Italy, the coast, what comes to mind? The Amalfi Coastline? Naples? These are both highly recommended destinations in Southern Italy. But let me tell you about some of the hidden gems of Italy! Starting on the east coast of Italy, Bari! A lesser-known region of Southern Italy that demands your attention. Bari is located in the Adriatic sea, the body of water that separates Italy from the Balkans. Also known as the Puglia region of Italy. Puglia is where all the hidden gems of Italy can be found! Google Map of Hidden Gems of Italy
Hidden Gems of Italy | Southern
Free Google Map of Bari
Best Hotels in Bari, Italy
What is the Puglia Region of Italy? The Puglia region consists of several coastal towns in the heel of the “boot,” and the most popular are Bari, Polignano A Mare, and Monopoli. Each of these coastal destinations is easy to reach via Bari by train.
A fun fact about the Puglia region is that Italy’s oldest olive trees live there. Specifically in, Melendugno. Olive oil is one of Italy’s largest export, next to the wine and other fine food exports. An Italian olive oil makes a great souvenir from your travels.
Polignano a Mare
If you are looking for the true hidden gems of Italy, you must visit Polignano a Mare. I would choose Polignano a Mare over Monopoli if you don’t have time for both places. The cliffside views and beaches are magical. I got lost in the streets of this idyllic village just 20 miles south of Bari.
Polignano a Mare is not super touristy; most of the tourists appeared to be Italians. So you can count on a more authentic experience. A local did say that with each passing year, tourism is increasing. Get there now before it’s totally found out!
If you decide to make it more than just a day trip from Bari, here are hotel recommendations.
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Another hot spot in the Salento Peninsula is Monopoli. The most iconic site in Monopoli is the Porta Vecchia. Here you find the traditional blue and red fishing boats. These boats are used today by fishermen looking for octopus and other fish in shallow waters.
Spend the rest of your time in Monopoli, strolling around the streets of the old town. There are a few local churches of baroque city architecture. My favorite was the Basilica Cattedrale Maria Santissima della Madia.
A noteworthy stop when you are hungry for a snack is Sottocoperto Pub. I enjoyed a quick bite and cocktail when my feet got too tired from walking. They have a lovely outdoor patio that I hope to someday return.
Some of the best accommodations in Monopolio are:
Hidden Gems of Italy | Northern
In Italy, there are just countless places to visit! Each region has different traditions and ways of life. In the north of Italy, an amazing hidden gem is Verona!
Verona is a romantic city full of culture and charm! I visited Verona while staying in Bologna. For the best day trip to Verona, check out my guide!
Bologna is known as the food capital of Italy! Hard to believe it would be considered a hidden gem! Bologna is a great place to station yourself in if you want to make day trips to places such as Florence or Verona. Check out my Highlight from Bologna here.
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