Where to Go in Italy in 2018
5 Places to Include in your Itinerary

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Choosing where to go in Italy can be difficult as there are so many fantastic things to see and do. These are my recommendations for great places to visit in Italy this year. Most of these places still don’t see huge tourist crowds so they offer a good chance to experience the local culture.

Turin, Piedmont

Turin is in the list of top 10 most visited Italian cities, however it’s still a little off the main tourist itinerary. Turin, or Torino, was Italy’s first capital and is home to Fiat cars, the Holy Shroud, and the first Eataly store. In the city center are beautiful squares, historic cafes, a magnificent Savoy Palace, and one of the world’s best Egyptian museums. There’s even a recreation of a medieval village and castle in a beautiful park by the river.

turin photo
Turin Historic Center by James Martin

Friuli Region in northeastern Italy

The Friuli part of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region borders on Slovenia and was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its culture, food, and architecture are a unique reflection of its heritage and German is widely spoken. Trieste is known for its grand main square, Piazza Unita d’Italia, bordered with stately buildings on three sides and one side that opens to the sea. Grado, a lagoon town on an island, makes a great base for visiting the region. Near Grado is the ancient Roman town of Aquileia, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

trieste main square
Piazza Unita d'Italia in Trieste by James Martin

Populonia and Piombino, Tuscany

Piombino and Populonia sit on a peninsula on the Maremma coast of southern Tuscany. The town of Piombino is usually used as a jumping off point for ferries to the island of Elba, however we were pleasantly surprised by its small but charming historic center and good restaurants. It makes a good base for visiting the Parks of the Val di Cornia that include the large Etruscan site of Populonia as well as places to hike or go to the beach.

populonia etruscan quarry
Etruscan Quarry at Populonia and the Sea

Ascoli Piceno, le Marche

Ascoli Piceno, in central Italy’s Marche region, is one of my favorite small Italian cities. It has one of Italy’s most beautiful main squares abd a good historic center that’s enclosed by rivers. Nearby mountains make for good hiking and charming villages in the vicinity.

ascoli piceno church
Church on Ascoli Piceno's Main Square

Palermo, Sicily

Palermo, the largest city on the island of Sicily, is the 2018 Italian Capital of Culture. Palermo has a stunning Norman palace, a monumental cathedral that houses Catherine of Aragon’s jewel-encrusted crown, catacombs with hundreds of mummies, and the 700-year-old Vucciria Market, one of Italy’s best markets. You’ll see Byzantine, Arab, and Norman influences in much of the architecture such as the red-domed San Giovanni degli Eremiti. Stroll around the Quattro Canti, the heart of the old town, and Piazza Pretoria, the main square. You may recognize Palermo’s historic theater, Teatro Massimo, from scenes in the Godfather.

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Comments

  1. Bob Blesse

    Enjoyed these suggestions, James and Martha—thanks and Happy New Year to you.
    Noticed you have the same photo of Torino repeated in this post.
    Cheers, Bob

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