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Regions in Italy

Italy, considered by many travellers as one of the most beautiful countries in the world and one of the most visited. Italy is subdivided into 20 distinct regions (in Italian region ). Five of these regions have special autonomous status, each with its own government, while two are islands.

The 20 Italian Regions are a diverse group with many historic and cultural differences. From the bustling metropolis of Rome to quaint medieval towns like Siena and Chioggia; from Tuscan vineyards in Chianti country dotted by cypress trees to Puglia’s sandy beaches; or Umbria’s rolling green hills lined with olive groves and beautiful beaches in Sicily – there is something for everyone here!

If you are interested in knowing Regions in Italy and what they have to offer keep reading this article.

Italy regions – map

Italian Regions - Italian Food Decoder App

Italy is divided into four parts: the south, the north, the centre and the islands.

Regions of South Italy

Calabria

Located on the southernmost edge of Italy, Calabria is often referred to as “the toe of Italy” It’s one of the most beautiful and unexplored regions in all Europe. You’ll find plenty to see for yourself – from picturesque villages with cobblestone streets that date back centuries to immense natural wonders like Pollino National Park which spans 1/3rd of the region!

Located at Italy’s Southern tip, Calabria borders both the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea. The main city and the capital is Catanzaro.

Basilicata

The Basilicata region of Italy is an interesting place for tourists with its rugged geography, unique cuisine and rich culture

Matera is a must-visit destination for lovers. It’s famous for its prehistoric cave paintings and has an excellent museum dedicated to this art form. It’s known for being one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns on Earth, and it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1993 because its stone constructions are so unique to this area that they’re described by many as “an open air museum.”

Puglia

Puglia is loved by travellers from all over the world thanks partly to its sun and holiday villas. You are never too far away from a fellow backpacker, couple, or family when you travel to Apulia. This region is home to more than 60 percent of all the olive oil produced in Italy as well as home to three of the country’s 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The capital of Puglia is Bari, which is home to one of the region’s two main airports – the Karol Wojtyla Airport – with the other one called Airport of Salento located in Brindisi. Apulia is also known for beaches such as Malives of Salento, Toreeo Guaceto, and Pescoluse.

Campania

Campania is an interesting mix. There are a variety of cities to visit including Naples, the largest city in Italy with about 3 million residents and known for its vibrant culture; Pompeii, also called “the Pearl” or La Perla del Vesuvio that was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius centuries ago but still stands as one of the most popular tourist destinations today because it offers insights into Roman life at the time when Romans ruled Amalfi coast is also one of the highlights of Campania.

Molise

Molise makes up the last of the five regions of Southern Italy. It is famous for its egg pasta. It is probably the quietest region in Italy and a great travel destination that will offer you respite from the hustle and bustle of Lombardy, Piedmont, Tuscany, or Campania. Molise is also among the youngest in Italy as it was part of Abruzzie Molise up until 1963. Additionally, it is also among the smallest regions, with a population of around 300,000. The region’s capital is Campobasso, a city known for its craftsmanship of blades as well as the production of scamorza and pears. 

Regions of Central Italy

Abruzzo

Abruzzo also known as Abruzzi, this region is geographically considered central but in terms of culture, history, economy, and language, it is of Southern Italy. It is famous for its Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine which is produced from the Montepulciano grape. It is also home to a few mountain ranges, a number of medieval towns, and some UNESCO heritage sites.

Lazio

Located in the central peninsular section of Italy, Lazio is home to more than 5.8 million people, making it the second-most populous region in Italy after Lombardy. Lazio is famous for its meat dishes, especially saltimbocca, which is copied all over the world. There are five provinces in Lazio, with the most populous being Rome – the Italian capital.

Rome is the most popular tourist destination and the largest city in the country. With many monuments and Landmarks ( the colosseum, fountains and obelisks) Rome is among the most visited cities in Europe.

