Visit villages in Italy

The real Italy still exists just down the road from the tourist towns and cultural capitals

Sure, the great art cities—Rome, Florence, Venice—are amazing, as are the hilltowns of Tuscany and Umbria. But to really get off the beaten path, make your way to the tiniest villages and unheralded towns.

(About 100 of the most picturesque are gathered at the amazing site, a site celebrating the most beautiful tiny towns of Italy, virtually none of which have been heard of outside their immediate area.)

Often, you will find the forgotten Italy of yesteryear hidden in these small knots of medieval streets, the village men perched around the pocket-sized main square before a modest baroque church facade, the women chatting amicably from doorway to doorway.

It doesn't matter if the hamlet has any "sights" to check off your list. Take a break from Reanissance altarpieces, ancient ruins, and endless souvenir shops to just sit and soak up la dolce vita of Italy's slower pace of village life.

Have an espresso in the little local bar. Start up a conversation with the locals. Picnic on the church steps. Sketch the view down a single crooked stone street. Nap in a spot of sunlight.

Just enjoy Italy.

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