Italy is famous worldwide for its cities of art, for its thousand-year history. Everyone knows the Colosseum in Rome, the canals of Venice, the Uffizi in Florence, and if these are undoubtedly places of breathtaking beauty, they are not the unique wonders of the peninsula. There are many places that have something to offer, but which remain unknown to most people, often to the same Italian. They medieval villages, oasis of wild nature, crystal clear lakes: here is our selection, 10 enchanting and unknown places of a secret Italy.

Vallone dei Mulini, the wildest nature

Valle dei Mulini, Sorrento, Italy

It is a jungle that you would not think you would find in Italy, and yet it is here, on the Sorrento coast. The Vallone dei Mulini was abandoned, together with the old mill for grinding flour and other buildings, in 1940 and in a few years, the wild nature has swallowed everything, the stone buildings are invaded by green. It is one of the most fascinating unknown places in Italy. The valley is part of an ancient system that crossed the Sorrento peninsula and indicated the borders between one town and another.

Green tip: The Vallone dei Mulini is located a few minutes from Sorrento where you will find a eco-friendly beautiful home for your holiday.

Curon Venosta, the submerged village

Curon Venosta, the submerged village
Photo by Sander van der Wel via Flickr

Curon Venosta is the village that no longer exists. We are in the beautiful Val Venosta, to 1500 meters above sea level and where there was once a small town there is now the tower of a bell tower that rises from the water of Lake Resia. The iconic building, which emerges solitary in the clear water of the lake, surrounded by the mountains of Vallelunga, one of the wildest and most pristine valleys in the Alps, hides a painful past. In the fifties, in fact, the town was submerged by water to allow the union of two natural basins and to allow the construction of a large dam for the production of hydroelectricity. The ancient village is  submerged under the surface of the lake at a depth of 22 meters.

Green tip: The Reschensee is the largest lake in South Tyrol and around it you can make a beautiful 15 km hike.

Dozza, art that decorates the walls

Dozza, Italy
Photo by Loris Silvio Zecchino via Flickr

At south of Bologna there’s a small medieval village dominated by the imposing Rocca Sforzesca. The best time to visit this Italian gem is during the Biennial of Painted wall that turns the village into an open air gallery. The facades of the houses are adorned by the colors and styles of famous national artists who create here extraordinary painting and murals.

Green tip: Discover the itineraries to do by bicycle between the hills of Imola, via Dozza and other medieval villages.

Tenno, a village and its lake

Lake Tenno
Photo by Thomas Münter via Flickr

Between the mountains and the Mediterranean climate of Lake Garda, there’s Tenno, a beautiful village that dates back to the Bronze Age. The houses, the porches, the courtyards are surrounded by an atmosphere suspended in time. On a rocky outcrop there’s the Castle, characterized by an austere grandeur. A little farther on, the lake of the same name: a turquoise water mirror, a true natural jewel.

Green tip: From the shore of the lake, a beautiful path allows you to walk the entire perimeter of Lake Tenno on foot or by bicycle.

Sant’Agata de’ Goti, the city on tuff

Sant'Agata de' Goti, Italy

Let’s discover theTaburno-Camposauro Regional Park , in Campania, and its pearl: the village of Sant’Agata de’ Goti, an ancient town perched on the plateau of a tuff hill. Every corner of this village will leave you breathless.

Green tip: do not miss this short hike in the Park, which has as its starting point Sant’Agata de ‘Goti.

Reggello, and its castle of Sammezzano

castle of Sammezzano, Tuscany

Reggello is a typical Tuscan village that lives between art and nature: there are different monuments which are worth a visit, all surrounded by the hills, the screw crops and olive trees and a wonderful Forest. But what makes this village unique, is the castle of Sammezzano, the most important example of Moorish architecture in Italy.

Green tip: near Reggello, you can find many eco-friendly accommodations, book your next vacation here!

Marinello lakes, the lagoon and the sea


In the shadow of the promontory of Tindari, near Messina, there is a brackish lagoon, which depending on the tides and the season is constantly changing shape, creating large and small ponds separated by thin strip of white sand. This little known corner of Sicily will strike you for its unusual and fascinating aspect and also for the large number of animal and plant species that live here.

Green tip: the eco-friendly accommodation closer to this natural reserve is the Farm S. Margherita, an old farmhouse surrounded by palm trees, olive trees, orange groves, lemon groves and vineyards.

Bussana Vecchia, the city of artists

Bussana Vecchia, the city of artists in Liguria

Behind Sanremo, in the Ligurian hinterland, there’s Bussana Vecchia, a charming village brought back to life by artists from around the world. In 1887 a violent earthquake severely damaged the village that was then abandoned. But during the ’60s, painters, tailors and sculptors have started living and working here, and some of them continue to do so.

Green tip: Do not miss the opportunity to discover the Riviera of flowers by bike, a beautiful route to discover this part of Liguria, passing from Bussana Vecchia.

Bosco Rocconi, a different Tuscany

Bosco Rocconi, a different Tuscany

It’s an almost unknown place, but really wonderful. We are in Maremma, far away from the rolling hills that we all know. Bosco Rocconi is characterized by its wild and rugged nature, with vertical walls that overlook the forest, from the spectacular canyon, by the rivers and the caves.

Green tip: discover a beautiful route suitable for all to visit this natural oasis!

Scarzuola, a surreal city

Photo by Pemulis via Flickr
Photo by Pemulis via Flickr

Among the forests of Umbria there’s a hidden small masterpiece. We are in the municipality of Montegabbione, and it is here, away from mass tourism, that the Milanese architect Tomaso Buzzi has built his “ideal city”, around the existing church and convent. It is a set of buildings and stairways that has an esoteric and mysterious atmospheres.

Green tip: discover the many beautiful eco-friendly accommodations near the city of Tomaso Buzzi.

What unknown places in Italy are you ready to discover?

Cover photo: by Blok 70 via Flickr