Social distancing has become a new norm around most of the world, influencing almost all aspects of our lives including how we travel. Well-known for its plethora of charming small towns and abundant breathtaking scenery, Italy is fast becoming a popular travel destination for social distancing. As people gravitate away from city breaks in popular tourist hotspots like Rome, Florence and Venice, small towns in Italy are having a Renaissance. There are plenty of small Italian towns perfect for social distancing, not far from the cities. Here are 10 Italian towns perfect for social distancing.
1. Casoli, Abruzzo
The more socially distanced, the better the views. That’s definitely the case with Casoli, a lesser-known medieval village, providing spectacular views that stretch from the Majella mountains to the Trabocchi coast. Make sure that you don’t miss the main site, Castello Masciantonio: a Norman castle of the eleventh century.
2. Tropea, Calabria
The secret beach town of Calabria, Tropea is one of the region’s most picturesque villages. With gorgeous beaches, a fascinating historical center and charming restaurants, this secluded seaside town is ideal for social distancing. Said to be founded by Hercules, Tropea has a mythological air about it and is nicknamed the “pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea”.
3. Assisi, Umbria
Often the best travel experiences are off-the-beaten-track, especially when you are trying to travel while social distancing in Italy. That’s exactly what you can expect when visiting the hill town, Assisi: an ancient hidden gem in the green heart of Italy. Assisi is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world; so much so that it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The entire town basks in this prestigious status because of its abundance of art and historically significant buildings, like the Basilica di San Francesco. A hot air balloon ride over Assisi and the surrounding countryside is one of the best ways to admire this stunning part of Umbria.
4. Vitorchiano, Latium
At the foot of the Cimini mountains lies the remote and pretty town, Vitorchiano. From a distance, this ancient town is an optical illusion as its simple dwellings are carved into the hill they sit on, making it hard to see where the rock ends and they start. Vitorchiano is the ideal spot to simply potter around mindfully soaking up the feeling of being in a charming Italian village, without worrying about crowds and busy restaurants.
5. Pettino, Umbria
Nestled on a peaceful plateau at over 1100 meters in altitude, it doesn’t get much more peaceful than the small historic village, Pettino. Surrounded by Umbria’s majestic Apennine Mountains, this slice of heaven is the ultimate escape to solitude. The old stone buildings, ploughed fields and small piazzas reveal a traditional Italian way of life and culture rarely encountered in other parts of Italy. To discover authentic life in Pettino, Wild Foods Italy offers a day tour with locals to experience the traditional culture and truffle-hunting on a centuries-old farm and ancient village.
6. Vernazza, La Spezia
Step into the iconic scenes of colourful houses surrounding the marina with a backdrop of magnificent mountains in the small town of Vernazza. One of the 5 centuries-old villages that make up the Cinque Terre on northwest Italy’s rugged Ligurian coast, this beautiful town has a medieval feel, famous for its elegant houses. With no car traffic, remaining one of the truest fishing villages of the Italian Riviera, Vernazza offers an idyllic escape from the more crowded Italian cities.
7. Lucignano, Tuscany
The epitome of a quaint town in the Italian countryside, Lucignano is a medieval town located in the beloved Tuscany. Resembling a curled-up snake from above, Lucignano is so well-preserved that its oval circle of wall remains intact. A walking or cycling tour are some of the top recommended ways to explore this remote town.
8. Montefalco, Umbria
There are few better places for outdoor lovers to explore in Italy than Montefalco. Situated on top of a 473 meters hill and among valleys, Montefalco is an ideal spot for socially distanced activities in the great outdoors like trekking and biking. And if staying active is not for you, this beautiful part of Umbria is also well-known for its excellent wine. A visit to Montefalco isn’t complete without experiencing the local wine and the best way to do this is at a winery. There are top wineries in Montefalco like Cantina Dionigi where you can enjoy scenic views of the vineyards, take a tour of a wine cellar and taste a range of wines in a cosy tasting room.
9. Atrani, Salerno
The smallest town on the Amalfi Coast, Atrani has a population of less than one thousand. This is a place you should visit if you want to find out what Italy is truly about; an undiscovered town unspoiled by mass tourism like some of the busier places on the Amalfi Coast. Wander through the winding narrow streets, enjoy a quiet cafe and soak up the beauty of the Italian coast in this hidden fishing village perfect for social distancing.
10. Monte Sant’Angelo, Puglia
A town famous for its picturesque white houses and buildings, Monte Sant’Angelo is home to two UNESCO-listed World Heritage sites. Take a much needed journey into the past as you explore the remains of the castle and its so-called Torre dei Giganti (tower of the giants), a 59 foot tall octagonal tower built by Frederick II in this delightful white-washed town.
It’s quite easy to see why the natural scenery and traditional small towns of Italy with minimal crowds have become even more alluring in this time of social distancing. While ticking popular attractions off your bucket list like visiting the colosseum in Rome or a gondola trip in the buzzing Venice might be appealing, now is the time to visit the undiscovered and hidden gems of Italy. These Italian towns which are perfect for social distancing also offer the more unusual and unique activities in Italy like hot air ballooning and truffle-hunting.