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Italy Beyond the Tourist Hotspots — The Joy of Road Tripping

Italy, with its rich history, diverse geography, and delicious cuisine, has long been a top tourist destination in Europe. From the Colosseum to the Tower of Pisa, the beaches of the five seas, and the fashion and cinema industries, Italy has something to offer every traveler. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the country’s tourism industry, leading to a significant decline in both domestic and international tourist traffic.

According to data, in 2019, tourism directly contributed to 6.2% of Italy’s total gross value added, or 99.9 billion euros, and employed 2.1 million people, contributing 8.8% of total employment. Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused the direct contribution of tourism to Italy’s GVA to fall to 4.5% in 2020, with international arrivals decreasing by 61.0% to 25.2 million and domestic tourism decreasing by 37.1% to 34.1 million. As of 2021, international tourist arrivals remained 58.3% below 2019 levels, with only 26.9 million tourists visiting the country. However, there is some hope for the future, as Italy recorded 50,525,695 visitor arrivals in December 2022, compared to 26,888,993 in the previous year, indicating a slow but steady recovery of the tourism industry.


While Italy’s tourism industry did suffer greatly due to the pandemic, the country’s many attractions and unique features remain as alluring as ever. Today, Italy is poised to once again become a top destination for travelers from all over the globe, with the potential to welcome millions of tourists every month. And if you are ready to become a part of the Italian tourism sector, you should pay extra attention to the entry requirements. Here are the major ones:


  • Valid passport or travel document.
  • Visa (if applicable).
  • Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative test result for visitors aged 12 years and above.
  • Digital passenger locator form.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).

However, do not forget to check for any updates or region-specific requirements before traveling.


Italy is renowned for its cultural, historical, and natural wonders, which attract millions of tourists every year. Visitors flock to Rome for its ancient landmarks, Venice for its romantic canals, Florence for its Renaissance heritage, the Amalfi Coast for its stunning scenery, and Tuscany for its picturesque countryside and culinary delights. However, with these top destinations being so popular, it can be easy to overlook some of Italy’s hidden gems that offer unique experiences for travelers:


  1. Castelmezzano, located in the region of Basilicata, is a charming village nestled in the Lucanian Dolomites. Its picturesque stone houses and narrow alleys make it a popular destination for hikers and climbers looking to explore the nearby mountains.
  2. Locorotondo is a small town in the Puglia region known for its circular historic center and traditional whitewashed houses with conical roofs, called trulli. The town is also known for its wine production and is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.
  3. Trento, the capital city of the Trentino region, is situated in the heart of the Italian Alps. The city boasts a rich history and culture, with several museums and monuments dedicated to its past. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and biking in the nearby mountains.
  4. Tropea is a seaside town located in the region of Calabria, known for its stunning coastline and crystal-clear waters. The town is perched on a cliff overlooking the sea and boasts a charming historic center with narrow streets and colorful buildings.
  5. Lugana and Manerba del Garda are two small towns located on the shores of Lake Garda in the Lombardy region. Lugana is known for its white wine production, while Manerba del Garda boasts a picturesque castle and several beaches. Both towns offer visitors stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.


Exploring Italy by car, whether it’s your own or a rental, is arguably the best way to discover the country’s hidden gems and experience the local culture. Having your own vehicle gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace and visit off-the-beaten-path destinations that may not be easily accessible by public transportation. Italy’s roads are well-maintained and offer scenic routes through picturesque countryside and charming villages. With a car, you can stop for a leisurely lunch at a countryside trattoria, visit local wineries and olive groves, or take a detour to see a medieval castle or ancient ruins.


Renting a car is a great option for those who don’t have their own car, and there are many reliable car rental services available, such as, that offer a variety of vehicles to choose from. Renting a car can be a cost-effective option, especially if you’re traveling with a group or planning a longer trip. With a rented car, you can still enjoy the freedom and flexibility of exploring at your own pace, while also avoiding the limitations of public transportation. However, it is important to research and compare rental options before booking to ensure that you get the best deal and find a vehicle that meets your needs.

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