I’ve yet to discover a person who hates Italy. But I’ve also met very few who’ve explored outside the major cities of Rome, Florence, or Venice. And everyone is missing out. You know Global Debauchery is here for all the offbeat spots. So — true to form — it’s with great pleasure that I introduce you to “The Most Beautiful Cities in Italy You’ve Never Heard Of.” Because you should never count out the little guys.
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Get Your Awe On in Arezzo, One of The Most Beautiful Cities In Italy
One of the most beautiful places off the typical tourist path in Italy is the city of Arezzo. Truly impressive above all is the medieval old town, a hidden pearl of Tuscany that you should not miss on any trip to the most beautiful secret places in Italy.
Arezzo is located only a 1-hour drive southeast of Florence and is therefore easy and fast to reach by car and public bus.
Arezzo has always been famous for its fine ceramics but also its metalworking. Handicrafts and jewelry making are deeply rooted in the city’s history, which once helped Arezzo to great prosperity and wealth.
Hard to believe, but ten tons of gold are processed here every month. Walking around the city, you can still see countless stores selling the finest jewelry and beautiful ceramics, including the world-famous Aretin vases.
Probably the most important sight is, of course, the historic center of Arezzo. The Piazza Grande is the breathtakingly beautiful main square and a unique popular photo spot. This Italian square slopes downward at an angle, conjuring an almost surreal backdrop. A real insider tip is the monthly antique market that takes place right in this beautiful square.
Other attractions are the numerous museums, the excavation sites, and the beautiful churches, where you can admire art treasures and masterpieces by famous artists such as Piero della Francesca or Giorgio Vasari.
Contribution by: Martina from Places of Juma
Bucket-List The Città Bassa And Basilica In Bergamo
Bergamo is a lesser-known city in northern Italy but as rich in history and culture as the country’s most famous spots.
The can’t-miss part of the city is Città Alta, the historic upper town fortified by imposing 16th-century Venetian walls. The upper town is perched on a set of hills, dramatically backdropped by the peaks of the Italian Alps and overlooking Città Bassa, the lower town.
Città Alta is the perfect place to explore for history lovers. Walking through its narrow, cobblestone streets and visiting the historic Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and Piazza Vecchia feels like you’re walking back in time.
One of the best things to do in Bergamo is taking the funicular to Castello San Vigilio, visiting the castle’s park, and taking in the panoramic view.
The best way to explore Bergamo is on foot, as much of Città Alta is only open to residents’ cars, and the Città Bassa city center is compact. Easily reach Bergamo by train, car, and regional or third-party bus companies. The city also has an airport, Milan Bergamo Airport, the third busiest in Italy and a hub for the budget airline RyanAir.
Contribution by: Michela Sieman at She Goes The Distance
Take A Break In Brescia, One of The Most Beautiful Cities In Italy
Brescia is in the north of Italy, to the east of Milan in the province of Lombardy. Although the city is brimming with history, it tends to be overlooked by tourists. However, a day in Brescia should be on your travel itinerary to see its Roman remains and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Brescia’s main sight is the City Museum, an opulent complex based around a medieval monastery and churches built on top of Roman remains. The museum forms part of a World Heritage Site full of historic artworks: allow plenty of time to look around.
Elsewhere in Brescia, you will find the Capitolium archaeological area, one of Italy’s most important Roman sites. You can also visit the Brixia Light Box, a virtual exploration of the Roman forum. Then there is the Cathedral, the castle, and all the churches and museums you would expect in an Italian city. Finish your day with a drink or a meal at one of the many restaurants in the Piazza della Loggia.
Brescia is easy to get to by train from Milan or Verona. Everywhere in the town is within walking distance from the station.
Contribution by: Karen Warren from Bewitched By Italy
Find Fantastic Views In Ferrara
If you are looking for off-beat destinations in Italy to add to your itinerary, consider the beautiful town of Ferrara in the Emilia-Romagna region of northeastern Italy.
You will find many worthwhile things to do in Ferrara, especially if you are a history or architecture buff.
Start by touring the magnificent Castello Estense, the fortified residence of the Este family in the heart of town. The Estes was a powerful family that ruled Ferrara in medieval times. Don’t miss the tower, from where you get fantastic views of Ferrara’s rooftops.
The Ferrara Cathedral, located near the castle, is also a must-visit. The facade is gorgeous, and inside, you will find many works of art to admire.
One of the best things to do in Ferrara is simply to wander the historic center. Ferrara has a stroll-worthy Jewish Quarter and many churches and other historic buildings.
Walking the Corso Ercole I d’Este in the Renaissance Quarter is a must. You will see many palazzi here, but the Palazzo dei Diamanti is a gem you will definitely want to photograph!
You can visit Ferrara from nearby large cities on a day trip or stay longer. Many major cities connect to Ferrara by train, but you can also drive if you are on a road trip.
Contribution by: Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles
Ogle Orgosolo, One of The Most Beautiful Cities In Italy
Orgosolo is a small town in the heart of the Barbagia region of Sardinia, in the province of Nuoro. It is locally famous (and almost entirely unknown to international tourism) for being almost entirely covered in beautiful street art. All the art has a political, historical, or social justice message.
