8 Hidden Gems in Italy Off-the-beaten Path

Italy is one of my favorite countries in the entire world. Right from the food to the culture and the warm Italian hospitality, the country has it all. But sadly, if you are visiting the tourist spots in the country, you may find some of those things lacking. Over tourism is what has ruined the most popular cities in the country. During the summer months, crowds in cities like Venice, Rome, Florence and Naples take away from your experience of the beautiful country. 

Today to really get a feel of the Italian charm, I recommend that you head to the lesser known gems in Italy off-the-beaten path. So here are some of the most beautiful hidden gems in Italy that you must add to your Italy itinerary!


Tucked away in one of the smallest regions in the country is the quaint town of Courmayeur, one of the true hidden gems in Italy off-the-beaten path. The town is on the Italy-France border and is a popular destination for winter and summer sports. It is one of the prettiest towns in Italy to visit for a fun and adventurous getaway. 

Things to do:

Courmayerur and the region around is filled with things to do. There are various valleys around the town that offer beautiful hiking and skiing paths. You can also participate in winter sports like snowboarding here. The valleys around the area offer stunning views of the Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the alps and it is a glorious sight. In fact, with the SkyWay Monte Bianco, you can ride all the way up on the Mont Blanc and hop on a panoramic cable car over the alps from Italy to France. 

The region is also home to some beautiful castles like the Savoy and Aymavilles Castle. For those looking to relax, the region is also home to some beautiful spas and resorts for a more wellness oriented experience. The QC Terme Pré Saint Didier Spa & Resort, Pré Saint Didier is the biggest and most well known one in the region. 

Food to try:

During your visit to the region, make sure to try the local Fontina cheese along with some wine from the region. The other dishes to try include the Carbonada, a local dish of stewed meat with wine, onion and spices and the Polenta Concia, a dish prepared from boiled cornmeal with extravagant amount of melted Fontina cheese.

Reasons to visit:

Fresh Alpine air, great winter and summer sports and stunning views of the Mont Blanc from the most reasonably priced region of the Alps. 


Among the hidden gems in Italy is Livigno, another Alpine town in the north of the country. Just north of Milan, the town is popular among mountain bikers, hikers and skiers. 

Things to do:

The town is popular for those adventure loving people as it is filled with hiking, biking and skiing paths. This little town tucked away in the alps is close to Stelvio pass, the highest car pass in Italy and the second highest in Europe. This makes it popular among the bikers, hikers and skiers. In fact, the Livrio glacier at the Stelvio Pass is the only glacier in Italy that can be used for skiing even during the summer. Due to this, various Alpine skiing teams move her to practice through the summer months. 

Livigno is also known for the many aperiski parties in the region. It is perfect for those looking for a place with a fun nightlife. The town also has a few great spas with stunning views of the alps for those looking to relax.

Food to try:

While visiting the region, make sure you try the Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese, the local pasta from the region. Polenta Taragna is another local dish to try in Livigno. For cocktail lovers, the regions very own Bombardino is a drink you should not miss during your visit.


Monthepulciano is a pretty medieval hilltop town in Tuscany known for it’s wine. The town is situated close to Val d’Orcia, another one of the hidden gems in Italy. The town is situated in the province of Siena and is perfect for a short tuscan getaway to skip the regular tourist crowds. 

Things to do: 

The ancient city center of Montepulciano is filled with pretty squares, renaissance palaces, ancient churches, charming corners and unmatched views of Val d’Orcia and Val d’Chiana. Most of these monuments in the town are free to visit.

The city is also famous for the typical red Montepulciano wine. The little cantinas dotted through the city center offer free wine tastings of all their local products. So make sure to go into those and try some of the finest wine of the region.

Food to try:

One of the top reasons to visit Montepulciano has to be amazing food that is locally prepared with the freshest ingredients.Make sure to try the local variation of pasta called pici which is a thicker version of the spaghetti. The local preparation is typically cooked with a red wild boar meat sauce (pici alla cinghiale). 

The Montepulciano Wine is the most popular thing to try while visiting the town. So make sure to try as much of the red Montepulciano wine during your visit.

Read more about Montepulciano here

Bagni San Filippo

Bagni San Filippo, Tuscany

Another hidden gem in Italy is the beautiful baths of San Filippo. Situated near Val d’Orcia, these beautiful thermal baths are perfect for those looking to skip the crowds and enjoy a relaxing spa day in nature. 

Things to do:

There is not much to do in this tiny town other than the natural thermal pools. These pools are situated in the middle of a natural park and are surrounded by woods on two sides. The water of the pool is rich in calcium which is great for the skin. These thermal baths are normally not very crowded, making it the perfect spot to escape the crowds. 

The town is close to Montepulciano and Val d’Orcia, so you can club all these together for one epic trip. 

