Approximately 200 of the most beautiful villages and small towns across Italy have been listed by the Borgh Italia association, in an effort to help preserve them, to highlight the range and diversity of Italian rural and historical culture and tradition, and to help preserve their unique environments that each of these italian villlages and towns has to offer.
Sabbioneta is a small town situated to the south-east of the Lombardy region of italy, between Mantua and Cremona. It is a very interesting town - nothing more unique and more fascinating is perhaps to be found in northern Italy. The town was designed in the 16th century by Vespasiano I Gonzaga to be a perfect example of how a renaissance period fortified town should be laid out.
Triora, a picturesque village in a lovely setting of wooded valleys in the Ligurian hills of north-west Italy, about 15 miles north of Sanremo. It is officially classified among the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Monte Rosa is Italys second highest mountain and is located about 10 kilometres south-east of the Matterhorn - although note that the summit itself, at 4634 metres above sea-level, is in Switzerland.
It is a great mass of a mountain at the head of the Valsesia, Gressoney and Ayas valleys, and its size and bulk provides a stark contrast to the elegant simplicity of its near neighbour.
The Italian town of Anghiari is in central-eastern Tuscany, a short distance west of Sansepolcro.
The village of Bard is situated to the south-east of the Aosta Valley region of Italy. Although most visited for the Fortress, in an imposing position and with a history dating back to the 4th century, take the time to also explore the village of Bard, which is officially listed as one of the most beautiful in Italy.
In our guide to Bard Fortress and town below, we start with a brief introduction then continue with a quite detailed account of the founding and history of the fort, which we hope will add to the pleasure of your visit!
The Fortress of Bard, located at the entrance to the region of the Valle d'Aosta, has a long and glorious history. It is situated in a strategic setting which originally served as a control point of the Alpine routes leading from France to Italy. The military reinforcement of these Alpine crossings or "chiuse" [from 'locks' = 'fortifications used to block roads'] began in the early 4th century AD and continued for many centuries after that.
The fortress we see today is a perfect example of military architecture of the 19th century with a powerful artillery (guns, mortars, howitzers and cannons) housed in bunkers placed on different levels. It could accommodate about 400 soldiers and had stocks to resist a siege of three months. The fortress was never the scene of clashes and as a result it is virtually intact.
Civitavecchia is an important port town on the coast of western Italy to the north-west of Rome.
The town is well known as a departure point for ferries to destinations in the Mediterranean including Sicily, Sardinia and Barcelona, and a stopping point for cruise ships so their passengers can visit Rome. While not a major tourist destination itself, Civitavecchia does have some sights of interest.
Kaukana is a very important example of a settlement from late antiquity. According to the archaeologists Kaukana was a small port town with warehouses and facilities including "fortified houses" in order to hold and defend the goods arriving in the port. Kaukana was therefore used as a commercial and military port during the Classical Age and the Byzantine Middle Ages [from 5th to 7th century AD] (8).
The ancient Villa of Cerqua reminds us that here, along the Flaminia Road, there were many settlements in Roman times, now attested by archaeological excavations.
In Roman times Akrai belonged to the so-called "stipendiariae civitates" [=tribute-paying communities], i.e. it was forced to pay taxes to Rome, which could mean that it was always opposed to the Romans, taking the side of Syracuse.
However, Akrai continued to be inhabited even after the fall of the Roman Empire, becoming one of the most important seat of Christianity. Its end came in the ninth century AD, when the city was destroyed by the Arabs.
Palazzolo Acreide and the ancient site of Akrai are situated in south-east Sicily, inland and to the west of Syracuse.
While it is the nearby ruins at Akrai that attract the most attention from visitors, the town of Palazzolo-Acreide itself deserves exploring, above all for the churches it contains. The Old Town of Palazzolo Acreide stands out above all for its typical Baroque style.
Eloro, also known nowadays as Helorus, is situated in south-east Sicily. It is closely related to the historic town of Noto and is found in the territory of that town.
It is for the archaeologic site and history that visitors come here - so bear with us if the Eloro guide is rather more historically detailed than most, but it will make your visit more interesting!
The remains of ancient Sybaris are situated to the east of the Calabria-Basilicata region and north of Rossano - hence at the top of the 'toe' of Italy. The locations of the excavations are easily accessible by car along the main road 106 - Ionica, which connects Reggio Calabria to Taranto.
Cassano allo Ionio is a medium sized town - now best known as a coastal resort - in the Calabria region of southern Italy near the ancient city of Sybaris.
In recent years Cassano Ionio has attracted the attention of historians and scholars. The town has an urban plan that is crossed by roads that intersect at right angles and branch out into narrow alleys, enclosed by walls that are ancient and of which virtually nothing remains.
The old town of Crotone is situated on a hill, where the ancient acropolis once stood, surrounded by walls built in the mid-16th century by Don Pedro de Toledo (1484-1553), who undertook the works of fortification with the rebuilding of the city walls and part of the castle. The new walls are in polygonal form, consist of five bastions and two ramparts on the sides of the castle and creating a very admirable example of a fortress.
Elea (Italian name Velia, so the town is also known as Elea Velia) is situated south of Posidonia (better known by its more recent name, Paestum), on the Tyrrhenian coast of the Lucania (hence in the Campania region of south-west Italy).
The ruins of Elea are found near the current location of Castellammare of Bruca overlooking the mouth of the Alento river. To reach ancient Elea by car follow the road 447 to Palinuro, and turn right on a road that leads to the Acropolis
Paestum was an important Greek, then later a Roman, city to the south-east of Naples in Capaccio. It is now best known for the temples at the site and the site is one of the highlights of your visit to the region.
Below we talk about the temples, museum and what you can expect to see when you visit Capaccio - Paestum.
Porto Ercole is a town on the coast of south-west Tuscany, close to Porto Santo Stefano. Dominated by the fortress on a hill above the town, Porto Ercole also has an interesting historic centre and harbour to explore.
The city of Naples is found on the coast of south-western Italy, at the northern end of the Bay of Naples, where it is located in a natural amphitheater in the hills and along the coast.
Naples has many places of interest to visit, both within the city and in the surrounding region, but is also an active modern town with a grerat deal of more recent development, noise and activity.
The ancient town of Cuma was situated close to the current city of Naples, and traces of this earlier city can still be seen nearby. It was founded by the ancient Greeks in a location that had been occupied since prehistoric times.
For years people talked about the opportunity to visit an “Underground Naples,” with evidence of Naples in its first period when it was founded by people from Cuma - in fact, there is an “Underground Naples”, which today can be visited by tourists interested in antiquities.
The town of Reggio Calabria is situated in the far south of the country, close to the crossing to Sicily. It is the most important town in the Calabria region, and has a significant historic and architectural heritage to discover.
The town of Rende is now quite extensive, but it is the historical part of the town that is of interest to visitors. The town is spread out along a ridge in the countryside of the Calabria province of southern Italy.
Castiglione Cosentino is a small town in the countryside of the Calabria region of southern Italy.
We have to recall when visiting Castiglione Cosentino that it was subject to several severe earthquakes during the 18th - 20th centuries, so a substantial part of the architectural heritage has been lost. However, this heritage is still well represented by the religious buildings in the town.
San Leo is in the heart of the Montefeltro countryside to the south-west of Rimini, and on a hilltop 600 metres above sea level that has been occupied since Roman times. San Leo is listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages in Italy' and also has the Orange Flag award for sustainable tourism.
Vibo Valentia is located on a fertile plain at the northern side of the promontory of Tropea, a few kilometers from the Tyrrhenian Sea, which overlooks the town of “Vibo Valentia Marina.” The old urban center is in the upper part of the town, at the foot of the castle, while below is the modern town.
The town and region is usually visited as an excursion from the popular coastal resort of Tropea
Policastro Bussentino is a seaside resort in Campania (southern Italy), and has all the facilities of a popular summer destination.
However, although the town is nowadays best known as a resort and for the coastline of the Policastro Gulf it also has a long and interesting history and several monuments of interest to explore.
Nocera Terinese is a town in the Calabria region of southern Italy that is devoted to tourism, with an old Town full of interesting monuments. It is close to the very ancient town of Temesa, a site that can also be visited.
The town of Santa Maria del Cedro is situated in the Calabria region to the south of Italy. It is also associated with the very ancient town of Laos that existed here in ancient Greek times.
The town of Poggio a Caiano is situated north-west of Florence in Tuscany, north-central Italy. Poggio a Caiano is most visited for its highly renowned Medici Villa but the town itself also deserves an exploration when you visit.
The ancient castle of San Niccolò is located on a hill overlooking the valley of the Solano torrent, crossed by a stone bridge and within the Casentino district of Tuscany.
In the highest part of the castle is the fortress, which was connected by a single road to the village below. The so-called "Borgo alla Strada" [today “Strada” in Casentino] arose outside the castle walls, and the entrance has a tower with a clock dating from the 14th century*.
Montemigniaio is a small village in the attractive setting of the Casentino district of eastern Tuscany.
Camoldoli is a village close to Poppi in the Casentino region of eastern Tuscany, and visited above all for the historic Holy Hermitage and Monastery of Camoldoli. To reach Camoldoli you have a very scenic drive through the Casentino forests.
Bibbiena is an ancient town in Casentino (to the east of Tuscany) situated on a hill overlooking the river Archiano, a tributary of the Arno. The town has its roots in the etruscan (pre Ancient Roman) period.
The ancient medieval town is well preserved in the upper part of Bibbiena, while the modern part stretches along the slopes and below, because of the city's expansion since the 19th century.
The ancient Umbrian town of Amelia is located in a hilly area about 400 meters above sea level, towards the south of the Umbria region of central italy between the Tiber and the Nera River, on a hill on the right side of the stream called “Fosso Grande". It is one of the most interesting old towns in southern Umbria.
In the town, which is surrounded by massive 'polygonal' walls, many styles are combined from the Middle Ages until the 18th century. The churches and palaces demonstrate the importance that Amelia had in the 16th and 18th centuries from the artistic point of view.
Tusa is situated on the coast of northern Sicily, east of Cefalu, where it is a popular and developed seaside resort. Our visit concentrates on the town itself rather than the resort...
Saturnia, best known as a spa destination, is to the west of Italy and the south of the Tuscany region. It is part of the municipality of Manciano.
In the hilly hinterland of Grosseto, Saturnia is situated on a hill overlooking the famous hot springs between Mount Amiata and the hills of the rivers Albegna and Fiora.
The old town is of Vaglio situated on the south-eastern slopes of Serra San Bernardo on Mount Cenapora, towards the centre of the Basilicata region of southern Italy.
The historic center of Vaglio Basilicata, despite various transformations over the centuries, still retains its clear medieval structure.
Lampedusa is a small island (it is 13 km long from east to west, and the average width is only 3 km) situated about 200 km south east of Sicily and 110 km from Africa where it forms part of the Pelagian Islands.
The natural environment of Lampedusa belongs as much to Africa as to Italy and is the main attraction of Lampedusa.
Tricarico is a small town in southern Italy, in the Basilicata region and east of potenza. The urban plan of Tricarico still shows the presence of Arab neighborhoods with narrow streets that alternate with the typical Norman districts, which, on the contrary, have a 'smoother' characteristic.
In the archaeological area, excavations show that the area of Tricarico has been inhabited since the 6th-5th century BC by the Lucanians, as the necropolis found near Tricarico show and in recent years the remains of several temples have been found, which are still being studied (see also history of Tricarico)
Rivello is a medieval village with great charm, in a very scenic position overlooking a valley situated in the Basilicata region of southern Italy.
Roccagloriosa is a town in the province of Salerno, located north of Mount Bulgheria, near the Bussento and Mingardo river valleys (in the Campania region of southern Italy).
The modern village of Roccagloriosa is situated on a hill around the ruins of the castle that was built by Narseh during the Gothic-Byzantine war in the 6th century, although the origins of a settlement here date back much further (see history of Roccagloriosa.
