Italy is a mountainous peninsula located in southern Europe that extends into the Mediterranean Sea and includes the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and about 70 other smaller islands. There are 20 regions in Italy, as well as two independent states annexed to it: the Vatican State, in Rome, and the Republic of San Marino, in Emilia Romagna. There are also three significant active volcanoes: Vesuvius (near Naples), Etna (on Sicily), and Stromboli (on the Aeolian Island north of Sicily).
Each of the 20 regions of Italy possesses a distinct charm and character. While regions are officially grouped within North, Central and South areas, we have organized them relative to both their geographical vicinity and cultural similarities, highlighted by a brief description. This will help you to identify an area for some specific characteristics that you may find easier to recognize.
rome and latium (lazio)
The eternal city speaks for itself, where everyone looks forward to throwing their coin into the Trevi Fountain in hopes of returning. From the Coliseum and Imperial Forums to the baroque piazzas and fountains at every corner, life flows easy with a gelato and a stroll. From pre-Christian catacombs to St. Peter's Square and the Vatican (the home of the pope), history merges with art through masterpieces like the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. With it beauty and 2,000 years of history, Rome has served as a natural movie set for countless movies and is one of the most romantic and photogenic cities in the world.
florence and tuscany
Tuscany is home to beautiful sweeping hills, vineyards, olive groves, farms, parish churches, castles, medieval hamlets and the most amazing artistic patrimony in the world. It is the birthplace to the Renaissance and its artists like Michelangelo and Raffaello. There is not only Chianti wine, but also Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino to accompany specialties like cured meats and all varieties of pecorino cheese.
Highlights of Florence include the world-renowned Uffizi and Accademia galleries, the Ponte Vecchio and the overall charm of a classical, Renaissance city.
venice and veneto
Venezia is an all-time favorite, but the rest of the Veneto region has a lot to offer as it spreads from the Alps to the sea. It can offer romantic visits to Venice and at the same time some of the best hiking trips, a relaxing stay on the Lake Garda and at the same time wine tasting on the hills that give us not only well-known Prosecco but also a deep complex red called Amarone della Valpolicella. Traditions like the Carnival and Regata Storica are a unique occasion to live Venice like a period dream, or check the opera calendar at the Arena di Verona, the marvelous open-air roman theater.
Also known as the green heart of Italy, sometimes rough, Umbria has a landscape in perfect harmony with its historic towns from the middle ages and the Renaissance period. Well known for St. Francis of Assisi, Deruta ceramics and black truffles. And more and more visited for its major artistic appointments, Umbria Jazz in Perugia and the Festival of the two worlds in Spoleto. Baci Perugina, the most famous chocolate kisses with a love message!
naples and campania
A local proverb says "Vedi Napoli e poi muori" (see Naples and then die), meaning after seeing Naples your life is complete. A land that is a potpourri of lively people and sparkling colors and that with Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Archeological Museum has the richest roman remain collections. Breathtaking stretch of cliffs spotted by lemon trees and bougainvillea overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea are the scenery of well-known Amalfi Coast. Caprese salad, from Capri, only with fresh mozzarella di buffala, and the best red of the south then go inland to Avellino for a taste of Taurasi.
liguria and cinque terre
Liguria is strategically located next to the French Riviera, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany! Because of its geographical conformation it goes from mountains to the sea in a very small space boasting some of the most spectacular views, hills and cliffs facing the beauty of the Mediterranean sea. The Cinque Terre region has become one of the favorite destinations in the world, but don’t miss Genoa a unique city where you can enjoy medieval buildings, renaissance art and at the same time Italy’s best marine Aquarium. Pesto alla Genovese? Yes, here it is.
