Most Beautiful Villages in Italy

Most Beautiful Villages in Italy

From Roman ruins to Renaissance art, Italy is a country blessed with beauty – even a humble plate of pasta can be a pretty thing to behold. And that’s before you even look at the landscape. So, when it comes to selecting the most beautiful villages in Italy, it can be tricky to know where to start. Whether you want sea air, scenic walks, or that sense of being small that you can only find in the mountains, Italy has a village to match. Here are six of our favourites that will have you saying ciao bella.

  1. Manarola
  2. Bosa
  3. Calcata
  4. Pietrapertosa
  5. Sperlonga
  6. Castelrotto



Cinque Terre

A collection of colourful coastal hamlets on the Italian Riviera, the Cinque Terre consists of five of the most iconic Italian villages. Once isolated fishing communities, they are now part of the Cinque Terre National Park; a UNESCO World Heritage site and haven for lovers of sea views, sunsets and getting lost on cobbled streets. Connected to Genoa, Pisa and Rome by train, Manarola is the second-smallest village of the famous five, yet packs plenty of charm into its compact cliffside spot. There’s a tiny marina of brightly-hued boats, where you can swim and sunbathe without getting sandy. Vineyards to stroll through, with a stop to sample the local Sciacchetrà wine. And a hilltop viewpoint which offers the best vista around; that postcard scene of pastel houses topping the rocks above aquamarine waves. Accommodation in Manarola can book up quickly and be a little overpriced; stay in nearby La Spezia (12 minutes by train) for a wider choice of places to rest your head.




Sitting along the banks of the River Temo under the watchful gaze of Malaspina Castle, the Sardinian village of Bosa is regularly named one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It’s easy to see why when you visit this rainbow-coloured town between the hills and the sea. Located on the west coast of the island of Sardinia, it has everything you could want from an Italian village: trattorie waiting to welcome you for a lazy lunch; ancient churches infused with history; and a maze of medieval streets to explore. West of the village, where the river meets the sea, is Bosa Marina, which is home to a sandy beach – a reminder you’re on an Italian island known for some of the best beaches in the country. It’s easy to reach Bosa by train or car from Alghero, where there’s an airport with connecting flights to the mainland and the rest of Europe.

Bosa, Italy



The scenery that makes Calcata so striking was very nearly its downfall. Perched on the top of volcanic cliffs, the village was abandoned by its inhabitants in the 1930s amid fears that the land could collapse. Then, in the 1970s, it was rediscovered by a band of artists, writers and intellectuals who chose to make this ghost town their home. Fast forward to today and Calcata is still standing and still beloved by artists, whose studios and workshops you can discover throughout the medieval centre. With no cars, no cash machine and no phone signal, visiting Calcata feels like travelling back in time. Less than an hour north of Rome by car (two hours by public transport), it makes a charming labyrinth to get lost in for an afternoon.




We think Pietrapertosa is a beauty, but don’t just take our word for it. Situated in Southern Italy’s Basilicata region, this mountainside hamlet is officially one of the Borghi più Belli d'Italia (most beautiful villages in Italy). These small towns of historical interest were hand-picked by Italian tourism experts, and Pietrapertosa is a worthy member of the club. Sitting beneath the crags of the Dolomiti lucane (known as the Southern Dolomites), the village appears embedded in the rock – the human heart of the mountain. And like many mountainous locations, it has become a hotspot for high-octane fun. The Angel Flight zipline connects Pietrapertosa’s highest peak to the neighbouring village of Castelmezzano; an adrenaline-fuelled flypast with a blur of cliffs and treetops beneath you. Maybe just wait a few hours after that big plate of pasta… 




With winding alleys of whitewashed houses, scented by bougainvillea, you might think you’ve stumbled onto a Greek island, but this is Sperlonga – a coastal village halfway between Rome and Naples that’s a popular spot to escape to in summertime. A good option when you want to interrupt your city break with a beach day, Sperlonga is also home to the ruins of a villa once inhabited by Emperor Tiberius, as well as an archaeological museum housing impressive Roman sculptures. The hillside location of the village means there are steps and steep streets to navigate as you explore, however the sea views from a restaurant terrace (and the aperitivo that awaits) should soon ease your aching legs. 

Sperlonga, Italy



South Tyrol

In the far north of Italy, 12 miles from Bolzano and close to the border with Austria, you’re more likely to hear German than Italian spoken in Castelrotto. Another one of the Borghi più Belli d'Italia, Castelrotto (or Kastelruth) is a popular base for exploring the Dolomites – and the village is beautiful in any language. During the winter, it’s all about the snow; with skiing, snowboarding and sledding to enjoy on the Alpe di Siusi alpine pasture (the largest in Europe). In summer, the hills are lush with wildflowers and hikers and cyclists rule the trails. Whatever the season, the picturesque piazzas, cobbled lanes and frescoed buildings are always a treat.

Discover the most beautiful villages in other italian regions

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