Follow us on Instagram @moonhoneytravelers for hiking and travel inspiration!

Italy Travel Guide

Italy is a country that needs no introduction. The whole country could be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, this southern European country isn’t just a collection of historical sites; it’s a series of sounds and movements.

It’s no coincidence that opera was born into this world in Italy. Life in Italy is opera. It’s a voluminous moving masterpiece of generations intermingling, life spilling onto the streets, people gesticulating, laundry hanging and mopeds flying.

We love Italy. We love the Adriatic coast, the whitewashed coastal villages of Puglia, the caves of Matera, the energy of Naples, and the Italian Alps.

We invite you to discover the most incredible destinations in Italy.

Pale di San Martino, Trentino, Italy

Italy Travel Map

Must-see cities, towns, and hiking destinations in Italy.


Italian Alps

Aosta Valley

Ortler Alps

The Dolomites




Val di Funes, Dolomites, Italy

Best Things to Do in Italy

Val di Funes, Dolomites

Visit the Dolomites

It’s hard not to gush when describing the uniquely sculpted peaks and pale coloration of the Dolomites, a mountain range in northeastern Italy. When you hike in the Dolomites, you feel like you’re at the meeting place between heaven and earth.

Beyond the scenery, one of the best reasons to hike here is for the comfort, or as the Austrians would say, “Gemütlichkeit.” Much of the Dolomites lies within a province that was formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Austrian love of coziness still permeates the regional culture of northeastern Italy today. And luckily for visitors, that means cozy mountainside huts to sleep and eat in.

There’s a large network of rifugios (mountain huts) across the Dolomites that makes hiking here more accessible. One of our most memorable experiences in Italy was hiking the Alta Via 1.

We’ve written 80+ travel and hiking guides about the Dolomites. Start here:

Matera Sassi, Italy

Visit the Cave City of Matera

Matera is an ancient city in Southern Italy famed for its cave dwellings that are carved into the mountain, known as the Sassi.

In 1993, the Sassi districts were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Though it’s a tourist destination today, Matera was actually a very poor region in the 1950s. The people of Matera were evacuated by the government because the living conditions were so bad.

The Sassi are so unique to Italy. As you explore the caves, you might even think you’re in the Middle East. For that reason, Matera is a favorite destination for filmmakers, especially those filming Biblical tales. Some of the films shot in Matera are The Passion of the Christ (2004), The Nativity Story (2006), King David (1985), The Young Messiah (2006), and Wonder Woman (2017).

During your visit, dine in the cave restaurant of Ristorante Francesca, sleep in a cave (maybe one with a cave pool), and walk down the Gravina of Matera ravine to see ancient dwellings and a great vantage point of the Sassi.

Monopoli, Italy

Explore Puglia and the Adriatic Coast

The Adriatic coastline is one of our favorite destinations in Italy. This region doesn’t perform a caricature of itself like other popular Italian destinations. It’s more subdued in its charm. More authentic.

Puglia’s coastal villages are disarmingly good-looking. Town streets are narrow and rimmed with cactus plants. The whitewashed buildings contrast ever so gracefully against the turquoise sea waters. And, blue fishing boats line the shores and fishermen sell their daily catch.

We recommend visiting the following towns (North to South): Bari (Coast), Polignano a Mare (Coast), Monopoli (Coast), Alberobello (Inland), Martina Franca (Inland), Ostuni (Inland), and Otranto (Coast).

Trulli Houses in Alberobello, Puglia

Dining in a Trullo in Alberobello

Alberobello is a small town in Puglia in southern Italy. The most striking feature of the town is 

the dense collection of trulli houses.

A trullo is a dry stone hut with a conical roof. There are lots of theories regarding the origin of the trulli. One theory is tax evasion. In the 17th century, nobles could impose heavy taxes on permanent structures. Peasant families, who were unable to pay the tax, built their dwellings in such a way (without any mortar or cement) so that they could demolish the hut easily. The conical roof needs the topmost stone to prevent the roof from collapsing. So, someone could pull the stone out, collapse the hut and avoid paying the tax, at any given moment. 

