Italy off the beaten path. Lesser-known places in Italy for relaxing vacation away from the crowds
Italy is a powerhouse of international tourism and with places such as Venice, Tuscany, Florence, it is easy to see why.
While all these places are stunning and among the most beautiful in Italy in the world, they do unfortunately come with the downside of often being very busy, which is not always what you want, when looking at a vacation place.
So today I thought of sharing some lesser-known places in Italy that are beautiful but good to escape the crowds.
The best way to see Italy and avoid the crowds is to rent a car and book private accommodation in the countryside from where to take day trips
At the end of this post, you will find my tried and tested resources for a trip to Italy off the beaten path. I hope they will come in handy when planning your trip!
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Italy off the beaten path: best places to visit in Italy while staying away from the crowds.
Val Venosta: crowd-free Mountain paradise
Italy has stunning mountain scenery, so beautiful Unesco has recognized the Dolomites and world heritage site as a place of outstanding natural beauty
The Dolomites are one of my favorite destinations in Italy and a place of the heart for me: I spent all my childhood summers there.
However, especially in recent years, they have become really popular and some spots ever gained Instagram fame (and an inevitable surge in the number of visitors)
However, there is more to the Italian Alps than the Dolomites and it often doesn’t take to go that far from them to escape the busiest spots.
Val Venosta is the perfect example of this. Here you have stunning valleys, glaciers, pretty homes, hiking opportunities and all you can expect from the perfect mountain destination in Italy, less the price tag and the crowds!
You need a car to explore but if you do, you can visit pretty Merano, the submerged bell tower or Lake Resia, hike to your heart content and relax in this quiet lend of alpine beauty and small villages and apple tree orchards!
Liguria is home to one of the prettiest and most popular destinations in the whole in Italy, the string of 5 colorful villages of Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre are stunning yet they get so many visitors, especially in spring and summer, that are a hard place when you are trying to avoid physical contact and crowds.
However, it is still possible to get a taste of Liguria without the crowds and all it takes is to go to the Western part of the region.
Here, in the area of Diano, close to the French border, you have lovely inland agriturismo which mix the quiet of the countryside with easy access to the sea and many pretty villages and gorgeous sandy beaches.
Le Marche hardly ever appears on the list of the best places to visit in Italy however, once you go you can only think this is because Italians want to keep them from themselves, not because of lack of beauty!
The truth is that Le Marche region is amazing.
Here you have Riviera del Conero, a stunning stretch of coastline with crystal clear waters and white beaches, lovely agriturismo with large gardens and swimming pools and also lovely towns.
Urbino with its university and the stunning castle is here and it is a sight to behold!
Lazio is the region of Rome and is often considered a sort of fly-over land, a place you need to cross to get to either Tuscany (north of Rome) or Campania (Pompeii and Amalfi Coast, to the South), basically an annoying space between Rome and Florence.
However, Lazio has a lot to offer to visitors and also comes with an advantage: prices much lower than nearby Tuscany or Rome (both more than worth seeing of course)!
Stunning, quiet places to visit are Sperlonga, a wonderful seaside town with whitewashed alleys and a beautiful family-friendly sandy beach.
Gaeta, another fantastic locality along the coast, with the beautiful Serapo beach, a nice city center and many sightseeing opportunities in the area.
The area of Civita di Bagnoregio is the perfect place to get a villa with a swimming pool and explore at your own pace and has some gems such as Civita itself, Bolsena and better known Orvieto.
The whole area of Tuscia, closer to Tuscany, which offers an intoxicating mix of beaches, nature walks and sightseeing opportunities that rivals that of much better-known areas.
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Friuli is another hidden gem that tends to remain outside of Italy trip itineraries for first-time visitors but tends to cast a spell on the few who do get to go.
Beautiful Trieste is e is worth a visit as one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.
The city is tunning and has an important literary past and cultural tradition worth knowing, including being the home to literary greats such as Svevo and Joyce.
As well as Trieste itself, Friuli has lovely cities worth visiting, stunning mountains scenery and pretty towns in the province of Udine and you are never far away from the sea either!
This is one of the best places in Italy for getting away from the crowds.
Abruzzo, a little bit like nearby Marche and Molise, is one of those regions that gets little attention but packs a punch in terms of natural beauty.
Come here in winter to see the picture-perfect mountain villages that look like nativity scenes or in spring and summer to enjoy the views of the Gran Sasso, the highest peak of the Appennines.
Make sure you also taste arrosticini, the meat specialty of the region too: they are tiny skewers of lamb meet and they are delicious!
The Italian book heel, Puglia, is now well known to international tourism however, it is still very much a place where you can get away from the crowds.
There is so much to see here, you can pretty much point to any place on the map and be sure to be in a good location!
One of the most famous places in Puglia is Alberobello and indeed, you do find crowds here usually.
However, all it takes is to drive 10 minutes and you find yourself in a peaceful, crowd-free world.
You can see how full itinerary through the South of Italy here
Ignored by international tourism and, let’s be honest, often by Italians too, Molise is where you find the true off the beaten track Italy
The only region in this article I myself have not visited properly, I believe it belongs in this list as the best place in Italy to escape from it all (plus, Campobasso, Isernia and Termoli look amazing!)
The tip of the Italian boot is a very varied place with nondescript town followed by stunning ones you will never want to leave, such as Scilla and Tropea.
You may have heard of Scylla in the myth of Scylla and Charybdis but this small town on the edge of Italy is no monster.
Quite the opposite actually! This is a small gem and one of the most beautiful places yo visit in Calabria, the point of Italy’s boot
Tropea is in Calabria and more precisely sits at the top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean sea, stunningly blue in this part of Italy.
Legends want Tropea to have been founded by Hercules and its ancient origins gave it a beautiful town center that blends in perfectly with the area’s beautiful beaches.
I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of lesser-known places in Italy and it helped you find a hidden gem in Italy you can call home during your vacation!
Italy travel resources
Have questions or want to chat about Italy? Join my Italy with kids Facebook group and get in touch!
- Agriturismo.it – my go to website for agriturismo bookings in Italy
- Booking.com – My go-to resource for accommodation (hotels, apartments and specialty lodging) with good deals and excellent cancellation policies
- VRBO Italia – for villa holidays in Italy
- LuggageHero – Large selection of luggage storage options for bags-free day trips
- GetYourGuide: booking platform for attraction tickets and day tours
- Lonely Planet: my one and only go-to travel guide provider
- AutoEurope: handy comparison website for the best car rental deals