If you like discovering places off-the-beaten-path, these beautiful small towns in Italy will be perfect for you!
Italy may be famous for its cities and landmarks but there is just as much to see in the countryside!
Italy is one of the most picturesque countries in the world. More importantly, it’s a land of traditions and authenticity. As pretty as the famous cities are, the small Italian towns are where the true magic happens. By choosing the visit small towns, you will uncover beautiful places, get to connect with the locals and experience the food at its best!
In this article, you will discover an amazing selection of pretty small towns in Italy!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you! As an Airbnb Associate, I may earn when you book through these links.
Beautiful Small Towns in Southern Italy
When it comes to beautiful small towns in Italy, Positano is definitely one of the most famous. Located on the stunning Amalfi Coast, Positano is an excellent place to spend your holidays or to visit as a day trip from Naples. It is a cliffside town with colourful houses. If you love taking photos, you are in for a treat.
Here are a few examples of things to do in Positano:
- Roaming around town. This one may sound obvious but yet, it is the first thing you should do in Positano. It’s very easy to explore Positano on foot and you will find beautiful places at every corner. Just let yourself wander around, grab a gelato in one of the local gelaterias and discover the beautiful streets!
- Hiking the path of the gods. This is one of the best hikes in Italy. It goes all the way from Positano to Capri. If you love walking and want to discover breath-taking views of the Amalfi Coast, this will be the perfect activity. You can do that on your own or opt for a guided tour. See prices.
- Snorkelling on the Amalfi Coast. There are some awesome snorkelling spots near Positano and if you like water-based activities, this should be your go-to experience. You can opt for a snorkelling tour, during which you will explore the coast on board of a traditional Amalfitan Gozzo boat. See prices here.
- Visiting the art galleries. Positano is home to many cute art galleries and you should definitely check them out. You will find beautiful pieces and maybe even buy some souvenirs. Absolute Positano is an amazing one.
WHERE TO STAY IN POSITANO: Hotel Villa Gabrisa is a beautiful hotel in Positano. You will love eating your brekkie on the balcony while soaking up the views of the Amalfi Coast. It’s also very good value for money. See latest prices here.
Located in Sicily, in the province of Messina, Savoca is one of the most beautiful hidden towns in Italy. Although the town itself is very small, it was made world-famous in 1972 when it was used as a filming location in the God Father. Remember when he goes to Sicily and is talking with people in a bar? Well, that’s in Savoca!
Here are a few examples of things to do in Savoca:
- Discovering the God Father’s filming locations. Although most of the movie was filmed in the US, there are quite a few filming locations in Savoca including the Bar Vitelli and the church where they get married. As you roam around town, you will discover all of them. Alternatively, you can opt for a guided tour. See prices here.
- Walking around town. If you like walking, you are in for a treat. Start in the main piazza where Bar Vitelli is and start making your way up to the church, you will then find many small streets that will take you on the edge of the mountain. It’s very pretty and the views are breath-taking. Make sure you are wearing good walking shoes and put sunscreen on. It can get very hot, especially in summer.
- Donkey riding. Savoca is not known for its horses but its donkeys. If you are travelling with kids and want to do something fun with them, you may want to consider going donkey riding. See prices here.
WHERE TO STAY IN SAVOCA: The Seven Views Holiday House is an amazing Airbnb in Savoca. It’s a great place to relax and soak up the views of the Sicilian countryside. See prices here.
Located in the Northern part of Sardinia, Palau is quite an underrated place. Many tourists do go to Palau to visit the stunning archipelago Della Maddalena however, not many take the time to visit the town itself.
This fishing town has a lot to offer. The food is amazing and it’s very picturesque. If you wish to visit La Maddalena (which you should!) then making Palau your base is a great thing to do. It’s very cute and accommodation is way cheaper than on the islands!
Here are a few examples of things to do in Palau:
- Tasting the Sardinian food. Sardinia is a paradise for foodies and Palau is particularly known for its seafood. If you love fish, go to the restaurant and order some. It’s delicious!
- Hiking up to the Bear Rock. Located on Capo D’Orso, the Bear Rock is a wonderful natural landmark. It’s a very quick walk (only 10 to 15 minutes) and it’s well worth it. The rock itself is beautiful. It looks like Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island (Australia)! The views from there are also stunning!
