A new year is a time of new reflections, new objectives and new discoveries. When you think you’ve seen it all, there is always something more to see, to explore. Our editors have put together a list of destinations worth adding to your bucket lists in 2023: they may not be your usual go-to in Italy but they should, because these locations are growing on a tourism level and treasure some true wonders from a cultural, landscape, culinary and hospitality point of view.
Razed to the ground by a terrible earthquake in 1693, some villages in the Val di Noto, in south-eastern Sicily were reborn from the rubble with extreme Baroque architecture and so beautiful as to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among these, Noto is undoubtedly the star, loved by national and international VIPs: the architect Jacques Garcia bought a house and opened a b&b and Dolce & Gabbana used the city as the stage for their fashion shows-homage to Italian traditions. What should you do? Visit the cathedral, get lost in the countryside among almond and carob trees, discover the Villa del Tellaro, with its Roman-era mosaics, and take a tour of the Greek theatre of Palazzolo Acreide.
where to eat
An obligatory break at Caffè Sicilia, the realm of Corrado Assenza, one of the most famous pastry chefs in Italy. Sit down and order a simple almond granita (with almonds from the Assenza estate) and enjoy the city stroll. In the summer, it will be easy to see some local brides parading on an ancient hand-painted cart. It is an unforgettable sight. WEBSITE
Where to sleep
Dimora delle Balze house eleven rooms in an old farmhouse in the Sicilian countryside. Around there is no sea, there are no beaches and not even a shred of nightlife. Indeed there is nothing but the fiumara, the heroic gardens and the uncultivated valleys. Yet this place where silence is broken only by the chirping of birds and the chirping of cicadas is the perfect refuge to recharge your batteries, between the swimming pool, the organic restaurant and the rooms with thick walls. It took the owner Elena Lobs nine years to finish the restoration and fill this oasis halfway between Noto and Palazzolo Acreide with taste. Breakfast is a Sicilian banquet with homemade cakes, cannoli and granita and the organic restaurant is now also open to non-guests, but only in the evening. You eat dishes inspired by the garden and what is produced in the area. WEBSITE
If you fancy a trip to the sea, not far from Noto is the Vendicari Oasis, a nature reserve rich in fauna, including small turtles, and trekking paths. If you like to take a stroll, reach your place in the sun on a lovely beach.
One of the most treasured gems in southern Italy, the Salento peninsula represents the soul of Apulia. From crystal coloured waters to renowned culinary delicacies such as the pasticciotto Leccese or the fresh almond milk caffè, to the savoury delights of rustico, la puccia and la scapece. Not to mention the picturesque landscapes of Porto Cesareo, the charming Santa Maria di Leuca and the Maldives of Europe: Punta Prosciutto. There is endless discovery in this part of southern Italy which makes it the ultimate destination for 2023.
where to eat
Sale Blu, the restaurant of La Peschiera Hotel, an almost pieds-dans-l’eau eatery in which the Adriatic Sea becomes the protagonist. Fresh fish on the menu from raw carpaccio to distinguished ingredients such as oysters, caviar, lobsters and much more. WEBSITE
Where to sleep
Palazzo Daniele, situated in Gagliano del Capo is an elegant palazzo featuring an immaculate design concept in which each room differs and presents pieces of Italian handicraft as well as 19th century frescoes. WEBSITE
Underwater excursions are a must, from snorkelling to scuba diving to witness corals and marine life. The most beautiful locations are La Secca del Pisello in Santa Maria di Leuca and La Grotta del Soffio in Santa Cesarea Terme.
Luogosanto e l’Alta Gallura, Sardegna
he Gallura of world-famous beaches hides a secret soul made of granite forged by the wind, a surprising nature and authentic villages with ancient traditions, which have a lot to tell. Not far from the clamor of the Costa Smeralda, Luogosanto is the perfect destination for those who love active and sustainable holidays. You can practice trekking, cycling, bouldering, canoeing and yoga. History buffs will discover traces of the ancient Nuragic civilization (don’t miss the Monti Casteddu meeting hut), medieval castles and churches, but also vineyards, dairies (do you already know the fragrant Sardinian pecorino?), ceramic atelier and a officinal herbal medicine.
where to eat
Trattoria Il Mosto, in Aggius, is a small trattoria with a traditional Gallura menu paired with the right wines. Taste Cjusoni, a home made pasta with a rich tomato sauce. WEBSITE
where to sleep
A few minutes from Luogosanto, Gallicantu is a small hotel with five rooms and two suites created in old stazzi, the typical rural structures of this area of Sardinia. Immersed in three hectares of Mediterranean scrub and sculptural granite, it has been studied in detail by the owners Raffaella and Marco who have searched for materials and furnishings and designed some pieces. The result is a fairy-tale and ultra-modern place while still evoking tradition. WEBSITE
Luogosanto is the City of Wine, home of Vermentino di Gallura, the only DOCG in Sardinia, and of important wineries where visits and tastings are organised. Try the wines of Siddura, which in 2021 was the best Italian winery. WEBSITE
Where to Eat
Pasticceria Veneto, founded by Brescia’s very own Iginio Massari, nominated as The Best Pastry Chef in the World. A tour (and a few tastes) in this patisserie is worth the trip in itself. WEBSITE
Where to Sleep
L’albereta, Relais & Chateaux, is a suggestive location nestled in Franciacorta surrounded by the rolling hills and vineyards. It’s a natural sanctuary in which wellness plays a fundamental role – the Chenot Espace Health Wellness SPA is documented as one of the best SPA’s in Italy offering both wellness and medical treatments. WEBSITE
Organise a Wine Tasting Experience at one of the prestigious Franciacorta labels: Berlucchi, Bersi Serlini, Ca’ del Bosco.
