Southern Italy in detail

Southern Italy is known for

Baroque Architecture

Southern Italy found its soulmate in the baroque architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries. Plunge into a world of outrageous palaces and bling-tastic churches.

Noto The most impressive Sicilian-baroque town in the World Heritage–listed Val di Noto.

Lecce Puglia's hallucinogenic city is to the baroque what Florence is to the Renaissance.

Reggia di Caserta Caserta’s gargantuan royal pad puts Versailles in its place.

Catania Sicily's second-biggest city comes with a Unesco-lauded baroque piazza.

Naples Once a magnet for baroque architects, packed with exuberant churches, chapels and staircases.

Food, Glorious Food

The Mezzogiorno's rich soils, produce-packed hillsides and turquoise seas are a giant natural larder. Traditions are fiercely protected and eating well is a given. Tuck in!

Palermo Mouth-watering markets, panelle (chickpea-flour fritters), sfincione (Sicilian-style pizza), arancine and stuffed sardines.

Naples The hometown of pizza and famous for fried street food, ricotta-filled sfogliatella pastries and rum-soaked babà.

Catania Legendary arancini and home to one of Italy's most famous fish markets.

Ischia A Campanian island famous for its succulent, slow-cooked rabbit with wild herbs.

Paestum Where water buffaloes produce Campania's most coveted mozzarella di bufala.

Cetara An Amalfi Coast town famous for its punchy colatura di alici (anchovy essence).

Peschici Feast on crudo (raw seafood) the Puglian way at superlative Al Trabucco da Mimì.

Islands & Beaches

Northern Italy would sell its soul for a coastline this alluring. From bijou islands to crystal-clear grottoes, the south’s offerings are as varied as they are beautiful.

Puglia The region’s superlative beaches include Baia dei Turchi and the cliff-backed beaches of the Gargano.

Aeolian Islands Island-hop Sicily’s seven volcanic gems.

Capri Golden light and a mesmerising grotto lure A-list jet-setters and mere-mortal romantics.

Maratea Basilicata's Tyrrhenian beauty gives the Amalfi Coast a serious run for its money.

Procida The Bay of Naples' sleepiest island is also its most cinematic, making numerous silver-screen cameos.

Medieval Towns

Cobbled streets snake up hillsides to sculpted fountains, the scent of ragù (meat and tomato sauce) wafts from shuttered windows and washing hangs like holiday bunting.

Ravello Romantic gardens, dreamy Tyrrhenian views and a world-class arts festival above the Amalfi Coast.

Taormina A chic summertime favourite, with secret gardens and a panoramic ancient amphitheatre.

Cefalù Lapping waves, maze-like narrow streets and an imposing Arab-Norman cathedral.

Maratea A 13th-century borgo (medieval town) with pint-sized piazzas and startling views across the Gulf of Policastro.

Erice Ancient walls, a brooding castle and striking artisanal rugs.

The Great Outdoors

Saunter between sea and sky in Campania, slip into silent forests in Basilicata and Calabria, or come face to face with Mother Nature’s wrath in lava-spewing Sicily.

Sentiero degli Dei Hit the ‘Path of the Gods’ for a different take on the stunning Amalfi Coast.

Mt Etna Hike the wild, picturesque slopes of Europe’s tallest active volcano.

Parco Nazionale del Gargano Explore an enchanted world of Aleppo pines, springtime orchids and sacred pilgrimage sites.

Pollino National Park Go white-water rafting, paragliding, diving or canyoning in the rugged wilds of Basilicata and Calabria.

Punta Campanella Marine Reserve A diver's wonderland of grottoes, ruins and marine life between Naples and the Amalfi Coast.

Evocative History

Southern Italy’s cosmopolitan past comes to life in its glorious art and architecture. Lose yourself in frescoed scenes of classical mythology or ponder the glories of Constantinople in Byzantine mosaics.

Villa Romana del Casale Sicily’s top Roman site houses the finest Roman floor mosaics in existence.

Ruins of Pompeii An extraordinary window into ancient urban life, between Naples and Sorrento.

Matera Basilicata's most celebrated town is also one of the world's oldest human settlements, famous for its surreal sassi (cave dwellings).

Museo Archeologico Nazionale Blockbuster sculptures, frescoes and mosaics from Pompeii, Herculaneum and beyond at Naples’ top museum.

Ruins of Herculaneum Pompeii's smaller, better-preserved alternative offers intimate glimpses of daily Roman life.

Cattedrale di Monreale Lavish 12th-century mosaics in an Arab-Norman Sicilian marvel.

Cretto di Burri The ruins of an earthquake-ravaged Sicilian village turned into an extraordinary work of art.