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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 165 Search results
Art & Culture
Città della Pieve

Panicale

Panicale, the enchanted countryside around Lake Trasimeno The village of Panicale is prominent amidst the sugar loaf hills bordering Lake Trasimeno to the south. This medieval town is still surrounded by walls, but its origins are much older: the Roman soldiers who escaped the defeat of Trasimeno found refuge on this hill. It was a free municipality, and the great artist Perugino worked here during the Renaissance. Today, it is an obligatory stop on any trip to Lake Trasimeno, over which there is an enchanting view. A small village rich in history Although small in size, the historical centre of Panicale allows you to take a stroll through history, among Romanesque churches, such as the Collegiate Church of San Michele; the 14th-century Palazzo del Podestà; the 15th-century Palazzo Donini Ferretti-Mancini; the Church of San Sebastiano, which houses two frescoes by the painter from Città della Pieve, Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino (the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian and the Virgin with St. Augustine); the Caporali Theatre, founded in the 17th century; and a preserved Pinacoteca (picture gallery) in the Town Hall, which houses the Mariottini collection, consisting of 31 portraits of illustrious local personalities, painted by various Perugian artists in the 18th century. The Tulle Embroidery Museum The former church of St Augustine houses a small museum that tells an important story for a small town like Panicale, that of an all-female craft, the art of embroidery. Popular throughout Umbria, embroidery was a significant economic sector for this area, providing supplementary income for farming families. In the 19th century, production intensified following the introduction of the tulle machine, which made production much faster. The museum also chronicles the story of a woman from Panicale, Anita Belleschi, who founded a school of embroidery on tulle that enabled several local women to become financially independent. Still today in Panicale there is an association of embroidery enthusiasts who also offer on-line courses. Montalera castle From Panicale, take the road to the hamlet of Casalini and you will find yourself in beautiful countryside where fields of grain alternate with wooded thickets, rows of trees and hedges. On the highest hill, nestled among the holm oaks, stands Montalera Castle, a building of medieval origins that underwent renovation in 1534 by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, a celebrity in Rome and in the papal court, who came from a family of architects specialising in fortifications at a time when the development of artillery meant that medieval buildings had to be reinforced. Montalera became almost a fortress, and one of the most modern buildings in the area. Today it is home to a large organic farm.
Art & Culture

Ponzano Superiore

Ponzano Superiore: a mediaeval village amid artistic treasures and panoramas If you have a passion for medieval villages far from time, the place you should visit is Ponzano Superiore, a magical place with old-world charm along the Via Francigena, which unfolds in a maze of cobbled streets and, thanks to its strategic position, dominates the area from Meloria to the Gulf of La Spezia. Ready to join us on our 1-day itinerary of artistic treasures and local beauty? Along the ancient Via Francigena, but without haste We should take example from the pilgrims who, on their way down from the Alpine passes and on their way to Rome and the Holy Land, lingered here in Ponzano Superiore: even today, the best way to enjoy this centre of the Via Francigena is not to be in a hurry. Take a look at the landscape and breathe deeply: you are in the beautiful Val di Magra, near Santo Stefano di Magra, in Lunigiana, a land that holds religious works of art of great value. The Parish Church of San Michele and its 5 altars One of the symbols of Ponzano Superiore is the Pieve di San Michele Arcangelo, an important place of Catholic worship in which there are no fewer than five altars and several paintings on canvas that have not yet been attributed. The church was repeatedly enriched with details between the 16th and 17th centuries and today has a Baroque and Rococo style. Also worth your time is Palazzo Remedi, whose splendid building, probably dating back to the 17th century, displays interesting sculptural reliefs. Pay attention to the remarkable coats of arms on the walls of the village that testify to the passage of different dominations over the centuries. The castle that is not there A quirk you won't find in the guidebooks: a castle once stood proudly here, of which no trace remains today. During the tour you will also encounter the Immaculate Conception Column, similar to the one on the Spanish Steps in Rome, and you can take a break or end the tour on the city's Belvedere. Ponzano as Caius Pontius Ponzano Superiore is a curious name, but what is it related to and how has it been maintained over the centuries? Its toponym is of Roman origin, probably referring to the consul Caius Pontius Ligo. Little is known of its history before 986; it was certainly the possession of the bishops of Luni, then passed to the Malaspina and in the 16th century to the Banco di San Giorgio. A priceless view Like a small jewel set on a hillock some 303 metres above sea level, Ponzano Superiore allows the eye to literally lose itself in the horizon. No archaeological digging has been carried out, but it appears to preserve the remains of a settlement in ancient and early medieval times. It was once inhabited by Ligurian peoples, such as the Apuanians who had founded the town of Luni. Once upon a time there was a manor Around the year 1000, Ponzano passed to the Este family, becoming a "castrum" with a fortress surrounded by walls, in which a gate with a drawbridge opened. Those who passed it found a chapel and a keep, while just below the castle there was a small inhabited village. Please don't think of it as a romantic place, though: due to its location, it had above all strategic and military significance.
Relax & Wellness

