I DOUBT this is a surprise to anyone, but Italy is spectacular. So you know it’s visually beautiful — as shown below — but did you know: it’s home to Europe’s only three active volcanoes; at 50, it has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than anywhere else in the world; the first battery was developed in Italy; and pizza was invented there (OK, you probably did know that). Here are several more reasons that prove it should be high on your list to visit.
Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips. All photos by author except where noted.
Positano, Amalfi Coast
When in Positano, a stay / lunch / dinner (or all of the above) at Le Sirenuse is mandatory.
Tuscany delivers on its stereotypes; an abundance of serenity and hospitality.
BuranoVenezia, ItalyDoubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Go and do what they think you can’t. Go and live out your wildest dreams. And paint yourself a life as colourful and vibrant as possible. You’re worth every stroke.
Or just go to Burano and buy a house in your favourite colour. 😉
The relentlessly creative people of Burano (an hour by boat from Venice) know a thing or two about colour.
Vernazza, Cinque Terre
Remember what I said about living the good life?
Lago Di Braies
When the lands of Austria and Italy meet, postcards happen.
Lake Como, Lecco
Two words spring to mind when reminiscing about my days around Lake Como: Wildly charming. Stay off the tourist trail and experience the true Northern Italy with all its culinary, natural, and architectural delights.
Grand Canal, Venice
Global warming and poor urban planning may very well see Venice sinking in the near future. Until then, its charm is unbeatable. Come off-season or in the early morning hours to see what I mean.
Arch of Constantine, Rome
A day or three in Rome will lay the perfect groundworks for further Italian explorations.
Manarola, Cinque Terre
ManarolaRiomaggiore, ItalyA massive storm started to brew up. We had only just arrived, but it’s been ages since I went for a dip in the Mediterranean so I convinced him to come with me. My whole body was shaking once I got the top, exhilarated with fear and excitement. Screaming out all I had, I did it.
I jumped off the cliff into the crystal-blue waters of Italy with the sun setting behind me and the bright lanes of Manarola shimmering peacefully in front of me. A moment I will treasure forever. 💫
This is Italy.
Duomo di Milano, Milan
Milan offers more edge and sophistication than it’s counterparts, and that’s a good thing. If seeing The Last Supper is on your bucket list, book online in advance.
Hospitality, aesthetics, and fine food make up the fabric of daily life and if you have a spare few days and book well in advance a stop at Agriturismo La Piantata (B&B tree houses atop lavender fields) in Arlena di Castro will prove just that.
Marina Piccola, Sorrento
Marina PiccolaSorrento, ItalyIt’s not exactly a beach but it’s the best place to get some sun in Sorrento! Before you go down the steps here to choose your swimming spot/solarium, look out across the water to see Mt. Vesuvius in the distance. Great place to cool off on a hot day but go early because it can get very crowded. #beach #italy
Fiume CedrinoGaltellì, ItalyFew places amaze me as much as Lake Cedrino, in the heart of Sardinia. This is the perfect place to rejoice with nature and spend some time alone. The only noise to be heard here is that of nature and wind. I love getting my kayak down to the water and start wandering around to admire the limestone cliffs and try to spot the local wildlife. Paddling along it is possible to reach the source of Su Cologone.
Cala GoloritzéBaunei, ItalyNot only one of the best beaches in Sardinia, but in the world, Cala Goloritze is a UNESCO protected site thanks to its uniqueness. It can only be reached via a 90 minutes hike from the Golgo Plateau and there’s a small fee to pay to access. The water is very cold due to the fresh water springs that from the cliffs around get directly in the sea. Goats from the surrounding hills often get down too, to enjoy a drink of fresh water – much to the amusement of people.
Asinara National ParkPorto Torres, ItalyAt the top north of Sardinia, the island of Asinara is THE place to be alone. Nobody lives in this gorgeous island aside from the rangers patrolling the highly protected national park. There’s a hostel where visitors can spend the night in the summer months, but even at its maximum occupancy, there’s never more than a couple of hundred people on the island, and no cars. Several hiking trails start right outside of the hostel, one leading to the gorgeous Cala Sabina, pictured here.