Touring Italy in June – 5 Amazing Off The Beaten Path Destinations
I set off in my little blue convertible from Calabria at six in the morning on the 1st for a full month of touring Italy. The sun was just rising over the Ionian sea, and the sky was teeming with beautiful shades of oranges and pinks. June is a perfect time to head out and discover Southern Italy and its diverse beauty. There are so may off the beaten path destinations to see, and I would like to share my adventures with you. Perhaps you too may decide to add the same destinations to your future heritage tourism itinerary. The first stop was just outside of Rome in the quaint little village of Castel Gandolfo.
5 days and 5 villages touring Italy from Castel Gandolfo to Puglia
Castel Gandolfo is situated in the Alban Hills of Lazio 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Rome. It overlooks breathtaking Lake Albano and is regarded as one of the most scenic towns in Italy. The resort community includes villas and cottages built in the 1600s. It is home to the Apostolic Palace, otherwise known as the Pope’s summer home and vacation getaway. When touring Italy, Castel Gandolfo is a great day trip from Rome. If you plan it well, you can visit the Barberini Gardens and Pontifical Villas. A great place to have a typical lunch on the main “corso” is Arte e Vino. Be sure and make a reservation before you arrive as they are always busy.
Termoli is a small town situated on the Adriatic coast in the province of Campobasso in the region of Molise. Once upon a time, Termoli was a fishing port, but today it is a favorite beach resort for Italian families. It is not very common for non-Italians to vacation here. So, if you are touring Italy in June and stop in Termoli, you will find that the beaches are not at all crowded. The historical center originally was a walled city, and it has been restored with its most prominent feature being the Castle overlooking the port. There are many fantastic outdoor restaurants to choose from that serve everything from seafood to pizza made in a wood oven. I stumbled upon a tasty Naples restaurant “Anema e Core” which is Naples dialect for “Anima e Cuore” in Italian or Heart and Soul in English. They serve great Naples pizza, heavenly oven roasted potatoes, calamari to die for and typical sweets from the heart of “Napoli.”
Martina Franca, in the heel of the boot, is in the province of Taranto in the region of Puglia. They are known for hosting an annual opera festival during July/August referred to as the “Festival della Valle d’Itria.” The historical center is encircled by stone walls with Baroque arches leading into many narrow and winding streets and “Piazzas.” In the month of June, there are plenty of activities going on. I enjoyed an “aperitivo” at one of the bars in the central squares and admired the “Fetsa dello Sport” that was taking place over the weekend. A great deal of the children of Martina Franca performed their sport of choice for the community. In every piazza, there were demonstrations from kickboxing and yoga to ping pong and synchronized roller skating.
Ostuni is situated on a hill overlooking the coast in the province of Brindisi in the region of Puglia. It is known as the “the White Town” as all of its walls and buildings are painted in white. The population triples during the summer months. It is a hotspot amongst British and German tourists, so you can beat the crowds if you go in June. A wide variety of flowers are in bloom, and the brightly painted blue and green doors make for great photo opportunities. There is also a breathtaking panoramic view from the top of the hill overlooking the sea. Along the narrow winding streets, there are many shops and restaurants with typical products and food.
Matera is a city and a province in Basilicata. It is one of the oldest cities in the world. Its original city center is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is referred to as “Sassi” which means stones. The original dwellings were caves dug into the rock. The city is divided into three distinct zones and represents the evolution from prehistoric to modern day Matera. Most of the historical center is uninhabited, as the dwellings are unfit to live. They are currently undergoing renovations to preserve the cities original charm. Some of the indigenous caves have been converted into bed & breakfasts. If you enjoy hiking, there is an entire hillside of caves waiting to be explored. Matera tends to be sweltering in June, so bring a hat and sunscreen and drink plenty of water.
Have you visited any of these of the beaten path destinations? Leave a comment and share your experience while touring Italy.