Usa Today has recently published their Top 10 most beautiful places in Italy, which strangely enough doesn’t include the strongest magnets in the country, Rome, Florence and Venice.
They seem to aim for places that are off the beaten track. Let’s have a look then, at what these best secret jewels are:
1. Caprera (Sardinia).
This island in the National Park of the Maddalena archipelago is protected by law against any sort of construction work. Caprera is famous for being the place where Garibaldi lived for over 20 years of the last part of his life, but also renowned for its immaculate coast and amazing sea. Hence the first place in this top 10.
2. Aquileia (Friuli Venezia Giulia).
Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, it was founded in 181 BC by the Romans and served them as a strategic stronghold both in defense and in conquest. Attila destroyed the ancient town in 452, as did the Lombards in 568, but it was each time rebuilt and played a key role in spreading christianity in Central Europe in the Middle Ages.
3. Portofino (Liguria).
This little gem of the Ligurian Riviera is a posh place par excellence, with VIP tourist from Italy and abroad. It is relatively small, with only 500 inhabitants. The enchanting harbour finishes its entourage.
4. Mantova (Lombardy).
Also listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, since 2008, Mantua has inspired countless great authors, like Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Verdi and D’Annunzio by its amazing sky line surrounded by artificial lakes.
6. Ascoli Piceno (Marche).
In Ascoli Piceno you can “see” and “touch” history: so many attractions to visit, like the Piazza del Popolo with some of the most important buildings, the Palazzo dei Capitani and the church of San Francesco.
7. Assisi (Umbria).
The little town of Assisi is in the heart of the National Park of Monte Subasio on a hill top which offers stunning panoramas but most famously, beautiful and important churches, monuments and other historic and artistic highlights.
The only famous big city on the list offers sun, sea and pizza, apart from its majestic gulf and vicinity of Mount Vesuvius. Since 1995 on UNESCO’s list and rightfully so: as they say in Italy: “See Naples, then you can die!”.
10. Siracuse (Sicily).
Siracuse offers an amazing tour through history with its 2,700-year-old roots and its spectacular position. No wonder it is listed by UNESCO, among other reasons, because it is “directly linked to events, ideas and literary works of outstanding universal significance”.
What do you make of this list? Should some of these entries step down? Which should replace them? Let me know!