The Most Beautiful Villages

How to know where to go that is off the beating path, yet a must-see place, full of history and art. When looking for places beyond Florence, Venice, Naples that are outside the mainstream of the big tourist crowds, it is time to look up the “most beautiful villages.”

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Les Plus Beaux Villages De France

It started with the French Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (meaning “the most beautiful villages of France”), an independent association created in 1982 for the promotion of the tourist appeal of small rural villages with a rich cultural heritage, and Italy followed suit with its “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy.” 

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Founded in March 2001, at the instigation of the Tourism Council of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), with the aim of helping to safeguard, preserve and revitalize small groups and municipalities, but sometimes even individual hamlets, which, being at outside the main tourist circuits, despite the great value, they risk being forgotten with consequent degradation, depopulation, and abandonment, initially the group comprised a hundred villages, which subsequently grew until 271 in 2017.

Membership requires meeting certain selection criteria and offers a strategy for development and promotion to tourists. The three initial selection criteria are the rural nature of the village (a population of fewer than 2,000 inhabitants), the presence of at least two national heritage sites and local support in the form of a vote by the council. Each village must pay an annual fee to the association and the mayor must sign the association’s Quality Charter. If the village fails to meet the requirements of the charter it may be excluded.

Initiatives

The association organizes initiatives within the villages, such as festivals, exhibitions, fairs, conferences and concerts that highlight the artistic and architectural heritage, the traditional, historical, gastronomic and dialectal heritage, involving the inhabitants in the events and local instances, municipalities, schools, cultural associations, local poets and musicians. The club is the promoter of numerous initiatives on the international market. In 2016, the association signed an agreement on a global scale with ENIT, to promote tourism in the most beautiful villages in the world. In 2017 the club signs an agreement with Costa Cruises for the enhancement of some villages, which are offered to cruise passengers arriving in Italian ports on board the operator’s ships.

Regional subdivision

The regional subdivision of the villages admitted into the club is as follows: 28 in Umbria, 27 in the Marche, 24 in Abruzzo, 23 in Tuscany, 22 in Liguria, 20 in Lazio, 20 in Lombardy, 19 in Sicily, 14 in Calabria, 13 in Emilia-Romagna, 12 in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 12 in Piedmont, 12 in Campania, 11 in Puglia, 11 in Trentino-Alto Adige, 10 in Veneto, 7 in Basilicata, 6 in Sardinia, 4 in Molise and 2 in Valle d ‘Aosta.

I visited a few, not all as yet, but I working on visiting as many as I can, and adding some that are still off the list too.

Regional LIST

Val D’Aosta

  • Bard
  • Etroubles

Piedmont

  • Chianale
  • Garessio
  • Mombaldone
  • Neive
  • Orta San Giulio
  • Ostana
  • Ricetto di Candelo
  • Usseauso
  • Vogogna
  • Volpedo

Lombardy

  • Bienno
  • Cassinetta di Lugagnano
  • Castellaro Lagusello
  • Castelponzone
  • Cornello dei Tasso
  • Curiglia con Monteviasco
  • Fortunago
  • Gradella
  • Grazie
  • Gromo
  • Lovere
  • Monte Isola
  • Morimondo
  • Pomponesco
  • Porana
  • Sabbioneta
  • San Benedetto Po
  • Soncino
  • Tremezzina
  • Tremosine
  • Zavattarello

Trentino

  • Canale di Tenno
  • Chiusa
  • Egna
  • Glorenza
  • Mezzano
  • Rango
  • San Lorenzo in Banale
  • Vipiteno

 

Veneto

  • ArquĂ  Petrarca
  • Asolo
  • Borghetto
  • Cison di Valmarino
  • Montagnana
  • PortobuffolĂ©
  • Sottoguda (frazione di Rocca Pietore)
  • Strassoldo

Friuli Venezia Giulia

  • Clauiano
  • Cordovado
  • Fagagna
  • Gradisca d’Isonzo
  • Poffabro
  • Polcenigo
  • Sesto al Reghena
  • Toppo
  • Valvasone Arzene
  • Venzone – Resilient Venzone

Liguria

  • Apricale
  • Borgio Verezzi
  • Brugnato
  • Campo Ligure
  • Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena
  • Cervo
  • Colletta di Castelbianco
  • Finalborgo
  • Framura
  • Laigueglia
  • Lingueglietta
  • Millesimo
  • Moneglia
  • Montemarcello
  • Noli
  • Seborga
  • Tellaro
  • Triora
  • Varese Ligure
  • Vernazza
  • Zuccarello

