What Are the Best Reasons to Visit  Southern Italy?

Southern Italy yields a sea of unforgettable experiences for the traveler. It is a land possessing a huge diversity of cultural experiences, with each region being rewardingly unique. 

From the dramatic cliffs of the Amalfi Coast to the ancient whispers of Pompeii and the rustic allure of Puglia, this part of Italy is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Europe and some of the greatest historical treasures you’re ever likely to encounter.

It’s a place where the art of living is celebrated daily, whether through a glass of rich local wine, a wander around historic ruins, or the simple pleasure of an expertly prepared meal built upon excellent local produce. 

We hope the following blog provides you with lots of inspiration for your Italian travels. Please explore our selection of Small Group Trips to Calabria before you leave. 

The Allure of the Amalfi Coast

Jagged cliffs adorned with colorful towns like Positano and Amalfi define the Amalfi Coast’s world-famous landscape. This picturesque region possesses matchless natural beauty, where the scent of orchards and the refreshing sea breeze mingle in the air. It’s not just the views that captivate, but also the local flavors: creamy mozzarella di bufala, zesty limoncello, the light, healthy, and delicate taste of fresh seafood. 

See Naples, One of Europe’s Great Historical Cities

Naples… Where every street and piazza pulses with life and color. It’s a city where history is lived, not just observed. From the sizzling pizzerias, where the art of the pizzaiolo reaches its peak, to the Naples National Archaeological Museum, a jewelry box of art and artifacts. Here, history breathes – Naples is an unmissable, authentic taste of the Italian south. 

If you’d like to experience Naples with expert local guides, check out our Best of the South Tour in Italy

(Source: License)

The Untamed Beauty of Calabria

Calabria is a treasure trove of natural wonders and historical riches, and a genuine Italian hidden gem often overlooked in favor of more tourist-heavy parts of the country. Its 500 miles of coastline stretch across both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, offering a network of picturesque beaches, coves, and sparkling, blue waters. Inland, the landscape transforms into a dramatic scene of mountains, lakes, and olive-clad hills, all cradled within three national parks that beckon adventurers and nature lovers alike.

Once the heart of Magna Graecia, Calabria is a living museum of history. From Greek settlements to a carousel of rulers including the Germans, French, and Spanish, each epoch has left indelible marks on the region’s architecture, dialect, and culinary tapestry. The Archaeological Park of Scolacium is a remarkable site of ancient ruins, while the majestic Tropea dazzles with its iconic Santa Maria dell’Isola monastery, perched atop a scenic promontory.

For the intrepid, the Monte Pollino National Park offers thrilling activities amidst breathtaking gorges and valleys. Meanwhile, Crotone invites history buffs to trace the evolution of ancient Kroton, and Reggio Calabria proudly showcases the Riace Bronzes, some of Italy’s most extraordinary classical statues. 

From the imposing Aragonese fortress of Le Castella to the mythical shores of Scilla, Calabria is a land of stories – make it a destination on your Italian itinerary and create your own lasting relationship with this marvelous land. 

If you’d like to explore Calabria in the company of passionate locals, consider booking a place on our 12-day Best of Calabria & Malta Tour or our 11-day Food and Wine Tour in Calabria

The Ancient Ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum

From the bustling city of Naples to a ghostly archaeological site where time was frozen still nearly 2,000 years ago. This is, of course, the ancient ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Once thriving cities, these moving sites offer a window into ancient Roman life, abruptly halted by Vesuvius. 

Wandering these streets is a journey back in time unlike that found anywhere else. The ruins are simply extraordinary and provide an incredible look at how this now distant civilization lived. But here too, one is faced with a stark reminder of the momentous power of Mother Nature. This is a historical site that no self-respecting history lover should miss.

(Source: License)

The Azure Waters of Capri and Ischia 

What is a trip to Southern Italy without a little island hopping? Capri and Ischia, each in their own right, are places of natural splendor. Capri’s Blue Grotto, with its surreal blue light, feels otherworldly, while Ischia’s thermal spas offer a retreat that soothes body and soul. 

Follow in the footsteps of Hollywood stars, Roman Emperors, and eccentric Italian artists and writers, like Curzio Malaparte (whose fantastic house, Casa Malaparte is found on Punta Massullo on the eastern side of Capri), as you travel two of the most stylish, luxurious islands found anywhere in Europe. 

(Source: License)

Puglia: Land of History and World-Class Cuisine 

Puglia, on the sun-soaked heel of Italy’s boot, is a region that feels intensely intertwined with its ancient history while embracing the rhythm of modern life. This enchanting area boasts the longest coastline in mainland Italy, a ribbon of sand and sea that stretches along the Adriatic and Ionian shores, offering a mosaic of secluded coves and pristine beaches. The landscape is lush with olive groves and vineyards, a testament to the region’s deep agricultural roots and rich culinary heritage.

The heart of Puglia beats in its whitewashed villages and historic towns, where the air is scented with the aroma of traditional dishes. Lecce, known as the Florence of the South, dazzles with its baroque architecture, carved from the radiant Lecce stone that has found fame far beyond Italy’s borders. Here, the Roman amphitheater evokes the grandeur of a bygone era, while the ornate facades of buildings and churches are testament to local workmanship and devotion.

Puglia’s cuisine is a celebration of simple flavor pairings and first-class local produce, where the bounty of the sea meets the rustic charm of the countryside. Dishes like Cozza Gratin, Pulpo, and handmade pasta are not just meals but expressions of a culture that honors every ingredient. 

Whether it’s exploring the preserved old town of Martina Franca or savoring the catch of the day by the crystal-clear waters, Puglia invites you to throw yourself into a lifestyle where every moment is truly lived. This welcoming, traditional part of Italy embodies all that is great about the country. 

The Food of Southern Italy

In Southern Italy, the culinary landscape is as varied as the regions themselves, from the rich, hearty pasta dishes of Campania to the fresh, tangy seafood of the coastal areas. Sicilian cannoli, Apulian orecchiette, and, of course, Neapolitan pizza, are crafted with the same care and passion as a work of art. 

Eating in Southern Italy is one of the key ways to meaningfully connect to the local culture. It’s a central part of life here  and Italians, especially in the south,  are always delighted to share their culinary traditions with travelers.

If you have family from Calabria, check out our Private Heritage Tours in Calabria – it’s the perfect way to delve into your ancestry y while enjoying an unforgettable vacation! 

See Southern Italy with My Bella Vita Travel

My Bella Vita Travel stands out as the premier, fully licensed, and insured company specializing in heritage tours across Southern Italy. Our expert team of bilingual Heritage Specialists, trained and certified by our company, excels in navigating the complex landscape of Italian ancestry. 

They dedicate themselves to understanding your family history, skillfully organizing and working with local authorities. Before your tour, they immerse themselves in your ancestral town, engaging with locals and officials to uncover the pivotal people and places that form the fabric of your past.

Furthermore, all our Small Group Tours in Southern Italy are crafted with expert local knowledge, meaning you get to experience Italy through the eyes of a local. 

If you have any questions, please get in touch.