14 Enthralling Small Towns In Italy

By Niyati Shinde on Sep 26, 2016
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Italy is more than just Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan! For a conventional tourist, visiting these cities might be a dream come true. But for a traveller, for someone who loves to step off the beaten path and explore the pulse of a place, visiting a country includes visiting its quaint towns and villages, exploring its virgin beaches, chatting with the locals about anything under the sun and making friends along the way. If you are one such hobo who wants to ditch the top cities and explore the charming small towns in Italy instead, we have compiled just the list for you. 

1. Saluzzo- Beautiful small town in Italy:

Image Source: Wikimedia

Located in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy, Saluzzo is quintessentially Italian. From its cobbled streets to its friendly cafes that serve heavenly food to its historical connection, this small town is enchanting to say the least. Boasting of magnificent architecture dating back to the 15th century, Saluzzo has a picturesque backdrop of the looming snow-capped Monviso.
What to see: Piazza Castello, Cathedral of the Assumption, Piazza Mondagli, Casa Cavassa. 
Activities: Do indulge in the local cuisine; it is a bit different from the traditional Italian cuisine.
Ideal for: Honeymooners, family vacations, solo trips, photography fanatics.

2. Belluno- town with an abundance of natural beauty:

Image Source: Wikimedia

The captivating town of Belluno in Italy is the perfect place for outdoorsy wanderers. With the Dolomites Mountain range as a backdrop, the town offers plenty of skiing (Alpine as well as Nordic) opportunities in the winters and hiking and camping opportunities during the summer.
What to see: The Duomo, the Bishop’s palace, the Dolomites Mountain range, Lake Misurina, the Christmas markets.
Activities: Skiing, snowboarding, sailing and even paragliding. 
Ideal for: Adventure enthusiasts and outdoorsy people.

3. Castelluccio- A Town where fantasy meets reality

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Surrounded by the Apennine Mountains, Castelluccio is one of the most enchanting small towns in Europe. Situated at an elevation of 1452 metres, it the highest settlement in the Apennines. During spring, the entire valley around this town gets carpeted in thousands of vivid flowers; a sight you should definitely witness atleast once in your lifetime.

What to see: The entire town is an attraction in itself.
Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and paragliding.
Ideal for: Honeymooners, adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers.

4. Pietrapertosa- stunning small town in Italy:

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A part of the I Borghi più Belli d'Italia, which roughly translates to ‘most beautiful villages in Italy’, Pietrapertosa is as dramatic as it is beautiful. Located on the slopes of Monte Impiso, the entire town is built on the bare rock of the mountain, almost as if the founders wanted to take advantage of every surface area that the mountain had to offer.
What to see: Ruins of the castle, St. Cataldo Church, St. Francis Church, Seven Path Stones.
Activities: Zip line from Castelmezzano to Pietraportosa and back.
Ideal for: People in search of an exceptional holiday.

5. Alberobello- unique town in Italy:

Image Source: Wikimedia

A charming small town in Italy, Alberobello is known for its unique trulli buildings which have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 1996. Located in the region of Puglia in southern Italy, this town will leave you in awe of its quirky architecture and humbling hospitality.
What to see: The trulli, Rione Monti, Museo del Territorio, Chiesa di Sant'Antonio, Trullo Sovrano.
Activities: The best experience you can have while visiting the town is to stay in one of the trulli
Ideal for: People in search of an exceptional holiday.

6. Atrani- offbeat honeymoon destination in Italy:

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the best honeymoon destinations in Italy, Atrani is also the smallest town in Southern Italy. With picturesque houses clinging to the cliffs and the steep flights of steps leading to beautiful coastal vistas, the town looks right out of an amazing postcard. 

What to see: Church of San Salvatore del Bireto, Church of Santa Maria del Bando, Grotta di Masaniello.
Activities: Exploring the little alleys and bylanes within the town.
Ideal for: Honeymooners, solo trips, photography fanatics.

7. Urbino- historical town in Italy:

Image Source: Wikimedia

Boasting of marvellous Renaissance architecture, the historical small town of Urbino in Le Marche is still relatively unexplored. A gem of a place, the landscape of the town consists of beautiful houses, a spectacular palace and a couple of hilltops, all encompassed within ancient defensive walls. Sort of a pilgrimage spot for art lovers, Duke Federico da Montefeltro created a cool arts scene back in the 15th century over here.
What to see: Palazzo Ducale and its Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Piazza della Repubblica. 
Activities: Admire the beautiful works of art put on display at the various museums within the town.  
Ideal for: Travellers who love art, history and architecture.

