The South Side: Discover Italy's Bottom Half

 
X
Idyllic whitewashed villas perched on lofty cliffs overlook endless sparkling seas, and there's no clear distinction between where the sky ends and the earth begins—those are the sights on the 30-mile stretch of Italy's Amalfi Coast. Blessed with perfect growing conditions, the area has become famous for its expansive lemon groves clinging to the cliff's edge. They contrast brightly with the radiant green trees they grow on and the sea's deep blue.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
X
If you want to pay local’s prices, avoid long lines, and have your cake and eat it too, Southern Italy accounts for nearly half of the country’s land mass but hosts just a fraction of the population—and even fewer overnight guests. With miles of coastline, Italy’s best beaches are stitched together with quiet hillside towns where you’re more likely to find vacancy in a family-owned B&B than a mega-resort. Between the toe and heel of “the Boot,” visit Sassi di Matera. This ancient city is a throwback to prehistoric living where houses carved into stone are thought to be remnants of the first human settlements in Italy.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
X
The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily has captured the imagination of seafarers since Homer’s Odyssey. And it's more than capable of fulfilling the vacationer’s Italian romanticism, as days here are filled strolling by priceless art, dining in corner cafés, and, due to years of foreign rule, traveling from town to town and falling in love with the unique cultures of each. The landscape is an unforgettable one, as you’ll go past Europe’s largest active volcano on your way to the Valley of Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site left over from the Greek and Roman empires. The town of Cefalù is one of the major tourist attractions of the island due to its ability to hit the three biggies—a spectacular beach with near-perfect weather, a modern downtown with an active nightlife, and a history that comes with beautiful architecture.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
X
Also known as Idriss Rock, the rock church of Chiesa di Santa Maria de Idris dug into Mount Errone dates back to the 12th century.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
X
The rolling hills of the Italy’s Abruzzo region are picture-perfect, though they’re often overlooked for northern Italy, where tourists clamor for the ruins of Rome and the canals of Venice. Abruzzo is one of the most scarcely populated regions in the south, giving way to miles of mountains, Roman ruins, castles and monasteries set atop lofty peaks, and a sandy coastline that melts into the Adriatic Sea. If you want to experience the Italy you see in movies about “finding yourself,” or the age-old charm of the country, this quiet, pristine land is beyond compare. Walk in the stone paths of shepherds and their flocks, dine in medieval castles that were built to accommodate entire villages, or sit in silence in a convent that was founded by Benedictine monks in the 1240s.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
X
Thanks to numerous Hollywood films, the story of Mount Vesuvius and the lost cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum are well-documented. But few know the true details of the 79 A.D. eruption that buried the Roman cities under 20 feet of volcanic ash. The cities were “discovered” by a man digging a well who uncovered an ancient theatre. But looters ran off with most of the artifacts before the site could be excavated properly. Still an active volcano, Vesuvius is the only one of its kind on mainland Europe and is a threat to the three million people who live in the area, particularly those in the city of Naples. It’s the most densely populated city in the world that sits on the grounds of a dormant volcano.  
Credit: Image Source/Thinkstock 
X
The hillside town of Positano sure likes to show off. Precariously perched on the Amalfi Coast, the candy-colored houses look as if they could tumble into the sea if the slightest wind picked up. The majority of streets in town average 90 degree angles, often melding into staircases with ease. In 1953 John Steinbeck wrote of the town: “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
X
Off the coast of Naples sits the island of Procida, one of three in the Bay of Naples. Procida is the smallest and least touristy of the lot, though that doesn’t mean it is any less spectacular. In fact, the absence of tourists only highlights the area’s intrigue. Upon docking, you’ll be met by a colorful assortment of boxed houses butting up against the shoreline.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
X
Overlooking the city of San Marino, Guaita Castle sits atop Monte Titano and is part of a set of three castles that stand as a fortress around the city—known as the Cake of the Three Towers.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
X
The island of Capri is quite possibly Italy’s most famous isle. The dramatic architecture and posh surroundings are a favorite of movie stars and royalty.  
Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock 
 
  • Regional Galleries
  • Most Recent Galleries
Replay Slideshow
 
txt

advertisement

Compare Rates to Rome


Post Your Comment

You have characters left.

advertisement