The fortified village of Alghero was taken over by the Aragonese in the Middle Ages and later by Catalan colonists, lending it a distinctly Spanish air. Many whitewashed buildings feature wrought iron scrollwork and other Spanish embellishments. Alghero is the only place in Italy where a Catalan dialect is spoken, though locals also speak Italian and are friendly to visitors. Wander through the narrow streets and up the ramparts to the zigzagging “goat steps” that lead to the Grotta di Nettuno. The cave, full of calm pools, stalactites, and stalagmites, is one of the most popular attractions in the area.
Insider Tip: You must visit the Grotta di Nettuno with a guide; tours are offered on the hour and you can reach the grotto by land or by boat from the port of Alghero.
Sorrento is located on the peninsula of Sorrento on the Gulf of Naples. The town lies on black cliffs of dark volcanic rock on a tuff terrace and is surrounded by imposing rocks of the limestone mountains.
For centuries, Sorrento has been the destination of northern European longing for Italy. Writers and painters have immortalized the place in words and pictures. With the Amalfi Coast to the north, the rolling landscape to the east and stunning Capri just offshore the beauty of the town makes up for its lack of beach.