Italy Travel Guide

Cinque Terre Italy
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Walkerssk

This Southern Europe country has a land border with France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia in the north. The country occupies a peninsula that juts deep into the Mediterranean Sea, to the East lie the Ligurian and the Tyrrhenian Seas, to the West the Ionian and Adriatic Sea.

Italy is separated from the rest of Europe to its North by the Alps, the Apennine Mountain Range then runs down the length of the country flanked by two wide coastal plains.

Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. It is also famous for its seaside resorts, delicious cuisine, Milan and its trendy fashion industry and the architecture of its cities.


The region of Calabria, located at the toe of Italy’s boot, has long been remote and impoverished, often overlooked by Italians except for seaside holidays, and relatively unknown to foreign tourists. Despite this, Calabria offers a glimpse into a different side of Italy, along with echoes of its illustrious past over two thousand years ago. Once part of Magna Graecia, Calabria was home to wealthy and powerful Greek colonies, evidenced by artifacts such as the famous Riace bronze statues, now housed in the Museo Nazionale of Reggio Calabria.Calabria is characterized by its mountainous terrain and numerous remote villages, some historically associated with the local Mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta. While the region’s larger towns are mostly modern and unremarkable, the smaller towns, villages, and rural areas possess significant historic charm. The once-great cities of Magna Graecia have largely disappeared due to fighting, conquest, malaria, and earthquakes. However, the region retains unique cultural enclaves, including Greek-speaking villages and an Albanian community dating back five hundred years.Today, Calabria’s 780 kilometers of coastline attract most of its summer visitors, with shores facing both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas. The regional capital is Catanzaro. Summers are very hot, while winter brings snow to the mountainous areas.
Region map of Calabria


Puglia, also known as Apulia,  located in the southeastern part of Italy, the heel of Italy’s boot is renowned for its stunning coastline with secret rocky coves and small beaches, perfect for sun-lovers seeking a quieter, less commercialized experience. The region's towns, with their charming historic centers with white-washed trullo houses, , offer an authentic and picturesque Italian atmosphere. Puglia's simple, hearty cuisine, based on local produce, is another major draw. While it’s not as inexpensive as it once was, Puglia still provides fantastic holiday experiences at more affordable prices than Italy's more established tourist regions.The region is divided into six provinces: Bari (the regional capital), Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, Taranto, and Barletta-Andria-Trani. The Salento area, around Lecce and the southernmost tip of the 'heel,' is a prime destination for sea and sun worshippers. Puglia borders Campania, Molise, and Basilicata. Matera, famous for its cave dwellings, is close to the Puglia border and makes a great addition to any tour of the region.
Region map of Puglia


Sardinia is a large island at the heart of the Mediterranean, part of Italy yet strikingly different in many ways. Known for its stunning beaches and turquoise waters, Sardinia offers much more than just its beautiful coastline. Unique archaeological sites, charming cities, quaint villages, extensive hiking trails, climbing and mountain biking opportunities, ancient traditions, vibrant festivals, concerts, unique food, and delicious wines are just some of the attractions that make Sardinia a must-visit destination.Just a short flight from Italy’s mainland, the island’s fiercely independent culture makes it feel like another world. The local language, Sardo, is largely unintelligible to Italian speakers, and even the calendar is different — the new year starts in September. From the yacht-filled marinas of Costa Smeralda to the sandy beaches around the capital city of Cagliari, Sardinia offers a unique holiday experience.In Barumini, explore the prehistoric Nuragic ruins that dot Sardinia, followed by a tasting of the island’s distinctive wines. Discover Sardinia’s unique cuisine on a private tour of Cagliari, or meet a shepherd and learn about traditional cheese-making methods. Alternatively, relax on the deck of a private boat, soaking in the sun and views around La Maddalena. Sardinia is a multifaceted island, and we can help you explore the aspects that interest you the most.
Region map of Sardinia


