The complete guide to choosing your region in Italy

Italy has been ranked for several decades as one of the most visited countries in the world, where tens of millions of tourists from around the world come every year. This is a fact that is not particularly surprising, if you know Italy well and everything it has to offer to the travelers who visit it in droves: starting with traditional food, which has gained worldwide fame, fine and meticulous, from the best local raw materials, diverse and breathtaking landscapes, and ending with historical sites, on which the foundations of culture were built The Western world, museums that display the world’s most famous works of art and all the way to the beautiful cities, the crazy festivals, the rolling language and the vibrant culture – Italy can provide a dream vacation for everyone.

If you don’t know Italy well, you might be surprised to find that it is huge in size and divided into provinces and regions, in each of which you can find different landscapes, different types of entertainment, different food and even a different dialect and different rates for everything. It is important to get to know the land of Magaf and the various districts scattered along it, in order to choose the appropriate season for your trip and the area that will suit your trip. The huge cultural diversity in Italy, as well as the different landscapes, makes it a country that needs more than one trip to discover it all, and therefore, it is worth getting to know at least the prominent tourist areas in Italy and choose from them.

Northern Italy – snowy mountains, clear lakes and resort towns

Northern Italy is considered the richest region in the country. It has ski resorts, large lakes surrounded by attractions and water activities, mountains perfect for a ski vacation and also the most romantic cities in the world – Verona (of Romeo and Juliet), and Venice, the famous city of canals. Besides these two famous cities, Milan is also in the north of Italy and regularly hosts its famous fashion week every year. Even during the rest of the year, Milan is one of the most important and largest fashion centers in the world and is a fascinating and beautiful city in its own right.

Northern Italy is also divided into provinces, which differ from each other in character:

Aosta Valley

It is in the northwestern tip of Italy, close to the border with Switzerland and France and has snowy mountains all year round, among them the four highest peaks of the Alps – Mont Blanc (White Mountain), whose Italian name is “Monte Bianco”. Its height is over 4,000 meters and its presence in the area makes the Aosta Valley a paradise for mountain climbers and ski enthusiasts, but it is very suitable for all lovers of hiking and spectacular views.

Another prominent feature of the valley is the traditional villages scattered throughout it and the beautiful ski towns, which provide service to tourists who come to enjoy the snow. Among other things, tourists who come to the valley can visit the Gran Paradiso National Park (The Great Paradise), where you can find glaciers, forests, mountains, valleys and rivers – almost like visiting the fairy tale land of Narnia. History buffs will also find interest in the Aosta Valley, as it has quite a few ancient and beautiful castles and the capital city of the valley is an ancient and impressive city.

When should you arrive? The tourist season in the valley is in the summer months, but those who decide to come in the winter will enjoy a spectacular trip through snowy landscapes.

What should you know? Winter travelers who plan to come to Italy precisely at the end of January are in for a real surprise – Fiera di Sant’Orso. This is a traditional fair, which has been held for over 1,000 years for two days at the end of January (31-30), during which artists come from all over the Aosta Valley to present their creations, mainly handmade art pieces. The name of the fair, by the way, is named after the patron saint of artists. Despite the cold that prevails in the valley during the winter, the artists stand in the frozen air and next to their colorful booths displaying dolls in traditional costumes, cow bells of various sizes, locally produced food products and other items that move around everyday life in the valley.

Piedmont region

Some compare this region to Tuscany. A rich land, which has snowy mountains next to green hills, covered with vineyards. The capital city of the Piedmont region is Turin, famous for its beautiful squares and bustling and classic cafes, some of which are included in the list of the oldest cafes in Europe. One of the points of interest in Piedmont is a high concentration of small towns, some of which are ancient from the Middle Ages and most are picturesque and beautiful, with cobbled alleys and shops selling antiques.

When to arrive? The Piedmont region offers such a large variety of activities, which make it suitable for a visit in any season – autumn fills it with lovely fall colors, in winter you can go to one of the many ski resorts, in spring and summer it is visited by families, who want to travel among the spectacular landscapes and the small and magical villages. Every season it is worth coming to visit the capital city of Piedmont – Turin.

