Top Charming Up-and-Coming Destinations in Italy for an Unforgettable Journey
If you want to venture off the beaten path and explore the most beautiful up-and-coming destinations in Italy, you’ll discover fascinating places like a medieval village perched on a mountain or a picturesque seaside town.
When people think of travel in Italy, popular cities like Rome, Milan, Venice, or Florence often come to mind. However, if you’re seeking to break away from the usual tourist spots and discover Italy’s hidden gems, consider embarking on a journey to places that are becoming increasingly known and loved, such as the islands of Procida and Burano. Step away from the bustling cities and delve into history by visiting the medieval village of Castelmezzano, nestled in the mountains. Prepare to be enchanted by the beauty of these destinations.
1. Vernazza, Cinque Terre – Liguria
There’s a reason why the five colorful villages of Cinque Terre have become a pilgrimage site for travelers from all over the world. Their tranquil emerald waters, pastel-colored houses clinging to towering heights, and rugged vineyard cliffs create a truly unique wine region.
Among them, the most beautiful village is Vernazza, a gem of tourism in Italy. Vernazza is one of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre, a beloved destination in Italy. What makes this village one of the most beautiful up-and-coming destinations in Italy? It could be the colorful houses of the fishermen, the vineyards surrounding Vernazza, and the crystal-clear waters. Notably, Vernazza is free from car traffic and remains one of the most authentic “fishing villages” on the Italian coast.
2. Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio
Civita di Bagnoregio is a unique and stunning hilltop village in central Italy. This small town with only 3500 inhabitants is like no other.
Perched on a volcanic rock plateau above a large canyon, this tiny medieval village is one of the most beautiful spots in Italy. Images of cobblestone streets lined with blooming houses, a beautiful Romanesque church, and views that stretch out over the Valle dei Calanchi make it a special place to visit.
The rock on which the village stands can erode, posing a threat of collapse for the buildings. As a result, Civita di Bagnoregio has more cats than humans. In 2020, the village’s population decreased to only 12 permanent residents, while a group of 20 cats forms the main inhabitants of Civita.
3. Castelmezzano, Basilicata
With fewer than 1000 inhabitants, this village ranks high on the official list of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.” You’ll immediately fall in love with this seemingly built-inside-the-mountain village. Castelmezzano is a perfect destination for an afternoon visit or even a few nights away from the hustle and bustle of big cities.
4. Portovenere, Liguria
Portovenere, Italy, is an ideal destination for travelers who love to break away from traditional tourist routes and seek famous destinations. This hidden gem of Italy is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features unspoiled nature, a beautiful medieval town with colorful buildings, and a rich history surrounding it. If you want to experience the essence of “la dolce vita” and discover a less touristy destination on the Italian Riviera, Portovenere is an excellent alternative to Portofino and Cinque Terre. This most beautiful up-and-coming destination in Italy overlooks the Gulf of La Spezia, also known as the Gulf of Poets, as it has attracted many writers and artists in the past.
5. Procida Island, Campania
Procida is a beautiful island in Italy’s Gulf of Naples, on the southeast coast of Italy. It is one of the three islands in the Gulf of Naples, the others being Capri and Ischia. While Capri is the most famous and heavily visited island, and Ischia is also a well-known destination, partly due to its more than 100 natural hot springs.
Procida is the least visited of the three islands in the Gulf of Naples. Unlike Capri and parts of Ischia, even the most popular areas of Procida still exude a local atmosphere. Shops cater more to residents than tourists, and you won’t find the tourist crowds of Capri or the Amalfi Coast here.
Though Procida is small, there are plenty of interesting places to visit and things to do – enough to fill a day or two, if you decide to stay overnight at this most beautiful up-and-coming destination in Italy.
6. Portofino, Liguria
Portofino is a charming small port town on the Ligurian coast of the Italian Riviera. Once a humble fishing village, it transformed into a sought-after holiday destination for nobility and celebrities from England since the early 1900s. The warm yet breezy climate of Portofino and the seclusion provided by the surrounding hills and lush vegetation make it an ideal retreat for the wealthy and famous seeking some relaxation.
Today, Portofino still retains its quaint charm with candy-colored houses lining the bustling harbor and gentle hills and tranquil waters offering an ideal setting for water activities, boating, and long walks.
7. Tropea, Calabria
Tropea is an impressive coastal town on the western coast of Calabria, featuring iconic houses perched atop cliffs and expansive views of the sapphire blue ocean. It is the most famous holiday destination in Calabria, southern Italy. Renowned for its charming historic center, stunning beaches, and famous red onions, Tropea is highly regarded.
While the town has gained more recognition in recent years, it is still relatively less known on the international tourist trail. This most beautiful up-and-coming destination in Italy rivals the charm of the famous Positano or Cinque Terre.
8. Vieste, Puglia
Vieste, Italy, is a beautiful seaside town perched on a promontory with white limestone cliffs extending into the sea. It boasts a picturesque medieval town with the 11th-century Cathedral and long sandy beaches on both sides. Vieste’s old town is a maze of steep stairways and alleys with laundry hanging from the white-washed houses. It’s an ideal place to wander around, and there are some attractions like the 11th-century Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, built in the Romanesque style of Puglia.
9. Burano, Veneto
Visiting the vibrant and colorful Burano from Venice is one of the most popular day trips from the city of canals – and well worth a boat ride!
Traveling from Venice to Burano allows you to see a completely different side of lagoon life: a place where life moves a bit slower and where fishing boats replace gondolas. Few towns in Europe are as colorful as Burano! In recent years, tourists have flocked to this most beautiful up-and-coming destination in Italy to discover more of the city’s intriguing corners.
10. Isola Bella, Stresa – Piedmont
The beautiful postcard-like Isola Bella is a stunning Italian island located on Lake Maggiore in the Piedmont region. It was once part of the Borromean Islands, a group of three islands considered part of the Verbano-Cusio-Ossola Province. This enchanting island is home to an impressive Baroque-style palace and a beautiful terraced garden, making it a famous tourist attraction.
In recent years, Isola Bella has gained increasing popularity as a tourist destination, thanks to its spectacular scenery and unique cultural heritage. Visitors flock here to explore the history, admire the architecture, savor delicious local cuisine, and indulge in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
With its rich history, breathtaking attractions, and captivating ambiance, Isola Bella is one of the most beautiful up-and-coming destinations in Italy that cannot be missed by anyone planning a trip to Italy.