Southern Italy is a unique portion of the country in terms of landscapes, culture, and of course cuisine. Each city is special in its own way and ravingly beautiful. The southern Italian culture is focused even more so on relaxation, and enjoying life. Here is where you properly use the term living “La Bella Vita,” the beautiful life.
Sant’Agata dei Goti – CAMPANIA
This small town has been given the orange flag award by the Italian Touring Club. It’s a beautiful example of a relaxing spot to kick back for a couple of days. There’s a ridge in the city on a tufa giving access to a panoramic view of the surroundings. The area is known for producing products of great quality that are exported all over the world and even throughout Italy. Falanghina, a DOC designated wine, and Annurca, a high quality oil, are just a couple of examples. Many buildings in the city are well worth visiting. The Cathedral of the Assumption is particularly lovely, completed in 970 AD. The frescos of the Ducal Castle are also magnificent and the castle was built by the Longobards.
Matera – BASILICATA
In 2019, Matera was named the European Capital of Culture. It is also named the city of the stones, for its rock carved historical center. This is located next to a massive gorge, cut deep into the rock dividing the territory. The historical area is the main area that people come to visit in the city., called the Sassi, and home to the Sasso Barisano which is the heart of the old city area. The second area looks as a makeshift amphitheater with cave home carved into the rock, called Sasso Cavesoso. This city is protected by UNESCO and is also home to many famous churches, such as San Pietro Barisano. It’s the biggest church made of rock in the city and has been recently restored to its former glory.
Altamura – APULIA
Near the famous area of Bari, Altamura is a great small town to relax for a couple days. It’s main attraction area is its historical center and also the food and wine culture. It’s mandatory to taste the main food and wine of the region, such as the focaccia with scaldatecli and tomatoes. Coming off of the historical center are squares with unique one-way windows, characteristic of the city. It has dinosaur remains dating back to the Cretaceous period and also evidence of its Saracen origins and additional population by Frederick the II. The latter is the responsible for the construction of the cathedral.
Lecce – APULIA
The city of Lecce is probably the most trendy. It’s home to many clubs, art, and glamorous cultural entertainment events. Food and wine tours, the sandy beaches, and transparent seas make this area an amazing and unforgettable vacation spot. The narrow alleyways and baroque style architecture, in particular the churches are the charm of the town. The Roman amphitheater, the Basilica of Santa Croce,, and Palazzo del Seggio are special architectural wonders of the city. Salento, the region in which this province is found is famous for its wines and relaxation opportunities.
Palermo – Sicily
Italy’s largest island, Sicily, has a fantastic capital. It is that of Palermo. This is one of the places with a mandatory Hop-on Hop-off bus tours. The main attractions to see are the Palazzo dei Normanni, the Palazzo Branciforte, and the Byzantine school, known for its lovely frescos. The Ballarò market is an ancient feature of the city too. The Fontana Pretoria was a fountain produced in Florence and transported for display here in Palermo, a truly magnificent site. Panoramic views of the city are seen from Monte Pellegrino. Also, if you’re into some oddities during your travels, check out the mummified bodies in the bourgeoisie of the city as the Capuchins Catacombs. Whatever you do, do not leave Palermo without indulging in the area’s favorites, whether you prefer salty or sweet, there is something for you. Arancine, ricotta covered focaccia, or dishes of sardine decorated pasta, are some salty tries. For desert, be sure to taste a cannolo cassatelle.
Agrigento – SICILY
In the south of Sicily, the southernmost of the southern towns of this article, lies Agrigento. The history and natural beauty of this city is beyond what you could imagine. It features large intimidating cliff sides that hang over the sea. Visit this coast at night for a starlit sky unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. The main attraction is the Valley of the Temples, a massive park that takes over most of the area. This archaeological site features the famous Scala dei Turchi, a must-see at sunset when visiting this city.