The city of Rome is also where the Vatican is.

Umbria

As with many regions of Italy, Umbria is also famous for wine and cuisine. Its dishes are usually flavorful and they include grilled meats, salami, game birds, lentils, and farro among others. Umbria was once larger than it is today when Rieti was still part of Umbria. Today, the region has only two provinces – Terni and Perugia. Its capital is Umbria, but cities like Assisi, Spoleto or Orvieto are also worth your time.

Le Marche

The name Le Marche is derived from the plural of marca, which was a name of an ancient March of Ancona and the surrounding marches of Fermo and Camerino. It usually fly under the radar of many tourists from outside Italy despite its thriving wine business with signature 2 DOCG and 12 DOC wines. Le Marche is also famous for growing many vegetables like cauliflowers and artichokes as well as fruits such as pears, apricots, apples, and peaches. Pulses such as chickpeas are also included inside dishes and soups. The capital of the region is Ancona, which is a seaport along the Adriatic Sea.

Tuscany

Tuscany is one of the most popular regions of Italy and it’s home to over 3.8 million people, with some really important tourist attractions like Florence, Siena and Pisa with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. places you might recognise from tales by Dante Alighieri or Boccaccio telling stories about their visits there!

Tuscany is a land rich in food and wine. Its most iconic dish has to be the spaghetti alla chittara, which features red sauce with tomato paste along with pancetta or meatballs. Toscana produces some of Italy’s finest Chianti wines such as those from Castello di Amorosa and Tenuta Il Poggio that will make you really taste Tuscany!

Regions of North Italy

North Italy is comprised of several different regions with their own character. The northwestern part includes Piedmont which features scenic geography such as vineyards overlooking alpine foothills or lakeside villages nestled among hillsides covered by dense forests below snowcapped peaks; there’s also Lombardy (home to Milan), Emilia Romagna (the home for Modena) and Veneto – all known for producing some world-renowned wines!

Liguria

Liguria is known for being home to the Italian Riviera and numerous tourist spots with popular resorts scattered all over its boundaries owing to the fact that it is dissected by the Apennines and Alps mountain ranges. The capital of Liguria is Genoa, which is also the sixth-largest city in Italy. Liguria is divided into four main regions, from west to east. these regions, or provinces are further divided into five districts. Besides Genoa, Liguria also has charming cities like La Spezia, Rapallo, and Porto Venere.

Emilia-Romagna

The name Emilia Romagna is known for its elegant ancient cities, some mouthwatering dishes, and many sun-kissed Adriatic coastline. The cuisine of Emilia Romagna changes from city to city – Bologna, the region’s capital city is known for its pasta and meat sauces, Modena for its fine balsamic vinegar, and Parma for its ham and Parmigiano cheese. 

The major points of attractions in Emilia-Romagna are found in areas around major towns and cities such as Ravenna, Parma, Rimini, and Ferrara. This area is also known for its white sandy beaches, including Playa del Sol, Lido delle Sirene, and Bagno Egisto. Also worth pointing is the economic significance of the region to Italy, as it is home to a number of industries including manufacturing plants for Lamborghini, Ferrari, Ducati and Maserati.

Lombardy

Lombardy is the most populous region in Italy, with around one-sixth of the country’s population living within its confines. It is also the leading commercial and industrial region of Italy, with Milan, the second-largest city in the country and the capital city of Lombardy, among the largest industrial, import and export centers in the country. Lombardy is also where the famous Lake Como is located, the country’s deepest lake, For lake lovers, it is here that you will also find the lake district, an area consisting of five lakes, running from west to east, including Lakes Maggiore, Lugano, the aforementioned Lake Como, Iseo, and Garda.

If you are a football fan, Milan is also home to two of the biggest football teams in Europe – Inter Milan and AC Milan. Note: Football is the most popular sport in Italy and each region has its own football culture – Roma and Lazio in Lazio regione, Parma and Bologna FC in Emilia-Romagna, Napoli FC in, Campania, and Juventus and Torino in Piedmont just to name a few. 

