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Immerse yourself in the beauty of rolling hills and picturesque villages. Italy is home to some of the most idyllic villages in the world, which also offer a closer look into the country’s rich history. 

Put the authentic experience of visiting the medieval streets of Siena or the characteristic Cinque Terre to the top of your list. Live the true Italian experience. 

Villages 172 Search results
Gaeta

Gaeta

The Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea: beaches, nature, history and legends Dating back to a valiant, 9th-century maritime republic, Gaeta, in the province of Latina, is an unmissable gem of Lazio. Surrounded by the mighty walls of the Angevin Aragonese Castle, Gaeta’s historic centre is a collection of narrow streets and small porticoes. Worth visiting are the Sanctuary of the Santissima Annunziata, home to the codices of the amanuensis monks, and the Churches of S. Maria della Sorresca, Saint John Evangelist “a Mare” and Saint Francis of Assisi. It is flanked on one side by the sea, and on the other by Monte Orlando. Towering over Gaeta is the Montagna Spaccata (cracked mountain), said to be linked to Christ’s death, when an earthquake split the rock in three. You will be enchanted by the breathtaking view when exploring the promontory on foot. Other unmissable sites include the Sanctuary of the Most Holy Trinity – a renowned pilgrimage destination founded in 930 by the Benedictine Fathers on the ruins of a Roman general’s villa – and the Grotta del Turco cave, accessible via a 300-step staircase. The route, now a prayer site, is marked by the stations of the Way of the Cross with mid-19th-century majolica panels, partly restored and decorated with poetic verses by Metastasio. Finally, the beaches. Gaeta is famous for its ten kilometres of coastline, with fine, golden sand interspersed with small bays and rocky outcrops. The highlight is Serapo, bathed by a crystal-clear sea. Be sure to photograph the famous “Nave”, a large rock with an elongated shape resembling a boat.
Art & Culture

Vernazza

Vernazza, a small village of great wonders A rocky spur reaching out towards the sea, backed by high cliffs and covered with green hills, home to a village of houses and monuments next to the marina. Introducing Vernazza, among the most authentic villages in the Cinque Terre. The small, colourful houses and moored boats, the prickly pears and cultivated terraces create an enchanting landscape. Venture into one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, for an immersive experience in the pristine Mediterranean landscape. Alleyways and stairways In Vernazza, everything centres around the small harbour and the small square behind it, where the locals rent apartments to tourists. The “carruggi”, the narrow alleyways of Ligurian villages, all branch off from here. We highly recommend taking a stroll among the colourful, towering houses, through courtyards, under porticos and loggias (the perfect spot for a cup of coffee), and along Via Roma, an ancient underground river. An unmissable site in this ancient village, which dates back to the year 1000 and was once used by the Romans as a strategic port, is the Church of Santa Maria d'Antiochia: dedicated to the village’s patron saint, it has mullioned windows overlooking the sea and presents a blend of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles. While the Belforte tower acts as a lookout next to the small port, dominating the town from above is Doria Castle, on a dramatic cliff. Be sure to try the local speciality, Tian di Vernazza: baked potatoes and anchovies flavoured with Mediterranean herbs and lemon zest - the land and sea come together in one unique dish. At a slow pace to contemplate the landscape The entire UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cinque Terre is dominated by rock and sea, small bays and inlets, and flourishing vegetation. Nature reigns supreme, so the Cinque Terre National Park ask that you explore respectfully, ideally on foot or by train. It’s well worth spreading out a beach towel on the cliffs to the right of the pier or near the harbour. Then, after enjoying a cool dip, it’s time to put on your hiking shoes. You are sure to enjoy the spectacular trek from Monterosso al Mare or Corniglia, two other villages in the Cinque Terre, located either side of Vernazza. The best route is the famous Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path), which narrows in some places as it enters the woods, while opening up elsewhere to offer breathtaking glimpses of the sea and towering coastline. This circular trekking route climbs up to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Reggio, with its beautiful Romanesque façade. The forecourt is lined with holm oaks, cedars and horse chestnuts, and providing shade is the oldest cypress tree in Liguria, which has thrived for 800 years and counting. The route continues towards San Bernardino before descending back down to the village, past cultivated fields and vineyards, dry stone walls, fragrant Mediterranean scrubland, streams and springs, well-worn ancient mule tracks shrouded in silence, and crisscrossing houses lost in the wilderness. You will find yourself outside civilisation, inside a natural space that regenerates the body and mind.
Art & Culture

Gradara

Gradara is best known for its beautiful Fortress and for the love story of Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini, made immortal by the verses of Canto V of Dante's Inferno. The Fortress’s interior houses 15th- and 16th-century furniture and is decorated with valuable frescoes; Lucrezia Borgia’s dressing room and Francesca's bedroom deserve special attention, but above all the magnificent Renaissance works of art on display, such as the glazed terracotta altarpiece by Andrea della Robbia and the famous altarpiece by Giovanni Santi, Raphael’s father. Gradara clearly deserves the prestigious Orange Flag and Most Beautiful Village in Italy awards. It has two city walls: the outer one is punctuated by square crenellated towers and turrets, offers an amazing sight to visitors and can still be walked today. Around the castle, visitors can stroll along the Lovers' Walk or the paths of Bosco di Paolo e Francesca that encircle the hill, which present a beautiful view of the rural landscape of the Pesaro area, where cultivated fields and typical Mediterranean scrub join a spectacular view of the sea. In the fabulous setting of the mediaeval village, in addition to the Fortress and Camminamenti di Ronda, you can visit other cultural venues such as the Historical Museum and its grotto, the Municipal Theatre, Teatro dell'Aria ornithological park and falconry centre, and finally the street art route 'Beyond the Walls’. Some important events in Gradara throughout the year are: Gradara d'amare (February), Assedio al Castello (July), Castello di Natale (December).
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