12 Secret Towns in Italy You Need To Visit Before They're Overrun by Tourists

The postcard-worthy medieval houses on La Rocca Hill in Sicily
The postcard-worthy medieval houses on La Rocca Hill in Sicily | © Jan Wlodarczyk / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Francesca Masotti
1 April 2021

Florence, Rome and Venice are all obvious travel destinations. They’re beautiful, sure, but they’re also expensive and crowded. If you want to enjoy la dolce vita without tourists, read our list of 12 secret Italian towns worth a look.

Alberobello, Puglia

Architectural Landmark
Map View
View of Trulli houses in Alberobello, Italy
© Svitlana Belinska / Alamy Stock Photo

Alberobello is a lovely town near Bari. It is home to the trulli, cone-shaped white buildings that look like houses straight out of a fairytale. The village is a labyrinth of narrow streets and nice piazzas, and it also has a beautiful belvedere that offers fabulous views of the town. Thanks to its beauty, Alberobello has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Bologna, Emilia-Romagna

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Bologna emilia romagna italy city europe street
© Francesco Maltinti / Alamy Stock Photo

Bologna is one of the coolest towns in Italy. It is mostly frequented by students (Bologna is home to the oldest university in Europe) and gastronomy fans, as it is known to be the Italian food capital. Once you arrive, don’t forget to taste the delicacies of the area, such as lasagne and tortellini.

Verona, Veneto

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Verona at sunrise, Europe, Italy, Veneto, Verona

Verona is known as the most romantic town in Italy. Why? It’s where Shakespeare’s tragic love story Romeo and Juliet takes place. For those who are fans, there is nothing better than visiting the 14th-century palace with the famous balcony. If you have extra time, don’t miss the marvelous Roman amphitheatre, where in summer months they have opera performances.

Castelluccio, Umbria

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Castelluccio di Norcia (Umbria)
© Marco Saracco / Alamy Stock Photo

Castelluccio is the highest village in the Apennine Mountains at 1,452 metres (4,764ft) above sea level. It is a charming hamlet with lovely squares that offer spectacular views over the mountains and coloured fields that blossom with violets and red poppies. The best time of the year to visit Castelluccio is in spring, from late May to early June.

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  • Sperlonga, Lazio

    Natural Feature
    Map View
    Sea landscape with Sperlonga, Lazio, Italy
    © Elisa Bistocchi / Alamy Stock Photo
    Tired of the crowds in Rome? Well, forget the capital and head to Sperlonga, one of the nicest villages in the country. Spend some time admiring old palaces, the archaeological museum, gardens with plenty of flowers and the pristine beaches.

    Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche

    Architectural Landmark
    Map View
    The colorful beautifully costumed annual medieval Quintana  parade at  Ascoli Piceno,Le Marche ,Italy. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.
    © maurice joseph / Alamy Stock Photo
    Le Marche, east of Umbria, is one of the most underrated Italian regions. Home to spectacular landscapes, nice hamlets and turquoise waters, Ascoli Piceno is one of the most important towns of the region and is near the spectacular Monti Sibillini National Park.

    Monteriggioni, Tuscany

    Architectural Landmark
    Map View
    The medieval walls of Monteriggioni, Tuscany, Italy.
    © agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

    Monteriggioni is one of the loveliest walled hamlets of Italy, located in Tuscany in the province of Siena. It is an elegant village surrounded by a stunning landscape, and it’s perfect for a romantic weekend. Monteriggioni is incredibly well preserved. It’s as if time had never moved on.

    Gethin Morgan contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on April 1, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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