Do you know Italy by regions? Often foreign travelers who discover Italy know only the most famous cities or the monuments mentioned in the classic tourist guides.
Having a vision of the Italian regions, however, helps the most careful travelers to improve their travel experience and not to miss the many wonders that are probably hidden a few kilometers away.
In this post you will discover that in Italy there are 20 regions, all beautiful and full of pearls and I will tell you what they are known for and why you should visit them all.
In which regions have you already taken your holidays? Which region, however, do you absolutely want to visit?
Write it in the comments!
Aosta Valley is the smallest of the regions of Italy and is nestled in the north-west between France, Switzerland and Piedmont.
Its whole territory develops in the middle of the Alps and here the highest mountains in Europe stand out: Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso, the Matterhorn, on the border with Switzerland, and the roof of Europe: Mont Blanc, precisely on the border with France.
In this region, although small, there is however a great cultural, gastronomic and natural heritage that makes it very fascinating.
Exploring the Aosta Valley you can still see very well the imprint of the ancient Romans who have left numerous testimonies, all to visit.
The first Italian natural park dating back to 1922 is hidden in the mountains: the Gran Paradiso national park, an uncontaminated environment where you can observe animals in their natural habitat: the ibex, the symbol of the park, marmots, chamois and golden eagles.
Living this region is very stimulating because Italian culture merges with the culture of neighboring France. Also for this reason the Aosta Valley is one of the autonomous regions that exist in Italy.
I recommend you to visit the Aosta Valley if:
- you love the mountains and winter sports, such as alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding;
- you are a lover of outdoor activities such as walking, climbing and climbing;
- you are looking for a quiet place to stay cool;
- you like authentic mountain cheeses, such as Fontina;
- you are fascinated by Roman and medieval military fortifications and castles.
Piedmont is a region with a very varied territory: to the west, north and south it is surrounded by the Alps, where you can enjoy pleasant mountain landscapes and ski resorts where you can enjoy winter sports.
At the center of the region, however, large plains and rolling hills extend. Here some of the best Italian food and wine products are born: renowned meats and some of the finest wines in Italy, such as Barolo and Barbaresco, also the famous Alba truffle, probably one of the ingredients of the most popular Italian dishes in the world.
This varied territory also includes the beautiful area of Lake Maggiore where ancient villas stand in a peaceful and fascinating panorama.
Finally, Turin is a large, important and historic city that has also been the capital of Italy. Here you can admire ancient noble palaces, interesting museums and the charm of an ancient Savoy city.
I recommend you to visit Piedmont if:
- you love to practice winter sports;
- you are a lover of refined food and precious ingredients;
- you are a wine lover (especially the red one);
- you love hills full of farmhouses and endless vineyards.
Liguria is a thin strip of land nestled between the French Riviera and Tuscany, close to all major cities in northern Italy such as Milan and Turin.
Liguria is probably the most famous Italian coast in the world, for its wonderful climate and the beauty of its coast.
This region, in fact, began its tourism development in the late nineteenth century, when nobles from all over Europe came here for the holidays.
Liguria’s climate and weather allow travelers to visit it all year round, often guaranteeing beautiful sunny days, especially in the western part, the “Liguria di Ponente”.
Liguria also an extremely varied territory is suitable for all types of tourism: for those who love the sea, for those who love active holidays and for those who love to taste the gastronomic specialties.
Its hinterland is full of truly fascinating medieval villages that are never crowded. These small masterpieces are loved above all by foreign tourists.
I recommend you to visit Liguria if:
- you want to visit some of the most beautiful sea views in all of Italy;
- you are in northern Italy or in a city like Milan, Turin or Florence and want to have a weekend at the beach;
- you are a nature lover;
- you are a lover of medieval villages and castles;
- you want to visit an Italian destination all year round.
Lombardy is the most populous Italian region and is located right in the center of northern Italy.
This region, which extends from the Alps, bordering Switzerland, to the Po Valley, is rich in varied landscapes: the popular ski resorts on top of the Alps; the hills of Franciacorta where the best sparkling white wine labels are produced; the views of the lakes which are more beautiful than the other: Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore.
Milan, the capital of Lombardy, is the most important city in Italy for business. Live, rich and every year more and more modern.
Do not miss the other fascinating Lombard cities such as Bergamo, Como, Lecco and Mantua.
I recommend you to visit Lombardy if:
- you want to enjoy Milan’s glamor and nightlife;
- you want to see the most beautiful Italian lakes;
- you love winter sports.
Of all the Italian regions, Trentino is the best known for the beauty of its mountains. The most beautiful and most majestic are certainly the Dolomites, elected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The largest ski areas in Europe extend among these mountains: you can spend a whole day inside the Dolomiti Superski area without doing the same slope twice.
Here the landscape is truly magnificent: rocky mountains, fir forests, wide valleys, lakes, rivers and small mountain villages to be discovered.
In South Tyrol, also known as Sudtirol, the inhabitants speak more German than Italian. In the same way, the culture and gastronomy of the area are strongly influenced by neighboring Austria.
