Southern Italy has its own special allure.
Made up of the the provincial regions of Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise and Sicily, it has over the centuries seen cultural influences by the Greeks, Romans, Etruscans, Arabs, Normans and Byzantines.
If you're planning to make the most of your trip to Italy you'll have to be selective. Basing yourself in the south means a few of these towns and attractions should certainly be on your Italy escape radar.
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Here are eight places to consider if you're planning a trip to this gorgeous Mediterranean-lapped country.
Described as one of the most beautiful coastal regions in Europe, Amalfi is a beach lover’s go to destination. Stretching across 50kms from Naples to Salerno, hopping on a train and explore this beautiful region is easy.
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This famous island found in the Bay of Naples conjures up notions of tropical Mediterranean escapes second to none. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to nightlife and shopping. A must-do attraction includes the Blue Grotto which is an underwater cave where the ocean glows an electric blue.
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Found in the region of Campania, about 10km from the City of Naples, adventure travellers will want to explore Europe’s only active volcano – found in the Campanian Arc and most infamous for destroying the city of Pompei. You can opt for an independent tour by car or use the train as a day-trip from Rome. See more tour options here.
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This is one of Italy’s oldest cities, with world heritage status – it is also the third largest, after Milan and Rome which is the largest. Filled with historical palaces, castles and churches, history buffs will be in their element. Duomo di San Gennaro, the lavish Royal Palace and Castel Nuovo, a 13th-century castle are just some of the stops to add to your itinerary.
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Pescara is found along the Adriatic coast of Italy. It is most famous for as the birthplace of the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. Its large harbour also boasts the Ponte del Mare suspension bridge, great for walking and cycling – but ultimately as one of Italy’s northern most cities in the south – its drawcards remain its beaches.
As the capital city of Italian island of Sicily, Palermo is bursting with art treasures, enchanting landscapes and traces of ancient civilization – These include the Solunto ruins as well as the archaeological area of Monte Jato. Other places of interest worth visiting Include the 12th-century Palermo Cathedral, the Teatro Massimo as well as the Palazzo dei Normanni, a royal palace started in the 9th century.
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#Archilover travellers looking for something off the beaten track will find what they’re looking for in Foggia. Located near the spur of the famous boot of Italy, this interior part of country has its own natural appeal – but still close enough to enjoy some beautiful beaches. The Foresta Umbra is located in the heart of Gargano area for instance. It is so called "Umbra" because it is "shady”, and its exceptional flora and fauna make it an extraordinary green oasis with no equal in the Mediterranean area.
Messina is a masterpiece coloured by the sea thanks to Mother Nature, yet hardworking as the main portal to Sicily. Here the culture is heavily influenced by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and Swabians visitors to the major Mediterranean port during ancient times.TRAVEL PLANNING: Getting around Italy: Everything you need to know about travelling by train