Italy’s fabled Cinque Terre, or five villages, is one of the most iconic scenes in the country. These cliffside fishing towns are located in the country’s northwestern Liguria region and are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare: five places that each espouse their own unique histories and charm. Although they are each stunning in their own way, Vernazza is often touted as the loveliest town for its quaint and photogenic harbor.
Scala dei Turchi, or “Stair of the Turks”, is a tiered rocky white cliff located in southern Sicily. Made up of soft limestone rock and white marl, which is a sedimentary rock, the stretch of coastline has withstood millennia of lapping ocean waves and salty breezes that have created natural terraces on the territory, giving the formation its name. It is also named for Turkish pirates that invaded Sicily numerous times over the centuries.
Italy is not only blessed with beautiful beaches, snowy mountain peaks, fresh water lakes and verdant valleys; the country is also replete with thermal baths and hot springs. Some of the most famous and loveliest thermal springs are found in Tuscany’s southern Maremma region. The terme di Saturnia, also referred to as the cascate del mulino, or waterfalls of the mill, contain warm sulphurous waters that spills over into a series tiered pools for a truly magical effect.
Located in northern Sardinia, the Maddalena Archipelago is a series of islands and islets that boast some of the Italy’s most heavenly beaches. With windswept, rugged coastlines made of rose-tinted granite, pristine beaches and translucent turquoise water, the archipelago feels like heaven on earth and has retained much of its natural beauty. It is best visited by boat which allows you to reach the archipelago’s tiniest coves and beaches.
Castellucio, a small village nestled with the Apennine Mountains in central Italy, is best known for its fiorita, or flowering that takes place in its fields each spring. Thousands of colorful flowers create a patchwork pattern on the plateau and feature lentils, poppies, violets, narcissus, daisies, clovers and more, making it one of the most stunning springtime landscapes in Italy.
The Amalfi Coast remains one of Italy’s leading attractions and for a good reason: the impressive coastline is dotted with quaint towns and villages emerging from the hillside that offer unparalleled views of the Tyrrhenian sea below. The Amalfi Coast has 13 municipalities in total, with Positano, Amalfi and Ravello being the most famous, and is well-known for its beaches, walking trails and dolce vita lifestyle.
Piedmont’s hilly Langhe region is among Italy’s most praised enogastronmic regions: the Langhe are famous for full-bodied red wines, flavorful cheeses and fragrant truffles, as well as their natural beauty. The birthplace of Barolo, Barbaresco and Nebbiolo wines, the Langhe region has rolling hills, medieval villages and carefully manicured vineyards – seamlessly integrating man made structures into the natural landscape.
The entire island of Capri is a feast for the senses but its famous blue grotto is a truly mystical sight to behold. The vibrant blue hue that illuminates the cavern is caused by sunlight passing through a deep underwater cavity and shining back up through the water. The mouth of the sea cave is only a meter high, so visitors can only enter the Blue Grotto with small boats when the tide is low enough to permit entry.
Rocca Calascio, a mountaintop fortress that dates back to the 10th century, resembles something you would see in Game of Thrones. Located in central Italy’s Appenine mountains, the fort was damaged during an earthquake in 1703, but this only adds to its mystic. The fort is incredibly dramatic, especially when set against Abruzzo’s snowy mountains in the background.
Lake Como, a glacial lake in Italy’s northern Lombardy region, is Italy’s third largest lake and has long attracted aristocrats, celebrities and affluent visitors to its shores. Shaped like an inverted Y, the town of Bellagio is located at the tip of the promontory and is considered the pearl of the lake. Lake Como offers views onto the Grigna Mountains and is dotted with prestigious villas such as Villa Carlotta and Villa del Balbianello.
Sicily has numerous breathtaking islands, including the Egadi Islands as well as Pantelleria and Lampedusa, though the clustered Aeolian Islands are unique for their natural diversity. Comprised of Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi, each island has its own personality and unique terrain. Stromboli is particularly arresting for its small but regular volcanic eruptions, which are particularly evocative at nightfall.
Images of Venice conjure up a dreamlike scene for their improbability, beauty and magic. Situated within the Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea, Venice is one of numerous islands suspended in the embayment of salt water. The city itself boasts more than 100 little islands and 400 bridges, with tourists and locals moving around the city by boat – making for a truly extraordinary sightseeing experience.
Few vistas are as idyllic and alluring as that of Italy’s Tuscan hills. Lined with cypress trees, textured with patchwork vineyards and dotted with rustic farmhouses, the countryside is all at once rural, manicured and serene, while its vibrant shades of green and yellow are a feast for the eyes. The Val d’Orcia, encompassing Siena, Pienza and Montalcino, is one of the loveliest parts of the region.
Sicily’s first protected area, the Zingaro Natural Reserve, is a 7km stretch of terrain that combines land and sea for an incredible effect. There are plenty of hiking trails that immerse you in the territory and provide beautiful vistas onto pristine beaches and small coves below. With hundreds of diverse flora and fauna, it’s a wonderful place to unwind in nature before taking a dip at one of the coastline’s many beautiful beaches.
The landscaped Gardens of Ninfa are like a fairytale scene come to life. Described as “the most romantic garden in the world”, it is an evocative oasis that was created in 1921 in the English garden style and features thousands of exotic plants and trees, medieval ruins perfectly integrated into the natural landscape, a crystalline river with water fresh enough to drink, an ancient stone bridge and more.
The Dolomites are a mountain range in north Italy that are known for skiing, mountain climbing, hiking and more. Made of sedimentary rocks and limestone, the mountain range was created about 250 million years ago and covers a span of 77,865 acres (315.11 km2). Marmolada is the highest mountain peak in the Dolomites, with an elevation of 3,343 m (10,968 ft).
Travelers who venture to Italy’s southern Calabria region will be rewarded with unspoiled natural landscapes and crystal-clear water along the Costa degli Dei, or Coast of the Gods. Encompassing Tropea, a hilltop town considered the region’s jewel, the coastline is famous for its white beaches, protected coves and shimmering turquoise water.