Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Ingrid & Alex

Italy is a country that never stops inspiring me. It is a place I’ve gone back to over and over again, without ever getting bored or tired of what I’ve seen. A destination that is best seen off the beaten path. 

From Rome to the Cinque Terre, the Amalfi Coast, or even the Dolomites, there are places so famous that they draw millions of visitors every year. We all have an Italy bucket list, but I bet none of the places you’ll find on this list are on yours. 

Because Italy is so much more than the Colosseo, the Milan Duomo, or the canals of Venice. When you want to skip the crowds and see some authentic destinations, make sure to check out this list and save it for later!

So without any further ado, let’s see 10 of the most beautiful hidden gems in Italy.

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I will also tell you how to get to each and every one of these towns, where to land, and how to include them in your Italy itinerary, no matter how long or short your trip will be. But before we start, here is some useful information worth having for your trip, no matter where you choose to go in the end. 

Skyscanner – I always use this tool when I search for plane tickets. It works best if I look way in advance, and it is one of the best aggregators you’ll find out there. Get the best tickets here!

Discover Cars is a great aggregator that will help you find and book the best option for renting a car during your trip, helping you save up to 70% on your car rental. You will most probably need a car to get to most of these places, especially if you want to keep a schedule. Get your offers here!

Rail Europe – The one-stop shop for train travel – the #1 distributor for European TRAIN TICKETS & RAIL Passes, covering over 50 European train companies, including Italy. On top of that, they offer sightseeing products making it, even easier to plan your trip around Italy by train. I always love to travel by train while I’m in Italy, and if you’re in the Nortnern part, chances are it will be even super easy to do so. Get your train pass here!

Omio – is another great option and your gateway to trains, buses, and flights. All in one place, but I would suggest using it mainly for trains or buses in Italy.

Travel insurance – If there’s one thing we learned in recent times, is that we don’t want to make travel plans without insurance. Our go-to travel insurance is EKTA – they offer great deals for people who travel. Everyone between the ages of 3 and 85 can buy it online on their website and save lots of time (and money).

Your policy will be sent to your inbox within 2-3 minutes, and you get 24/7 multilingual client support. Get the best deal for your travel insurance here!

Lake Resia (Curon Venosta)

Lake Resia, Curon Venosta
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A place almost unreal, that looks even better during the winter when the lake freezes and you can walk close to the tower.

Located in South Tyrol, less than one hour away from Bolzano and its stunning landscapes, on the border with both Austria and Switzerland. 

Curon Venosta was a village that was flooded in 1950 when 3 of the lakes in the area were merged and a reservoir was constructed. 

How to get here:

Land in Venice or Milan (Bergamo), rent a car, and make your way to Graun im Vinschgau, South Tyrol because that’s how you will find it on Google maps. 

From both Bergamo and Treviso (Venice) it will take you a little bit over 4 hours to drive there. 

Where to stay: 

Lindenhof Lifestyle DolceVita Resort 5-star accommodation with a hammam and children’s playground. See more here!

Hotel Therme Meran – a luxury 4* hotel with a panoramic mountain view See it here!

Read also: The best books about Italy you must read next!

Sirmione sul Garda

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On Lake Garda, this lovely peninsula with a unique castle might not be the first lake destination you have in mind when you think about Italy. 

However, the region has so much to offer and the town of Sirmione is perfect for a summer getaway. Explore the Scaliger Castle at the entrance of the old town, surrounded by water, and learn about the past from the Roman ruins and the thermal baths in town. 

How to get there

If you land in Verona and drive to Lake Garda, it will take around 30 minutes to get there. 

Where to stay

Hotel Eden – only 100m away from the castle, with a terrace over the lake, this is a perfect 4* accommodation option. See more here!

Villa Cortine Palace Hotel – a superb hotel with a beautiful Italian garden, a pool, and a tennis court where you will feel like a royal. See it here!

Read next: The best Italy subscription box ideas


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Is Spello worth visiting? The answer is: definitely! 

This hidden gem is located in the region of Umbria, built of stone, with a significant history dating back to the times of Ancient Rome.

How to get there 

You can either land in Rome or Florence and take the train or rent a car. Use or book a Eurail pass if you plan to travel around Italy by train. 

From Florence, you’ll get to Spello in around 2 hours by car and 3 hours by train. From Rome, it will take you around 2 hours by car or train. 

Where to stay

Villa Elisa – with a garden, hammam, sauna, and a private pool, this villa is everything you’ve ever dreamed of, in an old stone building. Check it out here!

Spello House Altana – a charming house with a patio and city views you’ll fall in love with. Check it out here!

Civita di Bagnoregio

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Follow the narrow pedestrian road leading to the top of the hill and take you to the heart of this stunning town of Bagnoregio in the province of Viterbo. 

The bridge can only be passed at certain times and by a certain number of people only. Enter the Santa Maria gate of the town dating back to more than 2500 years ago and walk on the narrow stone streets. 

Don’t leave without admiring the surroundings from the city’s walls, or exploring every corner of this small village packed with history and so graciously built like a nest on the top of a hill. 

