Understanding Italy's Regions

 

Did you know that Italy is divided up into 20 official regions? And each one is as beautiful as the last! Within each region is a new hidden gem just waiting to be discovered.

Italy has a vast & varied landscape, featuring every landscape from azure blue seas and sandy beaches, to golden fields and alpine mountains. Wedged in between these idyllic scenes are ancient ruins dating back to the prehistoric age, fresh seafood and farm produce, and of course top-quality wine which has been picked from the juiciest grapes in all of Tuscany!

It’s no surprise that Italy ranks at #5 in the World Tourism Rankings. Discover the picturesque regions yourself, and let Italy’s magic enchant and enthrall you.

5 must-see regions in Italy

Puglia (Apulia)

 

The region of Puglia (‘Apulia’ in English) is the “heel” of the famous boot that shapes the outline of Italy. What captures you instantly with this region is the breathtaking metropolis of towns built into the cliffside, with the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea skirting the magnificent coastline.

It’s known for seaside towns and sleepy harbours, as well as famous historical attractions such as ‘The White City’ in Ostuni; a cluster of striking whitewashed houses basking under the Mediterranean sun. Other must-see attractions in the region are the historical architecture found in the city of Monopoli, including the Monopoli Cathedral, the Castle of Carlo V, and the famous ‘Trulli’ cone-roofed houses, found in the Monopoli countryside as well as the town of Alberobello.

For food lovers, Puglia is a tastebuds delight! Try the famous gelato in Polignano a Mare as you stroll the cosy cafes and souvenir shops listening to live street music as you finish the day off by watching the sunset dip behind the ocean.

 

Tuscany

 

The famous wine-growing region of Tuscany dates back to the eighth century, and remains to this day one of Italy’s most productive wine regions. Set in central Italy, Tuscany is a picture-book perfect region of rolling hills, patchwork quilt countryside, and the region’s capital of Florence.

The region is a rural escape encompassing everything that comes to mind when you shink of ‘Italy’. The olive groves of Chianti, the famous structure of The Leaning Tower of Pisa, as well as the world most recognizable art and architecture including Michelangelo's ‘David’ and the Renaissance art of the Uffizi Gallery hosting the work of Botticelli and more.

In the medieval walled city of Lucca, you will be left in awe of the cobbled tree-lined streets and pathways which you can leisurely bicycle ride or walk as you take in the medieval plaza in the town centre. And be sure to save your appetite for the delicious local produce of rich olive oil, bruschetta, and the Florentine favourite - a lampredotto sandwich: tripe which is boiled in broth and herbs and presented in a crusty bread roll.

 

Campania

 

Known for the bustling capital of Naples and the 50-kilometre stretch of the postcard-perfect Amalfi Coast, the region of Campania is a land of gelato coloured villages, glittering gulfs, and natural beauty in the form of wild lemon groves twisting out of the dramatic cliff sides. It is also home to terraced vineyards, and the world-renowned ruins of Pompeii.

The Campania region is the third most populous region in Italy, and is home to a great number of famous sites and attractions. From the striking contrast of the coastal wonders such as the waterside town of Minori on the Amalfi Coast to the foothills of the legendary volcano Mount Vesuvius, Campania will spoil all your senses.

One of the ‘musts’ when visiting Campania region is to board a boat across the Bay of Naples to the island paradise of Capri where you can explore the Roman imperial ruins of Villa Jovis and explore the picturesque Blue Grotto cave – a deep sea cavern where the waters glow an in incredible electric blue. Back on the mainland, explore the quaint little town of Ravello with a fresh limoncello and steaming hot pizza made with fresh homegrown vegetables.

 

Sicily

 

Sicily forms the “toe” of Italy’s “boot”, and is the largest Mediterranean Island. This region is unique, as it is steeped in a rich history of culture, art, and underground intrigue in the form of its Mafia-past.

Despite being a region of Italy, Sicily and its people have a striking contrast in terms of appearances and tradition. Sicilians are often referred to being separate to mainland Italy, having their own dialect and physical complexions (believed to be a result of early Phoenician and Arab ancestry) and a strong Greek influence. The Valley of Temples is where the ancient world of this region and its Grecian presence is most abundant. The archaeological site dates back to the 6th century BC, back when the Greeks ruled Sicily.

For sweet-tooths, Sicily is your destination! With thanks to early Arab settlers, Sicily offers up an array of tasty desserts and pastries such as ‘cassata’ - a cake filled with ricotta cream and decorated with candied fruit. You could also visit the town of Modica, known for its Baroque buildings and Chocolate Museum.

Sicily is also home to Mount Etna, one of Europe’s most active volcanoes. You can head up the mountain via a cable car and walk at your own pace around the mountain’s crater and soak up the brilliant views of the vineyards and rolling hills of Sicily below.

 

Lombardy

 

Italy’s wealthiest region of Lombardy is also the most populous, with the global fashion & cultural hub of Milan being its capital city. Despite this, Lombardy offers an abundance of natural attractions, most notably its lakes. The region is often referred to as the “lake district”, being home to the great blue orb lakes of Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Garda; Italy’s largest lake.

Tourists can enjoy the enchanting Lake Garda via ferry, stopping at the numerous villages that line the lakeside. At the neighbouring Lake Como, immerse yourself in the garden-park of Villa Carlotta; a botanical garden featuring stunning statues, museums, fountains and a romantic park of rare plants and rhododendron woods.

Polish off your Lombardy trip by visiting the cultural capital of Milan (which houses Da Vinci’s famous ‘The Last Supper’ mural) and nearby Venice; where you can spend a day exploring the romantic Venetian canals and visit the cathedral church of Saint Mark’s Basilica to appreciate the grand Gothic architecture of the region.

Plan your Italian escape today

Italy is home to some of the world’s most iconic attractions and is a wealth of culture, art, food, and history. Many people who have visited before wish to return again, as the abundance of attractions and natural wonders means one only is able to scratch the surface of all that Italy has to offer.

With Albatross Tours, you are given an in-depth tour with plenty of time to make the most of each region. Visit our Italy Destination page today to find out more about our Italian tours, and choose which is right for your next adventure.

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Julia Austin

Julia Austin is the Marketing Executive at Albatross Tours