The town of Alatri is spread across the side of a hill towards the east of the Lazio region of central Italy with an ancient history.
Aci Trezza is situated near Catania on the east coast of Sicily. It is also on the extension of the beach that runs from Catania to Messina. Both the town and surrounding countryside and coast have a great deal of interesting sights.
In front of the beach there are some islands that catch the visitor's attention with their bizarre forms - this group of rocks is known by local inhabitants as the “Faraglioni of Trezza”, or more romantically as as the “Island of the Cyclops".
Although Aci Trezza is a prestigious seaside resort we suggest you find time to appreciate some of the local monuments, towns and villages, and scenic highlights.
Acireale is situated on the coast of eastern Sicily, north of Catania and was a well established medieval town here before the 16th century (described as being similar to many muslim cities).
Adrano is a substantial town to the east of Sicily, inland from the coast and north-west of Paterno, immersed in a landscape that winds through mountains and fields of orange groves in the valley of the river Simeto, and to the south of the Regional park of Mount Etna.
Lipari is the name of an island and also the only major town in the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands, off the north coast of Sicily. It is to history that we turn on a visit to Lipari, with the Acroplis and the Aeolian Museum being the highlights in the town itself.
The archipelago of the Aeolian Islands is in the Tyrrhenian Sea, north of Sicily, and is composed of seven islands, of which the largest are Lipari, Vulcano and Salina, and others include Filicudi, Stromboli, Panarea and Ustica. All the Aeolian islands are of volcanic origin.
Agrigento is one of the most important cities in Sicily, and is situated on the southern coast of the island. It is particularly well known and visited because of the ancient temple complex of Agrigento.
Aidone is a small town situated in central-southern Sicily a lttle way north-east of Piazza Armerina. Like many towns in the region, the architecture in Aidone was very affected by the earthquake of 1693 and the subsequent baroque style rebuilding of many monuments in the town.
The town of Alba is in the Piedmont region of north-east Italy, south-east of Turin and south-west of Milan. Although the city has its origins in Ancient Roman times, most of the monuments of interest today date from the 13th - 15th centuries.
Albenga is a town near the coast of Liguria in north-west Italy. The highlights in the town are the interesting medieval centre, and the museum that contains the remains of a 1st century ship.
Alberobello is located at 426 metres above sea level, on two hills at just over 20 kilometres from the Adriatic Sea (at the top of the 'heel' of Italy).
The key feature of the town consists of the trulli, a word that derives from the Greek "tholos" ("dome"), the typical shape of the buildings of local stone. Each “trullo” consists of a square central compartment, communicating through arcades with the kitchen and other rooms.
Altamura is an important historical town situated in the heart of the Puglia (Apulia) region of south-east Italy.
It is a traditional agricultural and pastoral center between the Upper Murgia and Basilicata, on the ancient residential complex of the “Peucezi”, which was originally surrounded by megalithic walls built in the 5th - 3th century BC, and which are still partly visible in some parts of the 'Corso Umberto I'.
The Amalfi Coast is a spectacular 50 km section of coastline that follows along the southern edge of the Sorrento Peninsula from Positano to Vietri sul Mare (just west of Salerno). Along the route there are several small towns that are very worthy of visiting, divided by dramatic cliffs and rocks plunging into the Mediterranean, and very attractive coastal scenery.
Many places get described in travel guides as 'awesome', 'stunning', 'spectacular' and so on. In this case believe them - the Amalfi Coast is one of the great coast roads of Europe, perhaps the world.
Amalfi is a popular town centrally placed within the Amalfi Coast, just south of Sorrento.
The town has an interesting history - from the 6th until the the 14th century Amalfi was a very large and important Italian port town. The decline began in the 12th century when the town was besieged and changed hands a couple of times - firstly by King Roger of Naples in 1131 - and its fate was then sealed by a tsunami that hit Amalfi in 1343 and destroyed much of the lower town.
The town was never to regain its earlier importance, and has remained a quiet harbour town since that date - until the arrival of tourism in the 20th century.
Anagni is an important historical town in Italy, situated in the centre of the Lazio region and south-east of Rome. Many popes and important families lived here and constructed their impressive buildings, especially in the period around the 13th century.
Ancona is established on the hills around a natural harbour on the Adriatic coast of to the west of the Le Marche region of Italy. The town dates back to the 5th century BC, when Greek exiles from Syracuse (now part of Sicily) first established a settlement here.
It is a popular arrival point from the UK with flights to the nearby Falconara airport acting as a popular entry point for the Marches region of Italy, and is also used as a ferry port for passengers to Greece and Croatia.
Benevento is situated inland in the hills of the Campania region of Italy and about 50km north-east of Naples. The town was an important trading station for Ancient Rome that developed along the route between Rome and Brindisi., then later it was a regional centre for southern Italy.
Belluno is in the northern part of the Veneto-Venezia region, just where the flat plains of the south meet the dolomites and mountains to the north - north of Conegliano and south of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Venice is less than an hour to the south.
The town of Bastia Umbra is situated in the heart of the Umbria region of central Italy and close to Perugia, the region capital.
Bassano del Grappa is located to the north-east of the Veneto region of north-east Italy, in the province of Vicenza. The town is best known for its medieval bridge.
Barletta is situated on the Adriatic coast, in the Puglia (Apulia) region of south-western Italy. In addition to the historical highlights of the town itself there are also many sandy beaches within easy reach of the town.
Bagheria is located a few kilometers from Palermo, in north-west Sicily. The town is best known for its imposing villas, but there are also other monuments of interest to discover.
Avio castle (also known as 'Castello di Avio' or 'Castello di Sabbionara') is found to the south of the Trentino-Alto Adige region and a short distance east of Lake Garda.
Passing along the valley of the Adige River there are numerous castles, dating from the time when the valley played an important defensive role and was also an important transit route - this strategic importance dates back to before the ancient Romans and extends through to medieval times.
Many of the castles along the valley are hard to access, but Castello di Avio is accessible, open to the public, and has good views over the surrounding countryside and down the valley of the Val Lagarina.
Atri is one of several pretty hill villages in this part of the Abruzzi region of central Italy. Atri preserves some important signs of its historical importance as the ancient Duchy of the Acquaviva from the end of the 14th to the second half of the 18th century, .
Atrani is situated in Campania between the sea and high cliffs, at the entrance of Dragon Valley. It is on the Amalfi coast close to Amalfi itself and classified as one of the 'most beautiful villages in Italy'.
With its typically medieval urban structure, its landscape and its beach Atrani offers many attractions to tourist attractions. Although a small village, there are many places to visit, in part because at the time of the Republic in Italy it was the favourite residence of the most noble families of Amalfi.
Assisi, in the Umbria region of central Italy, is best known as being the birthplace of Saint Francis of Assisi, but as you will discover there is much else to discover in a visit to the town.
The attractive walled town of Asolo is in a picturesque setting in the lower forested foothills of the dolomite mountains and listed as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy. It is in the centre of the Veneto-Friuli region, about 40km inland from Venice and 15 kilometres east of Bassano.
The surrounding countryside is never far away, and the varied glimpses of the hills that you get as you explore have led the town to be nicknamed the 'city of a hundred horizons'.
Ascoli-Piceno is located at the southern end of the Marches region of Italy, in an attractive setting surrounded by mountains and designated natural parcs.
With origins dating back well before the ancient Romans, the name of the town comes from the Piceni tribe who once occupied this spot.
Arezzo is a large town situated in the middle of the Tiber Valley in eastern Tuscany. The town still overlooks the important lines of communication which since ancient times have been the main reason for the development of the town's economic activities.
The town of Arco is located to the northern end of Lake Garda in Lombardy (northern Italy), in an attractive setting with sheer cliffs to one side and overlooked by a castle.
It stands at the southern end of the Sarca River valley which flows on into Garda Lake, and the position- protected by the mountains - allows the area to maintain a mild climate, so the city has been a holiday resort for several centuries.
Aquileia is found to the south-east of the Veneto-Friuli region, between Gorizia and Trieste. 2000 years ago, Aquileia was a large and thriving Roman town - it is now a much quieter place, but contains important ruins and monuments that remain from its heyday.
Unfortunately much of the city was destroyed by Attila in the 5th century then pillaged and used for building materials during later centuries, and there are fewer Roman ruins to be seen than you would expect.
Caltavuturo is a small town to the north of Sicily. The Old Town of Caltavuturo developed around the end of the 16th century, after the abandonment of the site called Terravecchia, where the medieval town was located.
Caltabellotta, in the Agrigento district of western Sicily, is set on Mount "Kratas", to the south of the Sicanian Mountains in an almost impregnable position surrounded by three peaks: Monte Pellegrino, Monte Castello and the Gogala cliff.
Cagnano Varano is situated in a region of lush vegetation on the north shore of the Gargano peninsula, in the Puglia region of south-east Italy.
Cagli is an interesting historical town to the west of the center of the Marche region of Italy, rebuilt in the Middle Ages, after its earlier destruction in 1286.
The urban layout of Cagli was designed according to the rules of the Roman urban tradition, that is with a rectangular layout.This layout was designed according to a plan by Ascoli Piceno, and in honour of Pope Nicholas IV, a native of the city.
Some scholars believed that Cagli was of Roman origin, but modern research has confirmed the hypothesis of Mochi: "The Roman orthogonal layout of Cagli is due to the fact that it was inspired by the Roman plan of Ascoli Piceno, the town in which Nicholas IV was born".
The town of Butera is found in south-west Sicily, a little inland from the coast and north-west of Gela. It is a town with a thriving tourism industry and has many points of interest, from religious buildings to the Necropolis; from the Castle of Falconara to the “Marina di Butera”.
Bussana Vecchia is situated near Sanremo, in the south-west of the Liguria region near the western border of Italy with France.
In 1887 the village of Bussana Vecchia was destroyed by an earthquake that hit the region. At the time most people in the village were in the church, which collapsed during the earthquake, and hundreds of people died during the tragedy.
Buscemi is a town in the south-east of Sicily to the west of Syracuse - as such it is in the region that was devastated by an earthquake in 1693, and by which the historic town was completely destroyed.
The current town layout at Buscemi is regular and as laid out in the years following the earthquake, with many of the buildings, especially the churches, rebuilt in the Baroque style of the period.
Burano occupies one of the lagoon islands off Venice. It is often visited as a popular tour from Venice, from which it is easily reached by ferry - the seven kilometre trip takes about 40 minutes.
Bruneck (Brunico) is found to the north-east of the Tentino-Alto Adige region, to the north of the dolomites and in a valley overlooked by wooded slopes and the Kronplatz mountain and ski resort.
Brescia is situated in the Lombardy region to the west of Lake Garda. The town is in an attractive setting and contains some good Roman ruins, some fine Renaissance architecture, and a touch of Mussolinis excesses.
The Brenta is a scenic waterway inland from Venice towards Padua, best known for its scenery and grand villas and popular with those taking a river cruise. Although man-made, the Brenta is better described as a river than a canal.
The 'River' Brenta was originally constructed to divert the flow of water that was causing too much silting of the lagoon around Venice, threatening to damage transport links. It is 174 kiometres long.
Bitonto is a town in the Puglia (Apulia) region of south-east Italy, a little way in from the Adriatic coast, and well known for the cultivation of olives and related production of the excellent olive oil from the many olive trees that surround the town.
Bevagna is a small town in the Umbria region of central Italy, close to Spello.
The small town of Bettona is situated on a hill in central Umbria, a short distance south-east of Perugia. Elliptical in shape, Bettona is still surrounded by medieval walls and it has also preserved some parts of the ancient Etruscan walls.
The well preserved medieval town of Castell'Arquato is situated on a hilltop among the hills of the Val d'Arda about 15 kilometres west of Fidenza and to the west of Parma, in the western Emilia-Romagna region of north-central Italy. Piacenza is north-west of here.
