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The 10 most beautiful villages and towns in Italy

Here’s our pick of the list produced by ‘Italy’s Most Beautiful Towns’, where every town has less than 15,000 people

Huw Oliver

Europe is full of many, many beauties, but there’s nowhere quite like Italy. Home to the stunners that are Rome, Venice and Florence, you’d be forgiven for having those first on your list. But if those are the only Italian spots on your radar, trust us, you’re missing out. 

Italy has a whole bunch of seriously beautiful towns and villages, some well known, some more off the beaten track. And the excellent ‘I Borghi Più Belli d’Italia’ (Italy’s Most Beautiful Towns) has an official list of Italy’s most special places with fewer than 15,000 inhabitants. They are all magnificent, but these 10 deserve special mention. Here are Italy’s most beautiful towns. 

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At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Most beautiful villages and towns in Italy

Porto Ercole, Tuscany

You’ll still find sailors patching up their nets on the harbourside in this traditional fishing town on Tuscany’s Argentario promontory (actually an island connected to the mainland by three isthmuses). A certain Caravaggio died here in 1610.


Bassano in Teverina, Lazio

There are historic places, and then there are places like this small town in the Lazio-Umbria borderlands. The area has been inhabited since Etruscan times, and Bassano in Teverina alone brims with all manner of ancient sights, including an amphitheatre, a clock tower and – because this is Italy – a whopping six churches.



Brisighella, Emilia-Romagna

Known for its world-class olive oil, this medieval village is hidden amid the lush, rolling vineyards of the surrounding Emilia-Romagna region. Thirteenth-century castle La Rocca Manfrediana makes for an enrapturing centrepiece.

Bard, Valle d’Aosta

Wedged between two mountains in the narrowest part of the Aosta valley, Bard could be the closest you’ll get to a fairytale holiday experience in Italy. It’s dominated by the eleventh-century fortress of the same name, but most come here to visit the charming olde-worlde village down below – all higgledy-piggledy passages, elegant mullioned windows and carved stone balconies.


Pacentro, Abruzzo

Part of the Maiella National Park, renowned for its natural springs and consequent abundance of fresh mountain water, the well-preserved medieval village of Pacentro lies on a plateau in the middle of the sublime Apennine mountains. This area of Abruzzo has a rich craft heritage, so you can expect to see plenty of terracotta and crochet work on display in the windows.

Tropea, Calabria

The Italian coastline that fringes the Tyrrhenian Sea is known as the Costa degli Dei (‘Coast of the Gods’) for many reasons. Chief among them: all the many beautiful resort towns that appear to balance precipitously on their dramatic cliffs. Tropea, in particular, has become a go-to for travellers from across the continent, thanks to its sprawling beaches and epic views of the Santa Maria dell’ Isola monastery, which sits majestically atop a rocky outcrop.


Borghetto, Veneto

There has been a fortified settlement here in the middle of the River Mincio since the Lombards invaded in the sixth century. These days, Borghetto is a picture-postcard village cross-crossed by bridges and filled with historic windmills. Looming above it all are the impressive remains of the Ponte Visconteo, a fortified dam built during the fourteenth century.

Monteleone d’Orvieto, Umbria

Another picturesque medieval village on the site of a settlement dating back to Etruscan times. Climb up to Monteleone d’Orvieto’s Torrone tower, and you can enjoy breathtaking views that sweep across Umbria, Tuscany and Lazio.


Monte Sant’Angelo, Puglia

Two sights set Monte Sant’Angelo apart from the thousands of other beautiful towns across Italy. First: the distinctive, neatly aligned, whitewashed houses of the Junno district – they are prime Insta material. Second: the historic sanctuary of Sant’Angelo, which includes the remains of a castle and the enormous Torre dei Giganti, a 59-foot-tall octagonal tower. It’s a site of pilgrimage for a reason.

Cefalù historic centre, Sicily

Cefalù isn’t exactly off the tourist trail, but there’s a reason it’s so popular: its sheer, staggering beauty. Around 70km from Sicilian capital Palermo, this small city’s historic district lies in the shadow of a huge rockface that stands up to 270m tall. The rest of the city is filled with charming piazzas and palazzos. Oh, and don’t get us started on the food.

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