Today Italy is a unified country, but in a land whose traditions date back thousands of years, this is a fairly new concept. Before the unification in the 19th century, the Italian peninsula consisted of various states, each with their own culture and customs.
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Although Italy is now a single nation, the different regions that make up the country have held onto their individual dialects, history, cuisine, and societies. Traveling from region to region in Italy, you’ll notice stark differences and will sometimes feel like you’re in a totally different country!
Keep reading to find out which 10 regions in Italy should definitely be on your itinerary.
10 Northern Wonder: Veneto
The northern region of Veneto is a must if you are looking for that scenic beauty that Italy is famous for. Veneto is home to a number of famous cities, towns and villages, the most famous of which is Venice. If you’ve never been to the city that looks as if it's floating on its famous canals, then this is a must during any trip to Veneto!
In Veneto, you’ll also find the romantic city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was set. There’s also Padua, Treviso, Vicenza, and the resort town of Peschiera del Garda.
9 Mediterranean Island: Sicily
The region of Sicily is on its own island away from the rest of the country, so you know it’s pretty special. Although technically Sicily counts as being part of Italy, its culture is quite unique. Unlike the northern regions of Italy, Sicily has been influenced much more by Greek and Arabic culture.
Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean and an ideal place to go if you’re looking for a relaxing Italian getaway. But if you’re up for sightseeing, it also boasts plenty of ancient ruins from Greek and Roman times.
8 Hidden Gem: Puglia
Puglia is not as well-known as some of the other regions in Italy, but this hidden gem is definitely worth seeing. Located on the eastern coast, Puglia makes up the heel of the boot that is Italy. It enjoys a Mediterranean lifestyle and has gorgeous beaches for travelers to explore.
While in Puglia, a must-see is the picturesque town of Alberobello. Here, you’ll find unique white huts called Trulli. These are shaped like cones and are definitely reminiscent of scenery from the Greek Islands. The dialect spoken in Puglia is also quite different from standard Italian!
7 Scenic Beauty: Tuscany
Although there is plenty to do in Tuscany, the primary reason to visit this stunning region is simply to admire how magical it looks. Tuscany is the Italy you’ve always dreamed of, with rolling green hills, sprawling vineyards, Renaissance towns, and of course, grand villas lining the countryside.
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Tuscany is home to several famous cities, the most popular of which is probably Florence. There’s also the romantic city of Siena, and of course, Pisa, where you’ll find one of the most famous towers in the world. Be sure to also check out the charming town of San Gimignano.
6 Mesmerizing Coastline: Liguria
Being a Mediterranean country, it comes as no surprise that Italy has some of the most beautiful coastlines in existence. If you’re interested in breathtaking views of the ocean and a relaxed resort vibe, check out the northwestern region of Liguria.
People come from all over the country to enjoy the vistas of the sea from the coastal towns and cities in Liguria. Here you’ll find the iconic seaside destination of Portofino, famous for its picturesque harbor. There’s also the city of Genoa, which was the hometown of Christopher Columbus.
5 A Break From The Crowds: Calabria
Because Italy is such a popular country, you will often have to battle it out with thousands of other tourists to enjoy the sights, landmarks, and beaches. If you want a break from all the crowds, head to one of the less popular regions, such as Calabria. Making up the toe of the boot, Calabria is just about as southern as it gets (not including Sicily).
There are lovely stretches of coastline to see in Calabria, and some of the beaches are still quite secluded. According to Walks of Italy, Calabria is much less developed than other seaside regions. It might not have all the bells and whistles of other destinations, but you will get an authentic Italian experience!
4 Renaissance Cities: Emilia-Romagna
One of the wealthiest regions in the country, Emilia-Romagna should be on your Italian bucket list for a number of reasons. Not only is it home to some mesmerizing coastal views, but it’s also responsible for some staples of Italian cuisine, including Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
You need to go to Emilia-Romagna if you’re a history-lover because it’s home to several fascinating cities that look as if they’ve come straight from the Renaissance era. These include Bologna, Ferrara, Modena, which is famous for its balsamic vinegar, and Ravenna, which is a World Heritage site.
3 Dream Road Trip: Basilicata
The chaotic roads of cities like Rome and Naples might put you off driving in Italy. But if you do plan on doing a road trip during your stay, then you should seriously consider including the dreamy region of Basilicata into your schedule.
Basilicata is a region packed with forests, mountains, and lots of countrysides. There would be nothing better than renting a car and driving slowly through the region, stopping to admire the amazing natural beauty surrounding you. Tourists hardly ever visit Basilicata, so there’s a good chance you’ll face miles of open road instead of banked-up traffic.
2 Italy’s Lake District: Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the gems of the north. The wealthiest region in the country, Lombardy is home to cities such as Milan and Como. It’s known as Italy’s Lake District as it boasts destinations such as Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Garda.
Aside from its natural beauty, Lombardy is all about style. Milan is known as the fashion capital of Italy, and one of the fashion capitals of the world. This region is where the rich and famous like to come and pass the time while in Italy.
1 Home Of The Capital: Lazio
Nearly every tourist who’s been to Italy has been to Lazio, although many probably don’t even realize! This is the region that’s home to the capital city of Rome. The Eternal City is a must if you’ve never been, but there is plenty more to see and do in Lazio as well. There is coast to explore and small mountains to hike, as well as lakes to see.
None of the other cities of Lazio are as famous as Rome, but they’re still worth seeing. Medieval towns like Tivoli and Velletri boast fine examples of early architecture without being packed with tourists!