Article from CondeNast (cntraveller).
“Italy’s great art cities attract millions of visitors each year, and quite rightly so. But this extraordinarily diverse country is stuffed with glorious, lesser-known destinations, many of which lie well off the beaten tourist trail. This is our choice of some of the best small towns and villages covering sleepy, sun-drenched fishing communities, splendid bastions of the Baroque and medieval hilltop set-pieces. Efforts will be rewarded by fabulous food and wine, warm hospitality and a sense of having discovered something a bit different”.
It’s difficult to believe that Matera, located in the little-visited region of Basilicata and now glowing from its 2019 stint as European Capital of Culture, was one of western Europe’s most deprived towns until the 1950s. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the honeycomb of ancient troglodyte dwellings (sassi) that lies below the honey-hued medieval town is now largely restored and occupied by galleries, restaurants and hotels. But to get an idea of what cave living must have been like, you can visit the fascinating Casa Grotta di vico Solitario, or even sleep in one if you don’t mind windowless rooms.
STAY: Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, sextantio.it
EAT: Dimora Ulmo, dimoraulmo.it
Lying just inland from the wide strip of lido-occupied beaches that fringe the Versilia coastline north of Pisa and backed by the majestic, marble-rich Apuanian Alps, mellow old Pietrasanta has long been home to a vibrant community of artists and sculptors, its bronze foundries and marble studios attracting the likes of Mitoraj, Botero and Henry Moore. It is dozy off-season, but busier in warmer weather when a cool, arty crowd drifts up from the coast to explore its galleries and independent boutiques and sip Campari spritz in the lovely Piazza del Duomo.
STAY: Albergo Pietrasanta, albergopietrasanta.com
EAT: L’Enoteca Marcucci, enotecamarcucci.it
In the wine world, the charming little medieval hilltown of Montefalco is synonymous with Sagrantino, the full-bodied and highly prized local red wine, its vines turning the surrounding hills deep russet-red just before the grape harvest. Known as ‘the balcony of Umbria’ because of its far-reaching views, the town has five entrance gates, each of which leads, via a cobbled lane, up to the round-ish central piazza. Don’t leave without tasting the wine and seeing Benozzo Gozzoli’s exquisite 1452 fresco cycle depicting the life of St Francis in the Convento di San Fortunato.
STAY: Palazzo Bontadosi, hotelbontadosi.it
EAT: Coccorone, coccorone.it
To read more, click on the link: https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/prettiest-small-towns-italy