Sicily is more than just an Italian region; it’s an island with a rich and fascinating history, renowned for its vibrant character. Often likened to the football being kicked by Italy's boot, Sicily lies to the south of the mainland, close to the African coast. The island's long history of invasion and conquest has created a diverse heritage that includes Greek, Arab, Roman, and Norman influences. These various cultural elements are reflected in Sicily’s architecture, landscape, and culture, making it a truly unique destination.The island is also known for its natural predisposition to disasters. Mount Etna, located in the eastern part of Sicily, is Europe’s highest and most active volcano. The region is prone to earthquakes and extreme weather conditions as well. A catastrophic earthquake in 1693 destroyed many southeastern towns, which were subsequently rebuilt in the Baroque style. The interplay of nature, disaster, and mystery is a constant in Sicily – for instance, there was a news story about geologists and exorcists being summoned to investigate unexplained fires affecting electrical wires and appliances in a village near Messina.Sicily’s pastries and desserts (dolci) are renowned for their richness, often featuring ingredients like marzipan and ricotta. Iconic treats include cannoli, thin tubes filled with ricotta, chocolate, or candied fruit. In Sicily’s warm climate, locals and visitors alike enjoy fine ice cream and the refreshing granita di limone (a lemon ice slush). While Marsala was once Sicily’s most famous wine, many of the island’s vineyards, including those on the volcanic slopes of Etna, are now gaining international acclaim.
Region map of Sicily


Campania is one of Italy’s most beautiful regions, characterized by its mountainous terrain and lush greenery. The area's volcanic history has significantly shaped its landscape, contributing to its warm climate and the picturesque groves of oranges and lemons above the deep blue sea.The Campania coastline, especially along the Sorrento Peninsula, is both dramatic and captivating. Beyond the mainland, the stunning islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida beckon with their beauty.Campania’s cuisine is rich in local products: fresh seafood, buffalo mozzarella, and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Must-try dishes include authentic Neapolitan pizza, creamy ice cream, granita di limone (a refreshing crushed-ice lemon drink), and the region’s delectable desserts. The local alcoholic specialty is Limoncello, complemented by several excellent regional wines.For history and culture enthusiasts, Naples boasts priceless collections in its archaeological museum and offers opera performances at the prestigious Teatro San Carlo. The nearby archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum are among the world’s greatest. In Campania, you don’t have to choose between activities—you can enjoy superb cuisine, seaside relaxation, exhilarating hikes, and even beachside ballet all in one sunny holiday.
Region map of Campania


With fewer crowds, Abruzzo offers abundant recreational activities and a regional culture deeply rooted in gastronomy, literature, music, and ancient architecture. You’ll find yourself wondering why you never thought to visit this hidden gem before!Above all, Abruzzo is a land of mountains, national parks, stunning seascapes, hidden natural treasures, enchanting villages, and breathtaking views. The region is renowned for producing high-quality wines and agricultural products. Thanks to its unique geographical location, the vast and scenic landscapes of Abruzzo will captivate anyone who visits. Whether you prefer outdoor adventures or cultural explorations, Abruzzo has something for everyone.The Abruzzo region is bordered by Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and southwest, Molise to the southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Spanning an area of 10,795 square kilometers, a third of Abruzzo's land is dedicated to national parks, nature reserves, and protected areas. It is home to the highest mountains of the Apennines, including the Gran Sasso, as well as the southernmost glacier in Europe and a vast 130 km stretch of beaches.
Region map of Abuzzo


Lazio, located in central Italy on the western coast, was historically known to English travelers as Latium, though this name is now seldom used. Once a key stop on the Grand Tour for 18th-century travelers exploring its picturesque villages, Lazio is often overshadowed today by its capital, Rome.With significant investment, employment, and tourism centered in Rome, the surrounding areas of Lazio tend to be quieter, less populated, and somewhat neglected. However, for tourists, this means access to unspoiled countryside, preserved historic town centers, and a warm welcome from locals. In many of Lazio’s smaller towns, tourists are a rarity, and once residents realize you are interested in their hometown, they are generally thrilled.Lazio is divided into five provinces. To the north and west, bordering Tuscany and Umbria, are the provinces of Viterbo and Rieti. In the center is the Province of Rome, the region’s administrative hub. To the south are the provinces of Latina and Frosinone.
Region map of Lazio


Florence is Tuscany’s unmissable crown jewel, renowned for its magnificent architecture, vibrant history, priceless art, and unique atmosphere. However, Tuscany as a whole is a celebrated tourist destination, beloved by foreigners for its charming villas, picturesque vineyards, and rolling hills. Beyond Florence, the region is home to numerous historic towns, each offering its own unique charm without the heavy tourist crowds.Siena, a noble hilltop town, is famous for its historic rivalry among districts (contrade), which climaxes in the thrilling Palio horse race. Pisa, known for its iconic leaning tower, also boasts several other attractions and excellent transport links to other parts of Italy. Smaller yet equally captivating destinations in Tuscany include Lucca, famous for its well-preserved Renaissance walls; San Gimignano, with its stunning medieval towers; and the wine-rich Chianti area.The Tuscan coastline, primarily frequented by holidaying Italians, features popular seaside destinations such as Forte dei Marmi, the Monte Argentario promontory, and the Isle of Elba. The region is also known for its thermal springs, with Chianciano and Bagni di Lucca being among the most popular spots for relaxation and wellness.
Region map of Tuscany


