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7 Best Places to Visit in Southern Italy

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City of Naples with famous Mount Vesuvius in the background

Naples, Italy

Dramatic terrain that boasts colorful houses perched on steep cliffs, beautiful beaches bathed in Mediterranean light, and a rich history that stretches from ancient Greece to imperial Spain come together to create the unique ambiance and charisma of the seven best places to visit in southern Italy.

Visit villages with charming piazzas and towns that boast incredible views. Discover charming winelands and majestic mountains. Explore unforgettable caves, historic towns, and fascinating ruins, with each step providing a new perspective of local culture and heritage.

The Mezzogiorno region of Italy brings sunshine and sea-filled bliss each day, with certain places you simply cannot miss, experiences in themselves.

  1. 1. Amalfi Coast
  2. 2. Naples
  3. 3. Matera
  4. 4. L’Aquila
  5. 5. Reggio di Calabria
  6. 6. Lecce
  7. 7. Sorrento
  8. Explore the Best Places to Visit in Southern Italy

1. Amalfi Coast

Sunny beach on Maiori on the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Maiori, Italy

With rugged coastline and breathtaking views on either side of winding roads, the Amalfi Coast is an inspiring place to visit in southern Italy.

Hiking trails give way to cobblestone walkways and lively piazzas. Quaint village cafes and picturesque towns bring vibrance to hillsides. Beaches invite families to play and explore, while romance beckons couples atop hillside havens.

Explore one of southern Italy’s most popular destinations and discover its charm and sheer beauty as you travel the colorful shoreline and captivating waters, experiencing the top 8 things to do on the Amalfi Coast.

Highlights: Positano • Cetara • Ravello • Minori • Maiori • Praiano

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

Learn more: Amalfi Coast Tours

2. Naples

Pompeii in Naples, Italy

Pompeii in Naples, Italy

Naples offers visitors the chance to discover museums and archaeological wonders that share the intriguing history of the city and its surrounding areas.

Monastery gardens and underground caves impress with colorful markets, and coastal walks highlight the diversity of the city by revealing its stunning layers. Famous for pizza and other iconic dishes, restaurants serving the best dishes to try in Naples spill onto the sidewalks and overlook the sea.

With easy access from Rome, take the time to experience Campania’s capital by admiring Renaissance architecture, uncovering ancient ruins, and embracing Neapolitan culture.

Highlights: Pompeii • Mt. Vesuvius • Subterranean Naples • National Museum of San Martino • Museum of Capodimonte • Via Caracciolo • National Archeological Museum

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

3. Matera

Matera, Italy

Matera, Italy

Discover a part of southern Italy that offers a unique and beautiful setting as you explore rugged gorges and medieval lanes, with fewer crowds.

Created around grottos and set amidst a countryside dotted with vineyards and olive groves, this part of Basilicata invites you to discover churches and architectural wonders complimenting caves and crevices.

Step inside ancient neighborhoods known as Sassi and discover bountiful local flavors in quaint cafes and stone-carved bars that overtake the ancient caverns etched into the cliffs.

Highlights: Sassi Neighborhood • Altamura Cathedral • Museo Laboratorio della Civiltà Contadina • Church of Santa Maria de Idris

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

4. L’Aquila

Panoramic view of Barrea during winter season in L'aquila, Abruzzo, Italy

L'aquila in Abruzzo, Italy

Step into nature to marvel at the views and nearby villages of L’Aquila as you find narrow valleys, open fields, and medieval walls that capture the spirit of the greater Abruzzo region.

Experience this popular and beautiful region's national parks and classic coastal charm. Stunning landscape creates the perfect backdrop for majestic skiing opportunities that complement ancient neighborhoods and medieval villages. From history tours to alpine adventures, experience the charm of L’Aquila as you explore during the best time to visit southern Italy.

You can also discover some of the best pasta in Italy as you embrace local flavors created from ancient family recipes, accompanied by wines from the Abruzzo region.

Highlights: Majella National Park • Orvieto Wineries • Lake Campotosto • Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio • Fountain of the 99 Water Spouts

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

5. Reggio di Calabria

Rocca tu Dracu Ghorio di Roghudi in Aspromonte National Park, Calabria

Aspromonte National Park, Calabria, Italy

Welcome to the toe of Italy’s boot. Reggio di Calabria is among the original historical areas referred to as Italy. It has a rich history and vibrant culture that shines beneath the unfettered Mediterranean sun.

Boasting a colorful coastline with soft-sand beaches and hilltop sanctuaries surrounded by a rich agricultural area, Reggio di Calabria offers an array of flavors out in the country and in nearby villages to create a unique combination of ancient wonder and natural splendor.

Spend time discovering the region’s winelands, then step inside Byzantine churches and remnants of ancient culture influenced by Greece, including the Riace Bronzes, on history tours which remain one of the top experiences to have in southern Italy.

Highlights: Aspromonte National Park • Falcomatà promenade • Chianalea di Scilla • Valle dello Stilaro villages • Corigliano Castle

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

6. Lecce

Facade of Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce, Italy

Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce, Italy

Sometimes referred to as the “Florence of the South”, the gorgeous architecture shown through churches, cathedrals, and winding village streets are some of southern Italy’s must-sees.

The beaches are breathtaking and the inland hills and valleys intriguing as they invite you to explore modern-day trades that stem from a rich agricultural past.

Art presents itself in stores and down alleys in quaint settings, with the opportunity to walk, hike, or cycle through popular tourist areas.

Highlights: Basilica di Santa Croce • Cattedrale dell’Assunzione della Virgine • Piazza del Duomo • Piazza Santo’Oronzo • Museo Faggiano

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

7. Sorrento

Limoncello drink served in Sorrento, Italy

Limoncello served in Sorrento, Italy

Forming part of what was affectionately called the newly-formed Kingdom of Italy, Sorrento is alive with commerce and classic beauty that radiates from the architecture and marinas, city squares and coastal havens.

Discover the archeological history of the region through museums and ruins, and learn about the myths and legends that made Sorrento famous.

Home to limoncello and gnocchi, you can savor the cuisine, indulge in local wines, and embrace the greater ambiance of southern Italy in a single place.

Highlights: Tasso Square • Bagni della Regina Giovanna • Chiostro di San Francesco • Sorrentine Peninsula

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Learn more: Venice, Florence, Rome, and Sorrento Tours

Explore the Best Places to Visit in Southern Italy

Village and port at Cetara on the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Cetara, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Step into a world of beauty, color, and archeological wonder when you venture into the diverse regions of southern Italy. Cities, countryside, and coastal calm invite you to see, touch, and taste the overall wonder of the region.

Whether you want to enjoy the beauty of a luxury hotel hidden inside an ancient cave or embrace a private cooking experience on the Adriatic Coast, you can find inspiration for your trip with our southern Italy tours & vacations or southern Italy travel guide.

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