Set on a hilltop with views over the Arda valley, Castell'Arquato is a very lovely and carefully restored town, with its roots in Roman times. the town was very prosperous between the 10th and 13th centuries and much of what you see dates from this period. It is also listed as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy.
Cassibile (together with Avola) is now a populous suburb of Syracuse in south-east Sicily.
Best known as a small seaside town and popular resort, Cassibile has an excellent beach at “Fontane Bianche” [White Fountains]; one of the most important prehistoric settlements in Sicily; and places of great scenic interest such as the Natural Reserve of Cavagrande del Cassibile.
Cascia is a small town about 20 kilometres from Norcia in the south-east of the Umbria region of central Italy.
Casale Monferrato is a substantial town, located on the plain between the extreme eastern slopes of the hills of the Po and the right bank of the river, in the Piedmont region of north-east Italy.
Despite more recent development the historic area of Casale Monferrato has kept the polygonal perimeter established by the town's ancient fortified walls.
The small town of Carpino is situated on a hill between Lake Varano and the Umbra Forest in the Gargano region of Puglia (south-east Italy). The characterful Old Town in Carpino has houses 'stacked' on the streets and small alleys connected by stairways.
The Norman-Swabian Castle in the old town was built by the Normans in the 11th century and then passed into the hands of the Swabians. Today only a few traces of it remain, such as the old square tower with a pyramidal base and an overhanging cylindrical structure.
The origins of Carpi, an important and beautiful town of Romagna (central Italy) with about 70,000 inhabitants, date back to the 6th century AD.
It is very probable that the name Carpi derives from Carpinus, a type of tree, which suggests that in ancient times, the area was wooded with this type of tree.
Caronia is a medieval hill town standing below a Norman castle near the coast of north-eastern Sicily, .
The structure of the medieval town is clearly visible even today in the old town of Caronia which, in spite of the inevitable modernization over the centuries, still retains the original layout in some small alleys and narrow winding streets.
The town and port of Carloforte is situated a few kilometres off the south-west coast of Sardinia, on the east coast of Saint Peter's Island. It combines the dual roles of fishing port and tourist destination.
Carini is located on a hill about 170 meters above sea level, within the chain of the Mounts Ericini and just a few kilometers from Palermo, with a territory that extends to the sea.
Capua (and the roman ruins at nearby Santa Maria Capua Verte) is situated about 30km north of Naples in the Campania region of central Italy. it has been an active local centre for more than 2000 years, as can be seen in the monuments and buildings in the town.
Caprarola is a small town in the lazio region of central Italy, north-west of Rome.
The town and region has an ancient history, in particular represented by the parish churches, that is very interesting to visitors, and a history of these churches makes a vist even more enjoyable. There are also several other interesting historical monuments such as castles, including the Castle of Valenzano.
Canazei is a town and holiday-ski resort in the eastern part of Trentino-Alto Adige. Well placed for exploring the dolomites in the region, Canazei is in a great setting surrounded by high mountains. As a result is a popular destination in both summer and winter.
Campofelice di Roccella is on the northern coast of Sicily, between Termini Imerese and Cefalu. Because of its proximity to the sea and a very long beach, it has many amenities for tourists and is a popular summer destination.
For several hundred years an important base for shipping in the region and once described as 'the city of a thousand sailing ships' Camogli is now a small, pretty fishing town to the north-west of the Portofino peninsula (east of Genoa) and within the Portofino Regional Natural Park.
Camerino is a small town in the centre of the Marche region of central Italy, south-west of San Severino. An extraordinary city of art, Camerino is still surrounded by walls that show the military role of its origins, built by Berengar of Lvrea.
The town was originally entered through three gates: Porta Malatestiana, Porta Caterina Cibo and Porta Boncompagni. The city was also divided into three "Terzieri" ("quarters") called Sossanto, Di Mezzo and Muralto.
The first was around the cathedral at Borgo San Venanzio; the second included the centre, and the third was the south and west of the city. Even today, the anniversary of the so-called Corsa della Spada ('Race of the Sword') and 'Palio' recalls the rivalries that once divided the terzieri of Camerino.
Situated in the Val di Chiana at about 400 metres above sea level, it is among the most ancient Italian cities.
Chioggia is located in the Po River Delta, close to Padua and about 25 kilometres by boat from Venice. Chioggia is located on two islands about 900 metres long and 200 metres wide, separated by the so-called 'Channel Vena'.
Chioggia retains its traditional role as a fishing and port city, with tourism now also an important part of the local economy.
Chiavenna is a small town situated north of Lake Como in the Lombardy Lakes region of northern Italy, near the border with Switzerland.
Chiavari is situated on the Gulf of Tigullio, an area between the promontory of Portofino and Moneglia.
The town has a fascinating mix of architecture (note the three different architectural styles in the photo of Chiavari above) and is well known for its medieval streets known as the 'carrugi'.
Chiaramonte Gulfi is a small town near Ragusa in southern Sicily. Despite the considerable challenges it has experienced over the centuries the Old Town of Chiaramonte Gulfi is well preserved, and today we can appreciate of the typical medieval structure, characterized by steep staircases.
Chianciano is a small town in the rolling coutryside of south-east Tuscany. It is divided into a medieval town surrounded by walls and characterized by narrow streets, and a modern part, which extends to the periphery of the town and the spa area.
Cetica is a small village on the slopes of the mountains of the Casentino, and one of several villages located in Pratomagno including the three old towns of St. Michael (or St. Angelo), St. Mary and St. Pancrazio, surrounded by small villages scattered among terraced fields.
It falls within the same district as Castel San Niccolo.
Cesena is an ancient city of Romagna, to the right of the Savio River, in a wide and fertile plain, and which is now an important city of approximately 88,000 inhabitants.
Cervo is a pretty village south of Albenga and north-east of Imperia, on the coast of Liguria in north-west Italy.
Certaldo is a small Tuscany town of medieval origin, which was born in an area of ancient human settlement located in the Val d'Elsa. The name comes from the Latin "Cerrus Altus", a reference to the fact that at that time the area was wooded.
Today Certaldo is a popular tourist destination both for its historical buildings, perfectly preserved in the upper part of the city, and for the landscapes of the area.
The historical and artistic heart of Cefalù is its Cathedral, founded by Roger II and in the Arab-Norman style.
Cefalu is a leading Sicilian seaside resort, and one of the major centers of art, culture and history on the island. It also has daily connections with the Aeolian Islands and combined these two factors make Cefalu a very popular destination in Sicily.
The town of Cefala Diana is situated in north-western Sicily, south-east of Palermo.
The town has always had a focus on agriculture but recently, thanks to a better appreciation of its artistic and architectural heritage, Cefalà Diana has become an attractive tourist destination. It is set in a landscape of considerable charm which is now part of the "Natural Reserve of Cefalà Diana", created in 1997.
The "Arab Baths" and "The Castle" are the two main highlights in Cefalà Diana, although both are surrounded by much confusion about their real origins - in particular it seems likely that the 'Arab baths' were constructed in the 12th-14th centuries, not during the Arab period and not, as is also sometimes suggested, with origins in the Roman period.
In the words of Michele Amari, one of the greatest scholars of the Arab-Sicily period who despaired of reaching a solution about the dating of the Cefalà Diana Baths: "We cannot hope for now, or for ever, to arrive at the origin of this monument" (M. Amari, “Storia dei Musulmani di Sicilia”).
Castrovillari is situated to the north of the Calabria region (the 'toe' of Italy), to the west of Sybaris. The town has a remarkable artistic heritage, as highlighted by the imposing Aragonese Castle, located in the city centre.
Castroreale is located a few kilometers inland in north-east Sicily to the south of Milazzo.
The town is best known for the important works of art to be seen in the Civic Museum, the Pinacotheca, the churches of the city and the surrounding countryside.
Castiglione del Lago is located on a peninsula on the western shores of Lake Trasimeno, towards the north-east of the Umbria region of central Italy.
The territory was originally subject to rule by the Etruscans and Romans, then from the 13th century the town had a great strategic importance because it controlled the roads that went from Rome to Florence.
The town and harbour of Castelsardo is found on the north-west coast of Sardinia, and to the north of Sassari, on a rocky promontory overlooking the northern coast of Sardinia and a small port.
Near the coast and beach the village retains its ancient medieval layout with the ramparts that still surround the oldest part of Castelsardo, known as Pianedda this is an ancient fishing village.
The Gulf of Castellammare ("Castellammare del Golfo") is a wide and deep inlet on the northwest coast of Sicily in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea.
With its long and remarkable coastline, the Gulf of Castellammare is between the peninsula of Cape San Vito to the north and Cape Rama to the east: the coast of the eastern and western regions is characterized by cliffs while the central part has sandy beaches, together forming a lovely part of Sicily.
Cremona is set on the plains of southern Lombardy, to the south-east of Milan and on the left bank of the Po river, between the Adda and Oglio rivers. The land has a rich soil, which has long made the location a first-class agricultural centre.
The town of Crema is situated in the centre of the Lombardy region of northern Italy, about 40 kilometres east of Milan.
Cortona is situated to the south-east of Tuscany, Italy and also to the south-east of the town of Arezzo. The city has its foundations in Etruscan times, hence pre-dating even the Ancient Romans (see also history of Cortona).
Cortina dAmpezzo is found to the north of the Veneto-Friuli region, in the valle dAmpezzo region of the dolomites. Like many ski resorts it started life as a cluster if small hamlets, now united by growth of the resort.
The town is renowned as being one of the best - and perhaps the very best - of the skiing resorts in the dolomites if not Italy. Set in fabulous, dramatic scenery surrounded by mountains it attracts the stylish and sophisticated young things from both Italy and elsewhere, and offers great skiing.
Correggio is a beautiful small town in Emilia Romagna with about 20,000 inhabitants and located between two streams, the Crostolo and the Tresinaro.
The origins of the name of the town are interesting. At one time Correggio was surrounded by marshes and canals and the only areas that could be explored on foot were the upper parts of the banks of these canals and ponds. These raised strips were called 'corrigiae' (from the Latin 'corrigium' which means 'a strip of leather') - so 'Correggio' refers to 'strips of land in the midst of the waters'.
Corleone is a small town situated on a hill about 500 meters above sea level in the province of Palermo in western Sicily.
The town is best known for its churches and for its connection with some of the most powerful families of the mafia (hence why the name Corleone was used by the lead character in the Godfather film).
The Conero peninsula is on the coast to the south-east of Ancona, in the Le Marche region of Italy, and consists of attractive coastline and beaches on the Adriatic Sea set around the Natural Park of Mount Conero, and the mountain itself.
Conegliano is a town in the centre of the Veneto-Friuli region, north of Treviso and in north-east Italy.
Comacchio is a beautiful 'town' that has developed across a number of islands in the Po Delta, now joined by bridges, and an attractive place where tourists can admire impresive buildings and numerous churches.
Colle di Val d'Elsa is a hilltown in the Siena province of Tuscany. There are many places of interest and historical buildings to discover in the small historical center and Colle is in a scenic location, so a visit is recommended.
The city celebrates itself as the city of Arnolfo and the surrounding territory as Terre di Arnolfo - Arnolfo di Cambio is a celebrated 13th century sculptor and architect.
Note: historically Colle included three different villages: Piano - the newer (but still now very old) part in the valley and Borgo di Santa Caterina and Castello di Piticciano on the ridge of the hill above. there is also now a larger, more recent part to Colle.
Civita Castellana is located on the slopes of Mount Soratte, in northern Latium in the Lazio region of central Italy to the north of Rome.
Cividale del Friuli is east of Udine, in the east of the Friuli region on the River Natisone and close to the frontier with Slovenia. The town has a long and interesting history, dating from its foundation by Julius Caesar, and was also an important regional town from the 6th to the 11th centuries.
Nowadays it is a quiet town, and Cividale is a pleasant place to visit and also listed as an Orange flag town.
