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Italy’s must visit natural wonders

5 min read

Italy’s must visit natural wonders
Are you ready to be enchanted by the brilliance of nature? We take you to some of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders of Italy. These marvels are always worth the extra time, distance and, occasionally, wait, to experience them for yourself.
Image of mount etna in italy as one of the Italy's natural wonders you must visit

Mount Etna

Immortalised in Greek mythology as the mountain that Zeus trapped a deadly monster under, stretching 11,000 feet high it’s fair to describe Mount Etna in Sicily as a natural beast! Etna is Italy’s most active volcano and is constantly grumbling and smoking, even when camouflaged by snow during the winter months! This UNESCO World Heritage site had its last major eruption in 2017, and it’s expected to blow again (without calamity) in the future. Until then, take the cable car and hike up close to the summit crater and, with an expert local guide on hand, safely peek into the fiery pits of flowing lava. You’re bound to get an adrenaline rush! Remember to layer up and wear waterproofs as it can feel nippy that high up.
Photograph of The Faraglioni Rocks of Capri

Faraglioni Rocks

The Faraglioni Rocks of Capri are visually awesome. Their collective name is thought to derive from the Italian word for lighthouse ‘faro’. Just metres from the southern coast of the island, these dramatic rock formations burst forth out of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The three jutting stacks are between 80 and 150 metres tall, and each have their own character. ‘Saetta’ is still connected to the mainland and holds remains of a Roman villa, ‘Stella’, the Faraglione di Mezzo in the middle, has a large arching gap that small boats can pass under and is a popular proposal spot. The furthest rock from the mainland is Faraglioni di Fuori, also known as ‘Scopolo’, which boasts a unique species of blue lizard that can only be found in Capri. Why not take a boat trip out to visit them? Or you could view them from one of the nearby beach clubs or the terraced Gardens of Augustus.
Photo of the Emerald Grotto or Grotta dello Smeraldo, as it's known in Italian

Emerald Grotto

Imagine an underwater world that sparkles with emerald hues. Until you’ve visited, it’s hard to comprehend the magical nature of the Grotta dello Smeraldo, as it's known in Italian. Located a 12-minute drive from the town of Amalfi, this small karst cave was naturally formed over a millenia and is steeped in legends. For centuries, the local folk spoke of its existence, but it was only formally discovered - accidentally - by a fisherman in 1932. The grotto gets its soul-stirring glow when sunlight filters into the cave’s seawater pool, which is experienced best in the early afternoon. You can access the Emerald Grotto by taking stairs or an elevator down to its entrance from land, or you can book a private boat and head to the sea entrance, where you join up and board the small rowboats that take you inside.
Photo of Sicily’s Scala dei Turchi (Staircase of the Turks)

Scala dei Turchi

Move over White Cliffs of Dover! Sicily’s Scala dei Turchi (Staircase of the Turks), situated between Realmonte and Porto Empedocle, is a coastline spectacle with its stratified sparkling white cliffs. It gives the impression of a layered wedding cake or an organic amphitheatre! These captivating soft clay and limestone rocks are being continually forged by wind and sea erosion, crafting its rounded and wavy staircase shape. The unusual name comes from ancient times when Saracen pirate ships from Arabia sought shelter here in the 16th century. Its modern claim to fame however is that it was featured in the Italian detective series Inspector Montalbano. Stay at the Scala dei Turchi Resort and you can visit or view the chalky Scala dei Turchi every day of your holiday if you wish!
Image of the inside of the Blue Grotto in Capri view of inside the cave

Blue Grotto

Sitting along the coast of Capri, the Grotta Azzurra or Blue Grotto is a flooded sea cave that creates a mystical blue glow from the light of another underwater entrance. Back in the 18th century, locals and sailors believed the cave was riddled with witches and monsters and would purposefully avoid it. At just 60 metres long and 25 metres wide, the experience only lasts five minutes aboard a wooden rowing boat, although you will have to wait a while to enter. Your skipper will ask you to lay down in the boat to pass through the low one-metre-high arch, but it’s absolutely worth it once you’re in as you witness the bedazzling silver and blue colours that twinkle across the water and onto the stone walls. We recommend you visit in the early afternoon.
An image of the cove and sea showing The Maddalena Archipelago of northern Sardinia

Maddalena Archipelago

The Maddalena Archipelago of northern Sardinia is a natural wonder in its own right. Home to seven islands and 55 islets, there’s something paradisiacal and idyllic about them with their rugged coastlines and pristine beaches that lap into the sparkling azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Taking a boat trip from Palau will allow you to explore the archipelago’s many tiny coves and bays. The largest island is Isola Maddalena, home to a historic old town and the beautiful Spalmatore Beach. From your boat, witness the beauty of the protected Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach) on the island of Budelli, with its unusual pink coloured sand.
Image of a building and waterfalls showing Cascate del Mulino (Waterfalls of the Mills)

Cascate del Mulino

Dive into the healing waters with a natural spa in the Tuscan town of Saturnia, situated two hours south of Siena. Cascate del Mulino (Waterfalls of the Mills) is a simple yet delightful thermal bath experience, which you can visit any time of the year. The steaming geothermal sulphuric waters, which maintain a soothing 37ºC heat, trickle into natural tiered pools where you can bathe and unwind. Be sure to bring your own towel and waterproof sandals as the rocks can be slippery.
Image showing the rolling hills of Val d’Orcia in Tuscany

Val d'Orcia

The rolling hills of Val d’Orcia in Tuscany, which embraces Siena, Pienza, and Montalcino, are an absolute spectacle in the autumn months. Lined with the grandeur of cypress trees, Strada di Valoresi, the main road of this poetic rural region, winds through some breathtaking valley scenes. Due to the low sun, the foliage of vineyards and olive groves glow with golden and orange hues. With plenty of old-world charm viticulture and olive oil production to discover along the way, it’s no wonder this region is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Photograph of the small Umbrian village of Castelluccio di Norcia: La Fiorita (The Flowering)

Castelluccio di Norcia

Each springtime - between May and July - an astonishing natural spectacle blooms in the small Umbrian village of Castelluccio di Norcia: La Fiorita (The Flowering). By the side of the lush Apennine Mountains in Mount Sibillini National Park, what you’ll witness is a vibrant patchwork mosaic of flowers, including poppies, violets, narcissus, daisies, and the native bloom of lentils. While wandering through these flowering fields, you may be lucky to catch sight of roe deer grazing too. Located an hour and half’s drive from Assisi, you can easily take a day trip here.

Discover the real Italy with Citalia      

Ready to explore some natural wonders in Italy? Citalia are the UK’s leading Italy specialist with over 90 years' experience in tailoring holidays to Italy. Experts are on hand every step of the way to ensure you make memories to last a lifetime. It’s never too late to start planning your Italian escape!      
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