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The subject of where to go in Italy is a hot topic, especially if you ask an Italian.

One of the best things about Italy is how many incredible places there are to see in such a concentrated area.

I mean, think about it — Rome, Florence, Venice, the Cinque Terre, the Amalfi Coast, the Tuscan hills, Sicily, the Alps, all packed into a country less than half the size of Texas!

And those are just the top-of-my-head obvious destinations, the ones most people will have on their bucket list or itinerary. In the spaces between these heavy hitters are innumerable other gems, the off-the-beaten path places most people don’t know about.

So how do you choose? You only have so much holiday time, and you want to make the most of it.

Wanna know what I do?

I go directly to the source. When I’m looking for some new destinations in Italy, who better to ask than Italians? Where to go in Italy always gets the conversation rolling!

The thing is, travel advice from Italians is hard to come by, ‘cause it’s usually written in Italian. Actually, all this advice was written in Italian, until we translated it for you.

We asked some of the coolest locals we know:

Where to Go in Italy? Where is your favourite place in Italy to spend your holiday and why?

This is what they shared, and we translated it from Italian.

1. Sardinia

where to go in italy Sardegna coastal cliffs

My favourite place to spend a holiday in Italy is Sardinia.

“This land is unlike any other place,” wrote David Herbert Lawrence and after travelling the world, I realized he was right. It’s a magical land, almost a continent, where you may find yourself in front of a lovely beach, an archaeological site from thousands of years ago, a natural spring in the forest, a snowy mountaintop, an ancient village or even a modern town – all within a few kilometers.

Sardinia is like a small universe surrounded by the Mediterranean. Above all, the atmosphere of this ancient place allows you to journey in a particular direction, whether it’s an outward one or an inward one.

Valeria Gentile, owner of L’Essenza – Oasi Sensoriale.

2. Cilento (Amalfi Coast)

The dearest place of my heart is Cilento near the Amalfi Coast, because, besides the fact that I’m originally from Campania [a province in the south], it represents to me the moment of detachment with the chaos of the city and the rediscovery of the smells and flavors that the coastal area always gives you.

The south of Italy has this characteristic of welcoming you, embracing you and making you heady from the genuine colours and feelings like no other place in the world can do.

Chiara Maci, co-owner of the food blog Sorelle in Pentola and host of the national TV show Cuochi e Fiamme.

3. Bonassola (Italian Riviera)

My favourite place is Bonassola in the province of La Spezia, a tiny village on the sea.

I went there as a child with my parents and I went back after twenty years with a man who has since become my husband. We both loved it and we now take our daughters there.

It’s a strange place; there is nothing to do there really. But the sea is dreamlike and the sunset is unlike anything else. In the morning all you desire is for the ocean to be even bluer than the day before and each evening to see a sunset that is essential and unique to that place!

That just makes me feel so good.

Paola Noé, owner of the kids’ design site unduetrestella.

Travel Tip: Italian Fix offers tours to this area.

4. Bologna (near Milan)

where to go in italy bologna overhead drone shot

Where we would most recommend a holiday is in Bologna, where me and Valentina met! Bologna is known in Italy as “The Red One”, “the Educated One”, the “Fat One” and it’s where we recommend a foodie tour in Italy.

Bologna is a city of covered walkways where you can walk for hours in the rain without ever getting wet. It’s a city of the seven churches of Santo Stefano and the oldest university in the world – which fills the city with students and young people. You can enjoy twenty four seven nightlife, cocktails in the the sunset in Piazza Verdi and the festivals all summer in Margherita park.

The Fat City is a place to eat with pleasure and happiness (try Osteria 15 for the fried dumplings, cheese with balsamic vinegar and crispy potatoes – you’ll love them). And if you feel like shopping, Bologna is a great city for vintage shops. The Montagnola Market (every Friday and Saturday) is a thriving and unpredictable cascade of second hand. Think coloured coats from the fifties and sixties, kimonos, American clothes, jeans and handbags. All topped off with a good-natured and jovial atmosphere. Bologna is like that; it’s unusual.

