First-time visitors to Italy rarely venture further south than Rome, but the wild landscapes and sun-soaked shores of southern Italy are worth leaving the capital for. Whether you want to take in the highlights on a day trip or cover more ground on a multi-day tour—here's what not to miss.
Naples and Pompeii
The unofficial capital of the south, Naples is home to one of Italy's busiest ports, an impressive archaeological museum, and some of the best pizza you'll ever eat. It's also the ideal base for day trips to the UNESCO-sited ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as the idyllic island of Capri.
The colorful towns clinging to the sea cliffs along the Amalfi Coast are arguably the biggest draw for visitors to the south, so the oceanfront villages can get busy during summer. Soak up the scenery on a road trip from Naples to Sorrento, fill your camera with shots of picturesque Positano and Ravello, or top up your tan on the Mediterranean beaches.
The autonomous island off the tip of Italy's boot is somewhat like a country unto itself, with glorious beaches, magnificent scenery, and plenty of Italian flavor. Browse the historic markets of Palermo, explore the island's ancient Greek ruins, visit the seaside resort of Taormina, and take a hike around Mt. Etna, one of Europe's most active volcanoes.
Puglia stretches down the eastern coast of Italy, and its long, sunny shores make it a popular summer vacation spot for Italians and foreigners alike. The region is also known for olive oil, seafood, and the trulli houses of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.