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REVEALED: The parts of Italy where Italians are going on holiday this summer

Tired of the same old tourist hotspots peddled by travel guidebooks? Here's where Italians are choosing to go on vacation this summer, according to new surveys.

REVEALED: The parts of Italy where Italians are going on holiday this summer
Montepulciano in Tuscany - a region that's a firm favourite with Italians and international tourists alike. Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash

Italians are known for being fans of the ‘staycation’, making the most of their own country’s world-famous sights and stunning coastlines on holiday – and this year is no exception, with Italy ranking as the main destination for Italians, according to recent findings by national statistics body Istat.

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Among those living in the south of Italy, over half plan to stay in their own region, whereas six in 10 from the centre-north will leave their area for their Italian holiday.

And most will be heading to just a handful of popular regions this time.

Puglia, Tuscany and Sicily feature at the top of the list according to a study by research institute Demoskopika.

The south-eastern region of Puglia is expected to see a 13.6 percent increase in tourist arrivals to the region on last year, followed by Tuscany (13.4 percent), Sicily (13.2 percent), Emilia Romagna (12.9 percent) and Sardinia (12.8 percent).

These regions feature prominently on ‘Top places to visit in Italy’ lists, and you’ll find that the same towns, cities and beach resorts are recommended again and again to foreign visitors.

Instead, here are some of our picks within these areas that are popular with locals and less likely to be overrun with crowds.

Il Ciolo, Puglia

Puglia is increasingly a popular destination among both Italian residents and foreign tourists looking to relax and restore.

And no wonder, with its clear waters and beaches picturesque enough to rival tropical destinations.

But it’s not relaxing when the world and his dog descends on this corner of Italy, meaning people are fighting for space to lay their towel or tourists are jostling to take snaps of the region’s unique whitewashed stone huts, known as ‘Trulli‘, in Alberobello.

Il Ciolo is one example of a place where you could avoid the hordes. It’s a spectacular creek, right at the tip of the ‘heel’ of Italy’s boot.

It’s a little wilder and a bit more rugged than the beaches you’re likely to find in Puglia’s must-visit lists and, a bonus for scuba lovers, it’s known for its top diving spots.

Find a spot to enjoy Puglia – or you’ll see more humans than sand. Photo: Massimo Virgilio/Unsplash

Lido di Volano, Emilia Romagna

Good luck trying to find this one in any ‘Destinations not to miss in Italy’ articles.

The region of Emilia Romagna was found to be in the top five of Italy’s regions for Italians’ summer travel plans, according to the Demoskopika study, with an increase in tourists of 12.9 percent and a 26.3 percent increase of those staying in the region compared to last summer.

This coastline may not be a rival for those azure waters of Puglia, but Lido di Volano is not to be dismissed if you want to unwind by the sea.

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Lido di Volano offers wildlife spotting, watersports and a quiet place on the beach. Photo by Aurelie Peche on Unsplash

The highest part of the Comacchio coast, it’s one of the quieter spots of Emilia Romagna’s riviera and is surrounded by nature rather than blocks of apartments or a multitude of shops.

Pine forests and nature reserves line the coast, making your walk or bike ride to the sandy beach a refreshing one.

According to the Emilia Romagna tourist board, this is the “most unspoiled of the seven lidi” and due to its more isolated position and being more open to wind and currents, it’s an ideal place for kite surfing and windsurfing.

The colours of Sassari’s waters amaze and delight. Photo: Branislav Knappek on Unsplash

Sassari, Sardinia

The region of Sardinia is also a destination Italians are heading to (or staying in) this summer, according to the survey’s findings.

And with Sassari reporting the cleanest air in Italy, what better place to reset and do your body and soul some good?

This is an ancient, historic city, known for its art and inspiring coastline. From fine sand to smooth pebbles, Sassari boasts a variety of beachscapes for you to kick back and enjoy some much-deserved time off.