She’s an eccentric, lusty and very entertaining lady. Bologna is red like her brick buildings, her roofs and the Asinelli towers that hover above the city like two old friends.

Valentina Orsini and Paola Mazza

5. Polignano a Mare (Puglia)

where to go in italy polignano del mare coastal cliffs

I always enjoy discovering new places; Italy is full of different realities that are all beautiful, from the art cities to the business centers to the places where nature predominates.

I find it amazing to discover the diversity of the customs, the history and the “know how” of each place, city and state, especially when you realize how ancient they are. It’s hard for me to choose one place but if I think of vacations then I think of the summer — therefore the seaside.

Polignano a Mare in Puglia is my first choice. It’s the birthplace of my grandmother and where I spent holidays as a child. I went there last summer after many years had passed and I felt such intense emotions with crystal clear sea and fantastic food.

The second place in my heart is Sicily: Catania and Taormina. I was captivated by the beauty of these incredible towns and the almost surreal atmosphere that surrounds them. Here, too, you find crystal clear sea and great food. I ate the best breakfast of my life here: granita in a brioche, a local specialty.

Flavia La Rocca, fashion designer and owner of Flavia La Rocca.

Travel Tip: Italian Fix offers tours to this area.

6. Friuli (North East Italy)

The place where I love to spend my Italian holidays is certainly not as famous as the award winning Tuscany. But it’s a place of my heart, deeply connected to the history of my family: Friuli Venezia Giulia. It’s a strip of land between Italy, Slovenia and Austria protected by the imposing beauty of the Dolomite Mountains and bathed by the waters of the Adriatic.

Friuli is a constant discovery and is a region with diverse influences full of history; a history that is noticeable in the traditions of architecture and the different local dialects. From the beaches of Lignano you can drive for a sampling of “prosciutto di San Daniele,” or if you prefer the mountains visit Tarvisio to relax in a farmhouse in the beautiful countryside that extends all the way to the Veneto border. Friuli has many ways to spend a relaxing holiday whether you want to get lost in the countryside, the sea or the mountains. It’s a place to roam between good food and most of all — good wine!

Chiara Formenti, co-owner of the kids’ design blog Le Funky Mamas.

7. Sicily

For me, the ideal holiday destination is Sicily because of its wonderful sea, unadulterated natural landscape and the scents; of earth, licorice and the ocean. These elements together enter your veins and make it impossible for you to forget.

Also, if you’re passionate about food like me, Sicily offers an immense amount of excitement for your taste buds.

And if you want to do something different than the traditional beach holiday, it’s a land full of culture and places to explore with both historical and gastronomic highlights.

I’ll be honest – I’m already planning to go there this summer!

Francesca Gonzales, owner of the food blog Spadelliamo.

Travel Tip: Italian Fix offers tours to this area.

8. Norcia (Umbria)

where to go in italy castelluccio di norcia lush green fields

The places where I love to spend a few days of vacation are near my house — I don’t say this from boring patriotism, but because they’re the places where I feel the need to escape to.

I’m talking about Norcia, Castelluccio di Norcia and the Sibillini Mountains that surround them.

There is no particular reason why I love these places but I love the feeling of being close to everything and at the same time far away from everything. The thing I adore is to drive through the Sibillini mountains, go to a rifugio [a country shelter], arm myself with a camera and walk to the green fields above and then just sit and watch the breathtaking landscape and the wonderful sky.
Up there the wild horses roam free, you can stumble on a flock of sheep, or watch the hang gliders catch the wind; it’s where you can actually touch peace with your own hand.

Alessandra Caprini, owner of the design blog Design Your Life.

9. Viareggio (Northern Tuscany)

My holidays in Italy are spent in Viareggio..
I’m Milanese through and through so I love the sea — but I need to be in a town with shops, restaurants, movie theatres and gelato shops close by.