The region of Umbria, located in central Italy, is an ideal destination for a tranquil and enjoyable holiday. Neighboring Tuscany and Lazio, Umbria is often favored by foreign tourists seeking a quieter experience compared to the more crowded regions. Unlike many Italian regions, Umbria has no coastline, but its landscape is green and fertile, featuring wooded hills and lush countryside.Umbria is renowned for its culinary delights, prompting Italians to often remark, "You’ll eat well there." Local specialties include wild boar and the highly-prized truffle. For those with a sweet tooth, Perugia is a must-visit as one of Italy’s chocolate capitals. Beyond its gastronomic appeal, Umbria’s green countryside attracts walkers, cyclists, and those seeking a peaceful retreat.Umbria offers a slow-paced holiday experience where you can savor local specialties, explore charming medieval towns, and immerse yourself in authentic Italian culture. While renting a car is convenient for touring the region, public transport connections are sufficient for exploring Umbria’s attractions.
Region map of Umbria


Emilia-Romagna is a vibrant region in the upper eastern part of Italy, extending from the Adriatic coast nearly to the western shore of the country. Known for its prosperity and high quality of life, the region is celebrated for its exceptional cuisine, including world-famous Parma ham and Parmesan cheese, as well as its picturesque art cities. The landscape of Emilia-Romagna is diverse, ranging from the Apennine mountains, Italy’s central spine, to the sandy beaches along the Adriatic Sea. The region encompasses rolling hills and vast plains, which make up about half of its area. Emilia-Romagna is bordered by Veneto and Lombardy to the north, Piemonte and Liguria to the west, Tuscany and Le Marche to the south, and the independent Republic of San Marino.The cities of Emilia-Romagna are steeped in history, having developed along the ancient Via Aemilia, a major Roman road that connected to the port of Ariminum, now known as Rimini. Ravenna served as the capital of Italy during the twilight of the Roman Empire, while Bologna stands as a significant city in contemporary Italy. Unlike the bustling seaside resorts in summer, much of Emilia-Romagna remains less frequented by tourists, allowing visitors to leisurely explore city centers, admire exquisite art and architecture, and experience the authentic Italian lifestyle.Emilia-Romagna is divided into nine provinces: Bologna, Ferrara, Piacenza, Ravenna, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Forlì-Cesena, and Rimini, with Bologna serving as the regional capital.
Region map of Emilia-Romagna

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, located in the northeastern corner of Italy, is an intriguing and diverse region that often escapes the typical tourist itinerary. Bordered by Austria and Slovenia, and close to Croatia, the region forms a large amphitheater between the mountains and the head of the Adriatic Sea. Despite being the fifth smallest region in Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia offers a wide range of landscapes, from coastlines to the final section of the Alps, making it a destination worth exploring.The region is divided into four provinces: Udine, Gorizia, Trieste, and Pordenone. Trieste, the regional capital, is a historic port city on the Adriatic Coast, renowned for its impressive Castle Miramare. Friuli-Venezia Giulia enjoys autonomous status, allowing it to preserve its unique cultural blend of Italian, Slavic, and Austrian influences, evident in its cuisine and traditions.The regional airport serves flights from the UK, making it accessible for international visitors. Friuli-Venezia Giulia can also be easily combined with tours of the neighboring Veneto region.The diverse geography of Friuli-Venezia Giulia includes coastal areas and mountainous regions, offering opportunities for both beachgoers and winter sports enthusiasts. The largest ski resort in the region, Tarvisio-Monte Lussari, features 15 miles (25 km) of ski runs, attracting winter sports lovers.Besides mountain excursions, visitors can explore the historic cities of Udine and Trieste. The region is also famous for producing some of Italy's best white wines and grappas. With its varied landscapes, rich history, and cultural influences, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a destination that promises a unique and enriching experience.
Region map of Friuli-Venezia Giulia


