European Best Destinations: Four of Italy's Top Hidden Gems

| Wed, 06/08/2022 - 06:00
Pietrapertosa Basilicata

Nestled among the Lucanian Dolomites of Basilicata is Pietrapertosa, a little-known medieval village rated among Italy’s most beautiful borghi, complete with a Saracen castle and timeless charm. Pietrapertosa made European Best Destinations’ 2022 list of Europe's best hidden gems. 

European Best Destinations is a travel organization based in Brussels that promotes culture and tourism in Europe; the list includes 22 of “Europe's secret destinations, away from the crowds, […] the most beautiful destinations on a human scale.” Indeed, while tourism isn’t yet back to pre-pandemic levels, if you’ve traveled around Italy as of late, you sure have noticed the return of mass tourism, both national and international.

Four Italian destinations have made the list. Pietrapertosa, which is also home of one of the longest and highest zip lines in the world, the Volo dell'Angelo (Angel Flight), connecting mountain peak to mountain with Castelmezzano, ranked third. 

Right after in fourth position comes Rio Marina. The charming village on the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany is a former mining center, and now attracts visitors for its beaches with turquoise waters, surrounded by Mediterranean scrub. Elba island is part of the Arcipelago Toscano National Park and is the third island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia. 

Sant’Angelo on the island of Ischia ranked 14th on the list. It is an ancient fishermen’s village, where cars are forbidden. Described as “the perfect place for an afternoon of idleness and relaxation,” it is an example of typical Mediterranean architecture, with its picturesque alleys and houses leaning against each other.  

Last in the ranking is Savona, an unusual pick for the Italian Riviera, usually visited for the  Cinque Terre and Portofino. Savona was chosen for its baroque architecture, historic center, and for providing respite from the crowds (and prices) of the most famous villages of the Riviera. 

Here’s the complete list.