Reasons to visit:

For a fun and relaxing spa day amidst nature. 

Read more on Bagni San Filippo here.

Castelluccio di Norcia

View of the Castelluccio di Norcia in Umbria

Castelluccio di Norcia is situated inside the Monte Sibilini National Park. It is bordered between Umbria and Marche, two lesser known regions of Italy. The valley known for the flowering in the fields in the months between May to June. It is one of the most beautiful natural hidden gems in Italy. 

Things to do:

Visit the fields, go horse riding, drive through one of the prettiest riding loop in Europe and enjoy the view from Castelluccio. Once in the National Park, you can also choose to spend a few days trekking to the various hidden lakes and view points in the park. 

Food to try:

While visiting Castelluccio, make sure to try the local lentil soup. The Pecorino cheese from the region is also absolutely delicious and fresh. The area surrounding the national park is also known for truffle, so you will find truffle cheese, pasta and cold cuts that you must try on your visit. They also make good souvenirs to take back home. Among the other cold cuts to try in Norcia is the boar meat salami and Ciauscolo, a fresh type of local salami. 


View of the city center of Alberobello

Alberobello is a small town in the region of Puglia. The town is known for the typical whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs called Trulli. The construction of these Trulli are completely mortar-less. They are made of limestone blocks found in the region around. This ancient technique of construction is still in use today. Hence UNESCO has declared Alberobello as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Things to do:

The city center of Alberobello is very different from the other Italian cities around. So exploring the city center is the most interesting thing to do in the city. The city center is filled with Trullis, the typical structure of construction in the region. So take your time to explore the little trullis and visit the unique trulli church in the city. You could also choose to enjoy a wine tasting at a local enoteca inside one of the trullis.

Food to try:

Puglia is also where the Burrata and Focaccia are originally from. The town has a local producer of the Burrata just a few minutes walk from the center. Find your way to the little store and try some of the freshest Burrata, Stracciatella (another kind of cheese) along with some of the local Focaccia straight from the oven.

Read more about other beautiful cities in Puglia here.

Polignano a Mare

Cala Porto Beach in Polignano a Mare

If you’re visiting Puglia in the summer, Polignano a Mare should definitely be on your list. This quaint little sea-side town is a short train ride away from Bari and makes for a perfect day-trip from the city. The town is one of the prettiest hidden gems in Italy. 

Things to do:

The biggest attraction of the town for sure is the Cala Porto beach. The gorgeous little white pebbled beach boasts of emerald green waters. The beach is situated right in the city center just a short walk from the train station. Absolutely scenic! The beach is a walking distance from the train station and convenient to reach. You could spend your day lazing on the beach and swimming in the cool waters of the Adriatic Sea.

And last but not the least, the city center of Polignano a Mare is absolutely charming. Whitewashed buildings, narrow cobbled streets and balconies filled with colorful flowers add to the charm. So make sure you take the time to take a relaxing walk through the city center before you leave.

Food to try:

While in Polignano a Mare, make sure to try some delicious seafood. The primitivo wine from the region is famous. 


View of the ancient city center of Matera

Matera is one of the most unique town in all of Italy and is one of the most unique hidden gems in Italy. The entire ancient city center of Matera is carved into the rocks creating a cave like structure. Hence it is known as the city of the Sassi which is the Italian term for stones. The city was declared as the European Capital of Culture for 2019 by UNESCO.  

Things to do:

The main thing to do in Matera is to visit the ancient city center. It has a lot to offer from churches to piazzas and palaces. You can choose to do a walking tour of the city or a tuk-tuk tour. There are various cave restaurants and hotels to visit while you’re in the town.

Food to try:

When visiting the town, make sure to try the peperoni cruschi, a local dried and fried pepper snack that is absolutely addictive.


Ponza is a beautiful island in Lazio that can be visited easily from Rome. It is a fishing island with colourful houses. There are various beautiful beaches and grottos around the island to visit. 

Things to do:

Ponza is a relatively small island with beautiful beaches all around. You could start off the day walking through the pretty city center. Treat yourself to some fresh seafood for lunch before exploring the beaches. Cala Feola Beach, Chiaia di Luna are some of the prettiest on the island.

You could also choose to do a boat tour around the island. These might be in Italian as the island is popular among local Italians and isn’t very touristic. These tours take you around the island with the guide explaining the history and pointing out the top spots around the island. The boat also stops for various swimming and snorkeling stops in the middle of the sea giving you a chance to glimpse at the underwater life of the region. On the last swimming stop, you get a chance to swim to the center of a grotto where the guide asks you to stop and look at the color of the water on either side. One side is emerald green and the other is glowing light blue shade. 

Reasons to vist:

Beautiful beaches, fresh seafood and a great place for snorkeling. 

Find out about other hidden gems in Lazio here

Like this post? Save it for later!