Italy is renowned for its picturesque villages, and exploring off the beaten path can lead to unique and enchanting experiences. Here are five lesser-known villages in Italy that are worth a visit:
Castelmezzano - Located in the Basilicata region, Castelmezzano is a small village nestled amidst the Lucanian Dolomites. Its stone houses cling to the mountainside, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys. The village is famous for its adrenaline-pumping activity, the "Flight of the Angel," where visitors can zip-line between two neighboring towns.
Bussana Vecchia - Situated in Liguria, near the French border, Bussana Vecchia is a captivating ghost town with a fascinating history. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1887, the town was abandoned and left in ruins for decades. In the 1960s, it was repopulated by artists and creatives, who restored the buildings and transformed the town into a bohemian haven with art galleries, studios, and artisan shops.
Pitigliano - Perched on a tuff cliff in Tuscany, Pitigliano is often referred to as the "Little Jerusalem" due to its historical significance for the Jewish community. The village showcases a unique blend of Etruscan, Roman, and medieval architecture, including an impressive aqueduct and a Jewish ghetto. Explore the winding alleys, visit the ancient caves, and savor the local delicacies, such as the renowned "sfratto" pastries.
Savoca - Tucked away in the hills of Sicily, Savoca offers a glimpse into authentic rural life. This charming village gained fame as one of the filming locations for "The Godfather" movie. Stroll through its narrow streets lined with ancient churches and palaces, and don't miss a visit to the famous Bar Vitelli, where scenes from the film were shot. Enjoy stunning views of the Sicilian countryside from the village's vantage points.
Maratea - Located in the Basilicata region, Maratea is a hidden gem on the Tyrrhenian Sea coast. With its rugged cliffs, hidden beaches, and crystal-clear waters, it is often referred to as the "Pearl of the Tyrrhenian." Explore the historic center with its medieval churches, wander through the charming harbor area, and take in the panoramic views from the statue of Christ the Redeemer perched high above the village.
These off the beaten path villages in Italy offer a chance to immerse yourself in local culture, experience breathtaking scenery, and escape the crowds that often flock to more popular destinations. Sometimes when they say ‘go big or go home,’ maybe you just need to suggest a small village to them before you go home...