I recommend you to visit Trentino Alto-Adige if:
- you are a fan of winter sports;
- you love the mountain;
- you want an active holiday;
- you like Austrian meat and cuisine;
- you like small alpine villages.
Veneto has a unique city in the world: Venice.
This wonderful city is visited every year by thousands of tourists from all over the world, second only to Rome.
But Veneto is much more than that.
In this region there are many other very beautiful and interesting cities such as Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Treviso.
Long sandy beaches like those of Jesolo.
Wonderful mountain landscapes such as those of Cortina, known as the Pearl of the Dolomites.
Spas where you can indulge in pleasant treatments and total relaxation such as Abano Terme.
One of the best known and appreciated products all over the world comes from Veneto: prosecco, sparkling white wine produced with the charmat method.
I recommend you to visit Veneto if:
- you have never visited Venice or Verona;
- you are an architecture lover;
- you are a wine lover.
Friuli Venezia Giulia is the region located north-east of Italy and borders on Slovenia and Austria.
Here the views range from the high mountains of the eastern Dolomites to the sandy beaches of Lignano Sabbiadoro.
The most important city, which is also the capital, is Trieste: a very interesting city with a rich cultural heritage.
I recommend you to visit Friuli-Venezia Giulia if:
- you are a lover of outdoor sports;
- you are a lover of winter sports;
- you want to immerse yourself in a very particular multicultural environment.
A famous advertisement in Italy said that if we compare Italy to a house, Emilia Romagna is definitely its cuisine.
It may not be so, but undoubtedly many of the most famous Italian products in the world come from here: Parma ham, Parmesan cheese, tortellini, piadina and fine Modena balsamic vinegar.
For lovers of gastronomy, Emilia-Romagna is definitely a recommended stop.
But this region is also the land of magnificent Renaissance cities such as Bologna, Ferrara and Modena.
Along the sunny, and somewhat crowded, beaches of the Riviera Romagnola, in Rimini, Riccione and Cattolica, many tourists choose to spend their summer holidays.
Emilia Romagna also very famous spas such as Salsomaggiore Terme.
Visit Emilia-Romagna if:
- you are a food and wine lover and you want to taste the specialties where they are produced;
- you love historic cities and you prefer those not too crowded;
- you like large sandy beaches and nightlife on the sea.
Tuscany is probably the most famous Italian tourist region in the world.
The first image that comes to mind when thinking of Tuscany is the one that portrays its rolling hills: panoramas dotted with vineyards, avenues of cypresses and fascinating ancient villages.
In this region the Italian Renaissance was born and here you can visit all the wonderful cities of which this extraordinary historical period was the theater: Siena, Lucca, Pisa and of course Florence.
In Tuscany, the most prestigious wines in the world are produced, such as Chianti, the noble of Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino.
If you want to pass through here on your trip to Italy, don’t forget to taste the original Fiorentina.
I recommend you to visit Tuscany if:
- you are a lover of history, culture and art;
- you want to spend a few days in the tranquility of the hills and drink refined wine;
- if you have never visited Florence or Siena.
Umbria is a small region that is located right in the geographical center of Italy and is one of the few that does not have a sea view.
It is called the green lung of Italy and is in fact full of unspoiled landscapes in the enchantment of magnificent valleys and ancient villages.
Someone compares this region to Tuscany in some way.
Surely Umbria has unique cities of art and certainly worth visiting such as Assisi, Perugia and Orvieto.
For history lovers it is possible to visit the testimonies and remains of the ancient Etruscan civilization.
I recommend you to visit Umbria if:
- you want to visit a less tourist destination than traditional Italian cities of art;
- you are a lover of nature and tranquility;
- you want to visit Lake Trasimeno.
Marche is a region known and popular with Italians but less so by travelers from the rest of the world.
This territory on the Adriatic Sea has a beautiful coastline of long golden sandy beaches where you can spend relaxing and tanning holidays.
The most popular tourist cities are Senigallia, Pesaro Civitanova Marche and San Benedetto del Tronto.
The Marche region are also a perfect destination for lovers of outdoor sports activities such as hiking and mountain biking and nature.
The national parks of the Sibillini mountains and the Gran Sasso are perfect scenarios for those looking for this type of holiday.
I recommend you visit the brands if:
- you are a quiet beach lover;
- you are a lover of outdoor sports;
- you don’t like crowded places.
Lazio is one of the most visited regions of Italy because Rome, the eternal city, rises right here.
If you have never been to Rome, this is definitely where you should focus your visit in this region.
But even outside the capital there are many things to see: Lazio is a region full of archaeological sites linked to the ancient Roman civilization, such as Ostia Antica; The hills of the Castelli Romani; the lakes of central Italy, such as Lake Bracciano and Lake Bolsena.
If you want to taste the carbonara, amatriciana or gricia made in an authentic way, you must do it in Lazio.
I recommend you to visit Lazio if:
- you have never visited Rome;
- you are a lover of the history of archeology;
- you are an art lover;
- you want to taste the authentic Roman cuisine.
Abruzzo in the same way as the Marche is a region less known by foreign travelers than others.
