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 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 Travel Guide
- See top places to stay in Turin
- Book a highlights of Turin guided walking tour
- Piedmont map and guide
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.
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.
- Piombino and Elba guide
- Populonia Etruscan tombs and medieval hill town
- Find places to stay in Piombino
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.
- Recommended place to stay: Antica Borgo Picino
- Ascoli Piceno travel guide
- What to see and do in 48 hours
- Le Marche map
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.
- See top hotels in Palermo
- Take a Palermo Street Food Walking Tour
- See its location on this Sicily map
- Check Palermo’s typical weather
- Recommended reading: Palermo (Armchair Traveller) by Roberto Alajmo, a lifelong resident of the city