ItalyItaly is one of the countries that holds a place on almost everyone’s travel bucket list. It is a popular tourist destination with travelers from all over the world. Whether it’s food, wine, history, or the lovely landscapes, this European nation has a lot to offer.

Yes! If it is your first trip there, you really should be sure to hit all the major tourist attractions. However, if you’ve already checked all the iconic Italian attractions off your list and you’re looking to avoid the crowds, our staff has created a unique list of less-publicized travel destinations in Italy that reveal the country’s true beauty and can provide any traveler with an exceptional experience. So, without further ado, here are Italy’s hidden gems.

Italy’s Hidden Gems: Avoid Crowds

1. Sulzano

Sulzano is a peaceful lovely lakeside comune in Lombardy in the province of Brescia. More specifically, it’s located on Lake Iseo’s eastern shore. Here you can enjoy a moment of serenity away from the busy tourist towns.  

If you’re the athletic type, this charming hamlet includes easy access to the striking Antica Strada Valeriana hiking trail. Sulzano is also a great place for swimming and sailing. Enjoy the panoramic view from the fifteenth-century church of Santa Maria del Giogo. Check out the frescoes there as well. Finally, enjoy a romantic dinner and have a cocktail as you watch the sunset from the trendy and elegant Darsena 21.

2. The Dolomites

The Dolomites is a magnificent mountain range and UNESCO World Heritage Site in northeastern Italy. Also known to some as the Italian Alps, they span an area of ​​almost 16,000 square kilometers and include peaks that are more than 3,000 meters high. While they might not be nearly as “hidden” as other destinations on this list, they certainly remain “gems” and are certainly a must-see destination. Travelers with time to spare may be happy to know they will also find a number of picturesque lakes and villages, like Ortisei, in these majestic mountains, which make this area worthy of more than a one-day visit.

3. Castiglione di Sicilia

You will discover the comune of Castiglione di Sicilia in southern Italy in Sicily in the city of Catania. This enchanting, scenic town offers travelers memorable views of the entire Alcantara Valley. In fact, some sources report this to be one of Italy’s “most beautiful villages.”

(Some of our readers may recall this is the little town selling almost 900 abandoned homes for only one Euro back in 2021.) Veteran visitors suggest booking accommodations in neighboring Linguaglossa. You can take scenic drives to some nearby towns, or even stay at an excellent Airbnb that comes complete with a cactus garden, olive oil farm, and winery.  

4. Gubbio 

Those in the know agree that the small towns found in Umbria are worthy of any traveler’s time. Gubbio is one such charming getaway spot and is reported to be more popular than the other places placed on this list. Gubbio is a comune and town in Umbria which is the northeastern section of the province of Perugia.

Nestled on Mt. Ingino’s lowest slope, in the Apennines Mountains. This village is perfect for athletic types as it offers visitors noteworthy hiking opportunities at rugged Mount Cucco. It has a historical center that is noticeably medieval and features narrow streets, dark gray stone, and stark Gothic architecture. Don’t miss the Roman Theater either! 

5. Giovinazzo

If you like historic waterfront villages, you will enjoy the quaint coastal comune of Giovinazzo ensconced in the city of Bari in the region of Apulia in southern Italy. It dates back to a time before even the Romans set up shop. The pier or lungomare offers travelers a decidedly lively ambiance and the old port town is highlighted with attractive architecture, art, and historic churches as well. If you’re a foodie, you will be happy to hear the local cuisine is incredible and many dishes include some of the best olives and olive oil in the world.

6. Abruzzo

This hidden gem is one of the country’s undiscovered treasures. It is a less-famous area in Southern Italy and covers an area of almost 10,800 square kilometers and includes four individualistic provinces. They are Chieti, L’Aquila, Pescara, and Teramo.

Here you will discover breathtaking landscapes, flavorful food, and interesting traditions too. Dine at the local trabocchi, olden fishing machines converted into restaurants. Book your accommodations in an endearing agriturismo or a refurbished bread and breakfast in an ancient medieval village such as Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Be sure to see Castel del Monte too!

7. Genoa

This is Italy’s sixth-largest city. It’s also the capital of the Liguria region. Nevertheless, in terms of tourist travel, it still qualifies as a hidden gem.  

Mind you, other travel writers can confirm that each year Genoa hosts more and more travelers. It’s a surprisingly lively port that offers visitors a unique melding of modernity and history. Here you can stroll hand-in-hand through Genoa’s old, narrow alleys or vicoli and check out the assorted eateries, cafes, and pleasant pubs.

You should also take time to explore beautiful Genoa Nervi and Villa Pallavicini parks. Be sure to see the Palazzi dei Rolli as well. Need more? Take quick trips to such neighboring coastal hamlets as Camogli, Portofino, and San Fruttuoso.

Some Additional Information and Suggestions


Do you like Tuscany? If so, consider setting up your base camp in Florence and making a few day trips to such places as Lucca, San Gimignano, and Siena.

Remember that visiting these hidden gems is little more than the beginning of an Italian adventure focused on not only avoiding crowds of typical tourists but more importantly discovering the unadorned charm and simplistic beauty of this place. The fact is that Italy is actually home to a number of other worthwhile stops in this truly captivating country. Never forget to investigate this website for a cornucopia of travel tips and interesting ideas before you decide to book your next vacation!


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