Cittadella stands as a fortified outpost of Padua in the area between the River Brenta and Musone, north of Padua and Vicenza.
Citta di Castello is a large town rich in history and art situated to the north of the Umbria region of central Italy.
Much of this artistic heritage dates from the rule of the Vitelli in the 15th century, with the palaces and churches having a Tuscan influence, a result of the close bonds between the Vitelli family and the Medici of Florence. Great artists of the 15th-16th century such as Signorelli, Raffaello, Rosso Fiorentino and Raffaellino del Colle have enriched the city with prestigious works of art.
The Cinque Terre is a group of five villages set in scenic splendour on the cliffy coast of Liguria between La Spezia and Lvanto. The villages are called Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, and together they are now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The central Italian town of Città della Pieve is situated on a hill to the west of the Umbria region of central Italy and near the border with Tuscany.
Cinisi is a small town and coastal resort located in the eastern Gulf of Castellammare, in the valley of the “Furi” stream, in north-west Sicily near Palermo.
Cingoli is centrally placed in the rolling countryside of the Marche region of eastern Italy, and is classified as one of the 'most beautiful villages in Italy'.
Boasting an artistic heritage of great interest and value, and set on a hill at a height of 600 meters, while also only a short distance from the Adriatic Sea, Cingoli offers history, charming landscapes and easy access to coastal resorts, making it a popular summer destination.
Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region of western Italy and is easily accessed both by air or land. It is also one of the most fascinating and culturally rich cities in the world and a visit is extremely highly recommended when you are in Italy!
Not surprisingly tourism is now a very important industry for Florence, which attracts a great deal of visitors from all over the world drawn to the architectural beauty, the arts and the museums of the city, especially between the months of April and October.
Fidenza is a small town found towards the western end of the Emilia-Romagna region, between Piacenza and Parma and on the historical trade route known as Via Emilia. The town has its origins in Roman times, and gained importance in the Middle Ages as part of an important pilgrimage route - the via Francigena - that led to Rome.
Fidenza has had an eventful history, including suffering severe damage or destruction on several occasions (by Emperor Constantine in the 5th century; by troops from Parma in the 13th century; by allied planed in 1944).
Ferentino is a city very rich in ancient religious buildings and well worth a visit. It is situated in the eastern part of the Lazio region of central Italy.
The island of Favignana is situated just off the westernmost tip of Sicily (from Trapani and Marsala) - more precisely, it is part of a small group of islands that includes Favignana itself, Marettimo and Levanzo, which together form the largest part of the Aegadian islands.
Fano is a town and beach resort on the Adriatic Sea at the north of the Le Marche region, south-east of Pesaro.
Unusually for the resorts along this part of the coast, the history of Fano dates back 2,000 years - it was at one time the largest roman settlement on the Adriatic - and there are some interesting Roman and 16th century buildings and monuments to visit in the old part of the town.
The fascinating town of Faenza is in the Emilia-Romagna region of central Italy, to the south-west of Ravenna.
Fabriano is situated near Jesi to the western edge of the central Marche region, at the foot of the Apennines and in an area very rich in natural beauty and art.
Erice is a sizable town found in north-west Sicily near Trapani where it has been an important regional centre for at least 2000 years.
Empoli is located in Tuscany, in the plain of the River Arno Valley, north of Arno and west from the river Elsa.
Domodossola is a small town in the Val d'Ossola, surrounded by picturesque mountains in the Alps of north-eastern Piedmont, close to the border with Switzerland.
The dolomites are a very impressive range of mountains in the Italian Alps that cover a large part of southern and eastern Trentino-Alto Adige region and the north of the Veneto region.
Dolceacqua is found a few kilometres inland from the coast, in the Nervia valley at the western end of Liguria (north-west Italy) and a short distance north of coastal Ventimiglia.
The village is best known for its olives which are grown in abundance in the region, the locally grown flowers, and a decent red wine called Rossese, produced from grapes grown in the surrounding hills.
Cuneo is a substantial town situated in the southern part of the Piedmont region of northern Italy. As well as exploring the town itself, Cuneo is often used as a base for exploring the picturesque surrounding countryside, in particular along the valleys of the rivers Stura di Demonte and Gesso which meet in the town.
Gubbio is a sizable town situated in the Perugia province of Umbria in central Italy, near the base of Mount Ingino. There is a great deal of historical interest to discover, from Roman monuments such as the Thetare to very impressive renaissance palaces and a fascinating old town.
In terms of town planning and architecture, Gubbio consists of a series of parallel streets, running at different levels, each steep and precipitous, and by monumental buildings and dark stone houses with arched and mullioned windows, jambs and window-sills in a typical medieval style.
The historic town of Gualdo Tadino is situated on the slope of a hill towards the north-east of Umbria in central Italy.
Ancient Gualdo Tadino was established on Sant'Angelo Hill and followed the layout of the land, developed with overlapping terracings, and this layout still gives the city its typical medieval appearance.
The town of Gualdo Cattaneo is situated in central Umbria, and south-east of the region capital, Perugia.
"Grumentum" was an important city of Magna Graecia, in Lucania, towards the Gulf of Taranto, between Abellinum Marsicum and Heracle. Today it is called "Grumento Nova" and falls within the basilicata region of southern Italy.
It is the historical ruins from this early period in the Archaeological Park of Grumentum that are the main attraction for visitors (see below), but first we introduce the other highlights and monuments of interest in Grumento Nova itself.
The caves at Bossea are found at the southern end of Piedmont, about 25 kilometres drive to the south of Vicoforte and Mondovi and along the Corsaglia Valley to the south-east of Frabosa Soprana.
The Great Saint Bernard Pass - the Colle del San Gran Bernardo - lies on the border between Italy and Switzerland, in the Alps of northern Valle dAosta at a height of 2469 metres above sea level.
As well as being famous for its scenic attractions, the Colle di San Gran Bernardo is the place where the renowned Saint Bernard rescue dogs were trained from the 11th century onwards. Not sure if the dog was named after the pass, or the other way around?
The Gran Paradiso National Park is to the south-west of the Valle dAosta region of north-west Italy. It was the first National Park to be established in Italy, in 1922 and based on a region deignated for the protection of ibex in 1856.
The highest point in the park, at an altitide of 4061 metres, is the summit of Gran Paradiso mountain.
The small town of Grado is situated on a peninsula at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea between Trieste and Venice in north-eastern Italy and has become one of the most popular destinations with visitors to the region.
This popularity began due to the role of Grado as a spa town and has continued due to the pleasant environment and high level of facilities provided.
Gorizia is a town located at the eastern edge of the Veneto-Friuli region, on the border with Slovenia.
The town was divided in two as part of the settlement separating Italy and Yugoslavia at the end of WWII, although with Slovenia joining the EU the division has now become much less formal or restrictive - Nova Gorica is the name of the town on the Slovenian side of the border.
The city walls of Glorenza are perfectly preserved and the semicircular towers and the three gates testify to the military character of the ancient "Burgum Glurns" when Maynard II (1238-1205), at that time the reigning Prince of Tyrol, gave the title of "civitas", ("city") to Glorenza.
Note: Glorenza is usually called Glurns outside Italy.
The town of Gerace is situated at the southern end of Italy a few kilometres inland from the ancient Greek settlement of Locri on the Ionian coast - the two are usually explored as part of the same visit.
Locri-Gerace is an important and well-equipped seaside resort, and, apart from a beautiful beach, it is also a destination that is enjoyable in the summer months, quiet and attractive for the tourist who loves being surrounded by nature and a little removed from mass tourism.
Genoa is on the coast of Liguria (north-west Italy) and also the capital and most important town of the region. italians of course know the city as Genova.
Genoa is also well known as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and you can see the house where he is thought to have been born.
Gela is located east of the river Gela and close to its outlet on the south-west coast of Sicily, island off the south-western part of Italy. The old town of Gela is rich in monuments to remind visitors of its long and ancient history.
Gardone - often also called Gardone Riviera - is situated on the western coast of Lake Garda. At one time it had a reputation for being the most sophisticated resort on Lake Garda, and while that era might have passed Gardone still continues to have a certain allure.
It is also well placed for taking boat trips to some of the other towns around the shores of the lake.
The Italian town of Gallipoli is situated towards the southern tip of Puglia (Apulia) in south-east Italy.
Note: this town has no connection with Gallipoli in Turkey, well known for an extensive battle in the First World War.
Gaeta, as well as being an important art city, is also a popular tourist destination - the most popular in Latium, thanks both to its beaches and landscapes. The town is situated on the coast to the south of the Rome-Lazio region.
The caves at Frasassi (Grotte di Frasassi) are at Genga, 50 kilometres south-west of Ancona, in the Le Marche region.
Herculaneum (known in Italy as Ercolano) is an ancient Roman town situated on the outskirts of Naples - it was buried by ash falling and subsequent lava flows after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Less well known than Pompeii, Herculaneum is another important Roman town destroyed by the same eruption of Mount Vesuvius that has also been extensively excavated and is very revealing of the town 'frozen in time' 2000 years ago (although substantially smaller than the excavations at Pompeii).
Ischia is an attractive and popular island situated just off the western coast of Italy in the Bay of Naples. As well as being the name of the island Ischia is also the main town.
The village of Ischitella is situated on a hill dominated by olive trees and Mediterranean bushes about 300 meters above sea level where it forms part of the Gargano National Park.
The ancient village is also called "Earth", ansd separate from the newer part, called the "Bridge". The 'Earth' is characterized by houses with decks overlooking the winding narrow streets leading to the main monuments of the city.
Ispica is Sicilian town, situated on a hill in the south-eastern corner of the island, at about 200 meters above sea level (the sea is about six kilometers away).
The picturesque town of Ivrea is in north-west Italy, near Turin and contains several interesting sights - most notably the cathedral and Roman ruins.
Lake Como is found to the north-west of Lombardy. The main town on the lake is Como itself, at the south-western tip.
The town of Como has a lovely centre with an impressive cathedral and imposing villas including Villa Carlotta and Villa Olma. You can also take a little tram up the hillside to Brunate and see more beautiful villas en route. But it is the lake itself that is the main attraction...
Lake Garda is found north-west of Verona, on the border between the Veneto-Friuli region and the Lombardy-lakes region (to the south) and Trentino-Alto Adige (to the north). The lake is usually reached from its southern end, via Desenzano, while another common route arrives from the west at Salò.
The lake - proper name Lago di Garda - is surrounded by attractive scenery, especially to the northern end, and is the most popular of the Italian lakes with visitors.
Garda Lake is referred to tongue-in-cheek as "The greatest of Germanys Lakes", because of the large number of tourists coming from Germany and Austria, ploughing the waves of the Garda Lake with their motor-boats.
Lake Iseo (Italian: Lago d'Iseo) is a popular lake in the heart of the Lombardy region, north-west of Brescia and east of Bergamo and certainly among the most picturesque of the lakes in the region, surrounded by steep wood covered hillsides rising to the mountains.
Lake Garda (to the east) and Lake Como (to the west) are perhaps better known, but be sure to allow time to also explore lake Iseo during your tour of the Lombardy lakes - although smaller than its neighbours Iseo is 25 kilometres long and with plenty of sites of interest - and rather less international tourists.
Lake Maggiore is one of the popular 'Lombardy lakes' of northern Italy. The 65+ kilometre long lake runs north through the Lombardy and Piedmont region and across the border to Locarno in Switzerland.
The lake nestles in a valley surrounded forested slopes and mountains whcih make it very scenic - and a very popular summer destination with visitors.
Lake Orta is a quiet lake, 15km in length, in the southern Alps just west of Lake Maggiore, in the Piedmont region. To the west of the 'important' Lombardy lakes such as Maggiore, Iseo and Como it is smaller than these other lakes - and less visited.
