6 best alternatives to Italy's famous landmarks

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 30.12.2021

If you've seen all of Italy's famous landmarks, hiked Cinque Terre, sailed the Grand Canal and browsed the Uffizi. Then what's next? Natasha Foges reveals six alternative Italian landmarks worth discovering, take a look. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Italy your travel guide for Italy.

If you like Lake Como, then try Lake Iseo

Italy has six lakes and the best known are undoubtedly Garda and Como, but between them lies another, less famous but no less lovely, lake. Long and sinuous Lake Iseo is a well kept secret, surrounded by mountains and most beautiful in autumn.

Iseo is also home to several charming villages so don't miss delightful Valcamonica and make it your mission to visit Franciacorta for the town's famous sparkling white wines. And if you're tempted to stay longer, book Castello Oldofredi on Monte Isola.

Italy, Lombardy, Lake Iseo

Lombardy lakes are legendary Italian landmarks © Mockford and Bonetti/Dorling Kindersley

If you like Cinque Terre, then try Ponza

Cinque Terre enthrals but it's awash with tourists so why not try the island of Ponza instead? You'll find it between Rome and Naples and although it's where savvy Romans weekends in summer, there's almost no tourism.

Ponza is very pretty and is also one of the best day trips from Rome. It's more of an island for relaxing, paddling in the sea, sailing or sunbathing on Chiaia di Luna beach. So ease into island life and breathe easy with a stay at seaside Villa Marisa.


Pretty, tourist-free Ponza has none of Italy's famous landmarks © Antonio Nardelli/Shutterstock

If you like Tuscany, then try Umbria

Umbria is next to Tuscany and while it shares the same rural charm, it is nowhere near as busy. So if you dream of Tuscany's agriturismo, rolling hills and authentic food, you'll find Umbria is very similar, only less crowded and less expensive.

Discover perfect Umbrian towns that haven't made it on to the tourist trail, like Norcia or Spello and Todi, Montefalco, Amelia and Bevagna or Narni. And expect peace and calm almost everywhere, even in August, when Umbria's locals head to the coast.

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Italy or Italy Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Italy expert.

Italy, Piazza Garibaldi the fulcrum of Narni

Umbria, all the charm of Tuscany without the tourists © Christine Webb/Dorling Kindersley

If you like Venice, then try Treviso

If you love Venice but really don't love crowds, then head toTreviso. Only 40km from Venice it's ideal for weekend breaks and while it isn't exactly 'Piccolo Venezia', it comes pretty close in many ways.

You'll find charming canals and graceful, frescoed churches in Treviso. The streets here are cobbled and ancient waterwheels still turn, an historic fish market sits on its own islet and the medieval town centre is walled.

Treviso is also Prosecco country, so make time to try the local fizz at the town's friendly cafés. And if you're planning a weekend in Treviso think about a stay at historic Palazzo Raspanti in the old town.


Swap grand Venice canals for pretty Treviso waterways © DimaSid/Shuttertock

If you like the Amalfi Coast, then try Procida

The Amalfi Coast is lovely, but for similar only less expensive, try easy to reach Procida island, just 40 minutes by ferry from Naples. If it seems familiar, it may be because it was a filming location for The Talented Mr Ripley.

That brush with fame aside, this unpretentious island is mostly quiet - except in August when in-the-know Italians descend for their annual holidays. And you won't find Amalfi Coast glamour here, the Procida vibe is less on-trend and more lost-in-time.

Soak up the atmosphere at Marina di Corricella and explore the old harbour. Local beaches invite long hours of basking and you'll notice the scent of lemons almost everywhere you go. If that sounds appealing, stay at La Suite Boutique Hotel by the sea.


Procida, setting for The Talented Mr Ripley © Karen Trist/Rough Guides

If you like Florence, then try Urbino

Urbino is a ravishing hill town which rivals any in Tuscany. You'll find it in Le Marche, just across the Apennines from Florence and almost entirely off the tourist trail.

Urbino may be quiet now, but it was once a Renaissance cultural capital and a visit to the 15th century palace of Duke Federico da Montefeltro confirms the one time status of this remarkable town.

The palace is one of Italy's famous landmarks and home to Galleria Nazionale delle Marche which has notable works by Titian, Uccello and Raphael in its permanent collection. Take time to explore the area and stay at historic Urbino Resort just outside Urbino.

Palazzo Ducale rising above Urbino in Italy

Urbino in Le Marche rivals Italian landmarks in Tuscany © John Heseltine/Dorling Kindersley

To find more Italian destination explore our guide to the best things to see and do in Italy.

Ready to travel to Italy? Find out about the best time to go and the best places in Italy. For inspiration use the Italy itineraries from our Italy Travel Guides and our local travel agents in Italy. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay in Italy once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this does not influence our editorial standards - we only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 30.12.2021

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