Lodge like a local

If you’re really keen to holiday like the locals, you can follow their accommodation trends for this year too.

According to Istat, over a third (34 percent) of respondents are opting for accommodation in a hotel or guesthouse, followed closely by a house or apartment they own (32.4 percent).

If you’re not a holiday home owner, you could rent a house or apartment just like some 26 percent of Italians.

Or you could get back to nature and stay in a campsite, as almost 8 percent of Italians plan to.

The data also revealed that the Italians planning to go away on holiday this year are mainly those between 18 and 29 – some 75 percent said “certainly yes” or “probably yes”, followed those aged between 30 and 49 (58.5 percent).

The shares fall progressively with age, with older people more likely to skip a summer holiday. Just under a third of Italians in this category (32.4 percent) said they’re planning a summer break.

Those who do intend to take a holiday are taking the time to recharge, with most respondents saying they’ll spend two weeks away. And those who are staying in their own region plan to take even more time off, with some 31 percent of respondents planning to have longer than two weeks of a break.

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For members


MAP: The best Italian villages to visit this year

Here are the remote Italian villages worth seeking out in 2022, according to a list compiled by one of the country's leading tourism associations.

MAP: The best Italian villages to visit this year

A total of 270 villages across Italy have been recognised as being especially tourist-friendly this year by the Italian Touring Club (Touring Club Italiano), one of the country’s largest non-profit associations dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism throughout the territory.

‘Orange Flag’ status is awarded if a village is judged to have significant historic, cultural and environmental value, as well as for being welcoming to visitors and outsiders, according to the initiative’s website.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

Villages can apply for the status if they are located inland with no coastal stretches; have fewer than 15,000 inhabitants; have a well-preserved historic centre and a strong sense of cultural identity; demonstrate sensitivity to issues of sustainability; have a well-organised tourist reception system; and show an intention to continue to make improvements to the town.

The list is updated annually, and in 2022 three new villages gained orange flag status for the first time: Dozza in Emilia Romagna, Manciano in Tuscany, and Sasso di Castalda in Basilicata.

See below for the map and a list of the Orange Flag villages according to region:

Montepulciano in Tuscany has 'orange flag' status.

Montepulciano in Tuscany has ‘orange flag’ status. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

Abruzzo – 7 villages

Civitella Alfadena, Fara San Martino, Lama dei Peligni, Opi, Palena, Roccascalegna, Scanno.

Basilicata – 6 villages

Aliano, Castelmezzano, Perticara Guard, San Severino Lucano, Sasso di Castalda, Valsinni.

Calabria – 6 villages

Bova, Civita, Gerace, Morano Calabro, Oriolo, Tavern.

Campania – 5 villages

Cerreto Sannita, Letino, Morigerati, Sant’Agata de’ Goti, Zungoli.

READ MORE: Six Italian walking holiday destinations that are perfect for spring

Emilia Romagna – 23 villages

Bagno di Romagna, Bobbio, Brisighella, Busseto, Castell’Arquato, Castelvetro di Modena, Castrocaro Terme and Terra del Sole, Dozza, Fanano, Fiumalbo, Fontanellato, Longiano, Montefiore Conca, Monteleone, Pennabilli, Pieve di Cento, Portico and San Benedetto, Premilcuore, San Leo, Sarsina, Sestola, Verucchio, Vigoleno.

Friuli Venezia Giulia – 7 villages

Andreis, Barcis, Cividale del Friuli, Frisanco, Maniago, San Vito al Tagliamento, Sappada.

Lazio – 20 villages

Arpino, Bassiano, Bolsena, Bomarzo, Calcata, Campodimele, Caprarola, Casperia, Collepardo, Fossanova, Labro, Leonessa, Nemi, San Donato Val di Comino, Sermoneta, Subiaco, Sutri, Trevignano Romano, Tuscania, Vitorchiano.

