Italy is a country made for slow touring: whether you’re cruising through vineyards and silver-green olive groves that dip to the sea in sun-baked Puglia, negotiating hairpin bends on a cliff-hugging road skirting the dramatic island of Sardinia, or making an epic drive along the coast of Sicily. Wind down the window, breathe in the scent of wild herbs on the breeze, crank up the radio and get ready for five of our all-time favorite coastal road trips.
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For pure Mediterranean beauty, nothing beats Italy's Amalfi coast. The scenic drives and pebbly beaches are well known by this point, as are the romantic grottoes that dot the rocky coastline. There are still some secrets to be discovered, though, and below we reveal the most romantic hidden grottoes, coves, and secluded beaches of Amalfi, from one end of the region to the other.
Italy's twenty wine regions have something for everyone, from full-bodied reds in the hills of Tuscany to crisp sparkling wines in the northern lakes region and one-of-a-kind varietals at rustic island wineries in Sicily. Whether you want to detour from Florence for a quick tasting or plan your vacation around wine, learn more about six of the country's best wine regions with this guide.
Head to the north of Italy and you'll find stunning alpine lakes, the most famous of which is Lago di Como. But there are plenty of lesser-known bodies of water in the region that rival the beauty of Como—let this guide take you to the islands of Maggiore, the crystalline waters of Garda, and beyond.
Getting lost in the mazy streets of a tucked-away hill town is one of the true delights of travel in Italy. Here you'll wander cobbled streets lined with shuttered houses, turning a corner to find a majestic piazza or wonderful family-run trattoria. But don’t limit yourself to the best-known towns—read on for six of our hidden favorites.
Few places fit the dream honeymoon bill quite like Tuscany. In Italy’s heart, this region delivers romance in a nutshell, with a dash of everything that makes the country great: gourmet food and wine, eyrie-like medieval hill towns perched above sloping vines and olive groves, and cultured cities packed with high-caliber Renaissance art and magnificent café-rimmed piazzas. You're bound to fall head over heels in love with it.
Like the proverbial iceberg, the bulk of Sicily's allure and natural beauty exist just beneath the surface. Beyond the major tourist sites, there are lesser-visited offshore islands, remote coastline with secluded beaches, and delicious street food found in cobbled alleyways. It's on excursions like these that you'll get to the true heart of Sicily.
Whether it’s to be a family-friendly pedal through vineyards and poppy fields, a race to the top of a medieval tower, or the perfect scoop of gelato—Tuscany is a surefire kid-pleaser. With a little forward planning, this low-key corner of Italy can be utter heaven for bambini (children). Read on for the top activities, places to go, and trip ideas.
Venice is crammed with attractions, but if this is your second visit or you’re here for a week or more, head across to the mainland. Beyond the causeway lies the Veneto, a vast, historic region rich in culture, vineyards and intriguing medieval towns. Though this was once part of the Venetian Empire, it feels very different from the city: visit Palladian mansions, stand on Juliet’s balcony, and sample bubbly prosecco with these great day trips.
Sidestep the crowds in Florence and Pisa and get a more authentic taste of one of Italy's most beautiful regions with this enchanting list. Find hidden piazzas perfect for an aperitivo (aperitif) and artisan workshops that have been in business for centuries—or, dip into the countryside where lyrical landscapes unfold to reveal hill towns and tucked-away farm stays. Read on for our tips on Tuscany's best immersive experiences.
Few countries can hold a candle to Italy when it comes to Western art, where creativity has flowed freely since time immemorial. This is the country that gave the world Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and many more besides. From major cities like Florence and Rome to the hidden hill town of Urbino, find out what artists and major works not to miss—and how to incorporate them into your Italy itinerary.
Have just one day in Venice? Plan on starting early. It is possible to get a decent taster of the city’s art and architecture—and still have time to explore the back alleys and quieter canals that make “La Serenissima” so special. From riding the vaporetti to finding that special masterpiece by Titian or Tintoretto, here’s the best plan for spending 24 hours in Venice.
Sitting romantically astride the Arno River, topped by terracotta-tiled domes and medieval towers that lift the gaze skywards, and bathed in painterly light—Florence is one of Europe’s most captivating cities. The Tuscan capital has enough Renaissance art and architecture to keep you coming back for a lifetime, but in just one day you can get a taste of what makes the city great.
Italy oozes romance like few other destinations can: after all, this is where the world's best-known love story, Romeo and Juliet, was set. From exploring the cultural vibrancy of Rome through sipping wine straight from the vineyards of rural Tuscany down to sun-bathing on the sultry coast of Sicily, these are the most passion-inducing places in Italy to celebrate your new marriage.
