With the weather turning colder and winter growing closer, it’s hard not to cast your mind to somewhere warm, preferably with rolling hills and endless coastline. For us, that sun-soaked paradise is Italy, where the wine’s aplenty, the food’s delectable, and the sights are breathtaking.
At Inghams, we pride ourselves on offering summer holidays to 14 fantastic regions in Italy with the opportunity to enjoy various self-guided Italy tours, sightseeing experiences and incredible food and drink. Although you may be tempted by the large, historic cities around the country (and we don’t blame you!) there is also a lot to gain from travelling to a lesser-visited region. In this article, we explore some of the regions we don’t think you should miss.
A new region in the Inghams’ Italy collection, the Venetian Riviera is beach and shopping bliss. From a long stretch of coastline for beachgoers to evening shopping opportunities lining the region’s 13km main road, the Venetian Riviera is perfect for families, couples and groups looking to while away the hours browsing the rails or lounging in a beach chair.
With easy transport links to Venice, Verona and Lake Garda, the Venetian Riviera is a great base for exploring Italy’s venerable, romantic history and captivating culture. For families and adventurous visitors, you won’t want to miss the chance to visit nearby theme park Aqualandia and its array of swimming pools, slides, water rides and shows.
Food & drink
The Venetian Riviera is famous for its seafood. Along the region’s coast, you’ll be certain to find sumptuous seafood dishes such as Sarde in Soar, an age-old dish of sweet and sour sardines that fishermen originally made on their boats! You’ll also want to sample Bigoli pasta, a big favourite in the region. Traditionally paired with shredded duck in a thick, rich sauce, enjoy it with a full-bodied glass of red for a little taste of heaven.
Clear blue waters, white sandy beaches and cities teeming with history, a visit to Italy’s Adriatic Coast is not to be missed. Within this sought-after region, you’ll find Emilia-Romagna. Uninterrupted sunshine and seaside resorts with honey-coloured beaches to medieval architecture and an age-old culture are all waiting to be discovered in this captivating region.
From sipping cocktails at beach clubs to exploring historic Italian heritage, there’s plenty to see and do in this versatile region. Home to the oldest University in the world, Bologna is a charming city known for its sweeping red rooftops and wealth of enchanting Romanesque churches and fairy-tale towers.
Modena and Parma are also two cities worth visiting in this region, with Modena offering luxury car lovers the chance to visit the renowned Ferrari museum while Parma offers the chance the walk in the shoes of the late composer Verdi.
Food & drink
Visitors to Emilia-Romagna, and Bologna in particular, are in for a treat as the region is known for being a culinary capital. Such Italian delicacies like Bolognese, Parma ham and Parmesan cheese originated in the area and are still made today using traditional methods and local ingredients.
A quiet, Italian haven away from the crowds and tourist groups, a visit to Calabria is just what the doctor ordered. A coastal gem located in the ‘toe’ of Italy’s ‘boot’, this untouched area is teeming with rare wildlife complete with romantic rugged mountains and charming medieval fishing villages.
While holidaying in Calabria, a visit to the beautiful clifftop town of Tropea comes highly recommended. With Inghams, you can take a Calabria self-drive tour which makes it easy for you to explore this quaint town in detail, discovering its history, culture and mountainous landscapes at your own pace.
For a self-guided tour of the area, our Highlights of Calabria holiday will allow you to be immersed in the culture of this small but big-hearted region of Italy. With your itinerary in hand, you’ll be able to visit traditional fishing villages overflowing with charm and journey inland to explore the mountainous areas of the region and uncover their secrets.
Food & drink
All across Italy, you’ll be able to try a digestivo, an after-dinner drink. Capo Vaticano, a stunning coastal town in this region, has its very own you’ll want to try. Named ‘Vecchio Amaro del Capo’, this amber-coloured liqueur is unique to Calabria and a recommended palate-cleaner. Infused with local aniseed, liquorice, peppermint, and other herbs to give it a punchy, refreshing flavour.
Speaking of punchy flavours, Calabria is also famous for the pepperoncino, a horn-shaped red chilli pepper. Not only does this chilli give local dishes an intense, spicy flavour, it’s also meant to ward off malocchio, the evil eye.
Teeming with history spanning thousands of years, Sicily is a highly cultural island that marches to the beat of its own drum. From its gastronomical delights to its ancient architecture, Sicily is a cultural melting pot of North African, Roman, Ancient Greek and Norman influences.
Classical history lovers are encouraged to get their walking boots on and explore the Valley of Temples and the Greco-Roman amphitheatre. Or, adventure seekers can hike the infamous Mount Etna, which watches over Taormina.
For an experience like no other, you can sail the Aeolian Islands on Inghams’ 7-night, self-guided tour. Sail along the Tyrrhenian Sea, drifting past the volcanic Archipelago, the island of Lipari, the freshwater springs on Salina and more. Disembark for the opportunity to see the lava scree of Sciara del Fuoco, being dazzled by its show of spraying molten lava into the sky.
Food & drink
Featuring fresh and varied ingredients that melt in your mouth, Sicilian gastronomy is multifaceted with influences from Arab, French, Greek and Spanish and even North African cuisine. Having been carefully refined over the centuries, Sicily has made a name for itself as being one of Italy’s top foodie havens.
Key ingredients of the island include tuna and swordfish, shellfish and citrus, pistachios, almonds and ricotta. Whatever you opt for on the menu, be sure to pair it with a glass of Nero d’Avola, a popular red wine produced using the island’s most prominent grape.
With many other Italian adventures to be had on a summer holiday to Italy, make sure you check out our Italy Holidays & Resorts page to see what other Italian regions you can visit on an Inghams holiday.