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Top 7 Things to Do in Southern Italy

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Tropea Town, Southern Italy

Tropea in Southern Italy

Embrace the beauty of nature and culture that abounds at every turn with our top seven things to do in southern Italy.

City treasures, breathtaking beach escapes, and historical wonders await. From ancient Greek temples to stunning volcanic peaks, prolific vineyards to mouthwatering cuisine, the heritage of southern Italy reveals timeless customs and genuine charm.

Enjoy the many active adventures and captivating experiences, or simply sit and savor the culture and cuisine of a beloved part of Italy that can immerse you in luxury or unravel rustic wonder.

  1. 1. Enjoy Majestic Coastal and Scenic Country Drives
  2. 2. Soak up Sunshine on Southern Italian Shores
  3. 3. Explore Art and Architectural Heritage Sites
  4. 4. Indulge in the Varied Culinary Delights
  5. 5. Admire Historic Volcanoes and Ancient Caves
  6. 6. Hike or Cycle Coastal and National Park Trails
  7. 7. Discover History and Culture in Magnificent Museums
  8. Experience the Top Things to Do in Southern Italy

1. Enjoy Majestic Coastal and Scenic Country Drives

Scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Take it easy for a while to enjoy the sights and scenery that make up the beautiful southern Italian coastline and countryside on drives in a rental car or by private transfer.

Drive windy roads that hug the Sorrentine Peninsula on Amalfi Coast tours and vacations for breathtaking sights of long beaches and endless ocean on one side, while seemingly stacked cottages and villas tower over you on the other.

Take a turn inland and drive up to the top of hills offering incredible views over colorful homes and hillside treasures. Wilderness, wildlife, and captivating villages offer insight into the untouched beauty across southern Italy.

Best Scenic Drives to Take: Amalfi Coast • Bari to Otranto • Sila National Park • Praia a Mare to Amantea

2. Soak up Sunshine on Southern Italian Shores

Spiaggia Grande beach in Positano, Italy

Spiaggia Grande in Positano, Italy

Picturesque beaches complement the exquisite towns and villages that can be found along the Amalfi Coast, one of the best beach destinations in southern Italy, while breathtaking beaches in Puglia invite guests to soak up the sun in paradise.

Consider a snorkel around secluded coves or a scuba dive among bright reefs in crystal-clear waters. Take your time as you dive down to discover underwater wonders that lie beyond the southern Italian coastline.

From sailing along the coast to lounging on hidden sands, enjoy captivating sunsets as you cruise, dive, snorkel, or relax amidst breathtaking scenery, surrounded by the colors of Italy on its best beaches.

Best Places for Water Sports: Amalfi Coast • Bari • Sorrento • Torre Pali • Positano • Tropea

3. Explore Art and Architectural Heritage Sites

Ceramic shop in Vietri sul Mare, Italy

Vietri sul Mare, Italy

From picturesque murals to galleries displaying unique finds, the art scene in southern Italy immerses you in ancient heritage and contemporary culture.

Hand-painted pottery displayed in quaint galleries and streets lined with Romanesque-inspired architectural treasures make the towns and villages of southern Italy vibrant destinations to explore. Iconic ruins reflect the centuries of artistic and architectural influence and you can trace the origins of different styles as you explore Italy’s top Unesco World Heritage sites.

Paint the perfect picture of your southern Italian adventure as you step in front of an easel in a private art class on the Amalfi Coast or try your hand at creating a beautiful vase from clay in Puglia, with each technique informed by the rich history of the area.

Best Places to View Art and Architecture: Naples • Vietri sul Mare • Amalfi Coast • Grottaglie

4. Indulge in the Varied Culinary Delights

Spaghetti alle Vongole served at a restaurant in Catanzaro

Catanzaro, Italy

Dive into a world of delicious flavors in delightful locations in southern Italy, embarking on culinary courses inspired by local markets.

Enjoy learning and tasting in village squares and coastal cafes. Try your hand at the art of creating Italian desserts in Campania, sampling the best dishes to try in the Campania region, and indulge in treats served in quaint cafes from morning to noon.

Discover the art of Italian cooking and the diversity each region brings to the table. Southern Italy is bubbling with talented chefs and teachers looking to share their craft and creations with you during food tours in Italy to the southern regions.

Best Places for a Food Tour: Bari • Catanzaro • Naples • Campobasso

5. Admire Historic Volcanoes and Ancient Caves

Volcanic landscape in Mount Etna, Italy

Mount Etna, Italy

Take a walk on the wild and unusual side as you explore any of the three famous volcanoes in southern Italy. Discover a world of geological wonder as you hike to or view these magnificent mountains from afar.

Standing on the precipice of an active volcano is thrilling and daunting, offering breathtaking views into the craters and of the surrounding landscape. The vantage points are unbelievable, though you can also experience the views from a distance as backdrops to photography.

Then, discover intriguing stalagmites and stalactites in caverns and caves. Iridescent light splashes off cave walls and echoing silence surrounds you as you make your way through the waters in a rowboat or venture into once-occupied dwellings.

Best Volcanoes and Caves to Explore: Mt. Vesuvius • Mt. Etna • Castellan’s Caves • Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario • Cave of Smeraldo

6. Hike or Cycle Coastal and National Park Trails

Hiking the Path of the Gods on Italy's Amalfi Coast

Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast

Combining exquisite views over quaint villages and rugged coastline, breathtaking beaches way below, and picturesque mountains around you, hiking and cycling in southern Italy is out of this world.

Step onto winding pathways that seem to head towards the heavens and move between and around idyllic coastal gems, discovering the highlights of key towns and villages in the region. Or pedal across dirt paths that wind between viewpoints overlooking the southern Italian countryside.

Trails suit all fitness levels, with certain areas in the region offering the opportunity to discover culture and architecture submerged in magical forests or just above the edge of a breathtaking cliff. You can experience the diverse natural wonders as you explore the best national parks in Italy, several of which are in the south.

Best Places for Hiking or Cycling: Amalfi Coast • Puglia • Pollino National Park • Mt. Vesuvius • Abruzzo

7. Discover History and Culture in Magnificent Museums

Agrippina Minor sculpture at the Naples National Archaeological Museum

Agrippina Minor sculpture at the Naples National Archaeological Museum

Take some time out when in southern Italy to discover the history and culture of this fascinating region, especially within the museums that preserve legends and relics of the past.

Step back in time with a visit to an archaeological museum and walk through underground tunnels once used by the military. Witness ancient bronzes or fascinating Greek architecture, exploring the many influences that span the region.

Learn about the history of paper and marvel at exquisite works of art in museums dedicated to maestros of their time as you enjoy a glimpse of the rich traditions and preserved culture that share stories thousands of years old.

Best Museums to Visit: Museo Della Carta • Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli • Galleria Borbonica • Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Reggio Calabria

Experience the Top Things to Do in Southern Italy

Medieval village on hill in Abruzzo, Italy

Abruzzo, Italy

Experience the variety of activities and adventures that await in the southern regions of Italy. Coastal wandering and breathtaking beach visits can capture your imagination, while cultural treasures and geological sites invite you to see and savor the area’s fascinating past.

Discover the right inspiration with our sample southern Italy tours & vacations and explore options for your heritage exploration or off-the-beaten-path adventure in our southern Italy travel guide.

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