Regions of Italy, with highlights and places to visit in Italy
Below we introduce each region of Italy - please see the individual travel guides for each region, or the suggested 'places to visit' articles for lots more information.
No idea where to start? The most popular Italian regions include Tuscany (with Florence and Siena, medieval villages and countryside), Lombardy (for the lakes) and Campania (for the Amalfi Coast). The most visited cities include Rome, Florence and Venice and the popular islands include Capri and Sardinia.
With a varied landscape Abruzzo is known for its seaside resorts, its mountain scenery and its ski resorts - with the great advantage that the sea and the mountains are never far apart so it is easily possible to combine both during your visit.
As a result of its position in the 'instep' at the south of Italy, Basilicata actually includes two separate areas of coastline, with the Ionian Sea to the south and also a short section of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, and an interior covered largely with forests and hills.
Much of the centre of Calabria is a region of mountains, particularly towards the north around the Pollino mountains and the Aspromonte mountains to the south, separated by the extensive forested La Sila range that occupies much of central Calabria.
In southern Italy, the Campania region contains some of the greatest and most famous sites in the country, with the area along the Amalfi coast and the nearby islands such as Capri especially popular with visitors.
The Emilia-Romagna region includes famous cities such as Parma and Bologna, popular seaside resorts such as Rimini, and lots of picturesque hill villages...
The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region occupies the north-east corner of Italy, just to the east of Venice-Veneto and bordering Slovenia and Austria with the Adriatic Sea along the southern coast.
The Liguria region of north-west Italy is one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in Europe, with resorts and towns including San Remo and Portofino and numerous picturesque villages including the stunning villages of the Cinque Terre
The Lombardy region of central-northern Italy reaches high into the mountains in its northern regions. Best known for the impressive scenery of the Lombardy Lakes, the region also has a good number of fascinating historical towns and villages to explore and some stunning mountain scenery
The Le Marche region is on the Adriatic coast of central-eastern Italy, backed by the Apennine mountains, and has fine beaches, ancient hillside villages and beautiful scenery.
The Molise region of Italy is situated to the south-east of the country, with the Apennine mountains to the west and the Adriatic coast to the east.
The Piedmont region of north-west Italy is best known for the rich city of Turin, various imposing palaces and religious monuments, and the picturesque mountain towns and scenic attractions such as Lake Orta further to the north
The many resorts and the scenery of the Gargano region to the north of Apulia make it a very popular attraction with visitors, along with many other seaside resorts along the Adriatic coast.
While the city of Rome and the vatican attracts the vast majority of visitors to the Lazio region - and rightly so because it is one of the great cities of the world - if time permits be sure to explore the surrounding region!
It is the coastline that attracts most visitors to Sardinia. It is often very beautiful, and ranges from sophisticated yacht resorts to unspoiled miles of quiet beaches and dramatically beautiful cliff sections. For an excess of expense and sophistication start at Costa Smerelda, to the north-east of the island.
Sicily is a large island off the southern tip of Italy, with a coastline offering fantastic beaches, dramatic inland mountain scenery including Mount Etna, many attractive towns and villages, and numerous ancient historical monuments.
From Lake Garda to the south and then into the dolomites to the north, the range of scenery in Trentino-Alto Adige and the opportunities for exploring the countryside are the main attraction for visitors
Tuscany is perhaps the best region of Italy to visit if you want an introduction to the charms of the country, with the great artistic cities such as Florence and Siena, the famous leaning tower of Pisa, beautiful scenery, lovely villages and hill towns, vineyards and olive groves, and much else...
Umbria may not perhaps be home to lots of 'famous' places except Assisi, but has its own special charm, with picturesque scenery and lots of interesting highlights for those that do come here
Valle d'Aosta / Aosta Valley
Historically a region of small scale agriculture, this mountainous region later gave way to metalworking, and then more recently almost entirely to tourism. The Aosta Valley is best known by visitors because of its stunning mountain scenery and related activities.