Italy sees a massive influx of tourists every summer. The country has so much on offer. There’s incredible weather, jaw-dropping scenery, not to mention the truly world-class food. Italy has it all.
However, the majority of the tourism industry is focused on the central hub of Rome, as well as Naples slightly further south and Milan and Florence towards the north. Italy is a big country, and while these destinations are popular for a reason, there are other less visited places that can be just as exciting. The far south of Italy in particular is an often forgotten about region. It has a rather unfair reputation as being an impoverished and desolate part of the country. The reality is that the south has just as much to offer as the rest of Italy and it packed full of hidden gems. Keep reading to find out more.
The city of Ostuni is located in the Puglia region, which is found on the heel of the famous Italian boot. The city is built on a hillside made up of a collection of striking white buildings that surround a magnificent Gothic cathedral.
Ostuni dates back to the stone age and has gone through numerous iterations. It was once destroyed by the legendary Carthaginian general Hannibal before being reconstructed by the Ancient Greeks.
Today, visitors to Ostuni can sample some fantastic seafood dishes made with fresh ingredients caught in the Adriatic Sea or take a tour of the many orchards and vineyards that surround the city.
It can get incredibly hot in the south of Italy, so ensure you stay safe in the sun. It’s worth also getting travel insurance ahead of time as things can always go wrong in the hot weather, for those who are older or are maybe suffering from a pre-existing medical condition, you may need to find a more specialised travel insurance provider like Staysure to get the cover you need and enjoy your trip without having to worry.
If you want to take a trip back in time, paying a visit to Matera is essential. Found in the Basilicata region, many experts regard Matera as one of the oldest cities on the planet. Back in the 1990s, UNESCO bestowed the city with the World Heritage Site accolade.
The city has two Sassi districts that are carved from stone, these make for a sight unlike anything else in the world. Houses and shops are built into a network of sprawling caves and nooks, with the city connected by a labyrinth of mazy stone paths and alleyways.
Another gem hidden in the Basilicata region, this time in the province of Potenza, is the mountain town of Castelmezzano.
Regularly named as one of the most beautiful spots in Italy, quite a feat considering some of the stunning locations in the country, Castelmezzano sits almost 900 meters above sea level in the Dolomiti Lucane mountain range.
The town is said to date back to the 6th century when the country we now know as Italy was first being colonized. Now, the Castelmezzano is home to a number of beautiful buildings and churches, as well as fantastic restaurants and eateries. For the brave adventurers among us, you can even take a zip line across a deep valley to the nearby mountain town of Pietrapertosa. At a maximum height of 1020 meters above sea level, the zip line is known as The Angel’s Flight, or Il Volo Dell’Angelo. Participants will reach an eye-watering maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour.
Italy is packed full of hidden gems, with the south of the country being no exception. Pay a visit to the towns of Ostuni, Matera, or Castelmezzano for a holiday you will never forget.