Northern Italy and the Adriatic Riviera: top attractions

Travelling in Italy along the Adriatic coast

The Adriatic Coast is synonymous with long, sandy beaches and total relaxation, but our itinerary is rich in art cities, historical sites and unique natural landscapes.

Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea washes Italy from the east. It takes its name from the city of Adria, located in Veneto. Once here the ancient Greeks founded their colony, coming from Syracuse. The Adriatic coast begins in the north from Trieste (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) and descends south to Santa Maria di Leuca (Puglia), where it meets the waters of the Ionian Sea. Its length is more than a thousand km. The sea is 300 meters deep in the north and reaches 1222 meters in the south. Also in the south, the water is more salty than in the north. The Adriatic coast is dominated by sandy beaches, but there are also rocky areas, especially in the area Conero (Marche) and Gargano (Puglia). The Adriatic washes seven Italian regions: Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Marche, Abruzzo, Molise and Puglia. The main Italian ports on the Adriatic Sea are Trieste, Venice, Ravenna, Ancona, Ortona, Bari and Brindisi.

How to get to the Adriatic

There are several airports along the Adriatic coast with direct flights from Russia or from Rome. If you start your journey from the north, it is most convenient to use Venice airport, where flights from Alitalia or Aeroflot arrive. Also nearby is Treviso, where flights are organized by Pobeda. In the central part of the coast are the airports of Bologna and Rimini. In Puglia there are airports in Bari and Brindisi. Cities on the Adriatic coast are connected by rail and road, bus service is also well developed.

What to see and visit on the Adriatic

We begin our journey in the north of the Adriatic coast. It is most convenient to travel by car, which gives more opportunities and freedoms. Whether we focus on the beaches or the cities depends on the time of year. Summer is undoubtedly the hottest season for a beach holiday, spring and autumn would be ideal for a sightseeing trip and in winter you can only hope for good luck and the goodwill of nature, as the northern Adriatic often sees rain. In any case, a trip along the Adriatic coast will give unforgettable experiences and show Italy in all its diversity.

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Map of travel along the Adriatic

1. Trieste

Trieste is the capital of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. For many years it was part of the powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire and still retains the atmosphere of an imperial city, where wide avenues are juxtaposed with monumental buildings. Trieste also claims to be the coffee capital of Italy and Europe, the ships loaded with coffee beans were arriving at the local port, and in the second half of the XVIII century the first coffee houses started to open here. Even now there are ancient establishments, decorated with crystal chandeliers, massive bar counters and ceilings covered with frescoes. Trieste, located on the border of several countries, over the centuries has absorbed different traditions and customs, which influenced the architecture, lifestyle and gastronomy. Here Italian dishes coexist with Viennese sweets, and Slavic pastries are accompanied by grappa. Near Trieste you should visit the Giant’s Cave and taste the wines from the Carso DOC karst area, many of which are aged in natural grottos.


2. Venice

Traveling along the Adriatic coast you cannot miss Venice, which can be called the queen of the Adriatic and the most attractive city. It is beautiful at any time of year, but in order to avoid the crowds of tourists, it is better to choose low season, take walks at dawn or stick to less popular areas, which also have a lot of attractions.


3. Po River Delta.

The Po is considered the longest and most important river in Italy, it crosses the Padana Plain and flows into the Adriatic Sea, forming a magnificent natural area called the Po River Delta. For its beauty and unique scenery, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Po delta is created by many branches of a large river, canals and dams, many of them swamped, overgrown with lilies and reeds. The largest city in the delta is Comacchio, which is charming and beautiful. It is primarily associated with the eel, which is caught in the local waters and cooked in all kinds of ways. The village of Goro has preserved the atmosphere of a fisherman’s settlement and it is interesting to visit the fish market and taste the vongole, which are considered a specialty product. Pomposa Abbey was founded in the ninth century on an island formed by river arms and the sea. It has preserved frescoes and a valuable marble floor. In the past, the monks were actively engaged in land reclamation works, which gave excellent results in terms of agriculture. Nowadays, the locals have turned their attention to the cultivation of grapes and wine production. The fact is that the soils of the zone are very salty, on the one hand it allows the vines to grow on their own roots, on the other hand it creates difficulties, which must be dealt with. Here we grow red Fortana, which is found only in Emilia Romagna, in the salty sands of the Po delta it gives an excellent result, giving the wines an elegant and interesting character.

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Po River Delta

4. Ravenna and Marina Romea Beach

Ravenna is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its magnificent Byzantine frescoes. Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire, the Kingdom of the Ostgoths and the Byzantine Exarchate. For those traveling with children, you can visit the Mirabilandia amusement park. One of the most elegant beaches of the Adriatic is considered Marina Romea, which stretches for 2 km of golden sands.


5. Rimini and San Marino

Rimini is one of the most famous resorts on the Adriatic coast and the beach capital of Italy. The streets of the city and the long promenade are filled with stores, restaurants and bars, there is a vibrant nightlife and there is always activity. It is worth a tour of the old center of Rimini to see the sights of different centuries, and you can also take a day trip outside of Italy to visit the state of San Marino.

