If the world this year celebrates the Sustainable Tourism, in Italy 2017 is also the year of villages. 12 months to live and promote these jewels of the peninsula, the heart of traditions and Italian life.
They are everywhere and many, they overlook the sea or climb the mountains, their houses are of all colors or white, some are made of wood; we walk in the alleys and narrow streets, between the artisans’ workshops and good smells, they are the soul of most authentic Italy. The Italian Villages are the perfect destination for a slow journey and these twelve months will be the best time to visit and live them.
The Minister of cultural activities and tourism, Dario Franceschini, declared 2017 the Year of Villages in Italy, commenting on the decision:
The villages that dot the area of our regions are rich in history, culture and traditions, and they are the cornerstone for the growth of sustainable tourism, able to create authentic experiences for visitors and to allow an harmonious development for the communities who live there. The Year of Villages will be an important opportunity to promote these realities that contribute so much to the quality of life in our country.
After the Year of Walk, in Italy they continue to aim to an experiential tourism, that promotes lesser-known territories and allows to live authentic experiences, pointing to traditions, landscapes, typical products.
So let’s start, let’s explore the beautiful villages of Italy. Let’s breathe the unique atmosphere of these little pearls of art and knowledge that attract visitors from around the world. We give life back to those who are at risk of disappearing and rediscover their beauty.
It is really impossible to say which are the most beautiful villages of Italy, they are many and all wonderful in their own way. They have something intangible hard to tell, but that fills your heart. With this being said, here is my personal selection of the villages of Italy, my favorite, the ones I most loved, or the ones I dream of discovering during the next trip. A short list to inspire you!
Riomaggiore, but also all the other villages of Cinque Terre
Riomaggiore is the first village of the Cinque Terre you meet coming from La Spezia. It leaves you speechless, with its colorful and stacked houses overlooking the marina and the deep blue sea. It’s beautiful walking in the intricate network of narrow streets and staircases, immersed in a unique landscape, between sea and mountains.
Where to stay in Riomaggiore: Affitacamere Dai Baracca is a delightful eco-friendly B&B, located in the center of the village. Guests can enjoy a typical Italian breakfast, made with organic ingredients.
San Gimignano, the scent of saffron and wonderful towers
Half way from Florence and Siena, we reach San Gimigliano, a medieval village made unique by its beautiful towers. At one time they were 72, now there are 14. In this pearl of unique charm you can breathe the perfume of saffron, the main ingredient of the typical dishes of the village.
Where to stay: a few steps from San Gimignano, you can stay in the countryside, surrounded by 40 hectares of olive trees and vineyards at the Organic Farm Poderi Arcangelo.
Canale di Tenno, the barrel vaults, the narrow streets and its magical Christmas market
We move to Trentino, a few kilometers from the famous Lake Garda. Here lies a town of rustic charm, Canal di Tenno, that climbs the mountain side. The best time to visit is the Christmas season, because it is home to a unique Christmas market. The stalls full of local products and wonderful crafts are space inside the cellars of the houses.
Where to stay: the eco-sustainable accommodation closest to Canale di Tenno is located in the beautiful Torbole, which overlooks Lake Garda. It’s the Eco Hotel Bonapace, zero-impact building that offers every comfort.
Vico del Gargano, the Umbra Forest and the sea
A very quaint old town, in the heart of the wild Gargano National Park: this village has ancient origins and retains the authentic charm of this incredible corner of Puglia, made of unique views, landscapes, narrow streets and alleys.
Where to stay: Pizzicato Eco B&B is the perfect place to discover the village and all the surroundings of the Gargano Park. It offers colorful rooms and excellent organic breakfast.
Brisighella, in the heart of the Apennines
Brisighella is surrounded by pristine natural environment. It is a village characterized by atmospheres of other times and slow rhythms. An explosion of culture, art, color kidnap travelers who move between the streets of Brisighella.
Where to stay: on the hill of the village, we can stay at the Farm Brisighella GreenWellness, a stone farmhouse that combines the love of nature with the latest amenities.
And then there’s Bellagio, Civita di Bagnoregio, Montefalco, Pitigliano, Alberobello, Chamois, Sterzing, Carloforte, Sant’Agata de’ Goti, Sperlonga … Ready to experience all the villages in Italy in this Year of Villages?
Cover photo by Daniel Stockman via Flickr