What should you know? The Pimenta region is rich in high-quality and expensive raw materials and its cuisine is reminiscent of the neighboring French cuisine. Every year a truffle mushroom fair is held in Piedmont and throughout the year you can find wonderful mushrooms of all kinds. The Piedmont region is less touristy than other regions in Italy and is very suitable for travelers who wish to experience local life rather than the tourist-friendly environment of the more touristy areas.

Lombardy

One of the favorite areas of Israelis in Italy, especially for family trips. Among other things, the area is rich in water and is also called the lake area, due to the many beautiful and clear lakes found there. The famous lakes in the area are Lake Como, Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore, which Italy shares with Switzerland. Around the lakes are resort towns that offer plenty of attractions for tourists who love water sports and for families interested in an experiential trip. Among other things, you can find the distribution of huge water parks, where you can spend whole days without getting bored, zoos, rope parks where you can climb on bridges at the height of the treetops and the huge and famous “Garland” amusement park, which attracts crowds of traveling families, especially in the summer months. You can also find Lombardy, the famous Dolomites, where there are beautiful and famous ski towns that offer winter travelers a dream ski vacation.

When should you arrive? It is recommended to go for a trip in the summer months and enjoy the many water activities that the area offers, but it should be remembered that this is the tourist season of the area and accordingly, it is likely that the prices will be relatively high and that the queues for the facilities in the various parks will be long. For those interested in a winter trip – you should visit the Dolomites and enjoy a great ski vacation in one of the region’s wonderful ski towns.

What should you know? To avoid the heavy traffic of the peak season, it is advisable to come to the parks on mid-week days and avoid weekends, holidays and vacations in the Italian calendar.

Too bad

It is in northern Italy, between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, and the famous Po River flows through it. It is the pavilion of Verona and Venice as well as of Padua, each of which can fill volumes of praise and fascinating information for travelers and tourists from around the world.

Venice

The capital of the province of Veneto and one of the most visited cities in the world, with about 20 million tourists who come to it from all over the world every year. – lies on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, on a lagoon created by the mouth of the Po River. In the Middle Ages, Venice was the capital of an empire – the Republic of Venice, a maritime power, an important spice trade center, a center of Renaissance art and a retreat for crusaders going on crusades. The center of Venice, which is the historical part of the city, is built on islands, connected by bridges and canals. The main means of transportation in the city is sailing between the canals.

Cruising between the canals in a gondola – one of the main and famous attractions in the city. It is also possible to invite musicians and singers who will entertain you during the cruise and take you back in time to the Middle Ages, but keep in mind that the price will also be accordingly. For those who are interested in a cheaper and no less interesting cruise – there are bus-boats, which take large groups of travelers for a cruise between the interesting and famous stations of the city.

The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore (San Giorgio Maggiore) – a wonderful attraction for art lovers, who can visit the small island on which it is located and enjoy the works displayed there and the spectacular view it provides to those who climb its bell tower.

St. Mark’s Square – the central square of the city, where you also come to visit the well-known St. Mark’s Basilica, whose ceiling is covered in golden mosaics and next to it is the Doge’s Palace, where you can join a guided tour and watch closely the palace whose construction took over 100 years. Another famous attraction in the area of ​​the square is the bell tower of San Marco – an ancient building, which you can climb to the top, to reach a point with a spectacular view of the city and the surrounding islands.

The Mask Festival of Venice – an ancient tradition, held every year in February. During the festival, colorful and spectacular papier-mâché masks are displayed on the faces of artists who present dance, poetry and theater performances in the street.

You can also find in Venice: a luxurious and beautiful casino, the city’s great synagogue, San Bernaba Square – a small square, where many scenes from famous movies were filmed and more. Besides all the attractions, Venice caters to millions of tourists a year and accordingly it is full of restaurants and cafes of all kinds and at different levels, many hotels, boutique shops, interesting markets and more.

When should you arrive? The tourist season is from May to October. During this period, Venice enjoys warm and comfortable weather, but also the main rush of the tourist season. Accordingly – the prices in the city are also higher during this period.

What should you know? The number of tourists in Venice regularly exceeds the number of residents and the city suffers from the abandonment of residents due to the huge numbers of tourists that flood it every year. The city is rainy almost all months of the year and even in June you should have an umbrella.

