Small is also bellissimo

By Eliza Anjum

Is there any corner of Italy that is not worth exploring? While cities like Milan, Rome, Venice and Florence are usually the first port of call, yet the true explorer seeks out hidden gems. Here’s list of quaint, small towns in Italy that are sure to enrich your travel experience.

Image Courtesy : Quora

Alberobello (Puglia)

This town, founded by 40 families in the 16th century, is distinctive for its houses. Cone-shaped roofs with white tips made out of Apulian limestone, these structures are called ‘trulli’ (which comes from a Greek word meaning ‘dome’). Made of stone walls with astronomical symbols painted on them, the town earned a spot in UNESCO’s World Heritage sites list in 1996. The Rione Monti district is the liveliest part of the town where everything is housed in trullis — from shops to bars and even the Church of St. Anthony. The Belvedere Trulli provides the best view of the town from up at Piazza del Popolo.

Image Courtesy : Puglia Private tour

Monte Isola (Lombardy)

Monte Isola is a small island town located on the pretty and unexplored Lake Iseo. A popular destination for a day trip with its cute shops, bars and restaurants, it’s just 1.5 hours drive from Milan followed by a 20-minute ferry ride gets you to this quaint town bereft of cars. Enjoy a drink at one of the lakeside cafes. The island is as rich in culture as it is in vistas. Enrich your soul at the beautiful Madonna della Ceriola chapel and get steeped in history at the war museum Museo della Guerra, with displays of uniforms, weapons and photographs from both the World Wars.

Image Courtesy : Italy

Cefalù, Sicily

Located just an hour’s drive from Palermo is Cefalù in Sicily. Built in the 12th century, one of the main attractions here is the medieval cathedral of Duomo. In the town’s centre, see the massive cliff called the Rocca, famous for the exodus after the fall of the Roman Empire. Further up is the ancient Temple of Diana. This postcard-worthy town offers many leisurely strolls along its lungomare (seaside promenade), exploration of its mosaic-adorned cathedrals and sunsets from the lofty La Rocca.

Image Courtesy : Cruise Mapper

Positano, Salerno

Located on the Amalfi Coast in Salerno, Positano gained recognition when John Steinbeck wrote about it in a magazine article in 1953. Since then the town has become the host of an international cartoon festival. With cliffs plunging into crystal clear seas, the town can ignite flames of romance in the most cold of souls. Walk around the art galleries, boutiques and handicraft shops along the streets. Add spice to your trip by renting kayaks at the Positano beach and explore the nearby sea grottos. Talking of spice and grottos, round off your trip with a visit to the ‘Music On The Rocks’ nightclub, which is built inside a cliff.

Image Courtesy : Wikipedia

Castelluccio, Umbria

One of the most beautiful and quaint villages in Italy, located at a height of 5,000 feet above sea level, Castellucio is highest village in the Apennine Mountain Range. A sight of extremes with lofty snow-capped mountains on one side and lush, fertile plains adorned with violets, poppies and rapeseed (in Spring) on the other. Feast your eyes on myriad colours by visiting the village during the flowering season known as ‘florita’ which lasts from late May to early June.

Image Courtesy : Bella Umbria

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