The most authentic, remote and unknown Italy is in the hills of Crotone. In this barren landscape, not far from the sea, we discover some unexpected villages, such as Strongoli, where the elderly with the coppola sit for hours and hours on the benches in front of the castle chatting in strict dialect and waiting for something to happen. It feels like everything is left over from the last century, a very rare feeling to find now, an image to see before it disappears forever.
Where to eat & Sleep
The Azienda Agricola Ceraudo, in the Dattilo district in the hills around Crotone, is a model of traditional and contemporary hospitality at the same time. On the one hand there is the work in the olive grove, vineyards and vegetable gardens, directed and supervised by father Roberto, the histrionic founder. On the other hand, there is the farmhouse with four bedrooms and two design apartments run by his daughter Susy and the Dattilo restaurant, where his daughter Caterina took the Michelin star in a flash. Everything is an expression of Calabrian culture, with the creativity of a young chef brought up by Niko Romito (3 Michelin stars): from the very simple tomato and oregano to the egg with sardine and chicory inspired by an arbëreshë recipe (typical of the local Albanian communities, ed) . The aperitif, on the other hand, is made among the centuries-old olive trees and arrives by tractor with the organic wines of the house, such as the Grayasusi, first in the ranking of the best fifty rosés in the world. WEBSITE
Rent a dinghy at the port of Crotone and take a ride waiting for the sunset.
these Regions are worth a week-long road trip
Umbria is a little-known jewel. It lives framed by its sister regions, throbbing with the searing energy of its orange bricks and its sometimes jovial, sometimes discreet inhabitants. Not many people know that this region is often the subject of the typically Italian pictures that the world is used to see. Among the must-see destinations, exquisitely medieval in character, we have Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, Spoleto and, last but not least, Montefalco, where you can wander through the narrow streets inebriated with its wine. Another mandatory stop is Solomeo, the cashmere village by Brunello Cucinelli, where an overwhelming fairytale atmosphere reigns.
Where to eat
Connoisseurs of fine cuisine love to stop at Casa Vissani, a starred restaurant set in the intimate atmosphere of a house overlooking Lake Corbara. In these elegant rooms, the artistic-culinary work of Gianfranco Vissani, one of Italy’s most innovative chefs, combines with that of his son Luca to offer a refined mix of flavours that delights diners, who are surprised with every bite.
WHERE TO sleep
Hotel Castello di Reschio is a majestic building dating back to 1050, a coffer full of history and intrigue. Today, after clever restoration, it has been transformed into a hotel with a unique and aesthetic style. Within the castle walls there are two communicating courtyards – one of which is set in a marvellous glass greenhouse – and rooms designed with a holistic approach to design that skilfully blends contemporary elements with others that recall the intriguing protagonists of castle life. To surprise guests, the enchanted atmosphere of the outdoor swimming pool matches the charm of the SPA located in the castle’s ancient cellars. WEBSITE
Nestled in the heart of Italy, Le Marche is the green and pleasant region of the country located halfway up the country’s eastern, Adriatic sea shore. Perhaps Italy’s best kept secret, Le Marche is small but charming, a place with practically zero mass tourism and thus where authentic Italy can be truly felt. From rock-hewn churches to breathtaking national parks, Le Marche may need to be on your Italy’s bucket list for this 2023.
Where to eat
Nestled in the Monte Conero regional park in Portonovo bay and surrounded by rolling hills, white rock and turquoise water, Clandestino Susci Bar is a story made of scents and flavours, a place where tradition meets innovation and produces intriguing creations. WEBSITE
Where to sleep
Castello di Granarola is a gem to discover, a once an important feudal outpost now turned into a delightful boutique hotel featuring nine exquisite suites. Reconstructed in local stone, the Castello was designed by architect and interior designer Marco Morosini who was capable of blending new with recovered natural materials such as terracotta, wood and cast iron. WEBSITE
Hemmed in by mountains, Abruzzo is one of Italy’s best off-the-beaten-track destinations, a land that has flourished in isolation from mass tourism and that is rich in traditions, nature and historic heritage, resulting in a simplistic beauty both rustic and refined. From exquisite art to incredible natural landscapes, Abruzzo is your next top destination for 2023.
Where to eat
Rated one of the World’s 50 best Restaurants, Reale is a remote monastery turned restaurant perched up in the mountains of Abruzzo and run by Niko Romito and his sister Cristiana: the philosophy behind is to create food that is avant-gurde yet grounded to the land of origin and its products, bringing attention to Abruzzo’s rich culinary tradition. WEBSITE
Where to SLEEP
Sextantio, diffused hotel in Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Nestled in the mountains of Abruzzo inside the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga national park, Sextantio is a fortified village now turned into diffused boutique hotel featuring simple, yet curated details that preserve and revive the integrity of the village and its surrounding landscape. WEBSITE
Located just a short drive from Santo Stefano di Sessanio is one of the oldest standing forts in Italy, Rocca Calascio. Situated in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga national park, it is accessible by both car and by walking one of the easy-to-follow tracks that wind their way up the hillside.