It is often said that the Italians who know about Orta prefer to keep it a secret to avoid it becoming as commercialised as the larger lakes. The lake itself is in a picturesque setting surrounded by woods and hills.
Lampione is the smallest of the Pelagian islands, situated far off the southern coast of Sicily and closer to Africa than Italy. The ismand is uninhabited, and the only building on the island is a lighthouse.
Lanciano is a substantial (population 35,000) town near the coast to the east of central Italy, in the Abruzzo region, that can trace its history back over 7000 years.
The interesting part of Lanciano for visitors is the historical centre of the town (known as Civitanova), which contains several interesting buildings and historical features among the ancient streets.
Lerici is an attractive harbour town to the south-east of La Spezia, on a natural inlet on the Liguria coast (known here as the Riviera di Levante) of north-west italy and across the gulf from the Portovenere peninsula, with an attractive backdrop of rolling green hills.
Although popular with Italian visitors, Lerici is usually much less crowded than the (exceptionally busy) villages of the nearby Cinque Terre.
The town of Lesina is situated on a small peninsula on the southern side of Lesina Lake and to the north of the Puglia region of south-east Italy.
It is above all a place for visitors who want to discover nature, with the presence of the lake, sea and lush vegetation, and also a large Mediterranean maquis, with woods, pine forests and dunes where you can admire a wide variety of birds and other animals, including the the buffalo.
Levanzo is a small island situated off Trapani to the west of Sicily, and is one of the three main Aegadian islands (with Favignana and Marettimmo).
Covering just six square kilometers, Levanzo is a popular destination for both its cultural and natural highlights.
Jesi (also known as Iesi) is in the Le Marche region of central Italy, inland from Ancona.
Set among the hills and vineyards of the region, Jesi is best known for it's medieval centre and the sturdy walls and towers that surround the town, with defensive fortifications dating from its 14th century heyday as centre of a small independent state.
The old town, laid out along a raised ridge, is well preserved and the most interesting part of the town for visitors with several interesting palaces and buildings to admire, and it is a very pleasant town to explore when visiting this region of Italy.
Linosa is one of the Pelagian islands, situated far off the southern coast of Sicily (the island is geographically closer to Africa than Italy).
Lisciano Niccone is a village in the Umbria region of central Italy, north-west of Perugia.
Locri is an ancient Greek settlement (and now also a resort and marina) at the far end of southern Italy, near Gerace and overlooking the Ionian Sea, one of the most beautiful and cleanest of the seas that surround Italy.
It is most visited for the important ancient remains from the Greek town of 'Locris'.
Lodi is a substantial town, situated in the Lombardy region about 35 kilometres south-east of Milan that originally developed as an important station on the Roman transport routes in the region.
Loreto is an important hill town to the south of Ancona, inland from the Adriatic coast and in the Marches region of central Italy.
Lucca is situated in a broad and fertile plain on the left side of the river Serchio in western Tuscany close to Pisa. It is a city rich in art, surrounded by walls built in the 16th century.
The small town of Lugnano in Teverina is situated on an isolated hill,in the Umbria region of italy to the south of Perugia.
The town is still surrounded by medieval walls, largely rebuilt by Pope Pius II. Lugnano not only has a very ancient past, but also a history of art worthy of special consideration - the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta is the most important monument in the town.
Macerata is located in the south of the Le Marche region of Italy, in attractive countryside to the south-west of Loreto and just a few kilometres from the Adriatic Sea on a location that it has occupied for at least 3,000 years.
It is a lively town, if slightly off the main 'tourist trail' for the region, with plenty to distract you if you are passing your visit on the nearby coast or enjoying the countryside of the Marches.
Madonna di Campiglio is found to the south-west of the Trentino-Alto Adige region, in the Valle Rendena in the Dolomites.
It is one of the major resorts for exploring the dolomite region, to which it provides easy access. The town is also one of the most well known, and largest, ski resorts in Italy and caters to all forms of winter activity.
The town of Magione is situated on Lake Trasimeno to the west of Perugia and towards the west of the Umbria region, in central Italy.
In ancient times Magione didn't have a a city wall but relied instead on a defense system based around the 'Torre dei Lombardi' (Lombardy Tower), located to the north of Magione.
Mals (called Malles Venosta in Italian) is found in the north-west corner of the Trentino-Alto Adige region, close to the Italian borders with Switzerland and Austria.
Manfredonia is a town with medieval origins in the Gargano region of Apulia in south-east Italy, near the Adriatic coast. It is the "daughter" town of the ancient Greek - Roman city of 'Sipontum'.
Mantua (aka Mantova) is an important town to the south-east of the Lombardy region, within easy reach of three important lakes (Lago Superiore, Lago di Mezzo, Lago Inferiore).
The town has a fascinating and impressive centre with many renaissance style builings and palaces, along with many examples from other historical periods such the neoclassic style, well represented in Mantua both in the Reggia and in the other palaces and churches.
Marsala, which the Arabs called "Marsa Allah" (i.e. "the port of Allah"), has a very ancient history with its roots in the Phoenician-Punic age.
The town of Mascali is situated to the east of Sicily. In the shadow of Mount Etna, the town has suffered over the centuries from both earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Mattinata is situated at the foot of the “Monte Sacro”, known in antiquity as 'Dodoneo', on which there is an ancient temple, on a peninsula facing into the Adriatic Sea.
The village, made of small narrow streets, old stone steps and historic buildings, is very fascinating while Mattinata is also a very popular seside resort - so be sure to tear yourself away from the coast for a while because Mattinata has a great deal of historical interest to discover.
Massa Marittima, the 'City of Museums', is a very attractive town situated on a hill in Tuscany. It is a town of great tourist interest due to its unique artistic and historical heritage, preserved in numerous museums and, of course, given the geographical position, beautiful and magnificent landscape of the Maremma region of Tuscany.
Know in Italy as Monte Cervino, the Matterhorn is instantly recognisable by its pyramid shape - it is perhaps the most recognised mountain peak in the world - you have certainly seen photos of the Matterhorn even if you didn't know what you were seeing!
The mountain is in the form of a four-sided pyramid, with the sides conveniently facing the points of the compass.
The town of Mazara-del-Vallo is located at the mouth of the Mazaro River in south-west Sicily. The town has been very important in the history of Sicily - it began life as an important supply centre for Selinunte, and since antiquity it has been a safe port for boats.
Given its strategic geographical position, it also became a much-conquered land for different peoples, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Swabians, each of whom left an indelible mark on its territory.
Melfi is situated on a hill of volcanic origin at the foot of Mount Vulture, in the north-west of the Basilicata region of southern Italy. Already established as a pre–Roman town, Melfi acquired importance in the Middle Ages as the capital of the Normans.
The town of Menfi is situated near the coast of south-east Sicily between Selinunte and Sciacca. Menfi has developed to have a tourist industry based on the seaside, such as the beaches of Porto Palo, Capparrina and Lido di Porto Palo, which have beaches with very clean sea and facilities for visitors.
Menfi suffered substantial damage to its monuments during an earthquake in 1968.
Merano is a spa town situated to the north-west of Bolzano, in the northern Trentino-Alto Adige region, located about 350 meters above sea level and among the Venosta, Passiria and Adige Valleys.
The town is more German-Austrian in feel than Italian, and is a pleasant place best known for it spa waters and treatments.
Messina is situated on the north-eastern coast of Sicily, just a short ferry crossing from mainland Italy which lies to the east.
It is important to remember at the outset of your visit to Messina that a significant part of the artistic heritage of Messina was lost during the world wars of the 20th century, and also important damage was caused by the earthquakes of 1783 and 1908.
The most famous monuments have been reconstructed according to old plans, but it is not surprising that several interiors and paintings have been destroyed, and often you will be looking at more recent reconstructions of older buildings.
In ancient times the territory of Metaponto occupied the vast plain that stretched along the Ionian coast between the rivers Lato, to the north, and Cavone, south, reaching into the first foothills, in what is now part of the basilicata region of southern Italy.
The Greek colony originally settled in a region already densely inhabited by indigenous peoples, such as the Enotri and Chones, which was later expanded by the entry of goods and people coming from the Greek-speaking Aegean.
Milan is an important city in the centre of the Lombardy region - and the second largest city in Italy. While it can be a challenge for first-time visitors - Milan is often busy, hot and crowded and not always as clean as it could be - there are rich rewards for those who persist in exploring this vibrant Italian city.
Wealthy Milan means different things to different people - including shopping, art and culture, high fashion, football with AC Milan and Inter Milan, one of the finest cathedrals in the world, the Last Supper, opera at La Scala - and has something to offer all its visitors, although the principal focus of the town is not tourism.
Milazzo is a substantial town on the coast of north-east Sicily, west of Messina, and best known (and most visited) for its beach and historic village.
Modena has a history dating back to Ancient Roman times, and was again a wealthy regional center during much of the 16th-18th centuries. To this day it is one if the more affluent Italian towns.
The town of Modica is situated to the south-east of Sicily, a little to the south-east of Ragusa.
As with many towns in this part of Sicily towns it is the baroque churches that are among the most interesting examples of the local architecture, and because of this Modica falls within the area designatad as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Italian town of Mondovi is located between the mountains, hills and plain; on the one hand the city overlooks the plain crossed by the Po River, which leads to Turin; from the other, it is situated on a hill that marks the border of the “Langhe”, the land of truffles and wines.
Mondovi is also conveniently placed a short distance from Savona and the Italian Riviera.
The town of Monreale is situated on the south-west slope of Mount “Caputo”in north-east Sicily, and close to Palermo. The town is best known for the extensive cathedral complex, so we give extensive details about the cathedral below...but allow time to visit the other highlights in and around Monreale while you are here!
Montagnana is south of Vicenza (south-east of Verona), in the Venice-Veneto region of Italy and about 40 kilometres south-east of Verona.
Mont Blanc - or Monte Bianco in Italian - stands on the French-Italian border between Courmayeur and the Val d'Aosta (Italy) and Chamonix (France) and is the tallest mountain in the Alps at 4,810 metres high.
As a casual visitor you are more likely to enjoy the beauty of Mont Blanc from Courmayeur or Chamonix or the surrounding trails than from the summit! Visible from miles around, the mountain dominates its surroundings.
Montalbano Elicona is a small town on a hilltop in the north-east of Sicily.
Monte Sant'Angelo is a town in the Gargano region of Puglia, south-east Italy.
Montepulciano is situated to the south-east of the Tuscany region of Italy, where it stands high on a rocky ridge overlooking the surrounding countryside.
The town has been granted the Italian Orange Flag award for its programme of sustainable tourism.
Monza is found about 20 kilometres north-east of Milan, and is now pretty much incorporated as a satellite town of Milan. it is best known for the Monza race track but there are other highlights to discover in the town.
Lovers of archaeology visiting Sicily will be tempted to visit the ancient Greek city of Morgantina, one of the most interesting archaeological sites in the hinterland of Sicily.
Morgantina is near the town of Aidone (which contains a museum with many artefacts from Morgantina).
The town of Motta Sant'Anastasia is situated to the east of Sicily, a few kilometres inland from Catania.
The historic town of Narni is situated on the border between the Umbria and Lazio regions of central Italy, and on the ancient Roman trade route called the Via Flaminia (Flaminia Road), which began from Rome and continued towards the sea ports on the Adriatic.
Naso is a town on the north-eastern coast of Sicily betwen Cefalu (to the west) and Messina (to the east).
Earthquakes have had a severe effect on the heritage of the town of Naso, including the loss of a 9th century castle in the earthquake of 1786. The castle, along with the village and mother Church, once stood along the ridge that separates Naso from the valley of the river Zappulla.
Nocera Umbra is a small town to the east of the Umbria region of central Italy, and east of Perugia.
The town is surrounded by castle walls and dominated by the large tower, called the "Campanaccio", which is all that remains of the original fortress and medieval walls. Of the ancient Cathedral, incorporated in the fortress, all that remains is the 10th century portal.
