Small towns in Italy

Small towns in Italy will capture your heart (or maybe they already did and now you want to explore more and more lovely Italian villages).

In both cases, you are in the right place!

Here I’ll post my favorite small towns in Italy divided into 3 sections: North, Central and South Italy. If you are looking for off-the-beaten-path spots where you can feel the true essence of Italy, I recommend with no hesitation that you stop in one or more of the small towns listed in this post.

I’ll regularly update this list; so, come back to find out new places for your bucket list.

Small towns in Northern Italy

Orta San Giulio

Orta will steal your heart. Located on the shores of Lake Orta, this small town is full of surprises: the fairytale island of San Giulio, the UNESCO site of Sacro Monte and its unforgettable views of the lake, Piazza Motta with its colorful houses and the frescoes inside the churches.

Orta has an ethereal and mysterious beauty.

And you know the best thing? This jewel has (luckily) not yet been invaded by crowds of tourists.

Click here to discover more about Orta San Giulio.



Arquà Petrarca

Arquà is located in the heart of Euganean Hills (Veneto’s rolling hills not so far from Venice), surrounded by olive trees and vineyards (yes, Arquà is the right place for wine tasting, in case you were wondering smile).

Its narrow cobblestone streets will lead you to the villa of the poet Petrarca; crossing the small gate of the poet’s house is like a jump in a parallel world: so quiet and peaceful. Take a tour of the villa to see the frescoes and the small garden inside.

After that, you can wander around Arquà to enjoy the ancient buildings made of stones and the view of the rolling hills. If you have time, I also recommend going hiking (there are trails which start in Arquà, like the Atestino trail).

Click here to discover more about Arquà Petrarca.



Small towns in Central Italy


What could be more Italian than a hilltop town?

Nothing, right? That’s why if you are looking for a place where you can have a complete and genuine Italian experience, I highly recommend the Umbrian town of Spello.

You’ll be surprised (as I was!) by how many things you can do in Spello: from a visit to one of Italy’s greatest Renaissance masterpieces to a tour in the mill to see how olive oil is produced. From a relaxing walk in the ancient town to the bustle during one of Spello’s traditional festivals.

Spello is definitely one of my favorite small towns in Italy. I still dream about its picturesque alleyways and its balconies full of flowers!

Click here to discover more about Spello.



Have you already fallen in love with Italian small towns? Where have you been? Write me!


  1. Kevin Locke

    Bonjourno Francesca,
    I found your site today while searching for travel tips around Lake Trasimeno. Last year I stayed in Riccione for a week and spent the days cycling with my cousin who lives in Berlin. Then I spent a week in Montegridolfo at a guitar workshop with Justin Sandercoe of YouTube fame. One town I was particularly enjoyed was Urbino, which just seemed like a place to spend a year learning to speak Italian. And of course eat and drink lots of coffee.
    Anyway, this is a cute little treasure you have here. I’ll be back to read about your thoughts.
    kevin locke (the states – Washington State on the west coast 🙂

    • Francesca

      Hi Kevin,
      I’m glad you had great time in Italy (by the way, I totally agree about Urbino!). For any tips you may need, I’d be happy to help 🙂
      Regards from Italy!

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