As 2016 approaches, a whole new year of exciting travels await: from North to South, Italy offers countless opportunities to discover, explore and enjoy new and old destinations. Regardless of their location, whether they are mountain or seaside towns, and no matter if you are looking into a spring, summer, fall or winter holiday, these destinations are not to be missed if you are planning to travel around Italy next year.
Ortisei (Trentino Alto Adige). Nestled at the beginning of stunningly beautiful Val Gardena, Ortisei sits in a sunny spot with unparalleled views of the Dolomites. The entire village is built in South Tyrolean style, with painted houses that give a perfect alpine feel to the town. Very popular with skiers and snowboarders, as it is connected to the Dolomiti Superski 1200 km ski circuit, it also wins the hearts of those who don’t like snow sports, as it offers amazing shopping opportunities and great dining options. Ortisei, and the surrounding valley, are great in the summer too as they offer countless walking, hiking and mountain bike routes.
Uropia (Puglia). Care to see something unique? Then visit Uropia, Italy’s last standing hippy-like commune. Here you will get a taste of what living without private property feels like: from the beginning of spring until the last days of the harvest, visitors are welcome to join in and enjoy the simple life that the seaside region of Apulia has to offer, and that includes the incredibly tasty local wine and ingredients such as olive oil, tomatoes and olives.
Valsavarenche (Valle d’Aosta). If you are looking for an adventurous kind of holiday, the Parco Avventura in Valsavarenche might be the place for you. Open all year, this adventure park is popular with those who love canyoning and climbing, as it offers a unique trail surrounded by dramatic landscapes, white waters and the imposing mountains of the Gran Paradiso State Park. Nature in the area is simply stunning and the park caters to active couples as much as to families with children over the age of eight.
Pitigliano (Tuscany). Famous for being one of Tuscany’s most quaint villages, Pitigliano is a medieval gem less than one hour away from Grosseto, almost on the border with Lazio. Perched on a hill and entirely made of stone, it seems like a town still living in a remote and charming past, with narrow alleys and unexpected, enchanting squares. Pitigliano has a proud Jewish history as well, and its old ghetto as well as the Jewish cemetery are simply too beautiful for words, which is why the village is known as “the Italian Jerusalem”.
Pietralunga (Umbria). Those who love autumn foliage will definitely fall in love with Pietralunga, said to be the best spot in Italy to watch the leaves turning incredible hues of yellow, orange and red. Close to the picture perfect medieval town of Perugia, Pietralunga is also a great spot to stop by for some of the best venison you can find in Italy, as well as amazing roasted and grilled meat. If you enjoy steak, make sure you try chianina, the top grade beef from the area that is an absolute must-try for any food aficionado.
Vigevano (Lombardy). When visiting Lombardy most people concentrate on larger, more popular places like Milan, Como and Bergamo, but the region is literally dotted with smaller, stunningly beautiful towns such as Vigevano. The town looks like a miniature version of its bigger sisters and boasts some of the most amazing religious and secular buildings in the area, as well as a rich and incredible culinary tradition. A stroll through its narrow streets and large piazzas is the perfect way to spend a leisurely and sunny weekend afternoon.
Monreale (Sicily). Close enough to Palermo to make it a day trip, Monreale is a quintessential Sicilian town, with labyrinthine alleys and one of the most stunning Duomos in Italy. It may look like nothing much from the outside, but once inside, be prepared to see an amazing example of mosaic art, as the interior of the Duomo is completely covered in golden mosaics. Standing in the middle of the church and looking up to the shiny perfection of its vaults is a once in a lifetime experience everyone visiting Sicily should experience.