Italy boasts an unparalleled historical, cultural and landscape heritage and for this reason it is considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world. To make justice to the charm of the beautiful country are also the many villages that, often unknown, constitute a series of micro countries to visit and discover far from the traffic of large industrialized cities.
Accomunated by history and by the abundance of monuments, but different in terms of traditions, cultures, customs and traditions, many of these beautiful villages are part of the UNESCO heritage, putting Italy in first place in the world by number of protected sites. Today there are 279 municipalities that are part of the Club of the most beautiful villages in Italy, a private association that promotes small Italian towns that represent 4.3% of the national territory, equal to 1.1 million inhabitants.
Located at the foot of the Euganean Hills Regional Park, in the province of Padua, the name of this beautiful village is associated with that of Francesco Petrarca where he spent the last years of his life. It is located in a position full of paths and bike lanes that allow you to reach scenic spots or silent oasis, between the brooms and the dense broadleaf woods. To taste absolutely the Brodo di Giuggiole, a typical local liqueur.
In the province of Verona we find Borghetto, in the municipality of Valeggio sul Mincio. In addition to the Visconti Bridge, it is also worth visiting the buildings with water mills and the parish church dedicated to San Marco Evangelista. On the other hand, the Tortellini di Valeggio sul Mincio are absolutely to taste. It treats of a typical dish from which the “Festa del Nodo d’Amore” is dedicated.
Halfway between three provinces, Montagnana is universally famous for its splendid medieval walls (marked by 24 towers, 17-19 meters high) perfectly preserved. A typical dessert of the place is the Pandolce di Ezzelino, while the Prosciutto Veneto DOP is one of the best Italian cured meats.
The Abbey of Follina, a beautiful Cistercian monastery of 1127, is the center of the cultural life of the village: it hosts in June the High Brand Concerts in the frame of the ancient refectory and counts among the loyal artists the great violinist Uto Ughi, honorary citizen of Follina.
This beautiful village is located at the end of a hilly promontory that slopes towards the shore, in front of the Island of San Giulio. The area is full of numerous picturesque alleys that climb towards the Sacro Monte di Orta (UNESCO World Heritage). Do not miss Villa Motta and the Basilica of San Giulio, the most important Romanesque church in the Novara area.
Among the hills covered by vineyards around Neive are the marked and equipped trails of Dolcetto d’Acqui PDO and Barbaresco DOP, to be covered on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. Its historic center preserves a medieval structure, made of cobbled streets that rise towards the Clock Tower and elegant terracotta buildings.
Located in the central part of the coast of Lake Como, this Lombard village is one of the richest and most beloved baroque sites in Italy: many prestigious buildings and villas are located in this area, such as Villa Carlotta, built at the end of the seventeenth century. Still today perfectly preserved, it is surrounded by a garden cured with attention to details. Other beautiful buildings in the area are Villa la Amila, Villa La Quieta (called “La Gioconda”) and the Church of San Lorenzo, an eclectic style building, halfway between the neo-romantic and the neo-Gothic.
The fourteenth-century village of Soncino is a veritable open-air museum with its 10th century fortress: it is enclosed between the four towers and can be reached by crossing the bridge under which the river Oglio flows. Another interesting stop is the Museum of the Press, important because the fame of the city of Soncino is also linked to the first printing of the Hebrew Bible, made in April 1488. Among the religious buildings that deserve a visit, we remember: Churches of Santa Maria Assunta, of Santa Maria delle Grazie and of San Giacomo.
Gardone Riviera is located on the Brescia side of Lake Garda. You can admire the magnificent historic buildings that host prestigious hotels or historic villas such as the beautiful Villa Alba and the André Heller Botanical Garden that connects Gardone di Sopra and di Sotto. Not far you can find the Vittoriale degli Italiani, home of D’Annunzio.
Accessible only on foot, this beautiful Ligurian village looks like a labyrinth of streets and ancient buildings connected by cobblestone alleys that often offer a beautiful view of the Ligurian Sea. Just outside the historic center stands the Castle of Clavesana. Cervo also holds the title of “Borgo della Musica“, being home to the International Chamber Music Festival where every year famous Italian and international artists perform.
Vernazza is part of the Cinque Terre National Park and UNESCO heritage since 1997. The ancient origins of Vernazza seem to be linked to those of its most typical product, the wine (Vernaccia) which is probably due the correlation with the name. Among the most interesting places to visit are the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia, the Doria Castle and the convent of San Francesco.
Glorenza is located in the beautiful Val Venosta, on the border with Switzerland. Nearby are the Carolingian frescoes in the church of San Benedetto in Malles, the Romanesque frescoes in the crypt of the abbey of Monte Maria in Burgusio, the magnificent Castel Coira in Sluderno and the Museo Venostano. A few kilometers from Glorenza is also the lake of Resia, from which the bell tower of Curon Venosta emerges.
Sappada is surrounded by impressive and evocative dolomite massifs. The landscape is characterized by green pastures and extensive coniferous woods, numerous waterfalls and alpine lakes. Sappada is a UNESCO heritage since 2009 and it is the classic mountain postcard country, with numerous wooden houses surrounded by high peaks and two small museums, the first dedicated to the peasant civilization and the second focused on the Great War.
The village is characterized by three rocky pinnacles (the “Tre Colli”), on which lie the Manfredian fortress (XIV century), the sanctuary of Monticino (XVIII century) and the tower of the Clock, rebuilt in the XIX century on the ruins of a pre-existing XII century defensive settlement.
Bobbio is a small village within the Apennine area of the province of Piacenza and it is famous for its medieval appearance and for the long Gobbo Bridge over the Trebbia river which has 11 long irregular arches. The Irish monk San Colombano founded in 614 d. C. a monastery that soon developed one of the most important and prestigious libraries of all of Christendom and where some of the oldest and most precious Latin manuscripts in history are still preserved today.