6 Unique Places to Visit in Northern Italy

I have been living in Italy for five years now and in that time I have managed to fit in my fair share of travelling and experiences.  My destinations started off much like everyone else’s Italy bucket list – I wanted to see Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence & Pisa.

Those places are undeniably amazing but the longer I lived in Italy the more I discovered the real gems of this country are the places less known of, the places you have to search for, or that involve a degree of adventure.  It’s in these moments that you see the real Italy.  The side of Italy with a big heart and amazing food that welcomes you in like a long-lost family member.  It’s here that you discover the true magic of Italy.

If you want to experience a little of that (and why wouldn’t you?!) then here are my top 6 unique places to travel in Northern Italy.  Maybe you can try and squeeze some in on your next visit to Milan, Venice or Florence…

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Parma.

The region of Parma is known for its incredible food – specifically, it’s hams, cheeses and olive oil.  The best time to visit is in November when the Fall food festivals are in full swing and you can combine a morning of city sightseeing with a local foodie festival.  We combined our visit with ‘November Pork’ a festival which celebrates food from local farms including cheeses, home-made pasta, wine and of course ham, salami, and pork.

Lake Como.

Located only an hour from Milan on the train, Lake Como is a perfect place to escape from the city and pass a day relaxing by the water.  Take a boat ride across the lake to visit the beautiful villa’s of old Italian aristocracy (Villa Carlotta & Villa del Balbianello were our favourites) or get lost walking around one of the little villages dotted along the lake’s edge.

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Verona

Arguably one of the more touristy locations, Verona is definitely still worth a visit.  Take a local bike or walking tour around the city and explore the huge selection of ancient Roman architecture and Renaissance art.  Visit the Amphitheater and Juliette’s (of Romeo & Juliette) balcony and then finish your day at an open-air restaurant in one of Verona’s beautiful plazas.

Lake Garda.

Located between Verona & Venice, Lake Garda is a beautiful, tranquil spot with little villages lining to the shore of the lake.  Two places worth visiting are Peschiera del Garda and Sirmione where you can spend a day walking around cobbled streets, taking boat rides on the lake and eating seafood in sunny plazas.

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Alba.

Another place to visit during the Fall, Alba comes alive through the month of November for the International Truffle Festival.  Plan your visit so you can spend a day exploring the exhibition, tasting the truffles and visiting local deli and wine stores.  Then finish up by visiting vineyards and farm-based restaurants in the surrounding countryside to experience truffle eating at its best.

Torino.

Torino is an elegant and characteristic city 120km north of Milan.  The city has a more local feel but still offers lots of museums, churches, restaurants and sunny plazas so you can get your culture fix.  Top spots include the Mole Antonelliana & Film Museum and The Egyptian Museum.

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Are you planning a trip to Northern Italy? Let me know where you are thinking about going in the comments below…

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