First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Your Italy and our Italia are not the same thing. Italy is a soft drug peddled in predictable packages, such as hills in the sunset, olive groves, lemon trees, white wine, and raven-haired girls. Italia, on the other hand, is a maze. . . Italy is the only workshop in the world that can turn out both Botticellis and Berlusconis. ― Beppe Severgnini
Most tourists go to Italy to see the big cities: Rome, Venice, Florence, maybe Milan. If they are Rick Steves fans, they want to go to Liguria’s Cinque Terre. If they love the sea and don’t mind death-defying drives, they’ll go to the Amalfi Coast. Some folks find themselves in Cortona because they’ve read Frances Mayes’ book, Under the Tuscan Sun.
And all those places are fine. Beautiful, historic, breathtaking, worth seeing. But there is so much more to Italy. And that’s where the association Borghi piu belli d’italia comes in.
Established in 2001 with the blessing of The National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), “the most beautiful villages of Italy” is dedicated to promoting the small villages and towns that best represent the authentic, traditional Italy, respecting and, in some cases, reveling in their local culture and traditions. These can include the arts, cuisine, viniculture, historical structures, relationship with the land, etc. ANCI recognizes that fantastic art, culture, traditions and landscapes exist not only in the major cities, but throughout the entire country, and it hopes to draw travelers to these lesser-known areas and help them flourish.
Here’s what villages need to have to qualify for the designation “Borghi più belli d’italia”:
- An historical borough can have no more than 2,000 residents and an entire municipality that cannot exceed 15,000 in population.
- The borough must be home to relevant architectural, certified either by the municipality itself or by the local representative of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities. It is essential that the borough consists mainly of historical buildings.
- The borough must be vetted and declared authentic and must commit, in case of acceptance, to maintain its appearance.
At present, there are 244 villages and small cities throughout Italy with this designation. The ones starred are the ones we’ve visited – and will continue to include on our tours – just in Abruzzo! Don’t worry, we’ll get to the other ones in time!
Here are the 23 borghi pui belli d’italia in the region of Abruzo . . . come and visit them with us soon!
*Anversa degli Abruzzi
*Castel del Monte
*Civitella del Tronto
*Pettorana sul Gizio
Rocca San Giovanni
*Santo Stefano di Sessanio