When to visit Italy
January signals the middle of winter in Italy. This is traditionally when gloomy weather hampers outdoor excursions to the nation's famous coastal cities and beaches. However, winter-sports enthusiasts will find January to be a veritable playground of ideal skiing and snowboarding conditions. Even if you aren't up for hitting the slopes, we can still point you to the best places to spend an Italian winter while enjoying two great benefits: fewer crowds and lower prices.
February in Italy may be right in the middle of the chillier off-season, but those who venture here during this month are in for some pleasant surprises and wild parties. Not only are there fewer crowds to contend with, but all across the country Italians celebrate one of the biggest religious shindigs of the year: Carnevale.
Those who plan an Italian holiday in March are a little bit ahead of the curve. This is the sweet spot on the calendar when the gloomy weather is just beginning to turn for the better yet the tourist hordes are still far away as they plan their summer invasion. What better time, then, to venture to the old boot and journey down to its sunnier Mediterranean locales. Sicily, we're looking at you.
To venture to Italy in April is to experience a gem of a Mediterranean country in the throes of spring. Sunny days are now the norm, having supplanted the rain and gloom that defined winter. This is the last and greatest month to take advantage of the country's spring shoulder season and all those lower fares and less-crowded historic sites. So pack your bags, because Italy is calling.
May is synonymous with spring, although in Italy you can expect the tourist crowds to be more on par with summer. Still, the weather is often great during this month, which means prime conditions for outdoor activities like sunbathing and hiking. And what better month than May to hit the road and discover the nation's countless vineyards and sample its most legendary wines?
June is the month when tourists flock from all over the world to claim for themselves a bit of the beauty, splendor, history, and culture that defines Italy. From Venice and Florence in the north down to Sicily in the far south, this is a month for outdoor excursions and lazing on Mediterranean beaches. And although you'll have to contend with sizeable crowds, there are plenty of destinations to choose from in which to craft your perfect Italian holiday.
From the north to the south, east coast to west, summer temperatures mean all of Italy is open for business. Take a dip in Lake Como, tour the vineyards of Tuscany, or cruise the coastal roads of Sicily—the sky is the limit. Plus, two world-renowned cultural festivals occur during July that makes this a prime month on the holiday calendar.
Italy in August is hot and crowded. But if you know where to go, you can plan the perfect summer holiday that all but ensures great weather and great adventure. And if you want to get in some beach time, we'll point you in the direction of the best and most secluded gems.
Italy in September means you can still count on summer crowds and summer prices. That aside, some of the vacationers have gone home, freeing up much desirable real estate on Italy's famed Mediterranean coast. Plus, September kicks off harvest season in the country, so foodies, grab your forks.
Anyone looking for an Italian holiday that's mostly free of the tourist crowds would do well to travel in October. Despite the cooler weather, it's possible to still catch some rays and laze on uncrowded beaches. Plus there are a few delicious harvest festivals in October that you can take advantage of.
The sunny splendor of Italy is officially gone by November. However, you shouldn't let a bit of inclement weather spoil your Italian holiday. During this month, the crowds are gone, the museums and restaurants are less crowded, and there's some delicious food festivals you can attend. So pack your appetite, because you're off to Italy.
The chill may be coming in strong, but December in Italy also signals the start of the Christmas season. Across the nation there are holiday markets galore, selling everything from hot roasted chestnuts to mulled wine. Plus, all those ski slopes in the north of the country are starting to open for business.
Tuscany's first month of the year is also its coldest. But with the chilly weather comes fun snow activities, the start of carnivale season, fewer crowds, and lower costs than other times of the year. The snow and ice add an additional enchanting quality to already captivating attractions like Casentino National Park, the Apennines, and the Garfagnana mountains. Find out what to do and where to go with this January guide.
February is the last full month of winter in Tuscany, offering plenty of snowy adventures and lively festivals, as well as fewer tourists and lower prices. Ski season is well underway in the mountains, the resorts and their respective slopes bustling with activity. Meanwhile, the rest of the country celebrates the coming of spring with Lent and one of Italy's liveliest religious events: Carnevale.
Visitors to Tuscany in March will catch the earliest glimpses of spring and though the weather is a little temperamental, you can catch the best of both winter and late spring seasons. This is a great month to hit the slopes, explore the cities, and experience uncrowded popular attractions. Find out what to do and where to go with this March guide.
Spring is well underway in April, offering mild, sunny days, blossoming flowers, and religious events—with the entire country coming out for Easter festivities. Tourist numbers are low and prices for accommodation and flights remain attractive, making this an ideal time to sightsee less crowded popular attractions as well as take advantage of outdoor activities.
May offers the perfect time to visit Tuscany. The weather is sunny with fewer bouts of rain and the Tyrrhenian Sea is just about warm enough to swim. There's still a month before the foreign tourist onslaught and shoulder season bargains are still to be had. Read on for more tips on where to go and what to expect in Tuscany this month.