Liguria – 17 villages

Airole, Apricale, Balducco, Brugnato, Castelnuovo Magra, Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena, Dolceacqua, Perinaldo, Pigna, Pinion, Santo Stefano d’Aveto, Sassello, Seborga, Toirano, Triora, Vallebona, Varese Ligure.

Lombardy – 16 villages

Almenno San Bartolomeo, Bellano, Bienno, Castellaro Lagusello, Chiavenna, Clusone, Gardone Riviera, Gromo, Menaggio, Pizzighettone, Ponti sul Mincio, Sabbioneta, Sarnico, Solferino, Tignale, Torno.

Marche – 24 villages

Acquaviva Picena, Amandola, Camerino, Cantiano, Cingoli, Corinaldo, Frontino, Genga, Gradara, Mercatello sul Metauro, Mondavio, Montecassiano, Montelupone, Monterubbiano, Offagna, Ostra , Ripatransone, San Ginesio, Sarnano, Serra San Quirico, Staffolo, Urbisaglia, Valfornace, Visso.

Molise – 5 villages

Agnone, Ferrazzano, Frosolone, Roccamandolfi, Scapoli.

READ MORE: These are the 20 prettiest villages across Italy

San Gimignano has long been an orange flag destination.

San Gimignano has long been an orange flag destination. Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP.

Piedmont – 40 villages 

Agliè, Alagna Valsesia, Arona, Avigliana, Barolo, Bene Vagienna, Bergolo, Candelo, Canelli, Cannero Riviera, Cannobio, Castagnole delle Lanze, Cherasco, Chiusa di Pesio, Cocconato, Entracque, Fenestrelle, Fobello, Gavi, Grinzane Cavour, Guarene, La Morra, Limone Piemonte, Macugnaga, Malesco, Mergozzo, Moncalvo, Monforte d’Alba, Neive, Orta San Giulio, Ozzano Monferrato, Revello, Rosignano Monferrato, Santa Maria Maggiore, Susa, Trisobbio, Usseaux, Usseglio, Varallo, Vogogna.

Puglia – 13 villages

Alberona, Biccari, Bovino, Cisternino, Corigliano d’Otranto, Locorotondo, Oria, Orsara di Puglia, Pietramontecorvino, Rocchetta Sant’Antonio, Sant’Agata di Puglia, Specchia, Troia.

Sardinia – 7 villages

Aggius, Galtellì, Gavoi, Laconi, Oliena, Sardara, Tempio Pausania.

Sicily – 1 village

Petralia Sottana

Tuscany – 40 villages

Abetone Cutigliano, Anghiari, Barberino Tavarnelle, Barga, Casale Marittimo, Casciana Terme Lari, Casale d’Elsa, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Castelnuovo di Val di Cecina, Castiglion Fiorentino, Certaldo, Cetona, Chiusi, Collodi, Fosdinovo, Lucignano, Manciano, Massa Marittima, Montalcino, Montecarlo, Montefollonico, Montepulciano, Monteriggioni, Murlo, Peccioli, Pienza, Pitigliano, Pomarance, Radda in Chianti, Radicofani, San Casciano dei Bagni, San Gimignano, Santa Fiora, Sarteano, Sorano, Suvereto, Trequanda, Vicopisano, Vinci, Volterra. 

Trentino Alto Adige – 8 villages

Ala, Caderzone Terme, Campo Tures/Sand in Taufers, Ledro, Levico Terme, Molveno, Tenno, Vipiteno/Sterzing.

Umbria – 10 villages

Bevagna, Città della Pieve, Montefalco, Montone, Nocera Umbra, Norcia, Panicale, Spello, Trevi, Vallo di Nera.

Val d’Aosta – 3 villages

Etroubles, Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Introd.

Veneto – 12 villages

Arquà Petrarca, Asolo, Borgo Valbelluna, Cison di Valmarino, Follina, Malcesine, Marostica, Montagnana, Portobuffolè, Rocca Pietore, Soave, Valeggio sul Mincio.