8 of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy
March 9, 2020
Italy has the most beautiful villages across all of its regions.
We uncover 8 of the most beautiful Italian villages and their breathtaking landscapes, unique architecture and pristine islands.
Recetto di Candelo, Piedmont Region
Situated in Piedmont, the name of this fortified hamlet literally means “refuge.” Locals hid in this medieval village in times of war and it was used to store grapes, wine and grain after peace was declared. Dubbed the “Pompeii of the Middle Ages,” the original architecture of this pentagon-shaped village has been incredibly preserved. Surrounded by tall walls, it’s made up of around 200 reddish-brown cube-like houses and five main roads, with cobblestone alleys so clean, that they glisten at night. Locanda La Greppia is one of the top restaurants in Recetto di Candelo thanks to its delicious local cuisine, including various pork dishes.
Set in Val D’Orcia, Tuscany’s most pristine corner, Pienza has been dubbed the “ideal city of the Renaissance.” Renamed and redesigned by Pope Pius II in the late 15th Century, it’s packed with architectural masterpieces like Palazzo Piccolomini, designed by Florentine sculptor and architect Bernardo Rossellino, located in the stunning Piazza Pio II. Positioned on a landscape of lush rolling hills, the UNESCO World Heritage Site famously features a series of streets with romantic names like Love Street and Kiss Street. Local restaurant La Buca delle Fate offers typical Tuscan menu items including picci pasta.
Manarola, Notorious Town of Cinque Terre
Not only is Manarola the second-smallest hamlet of Liguria’s Cinque Terre, it’s also the oldest and most romantic. Enclosed by cliffs, the best way to get here is by train or by foot via the panoramic Lovers’ Lane connecting to Riomaggiore village. Steep uphill stone paths connect the village’s colorful houses and orchards all the way up to a strange pyramid made of white cement that guides sailors at sea. One of Manarola’s main streets, Via Belvedere, leads to a natural panoramic balcony overlooking the Ligurian Riviera, dotted with olive groves and vineyards. Hotel La Torretta, a 17th-century tower, offers amazing sea views, while Trattoria La Scogliera specializes in authentic pesto dishes.
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Civita di Bagnoregio
Founded by the Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago, Civita di Bagnoregio sits precariously atop a plateau overlooking the Tiber river valley in Latium. Dubbed the “Dying City” due to constant soil erosion and a dwindling population, the remote village looks like it could crumble into the deep chasm at any minute. Abandoned by most of its inhabitants years ago, only a dozen residents live here now, as well as many cats. The footbridge was bombed during World War II and just one single metal catwalk connects the village to the main road today. Visitors can check in to Corte della Maestà, a chic boutique hotel, while restaurant Alma Civita serves up Italian and Mediterranean food inside a grotto.
The Hill Town, Cetona
Cetona is located on the hillside of the Southern part of Siena, Tuscany, where Umbria and Lazio meet. This commune and hilltop town is notorious for its incredibly mountainous and distinctive landscapes, which brings beautiful views of the town and sunsets. Enticed by the slower pace of life and fresh air, Cetona is where the royals and fashion designers come to relax. Art in Voyage brings you a lifetime experience to glance at the snail-shaped ancient hilltop town that is incredibly well kept. Starting at the magnificent Piazza Garibaldi, visitors can head up a narrow, paved road that circles around the tiled-roof houses and quaint churches, all the way to a panoramic castle tower complete with secret, exotic gardens. The village’s surrounding countryside is known for its high-quality extra virgin olive oil, where our guests are granted the opportunity to learn the process of olive oil harvesting. Camporsevoli, a small town fortified village a few kilometers from the town of piazze, has always been considered a strategic site. It is a privileged point of observation and also provides excellent visibility of the Chiana Valley that stretches beneath Mount Cetona
Marzamemi, a Village of Arab Origin
Marzamemi is a sea town situated near Pachino and Noto in southeastern Sicily, this is a tiny village of Arab origin. Once a vibrant fish industry hub, its yellowish-grey Arab-style stone buildings are one of many nods to its history. The village famously boasts an ancient “tonnara” or tuna plant as well as a wide piazza that’s been restyled into ceramic boutiques, bars, and cozy apartments. Tainted with black spots, the facades of the buildings make for a fascinating sight. The town, which served as the filming location for Gabriele Salvatores’ 1993 movie “South,” hosts the Blue Fish Festival each June. Marzamemi is regarded as one among the most beautiful sea towns of Italy and begins with the Tonnara, also known as the Tonnara of Marzamemi. This ancient palace was designed by Arabs around 1000 A.D. and gets its name from the Arab “marsa al hamem”, meaning “bay of turtledoves”. Enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving under the seas Tonnara Marzamemi to see the Ancient shipwreck that lies down flat under these beautiful waters.
Marettimo, the Most Remote of the Three Egadi Islands
The wildest and most pristine island of Sicily’s Egadi archipelago, Marettimo is a hideaway in every sense. Electric carts and donkeys are the sole means of transportation in this peaceful fishing village overlooked by an abandoned clifftop Saracen fortress. Consisting of a cluster of white-washed dwellings with blue trimmings that sparkle at sunset, its simplicity mesmerizing. Islanders have been instilled with a primitive fear of the sea gods, which is apparent from the prayers scribbled on walls and doors to keep storms at bay. The villas in this area offer beautiful sunsets, such as Villa Marettimo, where Art In Voyage will offer you nothing but five-star treatment.
Scanno, with the Heart-Shaped Lake
Located in the wild Abruzzo region of central Italy, Scanno is a rural heaven. Once a lair for bandits and outlaws, this pretty village nestled in the Apennine Mountains features a wonderful mix of Baroque, Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Decorated with portals, masks and angels, its impressive facades, mansions, churches and fountains were originally commissioned by rich shepherd families, who competed against each other to ensure their properties were the most beautiful. The village also boast various humbler stone and wooden dwellings that resemble something from a nativity scene. Scanno overlooks a heart-shaped lake named after it, which some claim possesses magical powers.