Verona

The ancient and beautiful city gained the most publicity after being forever enshrined in the temporary super classic – the play Romeo and Juliet. Millions of tourists come every year to see “Julia’s balcony”, take pictures next to her and buy souvenirs from the visit. But there is much more to see in Verona.

Colosseum Arena – a huge amphitheater, from the days of the Roman Empire, which at predetermined times – you can also watch an opera.

Julia’s house – the famous balcony, is actually an addition built in the 1930s, but the house is the home of one of the families that Shakespeare based himself on when he wrote the play. As mentioned – this is one of the main and most visited attractions in the city, which lovers of romance cannot miss.

Castelvecchio Castle – Inside is the Art Museum of Verona. Located on the bank of the river, the impressive castle offers a visit to the museum which displays sculptures and works of art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Piazza Brea – a central square in the city, surrounded by inviting cafes, close to the Colosseum Arena, Calvaccio and the Adja River and you can start the day there with a light breakfast in one of the cafes and continue from there to stroll among the many attractions of the city.

Mazini Pedestrian Street – for lovers of luxury stores, you can stroll the street and be impressed by the boutique stores of Italian luxury designers, along which you may also buy something, which you can take home with you.

Gardland Park – is half an hour away from Verona and is a great and very touristic attraction – suitable mainly for families with children.

Mobileland – a park located in Verona and is especially suitable for families with children. The park offers amusement facilities like an amusement park, but in Hollywood style, with tributes to various movies.

Canba Water Park – is about half an hour outside of Verona and offers water facilities in the style of Hollywood movies, such as Pirates of the Caribbean.

Hiking in Verona – a highly recommended and easy experience, mainly because the main attractions of the city are in close proximity to each other, but also because you can find pleasant and shady spots throughout the trip to stop, eat excellent ice cream (at affordable prices compared to other touristic cities in Italy), or in a good restaurant .

When should you arrive? The peak season for tourism in Verona is spring and summer. It is important to know that even here in the peak season the city is full of tourists from all over the world and this means long queues for attractions and relatively high prices compared to the other months of the year. To avoid the heavy traffic, it is recommended to go to the parks and other attractions during the middle of the week, because the weekends are the busiest.

What should you know? When visiting Verona, it is recommended to purchase a combined entry ticket to the main attractions of the city. The card is called VeronaCard 24H and besides entry to the city’s main attractions, it includes free travel on public transport, entry to the city’s museums, discounts on entry to music shows and more.

Padua (Padua)

A less touristic city compared to other cities in the region, which makes it a good alternative for travelers who wish to stay close to the important attractions of the Veneto region and pay less for accommodation, but even in Padua you can find some tourist gems that are worth getting to know

University of Padua – one of the university’s famous lecturers in the past was Galileo Galilei himself. To this day, the stand behind which he stood, the anatomical theater from the 16th century, and more have been preserved.

Museums – in Padua you can find several interesting museums for art, archeology and Jewish history.

Scrovegni Church – its walls are decorated with Giotto’s paintings and entrance to it is allowed in small groups and for 15 minutes per tour – to keep the temperature inside the building low.

Market-Palace: “Palace of Reason” (Palazo della Ragione) – food and home goods market, located on the ground floor of an ancient palace. Besides visiting the market, you can enjoy the murals that decorate the ceiling of the palace.

The botanical garden: Orto Botanico – the ancient botanical garden of Padua, associated with the university.

Cruise on the river in Chiliona – a cruise that offers an interesting view of the remains of the old city wall. Recommended in the hot seasons.

The spa towns that are 10 minutes away from Verona – and offer entertainment in the style of ancient Rome, the baths that allow the use of hot water, which comes from thermal springs deep in the earth. The water reaches a temperature of 87 degrees and provides perfect entertainment for winter travelers.

When should you arrive? Padua’s tourist season is in the spring and summer and is less touristy than Verona and Venice and therefore cheaper than them.

What should you know? Padua is a vibrant student city and it also has an active Jewish community and a Jewish ghetto that is interesting to explore through its old and atmospheric streets.