- Going on a cruise in La Maddalena. Although you should be spending some time in Palau itself, you couldn’t possibly be there without visiting the archipelago. It’s one of the prettiest places in Italy! It’s home to beautiful beaches including the pink beach of Budelli! The best way to explore the island is going on a cruise. See prices here.
WHERE TO STAY IN PALAU: The Sea at Home is a beautiful Airbnb flat with ocean views. It’s also ideally located near the beach and port. See prices here.
Beautiful Small Towns in Northern Italy
Manarola is one of the 5 towns that form the Cinque Terre. It’s located near La Spezia and can be visited on a day trip from Florence, Pisa or Genoa. The Cinque Terre are a magical place and every town deserves its spot in this article but Manarola is the cutest one and that’s why it comes first!
Here are a few examples of things to do in Manarola:
- Walking down the street to the port. This is the most beautiful place in Manarola. As you reach the train station, keep walking until you reach the platform with the school. From there, you can walk down the stairs and will reach the main street that goes down to the port. Unfortunately, there isn’t a beach in Manarola however, you can go on the rocks and enjoy eating a sandwich there.
- Drinking a freshly pressed orange juice or lemonade while soaking up the views. Once you reach the port, you will notice that there is a small path going up. Take it and walk up to the restaurant. It’s quite a busy place so you may not be able to get a table. Regardless, grab one of their delicious orange juice and go back to the picnic tables. The views of the town are fabulous. If you keep walking, you will reach the other side and discover more views of the Cinque Terre and the coast.
WHERE TO STAY IN MANAROLA: The Hotel Marina Piccola is ideally located a couple of minutes walk from the rocky beaches of Manarola. It’s a great place to stay in the Cinque Terre. See prices here.
Beautiful Small Towns in Central Italy
Located in the heart of Umbria, Norcia is one of the prettiest medieval towns in Italy. It features beautiful examples of medieval architecture including walls, narrow streets and the Roman church of Saint-Benedict. But the best reason to visit Norcia is for its culinary experiences. If you are foodie, you will love it!
Here are a few examples of things to do in Norcia:
- Roaming around the town centre. Norcia is a beautiful town and the best way to explore it is just to wander around. Get lost in the small streets and see where it leads you. The main square is called the Piazza Communale and is home to the most majestic buildings. No matter where you go, you will always somewhat make your way back to the piazza.
- Olive oil tasting. Most people think of Italy as a wine tasting destination. While this is true, Italy is also a large producer of olive oil. Italian cuisine is based on olive oil and visiting an olive oil farm is a great thing to do. If you love food, you should consider doing an olive oil tasting. See prices.
- Going on a day trip to the Marmore waterfalls. If you love discovering places off the beaten path, Norcia is a great place to do so. Make sure to go on a day trip to the Marmore waterfalls, the Sibillini Mountains and Valnerina Valley. See prices here.
WHERE TO STAY IN NORCIA: Relais & Chateaux Palazzo Seneca is an excellent place to stay at if you are looking for an affordable luxury hotel. See prices here.
If you always loved “Under the Tuscan Sun”, visiting Montepulciano should be at the top of your Italy Bucket list! It’s everything you imagine Tuscany to be like! Montepulciano is a stunning hilltop town surrounded by vineyards. Food, wine, beautiful houses, breath-taking landscapes… it truly has it all! It’s an excellent place to stay for a romantic weekend in Tuscany. Alternatively, you can visit it on a day trip from Sienna or Florence.
Montepulciano became a very fairly popular destination thanks to the Medici family. As a matter of fact, you will find Medici symbols everywhere in the town centre.
Here are some ideas of things to do in Montepulciano:
- Winetasting. Montepulciano is famous for its vineyards. If you are a foodie, wine tasting is a must-do! You will get to discover beautiful historical cellars and try red and rosé wine. Click here to see the latest prices.
- Discovering the Piazza Grande. This is the main square in Montepulciano. It’s home to historic buildings such as the Palazzo Communale and the Duomo.
- Visiting the Museo Cívico. Home to beautiful paintings and archaeological finds, the Civic Museum is an excellent place to visit if you are into history.
WHERE TO STAY IN MONTEPULCIANO: Villa Nottola is an excellent place to stay if you want to discover the Tuscan countryside. This former noble house features incredibly pretty rooms and services. Click here to see the prices.
You may also be interested in:
Pin it for later!