Our Insider Hidden Gems for the Best Local Spots in Italy
For those who want to travel Italy like a local, we all know how Italy is home to the finest historical art & monuments, architectural wonders, breathtaking coastline and cities, and without a doubt, the most exquisite foods. There’s no question why it’s one of the most visited countries in the world!
Millions of tourists crowd Italy’s top-rated tourist attractions every year. But beyond the Colosseum, The Grand Canal, Lake Como, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are the local hidden gems of Italy that are just as astonishing.
Let’s go through them one by one!
10 Beautiful Hidden Gems in Italy Locals Love
Steer clear of the bustling crowd and enjoy Italy like a local even if it’s your first time visiting. Here are the top 10 most beautiful local spots in Italy that you’ve probably never heard of before:
1. Castellina in Chianti
If you’re into hilltop villages, you’re going to love Castellina in Chianti. It’s one of the most charming hilltop villages in all of Chianti! This medieval village used to be surrounded by ancient walls but now only its 15th-century fortress is all that remains.
And since this small town is in Chianti, expect to see miles and miles of green hills traced with vineyards and olive groves, dense chestnut and oak forests as far as the eyes can see. While walking through the streets of this lovely town, delight your taste buds with its delectable wine coupled with the unparalleled Tuscan culinary art.
2. Monte San Savino
For travelers who are fascinated by the rich history and culture of the places they visit, Monte San Savino will definitely pique your interest. Perfectly situated on a mountain that overlooks the Esse valley, this profoundly historic town has trails of the Etruscan civilization all around.
Expect to see the Cassero Museum that honors the village’s ancient ceramic traditions, the Santa Maria delle Vertighe Sanctuary, and scenic churches that hold many works of art. Be sure to stop by at a delicatessen so you won’t miss out on trying their famous local product, pork.
3. Isola D’ Elba
The Tuscan Archipelago is adorned with beaches and sunbeds but the Elba Island is a beauty none can compare. Its crystal clear waters mirroring the cool blue sky is such a sight to behold.
You can go hiking to castles or visit a mining museum in Capoliveri or perhaps the infamous Napoleon’s place of exile. You can also dive and explore the Elviscot shipwreck or paddle boat at Fetovaia. You’ll never run out of things to do in Isola D’ Elba.
4. Fontana del Vino in Caldari di Ortona
Unless you’re up for a pilgrimage walk, the next best reason to visit Caldari di Ortona is its famous Fontana del Vino. It offers free red wine for everyone, pilgrims and tourists alike. It’s built inside of a gigantic wine barrel where you can enter and get a taste of their delicious wine to quench your thirst. This free wine fountain is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so be sure to visit on your next trip!
5. Pitigliano, Tuscany
Found yourself on the southern tip of Tuscany? Don’t forget to visit Pitigliano on your way. Its stone-carved infrastructure is in itself an invitation to walk around this small picturesque town. Having been carved out of volcanic rock, you can see traces of history from the Bronze Age, Neolithic times, and Copper Age.
While you’re there, don’t pass up on the opportunity to taste their unique and flavourful dishes. Take a sip of their crisp traditional white wine known as Bianco di Pitigliano to complete your visit.
6. Burano Island in the Venetian lagoon
Feast your eyes with Burano’s display of colorful houses which complements the green waters of its channels. You can enjoy the tranquility and calmness this place brings especially when the crowd subsides.
Lacemaking is popular in the area so you won’t be surprised if you see many little shops selling embroideries of everything from tablecloths to wedding dresses. And when it comes to food, Burano is well known for its fresh fish dishes. But there are also several pizzerias and ice cream parlors around.
7. Spello, Umbria
If you want to see an entire village covered in the most beautiful and colorful flowers, you must visit Spello from May to August. This event is known as Infiorate di Spello, a festival of flowers. You can see alleys of doorways and houses adorned with plants and flowers which makes for a picture-perfect moment.
After feasting your eyes with the splendid scenery, time to fill your belly with their local food. There are several deli shops and restaurants that you can try such as La Locanda del Postiglione, Il Pinturicchio, La Cantina, and more.
8. Treviso, Veneto
Take the time to visit Veneto’s architectural landmark and enjoy Venice-like sceneries but with fewer tourists and crowds. Treviso is one of the Veneto region’s hidden gems. It’s also known as “Little Venice” because of its canals and buildings submerged in water.
Surrounded by 15th-century walls, you will feel like walking through history in this old-world town’s arcade-filled narrow streets. You will see civic museums, cathedrals, piazzas, and many more.
9. Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
Want to know what Italy’s gastronomic capital looks like? Visit Bologna, one of the largest remaining medieval enclaves. This is a place not only devoted to fine food but also a region that’s beaming with art and culture.
Be sure to try and taste their delicacies and two of their main industries’ manufactures, pasta, and sausages. Enjoy strolling along the ancient streets of Bologna and discovering its tourist attractions frequented mostly by students studying in Università di Bologna, the oldest university in Europe.
10. Maremma, Tuscany
Maremma is a place you’ve probably never heard of before but it’s filled with dramatic canyon-top towns, cool beaches, and incredible food and drinks. There are so many fun things that you can do such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, or the usual, long walks.
This area’s landscape is breathtaking. Mostly what you can see are rural houses, ancient farmhouses, bleak trees, hills running down towards the sea, vineyards, and the list goes on. It can give you that cool and relaxing feeling as you gaze upon its entire beauty.
So there you have it! Include these hidden gems in your next trip to Italy and experience the country of love as you’ve never before!
Oh, and if you notice, most of the hidden gems of Italy are in Tuscany! And guess what? We’re going on an intimate, personalized “Under the Tuscan Sun” culinary retreat happening next year in 2022! We have a few spots left just for you! We’d love to add you to the list of foodie travelers for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Enjoy good food with good company!