In Alberobello, trulli are actively being restored and used. Most of the huts are habitable and function as stores, restaurants, and hotels.

Now that you’re hopefully intrigued, let’s talk about the swoon-worthy food of Alberobello. Actually, let’s just talk about a place called Trattoria Terra Madre. Located in a trullo, this gift-to-humanity restaurant serves beautifully prepared vegetables, pasta, and meats.

Terra Madre sources its ingredients locally and from its organic garden. If a meal can shape destinies, then this meal may have done that. We didn’t become chefs the next day. But, we decided to ditch our respectable lives in our respective cities (Vienna and San Francisco) for something more exciting (living together in one city. Hint: Alaaf!)

Capri, Italy

Visit Capri

Capri is an island in the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. Given its easy proximity to Sorrento and Naples, Capri is a popular day-trip. However, if you stay the night, you’ll discover the unspoiled charm of the island.

We visited Capri in early Spring. For anyone thinking it’s too touristy, you’re right. But, if you venture beyond Capri Town and Anacapri, you’ll be rewarded with untraversed footpaths and remote coastal access.

For a non-ostentatious, yet delicious fish dinner, we recommend Ristorante Buca Di Bacco (Via Longano, 35, Capri) in Capri Town.

Neopolitan Pizza at Antonio e Gigi Sorbillo (Via dei Tribunali, 38), Naples

Eat Pizza in Naples

Naples is the capital city of the region Campania in Southern Italy. This lively city animated with swift motorbikes is the birthplace of pizza as we know it.

Making a pilgrimage to Naples to taste Neapolitan pizza is something every food lover must do. 

We recommend eating at Antonio e Gigi Sorbillo (Via dei Tribunali, 38).

There’s so much to experience in this dynamic Southern Italian city beyond its pizza. Here are some ideas for unraveling Naples’ layered history and culture:

  • Tour the Opera House, Teatro di San Carlo
  • Walk the Spaccanapoli in the centro storico
  • Check out the extravagant handmade puppets (Pulcinella) and Crèche work of Naples craftsman along Via San Gregorio Armeno 
  • Eat gelato at Gay-Odin 
  • Have a glass (or bottle) of wine in Piazza Bellini, a lively gathering spot that feels like the heartbeat of the Napoli youth culture.
  • Tour Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo, built in 1470. Don’t miss the 17th-century reliquary busts of 70 martyred saints.

We recommend spending at least 2 full days in Naples. Read this helpful guide on where to stay in Naples to find the perfect accommodation for you.

Saint-Pierre Castle, Aosta Valley, Northern Italy

Discover Aosta Valley, the land of Fontina Cheese, Roaming Ibex, and Medieval Castles

Aosta Valley (Valle d’Aosta) is Italy’s smallest region. Surrounded by Europe’s highest peaks and snuggled between France, Switzerland, and Piedmont (Italy), Valle d’Aosta is the ultimate destination for mountain lovers.

If you want to experience the beauty of Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco), Europe’s highest mountain, or Gran Paradiso National Park, Valle d’Aosta is the place to go.

You can also experience the highlights of Aosta Valley along the famous Tour du Mont Blanc trail.

Learn More: Aosta Valley Travel Guide

Wine Tasting in Cantina Tramin, South Tyrolean Wine RoadAlto Adige, Italy

Go Wine Tasting in Tramin, along the South Tyrolean Wine Road

Tramin is a wine village, situated on the South Tyrolean Wine Road (aka Alto Adige Wine Road) in Northern Italy. It’s also the alleged birthplace of Gewürztraminer wine.

On our way to Aosta Valley, we detoured to Tramin for the sole intention of drinking Gewürztraminer. “Gewürz” means spicy in German, and you can really taste the spice in these Tramin wines.

Elena Walch makes sophisticated and elegant world-class wines. We left with bottles of Gewürztraminer Concerto Grosso (2017), Chardonnay Cardellino (2017) and EWA cuvée (2017). There are several ways to visit the winery. If you plan on buying wine, you can head directly to their tasting room. If you want to enjoy a glass (or bottle) of Alto Adige wine with some food, go to their Garden Bistrot Kastelaz “Le verre capricieux”. They also offer winery tours (May – October). If you’re interested in a tour, we recommend making a reservation in advance.

