The Italian village of Ravello is one of the quietest along the Amalfi Coast, set a bit away from the seaside and the busy beaches. Though equally lovely, Ravello is never as crowded as Positano or Amalfi, especially in the evening when most of the day-trippers have left and the streets are refreshingly empty.
Known as the “City of Music”, Ravello has always been a favorite retreat for artists and intellectuals looking for inspiration from the sweeping vistas far from the bustle of the coastline.
Over the past two centuries, musicians and composers like Wagner, Grieg, Rostropovich, Toscanini, and Bernstein have taken refuge here, as have artists like Escher, Turner, and Mirò and writers from Lawrence and Forster to Virginia Wolf.
It comes as no surprise that this sleepy village hosts important cultural events like the Ravello Festival and chamber concerts organized by the Ravello Concert Society.
Pienza is a town in Tuscany, Italy. The central Piazza Pio II is framed by 15th-century buildings like the Pienza Cathedral and Piccolomini Palace. The latter was Pope Pius II’s summer residence and features a roof garden with valley views. Flemish tapestries and the pope’s embroidered cape are on display at the Diocesan Museum. West is the Pieve di Corsignano, a Romanesque church with a circular bell tower.
Bolzano is a city in the South Tyrol province of north Italy, set in a valley amid hilly vineyards. It’s a gateway to the Dolomites mountain range in the Italian Alps. In the medieval city center, the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology features the Neolithic mummy called Ötzi the Iceman. Nearby is the imposing 13th-century Mareccio Castle, and the Duomo di Bolzano cathedral with its Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
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When planning a vacation to Europe, some of the first destinations that come to mind will be the teeming cities of Paris, London or Rome. Each of these metropolises is incredible, but they are far from all that Europe has to offer.
By exploring some of the smaller towns across the continent, it is possible to see a more authentic, traditional side to Europe. If you’re planning an upcoming getaway to the continent, here are just a few of the most beautiful small towns in Europe.
Santo Stefano di Sessanio is a comune and hill town in the province of L’Aquila in the Abruzzo region of southern Italy. Located in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park, in the highest region of the Apennines, this medieval hill town sits adjacent to the high plain of Campo Imperatore.
Thousands of years of history, an enchanting mountaintop setting on Italy’s most beautiful coastline and views that have captivated countless souls, inspired artists and filled hearts with passion. Yet it’s just the beginning of what you will find in this charming village on the Amalfi Coast. There are still stories to be uncovered along its medieval streets, garden villas and ancient stone pathways.
Island of Capri, Italian Isola di Capri, Latin Capreae, island near the southern entrance to the Bay of Naples, Campaniaregione (region), southern Italy. It lies opposite the Sorrento peninsula, to which it was joined in prehistoric times.
Since the second half of the 19th century, Capri has gradually become one of the most popular resorts in southern Italy, famous for its magnificent scenery and the mild climate in which vegetation flourishes despite a general lack of water. The flora is among the most varied in Italy, and large numbers of migratory birds rest there for days. The name of the island has two possible origins, either capra (“goat”) or kapros (“wild boar”).
There are fine bathing beaches and numerous hotels and villas, and Capri is connected with Naples and Sorrento by frequent steamer and hydrofoil services. Besides tourism, agriculture (vineyards, olives, citrusfruits) and fishing are carried on. An undersea aqueduct bringing fresh water from the mainland to support all these activities was completed in 1978.
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Tropea is a small town on the east coast of Calabria, in southern Italy. It’s known for its clifftop historic center, beaches and prized red onions. Built on a former Byzantine cemetery, the 12th-century cathedral has marble sarcophagi and a painting of the Madonna of Romania, the town’s protector. Nearby is a viewpoint over the hills. The centuries-old Santa Maria dell’Isola Church is on a rock overlooking the sea.