Rimini and San Marino

6. Ancona and Conero

Moving from Rimini towards Ancona, it is worth stopping in Pesaro and Fano, which meet us first in the Marche region. In the first town we will see the ancient buildings in Piazza del Popolo, the fortress and the sphere of work of Arnaldo Pomodoro and in the second we will drink Moretta specialty coffee, which is made only here. Ancona suffered a lot during the Second World War and didn’t preserve many sights, but it will be interesting for the connoisseur of good wines, because in its surroundings they produce one of the best white wines of Italy – Verdicchio di Jesi. A great complex wine improves with the years, so it is better to buy older samples. You can visit one of the wineries, such as Umani Ronchi, which are also present in Russia. The winery and the company store are located not far from Ancona. The address of the store is Via Adriatica, 12 – Osimo (AN) You can book a visit at The Conero Massif lies south of the city and is the highest mountain of the Adriatic coast which rises to a height of 500 meters above the sea level. From the top there is a view of sandy or rocky beaches, the most beautiful of which are considered Due Sorele (Two Sisters), Numana, Frati (beach of monks).

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7. The coast of Trabocca.

After the Marche the way goes to Abruzzo. One of the most attractive places in the Adriatic is the coast of Trabocchi, which is located from Francaville to Vasto. The Trabocchi are characteristic structures used for fishing. They are wooden structures located on platforms facing the sea. Long fishing poles stick out from all sides, painting a picturesque and romantic landscape. The coast of Trabocca stretches for 133 km, it is characterized by a sandy shore.

Trabocca Coast

8. Termoli and the Tremiti Islands

The region of Molise is considered one of the smallest in Italy and is not huge, but it offers an excellent holiday. Termoli is famous for its coast. The fishing village has preserved the historic center, where there are nice restaurants with sea food. From the port of Termoli there are ferries to the Tremiti Islands. The travel time is 1 hour and 15 minutes. The Tremiti archipelago includes 5 islands, which geographically belong to the Puglia region. They are famous for their pristine beaches, clear water, cozy coves and impressive grottoes.

9. Bari

Bari is the capital of Puglia and one of the most famous cities in southern Italy, famous especially for the relics of St. Nicholas. The historic center is a picturesque tangle of streets and covered courtyards. Bari is also home to the Russian Orthodox Church. If you decide to stay in the capital of Puglia for a couple of days, it’s worth a trip to Matera to see the cave houses.


10. Salento

Salento is located in the southern part of Puglia, in the province of Lecce. This area is characterized by splendid beaches, delicious cuisine, excellent red wines from primitivo, rousing pizzica dancing and beautiful Baroque towns. It is worth visiting Ostuni, Lecce and Otrani, as well as driving to Santa Maria di Leuca to see the meeting point of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

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Attractions of the Adriatic Coast

Adriatic Sea Sights

The sights of the Adriatic coast of Italy will not leave you indifferent if you are a fan not only of the sun and sea, but also – and good food of the Italian Adriatic, fun activities and informative excursions. Adriatic will take you away for a long time.

In Ravenna you can see ancient Byzantine mosaics (included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996), in Mondaino you can see the memory of the Malatesta family, who ruled the region and were nicknamed “the Wolf of Romagna”, in Montebello you can explore the castle, and the interesting stories with a romantic twist await you in the municipality of San Giovanni. San Giovanni, Marignano and Saludecio near Rimini.

Like the rest of Italy, the Adriatic resorts are impressive! Around the area there are many unique historical monuments. Of course, the palm of the first place in this segment holds Rimini – Rimini sightseeing is necessary to see, if you have time, look at its surroundings.

In Rimini you must see the grandiose Cathedral, the ancient Roman giant Arch of Augustus and of course, the mysterious Bridge of Tiberius, which separates the village of San Giuliano on the north bank of the Marecchia River. Oh, we almost forgot about the Surgeon’s House. However, once you get acquainted with the list of the most famous sights of Rimini, you’ll understand what we’re talking about.

Adriatic Sea Sights, Photos

When you get to the Italian Adriatic coast, you immediately feel as if you are in a movie set by Federico Fellini. This region is the birthplace of the great maestro, he returned here again and again to catch his inspiration and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the world. The house-museum of Fellini (the director’s family used to live here), which contains photos, personal books and even the personal diary of the legendary filmmaker – on its pages there are records of Federico’s dreams.

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Among the most interesting places on the Adriatic Riviera is the Republic of San Marino, a very tiny state that has its own mint and prints its own postage stamps.

For a more grandiose experience head for the beautiful Venice, or romantic Florence or even proud Rome (from Rimini to Rome there are only 370 km and regular high-speed trains and flights. ).

Adriatic sights

Fans of interesting places we recommend a trip to Parma for ham and Parmesan cheese, to Bologna for authentic Bolognese sauce, to Modena, the capital of the Italian car industry, to visit the Ferrari museum, to Ferrara to see the Diamond Palace, remembering the Renaissance.

Medieval castles in Senigallia (region Marche), Cesena (northern Italy, Emilia-Romagna) and Otranto (Puglia) will tell us about the life of European rich dynasties of the past centuries.

Adriatic sights

Finally, as we bid farewell to the Italian Adriatic, take a large (or small) boat trip along the Adriatic Riviera, visiting ports and mooring in coves designed especially for sailing yachts. The region of Ferrara has especially beautiful places.

For a memento of the Adriatic you can buy clothes by famous Italian designers, leather products, expensive bijouterie and of course cosmetics with olive oil.

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