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Where to go in Italy in summer? Our favorites from north to south of the boot

Easily accessible by car, train or plane, Italy attracts many French travelers every summer in search of sweet life. By the sea or a lake, surrounded by nature in Piedmont 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 particularly in summer. And it is anything but a coincidence. Few countries can compete with so much beauty: from natural sites to cities of art, passing through countless villages, the Bel Paese never ceases to dream. Here are eight destinations to experience a postcard summer season or off the beaten track on the other side of the Alps, according to your desires.

Explore Iseo, the most unknown of the great lakes

Panoramic view of Lake Iseo (Lombardy), with the town of Marone in the foreground and Monte Isola on the island. Andrew Mayovskyy

Between Lakes Como and Garda, less than 100 km from Milan, this “small” 28 km long lake is still relatively untouched by mass tourism. Its banks, especially on the Bergamasque side, offer wild panoramas 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 footpaths overlook Lake Iseo, including the Antica Strada Valeriana, an ancient Roman road. The best way to discover Lake Iseo is still 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 on Monte Isola, dominated by a medieval castle, to discover its charming little villages and its Marian sanctuary. More information

Hike in Alpe Veglia, the wild massif of Piedmont

Of glacial origin, the Veglia Park offers a perfect summary of the Alps, with sumptuous landscapes dominated by the austere Monte Leone (3355 m) and green hikes. Mark

Located on the borders of the canton of Valais in Switzerland, the Alpe Veglia natural park constitutes the western limit of the Lepontine Alps. Created in 1978, it has since been attached to its neighbour, the Alpe Devero park. With a unique geological richness in Europe, with nearly 130 different mineral species, it is renowned for the beauty of its landscapes which are still intact and not very touristy. Dominated by high peaks, including the imposing Monte Leone, the Alpe basin alternates torrents, lakes, waterfalls, mountain pastures dotted with outcrops. Starting from San Domenico di Varzo, at an altitude of 1400 m, many hikes start, suitable for all levels, allowing you to cross the pastures and the vast forests of the park.

To do : take a walk in the Piana di Veglia, an easy circuit, offering an overview of the typical landscapes of the Alpe and its traditional hamlets. More information

Take side roads in Rome

Deserted of its inhabitants in the summer, Rome is on the other hand assailed by tourists. The good idea? Immerse yourself in the last real popular district of the city, the Garbatella. stock.adobe

In summer, the Eternal City, deserted by its inhabitants, is invaded by tourists. To enjoy Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain or admire the Sistine Chapel, it is better to get up very early. The other solution is to discover lesser-known districts such as Flaminio, to the north, with its Victorian-style street, nicknamed the “Piccola Londra”, the MAXXI, a museum of contemporary art imagined by Zaha Hadid or the sublime Villa Madama, designed by Raphael for Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici on the slopes of Monte Mario. To the south of Rome, the popular neighborhood of Garbatella is worth a detour. Its innumerable 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 Antiquity and then during the Renaissance by the great Roman families, who built splendid residences there, this region planted with vines is full of charming villages including the famous Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence.

Fall under the spell of the Marches

View of Urbino, birthplace of Raphael and jewel of Renaissance architecture. In summer, the Marches are the ideal alternative to Tuscany, for example. Liane M / stock.adobe

Many people still don’t know where this region is, considered “Italy’s best kept secret”. Bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Marches (“Marche” in Italian) are surrounded by Emilia-Romagna and Umbria from which it is 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 towns of the Marches are (still) untouched by tourism. Ascoli Piceno is entirely built in blocks of travertine, while Pesaro and Urbino, Raphael’s birthplace, were frozen in the Renaissance… And the villages have nothing to envy of Tuscany, in particular Cingoli dominating the whole region.

To do : hike in the Monti Sibillini National Park, with its canyons and its amazing rock formations, the “blade rosse”.

Get lost in the hinterland of Maremma, in Tuscany, or swim there

Castiglione della Pescaia and its medieval fortress. Giovanni Simeone for Le Figaro Magazine

Coastal part of Tuscany, Maremma has magnificent beaches such as those of Ansedonia, Castiglione della Pescaia or Follonica. Opposite, the islands of Elba and Giglio are heavenly… On the other hand, you are never alone there in summer. To find some peace and quiet, head for the hinterland of Maremma with its pretty perched villages such as Capalbio, Magliano in Toscana, Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano, an ancient Etruscan center, clinging to a tuff cliff. We get lost in the small alleys and sit down on the terrace of a café according to our inspiration. To cool off, we go soaking in the thermal springs of Saturnia, at dawn or at sunset, far from the crowds.

To do : visit Massa Marittima, an unknown medieval gem, 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

Capri seen from Mount Solaro. In summer, it is the hinterland and the heights that are best visited. Nido Huebl

With its colorful and flowery villages tumbling down to the sea, Italy’s most beautiful coast is also one of the most Instagrammable. From the bougainvillea-lined streets of Positano, to the cornice road between sky and sea linking the villages, passing by the terrace of Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, weightless above the Mediterranean, the Amalfi Coast is rich inexhaustible for aficionados 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 climb to the perched villages of Praiano, Scala or Tramonti, as in Capri in the heights of Monte Solaro.

Discover Gargano and the Tremiti Islands, in Puglia

The magic of a late afternoon in Vieste, the main town of Gargano, in the north of Puglia. Marcin Krzyzak

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 impressive 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 trabucchi, the local fishermen’s huts. The particularly clear sea invites you to snorkel. Inland, the Umbra Forest, one of the few primary forests in Italy, lends itself to walks or bike rides.

To do : A boat trip to the Tremiti, 3 monastic islands transformed into prisons under Mussolini. Wild and splendid, San Nicola, San Domino and Capraia are home to an incredible wealth of underwater fauna.

Choose the best beach in La Maddalena, Sardinia

The almost unreal turquoise waters of Cala Coticcio, on the island of Caprera, one of the 7 that make up the Maddalena archipelago, in northern Sardinia. Ekar

Located off the Costa Smeralda of Sardinia, at the entrance to the Bouches de Bonifacio, the archipelago of La Maddalena is a paradise of rock and crystal clear water. Composed of 7 main islands and about fifty small islets, the archipelago is a protected national park because it is home to many endemic marine and terrestrial species. This particular status has made it possible to preserve a wild coastline, devoid of private beaches unlike the rest of Italy. The main island, called Maddalena like the archipelago, is the only one easily accessible and where one can reside. From east to west, its countless beaches are suitable for every moment of the day, depending on the wind.

To do : descend with a 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 gradations and the folds of the rock border on perfection. More information

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Our most beautiful stays and tours to discover Italy.
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From Puglia to Cinque Terre, via Tuscany, discover the most beautiful stays and tours to do in Italy. Andrew Mayovskyy


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