Northern Italy Travel Reviews and Information by People who Visit Italy

Northern Italy
The Dolomites of Northern Italy

Northern Italy is an area of outstanding beauty with its dramatic Alps and the beautiful Dolomites. It is in the Dolomites and the Alps where hordes of winter-sport worshipers flock to enjoy the snow; skiers, snowboarders and toboggonists. In the spring and early summer, the same area is thickly carpeted with wild flowers and is the perfect place to explore, hike and camp.

Roman ruins,  fairy-tale castles, Medieval palaces and elegant villas dot the landscape. Castles and fortresses cling to the sides of steep mountains that dip down to crystal clear lakes. 

Powerful cities emerged and have remained important today as vibrant commercial hubs; Venice, Milan, and Turin.  Undoubtedly, it is Venice that gets the most tourists, year round, as they flock to the Grand Canal.

Northern Italy is also the center of the fashion industry and home to icons of the wealthy; Armani, Versace, Prada, Valentino, Dolce & Gabanna, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati and the Bugatti.

For those who have come to Italy to enjoy the food and wine you will not be disappointed. Piedmont is a well-known region of fine wines. Others may be surprised to learn that it is also a region which produces large amounts of rice which is grown in the Po Valley. This is an area of gastronomic delight, for not only does it produce fine wines, but it also produces fine truffles and has very distinct regional foods.

If you are looking for dramatic seascapes, hilltop villages, a warm climate, good olive oil and plenty of citrus fruit, then Liguria beckons. Liguria is the "Italian Riviera". It's an area that is popular with expatriates and locals alike and during the summer they flock to the beaches and enjoy the warmth of the summer sun. Visit villages here like Apricale, Dolceaqua, Pigne, Isolabona, and Ceriana that are tucked away from the coast, high up in lofty mountains.

Northern Italy is an area that beckons people of all ages and suits both those who seek adventure, and those who just want to meander and savor the local fare.

High Definition Travel Video of Northern Italy in Spring

Geographic Areas of Northern Italy

Northern Italy extends across the country to include both the North-Western and the North-Eastern regions. 

North-Western Regions of Italy: Aosta Valley, Liguria, Lombardy and Piedmont

In the North-Eastern Regions of Italy: Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Sudtirol and Veneto.

Map of Northern Italy

detailed map of northern Italy

Map of Northern Italy courtesy of Italy weather and maps

42 Best Small Towns in Northern Italy

There are a number of small towns in Northern Italy that you really don't want to miss if you are in area. Some of you may not even know about these towns, but we have included them here because they are beautiful. It is as simple as that. So enjoy the list, and hopefully you will get the time to visit one or two of them yourselves.

North-Western Region of Northern Italy:

5 Best Towns in Valle d' Aosta

1) Alba
2) Asti
3) Stressa
4) Valenza
5) Vercelli

5 Best Towns in Liguria

1) Camogli
2) Portofino
3) Cinque Terre and Porto Venere
4) San Remo
5) Triora

10 Best Towns in Lombardy

1) Bellagio
2) Bergamo
3) Como
4) Cremona
5) Montova
6) Monza
7) Pavia
8) Sirmione
9) Sondrio
10) Vigevano

5 Best Towns in Piedmont

1) Alba
2) Asti
3) Stresa
4) Valenza
5) Vercelli

North-Eastern Region of Northern Italy:

7 Best Towns in Emilia-Romagna

1) Castell'Arquato
2) Faenza
3) Ferrara
4) Modena
5) Parma
6) Ravenna
7) San Marino

4 Best Towns in Friuli-Venezia Giulia

1) Aquileia
2) Cividale
3) Palmanova
4) Trieste

4 Best Towns in Trentino-Alto Adige

1) Bessanone
2) Merano
3) Riva del Garda
4) Trento

7 Best Towns in Veneto

1) Asola
2) Bassano
3) Belluno
4) Chioggia
5) Este
6) Treviso
7) Verona

How to Get There:

The major airport for Northern Italy is Milan's Linate International Airport, with connections to North America and throughout Europe. There are other airports in Venice and Genoa, so travelers wanting to fly directly to a particular destination in Northern Italy can usually do so, or at least fly to an airport in the near vicinity. The region is well-connected by intercity buses and trains.

By Car: Traveling by car means that you will be able to see far more than you would using pubic transport. Crossing the Alps is very scenic. From Milan you can travel to Switzerland and Austria, and France and Germany are not too far away either. From Milan you have good roads to Florence, Rome and beyond. My only advice here would be to keep to the speed limit. You don't want to spoil your vacation by getting a speeding fine at the end of it.

By Plane: There are 3 airports servicing Northern Italy which can be confusing for the new traveler to Italy.

Malpensa Airport is the largest and busiest airport which is more than 40 km north of Milan. Malpensa services long-haul International flights and budget carriers.  Travelers from North America fly into this airport.

The first is Milan's Linate International Airport which services mostly domestic travelers and short-haul European travelers.

Orio al Serio Airport is 45 km out of Milan and is used mainly by low-cost carriers from Eastern European countries, Turkey and other Mediterranean countries.

By Train: Milan Central station is beautiful. It was built in 1864 and is well placed to visit the town's center.  All trains cease running between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Milan services all the major European cities as well as servicing other cities throughout Italy.

From Milan Central you can take the Malpensa Shuttle to the Malpensa Airport . It runs ever 30 -60 minutes and the journey takes the hour.

To take a Bus from Milan Station to the Linate Airport they run ever 30 minutes and the  journey is 25 minutes. Buses run from 5:30 a.m. to midnight.

See details on how to catch the train from Malpensa Airport to Venice.

Link to Google Maps showing Location of Milan Station

Books on Northern Italy

"Venice is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone."                                                                                          ~      Erica Jong