REGIONS OF ITALY
Shaped like a boot, Italy has 20 regions, each one of which has its own distinct personality, history, gastronomy and dialect.
Abruzzo is situated in Italy’s long, slender peninsula and stands out for its varied landscape and natural beauty. Much of Abruzzo is a national park and includes the rocky mountains of the Gran Sasso d’Italia, the highest peaks of the Apennines which provide excellent skiing in the winter as well as hiking in the summer months.
There are a number of medieval villages in the region and the beaches around Pescara on the Adriatic coast are popular with the locals and Italian holiday makers.
The name of Abruzzo’s regional capital is L’Aquila which is also the name of one of the four provinces of the region, the other three being Chieti, Pescara and Teramo.
Basilicata is one of Italy’s least known and poorest regions. Situated in the deep south of Italy it has a selection of beautiful sandy beaches around Maratea and some incredibly unspoilt countryside. Basilicata is the most mountainous region in the south of Italy with 47% of its area of covered by mountains. The region is very much off the tourist track, and is divided into two provinces: Potenza and Matera.
Calabria is the most southern part of the Italian Peninsula; the last stop before the island of Sicily. The region is bordered by the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas and like its northern neighbour Basilicata is one of the poorest regions in Italy.
The region though has plenty to offer, a beautiful landscape, sandy beaches and clear water with a warm climate and friendly locals.
Five provinces make up the Calabria region: Catanzaro, Cosenza, Reggio Calabria and Vibo Valentia.
The region of Campania is a popular one with tourists and you can certainly see why with the stunning Amalfi Coast, Naples, Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius and the majestic island of Capri found here. An interesting region for its cuisine, the pizza was conceived in Naples. One slight downside of the region is that during the summer some seaside towns such as Sorrento on the Amalfi coast can become overcrowded with tourists.
Five provinces make up this region: Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Napoli and Salerno.
Emilia Romagna is one of Italy’s wealthiest regions and home to some of the country’s greatest culinary treasures including parma ham, mortadella salami, parmigiano cheese, tortellini stuffed with meat, vegetables and herbs.
Bologna is the main city of the region and home to the oldest university in the Western world, the University of Bologna which was founded in 1088. Today Bologna is one of the most developed cities in Italy.
On the eastern boundary of the region is the beautiful Adriatic Sea where you will find almost 50 miles of golden sandy beaches and dozens of holiday resorts, the most well known being Rimini.
Nine provinces make up Emilia Romagna: Bologna, Ferrara, Forli, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio nell’Emilia and Rimini.
Located in the far north-eastern corner of Italy, strangely Venice (Venezia) doesn’t actually belong to this region. Fruili-Venezia-Giulia is situated on the Adriatic coastline around the port of Trieste.
The four provinces are Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste and Udine.
Home to Rome, one of the world’s truly great cities, this region bridges north and south, situated between Tuscany to the north and Campania to the south.
A long stretch of coastline lines Lazio’s west coast with the most popular beaches and resorts overflowing with Romans during the hot summer months.
Five provinces make up Lazio: Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, Roma and Viterbo.
Often referred to as the Italian Riviera, Liguria neighbours France’s Cote d’Azur which means it has the same sunny hot days in summer and also the same mild winter climate. One of Italy’s smallest regions, a multitude of little towns and villages line the coast with a backdrop of an unbroken wall of mountains behind.
The regional capital of Genoa is one of the Mediterranean’s main port cities and the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. The region is served by two airports; Nice in the south of France and Genova in Italy and is made up of four provinces: Genova, Imperia, La Spezia and Savona.
Lombardy is Italy’s most densely populated region. One in six Italians live in this region and about one fifth of Italy’s GDP is produced there making it the most populous and richest region in the country. The main city of Milan is a hub of business, industry and fashion.
Though Lombardy can be considered relatively overcrowded and polluted by Italian standards, it also lays claim to some of the finest lakes in Europe in Lakes Como, Maggiore and Garda which are surrounded by picture-postcard villages with incredible views of the Alps.
11 Provinces make up Lombardy: Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Matova, Milano, Pavia, Sondro and Varese.
