Only recently opened up to tourism of a certain consistency, following development and modernization of the road network, the region has a range of attractions to suit all demands.
Though still not very well-known, Basilicata is without doubt a region with considerable tourist potential, for it offers a great variety of scenery on relatively small territory. The Ionian coast and the Tyrrhenian are quite different, each with its own clearly marked individual character.
Calabria has enormous tourist potential, and its exploitation should reasonably be expected to boost genuine improvement of the regional economy. A wealth of splendid scenery lies along the littoral which, including the Tyrrhenian and Ionian coasts, stretches for nearly 800 km. and is characterized by a tremendous variety of panoramas, ranging from delightful rocky coves (especially on the Tyrrhenian) to vast beaches fringing a clear sparkling sea.
Tourism in Campania has old traditions. Already a place of leisure in Roman times, Campania acquired an elite clientele, particularly foreigners attracted by the wonders of Nature, in the course of last century. Capri, Ischia, Sorrento and Amalfi became the chosen destinations of visitors from many countries, however, there are hosts of equally beautiful sights and fine scenery in the inland areas.
Apart from Bologna and the other major urban centres, tourism in Emilia-Romagna is principally directed to the Adriatic coast, where from the Comacchio Valleys to the Marches boundary lie some thirty famous and busy seaside resorts. The beaches of Romagna have, in fact, always attracted tourists from home and abroad, (especially the Germans and Northern Europeans).
Friuli Venezia Giulia
An ideal itinerary can begin at Cividale del Friuli, the ancient Forum Julii founded by Julius Caesar, from which Friuli took its name. The Palazzo Comunale (14th-15th century) deserves a visit, as does the Gothic-Renaissance Duomo (15th-16th century) with works of art including a valuable gold and silver altar-piece (13th century), and the nearby Museo Cristiano (Christian museum) with the Battistero di Callisto (baptistry) and the Ratchis altar (both 18th century), masterpieces of high medieval art. Also important are: the National Archeological Museum, Longobard relics), Tempietto Longobardo (8th-9th century), of architectural and pictorial-decorative interest.
Though penalized by the extraordinary centralizing influence exerted by Rome on vast numbers of visitors, the whole of Latium has considerable tourist potential, for it offers a range of alternative itineraries with a wide choice of historical and artistic sights and scenery. One interesting itinerary might begin in the north of the region, in search of the mysterious and fascinating Etruscans, fierce rivals of the Romans, whose spiritual depth is here revealed in their fine and evocative necropoli.
Liguria's geographical position, mild climate and pleasant landscapes have made it a successful traditional pole of attraction for national and international seaside tourism since the middle of last century. All along the coast, from Ventimiglia to Lerici, there are small holiday resorts which, though themselves endowed with works of art, have only developed alongside the famous holiday resorts: Bordighera, Sanremo, Alassio, Finale Ligure, Nervi, Portofino, Santa Margherita and Rapallo.
By tradition, the main tourist attractions in this region, apart from Milan and the other main towns, are the great Alpine lakes and this detracts from the scenic and artistic attractions of the mountains and plains.
The Marches are generally renowned for their famous seaside resorts. From north to south, the most important are: Gabicce Mare, Fano, Marotta, Senigallia (the famous `Velvet Beach'), Sirolo (situated in the rocky Riviera del Conero), Numana, Porto Recanati, Civitanova Marche, Porto S. Elpidio, Porto S. Giorgio, Cupra Marittima, Grottammare and S. Benedetto del Tronto.
Molise is perhaps the most depressed Italian region, from a tourist point of view. It is such a small area, and an insufficient communications network means isolation. Only in recent years has tourism here begun to expand and some small holiday resorts are trying to attract an increasingly larger clientele. These resorts include the mountain centres of Capracotta, Pescopennataro, Frosolone and Campitello Matese, already a well-known winter sports resort. On the Adriatic coast, with its wide, sandy beaches are seaside resorts such as: Petacciato Marina, Marino di Montanero, Campomarino and, especially, Termoli.
One of the symbols of Piedmont is the Po River and it rightly deserves first mention: its source at Piano del Re is the starting point for climbs on Monviso. On the plain, at the mouth of the Po Valley, stand elegant Saluzzo (crafts and furniture exhibition in September) and the majestic Staffarda Abbey.
The influx of tourists in Puglia is linked to the numbers of beach resorts along the Adriatic and Ionican coasts. Most of the beaches are wide and sandy, giving way to attractive rocky coves, some with magnificent sea caves, in a few parts of Gargano and the Salentino peninsula. Taking the Gargano promontory as a starting point, the most important centres are Rodi Garganico, Peschici, Vieste, the elegant Pugnochiuso and Baia delle Zagare, where numerous sea crags give added beauty to the scenery.
Basically, tourism in Sardinia is linked to its extraordinarily beautiful coastline, with a variety of splendours hard to find elsewhere, and not only in the Mediterranean. Pure white sands alternate with tiny hidden coves, sheer cliffs frequently soar above magnificent caves and picturesque rocks rise from a clear sparkling sea facing rugged promontories, eroded by the wind.
With a coastline of some thousand kilometres, Sicily offers the visitor the greatest imaginable variety of marine environments: wide sandy beaches, sheer cliffs, remote tiny beaches, world famous resorts, an interior enriched by the remains of ancient civilizations and the survival of centuries-old traditions.
Trentino Alto Adige
Trentino-Alto Adige is truly the alpine region which can satisfy all the imaginable needs of the mountain-loving tourist: it possesses permanent snow, harsh dolomitic mountain passes, green meadows, unpolluted forests, but also gentle sunny slopes covered with vines, evocative medieval-looking villages, together with a large number of castles and towers dominating the valleys or mirrored in the waters of the lakes.
Tuscany is one of the regions in Italy that attract the highest number of tourists, this as a result of its excellent position on the peninsula and satisfactory hotel and other facilities, and most of all to the great variety of environmental, scenic, artistic, cultural and historical attractions.
The area is dotted with charming and often old villages, whose intrinsic merits merge with those of the environment.
Umbria is a region with immense tourist potential. However, as a result of inadequate hotel facilities and road and rail links, mass tourism still tends to pass it by. Umbria is the ideal place for visitors seeking the beauties of unspoilt Nature, and the splendours of medieval and Renaissance art, or wishing to follow itineraries of historical and religious interest in the countryside that gave birth to St. Benedict, St. Rita and, especially, St. Francis.
Tourism-related activities represent the main source of income for Valle d'Aosta. Apart from the town of Aosta, the largest tourist areas practically coincide with the famous side valleys, here listed in clockwise order for those coming from the Po Valley.
Venetia is traditionally a region of great attraction to tourists, with the presence of a high quality centre of interest such as Venice (see specific chapter) and of itineraries of great interest from an environmental and artistic point of view.