How can you kick off the new year in the best way possible? With an exciting trip to Italy, of course! Leave the destinations up to us.
Winter is in full swing. It’s time to head to the ski slopes, or, why not, relax at an Italian spa! This month there’s loads to discover, including lovely hamlets and traditional cuisine.
What are you waiting for? Take a look at January’s Top 10!
1 - Aosta
Tourists flock here to ski in winter, but exploring the local food and wine culture is another excellent way to experience Valle d’Aosta.
Spend some time at the Museo del Vino in Donnas where you can browse the exhibition of traditional grape harvest and winemaking tools. Enjoy a lunch of local wine paired with cheese and high-quality meat, and then head to the Museo dell’Alimentazione where you’ll learn all about ancient food storage techniques and those still used today in mountain areas.
2 - Vicenza
Foodies can really get a taste of Vicenza at January’s food and wine events.
If you enjoy sweet wine, head to Breganze to attend Prima del Torcolato, a grande festa open to the public during which grapes are pressed right in the town square. If you’re traveling with the family, the feast of Saint Anthony Abbot in Recoaro Terme has lots of entertainment and a big amusement park fun for all ages, plus a plethora of local foods to taste!
3 – Cremona
Curious about our third-place pick for January? It’s Cremona! Here’s what you can do...
After seeing the Mount of Torrazzo, listening to the sweet notes at the Stradivarius Museum and sampling the local cuisine, we suggest visiting the walled cities scattered across the province.
Begin your tour from Crema with its superb Duomo from the 1300s, and then continue to Soncino where you can visit the 14th century fortress and home of Jewish printers. The hamlet of Pizzighettone is situated along the Adda River, while Casalmaggiore rises above the banks of the Po. Don’t skip the Shrine of the Beata Vergine della Fontana where you can learn the story of the village’s miraculous water fountain. Great vacation, right?
4 – Sondrio
January is a great time to hit the ski slopes in this part of Italy. But where, exactly?
Livigno’s ideal location and array of snowy descents has made it one of the best-loved destinations of skiers. In the heart of the Alta Valtellina, Bormio offers many downhill slopes and is also a renowned spa area with internationally famous wellness centers. The most exciting slopes are surely found in Stelvio, where ski lifts reach 2,900 meters in the white paradise of Santa Caterina Valfurva, while Valdidentro boasts an internationally acclaimed slope for Nordic skiing.
5 – L'Aquila
If you’re planning a trip to L’Aquila in Abruzzo, this month’s fifth pick, then consider visiting some of its ancient hamlets.
A few minutes from Sulmona you’ll find Pettorano sul Gizio, one of the loveliest towns in Italy. Here there’s much to photograph, from ancient doorways to monumental fountains and the walls surrounding the center. Don’t forget to stop and admire the dramatic view of River Sagittario where it crosses the canyon.
Round out your stay with a visit to Castrovalva, a tiny hamlet tucked amidst large boulders that dates back to the 1st century, or Scanno, where you can admire lovely architecture.
6 – Caltanissetta
Ever thought of exploring southern Italy in January? Head down to Sicily’s province of Caltanissetta where there’s plenty to see and do even in winter.
Caltanissetta was once a very important mining town. At the Museo Mineralogico you can learn about extraction methods, especially that of sulphur - the most important mineral in the area - and browse its collection of rocks and fossils.
Bringing along the family? You’ll have tons of fun at the Museo Multimediale Musical Art in Enna, where painting and music are synchronized in an original showcase of some of Sicily’s greatest artists.
7 – Reggio Emilia
Did you know that this area of Italy is famous for its antique flea markets? Why not visit a couple during January and have a bite of local food as you shop for unique souvenirs?
At the RubierAntica market in Rubiera’s splendid historic center you can find just about anything! In Sant'Ilario d'Enza you can browse the booths at “Antiquari in Piazza”, and in Cavriago there’s a market held on the last Sunday of each month. Guastalla’s flea market is known for its infinite collection of ancient books, postcards, etchings, posters, stamps, scores and comics. Have fun!
8 – Bolzano
For a relaxing vacation, there’s no better place than the province of Bolzano. Here the towns still follow a slow pace of life, and you’ll soon feel right at home!
Bolzano is a delightful city to visit, and the outskirts are no less enchanting. Climbing up to Castel Roncolo is a great adventure, and Lake Caldaro is definitely worth your time. Crazy about wine? Visit the famous winery of Manincor.
9 – Trento
The area around Trento is famous for its spas, which in winter have an even greater allure. Don’t you need a dose of pampering to kick off the new year?
Among the many spas to chose from, Terme di Comano is surely one of the most attractive and affordable. Surrounded by a park of over 14 hectares set in the Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta, its thermal waters have been frequented since Roman times. Enjoy the healing silence and treat yourself to a massage or one of the many wellness treatments.
10 – Piacenza
The area around Piacenza offers plenty to do, plus a bounty of local food and wine.
Piacenza is known for its castles and medieval hamlets, ancient monasteries and splendid abbeys, in addition to amazing food and wine. The well-mapped tourist road will take you on a fascinating route about 150 kilometers in length, where you’ll encounter an abundance of certified local wines, assorted salumi and plenty of cheese.
Photo: Gabriele Asnaghi