This makes Abruzzo a region where to experience the authenticity of Italy.
In its territory there are ski resorts, natural parks and hills that offer magnificent views.
In Abruzzo there are protected animal species such as the golden eagle, the wolf and the Marsican bear.
The Abruzzo beaches on the Adriatic Sea are sandy in the north and more rocky in the south. The famous arrosticini, delicious sheep meat skewers, were born from the local cuisine.
Visit Abruzzo if:
- you know Italy and want to explore a territory outside the classic itineraries;
- you want to enjoy a more authentic and less touristic territory;
- you don’t want an expensive vacation.
In Italy, speaking of Molise, it is often said, in a classic joke, this region does not actually exist.
But Molise exists, indeed! It is a small region, very pleasant, which is in fact outside the traditional tourist routes.
For those who want to visit Molise, I recommend going between its hills and mountains rich in traditions related to agriculture and its gastronomy.
The stretch of coast of Molise has beautiful sandy beaches surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, its sea is clear and clean.
I recommend you to visit Molise if:
- you want to discover a territory that few know;
- you want to take a trip on a low budget;
- you don’t like places crowded with tourists.
Campania is a region full of history and culture.
Naples is a cheerful and chaotic city, but it is also a real open-air museum and its historic center is the largest in Europe.
If you have a few days to visit Campania, you cannot miss a visit to the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida, a true wonder of nature.
In the same way, the Amalfi coast and the seaside villages such as Sorrento and Positano are worth a visit.
In Campania there are fascinating and famous archaeological sites such as Pompeii and Herculaneum.
I recommend you to visit Campania if:
- you have already visited Rome you want to enjoy a weekend in Naples;
- you want to visit one of the most famous stretches of coast in Italy;
- you want to go and taste the authentic taste of real mozzarella di bufala;
- you want to go and taste the Neapolitan pizza where it was invented.
Puglia, easily identifiable on the map even by foreigners because right on the heel of the boot, is a wonderful region, rich in nature, stories and traditions.
It reached its popularity late, when the shots of its wonderful panoramas reached newspapers all over the world.
Today Puglia is very fashionable especially among Italian tourists. In summer, in fact, it is very popular and busy.
Here are wonderful sandy beaches and clear waters. The traditional Trulli are absolutely worth visiting, in the characteristic Borgo di Alberobello, for example, which has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
I recommend you visit Puglia if:
- you are looking for sandy beaches and crystal clear waters;
- you want to visit a trullo;
- you want to visit a traditional destination in southern Italy.
Often those who visit Basilicata do not do it by chance: the majority of visitors come here to go to see the city of Matera, included in the UNESCO world heritage.
Matera, known as Città dei Sassi, is a unique city that has an extensive network of caves carved into the rock.
But Basilicata does not stop there. The entire Apennine climbing region is rich in forests, spectacular lakes and pretty villages.
I recommend you to visit Basilicata if:
- you want to visit the unique panorama of Matera;
- you want to visit a territory off the beaten track; you have a car and you drive.
Calabria is located right on the tip of the boot and is surrounded almost completely by the sea.
As can be expected, it is a region dotted with a coast and beautiful beaches.
However, this region is much less developed in terms of tourism compared to other Italian destinations.
These features make it an ideal destination for those who want to enjoy an authentic and peaceful experience in a classic southern Italy destination.
I recommend you to visit Calabria if:
- you are a lover of the sea but not of crowded beaches;
- you know Italy and you want to discover its most hidden corners;
- you want to take a trip on a budget.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and its position at the center of the routes in this sea has made it a land of conquest in history.
The numerous populations that have passed through here, including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, French, have left evidence in architecture, but also in culture and cuisine.
Sicily is a region to be discovered both for its numerous and fascinating archaeological sites, such as the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and for its magnificent beaches and archipelagos.
During the visit in Sicily it is impossible not to visit wonderful cities including Taormina, Syracuse, Mondello, Cefalù, Modica and Noto.
I recommend you to visit Sicily if:
- you want to immerse yourself in a unique atmosphere of southern Italy;
- you are a lover of the sea and beaches;
- you are a lover of architecture; you are not afraid of the heat;
- you want to taste gastronomic specialties such as cannoli or arancini.
Sardinia is certainly one of the favorite destinations for Italians who go on vacation to the sea. Sardinia is in fact full of wonderful beaches and exclusive and trendy resorts such as those of the Costa Smeralda.
In the northern part of the island sailing and wind-related water sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing are practiced.
The internal part, on the other hand, is much less populated and is made up of cultivated areas or where breeding is practiced.
Sardinia is very popular in the months of July and August, very quiet in the rest of the year.
I recommend you to visit Sardinia if:
- you love the sea and you want to discover a new beautiful beach every day;
- you want to visit the most exclusive destinations and experience the nightlife of the Costa Smeralda clubs.
Here we are at the end of this journey to discover the Italian regions.
Thanks this guide. Now you know what each region is known for and you will be able to better orientate your next trip to Italy.
And you, which regions have you already visited? Which region do you miss that you absolutely want to visit?