The Veneto region is situated in northeastern Italy, along the Adriatic Sea. It shares borders with Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, and a small stretch of Austria in the far north. While Venice is the main attraction for most travelers, the region also boasts other popular destinations such as Verona, Padua, Vicenza, Lake Garda, and the ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Additionally, Veneto is home to many lesser-known yet charming towns and scenic landscapes that offer an enjoyable and interesting holiday experience.The regional capital is Venice (Venezia), and the area is divided into the provinces of Venezia, Padova, Verona, Vicenza, Belluno, Rovigo, and Treviso. The region's approximately four and a half million inhabitants are spread across cities, plains, lagoons, hills, and mountains.Throughout much of its history, the Veneto region was under the control of the wealthy and powerful Venetian Republic. The emblem of the city, the winged lion of St. Mark, can be seen throughout the region.
Region map of Veneto


Lombardy (Lombardia) is a wealthy and bustling region in northern Italy that seamlessly blends commerce and industry with an impressive array of prime tourist destinations. Stretching over the Alps, plains, and lakes, Lombardy’s scenery is both varied and dramatic. The flat area around Milan is dotted with art cities, while the edges of the mountains offer natural splendors. Here, the Alps descend into steep valleys and lakes, creating a scenic landscape that has captivated travelers for centuries.Milan is the regional capital of Lombardy, and the region's other provinces include Lecco, Varese, Como, Bergamo, Sondrio, Brescia, Cremona, Mantova, Pavia, and Lodi. Lombardy’s regional cuisine boasts specialties such as risotto alla milanese, frogs (in Pavia), ossobuco alla milanese, bresaola, and polenta.
Region map of Lombardy


Piemonte is located in the northwest of Italy, bordering France. Much of Piemonte is mountainous, covered in ice and snow, with peaks reaching up to the heights of Monte Rosa (4,633m). The region offers a striking contrast between rich rolling vineyards and the mountain wonderland of Gran Paradiso National Park. This region provided the short-lived Kingdom of Italy with its monarchs, the Savoy family, and introduced Fiat cars to the world. The regional capital, Turin, was the host city for the 2006 Winter Olympics.Piemonte is renowned for its wines, including Barolo, Barbaresco, Asti Spumante, and Vermouth. The region also boasts prized products such as truffles from the Alba area, cheeses like Gorgonzola, and a delightful variety of biscuits and chocolates.
Region map of Piemonte


The region of Liguria is a slender strip of land at the top of Italy’s boot, curving northwest around the Mediterranean and stretching from Tuscany to the French border. Often called the 'Italian Riviera,' this area has attracted sun-seeking northern Europeans for over a century with its seaside resorts and elegant promenades. The generally rocky coastline rises to inland mountains that become increasingly steep and high towards the northwest, where the Maritime Alps (reaching over 2,600 meters) meet the sea. This geography creates a famously mild climate that benefits both tourism and the region’s renowned gardens.The only major city in Liguria is Genoa, located centrally along its coastline. Genoa is a historic port city that was once one of the Mediterranean’s great powers. The coast west of Genoa, known as the western riviera or Riviera di Ponente, includes resorts like Sanremo. Heading southeast towards Tuscany, the coast is called the Riviera di Levante and features the cliffside villages of the Cinque Terre and the posh harbor of Portofino. Liguria is divided into four provinces: Genova (Genoa), Imperia, La Spezia, and Savona.Ligurian food is both filling and delicious. The region, known for its flower cultivation, is also famous for its edible produce, including olives, peaches, asparagus, artichokes, and tomatoes. Specialty dishes include pesto, enjoyed with pasta or even on pizza, and products based on potatoes and chickpeas. Highly recommended is farinata, a tasty snack made from chickpeas, best eaten hot as a takeaway.
Region map of Liguria

Trentino-Alto Adige

This northernmost region of Italy, known as South Tyrol, borders Switzerland and Austria, resulting in a culture closely aligned with its northern neighbors. Prior to its annexation in 1919, this region was part of Austria-Hungary.Trentino-Alto Adige boasts sections of two spectacular mountain ranges: the Dolomites and the Alps, making it an excellent destination for skiing, snowboarding, and mountain hikes. Spring and summer are perfect for enjoying the flourishing nature, with emerald lakes such as Lake Prags set against snow-capped peaks, charming alpine towns like Meran, and impressive medieval fortresses like Trauttmansdorff Castle.
Region map of Trentino-Alto Adige

Tours and Activities from Italy