March can be one of the best months to start heading to Italy for a number of reasons. As a “shoulder season” month, this means that even the most popular tourist attractions are less crowded, and rates are cheaper for airfare and accommodations. The weather is decent, if slightly unpredictable, and there are more than a few major holidays and festivals to attend for a truly authentic experience. While all of Italy is abloom in the spring, here are a few of our favorite key destinations to visit.
Sicily is best seen in March, when the temperatures start to climb but the roads are still fairly clear. Here you’ll find some beautiful Roman and Greek ruins just begging to be explored during the day and charming baroque towns that make for stunning night views. The sights are spread out and you’ll need time to get around to see them all, so the relaxed traffic situation is an advantage. Two weeks is best, but you can squeeze all the must-see spots into a week with some careful planning of your itinerary.
This little town in the south of Italy might escape the notice of most people focused on the big three: Milan, Venice, and Rome. However, Matera is no less spectacular. Teeming with history, it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in the ‘90s and is set to be one of the two European Capitals of Culture designated by the European Union in 2019. It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, and the places where those people lived are mostly still standing. Interestingly enough, these homes form a network of caves cut right out of the rock. Matera is haunting and stunning at the same time, but beautiful all the same.
World-class surfing in Italy? While largely unheard of, it’s totally possible to do so in the town of Levanto on the Mediterranean coast. Nearby Cinque Terre is where most tourists go when the weather starts to warm up, but the little town is ill-equipped to handle the volume and density of tourist crowds. Smart travelers head down to Levanto instead, which has just as much to offer. If you’re the type who enjoys the outdoors and nature activities, as well as a variety of water sports like windsurfing, paddleboarding and kayaking, then Levanto is the place for you.
Ravello, the Amalfi coast
Warm temperatures combined with coastal views is usually all the reason one needs to hit the Amalfi coast. In March, you’ll enjoy the bonus privilege of not having to contend with fellow tourists for space. Ravello is a great choice for spring because of its historic villas and gardens. Not only do you get to enjoy views of Amalfi’s magnificent coastline, but the gardens at Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone are awash with spring blooms that are sure to bring out the romantic in everyone.
Val d’Orcia, Tuscany
This is the second world heritage site we have on this list, and for great reason. It is the perfect example of well-managed Renaissance agriculture and is particularly fun to visit in the spring. You get rolling hills covered in carpets of electric green grass, some of the most picturesque views anywhere in Italy, plus a healthy dose of history, culture, and exceptional food. Renowned Brunello wines come from Val d’Orcia, Pienza. In addition, it produces excellent pecorino cheese, and you’ll find great delicacies like chestnuts, truffles, mushrooms, and high-quality olive oil. Suffice to say, you’ll eat like a king here.
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