Strangely for a region boasting hill towns, beaches, mountains and an abundance of arts and history, Le Marche is visited by very few tourists.
The region is nestled nicely along the Adriatic coast of Italy where you can find a number of resorts and incredible sandy beaches and natural bays. The beautiful Sibillini Mountains offer skiing in winter.
The region is home to several medieval towns, housing an abundance of Renaissance treasures.
The four provinces of Le Marche are Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata and Pesaro e Urbino.
The second smallest region in Italy, Molise has a population of only 300,000. The region separated from Abruzzo in 1963 to seek its own regional fortune. Like Abruzzo, it is quite a mountainous region with a small coastline on the Adriatic Sea.
The Molise region has only two provinces, Campobasso and Isernia.
Piemonte is located in the north west of Italy and shares borders with Lombardia, Liguria as well as France and Switzerland. Its capital Turin is famously the home of Fiat but also a very beautiful and elegant city. The region is surrounded by the Alps and is a varied landscape of hills, valleys and lakes. This is where you will find Lake Maggiore as well as Albi and Asti, the wine growing regions which provide the red wines of Barolo, Nebbiolo and Bareresco. Piemonte is a great region for snow lovers with an abundance of options for skiing.
Eight provinces make up Piemonte, Alessandria, Asti, Biella, Cuneo, Novara, Torino, Verbania and Vercelli.
Sardinia is the Mediterranean’s second largest island and an enchanting mix of forests, mountains and of course incredible idyllic beaches. This island is truly a holiday maker and beach lovers paradise.
There are four provinces in Sardinia: Cagliari, Nuoro, Oristano and Sassari.
The Mediterranean’s largest island boasts a magnificent climate and some of the most wonderful Greek ruins found outside of Greece. The active volcano of Mount Etna never ceases to amaze and the island is home to some fantastic cuisine and wine.
Sicily has nine provinces: Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Mesina, Palermo, Ragusa, Siracusa and Trapani.
This northern region of Italy has a distinctly Germanic feel to it; in fact two thirds of the inhabitants are of German descent with German being widely spoken here. The region cuts through the Alps and Dolimites and is especially popular with skiers and hikers.
Trentino-Alto Adige has two provinces: Balzano and Trento.
Tuscany is truly wonderful. Here you’ll find the beautiful cities of Florence, Siena and Pisa which house some of Italy’s most famous artistic treasures as well as the quintessential landscape of hilltop towns, vineyards and Cyprus trees.
Tuscany is littered with incredible medieval villages and towns such as Sam Gimignano and Volterra surrounded by breathtaking images of rural Tuscany at its best.
As a result of its beauty and popularity, Tuscany tends to be one of the most expensive of the Italian regions for property buyers.
Tuscany is made up of 11 provinces: Arezzo, Firenze, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena.
Umbria is the only one of the central / southern regions of Italy without a coastline. Though it is not as well known as its neighbour Tuscany, Umbria is also home to a number of medieval towns and villages with the spectacular town of Assisi perhaps the most famous. There’s also Todi, Spoleto, Grubbio and Orvieto to name but a few.
The regions main city Perugia boasts some magnificent artistic and cultural treasures and is also home to a prestigious university for foreigners.
Although Umbria is not as well served by the low cost airlines as other regions in Italy, Pisa and Ancona are both in close proximity.
There are two provinces in the Umbria Region, Perugia and Terni.
This region is Italy’s most sparsely populated and perhaps most famous for skiing. From this region, you can view the highest peaks of Europe in Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Classy ski resorts and ample snow ensure that this region is a mecca for snow lovers.
The region has only one province, Aosta.
The landscape of Veneto is extremely diverse including mountains, plains, beaches, coasts and lagoons. Veneto is home to Venice, one of Italy’s most famous and beautiful cities. Venice is not the only city of the Veneto region, Verona perhaps best known as an inspiration for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Padova which is known for its famous university have both marvelled many a visitor.
The northern part of the Veneto region shows off the spectacular scenery of the Dolomites.
Veneto has seven provinces comprising of Belluno, Padova, Rovigo, Treviso, Venezia, Verona and Vicenza.