In traveler’s vocabulary Italy is that one destination that is magical, has plenty of cultural landmarks and historical sites to visit, some dramatic volcanic sites and dazzling white sandy beaches, but it also one of the most crowded places. The beaches of Sicily and Sardinia are with no doubt gorgeous but what most people don’t realize is that there are some other places where you can go cool off and where you are safely hidden from the tourist crowds. We’ll give you an insight of what you can experience should you choose to explore at least one of the twelve hidden gems that are Italian islands.
Panarea is the second smallest of the eight Aeolian Islands with no more than 280 residents. The island has an inactive volcano and the thermal springs near the village of Punta di Peppe e Maria are a popular destination.
Favignana is one of the three islands of Aegadian Islands and it is situated just 7 km west of the coast of Sicily, between Trapani and Marsala. The island is quite famous for its tuna fisheries and is now a popular tourist destination with frequent hydrofoil connections to the mainland.
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea located on the northern end of the Gulf of Naples and it is also the largest of the Flegree Islands. The thermal spas are the main attraction of the island and tourists are more than eager to enjoy the benefits from the island’s natural volcanic activity, its hot springs and volcanic mud.
Isola d’Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany and part of the Archipelago Toscano National Park. The island is quite popular holiday resort especially for German tourists and it is also a perfect place for cycling on the network of trails existent on the island.
Isola di San Nicola is part of the Isole Tremiti, an archipelago in the Adriatic Sea. San Nicola is where most of the population resides and it is the site where a monk named Nicolo was buried. Legend says that everytime someone tried to move his corpse off the island, a violent storm would break out preventing navigation around the island; a very interesting place to visit.
La Maddalena is an island in northern Sardinia quite famous for its beaches, characterized by rocky gigantic terrain and ancient fortifications. The island can be reached by boat, with car ferries traveling from nearby Palau and from the Italian mainland.
Lampedusa is the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Lampedusa has a population of approximately 4,500 people and its main industries are fishing, agriculture and tourism. In 2013, Rabbit Beach, located in the southern part of the island was voted the world’s best beach by TripAdvisor.
Levanzo is the smallest of the three main Aegadian Islands with only 450 inhabitants, concentrated around a tiny port that gives shelter from storms. The island is famous for the Grotta del Genovese with Neolithic cave paintings.
Pantelleria, located southwest of Sicily and just 60 km east of the Tunisian coast is the largest volcanis island in the area. Known for its sweet wines, Pantelleria is famous for its numerous hot springs and fumaroles on the island, due to an active hydrothermal system.
Ponza is the largest of the Italian Pontine Islands archipelago, inhabited since the Roman times and famous for its Blue Grottoes created by Etruscans. The island focuses mainly on tourism and fishing but the local economy is decreasing due to severe restrictions on commercial fishing.
Procida is one of the Flegrean Islands off the coast of Naples in southern Italy with a population of almot 10,000 people. Procida was created by the eruption of four volcanoes which are now dormant and submerged.
Vulcano is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea located north of Sicily. Part of the Aeolian Islands, Vulcano has one of the four non-active submarine volcanoes in Italy. Thanks to its volcanic activity thermophiles and hyperthermophiles can be found on the island.
The Real Luxury Hut Experience – L’Essenza, Sardinia Italy
Located in the countryside of Sardinia close to its north coast beaches, L’Essenza is an authentic guest house that combines the comfort with environmental sustainability offering its guests a one-of-a-kind Mediterranean experience in 4 fully-furnished pinettos. “The pinettu is the typical hut of the ancient shepherds of central Sardinia, with a circular stone base and a roof of resistant tree branches”. All are equipped with comfortable double beds and private bathrooms and in the central area you will also find a library, wi-fi, and a fireplace to enjoy long evenings. Each of the pinettos has been themed around a unique color and sensory path.
The resort follows a unique philosophy which involves “the synergy between agriculture, alternative tourism and culture, environmental sustainability and a high degree of autonomy business with structures made from bio-building and bio-climatic criteria”. Calming peace, intimacy and solitude for meditation is what you will find at L’Essenza. You can follow nature’s trails, or train on rural activities, or even attend cultural events. The resort also promotes guided excursions with English-speaking guides who will take you in some of the most beautiful surrounding places like mountains, waterfalls, hidden little beaches, archeological monuments and typical villages.