If anyone is looking for inspiration for their next holiday in Italy, we’ve got a tip: keep an eye on the towns on the start and finish lines of the stages in the Giro d’Italia, they’re great places for holiday browsing. We have picked out five for you in advance.

During the Giro d’Italia, the Tour of Italy, the riders cycle over 3,500 kilometers during 21 stages between May 4th and 27th. They pass through numerous beautiful locations. The riders certainly won’t have time to enjoy the places where they stay, which is a shame. Perhaps after the race some of them will return to these five spots — they’re certainly worth it.

Catania

Start of stage 4, Tuesday May 8th

After the first three Giro stages in Israel, the fourth stage returns to the home country: Italy. The departure town in Catania lies at the foot of Mount Etna and is one of the largest towns on the island of Sicily, with a population of 300,000. The town oozes culture,  having been established around 700 BC. The old town centre is one of Italy’s best examples of baroque architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sant’Agata cathedral is certainly worth a visit.

Praia A Mare

Finish of stage 7, Wednesday May 16

Praia A Mare was originally a fishing village and still remains a relatively small town with some 7,000 residents. These days it’s the perfect spot to enjoy Italian beach life. From here you can enjoy the view of the nearby island Isola Dino, which looks especially good after you’ve dived into the azure blue sea and view it from just above the waves.

Assisi

Start of stage 11, Wednesday May 16

This year’s Giro d’Italia has some beautiful locations for stage departures — and Assisi is particularly picturesque. The village, which is small enough that people still greet one another in the street, lies at the foot of Mount Subasio in the Apennines, 26 kilometers southeast of Perugia. Assisi has a host of classical buildings, which are still standing despite the village being hit by two earthquakes in 1997. The village is a pilgrimage site due to its most renowned son, Saint Francis, who was born and died there.

Ferrara

Start of stage 13, Friday 18 May

Like Catania, Ferrara is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This village is known for its historical centre which dates from the Middle Ages. Here you really have the feeling that time has stood still. The surrounding area, which lies on the banks of the river Po, is also worth taking time to explore.

A cyclists and pedestrians-only street in Ferrara

Abbiategrasso

Start of stage 18, Thursday May 24

The town of Abbiategrasso was established during Roman times and has a rich and varied history. The centre is rich in classical buildings, a shady cloister where you can seek the shade when its too hot, as well as the nearby river. The river is linked to Milan which is only 22 kilometers away — definitely worth a boat trip.