The 6 Regions of Southern Italy

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The 6 Regions Of Southern Italy

A region of Italy that always seems to be less well known than those iconic cities further north is the south of the country. That said, Naples and Sorrrento are popular on the tourist map but the rest of the region I have always believed is a little more undiscovered.

There are the stylish towns of Capri and Positano offering the wow factor with their houses perched on the edge of cliffs overlooking the glorious Mediteranean sea.

On a trip to Southern Italy you are sure to discover the real Italy on every hairpin bend.

Till next time!
Rupert Just One For The Road
Rupert Diggins
Travel Blogger
Just One For The Road

Abruzzo

Abruzzo is located in central Italy and considered the greenest region of Italy. It stretches from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea, on a mostly mountainous and wild terrain. The regions capital is L’Aquila.

L’Aquila is the regions main art city and therefore has a cosmopolitan feel. However very sadly the city is now more famous as having been rocked by a massive earthquake in 2009. The grandeur is gone and being rebuilt.

Attractions of this region are:

1. Pescasseroli, Rivisondoli & Roccaraso – popular winter ski resorts.
2. Gran Sasso, Laga Mountains, and Mount Majella – popular mountains, peaks and hills rich in history, traditions and art.
3. Aterno Valley – an area full of ancient villages and pretty scenery.
4. National Park of Abruzzo, the Park of Gran Sasso and the Laga Mountains – for species such as golden eagle, wolves and the Marsican brown bear.

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Basilicata

Basilicata islocated between Calabria and Apulia, in the south of Italy and is known for its forests, and small charming villages that cover the mountain side. The regions capital is Potenza.

Potenza is one of the highest regional capitals in Italy and overlooks the Basento valley. With a roman history the town hosts a number of historical sites and monuments. Potenza can be explored on foot since most attractions are limited to the centre of the town and with the roads here quite picturesque it makes walking around very enjoyable.

Attractions of this region are:

1. Monticchio Lakes – one of the most spectacular locations in Basilicata.
2. Lake Grande and Lake Piccolo – two splendid stretches of water that fill the two craters of the extinct Mount Vulture.
3. Metaponto and Policoro – coastal resorts offering wide sandy or pebble beaches.
4. The Gulf of Policastro – an area of coastal villages, small beaches and the crystal-clear seas.

Calabria

Calabria is at the toe of the boot, the extreme south of Italy and separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina. The capital of the region is Catanzaro.

Catanzaro is an old town by a beach and a little fishing port on a rock and split into two parts by the steep Fiumarella valley. These two parts are connected by a huge concrete steel bridge of Viadotto Morandi –  one of the tallest one-arch bridges in Europe. There is a pedestrian walkway, the Strada dei Due Mari where you can enjoy fantastic panoramas of the region.

Historical monuments include the Duomo Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta and the Piazza Duomo.

Attractions of this region are:

  1. Reggio Calabria – a coastal city hosting the National Archaelogical museum
  2. Cosenza – a town recognised for its spectacular beauty and history. 
  3. Crotone – a town popular for its panoramic location and  its classic Italian lifestyle
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Campania

Campania is one of the regions of Southern Italy and stretches along the Tyrrhenian Sea, from the mouth of the Garigliano River to the Gulf of Policastro. It is well known for its beautiful coast, art, history and cuisine. The regions capital is Naples.

I read an article about Naples and it was described as a tattered beauty… Naples is raw, it has a chequered history and even today it is not perfect but then perhaps that’s why it appeals to some more than any other Italian city ? It is that rough diamond and the black sheep of the family.

Naples has its very own character and an old-world charm. Like many Italian cities though it is full of narrow cobbled streets, bars restaurants and galleries. Washing hangs up high down every side street and markets are bustling with shoppers touching feeling, smelling and discussing the fresh local produce.

Neapolitans, despite their dodgy reputation, welcome visitors like guests to their home and with so much to do both in the city and throughout the region of Campania its worth a visit! 

Sorrento is a small but popular resort perched picturesquely on a plateau above the sea with spectacular views over the Bay of Naples.

It has long been a favourite with British tourists as a gateway to the Amalfi Coast and it also has good train connections for a 30 minute transfer costing 2-3 euros to Pompeii and regular fast ferry connections to Naples and Capri. The Piazza Tasso is a delight and bordered by high quality hotels, shops and restaurants. As well as the buzzing and historical town there are the beaches, nearby traditional villages and rural walks through lemon and olive groves.

Other attractions of this region are:

  1. Capri – an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples and known for its rugged landscape, high class hotels, shopping and its Blue Grotto.
    2. Ischia – A short ferry ride from Naples, this small volcanic island is known for its thermal springs and mud baths.
    3. Positano is one of the most beautiful cliffside villages in Italy. Artists, writers and singers, are all attracted to the white houses and gardens.
    4. Pompeii – the famous city buried by an eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 AD.

Molise

Molise is situated in south-central Italy and is known for its nature, history, art, age-old traditions and good food. The regions capital is Campobasso.

Campobasso was once famous for making cutlery but over time this has dwindled and replaced with paving tiles and soaps. The city has various historical sites of interest including the Castello Monforte with six towers of the medieval wall remains in the old town, where there are also the Romanesque churches of San Bartolomeo and San Giorgio.

Attractions of this region are:

  1. The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise – nature reserves ideal for walking and wildlife watching.
  2. Campitello Matese and Capracotta – the areas best loved ski resorts
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Puglia

Puglia, a southern region forming the heel of Italy’s “boot,” is known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and hundreds of kilometers of Mediterranean coastline. The regions capital is Bari.

Bari is a gorgeous old town with a pretty bustling traditional harbour and some of Italies finest beaches nearby.

The old harbour where the traditional fishing boats land their catches and sell their seafood straight off their boats. This is traditional Bari life and wonderful to witness. The atmospheric old town is called Bari Vecchio. Sitting on a peninsula overlooking the old harbour, this walled part of the city is full of narrow alleyways, cobbled streets and small piazzas, just begging to be explored.

The beaches in Bari start along the Longomare and keep on going while the harbour front Teatro Margherita, is one of the city’s most loved and iconic buildings and is now home to much of the cities contemporary art scene.

Attractions of this region are:

  1. Lecce – an art city and Baroque jewel scattered with outstanding masterpieces and landmarks.
  2. Gargano – the “spur of the Italian boot”  is home to pristine nature, wonderful beaches, charming villages, olive and citrus groves.
  3. Alberobello and Itria Valley – set in beautiful countryseide this is the valley quaint villages like Alberobello, Locorotondo and Cisternino.
  4. Ostuni – the “White City” due to its whitewashed houses.
  5. Tremiti Islands – a nature reserve of five islands. This is a divers paradise as the only archipelago in the region
  6. Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve – a natural oasis and protected sea area.
  7. Castel del Monte – a castle built by the Emperor Frederick II in the XIII century and the region’s most visited monument.
  8. Castellana Caves – a huge group of underground caves which are considered the most spectacular in Italy
  9. Salento – an area of white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters and nicknamed “the Maldives of Italy”.

Contact Information

For further information on taking a trip to any region of Italy either contact your local travel agent, a specialist tour operator or the Italian National Tourist Office.

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