Lamezia Terme

In Calabria, discover the beauty of Lamezia Terme Lamezia Terme, the third largest city in Calabria by number of inhabitants, has a relatively recent history. Established in 1968 from the merger of the municipalities of Nicastro, Sambiase and Sant'Eufemia, it is not only an important regional and national hub due to its strategic location in the centre of the region, but also a crucial business hub for the region's economy. The Baths of Charon Despite its modern origins, the name is much older: it derives from the first political community attested on this territory, the Lametìnoi, dating back to protohistoric times. The Baths, on the other hand, refers to one of the main resources of the area, the Terme di Caronte, known since Roman times as Aque Angae. These four springs are located on the slopes of the Reventino mountain massif and, combined with the current of the Bagni river, give rise to different degrees of temperature: the highest reaches 39°C, hence the name Charon. A plunge into the gurna The facility is worth a visit if only for the beauty of its setting. It is located near the Gulf of Sant'Eufemia, surrounded by Mediterranean scrubland. Among the many wellness facilities available is the gurna, a natural outdoor pool with free access all year round. Don't get too upset if you hear someone referring to this place in the plural: it is only because there used to be two pools. Here you can enjoy the benefits of the sulphurous waters and mud: the temperature reaches 40°C. The secrets of ancient Terina The first human settlements in what is now modern Lamezia Terme were discovered in 1865, when jewellery was found in the area of Sant'Eufemia Vetere, which was later sold to the British Museum in London, which still preserves it today. This discovery, known as the Treasure of St Euphemia, was the first in a long series, which during the 20th century confirmed the ancient settlement of Terina. It was not until 1997, however, that it was decided to initiate a systematic search that identified a well-structured urban layout, of which we now know a living quarter built with parallel axes that define a regular urban grid. According to the most widely accepted hypothesis, this would be the extension of a pre-existing structure dating back to the 5th century BC. Two rooms of the Lametino Archaeological Museum are dedicated to ancient Terina. Lametino Archaeological Museum housed in the Monumental Complex of San Domenico. Divided into three sections: Prehistoric, Classical and Medieval, will give you an insight into the history of this area, from the earliest times. There is, for instance, a hydria, which is a vase, dated between 380 and 370 BC, as well as everyday objects. Dating back to 1550 is the Bastion of the Knights of Malta so called because it was assigned to the Knights of Malta who owned a fiefdom in nearby Sant'Eufemia del Golfo; an imposing defence tower capable of responding to enemy fire that is in perfect condition today. The fairies of Nicastro Castle There is still much to discover in Lamezia Terme, especially in the historic city centre. On Hill of San Teodoro, stands the Norman castle of Nicastro about whose origins there is some dispute. Built on the hillside, a unique strategic position to control the surrounding plain all the way to the sea, according to some dates back toByzantine era, according to others Svevo-Normana. All that remains of the original structure are four towers, the ramparts, walls and a buttress with a small loggia; the earthquake of 1638 caused great damage to the structure, but at the same time contributed to the legends that populate it. One of the most evocative is that of the fairy cave: when night falls, these creatures would leave their abode and wander through the ruins of the ancient manor house to the course of the Canne stream, to pick berries and flowers. After seeing the castle, take a ten-minute stroll along Via SS Salvatore and Via Garibaldi towards the statue of Frederick II: on the king's right forearm rests a falcon that has just landed (he was responsible for the introduction of falconry in Italy, did you know that?) while looking towards the castle. Not far from here, the Diocesan Museum preserves the history of the diocese from the 15th to the 20th century. The objects on display range from sacred vestments to reliquaries. The House of Ancient Books, an immense heritage During your walk through the historical centre of Lamezia Terme, you cannot miss the Casa del Libro Antico: it is located in Piazza Campanella and houses more than 2,500 volumes printed since the beginning of the 16th century. There are also Greek and Latin manuscripts. This is a truly important collection, which includes books on theology, philosophy, patrology, ecclesiastical history and exegesis, and consists mainly of book collections from the Capuchin and Dominican convents in Nicastro, but also from the library of the Friars Minor in Sambiase. Among the most important pieces in the collection are some ancient texts with notes in the margins by the philosopher Tommaso Campanella, who was born in the Calabrian town of Stilo. The city's green lungs There is also a lot of greenery in Lamezia Terme. The city is home to a Botanical Garden, established since 1972. There is a great variety of plants here, over a thousand species. More recent, however, is the S. Pietro Lametino Urban Park, a green lung of 15,000 square metres created in 2006. In the past it was a run-down area, today it is a different story. The redevelopment offers a beautiful place for citizens and visitors to relax.