As you already know, Italy is full of fantastic, historical, cultural, interesting towns and cities. Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice will already be on your must-visit list. But—there’s more. Let’s take a look at some of the more unusual places to visit in Italy, for once you’ve ticked-off the essentials…
Humans have lived in Matera since Palaeolithic times, but by the 1950s the ‘sassi’, or stone caves, had become slums and the government forcibly removed the last remaining residents.
Luckily, restoration in the 1980s saw the scandal subside and in 1993 the area was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can now even stay in a cave yourself.
Matera is probably my favourite place in all of Italy and everyone’s catching on—it’s been made a European Capital of Culture for 2019.
Down by the ‘heel’ of Italy’s ‘boot’, Lecce is full of Baroque architecture and even has its own Roman ruins, including an amphitheatre.
These days it’s predominantly a university city and therefore full of cool budget bars and places to eat. It’s also easy—and cheap—to get to from the UK via the nearest airport, Brindisi, making it ideal for a weekend away.
This little fishing village is a nice pit stop before or after the Cinque Terre, depending on your starting point.
It’s said the colourful houses lining the harbour help the fishermen find their way back to the port. The name Camogli even comes from the close ties to fishing—case delle mogli, meaning “house of wives”, refers to the fact women watch over the town while their husbands are away.
Naples is hardly a secret but sadly has a bit of a bad reputation, even in Italy—the infamous Italian insult “va fa Napoli”, or “go to Naples”, is used in the way English speakers might say “go to hell”!
That said, it’s one of my favourite Italian cities. It may not be pretty but it is interesting and characterful in its own edgy way and feels really authentic.
Polignano a Mare, Puglia
Becoming more well-known, this coastal town is as beautiful as you’d expect based on its flourishing popularity on Pinterest and Instagram.
Settled since Prehistoric times, it’s believed to be the site of the ancient Greek city of Neapolis.