8. Collodi- relive a fairytale:

Image Source: Flavio~/flickr.com

Relive a fairytale at the delightful small town of Collodi in Italy. How, you ask? Remember the story of Pinocchio? The puppet which was turned into a real boy? What if we told you he was born in Collodi?! Well, the author of the famous story, Carlo Lorenzini (Carlo Collodi) based the story in this small town. In fact, there is a Pinocchio Park in the town which is dedicated to the popular fairytale.

What to see: The surreal Pinocchio Park, the Garzoni Garden, the Butterfly House. 
Activities: Sightseeing and enjoying a relaxed vacation.
Ideal for: Family vacations.

9. Monte Isola- small town on a lovely island:

Image Source: Wikimedia

Nestled on a lovely island located in Lake Iseo, Monte Isola is a wonderful town in Italy that you should explore on your European sojourn. Its namesake, the island of Monte Isola, is the largest lake island in Europe. A stunning sight to behold, the island is 3 kilometres at its longest point and boasts of a peak that rises 600 meters off the lake’s surface.
What to see: The entire island with all its cute towns, quaint churches and friendly talkative locals.
Activities: An environment friendly one, vehicles are not allowed on the island. One needs to explore it on foot or on bicycles. A fun way to bask in the culture of a place. 
Ideal for: Honeymooners, sightseeing and enjoying a relaxed vacation.

10. Gubbio- step into a dream world:

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Located in the Umbria region of Italy, the town of Gubbio is situated at the foothills of Mount Ingino. With its medieval palaces, serene cathedrals, cobbled alleys, steep roads and cute bridges, Gubbio manages to enthral one and all with its understated beauty. Trivia: The town has a very old history; the nearby region is said to have been inhabited even during the Bronze Age.

What to see: The ancient Roman Theatre, Piazza Grande, St. Ubaldo Basilica, Ducal Palace.
Activities: Do try to get the ‘fool license’ over here! Ask a local about the same and you will get to hear fascinating stories!
Ideal for: Travellers who love art, history and architecture.

11. Cefalu- a pretty coastal town:

Image Source: Wikimedia

A popular tourist destination in Italy, Cefalu attracts thousands of tourists every year and for good reason; it is one of the best coastal towns in the country. An ideal destination for beach bodies, the place is also full of history and striking architecture thus making it a delight for budding photographers and history enthusiasts as well.
What to see: Norman Cathedral, Itria, San Leonardo church, ruins of the old city, Palazzo Atenasio Martino.
Activities: Sunbathing, water sports, horseback riding, swimming.
Ideal for: Beach lovers, honeymooners and family vacations.

12. Vogogna- an offbeat vacation destination:

Image Source: Wikimedia

The ancient town of Vogogna enchants one and all with its understated charm and impeccable hospitality. Situated within the magnificent Val Grande National Park, in the Ossola area, this small Italian town is a beautiful amalgamation of tradition, culture, architecture and history. With a skyline that consists of a glorious palace, this town is one place you should definitely explore while on your Italian vacation.
What to see: Visconti Castle, Palazzo Pretorio, Villa Braghi Rossetti.
Activities: Sightseeing and enjoying a relaxed vacation.
Ideal for: Family vacations, honeymooners, solo travellers, photography enthusiasts.

13. Ravenna- art at its best:

Image Soure: Wikimedia Commons

A delight for art lovers, the entire town of Ravenna is like a giant art exhibit. With intricate mosaics and frescos adorning its walls and buildings, the town looks like a vivid dream come true. In fact, spread across many churches, you will find a UNESCO World Heritage Listed mosaic of early Christian artwork.

What to see: Neonian Baptistery, National Museum, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, San Vitale, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.
Activities: Sightseeing, lots and lots of it!
Ideal for: Art lovers and history enthusiasts.

14. Neive- one of the best towns in Italy:

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A small commune and town located in the Piedmont region, Neive is known for its wine. Agrotourism attracts several tourists to the town; however, it is still pretty undiscovered. If you are in search of a tranquil vacation spot where you can just kick back and relax, Neive is the destination for you.  It lets you experience rural Italian lifestyle at its best.
What to see: The vineyards, Torre Comunale, Chiesa Di Sant Pietro, Chiesa Della Confraternita di San Michele.
Activities: Wine tastings, sightseeing and enjoying a relaxed vacation.
Ideal for: Wine lovers, solo travellers, honeymooners.
Ready to go on a memorable journey across Italy? We hope you have a lovely time exploring these small towns in Italy and communes; the best way to enjoy the warm hospitality is to opt for a homestay. Happy memories to you :-)
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