In southern Italy, vacations abound for families looking to step into a world of magic, discovery, and fun! This boot-shaped country is a dichotomy of cultures, climates, and landscapes. There are several regions in southern Italy that would make fantastic places for vacations. Apulia is a land of ancient heritage and artistic flair. Campania is the birthplace of pizza…no more needs to be said, as everyone loves pizza! Basilicata, though lesser known, is a historical region with a storied heritage that is waiting to be discovered. The two islands of Sicily and Sardinia are playgrounds for both the young and the young at heart. The south is interesting as it was built to withstand raids, so fortresses and castles are aplenty here, but each one is unique in its history and the people who settled there.
Apulia is aptly described as the heel of Italy. This charming region is a place with year round activities with stunning beaches, majestic mountains and hills, and gorgeous landscapes. It is also a veritable cultural smorgasbord. Numerous festivals create an atmosphere of both fun and learning for all family members. Try staying in a trullo – the white-washed stone houses that dot the hillsides. From this base of operations, daytrips to surrounding towns are done easily. One of the must-see things to do is the Grotte di Castellana. This extensive limestone cave system is an intertwining of galleries with incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations. To cap of the day of exploring, head to the Grotto Palazzese, the restaurant built entirely within a cave. The atmosphere, food, and experience make the price well worth it! If in need of some rest, try the hidden jewel of Torre Guaceto. This lovely sandy beach is great for family snorkeling trips, relaxing, and the making of memories.
Campania is paradise for the adventurous family! It is a region of bubbling volcanoes, hidden grottoes, and yummy treats. Travel back in time with a visit to the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Extraordinarily well-preserved by the ashes and mud from the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius, these two towns give a first-hand look at what ancient life was like back in the first century. A lesser known town, Oplontis, is also available to tour. This ancient resort town houses a luxury villa that has been excavated and showcases stunning artwork, mosaics, and architecture. Here, children will learn how people lived. A three-day ticket is available to purchase giving time to thoroughly explore each historical site. Naples is a short drive or train ride away, and is one of the best spots to stay and eat! There are catacombs to explore, museums to visit, and even an observatory to wander around and gaze out over the city and its beautiful bay. It is one of the best places in southern Italy for vacations where you want a mix of both adventure and history.
In southern Italy, lies the regions of Basilicata. Family vacations here would center around the beauty of nature. Marvelous woodlands and forests cover the mountainsides, which are dotted by picturesque villages and towns. One of the most magnificent places to visit is the Monticchio Lakes area. Two lakes – Lake Grande and Lake Piccolo – were formed by the filling of two craters on the now extinct, Mount Vulture. In Matera, visit the sassi, a series of cave dwellings once inhabited by Benedictine and Basilian monks. The walls are covered with frescoes and decorations that pay homage to their spiritual life. The amazing thing with these caves is that people still lived in them until the 1950s! Basilicata is bordered by both the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas. Each seaside is utterly unique, with sandy beaches on the Ionian side. Eucalyptus trees are found here, and the sea breeze carries the most amazing scents. The Tyrrhenian coastline is beautiful in its ruggedness and steep promontories. Beaches on this side are smaller, but with some of the most amazing scenery.
The island of Sardinia is a jewel in the crown that is southern Italy. Lately, celebrities have been taking vacations here because of the emerald waters, sandy beaches, and very tranquil atmosphere. It is probably one of the most family-friendly regions in all of Italy. There are loads of archeological sites to visit and beaches to relax on. The island is full of sleepy villages that are fun to stay and travel in…especially for families with younger children. There are lots of places to walk and hike. There are scuba and snorkeling excursions, horseback riding, and sailing. Last, but definitely not least, is the island of Sicily. This pearl of southern Italy is the birthplace of what Americans consider Italian cuisine. Vacations here could focus on sampling all the tasty delights! There are beaches of course…it is an island, but there is so much more to Sicily than meets the eye. There are beautiful natural parks that can be seen by horseback, thermal spas heated by volcanic steam, and ancient temples from the many civilizations that sought to tame this mysterious island. Two of the most historical sites in Sicily are the Valle dei Templi, and the Piazza Armerina, both of which are favorites of many sight-seers. It also has one of the best Carnivals in southern Italy…at least south of Venice! Vacations should mostly consist of on-foot activities that let you discover the breathtaking vistas and landscapes. One could spend decades on Sicily and still not see a quarter of what the island has to offer!
Ready to see what type of southern Italy vacations are just right for your family? Give Trips 2 Italy a call to learn more about southern Italy and the vacations they offer. With Trips 2 Italy, your Italian experience begins with a simple phone call!