Norcia is a small town to the south-east of the Umbria region of central Italy.
Noto in Sicily is an international tourist destination, known for both its historical and architectural heritage - in particular baroque architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries - and for the presence of many beaches, such as Noto Marina.
Because of the importance of its baroque architecture Noto is a listed UNESCO world heritage site.
Peschici is a small town on the top of a cliff-promontory that rises to more than 100 meters above the Adriatic Sea, overlooking the bay below. Towards the north of the Puglia region in south-eastern Italy it is both a seaside resort town and a place of great historical interest.
For those who love the sea, Peschici has famous beaches, with the “fine sand”, to which the small medieval town owes its name. Elsewhere in and around the town there is also much to discover.
Pesaro is a large town on the Adriatic coast to the north of the Le Marche region of italy.
The town of Pesaro has a split personality. To many of those who visit the town, especially during the summer months, it is simply a popular family beach resort on the Adriatic. But a few hundred metres inland and behind the hotel strip that lines the beach, the 'other' Pesaro also deserves your attention, above all for the well preserved medieval town.
Peruguia is an important town in central Italy and capital of the Umbria region, situated on a hill dominating the plain of Umbria and the Upper Tiber Valley (to the north of Rome).
Historically it was both a lively and important city due to active agricultural, manufacturing and handicraft industries. No less important is the appearance of the city, which has perhaps the richest artistic heritage to be found in Umbria.
Pavia is an important town in the southern part of Lombardy, deep in the heart of Italian rice-growing territory and about 30 kilometres south of Milan.
It is difficult to do justice to the very rich artistic heritage of Pavia in a short time, but by careful planning you have the chance to visit the best art and architecture of the city.
Patti is situated near Tindari and the north-eastern coast of Sicily, and is a well known regional arts centre with an interesting historical town. The town developed, as was typical in the Middle Ages, around its cathedral and castle.
Paternò is a medium sized town in south-eastern Sicily, to the south of Etna and at about 300 meters above sea level.
Partinico is a town to the north-west of Sicily, near Palermo. Although the town is relatively recent compared to some in the region it is rich in religious and civil buildings of historical and artistic interest.
The international fame of the town rests perhaps on its two great food products - parmesan cheese and parma ham - that are both highly reputed around the world. The city itself also has a great deal to offer, including some of the finest buildings, artworks and monuments in northern Italy and numerous bars', restaurants and upmarket shops.
Panarea is the second smallest of the Aeolian islands, a group of volcanic islands off the north-eastern coast of Sicily. Now a popular tourist destination due to its beaches and scenery, Panarea is well equipped with facilities for such a small island.
The landing beach for the island is at San Pietro on the east coast, and is a village with all services. There is also a small port for ships, hydrofoils, fishing boats and pleasure boats.
Palestrina is an important historical town in the Lazio region of Italy, to the east of Rome.
Paceco is a town situated to the west end of Sicily, in the valley of Mazara about three miles from Trapani.
On a hill at 30-40 meters above sea level, Paceco is a farming town that has been inhabited since the Paleolithic and Neolithic era, in a landscape that bears witness to the presence of an ancient civilization and consisting of Mediterranean vegetation in picturesque scenery.
Orvieto, in the southern end of the Umbria region of central Italy, is situated on a tuff cliff with overhanging walls, which dominates the plain below.
An attractive town to visit or in which to base your explorations, Ortisei (along with Saint Christina and Selva Gardena) is found in the Val Gardena and is primarily a winter ski resort destination.
In the 19th and early 20th century all economic activity in Oliveri was based on fishing - today, however, the town is better known as a tourist destination because of the seaside and local landscapes which developed as the fishing industy fell into decline.
Oliveri was originally the name of both of the castle and the hamlet (which was no doubt built around the castle), situated on a low hill not far from the beach of the Tyrrhenian Sea and dominated by the promontory of Tindari.
Novara is an important regional town to the east of the Piedmont region of northern Italy, north-east of Vercelli. It is the second largest town in the region, after Turin.
Pratovecchio offers varied attractions to visitors whether you are a history lover, an artist or a nature lover, as does much of the Casentino region of Tuscany.
You can easily get from Pratovecchio to the National Park of Casentino Forests which reaches more than 1000 meters above sea level, and explore the pine forests that surround it, or alternatively you could go to the hermitage of Camaldoli, founded by St. Romuald and about 30 kilometers from Chiusi della Verna, to visit the site of another famous monastery.
Positano is a stunningly situated town at the western end of the scenic Amalfi Coast and just south of Sorrento.
Dating from the middle ages, the original role of Positano as a quiet fishing village struggling to make a living from the sea has been completely transformed by the impact of tourism.
Portovenere is a pretty port town on the Liguria coast of north-west Italy, on a peninsula to the south-east of the world-renoned Cinque Terre villages.
Porto Venere also includes the villages of Fezzano and Le Grazie on the coast a little way to the north, and now forms part of the UNESCO listed coastline of the region.
A town with three histories: originally the town was a Roman staging post on the route to France and Spain, then later became a fishing village. In the early 20th century Portovenere started to attract the artistic community, and is well known for its association with Byron and Shelley.
Portofino is a very lovely village and harbour on the coast near Rapallo and to the north-west of the Cinque Terre coastal region of picturesque villages. The town is set in an attractive inlet and surrounded by the steep valley sides with their olive trees.
Poppi is located on the flat ridge of a hill near Arezzo and it is a major town in the Casentino region to the east of Tuscany, best known for the Castle of Poppi.
The Po Delta is a predominantly natural area to the east of Ferrara and north of Ravenna, in the north-east of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, where the River Po divides into several smaller rivers before meeting the Adriatic Sea.
Much of the Po Delta is now protected, either as part of the large Parco del Delta del Po, or by one of the smaller nature reserves that are found in the region, and is also designated as a World Heritage Site.
Pitigliano is situated in the Grosseto Province of southern Tuscany. The town is situated in a dramatic position 300 metres high above a plain, in a natural defensive position that is further enhanced by the presence of fortified walls.
Pistoia is located at the foot of the Apennines, on the left side of the river Ombrone and about thirty miles north-west of Florence. The city is particularly rich in important Romanesque and Renaissance style monuments.
Pisa, a town on the coast in the west of Tuscany, is of course best known for its famous 'leaning tower of Pisa' - but there are several other monuments of interest to visitors, several of them dating from the medieval epoch.
Pinerolo is a sizable town centrally located in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy about 35km south-west of Turin and in an attractive setting surrounded by hills and valleys.
Pietrasanta is a town in the west of Tuscany (north-west of Pisa and Lucca) which now has more than 20,000 inhabitants, was born in the Middle Ages at the foot of a Lombard castle - its foundation dates to 1255.
The small town of Petralunga is north of Perugia, and to the north of the Umbria region of central Italy.
Pienza is an Italian town in south-east Tuscany. The centre of Pienza is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site - and set in the Val d'Orcia which is also listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Landscape!
Piazza Armerina is a hill town situated in southern-central Sicily. The town plan of Piazza Armerina still follows its original medieval design although much restored in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Petralia is a small town in the north of Sicily on the slopes of the Madonie mountains.
The town plan is typical of those that originally developed around a medieval castle - the upper part of Petralia consists of the oldest neighbourhoods, called Pusterna and Carmine, which follow their medieval plan, and below are the more modern parts of the town that were added as the town grew during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Riva del Garda is situated at the northern end of Lake Garda in northern Italy. Known as "Benacus" by the Romans, Riva del Garda is on a small plain formed by the alluvial deposits of the River Varone.
Rimini is a coastal town and seaside resort on the Adriatic sea to the east of Emilia-Romagna.
Rignano Garganico is a small town in the province of Foggia, and is the smallest centre of the Gargano Promontory. It is situated atop a hill and the reason why Rignano has been called the 'Balcony of Puglia'.
The hill town of Recanati is a little way inland from the Adriatic sea, to the west of Italy in the Marches region.
Located between the mouths of the river Platani and Salso, Realmonte is situated near Agrigento in south-western Sicily.
Realmonte itself is a "young" small town, dating from the mid 17th century, but the same thing can not be said of the area in which it is located, with traces of prehistoric settlment and an important roman villa...
Ravenna is an important town situated close to the Adriatic sea, to the east of the Emilia-Romagna region of central Italy. In many ways Ravenna is a typical Italian town, with the 'usual' range of piazzas and churches, historic buildings and a pleasant historic centre to explore. But Ravenna has something extra to offer...
Ravello is a little way east of Amalfi, in the eastern half of the spectacular Amalfi Coast which runs along the southern edge of the Sorrento peninsula).
Because of its historical importance and natural beauty Ravello is now listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Rapallo is a harbour town on the Gulf of Tigullio to the north-east of the Portofino peninsula in the Liguria region. Rapallo is now the largest and most important seaside resort on the coast on the Mediterranean in north-west Italy.
The town has a fame dating back to the 1920s when Rapallo became an important centre for writers - including Ezra Pound and D.H. Lawrence among others.
The town of Randazzo is situated to the north-east of Sicily, just north of Mount Etna.
Apart from the attractions of the town itself Randazzo is also a popular departure point for visitors making an ascent of Etna, being the closest town to the summit.
Ragusa is a town in south-east Sicily, and one of the 'Val di Noto' towns substantially damaged by the 1693 earthquake that were rebuilt in baroque style - these are now listed together as a world heritage site.
The older part of the town is called Ragusa Ibla and the newer part is Ragusa Superiore, the two parts being separated by the Ponti Ravine.
Raggiolo in the Casentino (eastern Tuscany) is situated on the mountain side between the Teggina and Barbozzaia torrents, at a height of about 600 meters and east of Pratomagno.
The village is linked with Ortignano, thereby forming the small town of "Ortignano-Raggiolo", with its own distinctive traditions.
Volterra, sited on the confluence of the Cecina and Era Valley, is a very ancient city of Etruscan origin.
It is an attractive Tuscan medieval hilltop town with a great deal of interest to discover and enjoy, in an impressive setting with far-reaching views across the plains of Tuscany, which benefits from the the Italian Orange Flag award for sustainable tourism.
Voghera is a substantial town towards the west of the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Visitors approaching Voghera pass through an extensive region of cultivated countryside and an uninterrupted set of historical villages and castles - the atmosphere that you breathe here today is still medieval.
On arriving at Voghera you find ourselves in a dynamic but fairly quiet city, which offers some artistic and cultural works, with more to discover in the surrounding region and just outside the city - indeed it is the surrounding region that provides much of the attraction.
Vizzini is a city with a rich architectural heritage in the countryside of south-eastern Sicily (west of Syracuse).
Vipiteno (alternative name: Sterzing) is located close to the northern Italian border with Austria, in the northern part of the Trentino-Alto Adige region and on the main route between Bressanone (Italy) and Innsbruch (Austria).
The town is more Austrian in feel than Italian, not surprisingly given its location so close to the border, and is listed as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy.
Villa Hanbury, at Mortola, is found at the western end of Liguria, near the French border.
The Villa is known for its splendid botanical gardens - officially the Giardini Botanici Hanbury - dating from the 1860s. The gardens were established by an English family with the goal of establishing and integrating plants from around the world.
The town of Vigevano is situated to the west of Pavia in Lombardy between the Rivers Ticinor, Sesia and Po. The town is the most important town in the fertile Italian rice producing region called Lomellina (also called the Holland of Lombardy), an immense plain containing many paddy fields and crossed by numerous watercourses.
Although we suggest you start your visit in Vigevano, to fully appreciate the arts and architecture of the Lomellina region it is necessary to leave Vigevano and explore other towns nearby.
The city of Verona, in north-east Italy east of Lake Garda, is perhaps best known as the setting for Romeo and Juliet.
The town contains a very impressive number of historical monuments spanning the era from Ancient Rome and medieval times to the renaissance, despite extensive damage to the roman monuments caused by a large earthquake in 1117.