Province of Liguria

Located in northwestern Italy on the coast of the Ligurian Sea. Early the main attraction in the district is the five villages – Cinque Terre – five picturesque and colorful villages, located on the jagged cliffs on the steep and rocky seawall. Entry by car is prohibited, but you can move between the villages by train and travel between them on foot. Another picturesque and beautiful city is Porto Venere – with a fascinating history and a ferry that can take you to visit the beautiful island of Palmaria.

You can also find Portofino in Liguria – a small fishing village with a beautiful harbor, where you can stroll among luxury shops, or sit in the good cafes and restaurants. In addition to these attractions, one can also find one national nature reserve, two small parks and three nature reserves in the province of Liguria. For fans of concept tourism, one can find in Liguria plenty of options for fishing tourism, agricultural farm tourism as well as conferences, festivals, exhibitions and visits to historical and cultural sites.

When should you arrive? The tourism season in the district is in summer, so you can enjoy water and sea activities.

What should you know? The pesto sauce came from the province of Liguria and the province as a whole is famous for fine seafood, which is due to its location along the coast and other unique raw materials that come from the province’s developed agriculture sector.

Emilia Romana

One of the richest and most developed districts in Europe. The area is not crowded with tourists, perhaps because it is not rich in spectacular natural landscapes, like other regions of the country, but those who choose to come to Emilia Romana will discover wonderful food and fascinating cities.

Bologna

City of origin of the famous Bolognese sauce and the seventh largest city in Italy. The city is full of fine restaurants and is also home to Italy’s oldest university. Besides the restaurants and delicatessens, you can find quite a few interesting attractions in Bologna:

Piazza di Porta Ravenna – a central square in the city, from where you can climb to the top of one of the city’s tallest towers and watch the city unfold below.

Via Zamboni street – a student street bustling with life.

Piazza Giuseppe Verdi – inviting cafes and a visit to the ancient churches and cathedrals around the piazza make it a site worth visiting.

Piazza Maggiore (Piazza Maggiore) – a wide square, surrounded by ancient and beautiful buildings, among them the Saint Petronius Basilica and the city’s archeology museum.

Quariltro – the culinary district of Bologna, where you can find delicatessens, shops offering fine agricultural produce, with wonderful fruits and vegetables, fish, seafood and more. It is recommended to buy products for a picnic in some of the shops and sit on a pleasant street corner to devour the loot.

Lasagna – a local dish, which can be found in many restaurants in Bologna – in its finest version.

Galeria Cavour – the city’s shopping area – a prestigious shopping center, designer and brand stores in an interesting historical building.

Bologna Flea Market – a huge flea market located inside the Montagnola Park and operates on weekends only.

Pharma

A city located between Milan and Bologna, the birthplace of Parmesan cheese, the home of the great musicians Toscanini, Verdi and Paganini, considered a musical center thanks to them. The “Teatro Reggio” opera house in the city is a well-known center of attraction for opera lovers from around the world, and the Palatine Library displays ancient manuscripts, including manuscripts in Hebrew. The library is in the Philota Palace and is located in the same building together with the “National Gallery”, the “Farenza Theater” and the National Museum of Archaeology.

Rowena

A city located at the edge of the Po valley and connected by a canal to the sea. In Ravenna there are no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, among them basilicas, mausoleums, baptisteries and one chapel. A trip to Ravenna guarantees a journey through time spanning thousands of years – among relics from ancient times, the Middle Ages and more.

Central Italy – seat of Rome, but not only

The center of Italy is distinguished from the north by the rounded hills, which contrast in character with the towering mountains of the north. Among the green hills lie vineyards and olive groves, medieval towns and famous cities such as Perugia, Florence and Rome. Tuscany and Umbria are also in the center of Italy and make it a region full of romance, history, beauty and attractions.

Tuscany

Probably the famous region of Italy and perhaps in the whole world. Crowds of tourists come to Tuscany every year, to walk among the pastoral landscapes, enjoy lodging in isolated farm estates and eat wonderful traditional Italian meals from the home kitchen of the hosts. In Tuscany, you can participate in a cooking workshop for the whole family, or a romantic cooking workshop for couples, travel among historical sites, or take a guided tour of the wineries – among them the wineries of the famous Chianti region and taste the best wines of the region, visit museums displaying the best of the Umno Renaissance, and more.