Piedmont

Located in central Italy, Piedmont is among the 20 regions of Italy, bordering Liguria to the south, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy to the east, and Aosta Valley to the northwest. The remaining sides, north east, and west it borders Switzerland and France respectively. With an area of 9,809 square miles it is the second-largest region of Italy and the largest on the mainland. Its capital is Turin. In terms of cuisine, the area is known for dishes such as cream sauces and truffles, though it is also the country’s most culinary developed region. 

Veneto

Veneto or Venetia is home to around 5 million people, making it the fifth most populous region in Italy. It is known for its coastline along the Adriatic Sea and its capital Venice or Venezia in the Italian language. Veneto is home to many vineyards, with Italian DOCG dry red wine produced in abundance in the province of Verona. Most of the region’s dishes are fish-based with bigoli in salsa and risotto al nero di sepia two of the most common. Venice, the headquarters of the region is known for its thousands of canals. Tourism is among the major economic activities in Veneto, with many visitors attracted to its unique architecture and Italy’s ancient forest of Cansiglio.

Independent Regions of Italy map

Regions of Italy - Wikipedia

Sardinia

Sardinia is the second-largest Mediterranean island after Sicily and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is usually chosen by many tourists as a beach and summer destination thanks to its award-winning coastline, pristine waters, and hilltop towns. With GDP per capita of €21,200, Sardinia is one of the wealthiest regions, with most of its economic activities coming from Cagliari. The city of Cagliari is also the region’s capital city.

Sicily

Forming a fifth of the autonomous regions of Italy, Sicily is the largest Mediterranean island. The island is home to some medieval Greek Temples Mount Etna which is the largest active volcano in Europe, and the birthplace of Archimedes. Palermo is the largest and capital of Sicily. Sicily is separated from the Calabria by the Strait of Messina, which is just 3 kilometers at its narrowest section.

Trentino-Alto Aldige

Trentino Alto Adige is located in the northern part of Italy at the border with Switzerland and Austria and is known for its charming mountains. The region is among the autonomous regions under the constitution and home to the Dolomites. Due to its beautiful peaks, this region is a great destination for adventure and ideal for taking a picture. The capital of Trentino-Alto Adige is Trento, which is located on the banks of the Adige River. Many people in this region are German native speakers.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

This is also one of the five autonomous regions recognized by the government of Italy. The region, which is located in the northeastern section of the peninsular borders Slovenia to the east, Austria to the north, the Veneto region to the west, and the Adriatic Sea to the south. It covers an area of 3,030 square miles and is divided into four provinces – Trieste, Udine, Pordenone, and Gorizia. The capital city of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is Trieste. 

Valle d’Aosta – (Aosta Valley)

Completing the five autonomous regions under the constitution of Italy. Aosta Valley is among the most popular skiing destinations in Europe. Its ski slopes of Cervinia (with the view of Matterhorn), Pila, and Courmayeur are known all over the continent of Europe. The region, just as with Lombardy, is characterized by the contrast between the plains and Alps and shares borders with the European countries of Switzerland and France. Valle d’Aosta is also home to the famous Fontina cheese, which is a semisoft cow’s cheese with a tender, creamy, nutty flavor. Aosta is the capital city of this region. The city is also located at the confluence of the Dora Baltea and Buthier rivers. Aosta has a rich history that dates back to 24 BC when it was found by Augustus. It is that you will also find Europe’s tallest peak, Mont Blanc. Capital city L’Aquila  

Regions in Italy – Conclusion

There are a ton of regions in Italy to explore, each have different cuisine, Landmarks and sights to explore. Italy has it all countryside, mountains and the sea. Whether you want to go skiing in the Alps or enjoy some seafood on the Amalfi coast, there’s no better time than now to get started planning your Italian vacation!

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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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