Best small towns in Italy
Italy caries on its name the weight of our occidental civilization; from Great Greece to the Roman Empire; the epicenter of the first Renaissance and home of the greatest masters; the country is steeped in History. Beautiful landscapes, featuring a long coastline, mountains, vineyards, islands, and, of course, good food, are so many things that attract every year tons of tourists. But to get all the spices of Italy, you don’t need to go to Rome, Florence or Venice, as many small Italian towns pay homage to the Bel Paese. So if you are craving good pasta, pizzas or focaccias, here are the best small towns to visit in Italy.
Tuscany is probably one of Italy’s most beautiful and eminent regions for its landscapes, history, artistic legacy, and high influence on the cultural world. As well, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and the cradle of many important figures in the history of art and science. Located about an hour southwest of Florence, Volterra is as rich as its big sister in History and kept the footprints of the Etruscans that settle the city before the 8th century. Surrounded by a wall of the mountaintop, this little town in Italy features impressive long fortifications walls constructed at the end of the 4th century BC, and is still now and majestic display that you can observe today.
For art and history lovers, the city carries a lot of remains from the 13th century, when the Republic of Florence was ruling Volterra, and you can still enjoy now several structures dating from this period, including the Palazzo dei Priori and the Palazzo Pretorio standing over the central Piazza of the town as a testimony of those medieval times. Not far from them, stands the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta dating from the 12th century, an interesting melting pot of periods as the interior was modified during the Renaissance. As well, we recommend you take a look at the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, the walls and gates, and the Etruscan acropolis, and for a later period, there is also a Roman amphitheater and Roman baths dating back to the 1st and 4th century that worth a Detour; one of the best little towns in Italy carrying the greatest of Italian history.
Seductively beautiful and with a perfect location in the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily is the largest Italian island and its natural marvels and cultural gems will definitely entice you. Located an hour from Palermo, the Medieval town of Cefalù is one of the best small towns to visit in Italy. You’ll probably recognize the display as the city is so postcard-pretty that it’s served as decors to many movies, including the very nostalgic, much-loved, and heartbreaking Cinéma Paradiso. For a perfect stay, we recommend you to explore the many mosaic-adorned cathedrals of the town, to stroll along the romantic lungomare (seafront promenade), and to catch the sunset from the elevated La Rocca.
Connected to the Adriatic Sea, Ravenna is probably one of the best small cities in Italy, as it’s known for its well-preserved late Roman and Byzantine architecture, with eight buildings including the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna”. As well, apart from the glimmering Christian and Byzantine mosaics throughout the city, another monument of History rests here for eternity, the father of the Divine Comedy, Dante. To experience the greatest of Ravenna’s mosaics, we recommend you visit the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, notable in the history of art for hosting the oldest Christian mosaics and, behind the Basilica di Sant Vitale, the most impressive mosaics in Ravenna; explore the domes of Battistero Degli Ortodossi and Battistero degli Ariani; admire the Chapel of Sant’Andrea’s mosaics depicting flowers, figures of Christ and at least 99 species of birds.
No only one of the best little towns in Italy, but one of the most romantic hill towns, Urbino features some of the most stunning views of the Apennine Mountains and is a rich testimony of the Renaissance culture. Probably one of the most charming towns you’ll be exploring, and we recommend you to visit Urbino’s Ducal Palace houses hosting one of the nation’s most illustrious Renaissance art collections now named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the 17th-century Duomo and the Renaissance painter Raphael’s house after grabbing a café at well-known Caffè Basili. To your stay in a perfect way, trek to Albornoz Fortress at the top of Urbino to catch admire the beautiful overview of the town slumping below.
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