Tuscany is also the home of Florence – a 2,000-year-old city, rich in impressive buildings, museums, towers, churches and piazzas, ancient palaces and bridges crossing the Arno River, gardens and parks that offer an encounter with urban nature. To the west of Florence you can find Pisa and visit the Leaning Tower there.

When should you arrive? The peak season for traveling in Tuscany is spring, but it must be taken into account that this is also the most touristic season.

What should you know? Accommodation in country estates throughout Tuscany is the accepted form of accommodation in the region and although there are other options, it is probably also one of the most pleasant and recommended attractions in Tuscany. The estates offer homely rural accommodation, food from the landlady’s kitchen and accommodation inside an estate, significant parts of which are used for various agricultural crops.

Umbria

A mountainous and green region, which, like in Tuscany, has medieval towns, vineyards and olive groves and agricultural estates. The district lies between the Apennines, in the valley of the Tiber River and its capital is the city of Perugia – an ancient city, which differs from other Italian cities in its noticeable influences from the Etruscan period. The city is rich in diverse archaeological remains and full of narrow and picturesque streets.

Tarasmino Lake – a freshwater lake, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, walking and cycling trails, horse riding, an ancient citadel, hotels and more.

Assisi – a town whose main attraction is the basilica, which is visited by Christian tourists from all over the world, but it is also surrounded by hiking trails among magnificent landscapes and the entrance to Aia is only allowed on foot.

Gubio – also known as “the city of silence”. A picturesque, beautiful and quiet town, which the tourists visit mainly on Christmas days – then it is filled with typical decorations, a huge fir tree flies and a special holiday atmosphere.

Sepelo – an ancient and particularly beautiful city, full of archaeological remains and also famous for the culinary wealth that can be found there.

Spoleto – a town that hosts every summer, for 3 months, the festival of the two worlds – an international and sought-after art and culture festival. In Spoleto is La Rocca Citadel – a well-preserved citadel full of interesting rooms that can be toured as well as Ponte della Tori – a bridge of towers passing over a wooded valley and a Roman aqueduct.

Norce – the main advertisement of the town is its unnecessary fine prosciutto and the festival of black truffle mushrooms, which is held every year in the month of February.

Castolchio – a tiny town, surrounded by fields of wild flowers and where you can enjoy a quiet and rustic holiday among the beautiful fields in the spring months.

Rome

The capital of Italy, the quarry of Western culture, a city full of important and fascinating historical sites, amazing archaeological remains, wonderful art museums, magnificent churches, romantic piazzas, countless shops, restaurants, cafes and entertainment places of all kinds, including interesting attractions for children.

The attractions of Rome in a nutshell: historical sites, including: the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, the Borghese Gallery, the Vatican City, the Spanish Steps, Villa d’Este, the Termini food market, watching the sunset in the orange grove, wonderful cafes, restaurants with the local and unique food of Rome , shopping in prestigious and especially expensive stores (Rome is especially expensive) and more. It is recommended to read in detail in the article dedicated entirely to Rome.

Southern Italy – port cities next to wild beaches and active volcanoes

South of Rome, there is a region of Italy that for some reason is less visited than the north and center. This is despite the fact that it is spectacular in its beauty and has amazing and unique historical sites.

Province of Campania

A district so rich in amazing attractions, that it is hard to understand how it is not at the top of the list of the most visited sites in Italy. Among the amazing centers of the poor in the province of Campania:

The Amalfi Coast strip – a strip of mountains and cliffs rising above the sea and next to them picturesque towns with a spectacular blue sea view that can be seen from the houses, fresh and fine food, which mostly comes from the daily catch of the fishermen and a winding and famous road, one of the most beautiful in Europe, which overlooks high cliffs and steep slopes strewn with lemon trees. The magical stretch of coast can easily provide interest for a trip of at least a few days.

Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of the city of Pompeii – Mount Vesuvius is one of three active volcanoes in Italy and one of the most violent in the world. The volcanic eruption that took place in the 79th century AD completely destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and it is considered particularly dangerous – especially because of the large population density that exists around it to this day. The destruction that the mountain brought upon the city of Pompeii was so quick and complete that many remains have been preserved in the city to this day and you can visit it and see what life in the city looked like nearly two thousand years ago. Among other things, you can see sites that have been preserved in Pompeii such as a main street, private houses, a basilica, temples, a theater, and even works of art and plaster casts of the victims of the eruption, who did not manage to escape in time and were recorded at the moment of truth, with some of them hugging their loved ones.

Naples – the capital of Campania. A colorful port city, which has two large forts, a coastal promenade with wonderful views and a charming old town. You can read about it in detail in the article dedicated entirely to Naples.

Province of Apulia

The province of Puglia is also endowed with dramatic wild beaches, isolated villages and impressive and unique architectural structures in the region. Bari is the capital city of the province, which has a famous and beautiful basilica. Matra is a small town in the district, which has historical cow dwelling caves, cut into the rock above a deep gorge, some of which are used today as guesthouses. Also in the town of Alborbello you can find brick trolley houses, built with a special technique – without cement and they are considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Attractions for children: “Pesanolandia” zoo in Pesano – one of the largest zoos in Europe, where you can tour by car, or by electric train, near which there is a huge amusement park.

When should you arrive? Several carnivals are held in the district, especially in winter. In the spring, Easter is celebrated with country fairs that offer local foods, and throughout the summer you can visit food and wine festivals that are held outside throughout the summer. The wonderful beaches of Apulia can be visited in the summer and enjoy water and beach activities, or in the winter – and enjoy the dramatic views of the rushing sea.

What should you know? In each of the cities of Apulia there are markets, each of which has a unique character and is worth visiting on different days.

Sicily and Sardinia – islands with unique tradition, food and character

Across the sea, at the southern tip of Italy, is Sicily – the largest island in the Mediterranean. For years Sicily was known as the birthplace of the Italian mafia around the world, but over the years Sicily has become known for its special character, local food, impressive landscapes and authentic fishing villages. An active volcano, where you can walk as part of a guided tour.

The capital of Sicily is Palermo, which has a great market, interesting archaeological remains and impressive ancient buildings. Not far from Palermo is the Madona Nature Reserve, which offers a tour of villages, vineyards and orchards.

Taormina – a beautiful and touristic city, overlooking the seashore and you can also see the volcano Athena from it. The city is very suitable as a base for trips in the region. The city of Syracuse is in the south of the island and offers a tour of antiquities from the time of Greek rule on the island, wonderful beaches and more.

The Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily, offer a trip to nature lovers. You can spend the night on one of the islands at the hotel, or come on a visit from Sicily and visit the islands, which are considered UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are actually volcanoes, with beautiful landscapes, black beaches made of volcanic ash, hot springs with sulfur water, mud baths and more.

The island of Sardinia is located west of Italy and offers a very different experience from Sicily, which has a warm and popular character. It is a large mountainous island, beautiful and abundant with water, with long sandy beaches, clear sea, stalactite caves and salt lakes. The island offers a vacation in a luxurious and fashionable style and attracts the rich and famous of the world. Large parts of the island remain completely wild, uninhabited and uncultivated for agricultural purposes and offer a trip through breathtaking wild landscapes. You can choose a peaceful and lazy vacation to the pleasant beach, or take a walk among the diverse historical remains of the island, some of them from the Bronze Age, among the coastal towns and among the interesting archaeological remains. As in other places in Italy – Sardinia also has typical dishes only for her, what distinguishes them from the dishes of Italian cuisine, is the relative anonymity they enjoy, due to the relative isolation of the island of Miter from the rest of the country.

So how do you choose?

Italy is so rich and diverse that even a comprehensive article like this cannot cover everything it has to offer you and therefore, even if it could – it is certainly not possible to see everything in one trip. What you can do is read carefully, think about what suits you for your next vacation and choose one area to start from – according to the season you want to travel, according to your budget and according to your main interests – and focus on it, at least until the next time you can come to Italy.

So what have we had so far?

Simply Guides

Everything you wanted to know about Italy

More guides about Italy

And that's not all...