How to get there

Civita di Bagnoregio is located less than 2 hours away by car from Rome. 

Where to stay

I would suggest staying in Rome and planning a day trip to Bagnoregio, or when you want the authentic experience, stay with a view of the stranded Civita.

Le Calanque La Terrazza su Civita – imagine waking up in the morning and enjoying your strong Italian coffee with the view of Bagnoregio from the terrace. If that’s your kind of vacation, check this place out here

Corte della Maestà Antica Residenza – set right in Bagnoregio, with a charming garden where you can have a hearty colazione (breakfast), this is the place you’ll choose to stay in once you lay your eyes on it. See more here!

Read next: 30+ gift ideas for Italy lovers


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This place looks more like a hobbit town out of movies and I cannot believe I’ve discovered it only recently. 

Set in the province of Basilicata, in Southern Italy, neighboring the more famous Matera or Potenza, this is another reason why you should discover this area. 

The “palmenti”, “rutte” in the local dialect, are caves made inside white stone, where they keep the wine. 

Pietragalla gets its name from the white stone the city has been built on – pietra gialla meaning just this “white stone”. It is a medieval town, where you should try the local traditional roll with lamb. 

How to get there

Land at the airport of Bari and drive for less than 2 hours. 

Where to stay

While there aren’t many options for accommodation in Pietragalla, you can choose to stay in one of the nearby villages, in Potenza, or even in the more famous Matera. 

Country B&B Piani del Mattino – it is a great option, offering good conditions, but also a stunning view of nature in the area. See more here!

Madonna della Corona 

Madonna della Corona
Photo source: Elia Campana on

The perfect day trip from Bologna, the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Corona is built on the edge of a mountain and surely worth seeing. 

Easily one of the most picturesque destinations in Northern Italy, it is believed that a monastery was built here somewhere around the year 1000, which was only accessible through a narrow path in the rock. 

How to get there

Drive your way from Verona and you’ll get there in less than one hour. Choose to stay in Bologna, and you will make your way to the sanctuary in around 2 hours. 

Where to stay

You can choose either of the two Italian towns to stay in: Verona or Bologna.


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One of the most beautiful villages of Italy, Pietrapertosa is another stunning destination not many know of. 

Located in the province of Potenza, another town built almost exclusively in the rocks of the mountains and hills found here. 

Follow the main road to the foot of the ancient castle and you will be able to see the whole stunning village bringing you medieval vibes. 

How to get there

The village is located south of Potenza, thus you can make your way from there – roughly an hour drive from the city. 

Where to stay

See the above options at Pietragalla. 


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This small town in the province of Lucca, in Tuscany, might be one of the best-kept secrets of this area packed with tourists.

A medieval town dating back to the 12th century, with stunning architecture cascading down in the middle of lush greenery. 

How to get there

Make your way from Florence and drive for around 1 hour or take the train and spend 20 more minutes. 

Where to stay

Since the town is rather small and perfect for a day trip, I would suggest staying in Florence or even Lucca and making your way here for a day.

Gangi, Sicily 

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117 kilometers southeast of Palermo you’ll discover this city almost torn out of a Game of Thrones episode. You might even get to see the top of Mount Etna volcano beaming in the background of this impressive stone town. 

If you enjoy it so much, you can even choose to buy a 1 EURO house here, restore it, and move to the heart of Sicily. On sunny days you can choose to spend your days in the small seaside town of Cefalu, less than 60 kilometers away. 

How to get there

The town of Gangi is less than 2 hours drive away from Palermo. 

Where to stay

Since this is a rather small town, there aren’t so many accommodation options for you to choose from. However, you can always check out the Agriturismo Capuano and live the true Sicilian experience. 

Modica, Sicily

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Also known as the home of Sicily’s best chocolate, Modica is much more than that. A magnificent town nestles between 4 hills, in Modica, you will feel the authentic Sicilian vibes. 

As part of the UNESCO World Heritage, when I look at Modica I think of Matera with an even southerner twist. Because that’s where Modica is to be found – in the very south of Sicily island, only 15 kilometers away from Ragusa. 

How to get there

Land in Catania and drive less than 2 hours south. 

Where to stay

Choose from the many charming options inside of this stunning town. 

Modica for Family – Rooms and Apartments – an apartment offering a terrace and stunning views of the Sicilian baroque town. See more here!

Baglio Cella – boasting a big garden and a swimming pool, this is the place to stay if you want to relax. Check it out here!

Other Italy Travel resources


Italy hidden gems

2 responses to “Off the beaten path Italy – 10 Hidden gems you haven’t heard of”

  1. […] This will be an itinerary for those that have been to Italy in the past or those that simply want to skip the crowds and experience authentic Italy on their trip. Some of these places have been added to my list of less known Italy destinations and my Italy hidden gems.  […]

  2. […] This will be an itinerary for those that have been to Italy in the past or those that simply want to skip the crowds and experience authentic Italy on their trip. Some of these places have been added to my list of less known Italy destinations and my Italy hidden gems.  […]

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