Italy has always been a hugely popular destination for Irish holidaymakers, both for sun holidays and city breaks. And while Rome, Venice and Milan rank top when it comes to city break popularity, there are many more amazing Italian cities we highly recommend if you’re planning a city break escape. In this blog post, we’re taking a look at some of these hidden gem cities and discussing what makes them special. So, if you are looking for something a little different, then keep on reading as we take you through 8 Italian cities to consider for your next city break!
Bergamo is a hilltop, medieval city located northeast of Milan. It is a hidden gem Italian city, but it offers so much to see, do and enjoy on a city break. Its oldest district, Città Alta, which is accessible by funicular is encircled by Venetian walls and home to the city’s cathedral – Duomo di Bergamo. Bergamo is a city rich in history and you will find that you have time travelled to eras past as you stroll through its cobblestone streets. Exploring Bergamo’s many churches and historic buildings including Cappella Colleoni, built in the 15th century or the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, built in 1137 is a must. The city is also home to many charming piazza’s including the gorgeous Piazza Vecchia Bergamo Alta. There is also amazing cuisine, opera, and gelato to enjoy throughout the city. Learn more about Bergamo here.
Naples is known as the gateway to the stunning Southern coast of Italy, but it also holds its own as a fantastic city break option. The third largest city in Italy, Naples is set upon the Tyrrhenian Sea and is overlooked by Mount Vesuvius. Throughout Naples itself, you will have so much to enjoy. From underground ruins of the ancient Roman and Greek settlements, to visiting historic castles and museums. Naples is also the city that gave us pizza, so enjoying a delicious slice or two is a must. It is also a city that is a great base to explore surrounding attractions. Popular tours from the city include the nearby ancient lava trapped city of Pompeii and also Mount Vesuvius itself. Another popular day trip from Naples is to Herculaneum, another well restored ancient town that was also fossilised by Mount Vesuvius. If you’re hoping to enjoy the seaside on your trip, you can visit the Amalfi Coast from Naples or take a trip to the stunning island of Capri. Learn more about Naples here.
Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus is a port town that is rich in maritime history. Nestled between mountains and the sea, Genoa’s winding streets, known as caruggi alleyways, are charming, full of character and often open out to unexpected stunning views of the seafront and port. Genoa is a fascinating city for those who enjoy immersing themselves in history and culture. Known as the city of museums, Genoa has a mere 33 museums within a 10km radius to keep you busy throughout your trip. It is also noted for its breath-taking city villas and stunning parks, as well as its blend of medieval, gothic, renaissance, and baroque architecture. You will also find old town walls, churches and so much more to enjoy. For the foodies, trying pesto dishes in Genoa is a must as the city is where everyone’s favourite sauce originated from.
Bari sits upon the Adriatic Sea and is the capital city of the Puglia region in Southern Italy. It is a city that is home to grand boulevards, a thriving nightlife scene and plenty of historic sites to explore. A must visit in Bari is its Old Town region. Here, you will find an excellent archaeological museum but also the bones of St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus!) in the Basilica di San Nicola, a church dating back to the 11th century. The city also holds the title of Italy’s food capital and visitors are sure to have their tastebuds tickled with its divine dining scene which features seafood strongly. Exploring the city’s narrow streets will have you lost in times gone by or if you prefer to enjoy a more modern experience, the Murat quarter is home to stately 19th century architecture, excellent shopping areas and a lovely promenade.
With art, history, food and so much more as its selling points, Bologna is an Italian city that is loved by all who visit. A city of two halves, Bologna offers two different experiences to all who visit. In the Po Valley region, you will find the city’s high-tech scene that is also home to regal theatres, opera performances and some of the city’s finest restaurants. While on the other side of the city, you will find the world’s oldest university, founded in 1088 and charming piazzas that are famous for being graffiti covered and ever so trendy. With miles of porticoes and beautiful terracotta medieval buildings, you will also have plenty of Instagram worthy photo opportunities in Bologna. For foodie fans, Bologna is the city that gave us Bolognese sauce and it is a must try on your visit.
Turi is a smaller Italian city located southwest of Bari and inland. While it is lesser known, it is a city with a lot to see and do making it a wonderful city break option. With honey coloured stone buildings, winding narrow lanes and excellent shopping, this hidden gem city packs a punch. While there, be sure to check out the old town district and its many churches including the Chiesa Matrice, the city’s main church. Sant’Oronzo alla Grotta is also a must visit with its paved crypt. The city is also a producer of olive oil, primitivo wine and almonds, so you know your tastebuds are in for a treat if you visit Turi!
Verona is most famous for being the city of love and being the setting for Romeo and Juliet, the famous Shakespeare love story. Located in the North of Italy, this stunning city is bursting with history and culture and throughout, you will get to enjoy ancient relics and its beautiful baroque architecture. With visitors loving its food, wine and culture, you know you’re going to also fall in love with your time here. Top attractions in Verona include Juliet’s House, the Verona Arena, Porta Borsari and its many, picturesque piazza’s.
The city of Pisa is mostly known for its architectural project gone wrong – the Leaning Tower of Pisa but aside from this attraction, this thriving city offers so much to enjoy on a city break. With gothic churches, Romanesque buildings, and renaissance piazzas you will be in awe as you wander and stroll on each day of your holiday. Pisa is also a university town and has education fuelling its economy since the 1400s, therefore you can also be sure to encounter some of the city’s lively bars and nightlife when you visit. Top attractions to check out include the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Piazza dei Miracoli and Duomo.
So, there you have it, eight wonderful Italian cities to inspire your next city break. If you’d like more information on visiting Italy’s wonderful cities or if you’d like some help choosing the right one for you, you can visit our website here or alternatively call our experienced travel experts on 01-6995329.