Also, check out the gorgeous tasting room of Cantina Tramin. Here, you can try a huge selection of whites and reds in a modern tasting room that overlooks the wide valley of the Adige River. We loved their Nussbaumer Gewürztraminer and Unterebner Pinot Grigio (2017).

Ortler High Mountain Trail, South Tyrol, Italy

Trek around Mount Ortler in Val Venosta

Mount Ortler, or fondly called King Ortles (3,905 meters), is the highest mountain in the Ortler Alps and the entire Eastern Alps. This prominent mountain is situated in the Vinschgau (Val Venosta) region of South Tyrol. 

We came here to hike part of the Ortler High Mountain Trail, a multi-day trek that circumnavigates the Ortler Group. We loved our experience because of the glacier views, the solitude, and the South Tyrolean hospitality and food. 

Things to Do in the Ortler Alps

  • Hike part of the Ortler High Mountain Trail 
  • Eat Lunch with a view of Mount Ortler at Furkelhütte (Rifugio Forcola). You can hike to the hut from Stelvio Pass (highly recommended) in 3 hours, or ascend here by chairlift from Trafoi village. 
  • Stay in Hotel Bella Vista in Trafoi village, when you want great food, wine, hosts, and views. 
  • Wine, dine, and luxuriate in Hotel Burgaunerhof’s panoramic wellness area in Martell Valley.
Orler Alps, South Tyrol, Italy

What to Eat and Drink in Italy

Italian Custom: Coperto

Coperto means cover charge. It’s the fee you pay to sit at a table in a restaurant. Generally, the fee is somewhere between 1 EUR and 5 EUR. This may, or may not be advertised on the menu.

Italian Gastronomy

Italian cuisine is probably the most loved food globally. For that reason, we’re not going to tell you what to eat. Instead, we want to share with you some of the highlights of our food adventures.

Orecchiette in Puglia | In Otranto and Alberobello, we saw pasta shapes we had never seen before. And, my goddesses and gods, were they good. We packed at least 6 bags of orecchiette pasta in our already stuffed backpacks and carried them joyfully back home.

Knödel in South Tyrol | spinach dumplings, cheese dumplings, ham dumplings. We can sing about dumplings. Our most memorable Knödel experience was in a mountain hut in the Schlern – Rosengarten Dolomites.

Espresso in Taranto | It’s really easy to find quality espresso in Italy. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a comfortable place to drink your espresso. Italians drink their coffee like most people drink a shot: at a bar, standing up. The best espresso we had was at a gas station in Taranto. Seated in white plastic chairs on a sea of asphalt, we laughed in disbelief about how good our 80 cent gas station espresso was.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Drei Zinnen, Sexten Dolomites

Italy Facts 

Official Name | Repubblica italiana (Italian Republic) 

Capital | Rome

Government | Unitary Parliamentary Republic 

Regions | Italy is divided into 20 regions. Each region, apart from Aosta Valley, is divided into provinces.

Population | 60.6 Million 

Language | Italian is the official language of Italy. In the autonomous province of South Tyrol (Alto Adige) in Northern Italy, German and Ladin have equal status.

Currency | Euro

Payment Culture | Cash

Tipping Etiquette | A service charge (servizio) and a coperto (cover charge) is automatically added to the bill in restaurants. The coperto is a charge for the tablecloth, silverware, etc… For outstanding service, you can round up the bill.

Water Quality | This is somewhat controversial. Many sources say that it’s safe to drink the tap. But, Italians are amongst the greatest water bottle consumers globally. We say, do as the Italians do (especially in old, dense cities).

Something Interesting | Stray cats are protected as “biological heritage” in Rome. It’s estimated that there are 300,000 cats in the Eternal City. The cats are regularly fed by Le Gattare, or Cat Ladies.

Italian Saying | In vino veritas. Translation: In wine there is truth.

Vajolet Towers Rosengarten Dolomites

Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails, Sabrina and Kati