Easily accessible by car, train or plane, Italy attracts many French travelers looking for every summer sweet life. By the sea or the lake, immersed in Piedmontese nature or in the heart of a typical Maremma village, a change of scenery guaranteed with our selection.
Italy is one of the favorite destinations of the French in all seasons and especially in summer. And it is far from a coincidence. Few countries can compete with such beauty: from natural sites to cities of art, passing through countless villages, the Beautiful country never stops dreaming. Here are eight destinations to experience a postcard summer or off the beaten track across the Alps, according to your wishes.
Explore Iseo, the most unknown of the great lakes
Between the lakes of Como and Garda, less than 100 km from Milan, this 28 km long “small” lake is still relatively untouched by mass tourism. Its banks, especially on the Bergamo side, offer wild views with winding roads, ravines, vertiginous rocky outcrops but also meadows on the slopes of Val Camonica and the vineyards of Franciacorta, the famous sparkling wine. Many paths overlook Lake Iseo, including the Antica Strada Valeriana, an ancient Roman road. The best way to discover Lake Iseo is always by boat with private cruises or by taking the local ferries to the green island of Monte Isola, the pearl of Lake Iseo.
To do : spend a night in Monte Isola, dominated by a medieval castle, discovering its pretty villages and its Marian sanctuary. More information https://visitlakeiseo.info/
Excursion to Alpe Veglia, the wild Piedmontese massif
Located on the border of the canton of Valais in Switzerland, the Alpe Veglia nature park forms the western limit of the Lepontine Alps. Created in 1978, it has since been annexed to the nearby Alpe Devero park. With a geological richness unique in Europe, with almost 130 different mineral species, it is renowned for the beauty of its still intact and not very touristy landscapes. Dominated by high peaks, including the imposing Monte Leone, the Alpe basin alternates streams, lakes, waterfalls, mountain pastures dotted with outcrops. Starting from San Domenico di Varzo, at an altitude of 1400 m, numerous excursions begin, suitable for all levels, which allow you to cross the pastures and vast forests of the park.
To do : take a walk in the Plain of Krk, an easy circuit that offers an overview of the typical landscapes of the Alpe and its traditional villages. More information http://www.parks.it/parco.alpe.veglia.devero/Findex.php
Take back roads in Rome
In summer, the Eternal City, deserted by its inhabitants, is overrun by tourists. To enjoy Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain or admire the Sistine Chapel, it is best to get up very early. The other solution consists in discovering lesser-known neighborhoods such as Flaminio, to the north, with its Victorian-style street, nicknamed the “Little London”, the MAXXI, contemporary art museum imagined by Zaha Hadid or the sublime Villa Madama, designed from Raphael for Cardinal Giulio de ‘Medici on the slopes of Monte Mario. South of Rome, the popular Garbatella district is worth a detour. Its countless gardens, its funny gothic houses and its neoclassical buildings have a crazy charm.
To do : cool off on the hills of the Castelli Romani 20 km south of Rome. Appreciated since ancient times and then during the Renaissance by the great Roman families, who built splendid residences there, this vine-cultivated region is full of enchanting villages including the famous Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence.
Let yourself be enchanted by the Marche
Many people still do not know where this region is, considered “Italy’s best kept secret”. Bordered to the east by the Adriatic Sea, the Marches are surrounded by Emilia-Romagna and Umbria from which they are separated by the Apennines. To the south of the region, the Monte Conero National Park is a verdant immensity that extends to the cliffs of the Sirolo beaches. Preserved treasures, the Marche villages are (still) untouched by tourism. Ascoli Piceno is built entirely of travertine blocks, while Pesaro and Urbino, the birthplace of Raphael, were frozen in the Renaissance… And the villages have nothing to envy to Tuscany, in particular Cingoli which dominates the entire region.
To do : excursion in the Sibillini National Park, with its canyons and its incredible rock formations, the “red blades”.
Get lost in the hinterland of the Maremma, in Tuscany, or swim there
Coastal of Tuscany, the Maremma has magnificent beaches such as those of Ansedonia, Castiglione della Pescaia or Follonica. Opposite, the islands of Elba and Giglio are heavenly… In summer, however, you are never alone. To find some peace and tranquility, head towards the Maremma hinterland with its pretty villages perched such as Capalbio, Magliano in Toscana, Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano, an ancient Etruscan center, perched on a tuff cliff. We get lost in the alleys and sit on the terrace of a café according to our inspiration. To cool off we go and bathe in the thermal springs of Saturnia, at dawn or dusk, away from the crowds.
To do : visit Massa Marittima, an unknown medieval jewel, home to one of the most original squares in Italy with a cathedral positioned at an angle.
Strike a pose on the Amalfi Coast and the Parthenope Islands
With its colorful and flowery villages overlooking the sea, the most beautiful coast of Italy is also one of the most instagrammable. From the alleys lined with bougainvillea in Positano, to the panoramic road between sky and sea that connects the villages, passing through the terrace of Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, without weight on the Mediterranean, the Amalfi Coast is inexhaustible for fans of Instagram and other social networks who also appreciate the postcard landscapes of Capri, Ischia and Procida.
To do : for those who prefer authenticity to glamor, it is advisable to move away from the sea to go up to the perched villages of Praiano, Scala or Tramonti, as in Capri on the heights of Monte Solaro.
Discover the Gargano and the Tremiti Islands, in Puglia
Spur of the boot, the Gargano promontory is located in the north of Puglia. Protected by a 120,000-hectare national park, this region ends with towering white limestone cliffs pierced by majestic arches. Between the villages of Mattinata, Peschici and the port of Vieste, the beaches are absolutely beautiful, lined with vegetation and trebuchets, the huts of local fishermen. The particularly clear sea invites you to snorkel. Inland, the Umbra Forest, one of the few primary forests in Italy, lends itself to walking or cycling.
To do : A boat trip to the Tremiti, 3 monastic islands transformed into prisons under Mussolini. Wild and beautiful, San Nicola, San Domino and Capraia are home to an incredible wealth of underwater fauna.
Choose the best beach in La Maddalena, Sardinia
Located off the Costa Smeralda of Sardinia, at the entrance to the Strait of Bonifacio, the archipelago of La Maddalena is a paradise of rock and crystal clear water. Consisting of 7 main islands and about fifty islets, the archipelago is a protected national park because it is home to numerous endemic marine and terrestrial species. This particular status has made it possible to preserve a wild coast, devoid of private beaches unlike the rest of Italy. The main island, called Maddalena as the archipelago, is the only one that is easily accessible and where you can reside. From east to west, its countless beaches adapt to any moment of the day, depending on the wind.
To do : descent with guide (compulsory) to Cala Coticcio on the island of Caprera, one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. The whiteness of its sand, the transparency of the water with turquoise shades and the folds of the rock border on perfection. More information www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.arcip.maddalena/Findex.php
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