Alternative Italy: Getting Off the Tourist Trail

Alternative Italy: Getting Off the Tourist Trail

Want to discover Italy off the beaten track?

Yes, the Colosseum is a must-see, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa is fascinating.

But, there are also plenty of less-crowded sites to visit in Italy – places that won’t leave you lining up for an hour or struggling to get the perfect photo without other people in the frame.

Experience the charming, laidback side of Italy by visiting these fabulous destinations.



Matera, Italy

 Located in the Basilicata province, Matera sits in a breathtaking canyon carved out by the Gravina River. This ancient city is home to the Sassi caves, which are thought to have housed Italy’s first ever human settlements.

Since the restoration of the caves in the 1980s, Matera has become a hub of thriving businesses, cafés and hotels. And while travellers are starting to catch on to how noteworthy this destination is, it’s still far enough off the beaten track to keep it from feeling crowded.

Visit Matera and the Sassi Caves on our Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour.



Urbino, Italy

 Known for being an enclave of Renaissance culture, Urbino sits behind huge stone walls. As a World Heritage listed site, much of the city’s medieval architecture has been carefully preserved.

Though it attracts fewer visitors than some of Italy’s other ancient cities, Urbino has just as much to offer in terms of culture and history. Explore the city walls, grab a bite to eat at the Piazza della Republica, and marvel at the grandiose architecture of the Ducal Palace.

Visit Urbino on our Italian ‘Alternativo’ Tour.


Bassano del Grappa

Bassano del Grappa, Italy

 Bassano del Grappa radiates classic Italian charm. Located in northern Italy, the town was founded back in the 2nd century BC, making it one of the oldest urban centres in Italy.

In addition to its rich history, Bassano del Grappa’s other highlights include:

  • The Ponte degli Alpini – Widely regarded as Bassano del Grappa’s most iconic landmark, this beautiful timber bridge crosses the Brenta River. Adorned with carvings of the town’s insignia, the Ponte degli Alpini is famous for its unique wooden design.
  • Grappa – Made with grape-based brandy, grappa is a delicious alcoholic beverage drunk throughout Northern Italy. As the town’s name would suggest, Bassano del Grappa is renowned for producing this schnapps-like drink.  

Visit Bassano del Grappa on our Italian Lakes & Tuscany Tour.



Macugnana, courtesy of Albatross traveller, R Morgan

 Nestled at the base of Monte Rosa, Macugnaga provides breathtaking views of the Italian Alps. This region of Italy is best known for its mountaineering history – perched on the Swiss border, Macugnaga sits just below one of the tallest climbs in Europe, a 2,400-metre-high cliff nicknamed ‘The Himalayan Face of the Alps’.

Not a fan of heights? No problem. You don’t need to be a modern-day Sir Edmund Hillary to enjoy visiting Macugnaga. With its quaint town centre, ski fields and picture-perfect scenery, the village has plenty of attractions that don’t involve mountain climbing!

Visit Macugnaga on our Italian ‘Grande’ Tour.


San Marino

San Marino

 Exploring Italy off the beaten track may actually take you out of the country (technically) and into the Republic of San Marino, a microstate situated on the Italian Peninsula. With its own constitution and political system, this is the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world.

From ancient castles to historical town halls, a range of attractions are waiting to be discovered in San Marino. And, of course, the most scenic way to reach this mountaintop city is via cable car. Prepare for some unforgettable views of the surrounding countryside and Adriatic Sea!

Visit San Marino on our Italian ‘Alternativo’ Tour.



Alberobello, Italy

 Tucked away in the southern region of Puglia, Alberobello is one of Italy’s hidden treasures. With a population of just over 10,000, it offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of Rome and the other big cities.

Alberobello is renowned for its collection of trulli houses. Dating back to the 14th century, these unique cone-roofed structures make the village look like a setting pulled straight from a fairytale.

Visit Matera and the Sassi caves on our Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour.

Have we convinced you to explore Italy off the beaten track? Or would you rather visit the famous sites this time around and save these gems for your next Italian holiday? Either way, you’re sure to have a sensational time when you tour Italy!


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