4 In Europe/ Guest Posts/ Italy/ Travel

7 Cities in Italy You Didn’t Know Existed

 Guest Post by Isabell Williams

Between the vibrant lifestyle in Rome’s Trastevere, romantic evenings at the Venetian Piazza San Marco and busy markets of Florence, tourists rarely find the time to visit rural Italy. Practically every region of Italy is home to countless small towns and villages, which are easily just as beautiful and much less crowded. Here’s a selection of some of the most picturesque towns in rural Italy most people don’t know about. Ready to embark on a journey through Italian hills and valleys? Andiamo!

Aosta

Aosta

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Starting in the north of Italy, the beautiful region of Valle d’Aosta boasts a stunning, bilingual city of Aosta, which used to be an important Roman settlement and recently got a fresh breath of life after the opening of the Mont Blanc tunnel in the 1960c. Stroll around the ancient town walls of Augusta Prætoria Salassorum with their famous towers – among them you’ll find Leper’s Tower, made famous by Xavier de Maistre in his novel Le lépreux de la cité d’Aoste. Among the ancient roads and arches, you’ll find a towering Cathedral standing out among the Alpine peaks surrounding the city. To all nature-lovers – for some breathtaking natural sights, head to the Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso or Parco Nazionale Mont Avic.

 

Ferrara

Ferrara

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 Under the rule of d’Este family, Ferrara has grown into a small jewel of Emilia Romagna region. Follow one of its many narrow medieval streets to arrive at large, open and geometrically shaped piazzas that simply take your breath away with the rich architecture of its palazzos and churches. Ferrara is known for its picturesque red brick houses, so very untypical for Italian Renaissance cities. Noteworthy attractions include: the Estense castle, St. Anthony monastery, Via delle Volte and the basilica of San Giorgio Martire. For stunning architecture and interesting art exhibitions, head to Palazzo Diamante.

 

Volterra

Volterra

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Located west to the traditional tract between Florence and Siena, the magical town of Volterra has, during the last few years, attracted many enthusiasts of a certain vampire-themed trilogy. The residence of the Volturi vampire clan, Volterra is a real medieval jewel. Enjoy a warm summer evening at the central piazza of Volterra, home to the majestic Palazzo dei Priori, which is also the oldest town hall in Tuscany. After a walk on the stunning Balze cliffs, head to Volterra’s historical Duomo and finish your day at a local wine bar or trattoria. Make sure to accompany your wine with one of the typical sweets of the region – salame di cioccolato or castagnaccio.

 

Orvieto

Orvieto

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A pearl among the sweet hills of Umbria, Orvieto is best known for its breathtaking Duomo, a masterpiece of Italian Gothic architecture that houses famous frescoes by Luca Signorelli or the famous Filippo Lippi. Notorious for its artisanal pottery, Orvieto also made a name for itself thanks to its annual Corpus Domini festival, during which more than 400 citizens of Orvieto march through its streets dressed in medieval costumes. Enjoy the town’s distinctive air of tranquility and have a glass of the local Classico Amabile white wine with your evening aperitivo in one of Orvieto’s charming enotecas.

 

Sirmione

sirmione

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 Sirmione might strike you as nothing more than another cute village in the banks of Lake Garda, but this city is so much more than that. Among the beautiful sights on the notorious Lake Garda, you’ll find a dash of ancient ruins at Grotte di Catullo and the best of medieval port fortifications at Rocca Scagliera. Spend an afternoon on the stunning Giamaica beach and for a relaxing evening, head to the extravagant Terme Virgilio.

 

Anagni

Anagni

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Located in the heart of Ciociaria, a historical region of the central part of Italy, Anagni is a real gem that has for centuries been tied to papacy. Mentioned by Virgil in one of his historical accounts, this ancient city has from the 5th century served as an important point of reference for all Catholics – it became a favorite of many popes, especially who didn’t exactly appreciate the hustle and bustle of Rome. Have a walk around its city center and marvel at the sights of medieval palazzos. Make sure to visit the marvelously decorated tomb of Anagni’s patron, Saint Magnus, in the crypt of the city’s cathedral – here you’ll also find masterpieces of Byzantine art and a breathtaking floor mosaic created by the notorious Cosmati family.

 

Alberobello

Alberobello

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 Moving along the coast of Puglia, you simply must stop Alberobello – a Unesco World Heritage Site that got famous for its iconic architecture. Named after an oak forest Arboris Belli that once surrounded the area, Alberobello is famous for Zona dei Trulli, which boasts some 1500 small, white beehive-shaped houses – some of which can accommodate visitors! Take an evening stroll among the magical trulli streets and make sure to visit the towering sanctuary of the Parrocchia Santuario Basilica S.S. Cosma e Damiano.

 

But that’s not all. Italy is full of hidden gems, so if you happen to visit one of its major touristic destinations, don’t hesitate to leave the crowded and noisy streets and venture into the beautiful Italian countryside. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something others only dream about?

 

The article was contributed by Isabel Wiliams of http://www.bizdb.co.uk/.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    masha2633
    October 10, 2014 at 8:53 am

    These places all look magical! Definitely added some to my ‘To-Visit’ list 🙂

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      October 18, 2014 at 8:21 am

      Don’t they look incredible? I’m so glad that she wrote this post for me! I had only heard of one of these cities! There’s so much to see in Italy. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Reply
    paninigirl
    October 18, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Love this post! I knew a few but not all of these spots.

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      October 30, 2014 at 9:24 am

      She did such a fantastic post! I loved it- I’d only heard of one of the cities, but there were some truly interesting ones! This is one of the beauties of guest posts! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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