Emilia Romagna

  • Bobbio
  • Brisighella
  • Castell’Arquato
  • Compiano
  • Dozza
  • Fiumalbo
  • Fontanellato
  • Gualtieri
  • Montefiore Conca
  • Montegridolfo
  • San Giovanni in Marignano
  • San Leo
  • Vigoleno

 

Toscana

  • Anghiari
  • Barga
  • Buonconvento
  • Castelfranco Piandiscò
  • Castiglione di Garfagnana
  • Cetona
  • Coreglia Antelminelli
  • Giglio Castello
  • Loro Ciuffenna
  • Montemerano
  • Montescudaio
  • Pitigliano
  • Poppi
  • Porto Ercole
  • San Casciano dei Bagni
  • Santa Fiora
  • Scarperia San Piero
  • Sovana
  • Suvereto

Umbria

  • Acquasparta
  • Arrone
  • Bettona
  • Bevagna
  • Borgo Sant’Antonio
  • Castiglione del Lago
  • Citerna
  • Corciano
  • Deruta
  • Giove
  • Lugnano in Teverina
  • Massa Martana
  • Monte Castello di Vibio
  • Montefalco
  • Montone
  • Norcia
  • Paciano
  • Panicale
  • Piediluco
  • San Gemini
  • Spello
  • Stroncone
  • Torgiano
  • Trevi
  • Vallo di Nera

Marche

  • Cingoli
  • Corinaldo
  • Frontino
  • Gradara – Remenbering Francesca
  • Grottammare
  • Macerata Feltria
  • Matelica
  • Mondavio
  • Mondolfo
  • Monte Grimano
  • Montecassiano
  • Montecosaro
  • Montefabbri
  • Montefiore dell’Aso
  • Montelupone
  • Moresco
  • Offagna
  • Offida
  • San Ginesio
  • Sarnano
  • Treia
  • Visso

Lazio

  • Boville Ernica
  • Campodimele
  • Caprarola
  • Castel di Tora
  • Castel Gandolfo
  • Civita di Bagnoregio
  • Collalto Sabino
  • Monte San Giovanni Campano
  • Orvinio
  • San Donato Val di Comino
  • Sperlonga
  • Subiaco
  • Torre Alfina

Abruzzo

  • Abbateggio
  • Anversa degli Abruzzi
  • Bugnara
  • Caramanico Terme
  • Castel del Monte
  • Castelli
  • CittĂ  Sant’Angelo
  • Civitella del Tronto
  • Introdacqua
  • Navelli
  • Opi
  • Pacentro
  • Penne
  • Pettorano sul Gizio
  • Pietracamela
  • Pretoro
  • Rocca San Giovanni
  • Santo Stefano di Sessanio
  • Scanno
  • Tagliacozzo
  • Villalago

Molise

  • Fornelli
  • Frosolone
  • Oratino
  • Sepino
  • Campania
  • Albori
  • Atrani
  • Castellabate
  • Conca dei Marini
  • Furore
  • Monteverde
  • Nusco
  • Sant’Agata de’ Goti
  • Savignano Irpino
  • Zungoli

Puglia

  • Alberona
  • Bovino
  • Cisternino
  • Locorotondo
  • Otranto
  • Pietramontecorvino
  • Presicce
  • Roseto Valfortore
  • Specchia
  • Vico del Gargano

Basilicata

  • Acerenza
  • Castelmezzano
  • Guardia Perticara
  • Pietrapertosa
  • Venosa
  • Viggianello

Calabria

  • Aieta
  • Altomonte
  • Bova
  • Buonvicino
  • Chianalea
  • Civita
  • Fiumefreddo Bruzio
  • Gerace
  • Morano Calabro
  • Oriolo
  • Rocca Imperiale
  • Santa Severina
  • Stilo

 

Sicilia

  • Castelmola
  • Castiglione di Sicilia
  • Castroreale
  • CefalĂą
  • Erice
  • Ferla
  • Gangi
  • Geraci Siculo
  • Montalbano Elicona
  • Monterosso Almo
  • Novara di Sicilia
  • Palazzolo Acreide
  • Petralia Soprana
  • Sambuca di Sicilia
  • San Marco d’Alunzio
  • Savoca
  • Sperlinga
  • Sutera

 

Sardegna

  • Atzara
  • Bosa
  • Carloforte
  • Castelsardo

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