In Viareggio I enjoy the civilized comforts of the beaches with showers, loungers and umbrellas as well as swimming pools right on the beach and the chance to watch the sun set over the sea.

Then there’s the joy of walking in the pine woods and the access to the beautiful Tuscan towns and their specialty foods just a day trip away. Viareggio is rich but never snobby; even in winter it’s never sad because it has the magic of “Il Carnevale” [a parade in February] to excite even the non-party goers with its explosion of satire, colours and an amazing display of craftsmanship.

Maurizia Triggiani, owner of the food blog Il Rifugio di Zia Topolinda.

10. Ostuni and Cisternino (Puglia)

where to go in italy sunset shot of Ostuni

My ideal holiday can only be in my beloved Puglia, specifically in the area of Brindisi between Ostuni and Cisternino where you’ll find splendid white villages perched on the promontory that divides the Itria Valley.

These villages are scattered with the legendary trulli [ancient homes] and occupies the beautiful coastline dotted with white dunes, centuries old olive groves and old style farms retrofitted with modern interiors.

I love to listen to good music in a beach bar during the day or eat orecchiette [pasta] at a sagra [local food fair] in the evening. I’m very tied to these places and I hope to one day find myself living there in a farmhouse far away from the hustle and bustle of the city so I can finally dedicate myself to my bag production.

Arianna Vivenzio, industrial designer and founder of Ochobags.

Travel Tip: Italian Fix offers tours to this area.

11. Montaretto (Italian Riviera)

My favourite place to spend a vacation is called Montaretto.

It’s a tiny hamlet overlooking the sea where you can really enjoy all the wonders of the earth, the sun, the mountain air, the breathtaking view and exceptional wine and food – especially at the “Critical Wine” Festival. This important event takes place every spring in the heart of the village at La Casa del Popolo [The House of the People], an important community center.

If you’re a hiker or you just want to walk the footpaths then you’ll discover you can easily get to Montaretto strolling through the hills from the neighbouring villages of Framura or Bonassola [just north of the Cinque Terre].

Valentina Rizzo, co-owner of Manena Hostel. Connect with Valentina on Twitter.

12. Aeolian Islands (Sicily)

where to go in Italy Aeolian Islands Sicily

My ideal Italian vacation would undoubtedly be in Sicily.

In particular I love the coastal area that goes from the Zingaro Nature Reserve near San Vito lo Capo all the way to Cefalù, including the Egadi and Aeolian islands. I would go back to those places in the blink of an eye, not just for the incredible beauty of the area but also for my roots and the memories of my summers spent there as a child.

The feeling of finding the same scent every time — of the sea, the taste of mulberry granita, the quiet at four in the afternoon, the prickly pears that line the streets and the feeling of time passing more slowly; it makes me feel immediately at home and makes me forget all the reasons why we stress out in the city!

Alessandra Sorrentino. Connect with Alessandra on Instagram.

Travel Tip: Italian Fix offers tours to this area.

13. Ogliastra (Eastern Sardinia)

where to go in Italy Eastern Sardegna Ogliastra

My ideal place to spend a holiday in Italy is Ogliastra.

In particular, the area of Baunei, with its coves which are only accessible by boat (Mariolu, Biriola Cala, Cala dei Gabbiani) and are pure paradise. The surrounding area is full of colours, flavours and fragrances where you can day trip to beautiful places like the gola di Gorropu [a canyon] and the spectacular nuragic [ancient Sardinian civilization] in the village of Tiscali.

Ogliastra is an area where sea and mountains converge to reward you with a relaxing holiday and countless interesting places to discover and admire.

Elisa Bersani, owner of the fashion blog The Gummy Sweet.

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Have these fab women above inspired you to go anywhere new?

Want more intel on where to go in Italy? Check out these other articles for further intel.

Now, we would love to hear from you! Where is your favorite place to travel in Italy? Please comment below.

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