendid views. Not far away, the Gulf of Poets, from Porto Venere to Lerici, is worth a visit. With its villages, churches, castles by the sea and beautiful sandy beaches, it was a land loved by artists and poets, especially Byron and Shelley, who spent their holidays here.
Before reaching the Adriatic coast, let's go to Lake Garda, Italy's largest lake that washes Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino- Alto Adige. Lake Garda is undoubtedly a destination for an unforgettable trip among spectacular landscapes, a mild climate all year round, historic villages, blue waters, beaches where you can relax in the sun and many beautiful walks along the lake or in the mountains. This is the ideal place for cyclists, walkers and all those who enjoy active tourism. Even lovers of spas, in Sirmione, Bardolino, Lazise and Riva del Garda, will be able to regenerate while enjoying the splendid landscapes of the lake. From Peschiera del Garda to Torbole and then from Desenzano del Garda to Riva del Garda: many marvellous villages surrounded to the south by a beautiful hinterland of morainic hills with orchards, vineyards, olive groves and wine cellars, further north on the horizon, the peaks of Mount Baldo.
On the Adriatic coast, from Friuli Venezia Giulia to the Romagna Riviera, there are many resorts and beaches to suit all tastes! Starting from the marvellous lagoon town of Grado with its historic centre and shallow waters ideal for families. Then follow the wide beaches of Lignano Sabbiadoro and Bibione to the Venetian lagoon. There is no shortage of cultural attractions and villages to visit, such as the marvellous Roman city of Aquileia just a few kilometres from Grado, the city of Chioggia, nicknamed Little Venice and the smaller islands of the Venetian lagoon such as Burano, Murano and Torcello.
Continuing southwards, you arrive at the lively Riviera Romagnola with its long, sandy beaches including the famous Rimini and Riccione. This stretch of coastline, suitable for all budgets, is renowned for its great hospitality and wide range of accommodation and tourist attractions. In addition to the sea, beaches and lots of fun, the hinterland is full of picturesque fortified villages. Not to be forgotten are the typical dishes of Romagna, including the famous and very tasty piadina romagnola!
Returning to the Tyrrhenian coast, in Tuscany, a must-see is the island of Elba, a green and blue oasis that fascinates for its history and its pure and uncontaminated territory, and the Argentario, a splendid promontory surrounded by the sea and full of caves and coves, some of which can only be reached by sea or through impervious paths. Not to be missed are the ancient fishing villages of Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole.
On the Adriatic side, in the Marche region, we find another splendid promontory, Mount Conero with its marvellous Riviera: beaches surrounded by rocks and wild vegetation, crystal-clear sea, towns and small villages rich in history and traditions. Among the most picturesque towns are Sirolo, a typically medieval village overlooking the sea, Numana with its fabulous beaches and cultural attractions and the Conero Park with its cliffs overlooking the sea and beautiful unspoilt beaches, which can only be reached on foot or by sea. The Conero Riviera with its villages and towns also offers plenty of culture and spirituality. Loreto, a place of pilgrimage, Recanati, the birthplace of the poet Giacomo Leopardi and then Camerano and Castelfidardo, are just some of the villages to visit to discover the history and traditions of these beautiful places.
Further south, in the province of Chieti, we find the Trabocchi Coast, which takes its name from the trabocchi, old fishing machines on stilts, connected to the mainland by narrow, uneven jetties. This stretch of coastline is a succession of trabocchi, rocky coves and inlets washed by a blue sea, spectacular views and beautiful villages all waiting to be discovered! There are also important monuments and cultural attractions such as the Basilica of St Thomas the Apostle in Ortona, and the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere in Fossacesia, the historic towns of Torino di Sangro and Casalbordino and the town of Vasto with its Aragonese castle.
When you reach the south, you must stop in Campania, among the colourful villages and lemon trees of the Amalfi Coast, the wonders of the city of Naples and the views of the islands of the Gulf of Naples: Ischia, Procida and Capri. The southernmost coast of Campania is also rich in scenic and historical beauty, such as Paestum, an ancient city of Magna Graecia, and the Cilento coast with its wonderful beaches and villages.
On the Adriatic side, in Puglia, the "heel" of the boot, history, tradition, Mediterranean flavours and a wonderful sea create an unmissable mix. Unesco sites such as Castel del Monte and Alberobello, villages, cities of art such as Bari, the baroque Lecce and the green Itria Valley, all the way to Salento, home to charming seaside towns such as Gallipoli and Otranto, and beautiful beaches of pale sand, some of the most beautiful in Italy.
The tip of the boot, Calabria, bathed by the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, offers incredible landscapes with rocky coasts and fine sandy shores and an unspoilt hinterland where the green of the mountains blends with the blue of waterfalls and lakes. The Tyrrhenian side is a succession of kilometres of wild coastline alternating with sandy beaches. Not only the sea but also many charming villages to visit! Not to be missed is the Costa Degli Dei with its white beaches including the famous Tropea and then further south Scilla with its ancient buildings, churches, beaches and typical restaurants. The Ionian coast also combines history and natural beauty. There are many seaside resorts such as Soverato, Riace, Siderno and then the villages of Monasterace, Santa Severina, Stilo, Gerace, where you can breathe in an atmosphere of times gone by! Calabria is not only sea: from the Pollino massif in the north to the Aspromonte massif in the south, many nature trails through wild forests, ancient trees, ancient villages and unique landscapes!
When you reach Sicily, you will be spoilt for choice! Sicily has everything to offer: beautiful cities of art, countless Unesco sites, unique sea, beaches and landscapes, incredible cuisine and Sicilian sunshine. Starting from the east coast, there are many places not to be missed. Among the many we mention Taormina with its marvellous Greek theatre, Catania, the volcano Etna and then the Noto valley and Marzamemi, Ragusa, Siracusa and Punta Secca, Modica and Scicli. Western Sicily likewise offers culture and unforgettable landscapes. We begin in Palermo with its architectural wonders, street food and beautiful beaches. We continue towards Trapani with a stop at the wonderful Zingaro reserve and San Vito lo Capo, to the Valley of the Temples and the famous Scala dei Turchi. This and much more in Sicily, an island that stays in your heart!
Sardinia, Italy's other large island, also offers spectacular landscapes and a land rich in history and ancient traditions. With almost 2000 km of beaches, cliffs and hidden coves, Sardinia has a wonderful sea and heavenly beaches, some of the most beautiful in Italy. But this island is not only sea. There are towns and villages to visit, parks and hiking trails to discover the most remote and wild areas of the island! In the north, don't miss the Maddalena archipelago, the interesting towns of Alghero, Bosa, Castelsardo...and check out our super guide to North Sardinia to better organise your itinerary in the north! The Sardinian hinterland holds great surprises in store with its hidden beauties far from mass tourism. First and foremost, Barbagia and its historic villages, including Orgosolo with its murals and the Gorropu Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in Europe. On the south coast, many Caribbean beaches are less crowded than those to the north: Villasimius, Chia, Pula and Tuerredda, to name a few. Don't forget the city of Cagliari with its historic quarters, the archaeological site of Su Nuraxi di Barumini and many other enchanting places. Not sure where to start? Read our tour of Sardinia, from north to south!
Summer in the mountains
Even in summer, the mountains offer breathtaking landscapes and panoramas. From north to south, sun, nature and outdoor activities! Stretch out on the green meadows of the Dolomites, enjoy walks in the Stelvio National Park, relax in the thermal baths of Bormio, explore the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park and finally fly to Sicily for a beautiful excursion on Mount Etna. From the Alps to Mount Etna, passing through the Dolomites and the Apennines, the Boot is once again surprising!