As a consequence the center of the historical town is now preserved as a UNESCO world heritage site. The town is also sophisticated and the people elegant as they shop in exclusive boutiques - just how you imagine a wealthy Italian town to be.
Located at the western end of Liguria and just a few kilometers from the French border, Ventimiglia is in an enviable natural position between the Italian “Riviera” and the Cote d'Azur, and has long been a popular tourist destination.
Venice is a city in north-eastern Italy and has good transport connections by both air and road (last part to Venice city itself is usually by boat!). The city has been described by Time Magazine as 'undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man'. An opinion I would be inclined to share.
Varallo is a small town situated to the north-east of the Piedmont region, 50 kilometres north-west of Novara and in the wooded hills of the Sesia Valley to the west of Lake Orta.
Vallombrosa, in the countryside south of Florence at Reggelo (Tuscany) is best known for the ancient monastery that stands here - often referred to as Vallombrosa Abbey, which contains many intersting works of art.
The abbey-monastery at Vallombrosa is on the edge of a beautiful forest that also takes the name of the of the religious structure.
Valfabbrica is a small town in north-east Umbria, near Perugia.
The town is located on the “Franciscan Path of Peace", the route that traces the journey of St. Francis (1182-1226) when he abandoned his father's house in Assisi and took refuge in Gubbio.
Val Camonica (often also referred to as Valcamonica) is the valley of the Oglio river that runs for almost 100 kilometres north-east from Lake Iseo, in central Lombardy (northern Italy).
The valley of Val Camonica is pretty in its own right, particularly in its upper stretches, with the valley attractively set in the low mountains of the region, and with various picturesque towns and villages and historic monuments but it is above all for the prehistoric rock carvings that many visitors visit the area.
Urbino is towards the north of the le Marche region and inland from Pesaro. It is situated nearly 500 metres above sea level, on the top of two hills that are part of the Apennines and between the valleys of the Foglia and Metauro Rivers.
Urbino is a very impressive walled town with a remarkably well preserved medieval and renaissance centre, and the highlight of a visit to this part of Italy, and must not be missed if you are in the vicinity!
The Italian town of Urbania is situated in the north-west of the Marche region, south-west of Urbino.
The town is best known for its attractive medieval centre, and for the Palazzo Ducale. It is also a well known centre for the production of ceramics and the painted earthenware known as majolica.
The town of Umbertide is found towards the north of the Umbria region and north of Perugia, in central Italy.
You will find an interesting mix of monuments to explore in Umbertide, including a ancient fort and others spanning the period from the middle ages to the 18th century.
Tuscania (previously known as Tuscanella) is a picturesque small traditional Italian town situated in northern central Lazio region, and with a history dating from Etruscan times.
The town is best known for its medieval walls and towers, and two imposing churches.
The important Italian city of Turin (Torino in Italian) is centrally situated in the Piedmont region of north-western Italy. It has been a wealthy centre of northern Italy for more than 500 years, a history reflected in the impressive monuments and museums to be seen in the city.
Trevi is a small town on a hillside in the heart of the Umbria region of Italy, and is rich in history and art.
Trevi was originally a province of the Papal States, but as in other cities in Umbria political power was actually exercised by a small number of noble families and it was these families that gave much of the artistic and cultural heritage to the town we see today.
Trento, towards the south of the Trentino-Alto Adige region (between Bolzano and Verona), is the capital of the region and is a medium-large sized town with over 100,000 inhabitants.
In a lovely setting surrounded by mountains, Trento is a glamorous, attractive city, with a great deal to explore both within its important buildings, and within the narrow streets that surround the centre. It is also very much a bustling Italian town, not too given over to tourism.
In the early twentieth century Trapani in western Sicily became the sixth largest port in Italy, based around salt production and tuna fishing. These activities continue today, along with an important local agriculture industry.
In more recent years Trapani has also seen strong growth in tourism.
Trabiais is a small town on the coast of northern Sicily, just west of Termini-Imerese and to the south-east of Palermo.
Although the town economy is based essentially on fishing and agriculture, tourism has started to play a larger part in recent years.
The historic Italian town of Tolentino is situated in the Marche region of eastern Italy to the south-west of Macerata, on a round hill at the foot of which the Chienti River flows.
Todi is a town in the Umbria region of central Italy containing numerous historical and interesting buildings and monuments.
There is also a great deal of art to enjoy - Todi and the surrounding region have a wealth of art among the richest of Italy partly because this Diocese, in the 18th century, controlled more than 500 churches and still today has works of art of inestimable value.
Terrasini is a town in north-west Sicily, just 20 kilometres west of Palermo.
Terracina is found on the coast in the southern part of the Lazio region in central Italy. It is a fascinating town with a history stretching back at least 2500 years, and each period has left its mark on the city we visit today.
The large town of Terni is situated near the southern border of the Umbria region, in central Italy and to the north of Rome. Terni as a city is deeply rooted in the past, and is a town where new buildings merge perfectly with the old ones.
Termini Imerese is a historically important town on the northern coast of Sicily and south-east of Palermo.
Tarquinia is siuated a little way inland from the Mediterranean coast, north-west of Rome in the Lazio region.
The city of Tarquinia has a major archaeological heritage, and the whole area pays testimony to the civilization that have lived here such as the Etruscan 'Tarchna', the Greek and Roman emporium of 'Gravisca', and the medieval 'Corneto'. (See also history of Tarquinia.)
Taranto is situated in the Apulia province of Puglia, in south-eastern Italy. It is the chief town of the province and an important maritime base and industrial port, located at the northern end of the vast gulf from which it takes its name.
The oldest part of the city lies on an island with the more recent development on a peninsula (which separates the drainage areas of 'Great Sea' and 'Little Sea'). The two parts are connected by two bridges.
Syracuse is an important historical center and substantial modern town situated to the south-east of Sicily, where its occupies the Ortigia peninsula and surrounding area.
Because of its monuments and historical importance Syracuse is now listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Susa is located 50 kilometres west of Turin, in the Valle di Susa and on on the main road that heads west from Turin towards France (the French border is only a few kilometers from Susa).
It is a pleasant town, originally established by the celts as they were holding out against the expanding Roman empire, that attracts visitors because Susa contains some important Roman ruins and medieval monuments, and because Susa has easy access to spectacular countryside.
The Basilica di Superga is found just east of Turin, on the hill of the same name - it dominates the skyline of the hill and can be reached by car, or by tram and cable-car from Turin.
The Basilica is an impressive baroque building constructed in the early part of the 18th century - it was Vittorio Amadeos way of thanking the Virgin Mary for saving Turin from an invading French army.
Sulmona is an important local town (population around 25000) in the centre of the L'Aquila province, Abruzzo region of central Italy and overlooked by the Morrone mountains.
Despite a violent earthquake that hit the city in 1706 and several other earthquakes across the centuries there is a great deal to enjoy in Sulmona - both the individual sights and the general atmoshere play equal parts in the pleasure of a visit.
The town of Subiaco is located in the eastern Lazio region of central Italy, at the head of the Aniene valley, close to a hill about 400 meters above sea level, and across the slopes of the Simbruini mountains.
The medieval town, built on a rocky cliff, looks over the entire valley of the Aniene, where we find the Benedictine monasteries of the 'Sacro Speco' and 'St. Scholastica', the principal attractions of a visit.
The hunting lodge at Stupinigi - the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi - is located a few kilometres south of Turin. It is now a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The words hunting lodge perhaps bring to mind something small and humble. In the case of Stupinigi nothing could be further from the truth - in 1729 when Vittorio Amadeo II commanded the lodge be builthe had something altogether more grand in mind.
The Italian village of Stia is situated at the foot of Mount Falterona, at the confluence of the Arno river (near its source) with the Staggia torrent - in the Casentino district to the east of Tuscany.
The Stelvio National Park is a national park in the north-east of Lombardy and north-west of Trento-Alto Adige, in the north of Italy and close to the border with Switzerland.
In the center of the Alps, Stelvio is the largest national park in Italy - and one of the largest in Europe - and has stunning mountain and valley scenery, and many glaciers - the Ortles-cevedale mountains form part of the park.
Not far from Saluzzo we can visit the Abbey of Staffarda, a cistercian monastery founded in 1135 and one of the most complete medieval complexes in the Piedmont region.
The land on which the abbey was built was originally reclaimed by the Cistercian monks, who built a complex of buildings including the abbey church, cloister, and the covered market, mostly still intact altjough often modified in later centuries.
Spoleto is an important and popular historical town dating back to Roman times that is located in the southern part of the Umbria region of central Italy. The town contains numerous important monuments including a Roman theatre, an imposing fortress, a cathedral and several important churches.
Sperlinga is a historic village to the north-east of Sicily.
Spello is situated in the Umbria region of central Italy, between Assisi and Foligno. It is a medieval village that has retained a great deal of its original aspect and many important monuments and is a pleasure to explore.
The town is still surrounded by the ruins of ancient Roman walls and others built more recently during the Papal domain to create the 'Fortress'. You enter Spello through one of the various gates through these walls: these are the Porta Consolare, Porta Venere, Porta Urbica, Porta Romana and Porta San Sisto.
Sovana is a small town close to Pitigliano in the Province of Grosseto (southern Tuscany). An ancient settlement, Sovana is originally of ancient Etruscan origin (seventh century BC).
It is now listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages of Italy' and is a very picturesque village with an attractive centre and several monuments of interest to discover.
Sorrento is located on the western coast of Italy, south of Naples on the Sorrento peninsula and in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.
This large town is a very popular destination with both Italian and overseas visitors, attracted by the impressive location of Sorrento and as a result it is a lively regional centre and resort.
Sorano is a picturesque hill village near to Sovana and Pitigliano in the southern part of Tuscany, Italy.
It is from the east that Sorano shows itself best as a medieval village literally dug into the tufa, the village often almost indistinguishable from the hillside, topped by the Orsini Fortress, built in the 14th century and then rebuilt in the 16th century.
Sirmione is a town situated on a narrow peninsula at the southern end of Lake Garda, in a scenic location that has attracted visitors since ancient Roman times. The peninsula is only about 100 metres wide and almost 4 kilometres long.
The historical center is in a very picturesque setting (although Sirmione has not benefitted from the large amount of tourist development now found around the town).
Sellano is a small town in the south-east of the Umbria region of Italy.
The majestic ruins of Selinunte, the westernmost of the ancient Greek colonies, are found on the southern coast of western Sicily (south-east from Marsala) between the present-day counties of Campobello and Menfi.
Segesta is the site of an important temple and other ancient monuments, to the north-west of Sicily. The most significant monuments in Segesta are the temple itself, and also the theatre and the sanctuary, in the “Contrada Mango".
It is interesting to understand how the Greeks arrived at the structure of the temple and other monuments, a knowledge of which greatly enhances a visit, hence we have included quite extensive information about these important monuments.
The town of Scicli is found in south-east Sicily. As one of the towns in the area severely damaged by an earthquake in 1693 and rebuilt in baroque style, it also forms part of the Val di Noto World Heritage Site.
The peculiarity - and attraction - of Scicli is largely due to its setting and the surrounding natural environment. As well as several beaches and resorts on the coast to the south-west the town is also at the intersection of the valleys of San Bartolomeo and Santa Maria La Nova, known as the "Cave" with the rocky hills of San Matteo, Rosario and of the Croce nearby.
Sciacca is a large town on the coast of south-western Sicily, near Agrigento, in an attractive setting with the old town running diown the side of the hill to the harbour below.
The town is surrounded by walls; the most recent of which date from the mid-16th century, which were superimposed on older ones from the first half of the 14th century.
Scanno is a town situated in central Italy, in the Abruzzo region. Part of the town falls within the boundaries of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park.
As a traditional Italian hill town in a very scenic location - surrounded by forest covered hills - Scanno is becoming quite established on the tourist trail in the region and is a popular destination in both summer and winter. The town is also a classified most beautiful village of Italy.
