Our walks are a great alternative to our online guides. Italso.com offers all of our expert-guided tours. If you love small towns, check out our blogs about the best towns to visit in Italy.
It is beautiful to visit small towns in Italy. We think the ones in southern Italy have a special charm. These Italian towns will amaze you with their stunning views, majestic cathedrals, and jaw-dropping locations.
Are you having trouble deciding where you should go on your next vacation to southern Italy? Here are ten of our favourite small towns in the south, from unspoiled hilltop villages to popular summer destinations.
Maratea is known as the “Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Coast” and boasts beautiful beaches, lush Mediterranean vegetation, clear waters, and a unique region called Basilicata. It’s the ideal getaway for nature-lovers. There are plenty of things to do and see.
Maratea, a medieval town in the middle of nowhere, is home to 44 churches! The Redeemer statue, a marble statue measuring 68 feet tall and looming over Monte San Biagio, is also found in Maratea. The Basilica of San Biagio is located nearby. It was built on the remains of an ancient Minerva temple… and offers stunning views of the entire region!
Pietrapertosa, perched high in the Lucanian Dolomites, and surrounded by rugged peaks is breathtaking. You won’t be able to get there by car, as it is a steep and thrilling climb. Mountain road. Need more adrenaline? The Flight of Angels is one of the most thrilling, longest, and fastest zip lines anywhere in the world.
You should not miss the Saracenic Castle (and its stunning views); the San Francesco Convent built on the ruins a Roman fortress; Pietrapertosa’s main church dedicated to San Giacomo and still with its medieval frescos.
Atrani, Amalfi coast
Positano is often called the “Jewel of the Amalfi Coast” (for more information, read Insider’s Guide to the Positano), but there are many other hidden gems along this beautiful coastline. Atrani is south of Amalfi. It might be our favourite. It is the smallest, but most charming town in southern Italy.
Atrani’s tranquil atmosphere and seaside homes make it a great choice for those looking for a peaceful base along the Amalfi Coast. Atrani is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for a sandy beach, which can be difficult to find. You can also combine sightseeing and sunbathing with Atrani’s stunning Collegiata di Santa Maria Maddalena. This Baroque church is dedicated to the patron saint of the town. Piazza Umberto I is the social center of this small town. Our blog is a better way to enjoy a more urban, yet still charming, stay in our favorite city along the Amalfi Coast.
Specchia is located on the Salento Peninsula of Puglia. It sits on a hilltop surrounded with countryside. This small, sleepy town on the southern coast dates back to 9th century. It still feels timeless with its narrow streets and quiet alleyways, as well as the humble courtyards.
Specchia was once a defense base. Today, it makes for interesting attractions, including Risolo castle in the main square. The rectangular towers from the 15th century have been preserved, even though they’ve been incorporated into other buildings. It is also visible on the west side.
Tropea is perched high on a cliff and offers a spectacular view of the turquoise sea with golden sand. And, unsurprisingly, this small town is Calabria’s most renowned destination–especially in the summer!
Tropea’s views are stunning, but the most striking is the view from the rock outcropping. This was once an island, and today it is still known as Isola Bella. Tropea is known for its top-quality food and stunning views. You must try the sweet red onions… they are perfect for making delicious marmalade.
Bova and Calabria
Bova, at more than 2,500 feet, offers stunning views of the Ionian coastline. Bova is also home to a cathedral that dates back to the 5th Century, ruins from a castle, fountains and other noble residences. This little gem of a town is still largely unknown to foreign tourists. It’s also a great place for Italians who want to see authentic small towns.
Bova’s deep-rooted history is even more fascinating. Residents still speak Griko (a Greek dialect) in this small town. The town hosts a summer festival called “Paleariza” each year in an effort to preserve and increase awareness about their culture.
Otranto is one of the most charming and picturesque towns on Puglia’s Salento Peninsula. It boasts beautiful beaches and turquoise water, as well as a rich history and architecture. The Romanesque cathedral was built in 11th-century Norman style. It boasts a stunning mosaic floor from the 12th century. Otranto, Italy’s easternmost city (which puts it in a strategic position), was also invaded a lot. Its violent past can still be seen in the defensive walls that surround the center. The most notable being the 1480 Ottoman attack.
This idyllic town is alive and well in summer, as it’s a popular spot for people who want the sun, sea, and great food. (here’s some great cuisine you’ll find at Salento!) ).
Cefalu is an ancient Greek name that is not surprising given its Greek origins. It is also only one hour drive from Palermo.
Cefalu’s architectural landmark is the Cathedral, built by Norman king Roger II during the 12th century. You will be amazed by the magnificent mosaics of Christ The Pantocrator as you make your way up the steep steps. You can also climb the huge rock behind the cathedral to see the remains of the Temple of Diana, which dates back to the 5th Century B.C. and a Byzantine castle… amazing views!
Erice, a charming town in north-western Sicily rises to 2,000 feet high above Trapani. You can see the Egadi Islands from this location on a clear day!
Erice is like a fairytale town more than any other on the list. The well-preserved medieval city boasts castles and a maze made of cobblestoned streets, beautiful gardens with stunning views, and a striking bell tower. Take the Trapani cable car to get there in the most exciting way. Don’t forget your camera! ).
Taormina, a tourist destination that is not far from the beaten path, is very popular all year. The charming town has stunning views of Mt. Etna is home to Piazza IX Aprile. This lively square feels almost like an outdoor terrace.
A visit to Taormina would not be complete without visiting the Greek Theater. It is the second-largest theater in Sicily and dates back to the 3rd Century B.C. The tranquility of the public gardens overlooking the ocean is a great spot to enjoy the view. It was built in English style and dates back to the 3rd century B.C. You can find more information about this gem on our blog, places to visit in Taormina.