As a travel destination, Italy is an extremely iconic venture, from its topographical boot-like shape to its culturally-entwined, down to earth dining, art, and fashion. Overall, it’s quite the enriching experience, and it has something of interest for just about everyone. Even if you think you’ve seen everything this exquisite locale in the Mediterranean Sea has to offer, there are more than a few hidden gems that will be sure to delight you. Duncan John MacDonald, a commercial pilot with a passion for both flying and travel, has a list of 4 hidden travel gems in Italy.


Starting off this list is a remarkable islands located up in Northern Italy. Bologna is hailed as the food capital of Italy, with its trademark dish being authentic Italian bolognese, a pasta served with savory meat sauce. What makes Bologna so unique is its interesting mixture of food with history: Connecting all of the top-tier restaurants are miles upon miles of streets, decorated with historical architecture. They converge towards palaces and towers from the medieval era and are truly a sight to behold.

Bologna is also home to the University di Bologna, the oldest university in all of Europe: A prestigious institution with a proud heritage. With a cultural refinement quite unlike anywhere else, Bologna is sure to be a memorable experience.

Lake District

This is a place with a huge emphasis on natural beauty, as the prominent bodies of water sweep through and around modestly-sized villas and towns, which are in turn surrounded by rich green trees and hills. Further still, there are also plenty of colorful gardens as far as the eye can see, carefully tended to by the locals. Overall, the Lake District is the perfect place to get away from it all with a nice quiet lakeside retreat.


If you’re more interested in attending an exciting event than a peaceful walk through nature, Siena might be the perfect place for you. Every year, the Palio horse race is held twice in the summer, and it’s the perfect blend of exhilaration with a historical aesthetic. You’ll find the complete medieval package here, from costumes to brightly-colored banners and even knights in armor.

Just under the surface is a vast amount of medieval history, with both Renaissance and Gothic-era palaces. Complimenting these majestic architectural landmarks are the museums, which house wonderful art collections. All in all, whether you prefer the excitement of a horse race or the quiet beauty of fine art, Siena will be able to suit your fancy.

Aeolian Islands

Last on our list is another natural landmark, the Aeolian Islands. Here, you’ll be greeted by the starkly translucent seas stretching far and wide with an iconic and saturated blue. Some of the attractions here including snorkeling and scuba diving, allowing you to experience this spectacular sea first-hand.

Two locations you won’t want to miss out on are the Lipari castle, a monumental cliff-top structure, as well as Stromboli, an active volcano, which often showers the seas with intensely-bright magma.

Duncan John MacDonald has had a lifelong fascination of flight instilled at a very young age. After putting in hours upon hours to graduate flight school, he became a seasoned commercial pilot as well as an advocate for pursuing one’s dreams.


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