Escape the Crowds: Discover Italy’s 6 Lesser-Known Destinations for a Peaceful Summer Vacation

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Italy is a popular destination for travelers but it tends to be overcrowded during peak summer months. This year, Italy is expecting its busiest summer yet, with tourist caps being implemented on popular beaches in Sardinia and a fine for taking selfies at a popular spot in Portofino. In order to avoid the crowds, here are six underrated spots to consider visiting instead.

1. Ischia, Italy

Ischia is a great alternative to the crowded Amalfi Coast and islands like Capri and Procida. The island is much larger, making it less crowded and more affordable. While it is a well-known summer getaway for Italians, it has not caught on with international tourists as much yet. Ischia is about an hour from Naples by ferry and offers highlights such as the ancient Castello Aragonese on a small island, numerous thermal spas, and great beaches.

2. Umbria, Italy

Umbria is a fantastic region of Italy to explore. It offers great food and wine, stunning scenery, and a rich history. This region is not as popular as Tuscany, making it a quieter and less crowded destination to enjoy. Highlights include the cities of Perugia and Assisi, the rolling hills of the Val d’Orcia, and plenty of delicious local cuisine.

3. Puglia, Italy

Puglia is the heel of Italy’s boot and offers over 500-miles of stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, and charming towns. The region is known for its authentic cuisine, featuring fresh seafood, olive oil, and locally grown produce. The town of Alberobello is famous for its trulli houses, unusual homes built from stone with conical roofs.

4. Matera, Italy

Located in the southern region of Basilicata, Matera is a unique and fascinating destination. With a history that dates back to the Paleolithic era, Matera is famous for its ancient cave dwellings, known as Sassi. The town is an architectural treasure and was named the European Capital of Culture for 2019.

5. Orta San Giulio, Italy

Orta San Giulio is a picturesque village located on the shores of Lake Orta in northern Italy. It is a quieter and less touristy alternative to busy towns like Stresa or Como. The village is home to stunning architecture, quaint streets, and a beautiful lakeside promenade. It is a perfect spot for a romantic getaway or a peaceful retreat.

6. Matera, Italy

The island of Pantelleria is an off-the-beaten-path destination located between Sicily and Tunisia. It is known for its stunning landscapes, thermal springs, and unique architecture. The island’s traditional dwellings, called Dammusi, are made from volcanic rock and offer a unique experience for visitors. The island is also home to a nature reserve, featuring rare plants and bird species.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. When is the best time to visit Italy to avoid crowds?

The best time to visit Italy to avoid crowds is during the shoulder seasons, which are March to May and September to November. These months are less crowded than the peak summer months and offer milder weather.

2. Is it necessary to speak Italian to travel in Italy?

While it is not necessary to speak Italian to travel in Italy, it can be helpful. Many Italians speak English, especially in tourist areas, but knowing some basic Italian phrases can make your trip easier and more enjoyable.

3. What is the public transportation like in Italy?

The public transportation system in Italy is extensive and reliable. Buses, trains, and ferries are the most common means of transportation. Trains are a good option for longer distances, while buses and ferries are better for shorter trips.

4. Is it safe to travel in Italy?

Italy is generally a safe country to travel in. However, like any destination, travelers should take precautions to avoid theft and stay safe at night. It is also important to be aware of your surroundings and follow local laws and customs.

5. What are some must-try foods in Italy?

Some must-try foods in Italy include pizza, pasta, gelato, and espresso. Other popular dishes include risotto, bruschetta, and tiramisu. Italy is also known for its delicious wines and cheeses, such as Chianti and Parmigiano-Reggiano.