I’m not even gonna lie, Italy is packed with quaint little towns it’s hard to decide which one to check out. If you’re in the school of thought that thinks one quaint little town is the same as every other then you’d be surprised to discover they’re really no
t! I belong to the school of thought that every little town in Italy has is own charm and every one of them is worth the visit! But let’s be realistic that’s just not possible, at least not for me. So I pick and choose which quaint little town to explore each time I’m in Italy. Here are some more of my faves!
Lake Como is not a town it’s a lake that’s surrounded by many quaint little towns. In fact there are so many it’s hard to decide which one as each has it’s special charm and best of all you could if you want to see several in a day.
There’s a ferry that plies the waters of the lake, it starts at one end which is the town of Como and stops at the towns around the lake, a couple of the small towns on islands in the middle of the lake; there’s another route that starts from Lecco on the western branch of Lake Como. (Lake Como is like an inverted Y with Lecco the southern most point in one branch and Como on the other. The northern part of the Y includes the town of Colico. Both lines meet at the town of Bellagio farther north along the river. To reach towns on the Como branch of the river you must transfer to the Como route from the Bellagio stop.
Tremezzo is a town on the western shore of Lake Como. It is a popular vacation spot with a five star luxury hotel and some fine restaurants. Best of all it’s situated just across the lake from the town of Bellagio so it offers spectacular views of that little town as well as awesome views of the lake.
While in Tremezzo you can visit the Villa Carlotta and its gardens. Though there are many beautiful villas around the lake Villa Carlotta is one of the most visited.
Bellagio is a town situated at the point where the 2 branches of Lake Como meet. It is considered to be the Pearl of the Lake and is a popular romantic town in Italy.
The town is actually spread out along the lake but its historic center is atop the hill accessible by foot on the wide stairs or alleys. The stairs and are lined with shops and restaurants.
Bellagio has some luxury hotels that pretty much scream romance, it is after all deemed to be one of the most romantic towns in Italy. There is also a beautiful villa and gardens, Villa Melzi, which is known for its colorful display of azaleas and rhododendruns. Once can also visit the San Giacomo Church at the top of the hill and the Villa Serbelloni Park above the historic center. The park offers great views of the lake. There are also walking paths along the lake and over the hill that wind their way past hamlets and picture perfect spots around the lake. In the summer months there are many festivals and musical events held in this little town.
The little mountaintop town of Brunate is connected to Como via the funiculare. The line opened in 1894 and is the quickest way to get to and from Brunate.
The funiculare ride alone make this quaint little town worth visiting. The funicular offer stunning lake views as it slowly makes its way up and down the mountainside.
The town itself is popular with tourists during the summer months. It has some very pretty villas which I believe can be rented during the season. There are walking paths that wind around the town with view points where one can enjoy awesome views of the lake below. And of course there are restaurants with lake view seating. There is also a very beautiful church called Chiesa di Sant’Andrea Apostolo. It’s definitely worth a visit.
There are many more quaint little towns around Lake Como, that I can’t really name them all. My best advice is to buy a 24 hour ferry ticket and hope off at any of the towns you find interesting!
The town of Stresa in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy is the official gateway to Lake Maggiore. Located at the best part of the lake Stresa commands fantastic views of the lake and the Borromean Islands in the lake.
Stresa’s docks are the starting points of t he ferries that ply the waters of this lake. The ferries can take you to the 3 delightful Borromean Islands where you’ll find beautiful gardens complete with wandering peacocks and fantastic villas. Then you can have a wonderful seafood lunch a Isola Pescatori.
Stresa is a pretty little town with charming streets, waterfront cafes, colorful markets, and even a cable car to take you to the top of Mount Mattarone for some 360 degree views of the lake and the Alps.
Martina Franca is a small town in Italy’s Puglia or Apulia Region in Southern Italy. It’s located on the heal of Italy’s boot.
The historic center is a delightful mix of narrow winding streets, baroque and rococo buildings, and colorful bursts of flowers. It’s also not very crowded, and that’s a big plus in my book!
Martina Franca is not on many tourist’s bucket list mostly because it’s not so easily accessible. I mean it’s easy enough if you’re okay taking the slow train, and I do mean the very slow train from Bari. And from the town’s train station it’s kind of an uphill trek to reach the centro storico. But it is so worth it!
It’s a charming little town where you can wander the streets virtually alone, peek into small churches, then relax at a cafe without anyone hovering waiting for you to vacate your table.
The Puglia region is famous for these little round houses called Trulli houses. They dot the Itria Valley but many are concentrated in the quaint little town of Alerobello.
The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features narrow winding streets, rows and rows of these white washed round building topped with black stones. Many of the building are now homes, churches, shops, and restaurants. Standing in the cobble stone streets surrounded by Trulli make one feel like they’ve entered Smurf Village! It’s enchanting and definitely worth a visit.
There are many more quaint little towns in Italy and the best way to explore them is by renting a car and driving around. That way when you spot something that catches your eye you can pull over for a quick stop!
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