Hidden Gems in Italy you must add to your bucket list

24 December 2021
Written by The Italy Insider


Il Giardino di Ninfa,


Built on the ruins of the medieval city of Ninfa, in the Pontine countryside, near Latina, it is one of the most beautiful and romantic gardens in the world. The name Ninfa derives from a Roman temple dedicated to the Naiad Nymphs, divinity of spring waters, located in the current garden. In the fourteenth century, the city of Ninfa was destroyed and in the nineteenth century the garden was finally built in the Anglo-Saxon style, reclaiming the marshes, planting cypresses, oaks, beeches, and restoring some ruins, including the baronial palace.

Il Giardino di Ninfa Ph. Ingmaggiore


sant’agata de goti,


Sant’Agata de ‘Goti, nicknamed the “pearl of Sannio”, is a Samnite village located in the Caudina Valley, at the foot of Mount Taburno. Its historic center is perched on the edge of a tufaceous spur and preserves its medieval appearance intact, dominated by bell towers and majolica domes.

Sant’Agata de ‘Goti


Rocce Rosse di Arbatax,


Behind the port of Arbatax you can admire the Red Rocks, which represent one of the main attractions of the Ogliastra coast and are now the natural monument symbol of the area.It is a large vermilion red porphyry cliff, sculpted by the wind and the sea, which forms a succession of pinnacles broken by vertical fracture lines. It is part of porphyritic veins that cross the entire Ogliastra coast from Museddu to Cea, from Arbatax to the Islet of Ogliastra. The site has also been for many years the location of the Rocce Rosse Blues musical event, a great showcase for internationally renowned musicians.


Porto Selvaggio,


One of the most famous and unmissable beaches during a trip to Salento, and probably one of the most beautiful in Italy, is Porto Selvaggio. It is a place that is nothing short of magical and surrounded by nature, which offers visitors one of the most evocative landscapes of the entire Salento coast.




The Gargano is a mountainous promontory in the northernmost part of Puglia. While maintaining many of the characteristics of the Apulian landscapes, the Gargano territory is very different from the Valle d’Itria and Salento: you will find wooded areas with lush pine forests, mountainous landscapes, forests, a spectacular coast full of white limestone cliffs, sea caves, long beaches sandy beaches and villages overlooking the sea.

Gargano, Puglia
Gargano, Puglia. Ph. Lukas Leitner


Castelluccio di Norcia,


At 1,452 m above sea level, Castelluccio di Norcia is one of the highest settlements in the Apennines located on a hilltop inside the Monti Sibillini National Park in Umbria. It lies above three plains: Piano Grande, Pian Piccolo and Pian Perduto. Every year from late May to July, the plains transform into a colourful carpet of flowers, a spectacular nature show known as ‘La Fiorita,’ when lentils bloom (for which Castelluccio is famous), alongside poppies, cornflowers, daisies, wild mustard, orchids, and more

Castelluccio di Norcia
Castelluccio di Norcia. Ph. Elena Sala


Abbazia di San Galgano,


Situated in the south of Siena, San Galgano is a fascinating abbey with an open roof. Legend states that in 1787, lighting struck the bell tower, which collapsed onto the roof and it remained this way ever since. It was also the first gothic church to have been built in Tuscany in the thirteenth century. Nearby the abbey stands the Hermitage of Monte Siepi chapel, where S. Galgano had retired to live as a hermit. At the centre of the Chapel there’s a rock in which Galgano embedded his sword.

Abbazia di San Galgano. Ph. Mario La Pergola




Cingoli, known as the balcony of the Marche, is a small historic village. Its name derives from the Latin ‘cingulum’ which has the meaning of “rocky protrusion”. In fact, the village is a sort of shelf that protrudes on the side of a mountain. Cingoli is surrounded by numerous paths and natural wonders such as the Cingoli waterfalls.


Castello di Sammezzano, toscana

The Sammezzano Castle rises in the upper Valdarno between Florence and Arezzo. With its double façade representing the Sun and the Moon, the castle is a virtual journey across the East, from China to Arabia to Spain. The villa belonged to the Medici and then from the mid-nineteenth century it was inherited by Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d’Aragona who gave it this incredible mix of Arabesque elements inspired by the Alhambra in Granada. An explicit reference to the Alhambra, as well as the Room of Love and that of Mirrors, from the vault of which hang hundreds of muquarnas, the small stalactites typical of Islamic architecture. Passing under domes and ribs, one arrives at the colourful “Indian” classrooms, such as that of the Gigli and – the most famous of which is immersed in bundles of bright psychedelic rainbows – the Room of the Peacocks. Unfortunately, the Castle has been closed for visits since 2016.


Lago di Resia,
alto adige

Lake Resia is an artificial alpine lake located in Curon Venosta, in Alto Adige. This lake is not only an unusual natural wonder but it also holds centuries of fascinating history. The belltower that seems to be sitting atop the surface of the lake was actually part of the Romanesque, 14th-century church of St. Catherine of Alexandria and beneath the waters stands the village of Curon. In 1950, this village was once home to hundreds of Italians. That was before the village was intentionally flooded to make way for a nearby hydroelectric plant. Fast-forward some seventy-one years later, when repairs forced a team to temporarily drain the lake. As this happened, the remains of a forgotten village appeared.

Lago di Resia



Located moments away from Noto, in Siracuse, you’ll find the charming fishermans town of Marzamemi, a tiny pearl of Sicily worth exploring. Marzamemi is an old town characterised by yellow stone houses arranged around two natural harbours: La Fossa and La Balata. But it’s the Tonnara that still dominates the small town and dates back to the times of the Arabs. Over the course of the years however Marzamemi was remodelled by the request of the prince of Villadorata who had the entire village built around the tonnara. This part of Sicily evokes an authentic, slow-paced environment and worth the visit.