Sarzana is a town in the Province of La Spezia and in the valley of the Magra River - close to the villages of the Cinque Terre and the popular Ligurian coast of north-west Italy.
Its geographical position along the famous “Via Francigena”, one of the most important roads towards France, made Sarzana a place much coveted by the Florentines, Genoese, and Pisans through the centuries.
With a history stretching back to the Etruscans and the Samnites (at which time it was one of the most important cities in Italy), and later an important centre for the Ancient Romans, Santa Maria Capua Vetere attracts visitors because of its impressive ancient Roman monuments.
The Italian town of Sansepolcro is found towards the very eastern edge of Tuscany (hence closer to the Adriatic than to the Mediterranean). the town is best known for its historic center and for the important artworks in the museum - in particular those by Piero della Francesca.
Sanremo is a coastal town to the south-west corner of Liguria, 25 km from the border with France. it has a very mild-warm climate because the mountains protect the town from weather arriving from the north.
The town was an important social centre around the end of the 19th century, and many of the the grand houses and hotels that you can see in the town date from this period.
San Severino is a town set in the rolling wooded hills of the southern Marche region, south of Cingoli. Situated on the so-called Black Mountain, when you arrive you can see the castle and the ancient seat of the medieval city dominating the hilltop.
Located between the lakes of Lesina and Varano, San Nicandro Garganico is an ancient town to the north of the Gargano region of Puglia in south-east Italy, also called Sannicandro.
San Martino di Castrozza is a village, now essentially a mountain ski resort, at almost 1500 metres altitude and located in the dolomites of north-eastern Italy and to the south-east of the Trentino-Alto Adige region.
It sits in a forested valley below the high plateau and peaks of the dolomite mountains of the Natural park of Paneveggio-Pale di San-Martino.
The 'Serene Republic of San Marino' to give San Marino it's official title, is an independent republic on the northern border of the Marche region of Italy covering about 60 square kilometres and having the city of San Marino as its capital (also known as Borgomaggiore).
Despite its small size the republic has its own army and is a separate member of the Council of Europe (the organisation that defines and protects laws, human rights etc throughout Europe).
San Marco in Lamis is located in the plains on the edge of the hills to the west of the promontory of Gargano. It is situated in a dell that is connected to wide valleys, through which the pilgrims in the Middle Ages reached the grotto of San Michele Arcangelo, along the 'Via Sacra Langobardorum'.
While the highlight at San Giuseppe Jato is undoubtedly its archaeological park (below), there are also some religious buildings of great historical and artistic interest, including the Mother Church.
With historical roots dating back to Ancient Roman times, Salo gained fame more recently as the capital of Mussolini's republic from 1943-1945. It is now a quiet town in an attractive setting backed by mountain scenery and fronted by the lake.
Rovereto is 20 km south of Trento, in the southern part of the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy. The town is overlooked by a castle, the main highlight of your visit to Rovereto, and also has a pleasant town centre to explore, since Rovereto still retains many parts dating back to the Middle Ages and the 19th century.
Your visit will be enhanced by some background knowledge of Rovereto's long history, which dates back to the time of the Ancient Romans. It was during the Roman Age, in the place where the castle now stands, that a Roman outpost was established to control the road that led to the Brenner and the important trade route from Central Europe to the Mediterranean Sea.
Rodi Garganico is located between the towns of Ischitella and San Menaio on the north coast of the Garganico, in the Puglia department of south-east Italy below the mountains of the Gargano National Park..
Rodi Garganico is a small town with an interesting past and there is much to discover as well as its impressive coastal location.
San Giovanni Rotondo is a large town to the west of the Gargano (and the Gargano peninsula and national park) in the Puglia region of south-east Italy that is especially well known for its important religious monuments.
San Gimignano is situated on one of the most fertile hills of the Val d'Elsa in Tuscany, where it developed between the ancient Roman roads of Via Romea and the famous Via Francigena’ (so called because it led to France).
San Gemini is a medieval town towards the south of the Umbria region of central Italy, with numerous interesting historical buildings and artworks to enjoy.
San Cataldo is a town situated on a hill in northern Sicily. Although it arose in an area of ancient settlement, as evidenced by archaeological remains found in the area, it is not an ancient city, and the town you visit today dates largely from the early 17th century.
Saluzzo is a small town in the province of Cuneo (Piedmont region of north-west Italy).
The town has kept much of its 15th century old town intact, located on the hill and originally enclosed by a double ring of walls. The historic village includes a whole series of cobbled streets, steep staircases, churches and elegant palaces to explore and admire.
The Oropa Sanctuary (Italian: Santuaria d'Oropa) is found near Biella in the northern part of Piedmont, about 80 kilometres north-east of Turin.
It is a very important Italian pilgrimage destination with a reputation for providing relief to the sick and also now a UNESCO listed heritage site. More than 800,000 pilgrims visit Oropa each year.
Rome is a mystical, historical, vibrant and absorbing international city that is full of charm, one of the world's truly great cities. Rome is also surely the only city with a separate Country within the city – of which more later.
Cosmopolitan Rome is a city teaming with more than 3.7 million residents and bustling with visitors year round making Rome the 11th most visited city in the world each year, the 3rd most visited in Europe and the number one attraction in Italy. The Colosseum alone receives 4 million annual visitors, the Vatican City 4.2 million visitors each year.
The Sicilian town of Roccamena, near Corleone, is primarily visited because of its proximity to Calatrasi castle and the archaeology site at Mount Maranfusan although the town itself also has some sites of interest while you are here.
Pelago covers a vast territory in the Casentino that is rich in castles and works of art. The small town is situated at the foot of the castle, and its historic center is characterized by the so-called "mercatale" [marketplace] and a series of palaces which once belonged to the members of the local aristocracy.
Most people traveling to Italy for historical and art-historical purposes in search of ancient monuments or objects of art that adorn the cities of the country do not often have the time or desire to stray from the predetermined routes, to visit some of the places that are not so well known.
Brixen (It: Bressanone ) is in the north-east of the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy, to the south-east of Vipiteno. The town is in a very attractive setting, in a broad valley beneath the mountains.
The highlight of a visit to the medieval quarter of Brixen is around Piazza del Duomo, particularly the cathedral (duomo) itself - and more specifically the parts of the cathedral that date from the 12th and 15th centuries, rather than the more recent 18th century reconstruction.
The Orange flag is an eco-tourist award to small towns and villages across Italy. It is awarded by the Italian Touring Club to towns and villages with a population of less than 15,000 people that make particular efforts towards welcoming tourism in an carefully maintained environment, and promote local industry and crafts - ie 'sustainable tourism'. Approximately 160 towns have so far received this award.
Gargano is a region in south-east Italy, where it forms a promontory into the Adriatic Sea to the north of Puglia.
The centre of the Gargano is an isolated mountainous region, much of which is now designated as the Gargano National Park while the coastal region is a mix of impressive scenery, with cliffs plunging to the shore and interspersed with beaches and resorts.
There is little important development within the higher regions of Gargano, but below the mountains and around the coast there are several towns of historical interest and also many popular resorts based around the beaches of the promontory.
Bergamo is situated in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, to the north-east of Milan. The town is divided into two quite separate parts:
- the Bergamo Alta ["Upper Bergamo"] is the ancient centre, surrounded by walls and rich in beautiful monuments. It is modelled according to the medieval plan of the town, with narrow and winding roads and is the focus of your visit
- The Bergamo Bassa [Lower Bergamo] has evolved where already in the Middle Ages there were some villages outside the walls, and today the modern city is still growing
The town of Alghero is situated on the Mediterranean coast of north-west Sardinia. A popular coastal resort, Alghero also has a good number of interesting historical monuments and plenty of cafes and shops to distract you.
Filicudi is one of the scenic group of Aeolian islands off the north-eastern coast of Sicily. A large part of the island is now designated as the Natural Reserve of Filicudi Island'.
The island is made up of several layers of lava, the oldest of which is located in the sea in front of 'Fili di Sciacca'. (The area's largest and oldest layer is the so-called 'Fossa delle felci' and the most recently that of 'Montagnola'.)
Ferrara is an important town in the northeast of Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, north-east of Bologna. During the medieval and renaissance periods Ferrara attracted many of the leading artists and intellectuals of the period - in particular because of the influential and powerful Este family
This period established the heart of the town much as we see it today. Ferrara is now is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its very well preserved centre, and important monuments and buildings.
Ustica is an island located off the Sicily coast about 70 km northwest of Palermo, and falls with the group known as the Aeolian Islands. It occupies an area of about 9 square kilometers. Ustica is best known as a 'paradise for skin-divers'.
Bologna is an important city centrally located in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy.
A lively city, in part due to its large student population, Bologna is also one of the most attractive cities in Italy, and has the largest medieval centre of any Italian town except Venice, despite substantial damage during WWII.
Bologna is also less visited than cities such as Florence and Venice, making it rather easier to appreciate than these tourist-packed cities. Bologna's student population also help ensure that the center always has a vibrant atmosphere.
Situated in the Puglia (Apulia) region of south-east Italy, Locorotondo is on a 400 meters high hill on the plateau called "Murgia dei Trulli” .
Avigliana is a town in a very scenic setting to the west of Turin in the picturesque Susa Valley, in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy that developed in the 15th century when several of the princes of Savoy established their homes here.
The town is surrounded by lakes and mountains and overlooked by the ruins of a 10th century castle, the ruins of which can be reached by a short walk from Avigliana centre.
The town of Caserta is situated about 25 kilometres north of Naples, in south-western Italy, well known for the Royal Palace.
Fermo is a hill town to the east of the Marche region of Italy, near the Adriatic coast, well known for the very impressive views in all directions across the surrounding region.
Taormina is a town on the coast of north-eastern Sicily and to the south-west of Messina. It is located on a sunny 'terrace' on the side of Monte Tauro, in an attractive natural setting which makes it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Sicily in both summer and winter.
Many visitors pass much of their time on one of the impressive beaches along the coast here, but we recommend you also take the time to explore all that Taormina has to offer - there are many architectural highlights in the town, dating back some 2300 years.
The Pelagian Island are a group of three islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Belonging to Italy, and officially falling within the Sicily region (they are 200 km off the southern coast of Sicily), the islands are actually situated between Africa and Malta (and closer to these countries than to Italy).
Their remoteness means the Pelagian Islands avoid large scale tourism, but they are still a popular tourist destination. The three islands in the Pelagian Islands are:
Bolzano is in the dolomites of the Trentino-Alto Adige region and is centrally located in the South Tyrol, of which it is the capital.
In an attractive valley location surrounded by mountains and at the confluence of two rivers Bolzano is a very pleasant town to explore. While lacking important historical monuments, it has a vibrant atmosphere and you can pass many an hour in the street-side cafes and bars.
Historically a fishing village, Talamone stands in an imposing position overlooking the Tuscany coast in western Italy, surrounded by medieval walls and dominated by a fortress built of gray stone in part by the Sienese.
The ruins of the ancient city are on the so-called 'Talamonaccio' to the east of the modern town, between the small hill called “Bengodi” and “Poggio Talamonaccio”, while close to the detour for the Aurelia Road towards Fonteblanda there are the ruins of an ancient Roman villa.
The Trastevere district of Rome is the part of the city to the west of the river Tiber and south-east of the Vatican.
Trastevere is easily reached from central Rome across any of several bridges: Ponte Sisto, Ponte Garibaldi, Ponte Palatine or the two bridges that connect the island in the middle of the river to the river banks.
The Campidoglio district of Rome is the area on the Capitoline Hill, in the center of the city and just to the north-west of the extensive Roman Forum area.
Although small it is one of the most interesting, and most visited, areas of Rome and combines architecture from the renaissance period with the imposing 20th century Vittorio monument, while looking out across monuments covering the last 2000 years of the citiy's history.
Explore the history of Italian towns