8 Charming Italian Towns That Should Be on Your Radar for Summer 2018

Don’t miss these dazzling Italian destinations

Updated 03/23/18

Photo by Bottega 53

You’ve decided to visit Italy this summer. Fantastico! (Hey, it’s never too soon to start learning the language.) Few countries compare to the beauty and charisma of this boot-shaped nation with its rocky coastal towns, rolling hills, sprawling vineyards, and charming villages.

Now comes the hard part. Where exactly will you go? The good news is there’s no wrong answer. Wherever you choose, you’ll find stunning scenery, fabulous fare (we’re drooling just thinking about all the pizza, pasta, and seafood), and plenty of vino. That said, some places are particularly well suited for getaways in June, July, and August.

From Cefalù to Capri, these enchanting destinations deserve a spot on your upcoming itinerary.

Ravello

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With its gorgeous gardens, breathtaking vistas, ancient stone pathways, and romantic ambiance, it's little wonder that Ravello has captivated for centuries. Its list of high-profile visitors—from Renaissance rocker Giovanni Boccaccio and writer Gore Vidal to reclusive actress Greta Garbo and musician Richard Wagner—is as impressive as its spectacular panoramas. The Ravello Festival, an annual celebration of music and arts, held every summer, is also a major draw.

Cefalù

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An hour train ride from the hustle and bustle of Palermo is Cefalù. Sandy shores, eye-catching architecture, and fresh seafood make this coastal town a true Sicilian treasure. After a day of taking in the sights—notably the Norman-Arabic Duomo di Cefalù, Santuario Gibilmanna, and Mandralisca Museum—your dream digs await at Hotel Alberi del Paradiso and Calette N°5.

Siena

Andrea Comi

Soulful and scrumptious, Siena is a hilltop gem. Its heart, Piazza del Campo, is home to the towering 14th-century Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico. Nearby is the Duomo (Siena Cathedral), which displays masterpieces from Donatello and Michelangelo. And within each of its historic contrade (districts) lies a trove of pastry shops, wine bars, and enticing eateries.

Positano

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The crown jewel of the Amalfi Coast, Positano seduces with its sun-drenched beaches, Moorish-style architecture, sherbet-hued homes, steep stone streets, and cascading wisteria blooms. Take in the striking Mediterranean Sea views from your suite at Il San Pietro di Positano or Villa Magia. This cliffside village also offers superb dining and fashionable shopping—and a price tag to match.

Sorrento

Courtesy of Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria/Roberto Bonardi

Perched atop cliffs, gazing out at the azure Bay of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius, is Sorrento, a popular resort known for its sweeping vistas and relaxed vibe. What it lacks in beaches, it more than makes up for in activities—namely diving, fishing, boating, and hiking—appetizing restaurants, and sophisticated accommodations (we’d recommend the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria). Love limoncello? You can thank Sorrento, the birthplace of the lemon liquor.

Lucca

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It’s hard not to fall for Lucca. Concealed within its well-preserved Renaissance walls is warren of cobbled corridors, picturesque piazzas, and leafy promenades. The Cattedrale di San Martino, Torre Guinigi, and Museo Villa Puccini are among the top attractions. After sightseeing, soak in the relaxing atmosphere over a glass of Lucchesi prosecco and rustic Tuscan fare at a traditional trattoria.

Brescia

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Situated between Milan and Verona, in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, Brescia exudes a tangible sense of history—cathedrals, piazzas, a well-preserved castle complex, and museums exhibiting ancient artifacts dating back to pre-Roman times. But that’s only part of the appeal. Surrounding Brescia is a plentitude of natural splendor. Escape the city and spend the day exploring the pastoral wine region of Franciacorta, famed for its vineyards and small-batch sparkling vino.

Capri

Courtesy of JK Place Capri

Capri has long been a playground for the rich and famous (it was a favorite of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis). This idyllic island continues to tantalize travelers with its rocky coastline, sea caves, and upmarket ambiance. Its main town looks like a movie set come to life—car-free streets, high-end hotels such as Punta Tragara and JK Place Capri, and stylish boutiques selling everything from artisan-made perfume to handcrafted leather goods.

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