Ancient ruins, picturesque villages and rolling vineyards are perfectly integrated into their natural environments, making Italy an alluring destination for visitors who appreciate the arts and culture along with scenic landscapes.
Take a journey through five of Italy’s most majestic natural wonders.
Arcipelago di La Maddalena (Maddalena Archipelago)
The Arcipelago di La Maddalena takes the definition of paradise to a whole new level.
This group of over 50 islands and islets, located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north-eastern coast of Sardinia, is home to pristine beaches and spectacular views.
Surrounded by incredibly clear, crystalline waters, these idyllic islands are the perfect place to escape from reality and reconnect with nature.
The small island of Isola Budelli, near the north-western corner of the archipelago is best known for its Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach), named after the sand’s unique pink hue.
Nelson and Napoleon knew the archipelago well, as did the wartime hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, who bought Isola Caprera for his retirement.
Fiordo di Furore (Furore Fjord)
Fjords aren’t common in Italy, which makes the dramatic Furore Fjord even more special.
The natural marvel is located in the village of Furore, on the Amalfi Coast.
A string of vibrantly coloured fishermen’s houses cling to the rocky cliffs, while the majority of the village stands 300 metres above the bright turquoise water and small pebble beach, accessible by a staircase.
The International Diving Championships are held every July on the arched stone bridge which hovers over the fjord.
Fjords are formed by glaciers, whereas the Furore Fjord is a drowned river valley carved by the Schiato stream.
Gran Paradiso National Park
Named after the magnificent Gran Paradiso Mountain, Grand Paradiso National Park is found in the Graian Alps of northern Italy.
The wild landscape of the park, which covers almost 400 square kilometres, boasts majestic mountains, striking valleys, lakes, glaciers, alpine meadows and some incredible fauna and flora.
Noted for an exceptional number of fascinating wildlife and endangered species, visitors can easily spot rarities such as the Alpine ibex, red foxes, chamois and majestic golden eagles.
There’s probably no better spot to go biking, as the Grand Paradiso region boasts more than a dozen bike routes for all types of cyclers.
It’s also a hiker’s paradise with over 400 kilometres of trails crisscrossing the park’s valleys.
If you prefer some winter sports, there’s skiing or snowshoeing to take the place of hiking when there’s snow on the slopes.
Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto)
Belonging to a series of sea caves formed by centuries of waves crashing against the cliff faces of Capri, the Grotta Azzurra served as the personal swimming hole of Emperor Tiberius in Roman times.
Today it’s a popular destination for paddlers and rowers, especially during the morning hours when sunlight floods the cave at the perfect angle, causing the water to glow an incredible other-worldly blue.
To see it, you’ll need to sail away from the coastline of Capri on a boat, then transfer to a small rowing boat.
The grotto can also be accessed from land.
Take a bus from Marina Grande to Anacapri and then another bus to the road's end at Grotta Azzurra.
From here, a staircase leads down to a small dock where rowing boats await to take passengers into the adjacent cave.
Be prepared once you get in, because one second you’re in pitch darkness and the next you’re in a world of celestial blue.
Situated on the eastern coast of Sicily, Mount Etna is Italy’s highest mountain south of the Alps and the tallest active volcano in Europe.
The stunning volcano towers over the historic city of Catania, while it’s known to spit smoke rings and ashes that create a fertile soil, but can also be dangerous for the citizens.
Its last major eruption was in 2017 and it’s been continually grumbling ever since.
Even though it’s active, you can ride up the volcano in a cable car or explore it by jeep.
Getting so close to a live volcano is a real adrenaline trip and an unforgettable experience.
Since 1987 the volcano and its slopes have been part of a national park, the Parco dell’Etna.
Encompassing 581 square kilometres and around 21 towns, the park’s varied landscape ranges from the severe, snow-capped mountaintop to lunar deserts of barren black lava, beech woods and lush vineyards where the area’s highly rated DOC wine is produced.
Terme di Saturnia (Saturnia Thermal Springs)
Saturnia is a famous spa town in the southern part of Tuscany.
The natural hot springs of Saturnia have been attracting visitors from all over the world for centuries.
A chain of gentle waterfalls cascade into layers upon layers of white and blue limestone pools, all held at a pleasant 37.5˚C and filled with rich minerals.
Considered a “high-flow” spring, the waters rush up from the ground at a rate of 500 litres per second, just like a spa.
The experience is especially magical at night, when the rising steam becomes visible against the starry night sky.
The springs offer free entry so you can indulge to your heart’s content, though it’s recommended not to be immersed for longer than 20 minutes at a time.