Home of gods and mythic charming heroes narrated by Homer, desired and conquered over the centuries, floating as a nymph in the blue of three seas. Protected by the highest active volcano of Europe, our beloved Mt. Etna, strange to say but Sicily is really for everyone, food and wine lovers, art and architecture travelers, ski or golf passionate, sailing and sea enthusiast. Sicilian pastry is the signature of the best Italian pastry. Palermo is the capital and Taormina a the jet-set destination known all over the world.
piedmont and valle d'aosta
Home of Torino, the first Italian capital, Piedmont has it all from winter sports to summer delights. Discover royal residences, go wine tasting, truffle hunting, or play golf and experience the refined art of old chocolate making. Piedmont is the unique place where Slowfood was originated, come live your passions here! Don’t forget the three ‘B’: Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera. Something you may or may not know, but certainly something that you will love! Piedmont hosts charming Stresa and the Borromean Island by Lake Maggiore.
milan and lombardy
New trends, fashion and design perfectly blend together with ancient castles, historic palaces and churches of Milan. Discover Lombard and Byzantine Kingdoms remains in Brescia or enjoy an elegant stay in the nearby Lake Como. Whether visiting farm houses producing some of the best Italian cheeses like Gorgonzola, or going on a glamorous fashion shopping spree you will find yourself at home. The Duomo and The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci cannot be missed. For the specialists, here is where Franciacorta, the Italian champagne is produced.
trentino alto adige and friuli venezia giulia
Once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire this part of Italy is together with Piedmont the most reminiscent of royal times. Visit Gorizia, where you can walk with one foot in Italy and one in Slovenia, and its charming Christmas markets, or go to Trentino and enjoy the lakes during summer and the ski resorts during winter. You’ll be surprised by the quality of wine grown here, white for Collio and red for Legrein, are just two.
This region is synonym of good, wholesome, exceptional food. From Bologna to Parma, from Modena to Rimini, no matter where you go, maybe driving a locally manufactured Ferrari or Maserati, you can enjoy the real Parmigiano Reggiano, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale and prosciutto di Parma, as well as some of the best medieval and renaissance centers in Italy. Visit Bologna the oldest European University town with more than 23 miles of arcades, or reserve a night at the Teatro dell’Opera in Parma, the place where Italian opera connoisseurs go.
abruzzo and molise
A rugged land, expanding on one of the least visited paths of Italy. If you like National Parks and protected natural areas, this is the place where Brown bears can still be seen. Or if you like the combination of hiking trips, discovery of tiny villages, biking, monasteries, agriturismi, olive oil and saffron production then look no further.
The heel of the boot dips in the most amazing blue sea. Puglia is one of the most surprising regions of Italy for its beautiful nature, castles and spiritual destinations like San Giovanni Rotondo for Padre Pio, as well as strong popular customs, food and wine. If you love fresh and simple seafood, like sea urchin, this region offers the best delicacies. Trulli are the typical houses from Alberobello considered – together with the largest olive trees of the Mediterranean – the symbol of Puglia.
Truly remote and ancient. Paleolithic settlements can still be found as this region is believed to be the first human settlement in Italy. Matera is the most known location of Basilicata because of the Sassi di Matera (where The Passion was filmed), homes carved in the mountains in prehistoric times, which have caught the attention of the world and have become a UNESCO site. Now they host the most unique accommodations that perfectly blend a rural style with a contemporary design and the highest comfort.
This land is rough and beautiful. At times harsh, at times sweet, it is where the Apennines meet the Mediterranean Sea in its entire splendor. Still uncontaminated by mass tourism, Calabria is ideal for adventurous tourists who can compromise on luxury in order to enjoy its nature.
“This land doesn’t look like any other place” said D. H. Lawrence when he explored Sardinia in 1921. Besides, not much has changed since then. Incomparably beautiful coasts of crystal water and white and pink sands envelop this land like a box filled of precious stones, jealously kept inside. Remote, ancient, and natural, Sardinia is the unknown island of Italy. A place where prehistoric settlements and Nuragic remainings can still be admired and seen as part of everyday life. Pecorino sardo, music paper bread and Cannonau wine, could be one of your best dinner ever.