Suppose you care to see a different side of Sardinia, far away from the crowds that you will typically find on all the island’s pristine beaches. In that case, Orgosolo is definitely a good destination. It won’t take you long to explore it.
Needless to say, the best thing to do there is to go for a walk to take in all the murals. You can opt for a guided tour that usually starts from Piazza dei Caduti in Guerra. It costs €5 and lasts about 2 hours. If the tour is not available on the day of your visit, you can simply hire an audio guide – available here.
While Orgosolo is connected to other cities in Sardinia by bus, the best way to get there is definitely by car. It will take around thirty minutes to drive from Nuoro, one hour and forty minutes from Olbia (the closest city to the Costa Smeralda area), and two hours and fifteen minutes from Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital.
Contribution by: Claudia Tavani from Strictly Sardinia
Stroll the Squares of Siena
UNESCO-listed Siena offers astonishing gothic architecture, rich history, delicious food, and a sample of the best Tuscany. The city is very walkable and easy to reach by car, bus, or train from Florence.
The first stop is Piazza del Campo, a wonderful main square built in the 14th century. The massive square is divided into nine sectors that represent the council members. This square is the social and political heart of the city, with gothic masterpieces like Palazzo Pubblico and Museo Civico that are worth a visit. Surrounding ‘Il Campo’ are many cafes and restaurants perfect for a coffee or aperitivo (pre-dinner drinks).
The true gem of the city is Siena’s Duomo, a majestic cathedral with a Romanesque-Gothic exterior and a stunning interior. The Duomo displays works by acclaimed Renaissance artists like Giovanni Pisano, Nicola Pisano, Pinturicchio, Michelangelo, and Donatello. Don’t miss the frescoes in Libreria Piccolomini inside the cathedral.
To finish your day trip in Siena, get lost, walk the picturesque streets, visit local artisanal shops, and eat a delicious Tuscan meal.One of the most exciting times to visit Siena is during the Palio di Siena, a horse race held twice a year; on July 2nd and August 16th. Ten horses and riders dressed in traditional colors race circling Piazza del Campo, with thousands of spectators cheering in the center of the square.
Contribution by: Lilian Arjona from Solo Female Travelers
Tour Trento, One of The Most Beautiful Cities In Italy
Nestled along the banks of the Adige river, Trento is one of those hidden gems in Italy that isn’t often on people’s radars. But if you’ve come here once, you’ll most probably have the desire to come back.
Trento is located in Northern Italy, in the stunning region of Trentino-Alto Adige. The nearest airports are in Verona (about a 1-hour drive), Bergamo, and Venice (around a 2-hour drive each). You can then either take a train or a bus to get to Trento from any of those cities.
Trento is quite a small town, and pretty much all important sights are within walking distance. Make sure you book your hotel in the city center, and you’ll not need to worry about big distances.
You can do so many things in Trento – from exploring the picturesque old town and visiting Castel del Buonconsiglio – the most important castle in the region, to taking the cable car to the small town of Sardagna and enjoying the view over Trento from there.
In Trento, you’ll also find MUSE – the museum of science, which is absolutely perfect if you’re a science fan. Don’t leave Trento without trying some of the local food. Though Italy is generally known for its delicious pizza and pasta, this is far from completing the list of what it has to offer. In this region, you can try strangolapreti – a spinach and cheese flavored potato and flour gnocchi, and canederli – bread dumplings. German and Austrian cuisine strongly influences this Italian region, so you can also find some really good strudel, kaiserschmarrn, and a variety of sausages.
Contribution by: Lyubomira from Bulgarian On The Go
Explore A UNESCO In Urbino
Urbino is one of Italy’s most spectacular medieval hilltop towns in the Marche region in central Italy.
The historic town of Urbino is an artistic and architectural peak of the Italian Renaissance. Urbino is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see place in Italy for history buffs and art lovers.
The artistic and historical heritage of Urbino is unparalleled to any other town in Italy. Urbino was a major cultural and scientific center of Europe during the Renaissance. Some of the most famous Renaissance artists and scholars left their mark in Urbino, and grandmasters Donato Bramante and Raphael were born there.
Unsurprisingly, Urbino attracts profound artistic souls even today. The breathtaking Ducal Palace in Urbino is an outstanding example of Renaissance architecture in Italy. Today Ducal Place houses the National Gallery of Marche with masterpieces of Titian, Raphael, Paolo Uccello, Piero Della Francesca, and many other marvelous Renaissance artists.
Raphael’s birth house in Urbino is the Casa Natale di Raffaello museum. The Ducal Palace, the National Gallery and Casa Natale di Raffaello museums are must-sees in Urbino. In addition, Urbino Cathedral and the Monastery of Santa Chiara are must-sees for sacral arts lovers.
The Marche region is a neighboring region to Tuscany, Italy, and the easiest way to visit Urbino is by car as a short detour on a Tuscany road trip. Alternatively, the closest towns to Urbino are Pesaro and Fano on the Adriatic coast and buses run daily to Urbino. You can also reach Urbino by train from Rome, Bologna, and Milan.
Contribution by: Milijana of World Travel Connector
Where’s your next stop in Italy? Because, if it’s not one of these most beautiful cities in Italy you’ve never heard of—until today—you’re not doing it right. What are your favorite underrated Italian gems? What needs to be added to this list? Comment below or contact me.
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