The south of Italy is like a different country, not at all like Venice, Milan and Rome. There are not many expensive boutiques and well-groomed apartments here, but there is definitely a history, a peculiar cuisine and a real Italian soul. Italians call the south Mezzogiorno (Mezzogiorno - noon). Probably because life here seemed to be frozen in a hot, sunny, summer day.
Campaign: Capri - Naples
The main beach resort of Campania is the island of Capri. Your credit card may be uncomfortable here - it will be difficult to find a cappuccino for 1.5 € or a full meal for 6. But it is worth coming here, at least for a couple of days.
Where to swim
For a carefree beach holiday, we recommend La canzone del Mare (Song of the Sea). There is a convenient descent into the water and a view of the symbol of Capri - the Faraglioni rocks. If the sea water is too salty for your delicate skin, there are two pools. And of course, a bar and a restaurant - so that you definitely feel like a Dolce & Gabbana model relaxing after filming (they often hang out here). To become part of all this splendor, you have to pay 30 €.
What to see
Among the sights of Capri, we recommend the Villa Lysis - a luxurious 20th century Art Nouveau building, where the French writer Jacques d'Adelsverd-Fersen hid and smoked opium in the basement (entrance only € 2). And if you are more interested in natural beauty, we recommend the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzura) - thanks to the sunlight penetrating into the cave, the water here acquires a deep blue color - as if a filter had been applied.
Pleasure boats in front of the Blue Grotto
Well, after a star-studded beach holiday, we advise you not to miss the controversial Naples. Someone will say that it is dirty and dangerous there and twist at the temple. Well, in vain! Not seeing the city is just a crime. It is here that you can see a contrasting combination of historical and modern Naples: admire the palazzo of the 16th-18th centuries, through the balconies of which the clothes drying ropes are pulled. Or sip a strong espresso at the foot of the huge graffiti that sprawls across the facades of modern buildings. Then head to the historic La Pignasecca market on Via Pignasecca in the Spanish Quarter, where you can buy fresh fish, local produce and compose a light meal or take a picnic by the waterfront.
The Spanish Quarter (Quartieri Spagnoli) has a notorious reputation for being in big trouble here because of the Camorra, a Neapolitan mafia. Historically, too, not everything worked out - during the Spanish rule, it was in this area that the royal guard made a mess day and night. In fact, it's not scary at all! Of course, you shouldn't shine a new camera, after all, the Camorra is not just a horror story for tourists. But those who think they'll be in the middle of a gunfight - and goodbye to homecoming - are grossly exaggerating.
View of Naples and Vesuvius on the horizon
Where to stay
From the San Francesco Al Monte 4 * hotel, only 7 minutes from the Spanish Quarter, consider the center. Another plus is that the hotel is located on a mountain, so you can admire the city and the coast from the terrace.
Puglia: Lecce - Alberobello
The region is located on the heel of an Italian boot, and for a long time tourists did not spoil it with attention, but now Apulia is experiencing a flourishing. No wonder, in terms of the beauty of nature, this is one of the most picturesque Italian regions: white beaches and the blinding azure of the Adriatic Sea.
Where to swim
Punta Prosciutto beach is included in the list of the most beautiful beaches in the world, according to The Telepraph. On 80% of the territory, admission is free, but there are also offers for those who want to get an unforgettable relaxation. For example, the Conte beach (Spiaggia del Conte) - for 40 € here you can take an umbrella with two sun loungers, get access to Wi-Fi and a bar - where you can go without it.
What to see
The city of Lecce is located an hour's drive from the beach - the local architecture will surprise any, even a know-it-all tourist who is fed up with Italy. Lecce, otherwise known as South Florence, is located in an archipelago and is replete with Lecce Baroque buildings. The quintessence of this style is the Basilica di Santa Croce.
The church is considered the best example of baroque in the entire Italian south
If you breathe evenly towards the Baroque, we recommend the town of Alberobello: here all the time there are tiny white houses with gabled roofs (trulls). It seems that you, like Snow White, found yourself in a dwarf settlement.
Where to stay
In Lecce there is a historic hotel - Risorgimento Resort 4 * overlooking the city Duomo, spa and gym. And in Alberobello, stay in the cozy guest house Driade dei Trulli 2 *. If you are in the mood for a more luxurious life, we recommend the Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri 4 *. There is an indoor pool, and the chefs, masters of Apulian cuisine, are also very praised.
Sicily: Agrigento - Palermo - Catania
So we got to Sicily. Admit it, you have long wanted to go to this magical island to eat oranges and cannoli, admire Baroque architecture, listen to opera and admire the volcanoes. Sicily has almost 1,500 km of coastal zone, so here you will find a beach for every taste, but it is better to focus on the most picturesque and unusual ones.
Where to swim
Scala dei Turchi is a snow-white cliff right next to the sea. If you are a daredevil, you can climb on it and take gorgeous photos; and if not, you can just lie on the golden sand and admire it from afar.
Not far from Palermo is the Mondello beach: there are both paid and free areas. If you cannot live without beautiful architecture, look for Italian Liberty style villas right on the coast.
Snow-white Scala dei Turchi
What to see
Well, after the beach, go to the capital - Palermo, sophisticated culture lovers will be especially comfortable here. There are so many things in the city to admire, and then over a glass of wine tell friends with a smart look. For example, the Palatine Chapel shining from the inside (Cappella Palatina) or the Teatro Massimo - one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, built in the Art Nouveau style (opera tickets from 20 € to 125 €).
For crowded streets, local bars and endless fun, head to Catania. There is a fish market (A 'Piscaria Mercato del Pesce), where you can buy the most unusual types of fish for a pittance (the main thing is to smile a little, Italians, especially southern ones, love it very much!).
Fish Market A 'Piscaria Mercato del Pesce
You can also visit the Museum of Modern Art (Galleria d'Arte Moderna), which displays the work of Italian artists and photographers. Of course, you can't do without historical sights. In Catania, there are the ruins of a real Roman amphitheater. And if you are not distracted by the sparkling boutique windows on Etnea Street, you can not miss the turn to the Bellini Garden (Giardino Bellini), from where another beautiful view of Etna opens up.
In the center of Catania, on the Duomo Square, there is a unique statue. It is unique for two reasons: firstly, it is a statue of a smiling (seriously!) Elephant named Liotru, and secondly, the monument is made of lava stone.
It is impossible to visit Sicily and not look at Mount Etna. In Roman mythology, it was in the throat of Etna that the god Vulcan (Gr. Hephaestus), the lord of blacksmiths, worked. To see with your own eyes the volcanic landscapes, yellow flowers making their way through the black sand, huge boulders that look like people and animals, we recommend taking a ride on the funicular. And be sure to buy a bottle of DOC wine - Etna's soil is very fertile, so the wine here is what you need.
Where to stay
The UNA Hotel Palace 4 * in Catania is located in a palazzo of the early 1900s, which was built (and later restored) according to all the principles of Sicilian architecture. So an authentic atmosphere is guaranteed. And on the seventh floor of the hotel there is an outdoor terrace overlooking the city, where you can enjoy Sicilian cuisine.
The end of summer is not yet a reason to hide a suitcase in a closet, and swimwear - on the far shelf. Southern Italy is waiting for you to envelop you in the gentle sun, give a gentle tan and bathe in the still warm sea. Happiness and carelessness are soaked in with local wine, wild beaches and the breeze from Etna. If you are planning a velvet season, take note. And send postcards!