The Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of the Alpine Country has just extended its list to 325 municipalities with 12 new members with names as evocative as Alberobello or Calascibetta.
Not everyone can be part of Italy’s Association of the Most Beautiful Villages. No less than 72 requirements must be met, such as having a presence of 70% of historical monuments before 1939, harmony in their constructions, respect for the environment, hospitality… They cannot count more than 2,000 inhabitants or 15,000 if the municipality is added complete.
Therefore, there is a very long waiting list to enter. Moreover, of the 900 municipalities with evocative names which asked to be integrated into the association during the last batch, only 12 were able to do so. Their names have just been known, ranging from 313 to 325 the current municipalities that are part of the association throughout the country, from Tuscany to Lombardy via Sicily or Puglia.
Alberobello is located in the latter region (and more precisely in the province of Bri), a unique location for its famous dry stone houses called Trulli. Its circular facades and characteristic grey roofs made the city part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
From Puglia, we jump to Tuscany, where Campiglia Marittima is located, perched on a hill overlooking the sea. Belonging to the Cornia Valley, on the Etruscan coast of the Alpine country, it has a medieval castle, labyrinthine alleys, cobblestone passageways and buildings arranged in concentric semi-circles, which convey a sense of aesthetic harmony.
From Sicily, two towns entered the association, Calascibetta and Buccheri, in the provinces of Enna and Syracuse, respectively. In the first, of medieval origin, you have to visit the archaeological remains. On the other hand, the churches of San Antonio Abad or Santa Andrea, the cave of San Nicolás and the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie stand out a few kilometres from the center of the town.
Between mountains, churches and palaces
The route continues in Lombardy, where Bellano is located, the town of just over 4,000 inhabitants on the shores of Lake Como, whose most visited place is Orrido, a magnificent ravine formed by erosion. We continue in the Lazio region to make a stop at Castelnuovo di Porto, an enclave 30 kilometers from Rome famous for its Castle of the Rock.
The next stop is Sardinia. La Maddalena is the only inhabited town in the archipelago of the same name, made up of seven islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It’s time to approach the magical Abruzzo, where Crecchio is located, a small town with architectural gems such as the churches of Santa Maria da Piedi or Santissimo Salvatore, as well as its ducal castle.
Let’s now move on to the Trentino-Alto Adige region since two of its municipalities have entered the new association list. The first, Luserna, with only 300 inhabitants, even has a resettlement program that gives free housing to those who want to stay and live there. The second town of Trentino-Alto Adagio, Pieve Tesino, stands out for its location surrounded by nature, which makes it the ideal place for hikers.
The new classification also includes Nocera Umbra, a pleasant corner of the province of Perugia (region of Umbria), where you must visit the remains of its cathedral, its church of San Francisco or the tower called El Cencerro.
The Tour of Italy ends in Petritoli, a town and community in the Marche region with a rich heritage. For example, the Petrania Gate, the Civic Tower, the Convent of the Poor Clares, the Teatro dell’Iride, and the Vitoli Palace are worth mentioning.