June marks the beginning of the high season as crowds start to infiltrate one of Italy's most popular regions. The sun and sea beckon visitors to flock to the Tyrrhenian coast, the mountains are waiting to be traversed, and the Chianti and Siena wine provinces are waiting to be explored. Drink in Tuscany as you learn what to do and where to go.
July is high season in Tuscany, and with sunny, hot weather, it's a perfect month for getting outdoors to bike, hike, and play in the water. The whole region is waiting to be explored, so take advantage of the fine weather and the slew of festivals that take place throughout the month.
Tuscany, like most of the country, is hot and crowded. It's the peak of tourist season, but this monthly guide can point you in the right direction—to less-crowded beaches and cooler locales.
Outside the height of peak season, September makes for a great time to visit Tuscany. Toward the end of the month, the crowds have lessened, the weather is not blazingly hot, and the Tyrrhenian Sea remains inviting. Read on to learn more.
October is one of the prettiest months to visit Tuscany. With few visitors, experience the changing foliage throughout the country, the Casentino National Park being a great place to start. Plus, the Tyrrhenian Sea is still warm enough for a dip.
While the weather has turned grey and rainy, November sees fewer crowds, lower-priced accommodation, and Tuscany's largest truffle fair in medieval San Miniato. Discover the region's cultural attractions: museums and galleries, monuments and castles.
Dark and chilly December brightens up in the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year's Eve, attracting visitors to Tuscany's decked-out villages, towns, and cities. This is a great month to hit the slopes, wander a holiday market, and feast on local Tuscan delicacies.
Sicily's first month of the year is also its wettest. But with the rainy weather comes the start of Carnival season, fewer crowds, and lower costs than other times of the year. This is also one of the best winter months to do a little skiing on the slopes of Mount Etna.
February is the tail end of Sicily's short winter, offering snowy adventures on the island's highest peaks, blossoming almond trees in the south, and massive festivals—as well as fewer tourists and lower prices. A predominantly Catholic region, Sicily gets into festive spirits around Lent and Carnivale, kicking off the coming of spring with Mardi Gras celebrations across the country. Find out what to do and where to go with this February guide.
Spring has sprung along the coast, while there's still snow in the mountains and on Mount Etna, perfect for travelers looking to do it all. Tourist numbers are low and prices for accommodation and flights remain attractive, making this an ideal time to see uncrowded popular attractions or head outdoors to hike, bike, and get in some skiing.
The Italian island is green, lush, and dotted with blooming wildflowers and citrus fruit—with the entire country coming out for Easter festivities. Take advantage of the fewer crowds and cheaper airfare during this shoulder season month and get yourself outdoors to experience all that Sicily has to offer. Read this monthly guide for more.
May is undoubtedly one of the best times to get outdoors and explore Sicily. The weather is consistently pleasant, the crowds aren't yet at their peak, and there are a number of fun and tasty festivals to experience, granting you an all-access pass to the Italian island. Find out what to do and where to go with this May guide.
Sicily begins to heat up in June; the weather is beach-perfect drawing holidaymakers to the coastline and popular cultural attractions. And though you'll have to contend with the crowds, there are plenty of destinations to choose from in which to craft your perfect island holiday. Read this monthly guide to learn more.
Without a doubt, July is Sicily's most popular time for travelers. The weather is hot and sunny, the Mediterranean is warm and inviting, and there are a host of fun and lively cultural and musical events that take place throughout the month and all over the island. Read on for more tips on where to go and what to expect in Sicily this month.
August is the last full month of Sicily's lively (and pricy) high season. The weather is sunny and hot, perfect for beach days and all things watersport related, though you'll have to contend with the hordes of foreign and local tourists. Don't let that deter you though, as this guide will tell you what to do and where to go.
September is a fantastic month to experience Sicily as the summer weather continues and the crowds start to thin. There are endless options to take advantage of, from outdoor activities and cultural events to wine-and-food festivals, though if you're in search of a bargain you'll want to look toward the end of the month. Read on to learn more about visiting the Italian island in September.
October is an ideal time of year to visit Sicily and explore its popular attractions without the crowds. Plus, the weather is pleasant enough to entice beachgoers and harvest festivals are plenty. Let this monthly guide help you find the best places to visit and things to do.
While the weather is a little rainier than the rest of the year, November remains an excellent month for urban and cultural exploration as well as a possible beach day. November also ushers in wine season with St. Martin's Day kicking off a host of festivals celebrating seasonal fare and of course, wine. Let this monthly guide help you find the best places to visit and things to do.
December welcomes Christmas and New Year visitors looking to spend the holidays in Sicily's festive towns and cities. An excellent month to peruse Christmas markets, feast on local Sicilian delicacies, and explore ancient Greek and Roman ruins with next to no crowds.