When it comes to the atmosphere of romance, Italy has no equals. Our list of 15 most romantic towns in Italy will suggest you where to go for your most perfect trip ever!
You will find here many non-obvious places you might not have heard about before. I visited all of them during over 7 years spent in Italy, so you can trust my advice :)
Any list of the best places in Italy is partial, as it’s definitely one of the world’s most beautiful countries, usually No. 1 in the rankings of tourists’ satisfaction. Even if you go there with the highest expectations, Italy is still able to surpass them.
Start dreaming of finding yourself in one of the most romantic towns in Italy – just choose your perfect destination!
For me, Maratea in the southern region of Basilicata is the most perfectly beautiful and poetically romantic place that exists. This tiny medieval town with stone houses and labyrinth cobbled streets is wrapped around the hill with breathtaking views over the turquoise Mediterranean Sea.
Full of artisan shops and lovely restaurants and cafés, with the air perfumed with aroma of fig trees and colourful flowers, it enchants all the senses. The marina of the town called simply Porto di Maratea is of sublime beauty. But the cherry on the top is the awe-inspiring view high from the mountain dominating the town, at the feet of the huge statue of Christ. There are few places on Earth that can compete with the beauty of Maratea.
2. Manarola, Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre – literally “Five Lands”, are a string of heavenly beautiful fishermen villages wrapped around hills by the sea. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso are located in nothern Italy on Ligurian Riviera. My favourite one is Manarola, but all of these five jewels are totally worth seeing.
All the villages have historical houses painted in vivid shades of yellow, orange, pink and red, with typical Ligurian green shutters. Manarola is lovely to walk around, with its tiny streets full of flowers, a small harbour and rocky shore. Restaurants and cafes offer lovely views and excellent local cuisine.
But the highlight is Italy’s most romantic pathway, suspended along the sea: Via dell’Amore – “The Path of Love” between Manarola and Riomaggiore. It doesn’t get more romantic than that…
Siena is delightfully timeless, like a century-old photograph in sepia colour. The uniformity of ochre shade of all its buildings and rooftops seen from above in the higher parts of the city, is so amazing that the city gave name to a colour known as ‘burnt sienna’ – a warm yellowish-brown shade. Local people say that the streets of Siena are “vertical” – and when you stroll along its tall and slender Gothic buildings you can totally see it. The historical centre of Siena is a marvelllous Gothic masterpiece full of UNESCO treasures that will really stay in your heart.
But the prettiest part of this refined, elegant town is its unique shell-shaped main square, where twice a year in the summer a medieval-style horse race is held.
Get lost in the labyrinth of the medieval streets, find secret passages, sit in the middle on the Piazza del Campo watching the sunlight turning the yellow stones into flaming orange. Taste the sophisticated Tuscan cuisine – and obviously toast with Chianti wine!
Idyllic town immersed in greenery and surrounded by olive groves is mainly known for religious reasons, as the place where St Francis founded Franciscan religious order. It is, however, also a very romantic spot. Perfectly tranquil, quiet and amazingly beautiful, it makes you feel in peace and harmony. Its medieval cobbled streets are of poetic beauty, its little piazzas are a marvel. You will love strolling around, day and night, in tranquillity and the company of cats. Cafés and restaurants are as charming as they get. It is really a place to love.
Tropea looks most striking seen from the sea, when its houses seems to grow straight out of the steep cliff. With its unique topography and beautiful beach, it’s definitely one of the most romantic towns in Italy. You will love its little streets and the extremely scenic island with a sanctuary – Santa Maria Dell’Isola. You will fall in love in its restaurants in various amazing view points with a breathtaking view at the sea. Then, you can watch the sunset on the beach above the far-away island of Stromboli, with its active volcano over which gathers a constant string of fume… Amazing.
Well, it may seem a cliché, but the list of the most romantic towns in Italy just can’t omit Venice. It most definitely deserves this title. For a truly romantic experience, stay in Venice for a few nights. Most tourists visit the city only for a day, and as the sun sets, the city becomes empty and quiet – and that’s when you realize exactly how incredibly romantic it is. Silent canals, a cat occassionally running through the stairs, and all those infinitely lovely bridges offering beautiful spots just for you and your loved one. There is a reason why Venice is deemed the most romantic city in the world.
7. San Gimignano
The Tuscan town of San Gimignano is called “The medieval Manhattan”. That’s because nowhere else you can find so many medieval… towers! The higher the tower house, the greater was the prestige of its owner, so the rich Tuscan families competed in ever bigger size, taking it very seriously. In the Middle Ages this tiny town counted as much as 72 tower houses! Nowadays, a dozen survived, but it’s enough to give the place a unique skyline. The town is one of those Italian jewels where every detail is perfectly beautiful and charming: streets and passages, little squares in the shadow of the towers, lovely restaurants and cafes. Romance is in the air!
Splendid Rome, despite being such a huge city, is extremely charming and romantic. Will all its layers of history and an infinite number of monuments on every corner, it offers a lot of hidden places full of atmosphere for a romantic walk. (A tip: Go to the area of Trajan’s Market by night! It’s magical.)