Cascata capelli di venere, campania

Located in the town of Casaletto Spartano, in the province of Salerno, you’ll find the waterfall ‘Cascata Capelli di Venere’ that springs from the waters of the Rio Bussentino. It is called this because of the luxuriant plant called “maidenhair fern” that characterises the oasis. You can reach the waterfall by following the signs for Area Capello, where you’ll see two old paths that run along the Rio which once represented the connection between the town and the mountain districts. The waterfall is located at the base of an old Norman bridge and near the remains of an old mill.


Vallone dei mulini,

You walk immersed in an unforgettable landscape, between nature and finds from an ancient economy. Follow the course of the Canneto river which descends in small waterfalls among lemon trees, ruins of ancient ones mills, an old paper mill, the sea on the horizon, then the coast where the Saracen tower stands out, and at the bottom of the valley the historic center of Amalfi.

Vallone dei Mulini
Vallone dei Mulini. Ph. Andy Holmes



Orgosolo reveals a deep connection to its Barbary roots and with the customs and traditions of the past: it is the homeland of Canto a Tenore (a style of polyphonic folk singing characteristic of Sardegna and a UNESCO World Heritage) as well as a country of murals. The village is famous all over the world for the evocative paintings that adorn the streets and squares, houses in the historic center and the facades of new buildings. They tell of politics and culture, intimate dissent and popular struggles, malaise and social justice, daily life and pastoral traditions. It is a cradle of archaic traditions in the center of the Sardinian island, 20km from Nuoro, considered to be a true”open air” museum.


emilia romagna

Dozza is considered one of the most characteristic medieval villages of the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines. It is located south of Bologna, 6 km from Imola and is renowned for its murals. In fact, since the 1960s, the “Painted Wall” exhibition has transformed the facades of the houses in Dozza, creating a wonderful open-air art museum, where you can stroll among painted houses and medieval alleys.



Alto Adige

Bressanone is the oldest town in Tyrol, around the beautiful Cathedral, alleys, houses, medieval monuments. In the immediate vicinity of the city, the Plose, the mountain of activities for summer and winter free time and for all ages.


Lago di Tovel,

In the Dolomites, in the Adamello Brenta Natural Park, the great Trentino lake surrounded by the Campa massif and a majestic mountain amphitheater. The natural scenery is unique and suggestive, but it is the color of its waters that fade from blue to emerald green that made him famous all over the world.


Cascate di Lillaz,
Valle D’Aosta

The Lillaz waterfalls are located in the Gran Paradiso National Park in Val d’Aosta and are a wonderful natural phenomenon. What makes them so magical is the context that surrounds them: the mountains of the Gran Paradiso Park and its glaciers, woods and green pastures, frame a truly wonderful landscape. They are easy to reach, about fifteen minutes from the center of the village of Lillaz.


Gispoteca canoviana, Possagno, veneto

To see Antonio Canova’s wonderful sculptures in one place, you have to go to his atelier in Possagno, in the Veneto region, where the plaster casts of his masterpieces are gathered. The largest monographic gypsotheca in Europe was created in 1844 by Bishop Giovanni Battista Sartori, Canova’s half-brother, trying to recreate the original layout. Open to the public, with the wing added by the architect Carlo Scarpa, it is possible to visit the artist’s birthplace, the park and the archive together. A concentrate of perfect neoclassical aesthetics.

Museo Canova. Possagno
Museo Canova. Possagno. Ph. Giulia Tei
Museo Canova, Possagno. Ph. Cal de Br


Teatro del Silenzio, Lajatico, toscana

A small landscape jewel in the heart of Tuscany, a natural amphitheater created by the will of the architect Alberto Bartalini and Maestro Andrea Bocelli. A “silent” project, in fact, space remains silent for almost the whole year and comes alive only for a few days of characters from bel canto, music and of dance, national and international.

Teatro del Silenzio a Lajatico, Toscana. Ph. via Instagram @mummybook
Teatro del Silenzio a Lajatico, Toscana
Teatro del Silenzio a Lajatico, Toscana. Ph. via Instagram @mummybook


Giardini Radicepura,
Catania, Sicilia

At the foot of Mount Etna, the Radicepura Botanical Park was born for will of the Faro family, internationally known horticulturalists, it was their private collection of rare plants. It houses 5000 varieties of species and unique specimens, it is energetically and hydrically self-sufficient, it is built around an ancient millstone perfectly restored and to a spectacular Serra.

Giardini Radicepura. Ph. Matteo Carassale



Visso is a small medieval village rich in history and ancient origins. It is located in the Marche near the Sibillini Mountains and in 2016 it was destroyed by the earthquake but then it was pulled up and today it is part of the association of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The historic center amazes for the succession of imposing walls, towers, medieval houses and balconies, Renaissance noble palaces, stone portals carved with family crests and Latin mottos and nearby, one of the best excursions of the Sibillini Mountains that takes you to the foot of Monte Bove.



Contemporary art museum dedicated to the work of the Sardinian artist, housed in the premises of the former railway station, downstream of the town. The station, a place of departures and arrivals, of meetings, of relationships, lends itself well to communicating one of the artist’s intentions, bring art to people.


Casa Mollino,
Torino, piemonte

Eccentric architect, designer, avant-garde designer, but also photographer, writer, airplane and racing car pilot, in this apartment located in a late 19th century villa, Mollino has never lived but furniture is kept here, sculptures, photos and objects made by him. The setting up of the house-museum was curated by the artist e contains some of his most beautiful creations and objects to him the most dear.

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