If you’re dreaming of a trip to Italy, go north! It’s a staggeringly beautiful part of the country that’s often overshadowed by well-known spots like Tuscany—but don’t count northern regions like Piedmont, Liguria, and Emilia-Romagna out. Here’s why northern Italy should be on your travel wish list.
Chefs serve up some of the best food in the whole country
Italian food is some of the most popular in the world. So, it’s really saying something that in a country where cuisine takes center stage, northern Italian dishes are standouts. Here’s a handful of the region’s must-try bites. (Since eating is one of the best free-time activities in northern Italy, you’re sure to find time to taste them all!)
—Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which is aged to perfection in Parma
—Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, Modena’s world-renowned balsamic vinegar
—Hazelnuts, famous in the Piedmont region
—Pesto di Genovese, a fresh Ligurian classic often tossed with local trofie pasta
—All things chocolate in Turin, one of the world’s chocolate capitals
—Mortadella (a type of sausage), tortellini (folded, stuffed pastas), and the meat sauce-and-pasta dish ragù alla Bolognese in Italy’s culinary capital, Bologna
Taste northern Italian flavors on tour: Food & Wine: Northern Italy & the Italian Riviera
The variety of views will wow you
Endless miles of coastline, architecturally unique cities, soaring mountain peaks—when it comes to stunning vistas, northern Italy has it all. Get your camera ready, because here are just a few of the beautiful places you can see on tour.
—Colorful Cinque Terre, five UNESCO-listed villages that hug the coastline of the Italian Riviera
—La Morra, a picturesque commune that overlooks the world-famous Barolo wine vineyards
—The Dolomites, a UNESCO-listed mountain range that you can explore on a Walking Tour
—Snow-capped Alpine peaks that anchor the horizon in the elegant city of Turin
—Milan’s staggering Duomo, a marvel of Gothic architecture
—The sparkling beauty of Lake Como
—Bologna’s UNESCO-listed porticoes, the famous covered sidewalks that stretch for almost 20 miles through the city
Explore northern Italy on tour: Northern Italy & Cinque Terre Walking Tour
Wine, wine, and more wine
Italians most certainly have their winemaking down pat, and the wines produced in northern Italy are no exception—but they are exceptional. Some of the country’s most well-known vintages are produced in the region. Here are some of the vinos you shouldn’t leave northern Italy without sipping.
—Barolo, “The King of Wines,” which is made from Piedmont’s Nebbiolo grapes
—Amarone, Ripasso, and Recioto, all-star wines from the Valpolicella vineyards in Veneto
—Asti Spumante, a very sweet, sparking white wine crafted from Moscato grapes in Piedmont
—Lambrusco, a sparkling red that’s served chilled and is a specialty in the Emilia-Romagna region
—The Spritz. Okay, okay, so while this Venetian invention isn’t technically wine, it is mostly Prosecco, and is commonly mixed with Aperol liqueur.
Sip northern Italian wines on tour: Food & Wine: Turin Chocolate Festival & Northern Italy
There’s remarkable history around every corner
Whether you’re visiting a centuries-old building or tasting an authentic bite in a cafe that dates back to the 1800s, you’re sure to find that the past is ever-present in northern Italy. Here are some spots every history-lover should visit.
—The University of Bologna, distinguished as the world’s oldest operating university
—The many royal Savoy residences in Turin, where Italy’s first royal family reigned
—St. Mark’s Square in Venice, an iconic spot in “The City of Bridges”
—The Verona Arena, which is said to rival Rome’s Colosseum
—Turin’s Egyptian Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts outside of Cairo, Egypt
Uncover northern Italy’s history on tour: Lake Como, the Italian Riviera & Venice
Which reason is making you dream of visiting northern Italy? Tell us in the comments below!