Spectacular art, sublime beauty wherever you go, great food and vibrant nightlife add up to the pleasures for a romantic getaway.
One of the world’s most unsual towns, Alberobello seems like a film set of a fairytale. It is filled with conical-shaped stone houses called trulli, that look like nothing you have ever seen before. Yet, it is an authentic 17th-century town enlisted by UNESCO. The one-of-the-kind form of trulli was a way to avoid taxes for housing – the structures built from dry stones could have been quickly dismantled to pretend they were unfinished ;)
The town, located in the region of Apulia in southern Italy, is small and cosy. It offers nice restaurants and trullo bars and the highlight is that you can sleep in a trullo – an experience you can live only here!
Sardinia has the highest number of the most spectacular, natural and pristine beaches in Europe. All the coast of the island is beautiful, but Villasimius, 45 km from Cagliari in the south of Sardinia, is unbeatable. Extremely vast and long beach, or rather two united beaches, with a lagoon inhabited by pink flamingoes, delicate, powdery white sand – it is really a piece of heaven!
I saw Matera for the first time in a reportage of Bell’Italia travel magazine, and I fell in love with it immediately. It captured my imagination – I’ve never seen anything like it. Maybe because there is no other town like it indeed! Years later, I lived close by in Potenza and I had many occasions to visit this incredible town. I never grew bored with it. What makes Matera special? Its several centuries old dwellings are carved out of a volcanic rock, so basically until very recently, its inhabitants lived in the caves! Nowadays, many dwellings are turned into cave B&Bs, restaurants, cafes and artisan shops, but still many people live there. Another particular element of the town are its ancient churches carved in the rocks in the deep canyon surrounding Matera. The views all around the town are absolutely unique!
It is an extremely charming place by day, but totally magical by night, under the stars in a perfect tranquillity. A wonderful place for a couple getaway.
12. Positano, Amalfi Coast
Positano is the most famous and probably the prettiest of a dozen villages of the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy. They are called “vertical villages” because they are so steep, and that’s exactly why they are so charming. The pastel-coloured buildings seem to be growing almost organically one behind another, harmoniously covering the hills. The colourful houses are so closely packed, that only very narrow and curvy streets let you pass through them. What’s more, the roads and pathways are often very steep, or there are stairs instead of streets.
Positano has the biggest beach of Amalfi Coast, from which there is a perfect view at the colourful town. The town is extremely pleasant, at the same time relaxing and very chic. And one more detail: the region of Campania boasts the best food in Italy – you have no idea how delicious it is!…
Follow the turquoise sea just a few km and you will reach the world’s most luxury island: Capri. The synonym of wealth and ostentatious extravagance, Capri is a magnet for the rich and famous (and beautiful). It offers all the luxury you can desire: the best 5-star hotels and spas, boutiques of the brands like Armani, Versace, Prada, Dior – not exactly the brands that you easily find in a village on a small island.
However, even with all its snobism, it is undeniably romantic. The reason it got so famous is the breathtaking beauty of its villages, pathways, flowers, gardens, terraces, but mostly incredible views. You have to see it once in a lifetime!
Overlooked by many tourist treating it just as a low-cost airlines’ airport location close to Milan, actually Bergamo is a splendid medieval jewel, so much more beautiful than Milan! Don’t miss it. (Actually, you can take a good view of it from the airport). By many it is considered the prettiest town in the entire region of Lombardia – and I totally agree with it.
The old town called Bergamo Alta (The Upper Bergamo) from its steep hill dominates the new part of the town – rather charmless Bergamo Bassa (The Lower Bergamo). Once you find yourself on the top of the hill, you enter the world of the past. Bergamo Alta has perfectly preserved its medieval and Renaissance character and Venetian fortified city walls (UNESCO).
It is a lovely place, with charming cobbled streets, impressive monuments, and great views at the Bergamasque Prealps – foothills of the Alps.
15. Varenna, Como Lake
Lakes of northern Italy are like no other lakes you’ve ever seen before. That’s because at some of them you see the palm trees against the background of the snowy Alps – quite unusual, right?! But mostly, that’s because they have splendid historical residences, castles and luscious gardens. You will see them both along their shore and… on the tiny islands on the lakes.
Como Lake is the most luxurious of the Italian lakes. It is well established as a weekend getaway spot for rich and famous. It is also truly romantic. Strolling along the lovely pathways with splendid views and spectacular gardens really puts you in the mood for love. Timeless historical residences make the place very chic and elegant, and make you feel you are somewhere special.
A tip: At Como Lake, choose the lovely town of Varenna with its super-romantic Walk of Lovers pathway, or equally beautiful Bellagio or Lecco.
Other Most Romantic Towns in Italy
I could continue the list forever. There are also amazing Aeolian Islands close to Sicily. There is fascinating Garda Lake with its elegant colourful houses. There is Polignano a Mare with its fantastic cliff-hanging houses. There are many medieval Tuscan villages like Pitigliano or Monteriggioni. There are lovely Alpine towns such as Aosta, Courmayeur, Trento. I could go on and on, but that will be a topic for the next articles about Italy.
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Have the most romantic trip ever!