I have a lot of places on my bucket list. One destination that keeps creeping up on that list, is Italy. From its intricate history, incredible food and picturesque landscapes, the country have this special allure and there is no place like it. Italy is such a beautiful country with so much to offer, so when it comes to honing into a few locations, it is hard to choose! There are the classic bigger cities to visit, such as Rome, Venice and Florence. But I am really drawn to the small towns that offer a very different and equally beautiful experience.
There is something about being on an island, and particularly about being in a small town on an island. Cefalù is an hour outside of Palermo and it feels like a whole other world. The town is situated between a massive cliff, La Rocca, and the blue waters. You can relax along the sandy beach, hike up La Rocca for incredible views, visit the Duomo and take it all in. If your holiday is in Cefalù, there are many locally owned villas that you can rent, where you can stay in places by the beach and have a true taste of the local culture.
Ravello, Amalfi Coast
The gorgeous Amalfi Coast draws so many visitors and the small town of Ravello offers visitors the chance to be a part of the magic but in a more protected and casually glamorous setting. You can get around the town by foot, visit the Villa Cimbrone, take one of the footpaths to the coast, gather in the main square of the town and bask in the beauty of the Amalfi Coast.
Polignano a Mare, Puglia
Polignano a Mare is 34 kilometres from Bari. The town has really gained in popularity as photographs have circulated of its sandy beach surrounded by cliffs and the restaurant of the Grotta Palazzese. I love that it is built inside a cave. It is a sweet town that offers landscapes and an ambience that is unique to Polignano a Mare.
Assisi, Umbria, Italy
Assisi is a small medieval town tucked away in the hills of Umbria. The town is beautifully kept and you can feel how proud the residents are of their small gorgeous town. It is an important pilgrimage site and home to the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi. There is a special combination of the profound yet effortless beauty of the Basilica, the small details of the town, and the views of the rolling hills beyond.
San Gimignano, Tuscany
San Gimignano is a charming town located between Florence and Siena. Since 1990 it has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can sample local products (including Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a white wine). Or climb the tower for views of the valley and simply relax and stroll through the medieval town.
Porto Venere, Liguria
Last of all Porto Venere is so close to Cinque Terre, but it often gets passed over. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. It overlooks the Gulf of Poets, has wonderfully colourful homes. The spectacular views are rewarding if you climb up the stairs to reach the Church of St. Peter.
Each one of these places has something special to it. I love the beauty, culture, history, and so much more. I can’t wait to visit these gorgeous spots.