This is not a specific travel plan, but a list of places that most pique my interest now. They are places that I should have already visited; places I’ve seen but need more time with; and places that have just recently come on my radar.
Few of the destinations are top picks for first-time visitors, but I’d recommend them all to visitors looking for something more than the pressing crowds of the Vatican, Florence or Venice.
It’s part of an evolving wish list that I started in 2018. Some of which I’ve seen, and the vast majority of which I haven’t, but hope to someday.
Then read on for the new destinations catching my eye in 2020.
My 2020 Italy Wish List:
All of Puglia
I read. I researched. I interrogated friends and studied maps. We had ten days to tackle Puglia and I wanted to see it all. Our plan was 5 days or so along the Adriatic Coast, with time for the neighborhood beach and time to visit nearby towns like Ostuni, Lecce and Otranto. Then, another four days near Alberobello to see that city, Polignano a Mare, Castellana Grotte and maybe even Martina Franca. We’d take a day trip to Matera in Basilicata on the way north in a circuitous route back home. The trip was big, demanding, all-encompassing, and just what we wanted. In the end we didn’t get to Puglia, and that’s fine, but the dream still hasn’t faded in my eyes.
Sirolo, Le Marche
The Mediterranean coastline is everything one imagines about the Italian seaside: glamour, sun, sparkling sea. But I’ve been in Italy long enough to know that it’s not the only coastline for some beach time. Mediterranean coasters might sneer at the Adriatic coasters, but it seems to me that the Adriatic coasters are too relaxed to even notice.
I’m looking for a sandy beach and total relax, and with roughly 100 miles of coastline and unspoiled landscapes, I’d say Le Marche is the place for that.
See: Why I Love Le Marche. Hint: green spaces, a bit of elbow room, a sky I can actually see.
Though I’d be happy to visit multiple places on the coast, I’m attracted by the natural beauty of Sirolo, in the Conero Riviera, and the powder white sand of its nearby Due Sorelle beach.
On our way home from Puglia, we decided to take a different route north to visit some sights I’ve had my eye on. We planned to base ourselves just outside of Rome in Tivoli to see Villa d’Este and Villa Adriano, with side trips to see the otherworldly forest of Bomarzo and further north to Viterbo and Civita di Bagnoregio (finally!)
I don’t love palaces, but give me a fancy garden and I can be happy for hours. A garden is a perfect travel break spot for Adeline to run and play. It’s pretty, pleasant and a wonderful way to be outdoors, and these ones are especially unique. Bomarzo, for instance, is an entire park filled with strange and creepy sculptures carved out of the area’s natural rock.
I’ve long overlooked Genova as a working port city with little to offer compared to the more glamorous coastal towns in Liguria like Portofino or the Cinque Terre or Camogli. But what a mistake! I’ve seen a lot of Liguria, so it’s time to visit the capital city.
Genova essentially splits Liguria into its two different coastlines: the Rising Sun and the Setting Sun. (A bit more on that here). It is the home to a massively important port for northern Italy, an aquarium and enormous children’s museum, but I’m mostly interested in strolling the town and enjoying the salt air, eating Genovese dishes and just seeing what this port city is all about.
Read: What to Eat in Liguria
I appreciate the fresh air and outdoor lifestyle that mountain getaways can offer more and more. Especially with small children! Mountain towns are perfect destinations for families with small children. Though you can’t yet do epic, all-day hikes, many places in the Dolomites have plenty of kid-friendly walks, even toddlers, and playgrounds galore! Plus, the mountains are much simpler than the beach (no sand in the diaper or beach toys to lug or multiple changes…you get the idea).
I’ve only been to the Dolomites once, but now that Adeline is starting to enjoy 30-minute or so walks, I’d love to go and see what kind of hikes she’s able to do with such a gorgeous backdrop!
The Langhe, Piedmont
A weekend trip to the Langhe was our final victim of “the year all our trips got canceled.” October was a beautiful, warm and sunny month in 2019 – the perfect time to tour the rolling vineyards of the Langhe in southern Piedmont and taste the fall fare that the region is so known for, but alas, we waited too long and by the time our weekend came around the autumn rain had started. Some day I’ll get my sun-kissed vineyard tour, Barolo wine and truffle-seasoned pasta in Piedmont, some day!
Read: What to Eat in Piedmont. Oh…and drink!
My Italy Travel Wish List is simply a dream written down, but I do it with the hopes that maybe my ideas will influence yours. Maybe you will see a destination you’d never previously considered. Maybe you’ll write a list of your own or simply enjoy the dream.
Maybe you’ll share your own list with us all!