Italy is synonymous with cities such as Rome, Florence and Milan, and for a good reason. All are jam packed with historical attractions and rich culture. There is more to Italy than its fascinating cities, however. Some of the country’s most charming vacation destinations are small, off-the-beaten-path towns and villages. “Italy welcomes around 60 million tourists per year with three quarters of that number heading for the country’s major cities. In 2017, the Italian government launched a “Year of Villages” to attract visitors to more remote destinations. This initiative has been working but more could be done to showcase the country’s villages and towns,” says travel expert from THEGOODESTATE
Rachel Nelson. With this in mind, here is our list of some of the most idyllic towns and villages in Italy.
town of Cefalù blends sandy beaches, historical attractions and a rocky headland. The town features a plethora of attractions including picturesque cathedrals and squares, as well as the Mandralisca Museum, which houses archeological exhibits from the area and an art gallery. Some of the other popular activities among visitors include strolling along the seafront promenade or climbing La Rocca to watch the sunset. Just to the west, the beaches of Mazzaforno and Settefrati offer respite for sun worshippers. Significantly, Cefalù was the setting of parts of the popular film Cinema Paradiso.
Pietrapertosa, which translates to perforated stone, sits amid Southern Dolomites. In fact, the village has been built almost entirely on the slopes of Monte Impiso at an altitude of 1,000 meters. One of Pietrapertosa’s main attractions is the crumbling castle of Saracen, which dates back to the times of Roman occupation. The village attracts extreme sports lovers eager to have a go on the Volo dell'Angelo (Angel Flight) zip line that connects Pietrapertosa with the adjoining town of Castelmezzano and is one of the longest in the world. Significantly, CNN
included Pietrapertosa in its 2019 top 20 most beautiful villages in Italy.
Located on Procida in the Phlegraean Islands, just off the coast of Naples, Corricella is a port town famous for its colorful buildings. A mosaic of yellows, pinks, blues and greens, the vibrantly-colored houses present some great photo opportunities. The bustling harbor and wooden fishing boats add to the town’s charm. Dating back to the 17th century, Corricella also features Fortress Terra Murata, which affords stunning views across the Gulf of Naples.
The pristine island of Marettimo in the Egadi archipelago is one of Italy’s best kept secrets. The village, with clusters of whitewashed houses with blue shutters, only features electric carts and donkeys as means of transportation. One of the historical attractions on the island is an 11th-century church, which was built by Byzantine monks. Sea-lovers can access the water from a pebble-strewn beach or one of the island’s rock perches.
Set in the Apennine Mountains, Abruzzo has come a long way since the days when it provided a hideaway for outlaws. The quaint village features a heart-shaped lake, which is purported to have magical powers, as well as a multitude of wooden and stone dwellings. Those into architecture will love the town’s Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic mansions and churches.